Monday, October 25, 2004

"You guys playing cards?"
Flounder, in Animal House

"Thank God for Party Poker. Iggy, of course, has been harping on this forever, and we all knew he was right. Just sometimes, you don't realize just how right he is."
Stick and Move Poker Blog

Damn straight, my man, and thanks. If there's only ONE thing I know, it's where the easy money is located. By far and away, Party Poker. Go dump $50 damn dollars on there and try some 50 cent - dollar games or $5 sit and goes (one table tournaments for my new readers). You'll be shocked, amazed and thanking me later. That's Bonus Code IGGY, k? 20% deposit bonus. Do it now, damnit.

For the record, my faithful reader whom I played for this past weekend in the Party Poker Million, won his way into this $600 buy-in tourney through a $9 satellite seat. That's some nice return on investment, eh?

Party Poker rules.

Thanks to all who read this humble poker blog. That alone makes it worthwhile to come on here and pound out 5,000 word posts. That, and the fact I'm deeply deranged. But I'm committed to blogging more posts, more often. That may mean less uber-posts over the long-term, but you'll get more fresh content to destroy workplace productivity. And that's always a good thing.

The 29th, this Friday, is my last day of work.

Oh the humanity.

Funny how everyone who tries Party Poker is always shocked at how loose the games are, especially after playing somewhere like Stars, Paradise or UB. Damnit, feel free to use my bonus code, IGGY, or not, but please, just give it a try. Your bankroll will thank me. Again, as someone wiser than me stated, 'it's not shilling if it's true.'


Interesting debate on 2+2 about which game has more luck - no limit poker or limit. That's not necessarily the way I would look at it - I would prefer to figure out which game has a greater "edge" to the skilled player, no limit or limit. One of the few things I agree with Crazy Russ Gorgiev about is that pot-limit is the most difficult poker game to play of all. Too bad I can't talk my home game into playing it, damnit.

Snippet from said debate:


If what you believe in is "short-term" luck, ask yourself whether, given basic math, a short term "cards" variance is accentuated or diminished financially by the amount of money which can be potentially risked in each case.

Doesn't the fact that there is a LIMIT to losses in any given hand in limit holdem sort of overwhelm a luck of the cards factor, compared to where there is no such limit ? (The corrollary, that there is a limit to the amount won in a given hand, also supports the same proposition.)

In a Guinness-fueled way of thinking, this kind of ties back into risk management in poker. Or degree of risk, per your poker bankroll. I remember reading an old column by Mike Caro talking about "Plodders" versus "Adventurers." The point of his article: it was nobody's business but your own how much of your bankroll you risked on a single wager or on a single bet.

As a ring game grinder, I consider myself a plodder. As a no-limit tourney player, I'm an adventurer. When I moved to Vegas in '92 on my 25th birthday, I had begun reading about that magical elixir, money management and/or betting systems relating to other games besides poker. To misguided minds (me, back then) or others who bandied about the term money management - it meant some kind of magic salvation from losing. I know people today who still believe in this clap-trap - a secret to beating casino games where the odds are against them.

Caro's point was that the more you risk, the more you stand to gain, and the more likely you are to go broke in the attempt. Whether or not the risk is worthwhile is a wholly personal decision. Only you know what the factors in your life are.

So allow me to come full-circle with this thought - money management systems DON'T WORK. I see it over and over, this pre-conceived notion of Stop-win or Stop-loss sessions. I read about it on RGP, 2+2 and even in a few poker blogs. Hell, I've been known to do it, even though it's utterly incorrect. IE: once I win/lose X amount, I'm done....

Losing in poker, by Mr. Mike Caro:

Player react differently when they're behind. It's practically a universal trait - this single tendency is responsible for more bankroll failure among capable players than any other fault. We've all done it - gotten punished, sucked out on by horrible hands and lost a nice chunk of money. Beyond a comfortable loss. From that point on, adding to the loss doesn't seem like the same thing, dollar for dollar. In fact, since the sorrow of losing is already heavily felt, additional losing doesn't register at all.

