Thursday, March 09, 2006

"Imagination is at the heart of poker. Just as there is no right way to write a song or paint a picture, there is no right way to play poker. The best players are experimenting and adjusting all the time. The beauty of the game lies in this ever-shifting landscape, and it keeps us interested each time we sit down."
Erik Seidel

K, official announcement time.
And a shoddy tangential uber post.

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
March 19th - Sunday
9pm EST
Paradise Poker
$30 NL
password: email me (address is down blogroll on right)

Winner wins a seat in the 2006 WSOP $1500 event of their choice.
Because of Paradise's software, we now need 55 players to pull this off. For the record, Paradise is the third largest online poker room, offers a 25% deposit bonus and is where I lost my bankroll back in 2000/2001. Please consider signing up with my Paradise Poker link to help me recoup those losses.

The only requirement is that you have a blog, any kind of blog.
I'm willing to buy Aaron Gleeman's entry fee, damnit. Any and all baseball fans should be reading him every day, much less you Twins fans.

Anyway, I'm praying that there's enough interest for us to send a motley gaggle of bloggers to the WSOP this year. Please consider playing.

We'll get 2500 in chips.
20 minute blinds.

One of my main influences to do this is to play with some folks who haven't played with bloggers in the last year. There's too many to call out by name, but ya'll know who you are. I hope some old schoolers come and play, damnit.

I'm open to any and all feedback as we try to get this going.
Feel free to email me.

I have a million things to blog about but I figured I should get this info up ASAP. I'm excited to finally get this going. Maybe we can get some bounties going since this has been so long coming?

Commence psuedo uber post.

Met some interesting folks in the 10.20 game at my boat this past weekend. GMoney was hustling the tourists in a 4.8 game while I battled a buncha regulars.

But there was one guy I had never played with before. Let's call him Big Pink Breathy Rich Jock Guy. He was the self-appointed table captain and was a first-class needler. But there's a difference between witty needling and outright unfunny dickhead needling. He excelled at the latter.

In one hand, Big Pink Breathy Jock guy raised out of turn because he didn't see another guys cards because his hands were covering em. He immediately starts screaming at the guy to stop hiding his cards, yadda yadda yadda.

Regular average guy says, "Holy smokes, relax."

Big Pink Breathy Jock guy screams, "This IS relaxed you fucking moron!"

I actually snorted out loud on that line, even though the floor was called. Big Pink Jock guy only got a warning but he still took a walk. While he was gone, another fellow sighed and said playing with Big Pink Breathy Jock guy was like, "Nails on a chalkboard."

But that's the ironic part.
That guy wanted to annoy. To be unliked. To get action.
It was completely calculated. And it werked.
A nasty guy. All full of bad cliches and blustry unfunny chiding and taunting.

Big Pink Breathy Jock guy also had a line of "put that in your blog and smoke it" after he won a pot which I actually thought was pretty funny. I asked him later on why he kept on saying it to which he replied, "Every fucking two-wit jerkoff has a blog these days."

Nice. Thank God I didn't out myself as one of those two-wit jerkoffs.

He did, however, bust a cheating kid, who took his bet back after losing on the river. The kid claimed he was a newbie, and I was inclined to believe him, but the pink breathy jock guy called him a crackhead and rode him hard.

The kid beat him out of some monster pots later on in one of those heads-up "who has the bigger dick" raise-fests.

To be fair, Big Pink Breathy Rich Jock Guy was overly nice to me, cognizant that I was directly to his left, so he wasn't the clueless sort. He did call me "sweetheart" once. He also called me a "midget Pocahantas" one other time when he didn't think I could hear him. Geezus, what the fuck does that even mean?

But I had fun with a 40 year old lady at the other end of the table. She was, in her words, a full-time online poker pro who plays exclusively at Party Poker. She makes most of her money playing the late night, early morning 50.100 tables. I didn't doubt her because she was a very, very strong player.

She had never heard of PokerTracker.
But it was fun to talk shop with her. Topics discussed included: session lengths and keeping focused, multi-tabling, tracking players, aggression level in post flop play, stop win/loss limits, and of course, online cheating.

At the near end of the evening, I asked her if she thought I should dabble in the higher limit games. Her reply, "Hell, as tight as you play, you'd do fine." I laughed after hearing this but it made me take pause.

Anyway, enough of my boring drivel. This blog has become my personal chewtoy.

But I'm going to plod along, for better or worse. I owe it to my readers to Destroy Workplace Productivity as best I can.

I have neglected to mention all the upgrades on the Party Poker software. Allow me to mend this oversight right now. Here's a summation, of sorts. Or hit their web page if you prefer it direct from the source: Party Poker software updates.

  • Resizable tables
  • SNGs – Starting chips go from T800 to T2000! The levels are now time based (10 mins) instead of hand based.
  • Evidently the end of data mining

    Among the new features are more games at different limits, and a total revamping of the tourney structure.

    Sit and goes now start with 2000 chips. MTTs with 3000. Big buy-in MTTs with 5000. S&Gs now increase in levels after 10 minutes rather than 10 hands.

    Even flatter payout structure for MTTs.
    Antes added to NLHE tournies.

    Amazingly enough, Party beat PokerStars to the punch with WSOP qualifiers. Here's an interesting post from 2+2 pertaining to this:

    It seems like Party is renewed in their quest to send people to the WSOP. They are even matching Stars as far as the free hotel (not out of the prize pool).

    Plus the freerolls are amazing, you can play 12 times a day for a shot into the Saturday freeroll which they give away a seat to the $50,000 HORSE tourney and 9 main event seats ($10,000)and 10 seats to a smaller event($2000).

    Thats pretty crazy, even Stars doesnt do that, sure they have their FPP tournaments but nothing close to this in a freeroll.

    If stars just puts out their same package, (4 DS a day plus one Sunday qualifier), no reason to pass up on all the Party options.

