Monday, August 09, 2004

"There is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."
Steven Wright

Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog.

Once again, my poker blog credo:
Destroying Workplace Production One Post at a Time.

Quick recap of my poker weekend: spent Friday nite on the higher limits, full ring game tables on Party Poker and did pretty well. I table-hopped around less than usual and just focused on my tablemates as I'm knuckling down more and more on correct blind play at the higher limits. Figuring out who gives up their blinds too easily is a quick way to pay for your own. Hank and I were batting around some concepts the other evening regarding this and I found this superb snippet showing that Hank was correct:


Everyone should run ideas through the blender of the game they play in. There is no "typical" Holdem game, and any advice that says there is is lousy, laughable advice. In some games you should defend less; in some games you should defend more. In all games you should defend when profitable to do so.

Too many players have an absurd obsessiveness about quality of starting hands, instead of focusing on the $-values and the post flop play. If you lay down 98o headup in the big blind when an early position raiser has raised with AQo, you have made a major error -- if you play good poker, which means playing well after the flop in Holdem. If you play poorly, then perhaps your best choice is to lay down the 98o because it will mean you lose less money. But the focus of your continued study should be on learning to be a better player so that you can play these hands profitably.

To a large degree, a major difference between mediocre players and very good ones is how they deal with the blinds. Mediocre players lose more in the blinds (either by giving up too easily, or chasing too foolishly), and they do not steal equity from the blinds of weaker players (if when holding AKo you do not raise the blind of a weak player who will lay down 98o, you are playing poorly). Everybody loses in the blinds. Where mediocre players lose $40, very good ones lose $32, or $37, or even $39.


Suppose in Holdem an early position raiser who happens to hold AKo raises your big blind. Everyone folds to you. You hold 98o. What do you believe is *your* most profitable action here? Let's assume no one says reraise, so that leaves call or fold. You are getting 3.5-to-1 on your call. Depending on how the suits are lined up, if both hands always went to the showdown, you would be about a 64/36 underdog, or less than 2-to-1.

But of course there is betting. The AKo has position throughout the hand. But the AK is likely to payoff certain sorts of hands that the 98 won't (98 loses nothing on a KK2 flop but AK pays off on a 992 flop). For me, calling is an easy, clearly profitable situation. Apparently others do not believe this is the case. I'm curious, since the 3.5-1 and 64/36 numbers are clear, among those people who think a fold is appropriate, why do you think that action after the flop will cost your 98o more than the AKo to a degree that offsets the pre-flop odds?

Of course, this doesn't speak to how many people are in a hand and how this can drive hand values up or down (and increase the odds of being dominated) but makes a few salient points. Thanks to Hank for pushing me to think about this more. I've been playing too much ABC poker, methinks.

Anyway, my beloved drunken, smoky home game was on Saturday evening, at our gracious newlywed hosts, FilmGeek and Meaux. We ended up with 12 players around 10:00 so we broke down our lil limit game and decided to play a $20 NL tournament for the first time ever in the history of our home game. Geepers, poker on TV is influencing my damn home game now. When will the madness end?

Long story short, (with three damn professional writers at the table, I can't get ONE of these bastards to do a guest post about said home game) I won after getting crippled early. My main man, Dann, finished second. It was an anti-climatic ending once we finally were heads up - I was looking forward to a slugfest, but sadly, on the very first hand, he had JJ and moved in. I drunkly peeked down and found A3 SOOTED and called. I hit perfect runner runner for a straight and this river rat took down the dough. Also yes, O8 specialist, GMoney, finished third. Fuzz went down in fourth place on a hand he didn't, no matter what he thinks, misplay.

We have a comical photo of a drunken Dann in a jester's hat holding up his hated jacks and sneering, but I'm waiting on FilmGeek to send it. Let's see if I can't find another pic of Dann.....

Come play with me on Party Poker
I've been winning on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY

I spent all day yesterday cooking a feast for friends, but was able to jump in late at night for about two hours of bigass swings, ultimately ending up a bit. Whew. Playing the higher limits has changed online poker for me. I actually try and pay attention now. Sometimes I get a little nervous when a hand starts getting rammed and jammed. I think a level deeper. I bluff more. I pay attention to my foes.