Mike Caro calls this "crossing the threshold of misery." Once you're past it and feeling sufficiently singled out and betrayed by the Poker Gods, you just quit caring. Low limit players turn $38 worth of bad cards into $80 losses. Middle limit players stretch $460 into $1000 losses. It happens every day.

Why? Again, because players are looking at session based results. Each time you sit to play, it's not a win-lose proposition. You don't need to play to "get even." The correct attitude is very different. You are always EVEN at the start of every hand - no matter what's happened, you should only pay for a hand what it's worth NOW. And the next hand, and the next.... This is an important concept - it prevents you from squandering your bankroll.

Poker is hard. Even if you are winning. Hell, I know certain guys who stop playing quality poker once they are winning significantly. That's because the money won isn't yet theirs in their minds. So they treat it as less important.

Tip of the day: play each hand as it should be played. Forget about the last one. Forget about the last 60 minutes, the last session. You are even from this moment on.

Lord, I sure can ramble, eh? I can tell you are getting restless, so let's get to the good stuff. The best of poker linkage for today:

Brand new home game - local player resource. They claim to be the largest database on Earth. No reference located.

I know we have lots of movie buffs out there, so here's a fun trailer for a new indie poker movie coming out, entitled Freeze Out. Here's the synopsis:

Thursday night only means one thing for John and his friends: Poker Night.

A sanctuary from the horrors of living and working in Los Angeles, their weekly poker game is a ritual of jokes, beer drinking, and talking movies, politics, and sex. In short, it's a good time and the max bet is 25 cents so no one is going to go broke.

But something is bugging John. His friends don't respect him; any chance they get they cut him down, tell him he's boring, make him feel small. He's tired of being the butt of their jokes and he's not going to take it anymore…

So he raises the stakes, engineering a winner-take-all Freeze Out, never realizing it might cost him $100 bucks and his 7 best friends.

View the trailer here: Freeze Out

Anyone interested in reading about Phil Helmuth's new poker book? It's been listed on Amazon now:
Bad Beats and Lucky Draws : Poker Strategies, Winning Hands, and Stories from the Professional Poker Tour
Phil Helmuth Poker Book

Thanks to Bill Rini's fine poker blog, I discovered how to Kill A Man by Throwing Playing Cards. Wild stuff.
Fun With Cards

You know, I'm REAL tired of the election news. I'm proud to have mostly avoided political talk in this here humble poker blog. There's already far too many pundits and polls and predictions. Plus, my fear is this thing ends up in post-election court chaos (think legal wranglings in FIVE states, not just Florida) for the next six months, further skyrocketing cynicism...

Plus, I keep reading about this electoral college thingy.
I only have one thing to say about that:

Christ. Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well use Bonus fucking Code IGGY

I can't recommend this column enough on Poker Pages. Some wonderful subtle insight, imho.
Poker and the gambler's fallacy

Anyone else out there remember Cecil Fielder? Here is an awful expose from the Detroit News on the dark side of gambling about the once proud all-star first baseman. Worthy reading:
Gambling shatters ex-Tiger's dream life
Detroit just loved Cecil Fielder, the burly Tigers slugger who ushered in the Decade of the Home Run in the early 1990s

Fielder had his nickname -- Big Daddy -- outlined in brick on the driveway entrance to the 50-room mansion that has nine fireplaces, a gymnasium, a theater and an 8,000-bottle wine cellar.

K, back to poker.

OMG. Bengals scored.

Here's a post on the new kids in poker.

>I'd rather watch Raymer. I grew out of watching pro wrestling ten
>years ago. The thing that sickens me the most is the influx of
>20-somethings in the casino poker rooms that act like that and make
>jackasses of themselves. It's gotten so bad that I avoid HE and just
>play 7 stud in casinos since the average age of the players is much


This was posted as a response down-the-thread far enough away from the main
messages where I am sure it was missed. Nothing too profound but it touched
a nerve based on my experience last Friday night at Foxwoods.

I was playing 5-10 holdem (+ 1/2 kill) and at my table were 4 very young
players, certainly college age if they were in college or not. They were
chatting throughout the night about pot odds and what not in that "I know
everything there is to know about poker and I will tell you all about
whether you want to hear it or not" type of tone.