    Every saturday, they are giving away $160,000 worth of prizes, so over the next 12-13 weeks, thats over 2 Million dollars.

    Not for cash, not for Party points or Frequent Player points, completely FREE. I understand these Saturday tournaments will have probably 3000 people in them, but thats still only 150 to 1 win something, and again, it wont cost you 10,000 FPPs like Stars. Id like to see if Stars will give away $2,000,000 for absolutely nothing.

    Plus, Party is going to have 13 people in the HORSE tournament, how cool is that? Maybe its just me....

    Here's the official page detailing all of the WSOP promotions that Party Poker is offering.
    Party Poker and the 2006 World Series of Poker

    That's Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit.

    With that out of the way, let's uber it the fuck up, shall we?

    Found this post about the first-ever "Card Player Of The Year" awards show. Brad Garrett apparently capped on all the pro's.

    A couple weeks ago I attended the first-ever "Card Player Of The Year" awards show. It was hosted at Hollywood's Music Box Theatre in Los Angeles.

    The theme of the night was to be like the "Oscars" of poker.

    They presented awards like "Best Cash Game Player" (Chip Reese), "Most Feared Player" (Phil Ivey), "Best Female Player" (Jennifer Harman), and "Player Of The Year" (Men

    The Emcee was Brad Garrett is the guy from "Everybody Loves Raymond"... he plays Ray's brother (the big tall one with the deep voice).

    Anyway, he is FREAKING HILARIOUS. I honestly don't know if I've ever laughed so hard in my entire LIFE!

    He completely busted on all the professional poker players in the audience. It was ruthless. Below are some of the jokes I remember.

    (Disclaimer: Please don't read on if you have sensitive ears. Remember that these aren't MY jokes... I'm just recounting what I heard at the awards show!)


    Right away Garrett started ripping on Phil Hellmuth:

    "We've got Phil Hellmuth in the house tonight... No one told me that, I just know because I heard WHINING as I came in."

    "Next year we're actually gonna have the award show OUTSIDE, that way Phil can bring his ego..."

    Then it was on to Mike "The Mouth" Matusow...

    "Mike Matusow is also here tonight. Hey Mike, where you at? Oh wow... I'm surprised you can raise your hand with those cuffs on!"

    "Mike Matusow is nominated for an award tonight, which proves Darwin didn't know s**t!"

    Later, Matusow presented the award for "Best Poker Ambassador". Here's what Brad Garrett had to say about that:

    "Having Mike Matusow present the award for Best Poker Ambassador is like having Dick Cheney present an award for marksmanship."

    Then it REALLY got bad...

    "Jennifer Tilly is shacking up with Phil Laak, the Unabomber. Jennifer told me backstage that "Unabomber" is code for one testicle -- and apparently she's having a ball."

    "I love watching Jennifer Tilly on that celebrity poker TV show... people, those aren't nipples. Those are triples!"

    "Jennifer has the best rack in all of poker-- Wait, I take that back. She has the second best rack in all of poker. The best belongs to GREG RAYMER!"


    "When Greg Raymer says "all-in", it's at the buffet table."

    "Greg, you seem like a really nice guy, and you won a couple million dollars last year... now try eating a f***in salad!"

    Garrett had plenty of one-liners for others in the audience too:

    "Amir Vahedi, I haven't seen him since flight school..."

    After the break:

    "Welcome back ladies and gentlemen. The theater wants me to remind everyone that there's no smoking inside. Amir, please put out your shoe."

    To Doyle Brunson and his son Todd:

    "Hey Doyle, the Civil War called, they found your journals."

    "Todd Brunson skipped the clan meeting to be here."

    When speaking to Daniel Negreanu:

    "Don't worry Daniel, I'm sure your nuts will drop soon."

    To Scotty Nguyen:

    "Please Scotty, have a sandwich. You look like my X-ray."

    And last but not least, Garrett cracked on Barry "Robin Hood" Greenstein. Here's what he said:

    "Barry Greenstein gives all his winnings to charity... of course, Charity happens to be a STRIPPER who works the late shift at Spearmint Rhino. If you hurry Barry, you can catch her after the show!"


    Let's get some of the top poker news articles out of the way.

    Ted Forrest wins National Heads-Up Poker Championship

    Drug may curb pathological gambling

    The Grand Old Man of Poker
    If You Haven't Lost a Game to Johnny Moss, You Haven't Really Played Poker

    I found this article by the late, great Andy Glazer about meeting Josh Arieh for the first time. Scroll down to the second article.
    In the Town That Never Sleeps, The Sun Can Shine On the Same Dog All Day

    I've linked this column before but I find the topic fascinating so here's a redux. Poker is the playground of the intelligent introvert. Wonderful brain fodder - I need to noodle around on that for a bit, maybe post an essay later.
    Poker and Introverts

    Champions like Johnny Chan, Dan Harrington and even Chris Ferguson also come to mind. Are they introverts? I wonder. I strongly suspect deep-thinking poker people like David Sklansky and Mason Malmouth are introverts also.

    Extroverts are expressive — not exactly a winning characteristic at the poker table. They generally talk a lot — and we all know you cannot listen when you are talking. Extroverts want to be, and perhaps are compelled to be — the “life of the party”. Expression, expression and more expression. How can any of this be good for your poker game?

    Steve Sax compares Backgammon with Poker.
    Backgammon: The game of constant action

    High stakes poker episode 8 torrent.

    Is this the future of B&M poker?

    ESPN: Deserving Players Snubbed for Heads-Up Competition

    NBC addresses snub situation

    From today,
    Broke in an hour
    , by Phil Gordon. A conversation between Phil Gordon and another poker player immediately following the L.A. Poker Classic.

    The new March issue of 2+2's Internet Poker Magazine is out and about.

    Anyone else enjoy Freakonomics? They blogged about online poker cheating. Some may find it interesting.

