Sunday, March 14, 2004

Shiana Hiatt Poker Diary

"When we play, we must realize, before anything else, that we are out to make money."
David Sklansky, Theory of Poker

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Thanks for reading. Lots of fine poker content today, with the standard ramblings. I'm gonna be verbose because I couldn't blog the last few days. And hell, I may even experiment with some blockquoting.

FYI, I may take another hiatus from the blog in a bit, as I want to spend more time playing and working on my game. I'm not losing, mind you, it's quite the opposite and I just want to concentrate/focus. Yeah, it takes some effort to write these bigass honking posts, and worse, it's difficult to be even halfway interesting, even half of the time.

Thank God for Guinness. At least I'm amusing myself.

Thanks to poker on TV, I've been bitten by the poker bug again. Pauly, from the mighty Tao of Poker, took pity on this cable-less loser and sent me a fantastic tape of poker. Woohoo! It includes the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bike, the WPT Championship at the Bellagio, the US Poker Championships at the Taj, an episode of Late Night Poker from across the pond, and last, but not least, an episode of Hollywood Home Game, featuring a very excitable Fred Savage. Extremely fun stuff for me to view, since I'm always reading about these shows and NEVER get to watch them.

By far, getting the opportunity to watch my personal poker hero, TJ Cloutier, compete at the final table was the highlight. Also, Phil Laak, Mel Judah and resident poker blogger Paul Phillips played. A very entertaining lineup of players. Excellent stuff, thanks A TON, Pauly!

Because this was arguably the best WPT episode, below this post is a reprint of an interesting Sports Illustrated article about this particular episode, and poker in general. It talks about the controversial deal that was made before the winner was determined. It's subscriber-only content, so I thought I'd post it here for everyone to read.

So hell, all that TV NL tournament poker over-stimulated me and I jumped into the first NL tournament I could find last night. Which happened to be a 990 player, 20k guaranteed, $10 unlimited rebuys and one add-on, tourney at Stars, first place paying over 8k. I ended up finishing 80th, winning about $70, and it took four hours. I really love NL tournaments - it's the most enjoyable form of poker for me, but damn, you really need to set aside some serious time to play.

I was pondering Hdouble's thoughtful post, "Poker: Hobby, Sport, or Profit?" and remembered a major attraction for me is the overlay in some of these large online tourneys. They are paying out $60k for first in the weekly $200 NL tourneys. That's something I'd like to be spending more time on. Sure, grinding out small wins is affirming, but I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon. Why not take some shots?

See how TV poker is affecting me? One VHS poker tape, and I'm ready to join the tour. Damn you, Pauly.

Back to Hdouble's introspective post - it's true that poker fulfills many psychological facets for people, not just one. For me, I love to watch my bankroll grow, sure, and that's a major motivation, but I think primarily poker has fascinated me because I am an ENTP personality type and love to learn. I can't help it, that's just the way I'm wired. Poker fully engages my brain - the more I learn, the more I question.

You are never done improving at this game. Someone said once that if you're not getting better, you're getting worse - there's no standing still. Stasis = death.

It's so damn challenging.
And fun.

TJ Cloutier, "You get your money in when you've got the best of it. That's all you can do."

Enjoyed a great evening of grinding on Friday night. Another classic Party Poker weekend. I think I'm playing against tables of Dudes, who disdain odds and any semblance of playing correctly. There's really not any other explanation.

Per Hdouble's post, he offered this quote from a reader:

The reader astutely pointed out that although PartyPoker may be the most profitable place to play, it may not be the best. If our goal is not to win the most money, but to challenge ourselves intellectually, then most likely the site with the most fish is not the best place to play.

Do I really need to explain the faulty thinking behind this? David Sklansky, in my opening quote, says the EXACT opposite in the Torah, the Theory of Poker. Now who's advice should we take? For the record, Theory of Poker discusses pot odds sixty-seven times, and that's not even counting your hand odds.

Money is how we keep score....

"See, in my world - the world of high-stakes gin and poker - we play for cold, hard cash. It's all business, pure and simple. Anyone who thinks cardplaying is a 'game' - I'll show you a loser. Money... M-O-N-E-Y. That's how you measure success. One dollar at a time. One chip at a time. That's how you keep score."
Stu Ungar

Thanks, Stu.

Again, to win at poker consistently, I keep stressing game selection. Table selection. That's why I keep advising that people should play at Party Poker. As someone told me, it's not shilling if it's true, damnit.

So forgive me, but here are a litany in the 'best-of-posts' from this weekend, relating to online poker:

First up, this accurate, albeit tongue in cheek, post on RGP about Party versus Stars ring games and game selection.


I try to practice good table selection when I play. On Stars I use the % of players that see the flop as my determining factor. I don't see that stat available on Party, so I have been using the Avg Pot size. This is not nearly as usefull a number, as I have sat with some of the toughest and tightest players using this method. Is there a way to see the flop% stat on party? Is there another statistical way to find a good table?


