Thursday, January 12, 2006
"I don't particularly give a shit about trying to beat moderately tough poker games. I'd rather stay home and jerk off."
Hell, I wanted to have the time to uber it up for everyone but I'm running out of time. I'm gonna pound out a quick post here before heading South for some poker tournaments and satellites.
I've been playing non-stop poker since Christmas. Much of this was spurred on by the awfulness of the holidays, but also, because I received one of those new-fangled 60gig video Ipods. Oh my - now I have both a cell phone AND an Ipod. I'm ashamed to be shedding my luddite ways. I think the Four Horseman are brushing off their saddles as I write this.
You'd think I'd have some tales to tell after all these hours at the boat.
And you'd be right.
There's one fine story about my "designated driver" at Caesars, Indiana, getting butt-hammered and projectile vomiting all over the escalators, effectively shutting them down for 24 hours - but I promised not to blog that sordid tale.
There was also my 14 hour session at a 20.40 table on New Years Eve in which I won perhaps two pots. I often cringe when I hear otherwise well-intentioned poker players say they hate playing against Fish. As I've said before, I love loose games like a fat kid loves cake. But this New Years Eve was unfuckingbelievable.
Shit happens, as they say in rural Indiana, and you don't always need music to play musical chairs. In this poker world where money always talks and the sharks never sleep, and the difference between winning and losing is on the turn of a card, I relished the irony that I was bringing in the New Year on tilt.
So much for wisdom. Poker is full of smart fools who won't learn, and on some nights I am one of them. I have gone down with more ships than Captain Ahab over all this time of playing fucking poker. And even though I'm hanging tough, I'm also getting somewhat tired of it. It was especially tiring on New Years Eve - getting out on the high seas with silly fools who hammer holes in the bottom of the ship and call it smart.
Delicious irony, indeed.
So it's been a grim few weeks here at Guinness and Poker. Well hell, that's not entirely true - I've truly enjoyed the massive time spent at the tables, I just haven't enjoyed my results.
Quick anecdote before moving along: Caesers in Indiana now is the biggest poker room in between Las Vegas and Atlantic City. 33 tables and they're still expanding. They were spreading just about everything up to 50.100.
Bah, efff my pithy poker update - let's pick some low-hanging poker fruit for any of my faithful readers still hoping to Destroy Some Workplace Productivity. That's what I'm here for, after all.
Otis was featured in the final series of audio broadcasts at Card Player. It's fairly obvious that he's a pro. Check out these segments from WPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. There's an additional five segments from the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. I personally enjoyed the Greg Raymer and Mike Matasow piece, as well as Mr. Otis. Check it out.
Speaking of Mike Matasow, here's a Superb poker blog entry by the esteemed Terrance Chan, writing about sitting and playing with Mike:
PCA side action and playing with The Mouth
Let's do some WSOP news, shall we? I have the WSOP on the brain right now. Looking at firing up some blogger WPBT WSOP tourneys here shortly. Announcement pending. But for now, here's the latest news on the brand-spanking-new WSOP "Commissioner", Jeffrey Pollack. Hoist of the Guinness to The Rooster for the link.
Commish brings in change
Interesting article, as it also mentions the new poker players advisory council which was unveiled to consist of 1998 World Champion Scotty Nguyen, 2000 World Champion Chris "Jesus'' Ferguson, 2004 WSOP Player of the Year Daniel Negreanu, and bracelet winners Howard Lederer, Robert Williamson III and Jennifer Harman.
Of course, not everyone was happy with the announcement of a 50k WSOP HORSE event as evidenced by this cranky post by cranky RGP'r, Arlo Payne.
Subject: WSOP 50K horse event - Harrah's fucks up one more time
A 50K horse event for the WSOP is truly a step in the wrong direction. A 50K new event for the WSOP is just to big of a jump. It will do nothing but draw away from the 10K main event and in time will cost Harrah's money.
The 50K event is just a way for a few "TV" pros to protect their little dream land. It also goes against the heart and soul of the WSOP.
As expected just when things are going great Harrah's finds a way to fuck it all up. But then the WSOP has not been the same since Jack allowed the brain-dead Becky to get her hands on the casino and the WSOP.
Those that have been around for sometime will remember just how great the WSOP was when Jack ran it. The players were never treated better and it was a true meeting of all concerned each year. It was a festival event loved by all.
Just look back at what Becky did to the WSOP and take a look at how Harrah's has turned it into nothing more than one more money grabbing tournament. Good grief just look at what they have done to food comps as an example not to mention room rates.
Well back to the 50K problem:
A 50K event is nothing more than an effort by the "TV PROS" to get back in the spot light. They just can't stand the truth that they do not walk on water nor raise the dead. There are a ton of great no limit players these days. In the past no limit was not played much and the tournament pros had a edge but those days are gone because so many now play the game daily. (I have written about this before and if anyone is interested a little search should provide information) The only chance they have to stay in the spot light is to try and raise the buy-in to a point that will lock out most of the good players in the world that have not hit the lotto by winning a major event allowing them to have the funds to buy into a 50K event.