    Wow, the Times Online started up a blog and even pimped some of us. Kudos to the Times and to the fine folks at Allin magazine.

    Poker and blogging: a marriage of convenience

    All In, the American poker magazine, has launched a website to complement its print edition, featuring, among several other innovations, a "blog monitor", which will take a glance through more than 200 poker blogs with the ambitious intention of bringing the ever expanding cyber-poker community into one place.

    "There are some great blogs out there," said Eric Raskin, managing editor of All In. "They include Pokerati, Guinness and Poker, Tao of Poker, Bill Rini, Wicked Chops Poker and Absinthe's Troubles."

    Raskin might be advised to look over the Atlantic as well, where several British players and observers give poker a prominent place in the blogosphere.

    Boooo! Those dirty micks started a Guinness blog without me.
    Oh the humanity.

    My British friend over in Ireland, Mike Lacey, sent me this cool interview with Andy Black & Mike Matusow chatting in Monte Carlo. Good stuff as they take the tar out of each other - check it out. If you're so inclined, here's the post where I went to the UK with my dad this past fall, drank a boatload of Guinness and took a train up the Irish coast to play poker with Mike and 100 of his Irish pals.

    Cutting the Wire Overview
    If you’re curious about the whole WTO/US trade dispute, or why the federal government is currently using a law passed in 1961 to restrict Internet gaming, check out Cutting the Wire, David's book on the topic.

    Here's a CardPlayer link to some nice Behind the Scene video clips from the Headsup Championships featuring Todd Brunson and Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and John Juanda.

    I was reviewed by Squidoo, one of those social bookmarking sites. Here's what they had to say:

    Guinness and Poker

    This is probably the most popular poker blog these days. Very biased towards playing at Party Poker but there are some great poker articles and stories, both about poker and life intermingled.

    Some great pics as well. Generally, a good poker read but the language can be pretty strong so stay away if you'll be offended.

    Alrighty then, I nearly forgot to complete the story on the Andy Beal versus The Corporation battle.

    Andy Beal update.
    Ivey takes another 10 million from Beal
    Ivey saves the reputation of the professional players and puts quite a beating on Beal netting ~17 million in the past two days. Gives the corporation a net gain of ~10 million over the month of play with Beal.

    And here's Michael Craig's take on it. Hurry up and write that book, Michael!

    My apologies for the delay. Ivey wins $10 million today. Beal is done with poker. More to follow.

    Again, and for the last time, I apologize for the delay. Here are the highlights:

    1. They played $50,000-$100,000. Ivey wanted the higher limit and, of course, Beal wanted it. Ivey convinced the pros, who I think were very divided about it. And even though Andy lost $10 million today, he made a point of thanking Phil at the end and saying, completely sincerely, "Thanks for getting the stakes raised to fifty and one hundred." Not sarcastically, but honestly.

    2. Andy was ahead by $1-2 million for the first half of the match. Like the first two days, Phil controlled the action by always raising, always betting, but Andy had him timed very well for picking him off.

    3. In a space of 3 hands, Phil made back most of that deficit. Big pots, concealed strength, wicked rivers, etc. etc. etc. (See the May issue of BLUFF for the details.) But Phil took over the lead and just ACCELERATED.

    4. He made the $10 million in about 4 hours. (I'll check my notes after returning home and get you an "exact" or you'll read it in my May story, but Andy had the lead for half and Phil had the lead for half. But Phil had it for the better half, and the bigger half.)

    5. The game became wild, reckless, and unrelentlessly aggressive. The timing Andy had in picking Phil off had failed. Andy got some river suck-outs but, now behind, probably became dispirited when he was the victim. (Phil, in contrast, was not affected in the least when Andy sucked out. So I can't tell you if Andy took more bad beats or just got affected by it more.) But with constant reraising and nobody folding, the river will decide a lot of hands. Phil won more of those, which made the game just that much more out of control.

    6. It finished up about 45 minutes before my first post. Andy said he's done with poker for ever. One of the pros said he would bet me that Andy will be back within six months. It's not a matter I'll speculate about. (I will tell you, though, that Andy Beal gave me his pocket watch at the end. Say what you will but he BELIEVES that he's done.)

    7. Andy was a total gentleman, and so was Phil Ivey, and so were the several pros in the room, who came because they were concerned about how their investment was doing but kept discretely hidden so not to appear to be gloating over the result.

    I'm heading for home and may try to post something late, late, late tonight, or maybe tomorrow. But you're going to be looking at one helluva story for the April issue of BLUFF, about Andy's first two trips to Vegas this month, and a very interesting conclusion which I think BLUFF will run in May.

    I consider myself lucky to know Andy Beal and to have gotten to see all this from this vantage point. I saw a lot of remarkable play by the pros, but I have to admit that sitting across a table from Phil Ivey for three days was MIND BLOWING. I don't think anyone has ever tried to show that or describe that. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

    Michael Craig

    Hoist of the Guinness to Scrabylon star, Jim Geary, for pointing out this list of poker players as Motivational Speakers, from All American Talent & Celebrity Network.

    You blackjack players might enjoy this rejoinder from Gary Carson on RGP:

    I have made an interesting observation

    Alot of the top video/computer game players are doing very well in poker. I guess since they were able to be the best at counterstrike or warcraft etc, they have used those same qualities which made them into the best players at those games into some of the best poker players. They see online poker as just another computer game that can be beaten. I know some of the top NL $5/10 players in the Stars game used to be great at computer games aka. Tillerman.


    Ken Uston became a great pac-man player after he got barred from blackjack tables.

    Some people just like to play games.

    Gary Carson

    BTW, there was a big retarded flame up on RGP a while back as Crazy Russ GCA claimed he would play Barry Greenstein in a heads-up poker match. Barry actually tried to arrange it but Russ flaked out, of course. But I thought posting Barry's early thoughts on this matter as well as playing Daniel N headsup.