One of the players was actually pretty good, the others were scrubs. One of
the scrubs was playing maniac and running off at the mouth, hands like 10-2
off suit, cold calls a raise, flop A-10-2 rainbow and he beats A-K. Then
laughingly says "I'm sorry" to the 61 year old guy sitting next to me.

I see things like this more and more often with these kids who think they
own the poker world, it kills me. This scrub was up like 300 bucks in an
hour and was playing like such a jerk, you KNEW he was going to lose it, you
just knew it.

Then the BEST PART of the night happened, this obnoxious punk goes against
the old guy with crap and wins again and starts telling the guy how sorry he
was (with a smile from ear-to-ear, smug barely describes it) the old guy
stands up and GOES OFF on the kid.. Telling him what a punk he was, telling
him he'll step outside (the guy actually started rolling up his sleeves),
telling the kid to learn how to play the game right and when he makes bad
plays and wins he should take a cue from the guy who lost with the better
cards and just throw his cards and wait for the next hand (or take down the
pot). The guy was obviously Ex-Navy because the language was pretty
colorful. IT WAS AWESOME - no one stood up for the kid at all - the whole
table was smiling and the kid must have felt like he was 6 inches tall.

Needless to say when I left the table 2 hours later (Up 100 - yay for me)
the punk was sitting there with the 300 he started with and the other 300
had long been pissed away.. the guy was no longer running off at the mouth
and he tightened up considerably. But his table image was shot and people
kept playing at him.

Is this just a by-product of youth? Is it a by-product of the Matusow/Laak
persona's on TV? If you REALLY love poker is this what we want the "poker
world" to be like?? I think its an important question. Personally I would
much rather watch the gentlemen in the FOX Superstars tourney play their
game with quiet class and dignity, the POKER is enough for me. If I want
all the NOISE that guys like matusow constantly throw out there I'll go
somewhere else. Anyone else feel this way?

Thanks for reading this long post.


I've been paying even more attention to players who are posting about their pro experiences. Here's a low-limit semi-pro kid with his latest update:

Subject: Semi-pro experiment week # 20

Well here I am 20 weeks into the semi-pro thing and I figured I better give the
peeps an update.

For those who don't know I started playing "semi-pro" (playing seriously
20 hours or so a week) in an attempt to replace my wife's income so she
could stay home with the new baby.

I'm happy to say that after 20 weeks I'm doing quite well. I'm up
$27,032.79 which is well ahead of my initial goal of $1000/week. I have
seen a slip of late as my game has been in the midst of change. There is a
big difference between the 1/2 patience pays game and the 5/10 steal the
blinds, play position game and I find myself in a hybrid mode right now.
I'm learning, but I still have a long way to go.

Before everyone has a fit....a great deal of that income has come from
bonuses and prop pay. I currently average about $400/week propping and
$250/week in bonuses so that's half my income. The other half comes from
poker profit. I just got another prop contract which will really enhance
things and potentially get me up to $700-$800/week in prop pay alone so
things are looking good going forward. On a negative note, I'm down $150
this week even after getting prop pay so I'm really down more like $600 at
the tables. I have been bad beated to death and quite frankly it has
caused me to play quite poorly. As a result I am taking tonight off
completely from poker. I'm going to spend time with my wife and kids and
just take a break to re-focus.

I'm playing primarily 3/6 these days. I also play a lot of 2/4. I play
some 1/2 and some 5/10 but I haven't had as much success at 5/10 as I
would like so any plans on moving up in limits are on hold for now.

I just want everyone to know that between propping and bonus hunting there
is a nice living to be made. I honestly believe I can make upwards of
$10K/month if I were to play full time and am giving serious consideration
to doing so at the end of the year. There are some drawbacks to doing so,
and the more I research it the more drawbacks I find. That being said,
it's still awfully appealing. My wife and I just bought a new house mainly
with poker money for the down payment so that makes it a little scarier as
well. I'll probably make the jump to full-time Jan 1 but we will see. (For
those of you who care I am starting a new category - I will call myself a
"full-time poker player" rather than a professional poker player. I don't
belong with the likes of the true professionals...I'm just a guy making a
living from it)

Best of luck to all you low limit newbies!!! There is money to be made
without swimming with the sharks!!!


