Thursday, August 18, 2005

"A fool and his money are soon parted.
I would pay anyone a lot of money to explain that to me."

Homer Simpson

Damnit, this post is brought to you by the following.

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker

Please consider supporting this humble poker blog. I do this for free, after all.

I wanted to do an uber-post but Matty from Snailtrax shall be here shortly and we're off to rape and pillage at the boat tonite. From there, it's off to the insanity that is GVegas poker. This is gonna be crazy. And I'm already sleep-deprived, damnit.

So allow me give you another quick tale from the boat from last week.
$400 buyin NL table. $2/5 blinds.

I've built up to about $1100 when it happens.

An ancient, willowy (81 years old) elderly fella walks up to the empty seat, two to my left. He's carrying a Coors Light. Wears thick glasses.

Reaches into his pants and dumps ten grand on the table, all in hundreds, of course. Demands 10k in chips.


The floor comes over and explains the buyin and such.

Old feller moves allin on his first hand without even looking at his cards.

Suddenly everyone is sitting upright in their chairs.
To say they were licking their chops wouldn't be an understatement.
There were literally rivulets of drool.

He lost that first hand. Rebought.

In my big blind, I look down and find AK.
The Anna Kournikova. Called that because it looks great, but never wins.

Old Man moves Allin for $400 again, in the dark.
Short stacked guy in middle calls with mebbe $180.

I call.

We flip em over.
Old Man: 46h
Short stack AJ

I flop my ace but Old Man hits a flush on the river.

Game on!!

I must say I was stoked. We started getting a pretty large contingent of railbirds, including much of the staff.

Old Man bought drinks for the entire table and I got a chance to chat with him since he was only two seats away. Super nice man, retired attorney. Told me he loved to make a splash at whatever game he played, and at his age, wanted to be the center of attention.

We laughed and said he was succeeding at that.

I slowly rebuilt my stack while watching this maestro put the entire table on tilt. He broke several stacks, with one guy asking the old feller "Where the hell did you park?" while rebuying. I'm pretty sure he was only half-joking.

He destroyed the table with sheer aggression. Was fun as hell to watch.

I've seen this type of behavior in online poker many times. Hell, I've seen my share of 'throwing parties' in live poker, too. I've been known to throw em myself, after all, especially when drinking heavily.

But this was special.

After an hour, The old man had an obscene amount of chips in front of him. He refused to stack them - they just sat in a giant mound in front of him. Whenever he bet or raised, he'd just grab a handful and throw em in, and we'd wait for the dealer to count em out. Nobody complained.

I'm pretty damn unflappable in poker. I just don't care about immediate results - I care about making the right decisions, damnit. I remember thinking and telling Dann after this hand that I couldn't remember the last time I felt hardcore TILT.

And the worst part was I won the hand. Prolly around a $2200 pot.
I freaking tilted on a hand I won. Geezus.

Why? Because the dealer called the clock on me. Pretty stupid of me, eh? I was just flabbergasted after all those hours I've played there to have that done. Twas a first. It was more surprise at first, which morphed into adrenaline, which morphed into tilt. Weird how it can creep up on you like that. More retarded, than wierd, I fully admit, considering I still had more time than you do in online poker.

Anyway, here was my decision on the flop for all my chips.
Four handed.

Ad Ks 2d

Old Man moved allin from the big blind, as he nearly always did.
The two others folded.

I'm on the button with KJd.

I had approximately $900 in front of me. He had me covered.
Range of hands? Forget about it.

Of course, I called, correctly deciding he didn't have an ace and had outs if he did, even though I wasn't getting the right price on a flush draw. Gambool!

He didn't show his cards and I took a walk after stacking up. It felt so strange to be angry and tilty. I decided to rack up whenever the old feller did, which happened 15 minutes later, thankfully.

So strange and now I'm sitting here wondering why, why the visceral reaction to something as petty as having the clock called on me. For that matter, why am I even recounting this hand, something I rarely do? I wish I had time to flesh out my thinking here.

Random Photo of the Day.

It might be because I finally picked up Barry Greenstein's book, Ace on the River, and I'm pondering heavily upon what he writes. It has plenty of philosophical underpinnings in it - I think someone (Felicia?) called it more of a psychology book than a typical strategy poker book and I wholeheartedly agree with that assessment.

It's clear to me that he didn't write this book to make money. It was a labor of love, of sorts, and I really admire that. I feel the same way about this silly blog.

Lord, I'm rambling now, hoping to get this post done before I leave.
Let's just post a few links and save the rest for an impending uber post, shall we?

New CardPlayer is out.
Mike Sexton reflects on the WSOP.

Phil Hellmuth reflects on, of course, Phil Hellmuth.

Here's a thread from Slashdot about online gambling legality, Google and Australia.
Search Engines Break AU Online Gambling Ban?

An anonymous reader writes "According to a ZDNet report, authorities in Australia are investigating Google and a few other search engines for possible breach of the country's online gambling laws. The Interactive Gambling Act 2001 prohibits advertising of gambling services on Web sites where 'it is likely that the majority of that site's users are physically present in Australia'. Banned services include online casino-style gaming services such as roulette, poker, craps, online poker machines and blackjack. Breaching the Act carries a maximum penalty of AU$220,000 ($168,000) per day for individuals and AU$1.1 million ($843,000) per day for corporations."

RGP had many threads (too many) about the Ultimate Bet poker game featuring Phil Helmuth, Mike Matasow and Prahlad Friedman the other evening. Here's a taste:

Prahlad ask Phil to play till 'death'

Last night on UB, Prahlad Friedman (mahatma) is having this hilarious argument with Matusow and Health. Apparently, Matusow and Phil made some unkind comments about Prahlad, steaming from a 20k score by Phil H. against Prahlad.

