Monday, October 31, 2005

"Nobody is always a winner, and anybody who says he is, is either a liar or doesn't play poker."
Amarillo Slim

Yup, even good players lose often.
Accepting that truism as a student of poker is one thing. Using it as an excuse for poor play is another. Discerning the difference is what separates the long-term good players from the bad.

Especially when playing at Party Poker.

I'm completely drained but I wanna get a lil post up for everyone on a Monday.
Hell, I excel at the quick-post-with-very-little-thought technique, anyway.

First off, a hoist of the Guinness to EV over at a Fool and His Money for hitting the BadBeat Jackpot on Party Poker. A nice score for just sitting and folding on the low-limit tables. Who couldn't use an extra five grand?

Also, Party Poker is giving away a ton of cash right now if you are involved in their 3 billionth hand (and others). I'm not really sure what's going on with the 20k freerolls and the other rewards - you can read about it on their page here:
Party Poker Three Billionth Hand Jackpots.

I ended up heading to the boat on Saturday with GMoney, Mr. Fabulous and Dann the Man. Because it was GMoney's birthday, I ended up slumming at his 3.6 table when my NL table broke. Had a damn good time, especially when I played the Hammer and drove out one of the locals. Hilarious. Met a nice guy named Sean who was seated to my right - had a fun chat and even outed myself as a blogger once he shared that he's a 2+2'r. Sean plays mostly at Poker Stars and uses GW Bush as his picture on his avatar. He says he tilts players at the table just by showing up. I don't doubt it.

Due to my recent trip to Europe, I had fun finally getting back to the Indiana boat and will probably return to playing there 4 or 5 times a week. The games are great, especially since most of the serious players are at Caesers, in Louisville, playing the WSOP circuit events. I'll prolly drive up there in a day or two and pound some beers with Jason Spaceman, who is covering the event. I actually meant to go up there today but I had forgotten that today is my niece's birthday. The one who recently passed away - so the family all got together. Truly a sad time.

So that's why I'm writing here tonight, gentle reader, to avoid the cruel real world. Let's just blog about poker, shall we? Seriously, I have a ton of content but I'm just gonna blog a few and save the rest for when I have the time to uber it up. My energy is limited right now but let's hope that Guinness gives me strength to complete this post tonight.

Let's start off with a few reactions from the announcement of the 2006 WSOP schedule.
Daniel Negreanu has his two cents:

After the complaints the floor people received this year, I was all but certain the World Series of Poker would bring back the mixed game event and make sure to protect the integrity of the event by maintaining a wide variety of games.

Screwed! That's how I felt when I saw the schedule. The World Series of Poker is an inappropriate title for this mockery. The World Series of Hold'em, sure, but how dare they call this the World Series of Poker when they've eliminated most of the other tournaments in favor of even more hold'em events.

It's not about the poker anymore, it's all about the bottom line apparently. Not only was there no mixed game event,, but get this, there is precisely ONE stud hi-lo event with a... I can't take it... with a.... with a.... $1000 buy in! My goodness, how shameful!

Not to mention the fact that if you want to play in the $3000 Omaha H/L event, it happens to run two hours after the $3000 limit hold'em event. The tournaments that used to get their own day, multiple days in fact, are reduced to being "after thoughts."

I can't tell you how upset I am with the mockery that has become of the schedule. No longer is the WSOP about the poker, about protecting the integrity of the game, or about giving the players what they want. Nope, it's all about the bottom line. *Sigh* It just infuriates me and I know I'm not alone.

The best players in the world play in the biggest mixed games in the world:

Omaha H/L
Stud H/L
2-7 Triple Draw
Limit Omaha
Pot Limit Omaha
No Limit Hold'em
2-7 NL Single Draw

These are the games that the world's best enjoy playing, but the WSOP has decided that these players know nothing about what poker is all about. Poker is Hold'em to them, and nothing more.

Poker is dying. Not hold'em of course, but poker as we once knew it is becoming extinct because the people in control aren't interested in helping poker flourish, they have a bottom line to think about that takes precedence over all else. I have no idea who is at fault so I won’t place blame. I’d sure like to know, though, who- who exactly is making these decisions?

