Saturday, June 12, 2004

"It can be argued that man's instinct to gamble is the only reason he is still not a monkey up in the trees."
Mario Puzo

Thanks again to everyone who sent positive vibes to my cat. He had a successful surgery on Friday. They thought that he was doing better and possibly could be sent home by mid-week.

But there has been a major setback today and now he is doing very poorly (heart problems and fluid in lungs) and he's in an incubator. I'll skip the rest of the sordid details, but PLEASE, send more prayers his way - the next 12-24 hours is life or death. I'm sick to my stomach right now - it's terrible to feel so helpless.

Who'da thunk that there would be so many kind, thoughtful, animal loving poker players out there? Again, thank you. Imagine how damn desperate I must be, asking degenerate poker players for help. :)

And now, you've put up with my absence long enough. I'm gonna get back to what I do best....blog about poker in a Guinness-fueled, tangential fashion. It's weird, the night Monty got hit by the car, I was deeply mired in a metaphorical essay on poker, divinity and its relationship to another popular hobby, golf. But now, upon re-reading, it just seems blasphemous - perhaps I'll repost it on a slow news day down the road.

I wanted to mention last weekend - my good buddy Filmgeek had a bachelor party/poker game last Saturday. There was the assorted regulars combined with guys who had absolutely no clue how to play, which made it fun as hell. Of course, drinking an entire jug of Patron Tequila made it fun as well, but why split hairs? Long story short, Filmgeek is a notoriously tight player, but on this special evening he saw EVERY damn flop for eight straight hours.

Oh the humanity.

Did I mention he won? I've been preaching to him to follow my lead and use our home games as an opportunity to completely loosen up and use Daniel Negreaneu's philosophy of "Party Night' - which in essence is simply playing like a maniac once in a while to blow off steam. Low stakes home games are perfect for this, imho, and it works wonders for me. For the record, I won about 70 big bets that night.

I've never pontificated on table image much before, mostly because it's not applicable to online poker, the main focus of this here poker blog. But suffice to say, I'm a better live player than online, mostly due to image. And it's something I'm very cognizant of, and take advantage of, at every opportunity. I'm not the brightest looking guy and I tend to play this role extremely well. So solid play coupled with a wild image (alcohol helps here) works well for me. Your mileage may vary. I don't have to worry about world class players around here, and hell, the weakest players think poker is bingo and don't even consider their opponents. They play their cards and pay little, if any, attention to their environment. So if your tablemates are either very strong or very weak, it doesn't really pay to establish an image, imho.

The most profitable type of opponent in poker is one who calls too frequently but doesn't raise enough. And there are LOTS of these players online. Probably the majority of losing players fall into this category, imho. For maximum profit, you should table hop and seek out opponents who call too often and seldom raise. Also, I firmly believe that many players play far worse ONLINE than live simply because it's less embarassing sitting behind a monitor, playing anonomously. I know that there is far more bluffing online, for example.

Because the closest legal cardroom around here is over two hours away, there are plenty of mid/high limit home games in this area. These are fine places to practice image - how to manipulate and cultivate it, because there is normally only one table to play on. At a cardroom, someone can put their name on a list and move to another table. Because of this, if players are about to leave, that's a silly time to waste money advertising. When you advertise, you want customers in the hours ahead and it's a tragedy if opponents are convinced by your performance, but then leave.

Word to the wise - a loose, wild image requires a larger bankroll than a conservative one. While the wild image may provide more profit in the long run, in the short term you'll get more calls and end up in more borderline decisions. The damn variance is why I always buy in big.

There's nothing better than a goofy image. I strive to play solid poker while conveying the image (albeit a semi-true one) of a fun-loving, crazy player who is apt to be unpredictable at any time. They often will then call too often. I've seen this over and over and over while on the other hand, they are too confused to raise and get max value from their hands.

Again, I wouldn't recommend this for everyone - it's just my drunken ramblings. Food for thought. And I've gotta thank local poker pro, Fast Eddie, for passing along much of this to me - he looks and acts like a complete hayseed, all the while, he's taking your damn money.

