Monday, February 16, 2004

Poker Blogs and more Poker Blogs

"A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned."
Fast Eddie Felson

Thanks for reading! I've dug up plenty of interesting, random poker stuff today, and perhaps a rant or two. Enjoy.

Note to self: stick to playing on Party Poker. There's a damn good reason they have 36,000 players. It's called massive, schooling fish. I made the mistake of playing on Stars, mid-limits yesterday, and received a swift kick in the nuts. It's been awhile since I've even remotely tilted, but yesterday was a doozy. Let's just say the river was extremely cruel to poor old me. Losing boat over boat twice in a session hasn't happened in awhile.

For the love of God, I was sober, too. Oh the humanity.

Damn variance.

Oh yeah, this MUST be noted. My man over at Pokercode has been loving the games at Party and found out that it's OK with the Empire folks (the same exact site as Party for the new readers) as long as you use a DIFFERENT computer. So there you have it. Those of you who missed out on the insane bonus whoring (bonus whoring= collecting large sums of cash for creating a new account on a site) all last year (easily a grand or two if you were smart) can now get in the game. Bonus code IGGY1 for you current Party players opening up an Empire account. 20% deposit bonus and all the advantages of additional bonuses and most importantly, a second identity. You ARE using PokerTracker to track the fishies aren't you?

I'm still working on identifying other Party skins (skin = same server/site, different color software/interface). More to come on that later. Again, IGGY1 for Empire and just IGGY for opening a Party account.

/end shill

Alrighty then, on to the good stuff.

I've often blogged about good versus bad players, usually while playing bad. I found this post that was just too good to pass up:

Why bad players don't know they are bad

While surfing some other stuff I ran into a very interesting article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. While not about poker per se, the conclusions are easily applied to poker players. Some of the conclusions: (paraphrased to apply to poker).

Bad players grossly overestimate their own competence.

Bad players fail to gain insight into their own bad play by observing the behavior of other players.

Despite seeing the superior performances of other players, bad players continue to hold the mistaken impression that they had performed just fine.

Even if bad players receive feedback that points to a lack of skill, they may attribute poor performance to some other factor.

It takes a good player to recognize a good player.

The quicker you realize that another player is better than you, the better you yourself must be.

Strong players tend to overestimate the skills of other players.

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments


The one point that jumped out at me was it takes a good player to recognize a good player.

Jeremy, old-school blogger and Tampopo fan, over at LoveandCasinoWar had an interesting post last week, pointing out the PokerRoom EV (expected value - how much you can win) for every starting hand in hold em. He pointed out that the biggest loser in online poker (at Pokerroom, anyway) is ace-rag. Amen, brother.

I can't wait for the update from online poker pro and veteran blogger, Jason, at PokerOdyssey.
I'm going to challenge myself to play 100 hours over the 10 days. 10 hours a day is a little crazy, but certainly not impossible.

Good luck, Jason, I can't wait to read about it.

I saw a post this morning where someone said they bought in to an online site for a couple hundred, ran it up to $1000 playing $10/$20, then busted out. Per usual, they blamed the software being rigged for their bad fortune. What they didn't realize is they had only a 50 Big Bet downswing, which isn't unusual.

Hence, this response:

Personally, I have been taking my time, and it has paid off for me thus far. I started at 1/2 and waited until I had 300 BB's for 2/4 to move up. My roll has just reached the point where I can comfortably move up to 5/10. By taking my time, I have given myself a much greater chance for success.

It only took Fuzz maybe three or four months to run his $50 buyin into $1000 playing 50.1 and 1.2, but then again, he had me as a coach. ;) But it _can_ be done with serious discipline and tight, correct low-limit play. He never experienced this type of sustained run at PokerStars.

Correct low-limit play, you may ask? For starters, burn your Sklansky books. Although his thinking and writing on poker are clearly the Torah, his books won't help you at the low-limits. Go buy Lee Jones or Ken Warren or anything by Mike Caro. Next, make sure to read the second half of Gary Carson's fine book on how to play drawing hands. Chris Halverson is digging it.

Sklansky writes for tight, high-limit games where the phrase, "raising to isolate" actually means something. On PartyPoker, there is no such thing. Carson writes for the loose games (my personal favorites) and are hard to miss on PartyPoker.

A couple of drunken thoughts:

In loose games, suited connectors and pocket pairs go up in value and offsuit cards go down in value. In aggressive games, suited connectors go down in value as well.

If you are raising UTG, then you want everyone at the table to call your raise cold, unless perhaps you have AKo or AQo. Big pocket pairs are indeed big hands... loose, tight, passive, aggressive... doesn't matter... the more money that goes in the pot when you have these big holdings the better.

If people call your raises too much to chase you, then that is +EV for you (otherwise they wouldn't be making a mistake, now would they?). Would you rather they not give you action and play better?

AA will only win about 35% of the time against 9 random hands. Though considering the average hand would win 10% of the time, AA sounds pretty good, huh? But understand that AA will probably lose more than half the time in a loose game... and it's natural, and you'll still make a lot of money with AA over the long-term.

Bet and raise when you have the best of it while folding when you no longer have the best of it (or proper pot odds). In loose games, you will win a smaller percentage of hands, but the pots you win will be bigger. The main tricks are to know how hand values change in a loose game and how to adjust your play for different pot sizes, especially for large pots.

The Sklansky poker concept of a 'dominated hand' doesn't apply in loose games.

K, enough on that. I hate over-simplifying. That's almost as bad as posting hand histories. The answer to every poker question is, "It depends."

