Saturday, May 15, 2004

"Poker is a combination of luck and skill. People think mastering the skill part is hard, but they're wrong. The trick of poker is mastering the luck. That's philosophy. Understanding luck is philosophy, and there are some people who aren't ever going to fade it. That's what sets poker apart. And that's what keeps everyone coming back for more."
Jesse May

Thanks for stopping by. Please excuse my prior off-topic posts - I humbly apologize and hope you will continue reading this poor excuse for a poker blog. I realize I made a mistake. Sure, figuring out Stinky was like doing one of those puzzles for pre-schoolers where there are three large pieces that fit together, but seriously, I was wrong and I apologize to you, my readers, and to Stinky. I don't want to harm our community - we have a great thing going here. I'm sorry.

Tonight I have some old poker news, some new news, kickass poker commentary from some of the best poker writers, and of course, many new poker blogs. Let's get right to it, shall we?

Resuming regular poker blogging.....

So I just finished re-reading Shut Up and Deal by the aforementioned Mr. May and I had forgotten how deeply cynical and dark the book is. For anyone aspiring or even just fantasizing about becoming a poker professional, it's a Must Read.

Poker has a way of humbling you, even if you think you've got everything down cold. Even the grinders walk into suckerpunch sessions more often than we'd care to admit.

Jesse had one brutal anecdote proving that: Yes, it is possible to go broke all in one day. No matter how much you have. I wonder how the majority of online players have gone broke: playing over their bankroll, through poor play or plain old tilting? A combination, perhaps?

I've written several rants on how losing in poker can make you a better player, should you decide to take the necessary steps to improve. In that vein, I came across this quote by WSOP champ, Bobby Baldwin, that echoes my previous posts.

"Playing poker for a living gives you backbone. You cannot survive without that intangible quality we call heart. I don't care how bad you are going or how good, you have to stand solid. Poker is a character builder - especially the bad times. The mark of a top player is not how much he wins when he is winning, but how he handles his losses. If you win for thirty days in a row, that makes no difference if on the thirty-first you have a bad night, go crazy, and throw it all away."

It was a bitter pill, back in the day, after grinding and building up my roll, to step up in limits, lose, and give that money back. Damn, I learned a lot from losing, but mostly that losing is unavoidable. And that lesson alone is powerful mojo. Acceptance.

I wish I had time to locate the Mike Caro article about "protecting your bankroll" in which he espoused that you can be more reckless with a small bankroll than you can with a large one. And more importantly, how most players treat their bankrolls just the opposite. And how, if you have a poker bankroll, it's for poker *only*.

Damn, you gotta love these rambling Guinness-fueled posts. Plus, this is hella more fun than talking about beheadings in Iraq. In fact, I'm swearing off the news for a while - I'm jumping headfirst back into poker literature and play. I haven't played at all this week - haven't been in the right frame of mind and I'm wise enough to know I shouldn't even bother sitting at a table when like this.

A quick mention of last weekend before I move on to the link-fest. I played at the closest legal cardroom, Ceasers in Indiana, this past weekend, as a little birthday present to myself. I should write up a full trip report because it's certainly worth it, but I'm just not in a mirthful mood.

The abridged version is that I played for 12 hours, ended up stinking drunk (did I mention it was my birthday?) - began table talking like a madman (as only I can do) and somehow walked away with about $400. It's impossible to transcribe some of the non sequitur's I uttered, but suffice to say, half of the table was horrified and the other half was shooting beers out of their nose, laughing. I made sure I came across as a live one, that's fer sure.

So I had a fantastic time and I didn't get 86'd, although I suspect I was close. Thanks to my man, GMoney, for rocking and rolling with me.

The games were soft and weak. Please read The Cardplayer's journal for more detailed info on this game. But the rake.....


From a poker message board:


The rake on all Games there is 10%, up to $5 max. However, they take an
additional dollar out of each pot, making the max rake $6. This applies to all games regardless of day of the week. This rake applies to both 4/8 and 10/20 hold 'em. They don't spread 3/6 or 6/12 or anything else like that there anymore. It's 4/8, then 10/20 and up, I have no idea what the rake is on the larger games as I don't play them, but it's probably the same with a bigger cap.

The rake on the 4/8 is exactly the same as the 10/20 and it is unbeatable. The 10/20 is as soft and definitely beatable including the rake. If you are going to play there, do not play 4/8, take an extra $300 and play the 10/20.