    Subject: The Truth About 'Pretty Boy G'


    -from barry greenstein-

    ["When Daniel proposed his head up matches, I offered to play him all the games that are commonly played. I gave him a list of 20 games and said we will play them one at a time. He declined and said he would choose what games to play.

    I asked him to come to LA and play me if he wants. He said he would only play me at the Wynn. Since I wanted to play him, I met his demands.

    If I had time, I would be more compromising, but my schedule is pretty full. My girlfriend has been asking about a vacation in Europe for two years now. Either poker or being a father always seems to get in the way. I'd really feel like a jerk if my first trip with her to England was to play poker with Russ.

    Just to give you an idea of the things I turn down: I did a couple of scenes with Robert Duvall for the movie "Lucky You." They asked me to film for two more weeks. I didn't have time. I have had three offers for movies about me. Seems uninteresting to me, but I turned them down because I was too busy. I turn down several interview
    requests a week. I answer all my e-mail, although I am never caught up.

    I have never done a book signing, which my publisher is not too happy with.

    Should I cater to a guy who says I wouldn't play poker with him and always ran away. Then, on other occasions, he says we played together many times. Neither is true, but he should stick to one story.

    I'm also leery of playing someone who accuses me of cheating. If I win, will he just say the decks were marked? And as a model to others, is it even wise to play against a known cheat? Last time I jumped at this kind of challenge, the guy's name was Rick Riolo. I lost due to an intricate set-up with cameras.

    I am interested in playing Russ because it seems like a fun thing to do. I have always liked beating down bullies in defense of others. Russ insulted some of my friends, most notably Eric Drache who is arguably the most honest guy in poker. Eric is the one who opened up a cardroom in Las Vegas in 1978 with new rules: no cheating. He also was the first tournament director for the World Series of Poker, which got that going smoothly. Eric always ran a place where dealers didn't have to pay for their jobs.

    If Russ is really interested we will play sometime, but I have a feeling that even negotiating limits, games, and format will be too much Russ shenanigans for me to deal with.

    I won't be able to keep up with these threads for a few weeks, since I have to go to the Bellagio to try to earn a living."]


    I know everyone loves the mud slinging between pro poker players, but this time I'm going to share a nasty spat between poker publishers, Barry Shulman and Mason Malmuth. The father of the fellow who posted this was a 'name' PGA golfer back in the day. This is actually kinda old, but eff it - I'm still posting it. From 2+2:


    On Tuesday night May 4th I was playing in a super satellite at the Horseshoe; sitting on my left was Barry Shulman, publisher of Card Player Magazine. At one point Casey Kastle came over to speak to Mr. Shulman voicing his concerns on the potential conflicts that occur when players share percentages of their tournament results.

    Casey had a copy of an article that Mason Malmuth had written for Card Player regarding this problem and asked if he would consider republishing it. After looking at the article Shulman said in no uncertain terms that he would not publish it; he then referred to Mason Malmuth as an "idiot" and a "disgrace to poker".

    I was somewhat taken aback by his comments due to the fact that he made them in public without regard as to who might hear them. I have known Casey Kastle for a number of years and consider him to be a person of integrity and consider his concerns a problem that few in the tournament poker world are willing to deal with. Shulman seemed less concerned, making the comment that this is a frequent occurrence in professional golf. At that point, I made the comment that this was untrue, and that the PGA tour had expressly forbidden this practice since the 1950's. I do not know Barry Shulman; I have known Mason Malmuth for more than fifteen years and consider him neither an "idiot" nor a "disgrace to poker". For better or for worse, the success of Two Plus Two Publishing has made Mason the object of much professional jealousy from other authors, publishers, and poker players. Barry Shulman's words were poorly chosen, and someone in his position has an obligation to a more reasoned
    temperament in public.

    Mike Souchak


    Two Plus Two Publishing LLC has ended our relationship with Card Player magazine and all affiliates of Card Player. We intend to keep this separation permanent.

    Best wishes,


    Geez, why don't they just play heads up 2k.4k and settle it like men?

    You say you like flames? Well, I'm not gonna recount the dozens spewed out here, but suffice to say, this guy was a smoldering mess by the time folks smarter than him got done. He kept trying to insist it was a Great Deal but the bitchslaps kept coming....

    Subject: Investing in a Friend going to the WSOP

    I am putting together a syndicate to invest in a friend of mine to play in a couple of WSOP's events.

    Planning on selling 100 shares at $100 each for $10,000.

    $7k for entry fees (2 event or 3 events)
    $3k for incidentals/airplane/hotel

    My friend would get 10% off the top, so the shares would go towards 90% of his winnings.

    Does this sound like a good deal?
    Is there anything I need to be concerned with?



    My fave response not calling him a fucktard:


    So, 30% of the money is out the window right from the start, then another 10% is effectively tossed out since your friend is investing nothing and taking 10% of the winnings? So, if I've got this right, your friend needs to win a bit over 11K for me to break even, which is 1.6x the 7K in entrance fees.

    If you are looking for something to be concerned about, one thing is the fact that you think that he needs winnings of over $90K to show a profit. Anything over $10K (~$11K since he is taking 10% off the top) should show a profit. If he makes $12K, then I should be getting back (12K - (0.1*12K))/100 = $108. That's an $8 profit for me. I certainly wouldn't be giving my money to someone who can't even figure that out
    or who worse is going to try to con me by saying that he needs $90K in winnings before I will see a dime.

    He'd have to be a pretty good player for me to be willing to give up 40%. For a noname player that I've never met before this isn't going to happen.



    Here's a cautionary tale of woe. Take heed and play within your means damnit!