It went something like "Hey Mikey I turned the 20k from you into 44k last night" Mike replies "Nice, off of Mahatma im sure"? "yea hes not very good" says Phil. "i know" replies mike....Then out of the dark Mahatma shows up, he has been reading the chat as an observer, and he is pissed off.

"Dill (Matusow) don't ever talk to me again" "were not boys" "im not your friend anymore" lots of comments like that along with Dill your a piece of shit, and i dint trust you. Mike then is laughing at him, and says "you get some money and now your a
tough guy, doesn't take long for you to forget who bailed you out when you were broke" Prahlad still cusses him and says "dint talk to me ever again".

Then Mike says "after you snick up on DOG after all he did for you (apparently played Erik L. heads up and didn't tell him who he was)....then Prahlad moves to cussing Phil...calls him a horrible poker player, etc....Then the fun starts, He says "lets play heads up Phil for life, loser dies"...Phil and mike laugh, and he says "im serious phil come on if your the man, then play me for life."

Phil and mike are laughing at the guy and its making him even more angry as Phil and mike are obviously friends...After the whole table is ragging Phil for buying in over and over for the minimum (2k) he says hey Mikey lets play 300-600 Omaha 8/o. Mike says not right now, and Phil says come on "that's your game son", so off they went. Twenty minutes or so later Mike is stuck 20k to Phil, and Phil says G, gets up and leaves. Mike then proceeds to cuss Phil for a few hours and it was hilarious..

"like sands through the hour glass, and so are the days of our lives" it was like a soap opera and it was damn funny


Assuming this is true and it's Phil Hellmuth, not Phil Ivey, I find it very hard to believe that Phil ever beat Prahlad for 20k. Phil always buys in for a low amount (relatively speaking) and rarely stays long. Why? Because he almost always gets his ass handed to him.

Even if Phil did win 20k overall off of Prahlad, it's really not that much for the swings he goes through. I've seen Prahlad go through 40-50k in two hours and think nothing of it. I've also seen him top 100k. His style of play dictates a lot of swings, especially short handed, which in the end makes him rich.

Of course Prahlad would be mad at Jail bait Mike insulting him. Mike is always talking to him, kissing his ass, and never plays him heads up. It's also not surprising Phil would just laugh at Prahlad when he's challenged until one of them goes broke and dies. Phil knows he would get his ass handed to him.

I don't know Prahlad (I've seen him a few times), but it's absurd to suggest he's not a good player or not one of the best players on the internet. Just look at how many people sit out when they are going to face him heads up, waiting for other players to come.

Damn, I don't even know what to say after that.
Wait, yes I do.

May I have your attention:

This is the Stupid Police.

And you are all under arrest.

Matty just called and he's an hour out of town. Time to prepare for some sickness at the NL tables tonight with SnailTrax holding court.

And then we're off to GVegas to see assorted bloggers and hipsters.
Oh. The. Humanity.

Want to see what you're missing this weekend?
Watch this video.

Thanks for reading. I should be back in a few days, liver willing.

Link of the Day:
Masturbation Horror Stories
The best thing about a well-told masturbation-gone-wrong story is the ending. "... and it took me two weeks to get all the wax out of me."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"I’d say always play at limits that will allow you to survive a losing streak. Losing streaks are the barometers for me. Show me a player on a winning streak and I won’t be able to rate him. Show me a player who is in a losing streak and I’ll be able to tell you if he can play."
Jennifer Harmon

I nearly choked on my drink at the boat this weekend upon hearing a sunglasses-wearing kid yell at an old man, "How the hell can you call a $60 raise preflop with K9?!"

The old man just laughed at him while scooping up the monster pot. I was appalled - the last time I heard that type of impending tilt comment was from Phil Hellmuth on the WSOP DVD.

And boy, did the kid go on tilt. Downright Tilty. Outplayed by that old man everytime they were in a pot together after that. Twas ugly and his game fell completely apart.

But I liked the kid. So later, over a smoke, I tried to give him a few pointers.
#1 Never, ever tap the glass.
#2 Don't make the mistake of playing directional poker - focusing your action on one guy.
#3 Lose the sunglasses - they smell like fear - save em for the WSOP
#4 Feeling ANY sense of immediacy in poker is a BAD thing. I'm talking cash games, here, obviously.

Let me say that again. Immediacy in poker = bad thing.

From my perspective, bad beats are the sign of a good game, damnit. I want players chasing. I want players calling two bets cold on the flop without proper odds. It's why I don't have to work for the Man anymore. Just accept it when they hit and move on. Don't freaking tilt, damnit.

In my first month of blogging, I posted this:

1) Other players bad play will make me far more money than my fancy or brilliant plays.
2) The guy that leads with a bet on the turn, after not betting previously, often has a big hand.
3) Folding costs me nothing pre-flop. If it's a close decision, I can't go far wrong by folding.

Another Big Announcement!

I have picked up a new sponsor!

Thanks to the fine folks at Caribbean Sun Poker.

Here's a pretty cool tourney they're running, which I'm gonna take some shots at:

If you didn't make it to the 2004 Caribbean Poker Classic... We can't even explain the great time you missed, so this year don't wait! Enter any of our satellite tournaments and win your seat to the 2005 Caribbean Poker Classic, hosted in beautiful St. Kitts, where you will have a chance to win your share of the estimated $1,000,000 Prize Pool!

So consider signing up with Caribbean Sun Poker the next time you're looking for a new site. There's a shiny, new garish banner up there for you to click on when you're ready.

Quick story.

