Thursday, April 20, 2006

"I am a roving gambler, gambled all around
Whenever I meet with a deck of cards, I lay my money down
I've gambled down in Georgia
I've gambled up in Maine
And when I get me a bankroll
I'll do it all over again"

Puggy Pearson

Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog. Oodles of good content and links today. If you want poker content, damnit, you're in the right place.

Per my bad run, the bleeding has stopped. I'm doing well at the boat but still struggling online. Dropping down in limits has helped a bit but it's now taking longer to dig out of the hole. Such is poker.

These past two months have taught me some tough lessons. Mostly that you're alone at the poker table. No matter how much you study or read or reflect or confer with others, it's ultimately just you sitting there, alone, making the best decisions you can. And many times you make the correct decision and lose. And that's poker. It is not how you CAN play that counts but how you DO play. This is especially true in a live game. There's lotsa folks wanting to gamble there. Good poker is boring, after all.

Odd sidenote: I've gotten a few emails from some college kids wanting to be a "pro" poker player. It's not fair for me to offer advice because I don't know these folks but I still didn't respond in a positive fashion. That bothers me - being a responsible bastard and a hypocrite to boot.

One of these guys is on the edge of the cracks, and if he fell in and failed, could end up drifting and working odd jobs like pumping gas or selling refrigerators. He's got one foot in the bucket of freedom and fun and adolescence, and the other foot in cement, and I doubt if he even realizes the brutal side effects of taking the leap into the non-conformist life of poker. For many, it just sounds way cooler than it really is.

Part of me wanted to warn him. Part of me made me wonder why it was my business anyway. Part of me wanted to cheer his misfitting just as he was applauding mine. The poker dream isn't for everyone and who the hell says it's so dreamy anyway?

Still, when he asked me why, I couldn't help but offer a disguised sermon. I'd repost the email here but I didn't get permission. Bottom line: poker is the worlds greatest hobby. Keep it that way. Enjoy it the rest of your life if you choose. How many hobbies can actually EARN you money? Plus, it's a cliche but true: if you have the skills to succeed in poker than those skills translate far better into the workplace and/or working for yourself.

I've actually thought a lot about these two fellows lately. They seemed like good guys, sharing their passion and dreams of poker with me, a relative stranger and fellow non-conformer. Yet, succeeding at poker requires a helluva lot more than being a good guy and having the best of intentions.

There's a great Jesse May poker quote that goes like this:

"People always wanna know what's going on and what's going on is people are going broke. That's mostly it."

And despite supporting myself and my wife and animals through poker for over 18 months now, I'm second-guessing myself, wondering if my past year wasn't an aberration. Very dangerous. But then again, I'm not like these two young fellows. In fact, just how non-conforming am I? Isn't education a safety net? Is talent? Or brains? Just how brave then, and reckless am I? After all, can't I find a good paying job if I needed one - yes - and how reckless am I with the knowledge that I can jettison this poker thing and get back in the corporate life? Or is it the converse - this knowledge allows me to play better when truly focusing on the long-term?? Not feeling the pressure?

Anyway, I told them to be careful, wished them well and good luck. I guess that's partially why I started this silly poker blog. I was seeking a deeper understanding of poker and thru the mirror of other people's writing and friendships, an understanding of myself - a better way to see.

Damn, a million things to ramble or rant about and I somehow pick emails to tangent on. I really gotta start blogging when I'm sober.

I recently read that John Feeny, author of the fine poker book, Inside the Poker Mind, walked completely away from poker a few years ago. He basically said that when he undertakes something, he gets very serious about it. And when he accomplishes his goals, he moves on. And he felt like he did everything in poker that he wanted.

I wonder if I'll do the same. Hell, even my hero Paul Phillips walked away from the game. All I ever wanted to do was to try this poker thingy and see if I could make a go of it. And, at least to myself and losing streak notwithstanding, I've proven I can.

Maybe I'm speaking too damn soon.
Must. Focus. On. Long. Term.

Screw this Guinness-fueled rambling. I better get on with it now or it's gonna get alot worse before I'm done.

Commence Destroying Workplace Productivity Mode.

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit!

Now this next bit isn't about poker, but it is about gambling. Would you wager on any of these?

This January, Iran announced that it would resume uranium-enrichment research, breaking an agreement set more than two years ago with several European powers. After a series of breakdowns in negotiations—and increasingly bellicose rhetoric from the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—the move was widely perceived as an indication that Iran has decided to pursue nuclear weapons, whatever the consequences.

U.S. and Israeli officials have publicly refused to rule out a military solution. When might such an attack— by the United States or Israel—take place? Here are the odds set by tradesports.com earlier this year, just after Iran resumed enrichment research, along with some factors the site’s bettors may (or may not) be considering.

4:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by June 30, 2006.