    Subject: Man, did I f*ck it all up

    Two week ago my poker and financial life was looking pretty good. After playing almost 10 years of limit and, since a year ago, NL holdem, I had become a winning player. Sure, I was down from the time I had started but I had grown my account on Ultimatebet and Party Poker to almost $2500 each, playing mostly $200 NL full ring games with a little $400 thrown in. My last 2 trips to Sandia in NM had brought me another $2000. After many years of study and play, I felt I was finally getting the poker piece together.

    Then it happened. I had my sixth knee surgery (I'm not a young man anymore) and came home with a week's work of Percocet. While now feeling invincible, I proceeded to try the shorthand $1000 NL table. BOOM! Party Poker account wiped out in one night. I pulled back to lower limits and finally got off the pain pills while watching my account on Ulitimatebet stay even for over a week. After thinking I was on my game again and wanting the $2500 back (now) that I lost on Party Poker, I hit the shorthand $1000 table again. BOOM! Ultimatebet account wiped out in one night.

    In a state of desperation and depression, I proceed to loose another $3000 over the next few nights. I try to get off the $1000 table but can't pull myself away. Everything I know about discipline and patience seems to be gone. I've lost almost $8000 in 2 1/2 weeks. If my wife knew, I'd probably loose her as well.

    Many of the losses were some horrible bad beats (i.e. lost a huge pot last night with A's full to 4 J's) but much of it was me playing over my head (got pushed off a big pot when a 4th diamond hit the board and I didn't have one...the other player showed and didn't have one either...had him beat if I'd stayed). This has never happened to me on this scale. I haven't played this badly in many years. Impatient, desperate, playing in limits I have no business even thinking about.

    Now my confidence is shot. I can't sleep or eat. I feel like everything I've worked towards for years is gone. Do I hang it up? Do I admit I don't have what it takes and the last few months of winning was an aberration? When I think about playing I thinking about going back to the $1000 table again. Everything is upside down.

    Have similar loses in a similar manner happened to others? What did you do to get back on track? Is it even possible? I can't express in writing how completely devastated I feel.

    Thanks for any input. I have no friends that play poker that I can talk to so this group is all I have.


    Poor bastard. He needs to walk away from poker and go into sherpa mode.

    This next one was actually a pretty large thread.
    Poker kills!!!

    Subject: Poker Kills

    What is your health worth to you? 1 BB per hour? 2?

    Before internet poker I lead a really active lifestyle, always looking for something new to fill my time. A lot of outdoor activities and many work around the house projects.

    Then slowly but surely, poker began to consume most of my off work hours.

    First of all, I quit playing golf every afternoon after work (always walked.) I got me a nice 'perfect fit' chair from 'relax your back.' Stocked the liquor cabinet with plenty of spirits and started buying Skoal by the roll.

    Since I am a computer programmer all day long, I am pretty inactive during work hours. Then I go home and slide into my ultra comfortable chair and play poker until bed time. Throw in a few(too many) Cranberry and Vodka's and your have never felt healthier.

    All of a sudden, my 'fat pants' wouldn't fit anymore (38's).... a little shortness of breath at the top of the stairs.... always feeling run down.

    Well, we decide to replace the carpet in the back of the house with hardwood floors. The wood is $1700 and the labor is $1600. WHOA! I can put down those floors for that. So I start ripping up carpet and prepping the floors. The first day I put down 6 rows of flooring and I am exhausted. The next day I get half way finished with one of the two bedrooms. (This is after work BTW) Then everyday I get stronger and am able to do more.

    This is when it occurs to me. POKER IS KILLING ME. It is so easy to become inactive after 50 and I guarantee, inactivity will kill you just like cancer. So, I am starting to put poker on the back shelf. More time at the gym, renew my golf membership this spring (who cares if I suck at it?) and look for something that needs fixing at the house first.

    Poker in itself for most of us is a bad hand.

    Does anybody resemble these remarks?


    Anyone wanna watch Phil Hellmuth get his head shaved in the 2002 WSOP? Background: In 2002, Phil was knocked out by eventual champion Robert Varkonyi with Q-10. As he exited the tournament area he stated loudly; "If this guy wins this, I'll shave my head!"
    Here's the video (WMV file): Phil Hellmuth gets his giant bulbous head shaved.

    More Carson. Gotta love this answer from the King of Crank.

    Subject: Using Caro's book of tells, what kind of player am I?

    I'm reading Caro's book of tells not because I want to gain an advantage in finding my opponnets' tells, but because I want to stop any tells I may be giving off.

    I'm only about 30 pages into the book, and the beginning gives some basic insight on a player rather than giving any specific situations. I'm not playing B&M this weekend, so I won't really get a chance to digest the information until at least later in the week (man...10 straight days without any B&M poker...I haven't done that since I quit smoking and avoided the B&M's altogether for fear of tilting on a nic-fit).

    Okay, so here goes.

    I'm generally well dressed, but not entirely emaculate. During the winter, I wear a flannel with khaki slacks and what I like to call "dress tennis shoes". During the summer, the only real change is that I'll be wearing a button-down-the-front short sleeved shirt instead with the top button always undone. I don't press my clothes, but I do make sure they are removed from the dryer quickly so they don't become wrinkled. I don't tuck my shirt in for B&M sessions, either. My hair usually has the semblance of being combed, but I like the "messy" look. It covers the receding hairline. My goat-tee, however, is always emaculately trimmed, and the rest of my face is always clean shaven.

    I tend to be extremely neat and orderly at the table. My chips are always in precise stacks of 10, and if I'm bored between hands, I'll even take the time to sometimes line up the colored stripes. My cards are always directly in front of me lengthwise precisely parallel to my line of site. The button goes to my left, exactly (or as close to exactly as possible) halfway between me and my opponent. I don't use any good luck charms, and I always use the lowest possible denomination chip available to protect my cards. It goes directly in the center. My reasoning for my meticulous surrondings has more to do with trying to make the dealer's job easier than anything else.