I don't even know what else to say. I am so disappointed and I don't know what else to do other then to vent my frustrations. I love poker, and "non-poker playing" suits are killing the game I love.

And respected poker author and RGP poster, Lou Krieger, opined this in a two-parter. Good food for thought here:

Subject: Thoughts About the 2006 WSOP, and a schedule of events

This is a rather long post – one that includes the schedule for the 2006 World Series of Poker, along with my thoughts about the schedule and the event.

Harrah's announced their 2006 World Series of Poker schedule just a few days ago. It begins on June 26 and concludes on August 10. That’s seven weeks of tournament poker, held at the Rio, which was the site of last year’s event. The Rio will also host the Second Annual World Series of Poker Lifestyle Show July 27 through July 30, which highlights a broad array of new poker products, websites, books and clothing.

The main event begins on July 28 and runs for 14 days. Day One will be played in four heats, and Day Two will be played in two heats. All of the contestants will not be in the same room at the same time until Day Three, which is actually seven calendar days later, on August 4.

Two weeks is, in my opinion, an incredibly long period for a single poker event. While it’s not a problem for poker pros, many of the rank and file poker players, who take time off from their jobs to play in the WSOP’s main event each year, might not be able to get away for a fortnight in order to play.

Having said that, I certainly don’t have an alternative to Harrah's scheduling because I don’t know of a venue in which 8,000 players could be accommodated on 800 tables at the same time. Even if that could be done, I’m not sure where 800 dealers would come from. Maybe it can be done; I’m just not sure how. But if you could round up 800 or so dealers to cover all the play on day one, you’d only need 400 dealers, give or take a few, for the second day. This means that many dealers would be onsite for only one day of play, and that’s a money loser for any dealer who travels from any distance at all to pitch cards at the WSOP.

If you read down through the schedule of events, you’ll see how Texas hold’em has come to elbow aside all other forms of poker at the WSOP. There are five Omaha events, and just one event each for seven-card stud, 7-stud/8, razz, and deuce-to-seven lowball. Everything else is Texas hold’em.

I understand that the World Series of Poker is responding to their perceptions of market demand, and hold’em is by far the most popular form of poker played today. However, the WSOP is also a large enough force to exert some leadership and move that market in whichever direction it wishes.

If I had my druthers, I’d like to see the World Series of Poker be more than just the World Series of Hold’em. I’d like to see some mix games added – and if the truth be told, I would prefer a mix game to determine the annual World Champion. But I’m not naïve, and I don’t think that stands a chance in hell of happening. Still, I liken this to the Olympics, where the Decathlon winner is generally regarded as the “world’s greatest athlete.” In my opinion, a mix game would be a much better way of determining poker’s world champion than just hold’em. I wouldn’t care which mix game was used. Go with HORSE, CHORSE, CHORSE-L, or any other grab bag of games, but go with one of them.

Even if they continued to use the $10,000 buy-in no limit hold’em tournament to determine the world champion, but were to add a selection of HORSE-type games at a variety of buy-ins, the WSOP would at least provide an opportunity to players who play all games well to demonstrate their skill at the tables.

Between now and June, I’m hoping that Harrah’s will address many of the issues that plagued last year’s event. The number of restrooms was woefully inadequate for the short period of time allotted for bathroom breaks. The aisles were so crowded that it made media coverage virtually impossible, especially during the early days when the room was filled with players at all tables and you literally could not see from one end of the room to another.

The pressroom was great – at least it was up until the main event. Then media from all over the world descended on the Rio and the pressroom was not adequate at all. Maybe this year the entire convention center can be given over to the WSOP, and some of the area where other groups were gathering during last year’s WSOP (there was a cheerleading convention – I think – that was taking up much of the rest of the convention center) could be used for WSOP related activities.

Another difficulty is that it’s tough to eat during the dinner breaks. There are literally thousands of players all looking to grab some food at the same time, and it’s more than the adjacent restaurants can handle. While I realize that Harrah’s can’t provide bathrooms and food facilities sufficient to handle this kind of crush of players, something has to be done so that people can eat and go to the bathroom in an orderly fashion, and do so without missing out on part of their events.