By this date, the United Nations Security Council may have only recently enacted sanctions, such as travel bans or freezing the assets of Iranians associated with the nuclear program. More important, neither the United States nor Israel is likely to risk a strike in the midst of an election year. Israel will have only recently voted in a new parliament, and the United States will be mere months away from mid- term elections.

3:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by December 31, 2006.

The November elections will be over in the United States, and a new government will be firmly in place in Israel. But the two powers may continue to defer to the international community, and wait to assess whether sanctions and diplomacy curb Iran’s ambitions.

2:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by March 31, 2007.

If Iran continues to make progress toward nuclear weapons capability, despite heavy international pressure, a surgical military strike against one of its key facilities—such as the uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz or the uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan—would become more politically feasible. Analysts at the Eurasia Group, an international consulting firm, predict that surgical strikes are likely “by the [United States] or Israel during the first quarter of 2007.”

Hot damn. If you only read one thing from this humble blog, this is it: Michael Craig writing up the Andy Beal versus the Corporation poker game. He played four of the best players in the world heads-up for 100k.200k stakes. Jennifer Harmon, Ted Forrest, Todd Brunson and Phil Ivey. Absolutely mind boggling. It gets better the more you read.

Three parts with one more to come:
The Banker, The Boss, The Junkman, & The Warrior Queen - Part 1
The Banker, The Boss, The Junkman, & The Warrior Queen - Part 2
The Banker, The Boss, The Junkman, & The Warrior Queen - Part 3

Moving along, I've given up on all poker podcasts except for the Lord Admiral show. But I'll be subscribing to this next one because I'm a big fan of both Lou and Amy.

Subject: New Internet Radio Show

Amy "Oil Doe" Calistri and I will be hosting a new webcast radio show that airs tomorrow night and every Thursday evening at 8:00 PM Central Time, on www.holdemradio.com.

We will talk poker, interview guests, offer a tip of the week, comment on poker news, and dish some dirt. Our first guest will be the always interesting Dave Scharf. He's a guy who's written one book, launched two magazines, and helped get a poker tour off the ground. Dave's been a naval officer, lawyer, and for a number of years he's worked as a morning drive time DJ in Canada.

The show will also have an active chat window enabling listeners to comment, ask questions, and take an active part in things.

While Amy has broadcasting experience, this will be my first venture into radio, and I'm hopeful that it will turn out to be as much fun as I think it will be.

Damnit, I really need to do a podcast. I've got the headset and mike thingy good to go. And besides, I could be the first midget podcaster.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the new ESPN poker show. It's to be called the Poker Edge and will be airing on ESPN.com at 4 PM Eastern. The show features Poker Pro Phil Gordon along with ESPN.com Poker Editor Andrew Feldman. This week's guest was none other than Phil Hellmuth. You can hear the show by going to ESPNradio.com. The show will also be available to download immediatly following the show in the ESPN Radio Podcenter. For free. As of now only on the website: ESPN Radio.

Let's crank off some poker news articles, shall we?

Stars going public in London before end of year according to the London Times.
Pokerstars reveals hand with plans for £1bn float

Much of my poker angst comes from the news that Paris Fucking Hilton is playing poker now. Geezus. Kill me now.
Hilton Addicted to Poker

HOLLYWOOD - Socialite Paris Hilton is addicted to playing poker after recently being taught the game. The hotel heiress and her younger sister Nicky enjoy their new hobby so much, they have started playing in tournaments.

She explains, "I'm obsessed with poker. It's my favorite game now.
"We love it. We play at tournaments in Vegas."

Although she is the heir to a fortune, she insists she hasn't gambled away her inheritance, adding, "I'm really lucky in Vegas--I always win!"

And Good God, even Beetle Bailey is jumping on board.

Here's a pretty good interview with Chip Reese about playing Phil Hellmuth in the NBC HeadsUp tournament.
Interview with Chip Reese

Dominoes? Who knew?
Are dominoes next big thing?
League founder hopes to follow the success of televised poker

And a follow-up per ESPN's latest programming fad: Coming to an ESPN network near you:
World Domino Tour (WDT)

USA gambling legislation update: House committee divided in Internet gambling debate

Are you new to the poker blogging scene? Check out Chilly's Poker Blogger's Dictionary.

The Independent asks: Are TV quiz shows just gambling in disguise?

This could be big news if anyone actually played there:
Dear World Sports Exchange Client:
World Poker Exchange is about to turn the online poker industry on its head. Starting today, we'll be completely eliminating the rake from the real-money games in our poker room, regardless of table limit or game type. This makes World Poker Exchange the world's only venue where it's completely free to play poker-and yes, that includes tournament play as well.

Thanks to Joaquin for sending me this fun read: Actor turned poker player James Woods tells all.