That's pretty brutal, eh? Plus, (and I hate to say this) but until I had too many beers, I was bored out of my skull at the table. Game play was brutally slow. I had an old feller to my right for many hours, who was recovering from a stroke and took 30-60 seconds to play *every* time the action was on him. He never once knew what the bet amount was, played every hand to the river and never protected his hole cards. Sure, it was easy money but I felt bad for the guy. I just hoped he was incredibly wealthy and it didn't matter. Damn poker rationalizations. Sadly, it goes with the territory.

One other complaint: after years of living in Vegas, I grew to hate the sound of slot machines and video poker. You couldn't even go the grocery store or a local tavern without the ringing, dinging and chiming of those fucking video poker machines. The hair literally started rising on the back of my neck when I walked in the damn card room last weekend. There was a huge bank of video poker machines lining the poker tables - truly sucked. Next time I'll be toting a walkman, lesson learned. Also, casino's are made for lonely people, imho.

Alrighty then, time to start pointing out the massive poker content I have compiled for any readers I still have left. Hope you enjoy.

Continuing the Jesse May theme, here is a "State of the Game Address" by the man in his latest missive. Times they are a'changin.

State of the Game Address


we have reached a watershed in the evolution of the theory of the game. We have reached a point where many of the truths that have long been held about how to win at this game have ceased to exist. The poker theorists and players of the last twenty years were not necessarily wrong, but the truth has changed, and now there are a good many people who all of the sudden don’t know what the hell is going on. They seek to explain the present away with talk of luck and coincidence and closed up minds, but I can’t do it. I don’t know exactly what the new truth is, but there are too many anomalies in poker today that need new answers. I say take the old books, and burn them. Just consider. Don’t try to explain, just consider.

also this:

David Sklansky has long been considered a leader in a field entitled game theory, theories based mostly on numbers and his cards, yet his tournament results over the past few years indicate that he has absolutely no chance whatsoever to win a large field event.

There's tons of WSOP reports out there but I'm just going to point out the best. First up is the Poker Pundit, Andy Glazer, mentioning THE BIG GAME.

The 4c hit the river, Nguyen was out, and Ted Forrest was sitting on enough chips to make more than THREE WHOLE BIG BETS (were they real chips, and not no-cash-value tournament chips) in the $100,000-200,000 real money game going on over at the Bellagio right now between Dallas banker Andy Beal and an assortment of Vegas pros who are taking turns playing him one-on-one.

For those of you not-in-the-know, THE BIG GAME is a very rich man named Andy Beal taking turns playing The Corporation in the highest limit poker game on the planet. Linda over at PokerWorks had some fantastic posts about The Big Game but they have since been removed.

Here's some background info about this incredible game:

See, Andy Beal is a brilliant man. He doesn't have a college degree, but he is the founder of a very large bank in Texas, the Beal Bank, that has well over $1 billion in assets. He owns ninety-nine percent of the bank. He isn't an engineer or an astrophysicist, but that didn't stop him from devising a plan to build his own rocket ship. He's not a mathematician, but using his bank's computers he discovered a mathematical problem that has become known as Beal's conjecture. Finding a proof or a counterexample to the conjecture has perplexed the great minds of applied mathematics for the past six years, even though Beal has offered a $100,000 prize to anyone who can solve the problem. He's kind of like Fermat, Einstein and Scrooge Mc. Duck all rolled into one slightly neurotic-looking headphone-wearing poker player. Like many brilliant men he has clearly decided that mastering Texas hold 'em presents the ultimate challenge.

Andy wanted to play ultra high limit poker to challenge himself against the best players in the world, my assumption being that he assumed the high limits would draw out the best players and also their best games. The only problem with this is that nobody has the kind of bankroll to risk in this kind of game. I am sure many of them have multi million dollar bankrolls but the swing in this game can easily be 5-10 million, a swing that could easily break the most successful of poker players. So a number of big and not so big names in poker got together a syndicate to form a bankroll to play with against Andy, sharing the risk and profits if any. The have been nicknamed the corporation. The players who bankroll the corporation also play against Andy, taking turns. Andy comes and goes, the big game is not regular. For example I understand that he played a few days last week and won 5 million. He will be back and it is likely that it could swing as much as ten million or more to one side or the other.