But I still drink Guinness, damnit. I actually had an entire rant about playing poker and drinking, pro's and con's, but I'll be dipped - I can't find the freaking thing. Argg. Suffice to say, I'm careful now, despite my love affair with Gods Nectar.

I found this and wanted to re-post it because I've actually played against this guy and I wanted to share his take on rude chat. Pretty sure he's just a troll, though.

WHO IS Character0 on Party?

Does anyone else play with this guy on Party Poker? The guy is an utter douchebag, probably the rudest player online. But he's cleaning up, everytime I seem him at 10/20 or 15/20 he always seems to be up a few grand.

Maybe he's a member of the "Crew"? Anyone know his/her real name?



Re: WHO IS Character0 on Party?

I fully, 100% admit to being an asshole. I have no problem with you posting that on here. However, I do take offense at you inferring that I am in any way, shape, or form associated with Dutch Boyd. I don't mind if you are associating me with the crew in terms of our winning - because yes, I, like most of the crew, make a ton playing poker. However, that is where the comparisons end. I dont know if any of the crew are the assholes online that they certainly appear to be in the casinos. I
however know that for me, it is just the opposite. Online, as I said, I am an ass. In a casino, however, I only very rarely get out of line. As any one who actually knows me would attest to, I am actually a very nice guy in person.

Why am I an asshole? Good question, I do realize that for the long term health of poker, it is not a good thing. However, with the current explosion, I am not so concerned. I know most people would disagree with the premise, but being an asshole really helps my game. It accomplishes two goals for me. First, it helps keep me off tilt. Arguing over someone else's idiocy helps me take out my aggression on others instead of on my cards. Second, quite often it gets others to go on tilt against me - either the person who I insult gets mad at me and wants to take my money, or the people who think I am an idiot for insulting get mad at me and want
to take my money - either way, I win when they try to take my money and I end up taking theirs because they come after me with very inferior cards.

Now, as to your main question, who am I? I am character0. Would I ever reveal my real name to you, of course not. That is the beauty of the anonymity that the internet affords us. Does anyone on here know my real name. Yes, but none of those who do would ever betray my confidence and reveal it to you.

So, go ahead and say what you will. This is the only post I plan on making in this thread.

I love how he fully admits being a dick but does NOT want to be lumped into The Crew or be associated with Russ Boyd in any way. By the way, I've downloaded the software and I think I've worked out why there's Zero Rake being charged.. there are ZERO fucking games going.

Speaking of rowdy chat at the poker tables, I saw this follow up post about Austin Kearns AKA Fast_Eddie - local poker pro and World Champ of Online Poker. Perhaps Fast Eddie really *does* know how to play poker....

WCOOP - AustinKearns - PL Omaha

I know how ridiculously stupid AustinKearns was acting at the final table of WCOOP Event #1 (which, of course, he went on to win). We all criticized his play/behavior (me included) and said that he just caught an unbelievable streak of dumb luck.

However, he managed to finish 23/487 in today's WCOOP Event #10, which isn't too shabby. Is it possible that he's actually good at PLO and PLO H/L? Anyway, I just wanted to bring this to the attention of those who posted regarding AK's Event #1 Final Table behavior. I have no idea who this guy is or whether he is or isn't not a
donkey, so please don't suggest that I know him or whatever. I don't.

However, I do know Fast Eddie and I can say with 100% certainty that Omaha is his worst game. So take that for what it's worth.

There is an outside shot that AustinKearns will participate in the World Poker Blogger tourney (open to everyone) on August 22nd at 9pm EST. We shall be playing on Pacific Poker so PLEASE use my link to download and set up the software as a way of supporting this very humble poker blog. We've already had a few players sign up and I'm hoping for a nice turnout. You need to email me with your screen name and the email address you used to sign up. We've got to do this silly pre-register thing ahead of time which is a huge pain in the ass for me. You'll need to register by Thursday, the 19th, so I can send the list in.

But this promises to be fun. I'll put an excellent bounty on AustinKearns if he can manage to participate. Unfortunately, it's his birthday so it's a -EV proposition.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention yesterday's final WCOOP event on PokerStars. Around 4:30 this morning, the final two players in PokerStars' World Championship of Online Poker decided to cut a deal for the money. I haven't found the real identities yet but I'll certainly post them when/if I do.