For my wife's past birthday, I asked her what she wanted. Not overly romantic, I concede, but with a horse person, you need specifics before buying. Horse thingies are expensive, damnit.

Di was still stinging with the loss of Monty the cat. So she told me her crazy idea - she wanted to build an outdoor area for our other cats, since they were now not allowed to go outside. A crime considering the property we live on.

All she wanted was for me to purchase all of the building material. Which I did.

It's pretty funny - before running this horse farm, my wife was a Purdue grad and industrial engineer at GE. Seems like another lifetime ago, which it actually is.

So I had no doubts that she'd whip up this tribute to Monty in no time. And she did. It measures 16 feet by 16 feet and is 8 feet tall and is attached to the house further to the left - they have a little cat door to come in and out of.

Now she's added shelves for them to climb around on. They love it. In fact, yesterday our little black kitty, Sid, caught a nice-sized snake and brought it into the house. He carried it upstairs and then bit the head off, leaving it as a present for us.

But on the downside of things, our sweetest cat, Eddie, has just been diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - heart disease basically. Hell, he's only a year old, too.

Some cats may develop only mild hypertrophy and suffer little compromise of heart function, while others progress to more severe disease. HCM may worsen quickly over a period of months; it may progress slowly over several years; its severity may not change for some years and then suddenly worsen -- or it may not. Some cats with HCM may die very suddenly even though they seemed healthy only moments before.

Bleh. Of course, the wife is in full research mode. I'm just going to enjoy my time with this fruity little cat, as it is. He's the sweetest damn cat I've ever known, and that's saying alot. I actually think he's a little light in the loafers.

Arg, blogging about pets again. When will I learn?

Couple links for you:

Phil Gordon just put his new poker column up at ESPN.

This is a wonderful video invitation to Bradoween by our cracker southern buddies over at UpForPoker.

Be back very soon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Those that blog for free obviously have a reason. Most probably love to write about things that interest them. Our egos make us think our thoughts are worthy of dissemination. The free (literally) market of ideas dictates the popularity of our blogs. Write a good one and hits abound. Write a bad one or post infrequently and no one shows up. Once enough people start showing up, it should be natural to think, "Hey, I wish there was some way I could make money out of this."
Big Pirate

I'll admit, I've been thinking about it for quite awhile. And today, after nearly two years and over a million words written in this here poker blog, I'm announcing my first sponsor.


Is anyone shocked that it's.....Golden Palace Poker Room? These brilliant and infamous marketers have deemed me worthy for a one month trial - I hope anyone who has a chance (and wants to keep this damn blog alive) will click a link and try out their site. I'll be writing more about these fine folks, have no fear.

Best. Casino. Site. Ever.
Golden Palace Casino.

I'm know I've arrived when I received an email from Variable, the author of the debauched and brilliant Loseriad Tales.

Best. Trip. Report. Ever. I need to grovel and ask if I can ever participate in a Vegas Trip with them. Just because.


A little later we're playing Homoha, a game Manbeast invented in honor of Spaulding's aforementioned gay experience. It's Omaha high, queens are wild, and straights don't count. I'm dealt KQJJ. Board comes J4T94. Capped every round. Spaulding has two queens in his hand.


He really needs to write a damn book.

Lots of great posts floating around the Blogosphere right now. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the last two posts by Prof and FlipChip over at the Las Vegas poker blog, about: what else, poker blogs and their evolution. Hell, even BJ Nemeth from Card Player wrote out a long ass comment asking goofy questions.

Speaking of blogging, here's an excellent post entitled:
Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask

The Pitbull, Maudie, has a new podcast up. I just love it when she drops the F-bombs.

I'm slowly getting back into the poker groove. I'm a big believer in taking breaks to recharge and refocus. It works for me, anyway. And it's interesting to me how my session lengths keep getting shorter and shorter. I could play steady, solid online poker for hours and hours back when I was working. Now I find I'm better off playing for a shorter period of time - it just allows me to keep total concentration. Yes, I'm easily distracted. Again, this is just me. But I rarely, if ever, leave a table if there's a live one. As always in poker, it depends.

Jonathan Swift once said, "Satire is a sort of glass wherein beholders generally discover everybody's face but their own."

As Lou Krieger pointed out, this analogy also holds true for losing poker players. They see flaws in everyone's play but their own. It's far easier to cut someone else down than to take ownership of our own inevitable flaws. This is especially true in poker.

It's too easy it is to fall into a funk. To start blaming the cards. The poor players. Our abilities. The poker site. Blaming variance, even, as if you could EVER escape it.

As Steve Badger says:


"The problem is: you just can't will yourself to win -- be it a tournament, a single day's play, or even an individual hand. And then, unfortunately for some, not winning is something many players simply can't handle. And being able to not win well is a fundamental, key ingredient of being a winning player."


I'm not even sure this is something that can be taught, it has to come from within or perhaps it's simply experience - but I've just seen too many players come and go after losing and not being able to dig out of it mentally and/or emotionally. It's too easy for the downward spiral to kick in.

Hell, I've had such massive losing weeks that I ultimately decided that everything I knew about poker could fit into a thimble. Perhaps a shot glass is a better example. But regardless, poker for me has simply become a game of stomaching swings. That's it.

Playing NL at the boat gives me an outlet for some fun, though. I'm not sure why the NL game attracts such a regular cast of characters compared to limit. It's downright clubby in that game. One of my tablemates said it was probably because of TV's impact. I'd say he's right.

Anyway, because of my hiatus I've a ton of backlogged content to get to. Plus, I have some awesome strange links for you at the bottom. Safe for work and you'll want to send them to friends, family and co-workers.

So let's hop right to it, shall we?