It was not long ago when even Danny boy was sweating buy-ins for $1000 events. I remember in 2002 when a $500 event was a big deal to him. (CA championship Holdem-Omaha event where we both were at the final table). If they had any brains they would make the horse event a 10K event the first year then review it and determine just how and if it should become the championship event.
This panel of 6 is also insane. Once again just a handful looking out for what is good for them and not the game of poker (My God did I really make a reference to "for the good of poker").
This new mode of trying to price tournaments beyond the average good player will have a very bad effect on poker in general if it is allowed to continue. As with these million dollar buy-in events do you people really think they are on the up and up? You can bet there are more deals taking place than in a 100 table cardroom.
The size of ones pocketbook should not determine who is the best players. If that is what they truly want it is clear Bill Gates is by far the best player. We will just have a 100 billion dollar buy-in event.
At one point in time I had high hopes for the WSOP under Harrah's but now it looks like just one more carpetbagger grab fest.
I have so much crazy good content I don't even know where to go from here.
Hell, there's always the drunken standby:
Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit.
Hey, it amuses me. I gotta take my amusements where I can get em these days.
Also, April is running a HORSE tourney on the 21st on Full Tilt. Oughta be a hoot.
Reason #1 you should play at Full Tilt Poker, despite the server crashes. From RGP:
This is a followup to the Full Tilt crashing posts you've all been seeing. To keep a long story semi-short, here is a freeroll parlay for the ages:
1. Joined Full Tilt through an affiliate and played a freeroll
2. Second place in the freeroll, netting $220
3. Over a period of about two weeks, played SnGs and various tourneys pushing
the total to around $550
4. Won a $75 token in a SnG
5. Played a nightly $75 tourney, taking second, netting $2300
6. Decided last minute to play the Sunday $200K guarantee
7. Around 7:10 PST I am chip leader with 39 left and their server crashes.
Their policy pays me the 1st place money: $63,448
Four weeks, from zero (and a freeroll) to just under $66,000 in the Full Tilt account. Lucky, lucky, lucky. But amazing nonetheless. Don't hate me.
Here's a humorous article about an 18 yr old high school dropout - poker millionaire.
Local Teen Finds Success In Online Gambling
And, of course, everyone knows about PokerStars and their pending float/sale.
Family stand to net $2bn from their online gamble
And for all the folks who think poker is currently on the decline, think again.
2006 Tournament Season is off to a Fast Start
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2005
Number of Players: 461
Number of Days: 2
First Prize: $890,000
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2006
Number of Players: 700+
Number of Days: 6 (5 Playing Days, but Day 1 is split)
First Prize: $1,250,000+
Should be an interesting 2006. Over/under on 10,000 players in the WSOP Main Event, anyone?
Speaking of poker & its premature death, Lou Krieger offered his two cents:
Subject: Re: "Poker's Hot Streak Fading" from CNN
Author: Lou Krieger
I don't agree with the Reuters analysis at all, and discussed it yesterday on my blog, http://loukrieger.blogspot.com. The sale of poker chip sets and an oversaturation of poker on TV are not evidence of a declining interest in the game. To use those proxy measures to assess whether poker itself if rising or falling doesn't get to the heart of the issue. I think Reuters swung and missed, but you can read my analysis ansd see whether you agree or
Poker industry expert, Wayno, agreed.
I agree with Lou.
Also, a lot of this merchandise was pretty lame -- on the Chia Pet level. (In fact, it is pretty much on the same shelf). Also, there is the "everybody has one" problem -- once everybody has a set of chips, etc, sales are naturally going to drop off --
especially if they way over-produced this stuff.
Monday Night Football was a huge fad when it first started. Lately it ended (at least on ABC)... after 30-some years. This is actually a more typical model for fads-- most don't suddenly blow over and end (as we think) rather, they tend to plateau out and continue on with a strong following.
There is also a big divide (in poker) between TV viewers and players. There are viewers who wouldn't be caught dead playing the game, and players who wouldn't be caught dead watching it on TV. It's almost like two separate groups. This thing could fall off the screen dramatically as a TV watching fad, yet continue strong as a participant fad.
Just my 2 cents
Want some funky hologram poker sunglasses ala Greg Raymer? They've got over 30 styles at Poker Frames.
From the Nobody Ever Loses Money Playing Online Poker Department, I happened upon a thread at FCP and it appears that everyone who plays online poker and reads poker message boards wins. 2005 poker results
Chuck Humphrey has one of the best legal/gambling web sites around. Here's his latest news:
Subject: Legislative Proposal: Player Protection
Bob Ciaffone and I are making a proposal for new legislation to protect players from prosecution when they play in recreational games such as poker. The text of the proposed legislation and the supporting explanation of why this law is needed are on the net here:
We would appreciate any comments you may have.