From what I have read it is hard to determine how much backing the corporation can come up with and how much money Andy is worth. For Andy I have seen numbers that vary from a couple hundred million to billions, so who knows, as for the corporation it is anybody’s guess. But I would speculate that the corporation has limits both in the amount of bankroll they can put together at anytime and the amount of risk they are willing to take that Andy can surpass or in other words Andy would play higher I think if they would. For me the most interesting part of all of this is the corporation. They have an edge on Andy to be sure, however, while I do not think anyone that is part of this will invest everything, there is a good chance that Andy could win enough from the corporation to make them insolvable. In other words, Andy with just luck could win enough from them where they get to the stop ruin point where it would be to high a risk to take Andy on at those limits compared to what they had left to invest. Andy will never be anything but even money with the players in the corporation. The closer he gets to being an even money player with them the more likely it becomes that with his virtually bottomless bankroll he could bust the corporation. It is high stakes drama at it's very best.

Warren Karp is reporting that Andy is up eight million against the corporation, as of last evening.

So why does Ted Forrest waste his time with these silly WSOP tournaments that pay only $300K ? That's only one reraise in the 100K/200K game.

Doyle, Jennifer, Chip, Ted, and usually one other are the pro's that make up the corporation. I think Todd Brunson and Howard Lederer, too.

Here is the PokerClan forum with some threads about the big game for those of you wanting to do some more reading. Damn, I wish Linda still had her posts up.
The Big Game

Whoops, just got a notice that Andy Glazer has a new post up.

And here’s another side issue. After this event, Binion’s will prohibit the wearing of any gaming-related logos at the final table for all televised events, especially online casinos and any land-based casinos other than those in the Harrah’s stable. The problem is that it was getting to be a bidding-war circus, with online sites buying advertising exposure by paying players who made the final table to don their garb. At this final table, for example, there were five players sporting shirts with logos from four different online casinos. John Juanda is a team member of Full Tilt Poker, but it was unknown if any of the other players actually were associated with the other Internet casinos they were advertising. Flyers for tournaments at other poker sites are also being banned.

Interesting stuff there. It's anyone's guess how this will all shake out. Did anyone else see this message from PartyPoker?

Make it all the way to the FINAL table of the WSOP tournament and if you were wearing PartyPoker.com Merchandise throughout the WSOP Event right from the start (including all post tournament interviews held over the next 30 days), we will add an extra $100,000 in your PartyPoker.com account! $50,000 will be added as soon as the WSOP Tournament ends and the remaining amount will be added after 30 days.

Yikes, I suppose that's called incentive.

There are updates from three poker bloggers currently playing in the WSOP. Lion Tales, Paul Phillips and the mighty Alan Bostick.

God bless the poker bloggers. I can't believe how many new ones I get to pimp tonight. That alone inspires me to post higher quality content - gotta keep up with these new kids.

But before I hit the blogs, here's a couple excellent articles that you should check out. My favorite is the interview with Larry Flynt on PokerPages.
Larry Flynt on Poker
Controversial pornographer and civil rights activist Larry Flynt discusses why he’s not afraid of Phil Ivey, what really happened with Amarillo Slim, and why Seven-Card Stud is a better game than Hold ‘Em.

Best line:
FLYNT: Oh, sure. I've won more money playing blackjack probably than I have at poker.

I'll bet, when you sit at a murderer's row table like that.

For all you programming guru's out there, here's a take on said subject in the newly designed Cardplayer.
PokerBot World Series 2004

This summer, the sixth International Conference on Cognitive Modeling will take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While you might think this would be of limited interest to poker players, this year's conference will also host the PokerBot World Series, a competition to develop the best computer model of a human poker player.

Actually, the new CardPlayer has been out since Wednesday. I can't resist posting this snippet from Phil Helmuth's latest column:

I've been very busy with the business side of poker lately: first, writing my new book (Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, due out in October); second, making a series of videos (Phil Helmuth's Million Dollar Poker System); third, creating the new, first-class "Phil Helmuth Chip Set" - available at philhellmuth.com - a set that includes two videos, high-quality chips, and my book Play Poker Like the Pros; fourth, representing a new cell phone hold'em game that will be released on a major carrier soon (yes, you can play hold'em on a cell phone!); fifth, signing a contract to represent the new Edge Television (a new cable station for gaming shows); sixth, playing at UltimateBet.com; seventh, selling The Madison Kid movie about my life, up to age 25, to Beacon Pictures; eighth, creating and selling my own reality show; ninth, doing my "Poker Nights" for $25,000 a night; 10th, teaching a poker class for the "Learning Annex"; and finally, talking to some very cool mainstream companies about sponsorship and a clothing line. Yikes, it's no wonder I'm so tired every day; just reading this list makes me tired!