1st: Ragde $424,925
2nd: mr. steal $396,979

Yikes!! Not too shabby, eh?

The following pros were identified as participating in the event via their known screennames:

Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack, Erick Lindgren, Thomas "Thunder" Keller, Mike Matusow, Josh Arieh, John D'Agostino, Scott Fischman, Brett Jungblutt, Erik Sagstrom, Pete Giordano, Spiros Mitroskostas, and Phil Helmuth.

For the record, I played in only one satellite for this tourney, a $100 qualifier awarding seats to the top 5 poker players. I sadly finished 18th out of a few hundred players but I *did* win two last longer bets with professionals, Fast Eddie and Marty. I would have preferred the 3k seat.

Hells bells, I'm gonna start linking up some good poker nuggets. I could sit and babble all night but someone called my posts TEDIOUS and Lord knows, I don't need that. Hell, I'm just a beer drinking guy who loves poker. Playing poker. Talking poker. Reading poker. Writing poker. I don't have an agenda, damnit, outside of my futile shilling for BONUS CODE IGGY ON PARTY POKER! I just wanna come on here and amuse my readers with all of the web's best poker content. Is that so wrong?

Maybe not so wrong as strange.

But anyway, I'm here to amuse. So let's get rocking and rolling with the best of other random poker stuff, shall we?

Casino and Gaming television has a good interview with 2004 WSOP champion, Greg Raymer, here: "I Won the World Series of Poker"
$5 million jackpotter Greg Raymer on learning to play, improving your game and ... Honda or Ferrarri?

Brand spanking new Jay Lovinger poker column on ESPN, further dumbing down the collective writing about poker. I suppose I expect more from ESPN. I'm continually disappointed at Mr. Lovinger's columns and that's a difficult thing to do, considering how much poker content I devour. Here he dares ask the question:

Can you learn how to play winning poker from books?

To which he replies, 'it depends.'

And he then gives the searing insight that low-limit poker is a far different animal than high-limit poker. Thank you, Captain Obvious! As a prolific loaner of poker books, I can't tell you many times an older gentleman, say a colleague in the office, discovers I'm a poker player. I usually get the, "Hell, I've been playing poker for 35 whatever years," before he accepts a book. Upon returning said literature, the comment I get 99% of the time is, "Ahhh, now I see there's a lot more to it."

Allow me to appeal to a higher authority: sex addict, David Sklansky. Sklansky estimates that of those players who try without studying to become solid winners (making good money in middle limit games, for example), no more than one percent succeed. Of those who do study diligently, he believes about ten percent succeed. If we accept Sklansky's numbers, which are clearly dated and pre Moneymaker & WPT, books make a big relative difference. Still, they clearly don't guarantee success, by any stretch.

I found this snippet by pro Ray Zee on said topic:

Many new players start getting into these games and some actually play quite well. You see, after studying the best books, you can become fairly accomplished with just a small amount of real experience. (At least a lot less experience than it use to take.) So those players that improve themselves move up and take advantage of their new skills and keep pace with the world. This group improves their win rate due to the new faces and wider choice of games. Those that stay stagnant and don't study, fall back in the pack and either go broke or just slow down their winning ways. The players trying to make a living in this group really need to work on keeping their game in top shape.

Ray also lamented that literature and books may have made the games more difficult for him. Well, before the World Poker Tour, anyway. :) On that note, many losing (and loose players) don't realize that money you don't lose is exactly the same as money you win. Yet another Poker truism.

Poker books are just another tool, imho. And you don't have to agree with something in a book to learn from it. Sometimes it just reinforces the fact that there are many different ways of looking at a concept and/or poker hand scenario.

As Felicia once told me, there's no such thing as a bad poker book. Surely you can discover something of value in each one.

For all the folks who play poker at Caesers Palace, outside of Louisville, Kentucky, new poker blogger,
Broomcorn's Uncle, linked this interesting article about the games and players there. A two pager, to boot!
Poker: the big deal
"Louisvillians felt called to try luck at World Series"

It's impossible to precisely measure the game's popularity at the grassroots level, but anecdotal evidence abounds. Texas Hold 'Em is the game of choice not only in the World Series of Poker and Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown," but also for local fund-raisers staged by St. Therese Catholic Church and the Center for Women and Families.