And because I so dearly love the OverHeard in New York website, I offer this off-topic snippet from Gary Carson.
Subject: OT Overheard at a coffee shop
A conversation between three apparant female U. of Ok. students overheard at a Barnes and Noble coffee shop in Norman, Oklahoma
Woman 1. I've never slept with a foreigner, not even in high school.
Woman 2. I was bad in high school.
Woman 3. I slept with a guy from Little Rock once.
This next RGP thread was long and kinda funny. I suspect the original poster was trolling, but egads, lots of retarded me-too's. Anyway, I agreed fully with Mr. Hutchinson's retort. Both posted below:
Subject: Why are poker players such assholes???
Not all of them of course but as a whole what a Jerk Store. Nothing wrong with being confident, but please. Anyone else agree?
Almost as bad as photographers.
I've met many very nice people at the poker tables.
Reading this thread, I have come to marvel that my experience has been so unique.
Anyway, assuming that others are correct and that poker players are mostly pompous, arrogant, mean-spirited, churlish, etc., the question arises as to whether people become this way by playing poker or people who are naturally this way become poker players.
In other words, it may be that those who assume poker causes this behavior are like those who have noticed how many towns are named after nearby water towers.
For all you old RGP'rs, here's a fine retrospective.
Subject: RGP 1999 Who was posting then?
Here is a holiday greeting from Steve Badger who pretty much tells us who the major posters were back in 1999.
Dec 21 1999,
Subject: Some Internet end of the year thanks...
" A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear."
To NewJane1, Pokerkat1, PSugarTess, Llew213, BethEven (rhymes with seven), and Diane from five-miles-north-of-Big-Suamico for some balance in the boys club
To Lee Munzer for... for... wait a minute... uhh...
To Mike Caro for this gem I haven't been able to use yet: "My wife Phyllis is a great gal."
To Steve BIA for his always thoughtful posts and California/Hollywood Park perspective.
To Steve BIA for his two contributions to the Widows & Orphans Fund at HP Omaha tournaments this year.
To Liveone and Sayles for being good guys.
To Topset for tolerating Liveone.
To Gary Carson, the sig king, for never fearing to feed me straight lines.
To Tom McEvoy for he knows what.
To Dolly, Phil, Layne, Mark, Paul, John and others for dropping by once in awhile.
To Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Emmylou Harris, The Clash, The Sonics and dozens of others for making Omaha bearable.
To Daniel NegreaNaNooNaNoo for reminding all that trying to be a better poker player is a process to be proud of.
To Mike Paulle for being the biggest target in poker, and for the highly compensated honor of being his press agent.
To John AD Cervanyk and Ashley for wearing the union label.
To current troika members Jaeger/Ed/Jeff for reminding me Sam Grizzle isn't the only mean spirit in poker.
To Jaeger, ROWDY, THEPRO, MrHeadsUpMyButt and the cowardly aolers for reminding me of the relationship between anonymity and irresponsibility.
To Jim Geary for the CAPSLOCK tell laugh.
To Maverick for continuing to do whatever he is currently doing.
To Barbara Yoon for figuring stuff out.
To Tom Weideman for many (mostly) good things to talk about.
To Bill Chen for a definition of variance I will always have handy.
To Gary...Philips for the mucker's perspective.
To Rick Nebiolololo, Greg Raymer, Tom Haley, and all persons named Feeney for occasionally coming over from 2+2, particularly to annoy Carson.
To Iceman for a lot of good topics, and for Academy Award-winning Carson irritation.
To Mason Malmuth for 44.
To Chuck Humphrey for some good sense, and for teaching me how to turn the Internet on.
To Mike Sexton for giving Chuck something to do.
To mredge, Omaha8Buff, Krmin and other Omahaites for a lot of interesting discussions.
To SteadyEdO for his voice from the desert.
To Al Gore for inventing the Internet.
To Gary/Abdul/Mason for a "Love Story" to rival the Al/Tipper one.
To Rounder and Big John Hartzell for freely sharing their advice and their showering tips.
To John Harkness for the movie critic's view on poker.
To TIGER123 for traveling all over hell and answering the rules questions.
To the Biloxi/Tunica/SargeMarge folks for a poker perspective from somewhere I've never been.
To Lee Munzer for... uh, it's coming to me....
To David Sklansky for reminding me that though you may usually be right, you can be hopelessly wrong sometimes, and that before endorsing shit you should see that it works.
To Irish Mike for carrying the flag of that some-cards-up and some-cards-down game.
To Wayne Cowey (I think it was) for teaching me about killfiles which has lead to me only reading two of Doug Grant's posts all year.