    I always lean forward and try to give the impression that I am intently paying attention to the action at hand until the point where I actually muck my cards or flip them up. I also never make eye contact with my opponents while in a hand, but that is mostly because of a terrible strabismus I have in my left eye (I realize this can be disasterous when trying to get action, but it is a part of my game that will, unfortunately, never change. I simply can not stare someone down).

    Lately, I've been getting upset because of the fact that I give off a tight image when I sit down and can't get action when I hit monsters, especially early in the night against unkown players. If someone was familiar with Caro's book of tells, would my demeanor lead them to believe this? Should I be intentionally wearing wrinkled shirts and pants to the casino? Should I mess up my chips? Or, should I just simply raise all the way down with 2-5 offsuit my first hand? It seems that, unless that 2-5 hits big, it's cheaper to change my appearance.

    Carson responds thusly:

    Subject: Re: Using Caro's book of tells

    You are very uptight, excessively concerned with how people view you. You actually seem to care about buttons, wrinkles, hairline, and other stuff. That seems to be an important part of who you are, having nothing to do with poker.

    It's very unlikely that you'll be able to hide that from an observant player no matter how you try to scramble your chip stacks. So rather than try to create some kind of false image just be aware of it and exploit it.

    Learn who's paying attention and get more aggresive with them, Attempting to create a false image will only succeed with the ones who really don't pay close attention anyway.

    It's funny because the original poster was stunned by Gary's take and actually thanked him profusely for opening his eyes.

    Damn, let's do another Gary quote, shall we?
    Here's a nice snippet I found from Gary Carson, replying to someone else's comments in talking about tight versus weak players and such:

    >A tight passive player (weak) will not raise non-nut hands if someone
    >bets into him, will not raise draws, and will fold to scare boards

    What the word means depends on who is using the word.

    If you're using the term in conjuction with a strong/weak scale, then the above isn't really accurate.

    A passive player won't raise draws, but a weak player might. Whether he's tight or not has nothing to do with whether or not he'll raise draws.

    A weak player will fold to scare cards, and fold to raises -- they give up easily. Passive players don't neccasarily give up easily. Strong probably isn't a good word for the other end of the spectrem, tenacious is better -- a tenacious/weak spectrum.

    Tight does not mean that they give up easily, it just means that they seldom get invovled in the first place.

    I see a lot of mistakes in games because of a mischaracterization of a tight player. Many novice players think that a tight player is easily bluffable. But, most tight players aren't that weak, the won't give up once they get invovled.

    If you insist on looking at your opponents as two dimensional, as you'd be required to do if you wrote for two plus two, then I have no idea what weak means. I've always suspected that when Malmuth uses the word it doesn't have any meaning at all, but I'm not sure about that.

    The whole idea of wanting the keep the pot small in a loose game is just laughable. Sure, let's be sure and limit our profits. If you aren't careful you might let those pots get too big and be able to start eating out in restuarants that serve rich food. Could cause gout or something. It's much better to keep the pots small so that you don't run those medical risks associated with eating well.

    Gary Carson

    What kind of an uber post would this be without a Howard Beale contribution? A shitty one, that's right.

    Subject: I wish I was a woman

    When playing poker. What did you think I meant?

    I've seen the advantages of being a woman poker player mentioned occasionally in books and magazine articles but not in depth enough to fully explore the advantages that women players have. I think that those advantages are greater than most people realize. It's apparant to me that the vast majority of men do not know how to play against women.

    Generally speaking I think that women either get far too much or too little action, much more than men would get under the same circumstances. A bad woman player will win more on her good nights and lose less on her, more frequent, bad nights. A good woman player is going to make more than she 'should'.

    Why? Even in America, where we flatter ourselves that we have made good progress in removing traditional barriers encountered by women in all fields, there is still an attitude amongst most men that they are going to treat women differently, that they have a lesser respect for their abilities and that they are simply not going to let a woman beat them. Too many men chase draws they shouldn't, won't 'punish' a woman for
    playing a bad hand as they would a man, won't check-raise them, show them their hands when it's over, give lessons and all the rest. I've seen men lose $$$$$$ trying to beat some woman player who has beaten them in a few pots and then be satisfied when they finally take a small pot from her. Some victory and small satisfaction but they do it over and over.

    If you men recognize any of this in yourselves I'd suggest you rid yourself of any lingering vestiges of chauvinism, misogyny, condescension or tenderness and learn to play against women properly by absolutely ignoring their gender.

    And, besides making more money, I'd finally get to see what goes on in the ladies room which is a secret guarded as zealously as the rituals of the Masons.
    Howard Beale

    These are the people who play me at Party Poker.

    Mr. Treesong is one of the few cogent poster left in RGP. So humour me as I post his trip report.

    My impending move to Minneapolis means that my days of playing multiple
    tournaments at in February and June at the Commerce are on the scrap heap of history. Despite trying to wind up a fifteen-year career and all the things that entails, however, I made the time to play yesterday. I'm glad I did. I drive into the oh-so-familiar surroundings with a feeling of impending nostalgia, if that be possible.

    I have a good draw for the $1500 NLH: five seat at table 25 up near the stage. Room behind me and easy access to a drink holder. Better yet, nobody I fear in the game. One seat is a gambly Asian. Two seat is a young Russian man with square glasses and a white denim jacket, circa 1971. Three seat is yet another gambly Asian guy who clearly has no idea at all what he's doing. And I know nobody else. know. That doesn't last long, however: on about hand 10, I'm getting a cup of coffee when
    the nine seat gives all his chips to the Gambly in the four, busts, and is replaced by my old nemesis John Pham. I go looking for the Armenian Express to see if he wants a last-longer, but he waves me off and I strike a deal with David Levi instead for $1K.