Here's an interesting post on voice activated poker. Anyone else dabbled with this?

Voice Activated Poker!!!

I'm not sure if this has been done before but i have recently been feeling the symptons of rsi. have purchased the gyroscopic mouse and tried mouseless keyboard poker but neither really helped with the problem.

so because of rsi and because i'm a lazy bastard I've setup a quick and dirty voice activated poker system using Dragon Speaks Naturally Pro. I say quick and dirty because i have voice macro's setup to press the hotkey i have asigned through the mouseless poker system. (like i said.. lazy bastard)

I currently have it setup to handle 8 tables (4 per monitor), by which i choose by saying "Table One" thru to "Table 8". and the current commands are "fold", "Check", "Call", "bet", "raise", "Reraise", "Auto-Post" and "Deal me out"

For now i guess this is only going to work for limit poker, and there's a half a second delay between saying the command and it happening. since i usally only 4 table i've only tested it 4 tabling and haven't had a problem with timing out. i'll try it out on 4 - 6max tables tomorrow.

Since i was being lazy today i cheated at the setup. i'll try and find some time to setup actual dragon vb scripts to eliminate the virtual keypress that it does right now. and if anyone's interested i'll post them.

Let me know what you guys think

Here's a devil advocates view on poker players and job hunting. I remember watching a poker documentary that featured Robert Varkonyi out interviewing for a job and his poker credentials (such as they are) not helping him.

Pro Poker Players as Job Applicants

As a hiring manager familiar with poker, I have to say I would be very impressed by a college-grad applicant that explained a 2-year gap in employment like this:

"At college I learned to master aspects of the game of poker, and I successfully played poker for a living and continue to do so up to the present time. For various reasons I have decided to apply for this full-time, 'real' job."

I'd be intrigued now, because this candidate employee would have some mastery in aspects of personal discipline, personal psychology, statistics (EV, standard deviation, variance etc), mathematics, money management, risk management, game theory, statistics, finance, general psychology, etc. You get the idea...

A successful player will usually be more attuned to how others think and feel. I like this kind of aptitude in employees who must align personal efforts with the efforts of numerous others in the organization.

Therefore, successful poker players, especially young, trainable, moldable ones, absolutely make the best employees.

All other things being equal, if I have any understanding of poker whatsoever I want young, successful poker players on my team, in business terms.

I might be willing to fund the prospective startup business of a young, winning poker player who can prove the annual poker profits with documentation to back it up.

Accordingly I do not see a 2-year gap on a resume (covered by poker) to be a big negative.

Indeed a college-educated player who does support himself from poker, but is now choosing full-time work.... this type of candidate is probably going to be way more successful than average.

Want to argue against these points? Come and get me.

I've been a long time fan of David's excellent (and underrated) gambling blog, Die Is Cast. He might have one of the coolest jobs around, a Gambling History professor at UNLV.

So I found this nifty interview with David at Vegas Tripping. Check it out.
The VT Interview With David G. Schwartz, UNLV Gaming Historian

David has a fantastic collection of casino carpeting. You should go peruse it if you haven't before.
Notorious casino carpet gallery

Hrm, is the new Hold Em game, Stacked, available yet for xbox? I'm too lazy to google it.
Here's the official Stacked website. And here's one players thoughts:

Subject: Stacked: good for online poker or bad?

I'm still undecided as to whether or not the video game stacked will be
good or bad for medium and low limit (around 30/60 and less) online poker.
For those who aren't familiar with it, "Stacked" is a new video game for
X-Box, PS2 and PC that should be coming out this summer. The game's being
pushed by some big name pros (Negreanu, Harman, Lindgren etc.) and will
have the Poki AI system controlling the computer players. In addition to
this, Negreanu will have a "poker school" included in the game to teach
players Hold'em strategy.

Assuming that the game sells well, do you guys think it will have a good
(i.e. profitable for players at those levels who are currently profitable)
or bad (decrease their profits) for medium and low limit online poker? I
suppose it could have an effect on live poker as well, but I doubt the
effect will be as large since you'll still have to be 21 to enter many
cardrooms. But 3-5 years from now, we may feel the "Stacked" effect there
too in a huge way, since they'll have had 3 years experience against a top
notch poker bot...and likely 3-5 years of online experience too. And yes
I am aware that Poki Academy has been around for some time now and uses
the same (or at least similar) AI, but with this being half the price and
not limited to PCs, with some decent marketing I believe it will have a
substantially larger audience.

So, what are your opinions?

I'm not sure what's up with all the fascination of poker tattoos on RGP but I'm gonna keep documenting them here:

Subject: 40 more posts needed for poker tattoo thread
Author: Howard Beale

I started the poker tattoo threads, now totaling 3. The combined number of posts is up to 60. In order to reach 100 (a personal milestone) 40 more are needed.

Suggested additional topics:

Famous historical persons w/ tattoos.
Strangest tattoo you have ever seen.
Strangest tattooed body part.
Would you vote for a presidential candidate w/ a tattoo?
Do you think Hillary Clinton has a tattoo or two?
What tattoo would suit Hillary?
Which tattoos are considered conservative and which liberal?
Does Antonin Scalia have a tattoo?
Could you see a tattoo on Clarence Thomas?
What is the best color for a poker tattoo and why do so many ppl pick green?

Carry on.

Howard Beale

2005 WSOP runner-up is still blogging away at the official site of David Williams.

Forbes has an interesting slideshow with the the richest gambling magnates in the world.

Funny, but I just read this story by Bob Ciaffone:

A businessman was once leaving the poker table in Las Vegas after having thrown off a nice lump of money. Suddenly he turned and said, "You'll probably laugh at me once I'm out of earshot. I come here three or four times a year and blow off some energy and steam. Whenever I return, you are always sitting here, trying to scratch out a living. You tell me, who's the mug?"