To Russ Fox for keeping me posted on how many times he sees a hand overlooked in Stud8.
To Andrew Prock because always "it depends."
To Patri and AaMarkHays for being twin sons of different mothers.
To lurkers everywhere for no longer asking me "what's the deal with that idiot, Maverick?"
To Jack Fox and Jim Meehan for proving all niceguy attorneys are exactly the same.
To YA Tittle, Noam Chomsky, Gram Parsons, Jimmy Cliff and the immortal John Eddie for sigs even better than Gary's.
And to Honus Wagner for being the only card-carrying Wobbly in major league baseball history.
"Happy Christmas, Yoko. Happy Christmas, John."
There were plenty of nominations for posts of the year in RGP. Ackbleh got the nod for the information contained in this thread.
need advice: defeating the 1/2 NL game
Random playing card factoid: The extra "Joker" card is believed to have been invented by American Euchre players who, when modifying the rules sometime during the 1860's, decided that an extra trump card was required. Originally he was called "The Best Bower" and then later "The Jolly Joker".
These Jokers, or extra cards, were first introduced into American packs around 1863, but took a little longer to reach English packs, around 1880. One British manufacturer (Chas Goodall) was manufacturing packs with Jokers for the American market in the 1870s.
Man, I've learned this the hard way. Nuff said. Listen to Howard, damnit.
Subject: Lend substantial money and risk losing a friend
If you hang out in a B&M room long enough you're going to get hit up for money. Let me save some of you newer players or internet players who may move into B&M play. If you lend substantial money, money that 'counts', prepare to lose the 'friend' that you lend it to. I suppose that you can lend online as well and that might be even worse but it's tougher to say no when your hard-up friend is standing in front of you.
BTW: Does anybody know the statute of limitations for a poker debt, re-acknowledged every year? No witnesses.
ps. Poker debts for sale, 75% off. Respond to email above. You'll have to dig them up yourselves.
pps. Poker debt story told to me by a very reliable player not prone to exaggeration:
He lent money to a player who ducked and dodged him for a year then disappeared for 3 years. He wrote it off. One day he walks into his regular poker room and the player he lent the money to comes rushing up from out of no where and says:
"I need 2 more weeks."
Too damn funny. I also heard this story:
I was dealing to Dave "Devil Fish " Uliot in Tunica at a tournament. One newer player at the table was awestuck by him and asking a lot of questions. Finally the newbie asked, "Do you ever lend other players money?"
Dave replied in a totally straight-faced manner, " Not anymore. I lent a guy money for plastic sugery one time and now I can't find him".
I love posts like the following. I don't know why, but I truly do.
Subject: Fuck this poker shit
Fuck this poker shit. What a joke. Can't buy a goddamn hand to save by 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 all.
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.
Oh the humanity.
And dude, there's NO bad beat story that starts with "I had KJ".
And this guy got flamed. Not having cable, I can't offer any opinions on this.
Subject: Annie Duke Developments
I'm sure this has been posted before but Annie Duke has definitely had work done. I confirmed this by watching the WPT event last night from over a year ago. She was quite flatchested and now she is looking quite cuppy.
Moving quickly along, I used to play a buncha pinball back in the day. Sure wouldn't mind having this sucker sitting in my office.
Subject: Coming soon, the WPT pinball machine, the ultimate basement toy
Stern pinball, the only surviving pinball machine manufacturer left in the world, has licensed the WPT theme for a pinball machine. It's expected to be available for purchase in the next few months. Price tag shipped will probably be around $4k.
Here's a link to the first known picture/description of the game that's been
If any RGPer actually has interest in one of these, but has never owned a pinball machine before, feel free to drop me a line for advice. I don't sell them myself but know reputable distributors as well as the basic care and feeding of one of these toys.
I saw this on another forum and thought anyone going to Vegas would like this review of the new daily tourney at Caesers.
I played in one of the daily Caesar's tourney's here in LV.
Here are my impressions:
1) One of the best structures for a daily tourney in Las Vegas
2) $80 for 1500 chips and $50 for an additional 3,000
3) Lot's of time, 40 minute rounds
4) Payout structure was a little too flat (they paid 10 of 50). I'd rather see
fewer paid more $$$.
5) 50 players for a weekday is pretty good. Hopefully they can get it up to 100
6) The room is really nice, comfy, and fairly quiet
7) Tourney director (lady with reddish hair) was very player friendly
All in all, it is the best daily live tourney situation in LV for under $200.00
Yea, I made the money.....comments above are based on my observations not my
Aw hell, I gotta wrap this up. Time to hit the road. Sorry for awful tangential nature of this post, but it is what it is. I hope to return to form next week.
I've heard nothing but good things about Tunica. Let's hope it's all true.