If this sounds like I’m dissing Harrah’s, I’m not. Considering that last year was their first year, the Rio did a great job, but logistical issues increase significantly as you add more players to the tournament field. With a year’s worth of experience under their belt, I’m assuming they will have made some progress on these issues by the time the WSOP rolls around. We’ll see…………


Subject: More Thoughts on the World Series of Hold'em, errrrrr Poker

My recent post here on my blog and here on RGP about the World Series of Hold'em -- oooooops, I meant the World Series of Poker; excuse me -- generated lots of email. Almost all of mail I received agreed with my sentiments that the WSOP is running the risk of morphing into the World Series of Hold'em, and that's a shame.

While all hold'em, all the time, may be great for Harrah's bottom line, it does nothing to build and retain interest in all the other varieties of poker, such as mix games, 7-card stud, 7-stud/8, Omaha, Omaha/8, razz, deuce-to-seven, and even pineapple.

The all hold'em, all the time ethic is certainly in tune with the market and the ways in which television shaped today's interest in poker. But the WSOP is big enough, well-known enough, and significant enough to take a leadership position and work to make sure that other varieties of poker survive and thrive at the World Series.

After all, it's not like players are rejecting other forms of poker, and it's not like they've simply gone missing. Many of the game's newer players -- those who recently caught the poker bug by virtue of it's exposure on television -- may not even be aware of these other poker games.

Variety is the spice of life, and in the long run it's better for all concerned to have a broad spectrum of poker games available to the general public. Even Harrah's bottom line would benefit in the long run. If there's more interest in a wide variety of games, there will be bigger tournament fields for these events too.

Harrah's, if you're reading this, here's hoping you step up to the plate and do your utmost to rescue these other poker games before they're extinct.
Lou Krieger

Damnit, I gotta admit that sometimes I wish I had cable TV. Apparently Phil Helmuth's latest implosion on the ESPN WSOP coverage was an all-time great moment and I can't WAIT to watch it. Gotta love Mr. Hellmuth. Here were my favorite quotes that I can't wait to witness for myself.

"I lost to a guy who can't even spell poker."
"I won't even tell you what happened because it would make you sick."
"Honey, can you believe he's firing at the pot with that crap?"
"He's got a flight to catch and I'm here to win a tournament."

Moving along, here's some nifty random poker linkage, guaranteed to Stifle Workplace Productivity.

For some goofy reason, Fox Sports put up a list of the ten most feared pro atheletes.
For some goofy reason, Phil Ivey started it off at #10.
Goofy article.
Ten most feared people in sports

My main man, Dann, sent me this link of a baseball TV commercial of a few Seattle Mariners playing poker versus their mascot in the clubhouse. Short and worthy.

Speaking of Dann, he's currently writing a book about the great Cincinnati Reds lefthander, Tom Browning. Funny anecdote: Dann had a Party Poker jacket hanging up in his office which Tom duly noticed.

Says Mr. Browning, "Do you play poker on there?" Answers our hero, "Yup, almost every day." Replies Tom Browning, "Me too, I love it there."

Good God. As if my Guinness-fueled ramblings aren't enough to pursuade you to be playing on Party Poker.....it's now endorsed by Tom Browning!

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit!

Geez, this is some impressive stuff. House of Cards, indeed.

Continuing pokers ascendance as cultural juggernaut, here's another mainstream media piece, this time from the fine folks at Time magazine. I haven't read it all yet but it's three pages and oughta be mildly interesting.
Women & Poker - Time magazine article.

In the theme of female poker players, popular online poker girl, Jennicide, is interviewed over at Poker Lizard.

We've all felt this way, some of us more than others. But I doubt many of us can sum it up so eloquently as this joker.

Subject: Fuck this poker shit

Fuck this poker shit. What a joke. Can't buy a goddamn hand to save my fucking life. When I finally get shit to play with someone hits their set or some shit like that.

Lost the $200 Full Tilt today. Got KJ suited in late position, best hand i saw in an hour. Flop comes KJ8. I push hard. Guy goes all in, im already committed. WOW pocket Jacks and i Lose.