Per playing poker for a living, I saw this post from last month by Josh about poker burnout.
Poker Burn Out

Poker offers such a unique opportunity to make it big doing little, but it comes at a significant emotional and mental cost. Working a 9-5 job may not be the most magnificient thing to do, but for the most part, no matter what job it is, doing it performs a service or benefits society in some way. Admit it or not, that gives us, or at least me, some sort of satisfaction. I lack that satisfaction with poker. Unless its a live game, I don't have any communication with anybody while I'm "working" and when you boil it down, all my "job" consists of is taking other people's money and giving them an ass whooping in return. There is something very unsatisfing about that.

And another insightful, tongue in cheek perspective.

Subject: You CAN succeed at poker!

For anyone who is currently struggling and having doubts about their poker playing ability, I just wanted to offer a few words of encouragement.

I discovered internet poker a couple of years ago. It became an obsession. I was determined to become the best poker player I could possibly be. I studied several books and practiced as much as possible.

My devotion did not have an immediate pay-off, however. I played correctly, as defined by the experts, but I kept losing. This did not discourage me. I kept playing. But, unfortunately, I kept losing.

And money wasn't the only thing I lost. While I was pursuing my dream, I lost my job, my wife, my home, virtually everything but my car and my laptop.

For awhile, I abandoned my dream. I collected unemployment and wallowed in self-pity, missing my wife and kids. But the dream would not die. My life was now radically different -- for the first time in my life I was all alone and practically broke -- but I still had the burning desire to play poker for a living. So I put the past behind me and began playing again, two games at a time, often for as long as 14 hours a day.

It didn't happen overnight and it was a journey with many obstacles, but I am proud to say I did finally achieve my dream. As I sit in this hotel room typing on my old beat up laptop, I have a smile on my face.

I have earned nearly $12,000 playing poker this year.

I did it and so can you. Don't dwell on the bad beats you encounter at the poker table or in life. Stay focused on your goal and don't let anything get in your way. You CAN succeed at poker! I'm living proof. Good luck, everyone.

Which ties in nicely into Dutch Boyd whining about being lonely once and outting himself as a Trekkie fan.

Poor Dutch.

Wil > Dutch

My main man, Howard, asks the question I sometimes wonder about and gets an informed response. Both below:

Who is reading the poker books?
Author: Howard Beale

The last time I was at Barnes & Noble (to buy Harrington's book) I was astonished to see that the poker books were prominently displayed with an entire case to themselves and the covers facing forward right at the front of the store. It was the sort of display you'd expect to see for best sellers. 10 years ago I used to have to look in the games section for the paltry few titles available.

When I went to check out the cashier mentioned that her husband also played poker but she didn't like that he did and, as I guessed, it was because he was losing. When I asked what books he had read on the topic and she answered "none" I went back and
brought her Carson's, one by Krieger and "Zen".

I ask the above question because I just returned from playing, and while I certainly don't just "play by the book" I have read quite a few and do have an appreciation for the concepts that you find in them. I am one of the few, it seems. 90% of the players fling chips all over the place w/o regard for odds, position, other players actions, etc. It's apparent that they've either not read anything on the subject or are just ignoring it. Yet the books are being sold. If the players aren't reading
them then who is?


Seeing as how I am a manager for Barnes & Noble, let me answer this to the
best of my ability.

The numbers that I have seen indicate that a high number of traffic from our
poker section is from the ages of 18-25. Judging from the numbers at my
store, people usually buy two or more poker books at a time, and they
usually peak from May (as WSOP warmup period begins) through November (when
the college games that seem like a great idea at the start of the year start
to break up).

In the end, basically, college students are buying them the way past
generations may have owned a copy of the Communist Manifesto or an Abbie
Hoffman title. They may not ever read them, most probably only get through
2-3 chapters of their purchases, but it makes them look cool.

Those are my opinions, as supported by the numbers in my store.

Interesting. Can I state the obvious and say there's a huge difference between 'reading' and studying?

Why is this site in my bookmarks?

I'm not a fan of people asking to see my mucked cards at the end of a hand. Sure, it's within the rules but I still don't care for it. I understand the implied Tilt factor that this action has, so I try not to let it get under my skin. but here's a guy who enjoys this play so here's his rationalizations along with a follow up comment that I fully concur with.

I've had this argument a million times, with people calling me a cheat, liar, and worse. The bottom line is this: a rule exists. Every player has the option to exercise the right given to them by this rule. If some players choose not to
utilize this right, so be it. However, if they dislike the rule, then dont play
in cardrooms that enforce it. the 'spirit' of the rule is irrelevant. It would
be very simple for them to change the wording of the rule to reflect the
intention of the rule, which is to deter collusion. They dont change the wording
of the rule. Poker is an amoral game. exploit every edge to your advantage.

(as an added bonus, you have just discovered additional powers of this rule: it puts people on tilt, rather quickly. When i find someone who is offended by having their cards shown i make sure to ask them every time they get to showdown. Try it, and watch the chips spew.)


Players with this attitude are disliked. They usually defend themselves
with the remark "I'm not here to make friends."

Guess what: It's working. The problem is that your action will start to dry up.

Players don't like to give action to people they intensely dislike. I think Mike
Caro has made a point of this over and over again.


First of all, if you haven't tried Noble Poker, it's actually a great place to bonus whore.

And NOW - if you sign up through my damn banner or text links, you get a special deal. $800 Signup Bonus! That's pretty damn generous and worth doing. So please sign up thru this humble poker blog for this offer.