There was a lot of gnashing of teeth in RGP about the best post of 2005. Frankly, it was the worst year ever for this venerable newsgroup so there really wasnt much to choose from. But I'm picking Ed Hill's post and sticking it here for you. Enjoy.
I saw a post by Edward Hutichinson on what percentage of poker players are
actually winners and I have written a few columns in the past pertaining
to this and thought I would share them with you.
The Loser’s Song
Ever wonder why people tell those awful bad beat stories that we all have
to listen to? Losers need to tell bad beat stories, winners on occasion
tell them also, but it mainly the job of the losing players.
When you take into account the effect of the winning players and the rake;
you have a high percentage of losing players. These people know they are
losers and they also know that you know they are losers. What is going on
when a loser is telling a successful player a bad beat story is; You see,
I would be a winning player just like you if it wasn’t for all this hard
luck that follows me around. Listen to this one if you don’t think that I
am the unluckiest thing that ever walked the face of the Earth. There is a
need to convince other people that they are a winning player. But the
problem is they know we know they are not winning players. You know what
comes immediately after somebody starts telling their tale of woe, the
I am so unlucky, listen to this one, and this one, and then there was this
one. You see I would be a winner just like you except for the fact that I
am so unlucky. Do you think you could loan me a $1,000 or stake me in this
game? They are singing the “Loser’s Song.”
You must realize that when you loan a loser money that in all likelihood
you are NEVER going to see that money again. How in the world is a loser
ever going to turn things around good enough to pay his bills and be able
to afford to pay you back? It isn’t going to happen. The higher you play
the bigger the bite. You have probably made friends with this person, the
minute you loan him money that will be the end of the friendship. This
person will now start avoiding you because he doesn’t want you nagging him
about paying you back. Or he doesn’t want to have to look you in the eyes
it makes him feel bad about himself. Either way, you are going to be out
the money you loaned him.
Over the last 20 years when somebody starts singing the “Loser’s Song” to
me, I tell them right away, “ I don’t loan money.” They immediately get
irritated “I wasn’t going to ask you for money.” Then they leave. Two real
good things happened here.
1. I didn’t have to listen to the Loser’s Song.
2. I didn’t loan them any money.
Then there are groups of losers that congregate to form a chorus and sing
the “Loser’s Song” together. They sit around all day and tell each other
all the horrible things that have happened to them. They are a bunch of
sad people that are all addicted gamblers and the old saying “misery loves
company” applies to the whole group.
It would be too much hard work to actually study all the material that is
available and really work on their game and improve. It is easier to sit
around and whine about how unlucky they are. Which reminds me; What’s the
difference between a dog and a poker player? In ten years or so the dog
Singing the “Loser’s Song” is bad for your game. It creates negative
energy and I want positive energy around me. Bad beats happen to good
players, they are part of the game. When you have somebody set over set
and there is one card to come you do not own the whole pot, you own 43/44
of the pot. The guy that has the under set owns 1/44 of the pot. The
dealer is now going to turn over one card and one of us is going to get
the entire pot. Every time you win this pot you are thinking to yourself,
“I had the best hand and I was supposed to win the pot.” The one time in
44 that you actually lose, you are running around telling everybody the
nightmare that just happened to you. You have to consider that the 43
times out of 44 you won in this situation you won a little more money than
you actually had coming and this extra money is to be used to pay for the
one time that you didn’t win. Say the pot is $880. If we were to divide
the pot right now and not turn over the last card:
The top set would get (880) (43/44) = $860
The under set would get (880) (1/44) = $20
Therefore each time you actually win this pot you are making $20 that you
didn’t have coming, it belonged to the other guy. Rather than divide the
pot we are going to turn over one more card and the winner is going to get
the entire pot.
So listen to this one, you won’t believe it. Really you are not going to
believe it. Sometime in the late 70’s I was playing $10-$20 at the Golden
Nugget. The dealer is dealing and exposes a King, which becomes the burn
card. Capped before the flop and it is AA vs. KK. The flop comes A-K-4
rainbow therefore the Kings are drawing dead. The pot is now heads up and
the set of Aces can not possibly lose.
The cocktail waitress was standing behind the dealer with a tray of
drinks, somebody at the table behind her scooted back in their chair and
banged her. She lost control of the tray and actually hit the dealer in
the back of the head, he dropped the deck and the tray hit the middle of
the table. We all got drenched! Now the entire deck is sitting in the
middle of the table. Now the deck gets reshuffled and the dealer burns and
turns. You guessed it, the river was a King! Now this guy has a bad beat
story that is actually worth listening to!
The Poker Zone
There is a very special place reserved for great players only, sometimes
average players visit when they are running good, but they are not allowed
to stay until they become great players. It can be a lot like the twilight
zone, because it is located in our minds and we call it the poker zone.