What the fuck does it take to win here? I get no goddamn cards. I bluff and someone hits a monster. i get a monster pre flop and nobody calls at all. I don't hit one fucking flop and people around me hit sets all fucking goddamn moteher fucking day on me.

Fuck this shit. Fuck it all. Im retiring. Fuck it. Sick of losing. Sick of getting sucked out. Sick of never hitting anything. Sick of getting fished. Sick of trying to play like a fish and never hitting. Sick of it al.

Have fun fellas, im done again for a while. Now i know why i stopped playing a month ago and only have done a few small games since.

Wow, he stopped playing a month ago, too? Shocker.

Think poker is jumping the shark? Not so fast, buster. Check out this Card Player article from Linda Johnson stating that poker is now the third-most-watched televised sport on cable television, trailing only auto racing and football.

Irish Mike had this to say about the evolution of TV poker. And he's clearly right.

Subject: How far poker TV coverage has come

I just watched the 2001 World Poker Open on ESPN and it clearly shows just how far poker TV coverage has come in a few short years. It was an interesting final table with some exciting all-in hands but the TV coverage would put an insomniac to sleep.

Poker, with out the hole card cameras and graphics, is just plain boring to watch. Plus, you have to listen to a dim-witted, know nothing celebrity commentator (Jerry Van Dyke) blathering on non-stop while trying desperately to be funny. In addition, you have the disgusting sight of players smoking at the table. Christ what a filthy
habit. Every poker room and tournament director is indebted to the World Poker Tour for raising the bar on TV poker coverage.

Wow - this is awesome. Somebody went and took Abdul Jalib's posts on RGP and blogged them all here on blogspot. Woohooo! If you don't know who Abdul Jalib is, then you Must go hit this site and familarize yourself with his poker theory. Even if you love him, like I do, you owe it to your game to go brush up on his writings.
Poker strategy - Abdul Jalib

I finally went and checked out the new Bill Fillmaff videos on his poker site. I'll recommend Chapter 6 called Extreme Poker.

Funny, but I was talking to a reader of this here humble poker blog and asked this question and got this response. Hell, it was funny at the time.

me: i'm sure you read other poker blogs
outsmokin: everything else is like cinemax soft core to your ron jeremy

Not true, but still a wonderful metaphor.

Arg, running out of steam here. Let's leave you with this RGP post. For the record, this guy got slammed HARD.

Subject: Can't stomach cash games?

I don't know what it is, but for some reason I just can't stand playing cash games. They make me feel so uncomfortable. And I'm not talking about high stakes or anything close to it. I mean the 25/50 cent or lower NL games on Pokerstars. I would have no problem blowing my entire bankroll on a bunch of tournaments over the weekend, but if I lose just 1 or 2 pots while playing in a cash game I want to leave.

Maybe it's because the idea that a donkie can beat me out of a pot, then get up and leave with MY money really gets my goat. I can't deal with it. I want that fish to stay at my table so I can bleed him dry then kick him in the ass on his way out the door. It's also sickening to think that I could lose my entire bankroll in one hand due to some donkey voodoo suckout like AA vs 92, because the donkie was "making a

It seems like these low stakes games are always at one extreme or the other. They are either super tight snooze fests or ridiculously loose with donkies ramming and jamming like they are jacked up on speed.

Does anyone else feel like this? Maybe I just haven't played enough cash games to feel comfortable with them yet, or maybe I just value money too much. I'll take a tournament over a cash game any day. You have a clear cut winner in a tournament and there seems to be more strategy involved as opposed to cash games where the blinds never increase.

It's very difficult for me to pick out just one of the many flames this guy received, but hell, I'm gonna be predictable and go with Gary Carson's retort:


I'd have a big advantage over a player like you because you have the brains of a plastic fork.

Gary Carson


Alrighty then, that will have to suffice for now. Thanks for stopping by and I'll have a genuine uber-post up soon.

Good luck at the tables. Because it's all about luck, after all.

Link of the Day:
The Kids are Alright
The first generation of youth raised on hip hop is coming of age. Don't get all up in their business or they will fuck your shit up.

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