The game's explosive growth is perhaps best illustrated by a few key stats from the World Series on ESPN.

Last year ESPN broadcast seven hours of tournament play. This year: 22.

Last year the World Series drew 814 players. This year: 2,576.

Last year the winner took home $2.5 million. This year: $5 million.

The final round of the 2003 World Series of Poker drew nearly four times as many viewers as ESPN's National Hockey League broadcasts — and the hockey games were aired live. The World Series finale was shown on tape delay. A four-month tape delay. The tournament is played in May, but the finale isn't aired until September.

And say what you want about poker overkill - the player numbers are rising at Party Poker. I'm still pinching myself every evening. Here's an interesting snippet about the Party Poker Marketing Machine from a player in NYC.

Say what you want about Party's support, nobody comes close to Party in terms of working to get fresh blood to their site. I was minding my own business riding the elevator this morning and all the sudden there's a really nice Party Poker ad on the display. Apparently, www.captivate.com is not afraid of the FTC ban on gambling sites.

This is a great place to advertise. Just about everyone looks at those displays while they're on the elevator. Captivate is primarily located in more affluent office buildings and condo's. It's a perfect fit for people with hopefully lots of discretionary income.

Keep up the good work Party!

No doubt. It's insane.

A recent interview with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson can be viewed at Recoil Magazine. Here's a snippet:

R: When I first saw the World Poker Tour, I was like, 'This is the best! Too bad nobody's ever going to watch it.' Obviously I was way wrong about that, but you seemed to be associated with the show since the very beginning. So did you expect poker on television to take off like it has?

CF: Well, I knew I loved the show, but I'm a poker player. But no, I never imagined that the country would take such a liking to it. I never imagined this kind of explosion in the popularity of poker. [World Poker Tour creator] Steve Lipscomb is probably the only one who envisioned that. I was in the World Poker Tour's commercials and I also help out behind the scenes with hand histories and statistics for the show. I basically act as their pro poker consultant, because the production company is a bunch of TV people, not a bunch of poker people. They have limited poker knowledge. So if they have a question about poker, they ask me. [Without consultants] it would be like having people who have never seen a football game before trying to produce a football show. Now there are poker broadcasters, but at the time nobody had ever done this before.

If any of my readers are investors in the Big Board, Motley Fool has a column just for you: For Poker Players Only. Hey, at least they are trying.

Alrighty then, time to wrap this up. I wish I could get to the dozen new poker blogs out there but geesh, I'd have to dedicate an entire post to them. I promise to get them pimped soon. In the que: two essays from Daniel Negreanu. Great stuff.

But for now, I'll leave you with perhaps the only decent post on RGP in the last month. This is for you new players out there. My advice to the new players, perhaps guys that are learning and doing the play money thing. STOP. Go get in the game for $50 on 50 cent - a dollar or $5 sit and go's and be amazed. Poker is insane right now - dip your toe in - get a little piece of the action.

One players thoughts:

Subject: My personal observations for players. No links to anything. Just thoughts.

These are my own opinions and observations about online poker. I make
no assurances they are correct; only that I think they might help
players. I happen to play mostly SnG's online so most of this applies
to SnG tourneys not ring games.

I hope that others might add their observations to this thread.

Undoubtedly people selling stuff will reply to this thread. I don't
happen to think you need anything other than your brain to do well in
poker. You are probably the best judge of your ability.

1) Play money tables are good for only one thing: learning the
interface. In fact, I think that spending too much time at a play money
table will be very harmful to your real money game. Even the loosest
real money table is tigher than most play money tables. Players at play
money tables will literally play 'anything', because of this you'll see
abnormally large numbers of hands go to the river. The more hands at
the river the greater the chances you get sucked out if you have a
decent hand. You'll probably see alot of the same loose action in low
stakes real money tables. Think of it like this: The more risk at a
table the better the players and more correct the poker strategy at that
table will be.