This is not an easy place to visit we have to learn all the tools that
winning players utilize first. These tools can be found is Sklansky’s
“Theory of Poker.” The next step is trying to figure out the right moment
to utilize all the concepts that winning poker players use without using
the wrong one at the wrong time. This takes a long time of being in
repetitious situations but our timing does get better over time. If you
have really studied “Theory of Poker” and have studied a good “how to”
book on the game of your choice you will have developed a better feel.
Only time teaches us on when to bet a certain hand again against this type
of player and to take the free card that is being offered you against that
type of player. There are many situations like this in all forms of poker.
I lived in Vegas from 1976 until 2004 when I finally moved to Los Angeles.
I just made a trip back to Vegas and visited one of my old friend’s Cissy.
She is one of the greatest players I have ever played with, we hold each
others poker skills in high regard. She has recently started playing
online and made an amazing comment that I have also found to be very true.
She said, “I used to think that I was really good in reading tells and
that is how I ascertained the correct thing to do. But after playing
online I see that I can read my opponents the same way I do in the live
games. Eddie, this is really weird, how can you read a blinking circle the
same way you can read a person that you are looking at across the table?”
I told her, you are always in the zone. I have found the same thing to be
true, I can sit here in front of the computer and hand after hand say this
guy has this and when the cards turn up, there it is, exactly what I said
he had. Many people can do this in obvious situations, we are talking
about much more abstract hands than the obvious ones.
Many average players have gone on rushes, when they are winning and
everything is going their way they kind of know what their opponents have
most of the time. Their game is temporally great and there is a positive
energy around them, they have visited the place that great players go and
didn’t even know where they were. The next day when the rush is over they
are right back where they used to be, trying to guess the right time to
make this play or the right time to not make that play. When you are
guessing you are correct a certain amount of the time and wrong a certain
amount of the time, that’s why it is called guessing. Wouldn’t it be nice
to “guess” right nearly 100% of the time? You can if you know what your
opponents have. This is why some people have resorted to playing with
marked cards. But that is cheating and electronic daub hasn’t been
invented yet. But if you have been playing professional poker as long as
we have you will find that we are almost as accurate as the cheaters that
are playing with marked cards, because we know how to go to the poker
zone. We know how to stay there even when the cards are not being kind to
us. Most of the players have never been there, some have visited when they
are on a rush and the great players are there almost all the time.
We all have our on way of going to a very abstract place, a scary place
that exists somewhere in our minds. Where we have taught ourselves to
focus on the game with extreme intensity, there is no other existence
except this poker game. I am totally oblivious to everything else. If you
are talking to me I don’t hear you, the TV is background noise, I am not
done playing this hand even if my cards are in the muck. If you don’t
understand this statement you probably are looking on the TV Guide to see
what channel the Poker Zone in on and wondering why you have never seen it
You must know every tendency that all your opponents have and then go way
beyond that knowledge. After awhile you can start to feel their emotions,
even over the Internet.
The other night I was playing no limit and my beautiful neighbor was over
sweating, she is fascinated that somebody can make a living playing poker
and likes to watch. There was one limper and I raised it with KQs one off
the button and the field folded, he called. The flop came KQ4 rainbow, he
checked, I bet, he called. I am real familiar with this opponent, I know
he avoids getting in pots with me at all costs. He called real fast here,
that is usually a draw, but there are three cards of different suits
sitting there, so the only draw is J-10. He, like a lot of others likes to
think for awhile before raising in an attempt to fool his opponent into
thinking that he has some mediocre hand that he finally decided to raise
with. He doesn’t slow play his hands when he is out of position, so if he
had flopped a set, he would have stalled for a long time before finally
raising. He didn’t do that, he called immediately, that is a draw, so he
has J-10, I know it. The turn is a 9. He checks and I say to my neighbor,
he just sucked out on me and checked. She said, “you have been telling me
to not see the boggy man when a bad card comes off and to go ahead and get
value for your hands. You have been saying that I shouldn’t worry about
being raised until I am actually raised and now you check top two pair?” I
said, he has J-10! The river fortunately came a Q. He bet right into for
half the pot because he was looking to get paid off. I raised him
everything he had in front of him and he called. He turned up his hand,
J-10! I said to her, “told ya!” She said, “you always just triple their
bet when you raise, now this time you raised him all his money instead?
Sometimes you violate all your own principles.” I told her, “he bet me
$100, normally I would make it $300, but he had $900 in front of him and I
knew he couldn’t fold a straight.” She chuckled, “you mean you knew he had
J-10, you absolutely knew.” I said, “I put my money where my mouth was
didn’t I? I did check top two on the turn against one opponent.”
The Poker Zone
You must know your opponents almost as well as you know yourself, you have
to be capable of feeling their feelings. This can only be done when you
have observed everything that they have done, hour after hour, day after
day. This beat will be the straw that broke the camel’s back, player “X”
is now going to go on tilt. Player “Z” is going on a rush and is now ready
to try and run over everybody.