A laughing game is good. A trash-talking or joke cracking game is good. A silent game is bad. Thank you Mike Caro for always impressing this fact upon your readers.

I've done the 'serious - tight' player approach. It works fine. It's a mainstay for me. A tight, serious image does wonders for getting away with semi-bluffs, isolating weaker opponents, and just using position to your advantage. The Cardplayer talks about this in his last post.

Anyway, enough of my Ode to Mike Caro and table image. Let's move on shall we? I haven't had much poker time this past week, for obvious reasons, but when I have I've been thumping the 5.10 tables pretty good, all the while fending off sarcastic remarks from some pro's that harass and cajole me - telling me over and over how juicy the 15.30 games are. Fine.

I was in a great mood last nite after Monty's successful surgery. I had several Guinness. I was up $200 in 5.10 and decided that hell, it is FRIDAY NIGHT ON PARTY POKER, after all, why not sit 15.30 for an hour or two? Suffice to say, I got some cards and made nearly a grand in the time spent there. I'm going against everything I stand for by posting this hand history. Hell, playing aces is easy:

***** Hand History for Game 667780636 *****
15/30 TexasHTGameTable (Limit) - Fri Jun 11 22:25:07 EDT 2004
Table Bachelors Party (Real Money) -- Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: j5k1s7 ( $725)
Seat 2: HU_Champ ( $767)
Seat 3: africahunter ( $539)
Seat 4: iggy ( $725)
Seat 5: rvmhppro ( $232)
Seat 6: mrrhino013 ( $393)
Seat 7: The_Huncher ( $662.50)
Seat 8: starka ( $3000)
Seat 9: kruck ( $1019)
Seat 10: jollynice ( $402.50)
mrrhino013 posts small blind (10)
The_Huncher posts big blind (15)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to iggy [ Ah, As ]
kruck calls (15)
jollynice calls (15)
j5k1s7 folds.
HU_Champ folds.
africahunter raises (30) to 30
iggy calls (30)
rvmhppro folds.
mrrhino013 calls (20)
The_Huncher calls (15)
kruck calls (15)
jollynice calls (15)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 3h, 8d, Qs ]
mrrhino013 checks.
The_Huncher checks.
kruck bets (15)
jollynice raises (30) to 30
africahunter folds.
iggy calls (30)
mrrhino013 folds.
The_Huncher folds.
kruck raises (30) to 45
jollynice calls (15)
iggy calls (15)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 5c ]
kruck bets (30)
jollynice calls (30)
iggy raises (60) to 60
kruck calls (30)
jollynice calls (30)
** Dealing River ** : [ 6s ]
kruck checks.
jollynice bets (30)
iggy raises (60) to 60
kruck folds.
jollynice calls (30)
** Summary **
Main Pot: $612 | Rake: $3
Board: [ 3h 8d Qs 5c 6s ]
j5k1s7 balance $725, didn't bet (folded)
HU_Champ balance $767, didn't bet (folded)
africahunter balance $509, lost $30 (folded)
iggy balance $1142, bet $195, collected $612, net +$417 [ Ah As ] [ a pair of aces -- Ah,As,Qs,8d,6s ]
rvmhppro balance $232, didn't bet (folded)
mrrhino013 balance $363, lost $30 (folded)
The_Huncher balance $632.50, lost $30 (folded)
starka balance $3000, sits out
kruck balance $884, lost $135 (folded)
jollynice balance $207.50, lost $195 [ Qc Tc ] [ a pair of queens -- Qc,Qs,Tc,8d,6s ]

Yeah, I probably should popped a raise on the flop, but I didn't want to lose anyone. Anyway, I'll spare you any more hand histories, I promise. Let's go ahead and link up some of the best poker content on the web, shall we? After all, that's why ya'll come here.

Check out the Shana Hiatt World Poker Tour Outtakes... Funny stuff. Please click on the appropriate link below. Or, cut and paste the link into your browser window. I enjoyed the dancing over the Mike Sexton rap:
Here are the links
Windows Media 256K:

Poker and Devotion is back up and running and posting about running a good card game. I love the posts from the other side of the table. Go visit and ask away:


I truly am hoping to make a series of posts about running a good game. If you ever have any specific aspects a running a game you would like discussed (rules, formats, business expansion, etc.), it is likely that I have something to say about it, so be sure to ask. Otherwise, I'll just put them up as I think of
something or as house men give me reason to go off.