Good Lord, how much Phil Helmuth can we possibly take? A Phil Helmuth chip set? Phil is getting ready to jump the shark, imho.

Whew, I'm certainly back in full-blown verbose mode. Allow me to link up some poker blogging goodness and then I'm off to hit the tables. A full week off now and I'm ready to attack the games with gusto.

Online pro, Jason, at Poker Odyssey has opened the Poker Odyssey Forums for a community based poker think tank. If you've spent anytime (and you should) at Jason's blog, you know he's a student of the game and I recommend anyone who is looking for others to bounce concepts off, to check it out.

Blogger Extraordinaire, PokerGrub, is taking a brief hiatus to regroup, but thankfully, we have Grubette posting in his steed. That's one helluva tag-team over there. I'm thinking Grubby's blog will get pretty damned interesting if he actually moves to Vegas. Worthy of a novel and several plays, most likely.

I'm a big fan of Chicago Phil's blog - consistently intelligent posts and he knows how to play. What more can you ask for? But if any of you missed his Vegas Trip Reports, please head over, scroll down a bit and check them out. Excellent stuff and here's a snippet from Part 2:

After a while, a short-ish, balding, middle-aged guy arrives and sits in the one seat. He starts talking to some folks at the table. His name was Barry Tannenbaum. I didn’t know it at the time, but he writes for Card Player and is (apparently) reasonably well known.

TG is clearly a fairly inexperienced player, and has no idea that asking to see the losing hand is something of a breach of etiquette. But Barry just goes on and on, laying into him. The player explains that he invested a lot of money in the hand, and wants to see if he made the right read. Barry ignores his statement, and asks if he thinks there was some sort of collusion going on between himself and the third player. TG very apologetically says no, of course not.

Damn, I wanted to link to a bunch more great blogs but sadly, I'm drunk running out of room here. Next post I'll point out some of the great new bloggers - we've really gotten lucky with the quality writing.

But I'd be remiss without pimping the very brand new poker blogs. And damn, there's a bunch of em. Here we go:

Most of you already know about Pauly's brother and his kickass new poker blog. The fact that he's Pauly's brother is all the endorsement he needs. Check out his Vegas trip reports:
Poker in the Weeds

I've been digging Alan's poker blog - looks great and has a fine domain name to boot. Add Geek and Proud to your bookmarks, folks.

Joe is from Columbus, Ohio and is blogging on that weird Xanga site. He's currently beating the low-limit games and SNG's on Party, analyzing his play with PokerTracker - a worthy read.
Lacerated Sky

Another new blog, and another spiffy domain. The mighty Ted Williams is up and running at Tiltproof.com.

Poker Blog of a Young Poker Guru is up and running in a new home and is pounding the games at FullTiltPoker. This is a smart young kid - I wish I had started learning about poker at his age, damnit.

Pleb's Poker has just gotten off the ground. He's an Aussie, I believe, and has just started ordering the Torah of poker books so he can get beyond weak-tight play. It's always enjoyable for me to watch players improve.

Mark Pittman is a friend of Bill Rini, which is good enough for me. Scroll down for Mark's poker commentary.

And I think that's it. Sorry if I missed anyone - my notes are a bit scattered from the past week. I love giving shout outs to the new bloggers so please feel free to let me know if any of you out there start one up. It's free and easy on blogger.com!

Thanks to anyone reading this far. I hope this Guinness-fueled rambling wasn't too lame. Per the same old crap, please consider using bonus code IGGY on PartyPoker if, for some strange reason, you aren't playing there yet.

Good luck to everyone in the tourney tomorrow night! Looking like 36 players.

Link of the Day:
Who Wants to Be a Psychic Millionaire?
The James Randi Education Foundation has offered $1 million to any person who can show evidence of paranormal, supernatural, or occult powers. "Please be advised that several claimants have suffered great personal embarrassment after failing these tests," says Randi.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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