I discovered this fascinating nugget per RGP about poker pro, Erik Seidel, hiding his cards from the TV cameras.

This was from last night's airing of the 2003 US Poker Championships on ESPN. They mentioned that Erik was hiding his cards from the lipstick camera so often, that they went to TWO cameras to try and show his cards. He said the reason he did it was that he didn't want to have the TV audience see how he plays his cards. I'm surprised people haven't talked about it that much here, maybe that'll happen soon enough.

I'm not sure what the contractual agreement is with the players, certainly someone knowledgable will address this, but I can't help but think that is a +EV move for poker professionals. Showing hole cards obviously makes for some compelling poker television, but the tournament pro's out there might not be so happy, as evidenced by Erik's actions.

Regarding TruePoker, I re-discovered this great 2002 article from Salon featuring an old TruePoker screenshot and the writer's quest:

I will lose my $500 or win $1,000, then I will write an article about winning $1,000 playing online poker and get out for good.

I pull $600 in my first three days in 10 hours of play and find myself hooked
Swimming with the online card sharks

I'm not sure the guy knows what he is talking about, after reading this snippet:

The same rules apply: Don't drink and play poker, anywhere, anytime


Yet another Guinness-fueled post. Thank God for cold Guinness and Coltrane.

Please take the time to explore the other poker blogs over there on the right. Some damn great writing and insight. In fact, too much for me to link to everyday. You owe it to yourself to avail your brain of these valuable poker resources. It used to be so damn easy to read everyone's blog when there was only six of us.

That being said, I wanted to point out TheFatGuy's awesome expletive-laden tirade about the ARod trade to the Yankees for Soriano. Poetry in motion.

TheFatGuy > Peter Gammons

I'm with Scott on this one. This is a terrible deal. Soriano has no glove and is due for a 'correction' with his wild, swinging ways bound to catch up with him. I don't put him in the same class as Vlad, another superb bad-ball slugger, but I could be wrong.

As if I needed another reason to hate the Yankees. Oh the humanity.

So I've been thinking. I haven't ranted since Christmas (see archives for rant) because the Poker Vegan hasn't made any more idiotic posts. I'm still waiting patiently, though, I think he has it in him.

So even though I've been posting daily for quite awhile, offering up my drunken tips, and even writing an article about the poker blogging scene over at the excellent PokerSavvy site.
Poker Blog Roundup if you care to read it.

So anyway. this ridiculous shill site created his own Top Ten poker bloggers list, of which I didn't make the cut. I mean, what on earth is he doing sticking GoCee's Trip Report Page up in a list with nine poker blogs? Sure, that's a fine poker resource, but it sure as hell ain't no poker blog.

Ivan, the webmaster of this site that Shall Not Be Named, wrote me a rather condescending email after his list went up. Damnit, I didn't give him the idea of the list out of hoping to see my blog at the top of the list. I did it cause I love seeing poker blogs get ink. But in the interest of having someone to fuck with, I hope he will list me at #10 in place of GoCee.

So please, in the interest of poker blogs everywhere, email him right now. Take ten seconds, please. Just say include Iggy or include Poker and Guinness in your top ten poker blog list or whatever.
Jackass Webmaster

After all, this is straight from the site that Shall Not Be Named:


Our poker lists are compiled through various methods which include but are not limited to:

  • experience by the poker team
  • research on the internet
  • feedback from our readers
  • industry accepted standard


    Note the third one down.

    Also, they warmly welcome feedback. Since the jackass guy who compiled the list obviously doesn't read poker blogs, except to create thinly veiled content to hide his crappy shilling:

    Poker questions, requests, opinions, tips, breaking news, images, etc. are all warmly welcomed.

    Fuck him and his fucking desktop wallpaper of playing cards and scented candles.

    So take ten seconds & send him a quick note.

    Thanks to anyone helping the cause. I'm loathe to spend too much time and effort on a rant - his site doesn't matter one iota. I've got the semi-respect of my peers and that's all that matters. Plus I'm drunk too tired to write anymore.

    Last thoughts. I fired up TruePoker yesterday and enjoyed the 3D avatars and chat feature. I only sat 1.2 as I just wanted to get a feel for the interface again and beat the game for nearly $70 in about two hours. Loads of fun and Hdouble even tried it out, writing up an excellent TruePoker trip report.
    I have to say that I'm very impressed with the site. It took 10 minutes to download, since I wanted to try out the super-nice graphics and sound that True Poker is known for. It was worth the wait-- the graphics and sound are excellent, and it's about as close as you can get to playing in a B&M.

    It's a small site with lots of friendly regulars. I haven't played there in years, but the game-play was just as a remember it. Weak-tightish-passive. Not my favorite style of game, but it can be profitable.

    Interesting side note: The True Poker CEO mentioned that at one point they almost implemented a "hockey fight" feature in their software.

    So again, sign up for the Poker Blogger World Poker Tour II at True Poker on Wed, March 10 at 9pm EST. I changed it to Wednesday so hopefully Felicia, StickandMove and Grubby could work around scheduling conflicts.

    Enough allready. Yet another crazy post. Thanks for reading.

    No animals or animal products were harmed in the creation of today's post. Thanks for reading.

    Link of the Day:
    Hugo Back to Prison
    As this 500-comment discussion shows, the Altered Perceptions weblog has been adopted by "Hugoists," international fans of accused Pennsylvania killer and prison escapee Hugo Selenski: "Some women around the country want to meet him because he's cute."

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