    As usual, I spend the first hour studying hard and looking for spots. I play a couple of hands, but nothing really happens until I notice that the Russian is continuation-betting 100% of his hands: if he raises preflop, he's autobetting after the flop. I decide to test my theory shortly after we go to 50-100, and call on any two (Ks4d) to his next raise. Two of us to a J T 4 flop with 750 or so in the middle, and he bets 400 like clockwork. I make it 1200 right away, he tanks for a time and mucks. Cha-ching! An orbit later, the Gambly in the one seat smooth calls under the gun for 100 and the russian and the other Gambly call. I have Ac5c and 4000 in chips, with the Russian and the second Gambly easily covering me. I play. Three callers behind me, and seven see the KcQcTd flop. Gambly number one bets right out for 400. Two limpers call and I make it 1200. I have a massive draw to the nuts and may well be able to push him off. Limpers vanish, Gambly calls. Uh-oh. But the gods bail me out when the turn card comes 6c and Gambly shoves in for 2700 more. I have him covered, barely, and reflect that it is a very sweet feeling when you hold the nuts and someone stacks off into you. I call, he shows KhQd and the river changes nothing. GGHN (Gambly Goes Home Now!).

    I then fluctuate between 6 and 8 thousand for two hours, playing no huge pots. Our table breaks and the new lineup is much tougher. Thor Hansen in the one and Dr. Buss in the seven; I'm in the eight. Two rocks in the three and four. I steal some blinds, and I have 9800 when Dr. Buss raises me to 800 from the button, playing 100-20025. I look down and find QQ. I make it 2800, expecting him to fold, but no: he pushes for 3400 more. Shit. I look behind to Dr. Buss's twenty-five year old friend, but she's no help: she just gives me a ten-thousand-watt Southern California smile. She's a stunner, by the way. I shake my head and call, hoping to see AK. No sir, not today: the good Doctor has the Rockets. I ship him 2/3 of my stack and the blinds go up: I'm now playing 2900 on 200-400-50.

    I look around and Levi is gone. Sweet!

    Naturally, my table breaks, putting me on information deficit on a short stack. I wait five hands until I can get my whole stack in from late position as first action, but I get called right away from the big stack in the big blind. He has AK, and I'm very live to it with a sorry 8-3. A turn three however, and I have new lease on life. One hand later, a young man two seats to my right raises to 1200 and I push in for 5800 more with 77. He's on a short stack too, and he finally mucks after thinking for almost a minute.

    I'm at the next break table.

    I hit the dinner break in a good mood, and find a beef stick and corn-nuts at the snack shop after a shower and a steam in the spa. The doors open on a perfect Southern California night: 72, with a light breeze blowing. I let it carry my thoughts away and bat them around for a minute or two before stepping back into the moment and concentrating on what I needed to do. I find Levi, who steals my beef stick as he's digging for the $1K he owes me. Marker down!

    Back at the game, a hugely gambly Korean guy is now one seat to my right. He plays waaaaay too fast and is made of glass; so I determined that I was popping him on any two the next two times he raised if he was first in. On my left, I'd been chatting with a guy. When I first sat down with him one table before, I noticed a stylish haircut and a sweet $1500 suit that wasn't rack-bought. I then saw his nice watch and
    expensive shirt: he looked to me like an agent or entertainment executive type. Turns out he's a bond trader for a foreign bank with a branch in Beverly Hills. He's thankfully normal, but very tight. He showed nothing but Type I hands, and did not reraise PF one time in two hours. More on him later.

    Gambly behaves as predicted: he rases to 1800. I have about 9000 and I stack off after looking at one card: a four. He mumbles and mucks. Two hands later, he raises again. I repop, this time with AJ. He mumbles again and mucks again. I then gear way down and decide I'm not going near him unless I'm fairly certain he's beat. He cooperates twenty minutes later by raising again; I reraise with QQ and he mucks for a third time, giving me a look of severe displeasure. I determine to make a living from this guy, but our table breaks again and he's far across the room. Greg the Stylish Bond Trader wishes me good luck, and we exchange ritual "see you at the final table" wishes.

    I find QQ back to back and stack up both, one preflop and the other for the entire stack of a young man to my left. I then go quiet, but my table breaks again; at least now I have enough chips to last for a bit, though -- around $28000. I'm back with Dr. Buss to my right and Craig the Bond Trader across the table. I'm between first and second gear: I'm not overstealing, but I'm raising once every orbit and a half,
    usually from late position. I'm there for about forty minutes, when the following comes down: Playing 600-1200-100, I open-raise to 3000 from the cutoff. Button and SB fold, but Greg in the big blind instantly makes it $10,000 straight. I go into the tank with QQ. Normally, that's a no-brainer call, but we've been at the same table together for about two hours. He's shown down two hands: AK and AA. He doesn't raise
    often; less than once per orbit. And I haven't seen him reraise PF a single time. I'm not trying to run over the table; I think he perceives me as fairly solid, somewhat tight. I count him down: he has $15,200 behind and I have $15,100. Shit. We're at thirty players, where twenty-seven pay.

    This is clearly the decision of the tournament so far. He's not a pro. He's an articulate guy, but he doesn't seem to have read Harrington and plays more by instinct than by math. The stylish clothes and casual, articulate chat belie a rocklike style; I haven't seen him waste a chip all day long. Against a smaller stack or any other player at the table, this is a no-brainer push, but after I play back what I've seen him do all day, I'm fairly sure I'm in a race at best, and very possibly behind. AK is sixteen ways, and AA and KK are six ways each. He's a
    sixty-forty favorite with that range, and I just don't see him making that move on anything less than that. I hate it, but I finally muck. Against my better judgment, I nod my head and show him. He's a nice guy, and feels obliged to do the same; he almost mucks dark, but finally shows . . . . 88.