Your opponents are human beings, which are affected by their moods. The
same player is not going to play the same hand the same way all the time.
Usually player “Y” will play this type of hand this way except when he is
losing. Well, is he going to get more timid when he is losing, or more
aggressive? He is winning, is he going to tighten up and try to preserve
the win or is he going to try to push everybody around and take advantage
of his good table image? A certain card comes off and he is taking longer
to act than he normally does. Did this card stun him so that he needs a
little more time than normal to figure out what he is going to do? Or, did
it hit him and he is sitting there thinking in attempt to fool his
opponent into thinking that he has a tough decision? These questions can
be answered, and answered correctly at an astounding high frequency. Like
I said in Part One, it is almost like playing with marked cards. I am not
guessing does this guy have this, I am stating that this guy has this. I
know it and I am going to play my hand accordingly.
These answers are not derived by witchcraft or by cheating. They are
derived by totally focusing on the game. It is my job to not only get into
your head, but get in tune with your emotions. I start off putting my
opponent on a group of hands and then take his emotions into account. Then
start eliminating what he doesn’t have by his actions on each street until
I come up with what he does have. It can be done. The great players know
how to do it. But how do you get there? That goes back to the statement
that I made in Part One, you are not done playing this hand even if your
cards are in the muck. There is still information here to be collected,
information that you can use in the future to your benefit. This is of
course if you are paying attention. If you choose to watch TV or to get in
a conversation because you have already folded, you will not be privy to
what your opponents were telling you about themselves. Once you have
succeeded in overcoming all the distractions and staying totally focused
on the game you will find the poker zone. Staying there is a another
problem. I like to pretend that it is my job to announce the game to the
audience and I do it every hand. I am the announcer it is my job. Seat 1
posts his small blind, seat two posts his big blind, seat 3 and four fold,
seat 5 raises first in from middle position, seats 6,7,and 8 fold, seat
nine calls, the blinds pass. It is now heads up. The flop comes 2-3-J two
diamonds and the raiser bets and the nine seat calls. The turn pairs
Jacks, the flush draw doesn’t get there and the 5 seat bets and gets moved
in on by the 9 seat. After a brief pause he calls. I am off getting the
hand history, I want to know what both of them had. There could be
something here that I could use in the future. The five seat had Aces and
the 9 seat had K-J. Big deal, just another bad beat, you see it all the
time. No way, there was a vast amount of information.
The five seat will not limp in with Aces looking to sandbag after two
people have folded. He was not scared to bet on the turn even after top
pair paired but wouldn’t fold even when he was moved in on. This means
that when scare cards come he took a little more time than normal but
couldn’t lay his hand down after getting moved in on. Was he winning or
losing when this hand came down? Was he pot committed after betting the
turn, or was he not far enough gone and could have still folded? How is he
going to conduct himself from here providing that he doesn’t quit? How
about the 9 seat? He was willing to call a first in raise from middle
position raiser from the button with K-J offsuit. He didn’t raise on the
flop when he flopped top pair, he just called. He didn’t use his position
and just call when the he got there on the turn, he raised it. Now, after
busting the 5 seat, what can I expect from him? Is he going to sit on his
winner and try to preserve it? Is he going to get more aggressive and try
to run over the table? I want the answers you should to. This was just one
very normal hand, but there was a lot of useful information that can be
used in the future providing that took the effort to pay attention. Your
job is to solve the very abstract puzzle that is constantly unfolding
right before your eyes.
The old saying “it is better to lucky than good.” Well, I haven’t figured
out how to keep luck, it comes and goes. I have figured out how to be
good. It takes a lot of work. But I don’t have to punch a time clock or
have a boss to answer to. All I have to do is use my poker skills and pay
attention to every detail and I am rewarded greatly for the effort. Isn’t
that what a job is? Getting rewarded for your effort. The poker zone
exists, the higher you play the more people you will run into that know
exactly where it is and how to stay there all the time. How do you think
they got the money to be able to afford to play in the size of games that
they are playing in? They won it and it didn’t come easy.
The Recipe for Becoming a Professional Gambler?
You have to pick a game that is beatable. A beatable game is one where
sometime during the play of the game the player is afforded an opportunity
to make an intelligent decision. Games such as Craps, Roulette,
Non-progressive slot machines, and Keno are examples of games that are not
beatable. So if one of the above is your game of choice, plan on going
broke. The four games that are beatable are Blackjack, Progressive Slots,
Sports Betting, and Poker.
First, my definition of a professional gambler is one that supports
himself entirely off of his gambling winnings. There are people that are
winning gamblers who don’t make enough to overcome their expenses without
having some other form of income and are by definition semi-professional
gamblers. Either way, to be a pro or a semi-pro there are an immense set
of skills that are required.