2) I see so many new players at tables complaing about what they would
have made if they would have called a bet. STOP! It's gonna happen.
You had 92o and the flop comes 922 for the boat. But the odds say it
won't happen very often. Once you decide to fold the hand, forget about
it. The hands over, it cannot help you at all to dwell on what you
would have made. Instead use the time to watch and take notes about the
players who stay in the hand. This is how you get better. See if you
can figure out what the other players have before the showdown. You'll
see patterns emmerge when you watch for flush and straight draws. Watch
how they bet pocket pairs. It's amazing what creatures of habit poker
players are.

3) Ignore the chat box. Find the setting to supress the chat and turn
it on. In most situations the chat box is nothing but a huge
distraction. There are players who purposefully use the chat box to
distract you. Even if the chat isn't directed at you it can be
provocative or shocking just to distract you. Keep in mind that
Customer Service can get ahold of you if they need too even if your chat
is off. So do yourself a favor and turn off the chat. People won't
think badly of you if you don't acknowledge their 'nh' or 'vnh'. If
fact they'll probably think better of you for being smart enough to have
turned of your chat.

4) Patience, Patience, Patience. I know it's boring to sit there and
fold hand after hand. But that's what happens in well played poker.
You must wait for hands that fit the situation. As a new player you
should only be playing about 1 in 4 hands. So pay attention to the
table play and your opponents when you aren't in a hand. You will learn
volumes if you just pay attention. Personally in SnG's I tend to play a
ratio of hands acording to the number of players in the game. Starting
off I play 1 in 10. As players are eliminated I play more hands, until
there are only 3 left when the number goes to 60-70% of hands.

5) Position, Position, Position. Position in any hand is SO important.
Why people ignore position is beyond me, it's a very simple concept
that most any online site or book covers very well. Learn the rules of
position and apply them every hand. No exception.

6) Limit Hold'em and No limit Hold'em are not the same thing. Mainly
you can't bluff in limit poker. I've found that card strength means
alot more in limit than in NL. For the most part the better hand wins
more often in limit than in NL. This also means that luck has a larger
factor in limit as you must get good cards to perform well.

7) Build yourself a spreadsheet to track your progress. All you really
need is a spreadsheet that tracks: Hands played, minutes played, initial
bankroll, final bankroll(or cost to enter tourney and prize earned).
From this data you can calculate profit/loss per hand per hours and
total for your entire poker career. You must enter every time you risk
money. Failure to do so warps the picture of how you are doing. If you
don't track this data human nature will skew that facts and you will
convince yourself that you are performing better than you really are.
Additionally, if you take your performance seriously, you will be less
likely to play recklessly as you won't want to hurt your overall
performance in your tracking.

8) Freeroll tournaments are great. One caveat though is that you MUST
play ultra conservatively in the beginning. The first 10-15 hands of a
freeroll are exactly like a play money table where players go all in
with substandard hands hoping to hit something and build a quick chip
lead. The irony though is that most of the time those that hit an early
all in rarely have the skills to maintain it and often lose the whole
stack relativly quickly. Freerolls will help you build your tournament

9) Some people are content to lose a certain amount per hour playing
poker, they call it "entertainment value" or something silly like that.
This concept is flawed and ultimately self defeating. If you just
apply simple concepts you can easily play poker for free, making enough
to pay your entry fees. Do not allow yourself to pay to play.

10) Do NOT go into a tourney thinking "I lost $". You must
go into every tourney thinking "If I don't win. I lost $".
The point here is that you must ALWAYS compete balls to the wall for Top
Prize. This doesn't mean compete recklessly, it means play smart every
hand. There is an excellet essay written some time ago about "Foxes and
Farmers". Google for it and read it. Then read it again. This is a
very important concept for tournament play. You cannot be successful if
all you are is a farmer.

One final note. I think most all online poker is legit. Certainly the
big sites are legit. Sure there is cheating, but not by the poker
rooms. To rig the online rooms: One, risks an unbeleivable amount of
potential profit if it was discovered and two, hurts the overall
industry in a way that no poker room would want.

Good Luck at the tables!
54000 players 7000 tables
Party Poker!!


Thanks for reading.

Link of the Day:
Ink-Stained Wretch
I don't care how drunk you are, if you tell an tattoo artist your idea and the artist laughs in your face, maybe it's time to reconsider the whole full-body pattern inspired by Amazing Spider-Man.

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