But here's that promotion I mentioned earlier:


One skillful player will scoop a $1,000,000 payout in Noble Poker's latest, most unique promotion to date.

All it will take to walk away with the $1,000,000 is for one champion player to win seven consecutive $10 Sit 'n' Go tournaments - easy!

The $1,000,000 challenge will begin on August 1st 2005 - so the countdown to $1,000,000 is ticking.

In addition, Noble Poker will give a $75,000 prize to any player who wins six consecutive Sit 'n' Go tournaments and a $25,000 prize to any player who wins five consecutive Sit 'N' Go tournaments.

The Million Dollar Challenge is Noble Poker's newest promotion, and there is no other online poker venue offering anything like it.

Please visit the Noble Poker site for further details about this amazing promotion:
Noble Poker Challenge

Crazy. A million dollars?

Damn, I still haven't read Barry's new book but I've heard plenty of good things about it. Here's one little anecdote:

Has anyone read Barry Greenstein's new book yet?

It's interesting. I for one liked it quite a bit. Some thoughtful
analysis and some interesting stories. My favorite is when Pug, in a
moment of weakness, asks his girlfriend "Would you still love me if I
were broke?" Her response: "Yes, I would, Pug. And I'd miss you,

I'm a pretty big fan of Amy Calistri over at Poker Pages and not just because I had such a fun phone conversation with her. I admire her for this post, telling it like it is, about Doyle's alleged pump and dump of the WPT stock.
How low will it go?

Good grief, I still have oodles of content. Maybe you'll get a few uber posts this week, if you're lucky.

This one was brought to you by not only Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, but more importantly. by Golden Palace Poker. Please give them a try and support this humble poker blog.

Here we go. Wacky Links.

Again, all safe for work. And I wouldn't be posting them if they weren't, um, interesting.

WTF is this?
Goddess Bunny
Polio victim. Gender-bending marvel. Glamor queen and fetishist's fantasy. The Goddess Bunny - has to be seen to be believed.

Rubber Johnny
This is the creepy video everyone is talking about. Might be the strangest music video I've ever seen. Tip of the Guinness to Helixx for the link.

Rubber Johnny documents a 16-year-old, inbred mutant's solitary existence, locked in a pitch-black basement by his ashamed parents. They are TV addict rednecks who occasionally feed Johnny and yell at him for making noise. Johnny's only company in the basement is his little dog. His dog's I.Q. far outstrips Johnny's, who is a completely insane, bi-polar imbecile. Featuring music by Aphex Twin

From AlCanHang's favorite magazine, Modern Drunkard, comes the wonderful 86 Rules of Boozing. There's more to it than tipping a glass and acting foolish.

Continuing the booze theme, why havent I seen this before?
Here's a drinking game played to the Karl Rove ongoing investigation from White House press briefing by Scott McClellan.

Good Gord - I don't know what the hell this is, but its certainly one of the strangest midget videos I've ever seen. And that's saying a lot.

Damn, what the hell did we do before the internet? I can't even remember anymore.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Link of the Day:
Dead Puppies Aren't Much Fun
I'm not going to read anything by PETA Kills Animals until they concoct publicity stunts involving semi-nude models.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Someone told me I should repost my Aruba poker trip report. And so I'm gonna do that while I tackle an uber post.

So here it is - from almost exactly a year ago.

Repost brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker.
If you aren't playing there, you are deeply and profoundly retarded.
Sign up now.


Me, at the Aruba poker tables

The above is 'Fucking River' in Spanish. And yes, I said it often.

I'm way behind on everything but I'm settling in with a few many Beck's Darks and am gonna rip this banal, navel-gazing post out, for better or for worse. Please excuse my lame attempt at writing up my trip and let's just hope I get back to my normal uber-posts sometime this week. I just need to write this up as fast as I can.

Damn, I don't even know where to start. Last week was a fast one for news: Islamic extremists crossing a new line of evil, killing hundreds of children in Russia. Mudslides in S. Carolina. Clinton a-ok after major heart surgery. ("He's sedated, but arousable"). A 6.9 quake rocked Japan.

And hurricanes. Allow me to paint a picture for you of my last evening in Aruba. Hurricane Ivan was on it's way and everything was closed up or shut down. Arubans were twitchy and dumbfounded and that alone made me nervous. A hurricane, much less a category 4 storm, had not hit this lovely island in nearly 200 years.

But the wife and I decide to head out in the evening. It was our last night, after all. The hurricane wasn't supposed to 'hit' until early morning so we made some calls and discover that only the Allegro and Radisson (poker room there) are open. The wife and I head to the Allegro with intentions of my teaching her how to play craps after my WSOP lessons with Hank.

Sadly, not enough dealers showed up for work on this historic Hurricane evening so the craps table was shut down. I reluctantly sat down at a blackjack table for about 20 minutes before my lovely lady taps my shoulder and says, "Screw this, go cash out and play poker."

Di rules.

So she drops me off at the Radisson. The weather is getting very ugly now - the main coastal road is entirely washed out and the beaches are under water due to the relentless pounding surf.

I walk down the huge half-open-air lobby to the casino entrance only to find it locked. Ouch! But then I hear a Southern twangy voice call out to me, "Come on over, the poker game has been moved here!"

I look over and find the Aruban senior poker dealer dealing to what turns out to be five American guys on a big coffee table with bottles of rum, wine and whisky strewn about. They were drinking heavily, smoking bigass honking Cuban cigars, stacking giant stacks of ten dollar chips and looked to be having the time of their life.

"You've got to be kidding me," I utter.

The leader of this gregarious crew shouts out, "This is the only game in town and we're gambling like it's our last night on Earth, which very well may be true with the fucking Hurricane on the way!"