All Party tables are required to have a flop seen % over 50%. If they do not the table is automatically disbanded and the players instructed to cash out and go to Poker Stars. This effectively eliminates the need for such a statistic.

I'm continually shocked at players who insist that all these BAD players, the massive infusing of white hot schooling fish is BAD for your bankroll. Where is the logic? Where is the constructive thinking? So here's a long, 2+2 whining post about the same old song and dance. He can't beat the fish.

Wow has Poker changed in the last year...You used to go into a Poker Room and sure there were bad players at your table....Great ! I mean it would be you and 5 or 6 others regulars and a few fish (Smelt) sitting at your table. I mean if you had AK and pre-flop raised and a K hit the flop...you bet 6 regulars folded and 2 smelt called...You only had 2 fish to beat in any given hand....Not so hard. I mean if a 3 came on the turn it was a save perfect card for your AK.

But not any more...

That 3 is a monster.....there are no safe cards left in any deck, anywhere....None !

Now, because of the World Poker Tour and all of the TV coverage on Poker.....It has all changed....

You go to your local card house and sit down in your favorite game and look around for old Frank, or Buddy or Sammy....your old buddies...and they are no where in sight...Everyone at your table except maybe one player you have ever even seen before....the fish are schooling....You are now like the fish in a tank of barracuda's....not very smart Barracudas either...They saw the WPT on TV....They know a 3 might come on the turn or river......YA that's the new way to play it...You now get AK and there is 7 or 8 smelt seeing the flop and 6 or 7 seeing the river every time, hand after hand...There is no safe card in any deck...The deck is covered....Your K on the flop with top kicker the A is no good....you have to improve it to win. If the flop was K, T, 8 all different colors....the 3 on the turn now just gave one of the fish a pair of 3's with a 4 kicker...and of course a 4 will come on the river.....or if a 2 comes on the turn and a 7 on the river, one of the fish rolls over 7, 2.....Ya I saw it on TV and that is the way you play this game......I saw it! You can now be a math pro, odds pro, EV pro, check raise pro, player reading Pro, you can be so on your game you are like Obi Wan Jedi Master Poker Kanobi.....and it makes no difference to the smelt...You have to flop sets, make flushes and open ended draws to even have a chance of beating the games right now ...

Poker is now like:

Playing on the Freeway at 5 p.m. rush hour...

Being the Bait at the fish hatchery feeding time...

Being in a Mash Pit at a Rock concert...

Being near the door of a indoor concert and being crushed to death by all of the people coming out...

I know, I know you online pro's are saying bring on the fish...I can out play them. I am super Poker online playing man! I mean I am really good....so let me tell you how good I really am!...

In reality....your odds have went way down in the current style of play...You cannot bluff a hand at the river very often......there is still 6 fish to call behind you...You cannot check raise....the fish don't know what you are doing anyway and they just think, wow a bigger pot for me with my monster 7, 4 off suit....

Remember: I saw it on TV and it must be True...........


Does this mean that you don't know how to bluff less, value bet more, and check-raise for value more?

This is the old "you make more money playing against good players" fallacy.

Yes, the games have changed. Learn to adjust. They're more profitable than before if you can figure out how, instead of wasting your time whining about it.

This is about the 51 zillionth post on this subject, and the answers don't change. The seasoned veterans and pro's are still right, and the newbies and rookies to the game are still wrong.

Any of you wanting to jump in the fray that is Party Poker, now is the time. It's never been a better time to be a student of poker. EVER.

Another RGP post per Party and building up a small bankroll:

About 10 days or so ago (maybe longer) advice was given to someone with $100 about the best ways to build his bankroll. The one that clicked with me was to use it at the $25 NL tables at Party Poker. I didn't even know these tables existed until the new lobby design. Well, I had $200 in my Neteller account so I said, okay, I'll try that. I deposited $100 and about 4 hours of play later I've tripled my money. I'll probably stay at the $25 tables for a while before I think about moving up to the $50 tables.
So, thank you RGP.

Per two emails to me this weekend - I'm not making this shit up.

I can already see these games are softer. I'm only up
30 bucks after playing 2/4 for about 300 hands, but I can tell the games are soft. I've never seen so many people play, or even raise with A8 offsuit UTG. And the average pot at my table today was around 35-40, I don't think it ever gets that high on a consistent basis at UB. It's also nice to see 6-7 people in almost every pot. I just wish I could get some better cards, I was winning at UB but I'm sure I'll keep winning here.