And, of course, if you are looking for a home game, this is the site to visit: Home Poker Games. Or Poker meetup..

Here's an interesting interview with 3rd place finisher in the Big One, Josh Arieh, from Poker Pages.

I can't let this post about Phil Helmuth go by:

You don't understand Phil Helmuth
If you listen to Phil Helmuth's interviews there is a recurring theme. "I
expect great things to happen for me - and they do." Phil believes that he
is special and more deserving than any other poker player. This belief goes
deeper than superficial arrogance or ego. It is the very core of his
perception of himself, and those around him. So when other players beat
Phil, which frequently happens, he views it as a great injustice. An
injustice that transcends mere cards, odds and probabilities. It is a slap
in the face of the righteous order of things. As a result, Phil feels it is
his right and duty, to complain when he loses and to ensure that the
offending winning player knows the transgression he has committed.

When you understand this fundamental fact about Phil Helmuth, you understand
why it is nearly impossible for him not to complain and whine when he

See http://www.mental-health-today.com/narcissistic/dsm.htm

Uh oh - the dumbing down of poker continues. CelebPoker.com

Here's an ESPN column by Jon Warech about the WSOP and poker on TV.
Page 3 - It's all about face value

Damn, I don't have the heart to write anymore. I still have a ton of things to blog about but they shall have to wait. My humble apologies for the abbreviated post but I can't stop thinking about Monty. Sorry for the comments being disabled but I don't want things to get too maudlin - it's hard enough going through this rollercoaster of emotions as it is.

Friday, June 11, 2004

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who posted, emailed or instant messaged about Monty. He's currently "stabilized" and undergoing surgery this morning. The jury is still out but we're cautiously optimistic...

I hope to make an uber-poker post tonight or tomorrow, depending on circumstances.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I'm sorry for the non-poker post. Scroll down for massive poker content.

I'm not being lazy, I'll post soon, I hope. Real life just got in the way...

Some of you out there who know me understand that my wife and I are animal nuts - we live on a 150 acre horse farm with dogs, cats, ducks and horses right in the heart of Cincinnati. No, we don't own this wonderful place, but my wife runs the horse facilities and we get to live here for free, plus we receive free boarding for our horse. It's quite a cool set-up.

My wife and I have a cat named Monty (yes, after Montgomery Burns) that we've owned as a newborn since we first got married, nine years ago. He's an incredibly affectionate, doglike, 19 pound tabby. He was raised by our female dog so, of course, he now rules our dogs, all of the barn cats, and the farm in general. If you take our dogs on a long hike or walk, Monty the Cat always tags along. It's truly hilarious, watching him run along behind the dogs.

He's one of a kind.

Sadly, last evening he didn't come home for the first time in seven years of living here. Because this people-person cat falls asleep on her lap every single damn nite, Di was freaking out, imagining the worst. But she is Dr. Dolittle and has a sixth sense for these things. I wasn't too worried - I figured he was just sleeping somewhere and had forgotten to hit his internal snooze alarm button.

When it became nearly dark, the wife went out hunting for him. In a miracle, she found him (he called out to her from deep in the woods), severely injured and bleeding everywhere. He had been hit by a car, or possibly kicked by a horse, but I think it's obviously the prior, considering the massive damage. They thought he would die last evening when we brought him in.

Anyway, it's been a horrific 24 hours. He's somehow still alive, with multiple broken ribs and jaw. My wife is besides herself with grief and we are both praying that he can somehow come out of this alive, and back home to us. The vets are worried about his heart for the most part, not to mention the head trauma. We are just hoping for the best and expecting the worse....it's a coin flip right now.

Sure, this may sound trite, but to anyone who understands how animals become part of your family and often times, best friends, please say a little prayer for my cat.

Here's a shot of Monty with his mom, Samantha, when he was only a year old.

friends forever, enemies never

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