    I say: "Very, very nice, sir," and for once, really mean it. I catch up with him on a break, and he says that he'd been watching me all night -- and that he knew that I perceived him as quite tight. He made a great move with third-level thinking, and I failed to give him sufficient credit for it -- to my woe. We shake hands, and I find some Red Bull and consider what Tanya Peck might say to me here.

    After the break, I'm somewhat card dead, and find very little. We finally break at 3:30 a.m. with twenty left, playing 800-1600. I'm either the anchor man or one up from that, with $15,100. I'll need a spot soon on day two, but I've done it before and can again.

    For a swan song, it was a hell of a day: one of the most enjoyable poker days in quite some time. Kudos to Greg the Bond Trader for a perfect move and to Dr. Buss for his excellent taste in women fifty years his junior.

    -Howard Treesong

    OK, time to wrap this up.
    Per usual, this post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker. Or hell, if you wanna support this humble poker blog and already have an account there, try out Paradise Poker.

    And last, but certainly not least, I relate to this column by Tommy Angelo ever so much.


    I played poker for ten years before I discovered folding in 1984. That's when I met Bobby. He had a big belly, a big beard, and a big laugh. Bobby was like Santa Claus, minus the giving. He just kept throwing his hand away, and he didn't seem to mind. Then he would carry the money away, and the players didn't seem to mind.

    So I started folding more often, to see what would happen. I folded before the flop with ten-nine a couple times. I folded queen-eight suited. I folded an ace when somebody raised. It was so new, so exciting. I was high from it, like an explorer. I kept adding more hands not to play, trying to get my starting-hand folding rate up with Bobby's. But it didn't stop there. Oh no. Before long I got hooked on the hard stuff, like folding on the river when I had a good hand.

    Soon I went to Vegas. After a week in the desert, I felt like Charles Darwin must have felt on the Galapagos Islands, having traveled to an isolated land, where he found strange new ecosystems populated by bizarre species. What I discovered on Las Vegas Island was that in the poker ecosystem, at the top of the food chain, sat the folders.

    I need to stop here and tell you exactly the kind of folding I mean. I'm talking about folding that is done often, and conspicuously, and audaciously, and without a fuss.

    Every now and then in the Vegas games, a non-folder would say something to a folder, sometimes friendly sometimes not, about playing so tight. I couldn't get over how comfortable the folders were, with all of it, with the folding, with the comments, and they'd just sit there behind their tall stacks and long smiles, and muck, one more time.

    I was like, okay, I see how this works now. It's like a club. The folders club. Well, whatever it was, I wanted in.

    After my first taste of big-time folding, I felt that if I could get really good at it, I could quit my job. So I made folding my holy grail, my quest, my mountain to climb. I could see the mountain. I could see my path. I looked at the ground in front of me, and I took a step.

    By 1990 I was folding enough to support my food and rent habit. This freed up lots of time for lots more folding. Before long I got so good at folding that I could afford to get stupid at first one flavor of gambling then another and another. My tether line to solvency was always the folding. Anytime I was low on money, all I had to do was stop betting and stop eating and get back to the folding.

    Eventually I outpaced the gamble demon and the cigarette demon and the tilt demon and several others I met along the way. My path became a gentle incline that coaxed me up to a sunny ledge where I stopped, and sat, and I looked around in wonder, for I could see the top of the mountain far away and high above, and I could see the bottom, waiting for me, should I neglect my folding.

    When I play now, in 2006, one of the things I don't do during the opening drive of the game is wager much. I like to get to the folding right away. My ideal session starts with a sip of coffee, then somebody raises and I fold from the big blind, then another little sip before I fold my small blind, then I take as big a sip as the coffee's temperature will allow, and I sit up straight, and I get ready to play my button, and I exhale consciously, and most likely fold.

    Which brings me to the hand that got me to writing about my folding fetish in the first place.

    The game was brick-and-mortar $80-160 limit hold'em. It was my first hand of the session. I was in the big blind with ace-ten offsuit and no hearts. One player limped, the small blind folded, and I checked. We were headsup going into the flop with me first.

    The flop came ace, ace, nine, with two hearts.

    I checked. He checked.

    The turn was the eight of hearts.

    I checked. He checked.

    The river was the seven of hearts, making the final board A-A-9, 8, 7, with four hearts.

    I checked. He bet. And I folded.

    Of course no one at the table had any idea I had a hand like that. After all, all that happened was limp, check -- check, check -- check, check -- check, bet, fold. If any of my opponents were to draw a conclusion from what they had seen, it would not be that I had folded a good hand. It would be that I had chosen to not bluff, three times, with a bad one. And that's why I fold the way I do, with a quiet mind and a silent body, so nobody knows what I had.

    Sometimes folding makes me feel like a puppet master. Like when I openraise from the cutoff with not much, and the button calls and the blinds fold, and it's headsup with me first, and I miss the flop, and I check and he bets and I fold. Or if I raise before the flop and someone reraises behind me and everyone else is out and I call and the flop comes and I check and he bets and I fold. With punts like these, I make money twice. Once by immediately ending my worst situations. Twice by making it correct, in their worlds, for the bluffing types to bluff when I check, and for the folding types to fold when I bet. And all of a sudden, I can't lose. I love folding.


    Thanks for reading. I'm off to the boat.

    Link of the Day:
    Vote for an Honest Politician

    Jonathon Sharkey, candidate for governor of Minnesota:

    Honesty is very seldom heard nowadays, especially from a politician. So, I am going to break from political tradition. My name is Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, Ph.D., L.D.D.D. I am a Satanic Dark Priest, Sanguinarian Vampyre and a Hecate Witch. My Magikal Path name is: Lord Ares.

    I despise and hate the Christian God the Father. He is my enemy. ...

    I am a strong believer and supporter of Impalement for terrorists and criminals. I am sure my belief of use of Impalement will be challenged by the ACLU and organizations who oppose the use of corporal punishment, by them saying it serves no purpose and is inhumane.

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