Egads, I think. I can't make this shit up. My 'sane' internal voice tells me to get the fuck out of this open air lobby and back to the resort, where my odds of living are far better.

But my internal IGGY voice bitchslaps the voice of reason and I hear myself say, "If that booze is available to all players, deal me in boys," and they all cheered loudly.

Buy the ticket, take the ride, as HST says.

It was a 10.20 game but spread limit, meaning you could bet 20 on the flop. I buy in for $500 and attempt to get a handle on the situation. We had the Aruba dealer, a highly skilled dealer and player who spoke eight languages and was living evidence that there wasn't any shortage of food on this island.

There was an extremely cool lawyer from Chicago, dubbed Buck, who was around my age.

There were two brothers from Arkansas who I'll get to later.

The only fish (besides me, perhaps) was a shaved head Manhattanite weighted down by massive gold jewelry and a thick wallet. This guy ended up so drunk that he kept pounding the big oak table with his fists after losing nearly every showdown, flecking his white cufflinks with blood.

After settling in with a cold beer and a fat Cohiba, I decided to play raise or fold just to show I wasn't going to be muscled by this deep stacked crew. Suffice to say, the deck hit me in the face and I was racked up over $1500 by the time midnight rolled around. The only huge pot of many that I can remember scooping was when I flopped quad tens and got raised all the way down to the river. Amazing.

It turns out that the two brothers have lived in Aruba for over four years and were instrumental in opening the poker room at the Radisson and now made their livings as poker consultants. The older one, a hilarious, outrageously gregarious and likeable guy turned out to be a huge country and alt.country fan. Hell, he even loved The Gourds. It turned out he had a beautiful baritone and serenaded us the entire evening, resonating nicely in the empty lobby.

Quite frankly, it was a great bunch of guys. Erudite conversation, heavy boozing and poker make for about as pleasant an evening as I can dream up.

At 3.30 AM, Hurricane Ivan finally swept by the island. It's presence was immediately felt and heard. As the winds roared and the palm trees bent, we in turn stood up, faced the Wind and drunkenly roared, "Fuck you Ivan!" - sat down and resumed playing. Eventually the water was up perhaps 6 inches on the lobby floor so we just played barefooted and used heavier card protectors than normal. Mine was a bottle of Balashi beer.

When the storm ferocity was at it's highest, Jeanick, the dealer asked if we should move to another area of the lobby. I affected my best Merle Haggard imitation and slowly drawled, "I think I'll just stay here and drink," causing much hooting and hollering.

Arkansas man sang that song to me all night, after that.

I can't possibly explain how surreal this experience was, sitting and playing poker during the hurricane. It defies explanation. If I had the time I could perhaps write up a fine short story of this historic once-in-a-lifetime poker game. I'll add it to my to-do list, damnit.

I ended up the big winner in the game, thankfully. This more than made up for my huge loss in my first night of Aruban poker which I'll get to.

The big loser was the charming NYC fellow, who apparently had more money than God. The first few times he reloaded, he did it due to sheer drunkeness - which was dumb, but at least I understood it. The last times he dug in (he lost close to $2500) it was sheer stubberness and an understanding that a Hurricane poker game is not one you easily get up and walk away from.

But the man was a fishhead, a creature without many cells. He was like one of those big lizards running around on the island that never feels any pain when you rip off its tail, or one of its legs - or even its head, as they do down in Venezuela - because it will all grow back by dawn, and nobody will know the difference.

The game finally busted up at 7 AM. The boys staggered upstairs to NYC's room, where he had offered up Carib ganja. I deferred and decided to try to find my way back home. This proved to be extremely difficult with the roads completely flooded and all cabs banned from working. But that's another story.

I wanted to write this quick addendum, more for myself, even though it is a fascinating sidenote to this tale. The Arkansas brothers were wild guys. I wish I could move down there and hang out with them on a full-time basis. There was much talk about Aruban banking procedures and florin versus the American dollar exchange rates and how these things work in reality among other random tidbits. Because both had highly unique first names, I decided to Google them and discovered why they had likely left the states in the first place. Some crazy shit.

I feel like a tard even trying to describe this evening. Honestly, I've played in too many poker games to count but I'll never, ever forget that one.

Alrighty then, enough on my last night of poker in Aruba. Time to move on.

Take a seat at the table - Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker!
It's where I play 98% of the time.
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As I previously mentioned, I have explored many a sunny Carib island over the years. Most of these islands, especially the larger ones, have some staggering poverty. I fully expected Aruba, with it's population of 90,000, to have the same.

Negative. Nada. No poverty. An island of wealthy and middle-class. And incredibly educated people, far beyond American standards.

All Arubans speak at least four languages. English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamento, a local dialect. Most speak six or seven, adding Portuegese, Italian and German. It's incredible. The island is owned by the Dutch and uses their school systems. Also, most Arubans are college-educated - all can attend university for free in Holland.

I knew something was different when the first cab that picked me up was a Mercedes.

There are no road signs in Aruba. Twice my wife and I were pulled over on the side of the road, consulting a map, (as it were) when an Aruban pulled up next to us and offered to drive us to where we were going. Unbelievable. It's a very authentic hospitality thing that Arubans pride themselves on.

The windsurfing was outstanding due to the Trade winds. The snorkeling and diving were both above average. I actually came face to face with a fish larger than me for the first time, which was quite an adrenaline rush. Hello, 5 foot great barracuda!