Just because a game is beatable doesn’t mean that you are going to beat
it. If you want to beat Blackjack you have to learn a card counting
strategy. Then you are going to have to have a good enough routine to keep
from being discovered. If progressive slots is your choice, you need to
able to recognize when jackpots are overlays and then beat the teams to
jackpots. Then there is sports betting, remember you have to handicap good
enough to overcome the 4.5% disadvantage that you have when you are laying
11-10. So you chose our game, poker.
It is really pretty easy making a living at playing poker. All you have to
do is follow this easy recipe.
Ingredient #1) HAVE THE SKILLS: You are not going to acquire the skills by
picking up a book and reading it through once. First, the book has to be
written by somebody that knows what he or she is talking about. If so, you
will have to read it many times to digest
everything that is in it. Secondly, you have to understand the game enough
to be able to apply all the knowledge that is in the book at the right
time without confusing concepts. Thirdly, you have to play well enough to
realize that the book can't possibly cover every
situation that arises. Eventually, you will need to be able to think
beyond the book. It might take practicing at poker to learn to think
beyond the book. In my opinion, Sklansky's "Theory of Poker" is the best,
but it takes a pretty good player to get everything out of the book that
it has to offer.
Ingredient #2) IRON CLAD DISCIPLINE: If you gain the skills to make a
living at playing poker, it doesn't necessarily mean you will. You have to
adjust your attitude to look at poker as just a game and only a game. If
the chips belong in the pot, put them in. If they don't, fold. It is never
personal. If you are going to play bad or lose your
focus because you are on an extended losing streak, you have picked the
wrong occupation. You are not going to win.
Ingredient #3) MONEY: You will have extended losing streaks. Poker has a
lot of luck in it. You need more money than what you would believe to
withstand all that can happen to you. Most people who play for a living
couldn't withstand breaking even for a year; their
expenses would bust them. Yet, in extreme cases this has happened. Which
gets us back to Ingredient #2. Can you play your best game or a reasonable
attempt at a good game when everything is going wrong and every time you
go to the mailbox, it is full of bills? It takes a big bankroll and a
strong constitution to stand up to these pressures and
still perform. It is also an excellent policy to never borrow or loan
Ingredient #4) EGO: If you are looking to prove that you are the best,
plan on standing on the rail. Just because you can afford to play in
bigger games doesn't mean that you have to. You should pick games that
have bad players in them whether they are small or big. You don't have to
prove to anybody that you can beat any game that comes along --
unless you have to prove it to yourself. And if that is the case, you're
not really trying to be a professional poker player; you're trying to
become the "fastest gun in the west." But those guys always found somebody
faster and ended up dead in the street. You will find
that it is more than just a coincidence that the pretty women will finally
discover how cool you are about the same time that you make it to the top
Ingredient #5) CHEATING: Say that you really do have the skills,
discipline, money, and control of your emotions to make a living at
playing poker. You had better know how to recognize when there is a
reasonable chance that you are getting cheated and back away from the
situation before you get hurt too bad.
Ingredient #6) WINNING ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH: You are talking about making
a living at playing poker, not merely being a winning poker player. The
difference is night and day. A winning poker player supplements his income
playing poker. A professional poker player has to support himself by
solely playing poker. Unless you plan on living in your car, you need to
win quite a lot of money every year to keep the
bankroll that you started the year with.
Ingredient #7) DON'T OVERESTIMATE YOUR EARN: Like I said before, poker
is a lucky game, and you can have extended losing streaks. But there is a
flip side to running bad. It is running way better than what you are
supposed to for extended periods of time. If you don't handle this right,
it can be almost as costly as running bad. If you are going to jump into
much bigger games because you believe that you are finally "on top" of
your game, when in reality, all you are doing is running exceptionally
good, you might find that you can blow off a two-week good earn in only a
few losing sessions. It is good to keep your action consistent and move up
slowly. Overestimating your earn can
also cause you to attempt to take on a lifestyle that you inevitably won't
be able to afford.
Ingredient #8) DON'T BET ON ANYTHING BUT POKER: If you really have all
the above 7 ingredients, you will still find yourself out of action if you
like to bet on other games. The only exception is learning a blackjack
card counting strategy. So, you see. There really isn't all that much to
it. Easy money is really sweet.
If you're not playing at Party Poker, damnit, you're riding the poker short bus.
(SFW) Link of the Day:
Eat, Drink and Be Jerry
I don't know if it's his permanent hang-dog expression, uncertain mumble, giant fish eyes, or the flannel shirt that Kurt Cobain died in, but Jerry's one of those people who goes through life with a permanent kick-me sign affixed to his back. In the first of three adventures in angst, Jerry eats a steak sandwich with a side of angry bartender. All three episodes are damn good.
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