I just discovered the blog recently and had been a little discouraged about internet play, specifically mine. I was tired of having to choose from 6 tables and the river always being the exact card that could crush my hand that was the nuts for each previous round (UB anyone?). I took a flyer and threw $100 bucks at PP and I really owe you one. These guys really are that bad. I was down a few bucks on my 1/2 table til I figured out who was who, then it was on. Once I was up about $20 from my original $50 at the table, I planned on going to bed at up $30. I can't stop, though.

Ok, enough on that. I'm beating the drum for a reason, though. It's awesome to get emails like above - I can't coach players in this blog, but I'll be damned if I can't let players know where the softest games are. Party's gone from 20,000 to 45,000 since November - you think all these players are savvy, tricky internet poker players? And with the current WPT season and upcoming World Series of Poker, we're due for another wave of fish. I'd recommend at least TRYING Party instead of insisting that UB or Stars or Paradise is superior. Geezus, try it, you'll like it.

/end Party rant

Whew, since I rambled earlier about motivations and psychology/attitude in poker, allow me to link this new Poker Pages column by John Vorhaus, about thinking versus feeling your poker.
Thinking versus Feeling

There's a basic difference between thinking your poker and feeling your poker, a difference so important that if you do nothing but think your game instead of feeling it, you'll probably come out ahead.

PokerTracker has a huge update - you can now use your Tracker player database to populate your Party Poker notes. Oh my. If you don't own PokerTracker, you need to go download the demo (up to 1,000 hands) and see what I'm talking about. You'll love it.

Speaking of which, I wanted to point out that Lord G went through the trouble of tabling his Pokertracker stats last Thursday - it's always fun to traipse thru the numbers, so go take a look.

Poker for the Masses came in 10th in a $30 nl multi, 917 players. Well done!

What kind of an uber-post would this be without the obligatory pimping of the new poker blogs? It's awesome to see this community continue to grow and grow. Go support the new bloggers and read:

First, Bill's poker blog is looking great. First of all, he's a Moveable Type web hippy, and secondly, he has some excellent content already up - go read his March 11th post for some solid perspective.

Hey, a new blogger/player who decided to move from Stars to Party, and is enjoying the results. Show your support for Dogs Playing Poker

i'm doing the homer simpson dance around my room, thankful that these poker sites don't involve webcams.

The Genius of the Poker is yet another ex-blackjack player turned poker afficianado, and he's playing in Atlantic City this weekend. Scroll down to read his long poker trip report.

I discovered RGP veteran, Da Voice, (Rick Charles) and his poker blog on Live Journal. Nothing worth quoting.

Well, I'm gonna wrap up with some poker news linkage, and then hit the tables. Hope you've enjoyed reading this drivel.

First of all, per the WSOP, Horseshoewsop.com is up
and the tournament will be held April 22 - May 28, 2004 at the Horseshoe, downtown Las Vegas. Call 702-366-7344 for more information and room reservations. Per Matt Savage.

Pardon, my Aces are showing
Online tells, part 2

Excellent article about Chris Moneymaker.
Moneymaker has lived up to his name

Moneymaker plays most of his poker online for about 15 hours a week at pokerstars.com, the site where he won his World Series entry last year. If you find his handle (Money800) and bring $1,000, he might give you a one-on-one game.

Yikes, strip poker makes the news. What's going on down there in Texas?
Firefighter Resigns Over Strip Poker Game

"How could anybody be that stupid?" Fire Chief Mark Ewald said. "According to our investigation, it went down to where one person was covered only with a towel."

From the Business page, comes this article entitled:
Investing, gambling and cards

Damn, even the business section of the New York Post is weighing in.

Anheuser-Busch, for example, pays to have its World Select brand named the official beer of the World Poker Tour, the show that ushered in cable television's hottest new sport.

Too bad Guinness didn't jump on that. Brilliant!

Oh yeah, I wanted to link up Lou Krieger's latest column of common-sense simply called:

And there ya have it. Yet another Guinness-fueled, rambling post. I've even more to blog about, but I'll have mercy on you, dear reader, and save it for later.

So thanks for reading and don't forget to just *try* PartyPoker, damnit. Even if you played there before, try it again. See if I'm not right. And if you're new or playing at other sites, hop on with bonus code IGGY and see if you can't build up a bankroll off the schooling fish in low limits. My man Fuzz is still destroying the games down there, maybe I'll ask him to write another missive (see archives).

Lastly, my three little low-limit online tips, posted yet again:

1. Other players bad play will make me far more money than my fancy or brilliant plays.
2. The guy that leads with a bet on the turn after not betting previously, typically has a big hand.
3. Folding costs me nothing pre-flop. If it's a close decision, I can't go far wrong by folding.

Link of the Day:
Young Men Like the Boom-Boom
Blame gay people for the epidemic of adolescent males driving around with their stereo volume cranked up to 11, says noise pollution vigilante Michael Wright: "Disco gave birth to its demon child, the twisted destructive boom car subculture."

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