Just re-read this old article written by Phil Hellmuth about Stu Unger. I forgot about these - very fun to read and included next:

Mansour Quits Playing Against Stuey Forever!
by Phil Helmuth

Back in 1992 at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), world champions Mansour
Matloubi and Stuey Ungar faced off in a series of $50,000 buy-in heads-up
freezeouts. Mansour tells me he was at the top of his game at that point
in his poker career, having won the WSOP in 1990.

The game they were playing was no-limit hold’em, and the blinds were
$200-$400 when the following hand came up. Stuey opened for $1,600 from
the small blind, and Mansour called with 5-4 offsuit. After a flop of
7-3-3 rainbow, Stuey bet $6,000 — he started the hand with $60,000 to
Mansour’s $40,000 — and Mansour called. On fourth street, a king came off
and both players checked. On the river, a queen came off to make a board
of 7-3-3-K-Q, and Mansour, sensing weakness in Stuey, bet his last $32,000
or so. Stuey looked “right through” Mansour, and within 10 seconds he
said, “You have 5-4 or 6-5; I’m gonna call you with this.” Stuey then
flipped up 10-9, and called the $32,000 bet with a mere 10 high. Wow, what
an unbelievable call! Stuey couldn’t even beat a jack-high bluff with his
hand, never mind any pair. In fact, Stuey could beat only 5-4, 6-4 or 6-5
in this scenario.

Give Mansour some credit, as he did read Stuey right and made a great
bluff. But Stuey deserves even more credit! He not only read Mansour
correctly, he then made an amazing call. After Stuey called, Mansour
looked up at the ceiling, thinking, “I feel crushed; it’s almost like a
bulldozer just ran over me. I still love Stuey, but what the heck is going
on?!” Mansour told me, “When a guy makes a call like that against you, you
just give up. It’s like he’s taken all the wind out of your sails. I
decided that I couldn’t play him any more heads-up no-limit hold’em, at
least on that day, if not forever.” Indeed, it proved to be the last hand
that Mansour ever played heads up with Stuey.

On another day at that WSOP in 1992, Stuey was playing in a fivehanded
$600-$1,200 game with Mansour on table 59, while Bobby Baldwin and Chip
Reese were playing gin on table 60. All of a sudden, Chip turned to Stuey
at the other table and asked, “How did you like the way I played that
hand?” Stuey, who was in the middle of a hand, said, “I would have knocked
four draws ago with five (points).” Chip said, “Thanks,” and rolled his
eyes. Of course, Chip knew that Stuey was right, because Stuey was
considered all but unbeatable in gin. In fact, he was so good at gin that
he couldn’t get a game with anyone anywhere for many years. But Chip
didn’t roll his eyes because Stuey was right; he rolled them because he
couldn’t believe that Stuey was watching his every move while
simultaneously playing high-stakes poker!

In the 1980s, Stuey was considered the best in the world at gin (in fact,
he was the best for two decades), the best no-limit hold’em player ever
(by then he had won two world championships, with one more to come), and
one of the best backgammon players in the world. To be at the top in any
one of those games is quite a feat, but to be at or near the top in all
three at once was truly unbelievable.

There are many other great stories about Stu Ungar and his amazing
abilities. Soon there will be a book coming out about him, as well as a
movie. I’m looking forward to both.

Here is something I pulled from a link on the HIGH ROLLER movie link. I enjoyed the story, so hence, I'm sharing it:

Stuey and The Wolf - Part I
I guess this is a story about death and redemption, about the different
paths people take. One is dead and the other is on the long road back.

I first met Stuey around 1982 when he was the king of the world. I
always got along with him and though most of the stories about him
being this and that, and though I agreed with most of them, I always
found him to be funny and brilliant. We were never real close, but
around the table we had more than a few talks.

He scared me. Playing against Stuey in a big bet game, especially if it
was shorthanded, was suicide. I think this is the common consensus, that
shorthanded, he was the best player in the world, ever.