Hrm, I know you all came here for photos of the Creative Bathing Suits worn by the beautiful women at Aruba but I need to recap the poker scene real quick. But here's one fer ya:

Oh the Humanity

There are currently three poker rooms - The Holiday Inn, The Radisson and the brand-new Wyndham (opening nite was on Wednesday). I played my first night at the Holiday Inn. They offered a nightly $25 no-limit tourney with unlimited rebuys for the first hour, coupled with an add-on. The dealers were awful and the place was pretty much a dump, but not any worse than say, Caeser's in Indiana.

Marta, the poker room manager, was very knowledgable and friendly. It was just her employees that sucked. Example:

me to the dealer: "when is the add-on?"
dealer response: "whenever Marta says so."

Um, ok.

Also, they doubled the blinds every TEN minutes after the first hour in the tourney. Wow, that's fun.

What was REALLY annoying, though, was the guy sitting to my left in the $2-$5 blinds pot-limit game I sat in after the tourney. It was a very juicy game, with perhaps two solid players sitting. This no-necked bastard was the type that when the money got allin, would start SCREAMING for his cards to come, complete with fist punching in air and gloating post suckout.

But hell, it worked for him. He sucked out on me three times and I dropped over $800 in the game. It was a little bit of a gutcheck for me - I prefer loose, aggressive games above all others and this game was the epitome of that. And I got my ass handed to me. It was at this table that I learned the operative phrase, MALDITO RIO!

They play everything in Aruba. Be forewarned. It's like 50.1 on Party Poker. Suited J3 under the gun? Of course. 39 SOOTED? That's gold.

It didn't help matters that I discovered late in the evening that FOUR family members were playing at my table. And forget about the English Only rule - it doesn't apply. It's all Spanish, baby.

And that was that, with the Holiday Inn. I had been told the Radisson was the nice room in town and hence, that's where I spent the remainder of my poker time. A very nice room with friendly, competent dealers. And many, many newbie players.

And just to show the international power of the poker blogs, someone down there has obviously been reading the PokerGrub. There was a large sign declaring:

Win With the Worst
Lose With the Best
Players who have a 2/7 offsuit in their hand and win the hand - and players who have two aces in the hand lose - each receive $100.

The Power of The Hammer. For the record, I saw this won twice.

The Radisson games were even more loose than the Holiday Inn. I have a ton of anecdotes about these games, but this post is dragging on enough as it is. I am happy to report that I booked a win in 3 of the 4 long sessions I played there.

Oh yeah, two quick notes: the Radisson tables had a black box thingy embedded into the table right in front of the dealer. They would hit a button and the opening would slide open, they would put a deck of cards in it, hit another button and it would submerge into the table. They'd deal, gather up the cards, hit the button, grab the newly electronically shuffled cards and stick the old deck in. Pretty slick and sped the games up a lot.

One cool thing - Marta, the Holiday Inn poker room manager, snuck into the Radisson to play poker late on a Friday nite. The place erupted as every dealer and regular player obviously knew her. It was her first time ever playing there. As fate would have it, she was seated to my right and provided a littany of juicy info about the local games that I am not privy to blog about. She became quite irritated at all the players/dealers who kept coming up to talk to her. As she put it, "I should have worn a fucking hat."

She actually called Aruba poker, "Not real poker," in the sense that it's 7 to 8 handed to every flop. I didn't disagree with her and kept right on folding in Party Poker grinding fashion.

It's funny how that first evenings poker loss forced me to learn, to think, to ponder game conditions, table image, family members possibly softplaying each other, starting hand values in an incredibly loose game. And perhaps, most important - the essence of Gambling. That word, that one word, does something to people. Gambling. It makes you excited or angry or sad or elated or whatever the fuck - but it means SOMETHING to you. You probably wouldn't be reading my humble poker blog if not so. It recalls an unforgetable anecdote, a thrilling triumph, a crushing defeat. It suggests romance and danger and, naturally, risk and reward. It means engaging life - sometimes courageously, sometimes foolishly - and not seeking refuge in the safe and secure.

Taking a chance.

But honestly, I saw SO many gambling attempts at the poker table (I only heard the phrase Pot Odds ONCE in all of my table time) this past week that it didn't take much of an adjustment to start beating these games. I think poker on television has driven many hapless players to the table who simply want to experience a rush. And these folks are coming in droves from the craps tables. The roulette tables. It doesn't matter to them.

The chilling Spanish term for whatever interior disorder drives the gambling addict back again and again to the enslaving Action is tecato gusano, which apparently connotes some kind of interior psychic worm that cannot be sated or killed. I first met this Worm through acquaintances while living in Vegas in the 90's.

And in that vein, I learned a few things on this vacation:

That you do not have to like a person to learn from him or her. That it is possible to learn valuable things from a stupid or ignorant person.

That there is such a thing as raw, agendaless kindness.

That different people have radically different ideas of basic personal hygiene at the poker table.

Damn, I wish I had taken notes during my stay in Aruba, but hell, we didn't even bring a camera. I know I'm missing some good stories. At the very least, taking some photos of the Hurricane Poker Game would have been priceless.

Sigh. I hate writing shitty posts like this but I suppose it comes with the territory. Lack of time is preventing me from proofing or giving this a proper re-write that it deserves. Have mercy on me, gentle reader. I'll be back in typical poker blogging fashion in a few days.

Did I mention that our house-sitter infected my machine with some nasty SpyWare during our absence? I can't even read my beloved poker blogs yet. My machine is riddled and useless right now. So thanks for humoring this post. We'll return to our regular scheduled poker blogging when I can repair my puter.

Thanks to anyone reading this drivel. Let me leave you with one final thought:


Link of the Day:
How Dry I Am
The Alcohol without Liquid vaporizer fills your respiratory system with thousands of microdroplets of rotgut. "We accept no liability for the use, misuse or abuse of this product."

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

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