A couple of years later in Las Vegas I met The Wolf. Through Stuey, in
a round about way. One day, I asked Stuey if he feared anyone in poker.
In a rare streak of humility, he mentioned that not in no limit or pot
limit, but in stud there were a couple and in limit hold'em a couple
more. Stuey was never keen on ring games. They cramped his style. As I
was, and am, a hold'em player, I asked him who in limit hold'em he
admired. He looked around the room and said, "The Wolf". I had no idea
who he was talking about. I was playing thirty-sixty in the room and
knew all the players. "No.", Stuey said, "Over there." He was pointing
to the three-six game. I thought it was a joke.

Stuey and The Wolf - Part II
His name was Peter Wolf and sometimes he played high and sometimes not.
The word was that he was backed by some heavy people. He was from New
York and knew Stuey from back there. He was some sort of chess whiz who
made money in speed chess.

Was he good? He had really long hair and a beard and wore sunglasses
all the time. Quiet and deadly. As I got to know him at the table, I
thought this guy has a gift. He was probably the most aggressive limit
player in Vegas at the time. He was, I thought, a rising star. Can't
miss. Though he played like Stuey, their styles were as very different
as the games they played. It seemed to me that The Wolf never lost. I
asked Stuey about it and he said that when he wanted to, The Wolf would
always get the money in the end.
When he wanted to?

Stuey and The Wolf - The End
The Wolf got sick. He lost his backing . He disappeard. Another
casualty of drugs or whatever. I figured he went broke. I would have
asked Stuey, but he was facing his own demons. Besides, The Wolf played
my game. And, also, he was better than me.

i went to California in 1988 to start playing there. Times were good
and The Wolf was no where in sight. Until four years later. He walked
in with a gorgeous girl on his arm and played forty limit and took the
game for about three large. He was back. And with a new nickname. He
was now Grey Wolf or just Grey. And he had changed. He didn't remember
me. He hadn't talked to Stuey in years. It was apparent that he had
developed some memory loss. Nothing more was revealed.

He struggled. No longer backed. He seemed to change his game every day.
Good players thought he was a live one or just lucky. I think the
feeling was that, in general, he was a good amateur who could go on
tilt and then you would get him. In a way, I felt bad for him. I never
said much about how good he once was. I just waited.

As I said, his game would change. He was trying, like the rest of the
Vegas players, to make sense of the California game and style. Would he

The last time I saw Stuey was at the Commerce playing in a hundred
limit omaha eight or better game and Grey was playing eighty limit
hold'em. Who put who in what game is a mystery. I saw them talk only
once and it made me think. Stuey was famous. The Wolf , now Grey, was a
shadowy figure who most could not remember or would give him his due.

The wolf plays regularly now. The demons beaten. The gorgeous girls are
gone. And the game is starting to come around. Like Stuey, his game was
never gone, Just not there on a regular basis. But he is starting to
dominate. Does he still get the money? When he wants too. Which seems
to be every day now. He has a style that is a perfect merger of Vegas
and California. Live, aggressive, gambling and solid. As one player
once said to him, "I never know what you have."

So, Stuey, rest in peace. You were, without a doubt, the best high
limit player in the world. Whatever it was that Grey did to get back, I
wished you had. Though your friendship with each other is a mystery as
Grey says little about it. I know that he is in Las Vegas this week. I
wish I knew more.


And in the interest of full disclosure & Guinness-fueled poker blogging, here is the best tribute to Stu on the web. Ken Churilla's site:
A Poker Tribute to Stuey Ungar
1953 - 1998
Three Time Champion of the World Series of Poker

Damn, I might as well go all the way and attempt to Destroy Even More Workplace Productivity. Here's the Poker Pages tribute to Stuey, written by Mike Sexton.
"Poker Greats" - Stu Ungar

Well, hell. Thanks for reading. I'm gonna go watch my hapless Bungals and thumb through the two new poker books I've received.

This ain't exactly up to my usual standards but this is the start to a rough week for me. Lucky for you, much more to come.

I remain,
Your Humble Working Boy

Link of the Day:
Cuddle Close and Hurl
There's a poetry crisis in the lesbian community, according to OutGrrrl: "Nothing more irritating than bad poetry from an emoting dyke."

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

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