The April 2006 issue of Gaming Law Review is now available online to subscribers. Original articles include:

Everyone knows that Phil Hellmuth replaced Phil Gordon on Celebrity Poker Showdown, right? I might actually watch it now.
Hellmuth replaces Gordon on Bravo

Interesting column: 'Tacky' Vegas serves the city and people just fine by David Schwartz

More Phil Hellmuth inanity. From the fine folks at UB:

Phil Hellmuth has had enough. And he's not going to take it anymore.

"I've had enough," says Phil Hellmuth. "And I'm not going to take it anymore."

No, Phil isn't referring to life on the poker circuit. Nor is he referring to his penchant for fine champagne.

Phil is talking about the constant jabs against him by his arch nemesis, self-proclaimed poker guru, Bill Fillmaff.

Bill's been shooting his mouth off, claiming he's better than Hellmuth at pretty much everything.

But Hellmuth is fighting back.

"This kid thinks he's a somebody? He's a nobody," says Hellmuth. "This kid thinks he's better than

Hellmuth? He can't even spell Hellmuth."

Fillmaff begs to differ.

"I can spell Hellmuth," says Fillmaff. "D-O-N-K-E-Y."

And with those words, the greatest competition in the history of everything begins. To witness the shenanigans for yourself - and to find out how you can be a part of the ultimate poker fight - visit the BillvsPhil site at www.billvsphil.com.

I also enjoyed Fillmaff's tongue in cheek riff on Danny N in his latest episode:

OK, what are your thoughts regarding 2004 Player of the Year Danny... Ne...

Fillmaff: (pauses) I don't like to talk bad about people beneath me, but I consider myself to be the Anti-Danny Nagreeno. I believe poker should be taken seriously. This is not something you do for fun. This is not something you approach with joy. The correct way to play poker is to be very sullen. And serious. That guy is just a jolly-time goofball. Who does he think he is, Santa Claus?!

When Bill Fillmaff loses -- and I always lose to a bad beat -- I don't smile and walk away. I tell that other person what they did wrong. And I make damn well sure it never happens again. I don't agree with anything Danny stands for, like I said, I'm the Anti-Nagreeno.

I gotta pimp this new poker novel by Brandon Adams entitled Broke.
Book Description:

I’ve rediscovered my fascination with gambling addiction in the wake of Matt’s bust-out. You can’t be a poker player who doesn’t think about addiction. It’s like being an eighty-year old who doesn’t think about death. It’s staring you in the face all the time.

I've been re-reading David Ross's old posts for inspiration. This site has them all archived for easy reading.

Because I'm deeply deranged, I sometimes enjoy reading the WinholdEm forums.

I've given up on RGP. It's been overwhelmed by spammers and I can't keep up, despite being an expert killfiler. But there was this classic post from a brand new poster who got flamed pretty hard for posting some bad beats. Post of the year?

This is hilarious , You people can fucking kiss my ass. I read all your poor me posts and then I come on here and post something and I get tore up well how bout this fuck you and rpg and take your internet poker and shove it up your ass snip
all this fucking crap stupid fucks . Your all a bunch of degenerate gamblers anyways please fucking eliminate me from this stupid fucking group anyways. I dont give a fuck about you and your stupid fucking SNIP site and FELL GO FUCK YOURSELF pro my ass. HAHAHAH


I did enjoy this post about heads up poker, though. Hopefully Yoyo will see this.

Subject: Profitability in Heads Up

I recently got hooked on NLHE heads-up tables at Party, and got off to a roaring start. I won like 12 of my first 14, and loved the intensity and the adrenaline rush.

I then called my boss and left him a voice-mail, which told him to take this job and shove it, I'm gonna be the next online billionaire.

Next day, I called him again, and trying to sound conciliatory, asked him if he didn't REALLY think I was serious about WHERE I told him to shove it. I then crawled on my hands and knees to his office begging for my old job back, less pay, more work, ANYTHING oh please.

Fortunately he had never checked his voice-mail, and I now owe his ugly secretary three expensive dinner dates, IN PUBLIC, but oh well.

Which brings me to my mathematical analysis of the profitability of heads-up poker. Although I no longer expect to make a billion, or even a million, I have discovered that at the lower stakes, I can at least make the hobby pay its own way.

The following is not as interesting as the preamble, but it might be useful.

Let's use the $10 + 1 buy-in as the base-line, and you can multiply to get your own profit margins ($50 + 5 multiply my results X 5, etc).

If you set out to play 100 games (opponents, whatever), then your break-even point is to win 55 games. The extra five games above 50 percent is due to the overhead, or "fee." Win $9 profit or lose $11 buy-in each game. You can add in whatever additional overhead you include in your cost of playing and adjust accordingly.

In other words, if I play 100 $10 + 1 opponents, and I win 55 of them, I make zero, lose zero.

Once you win 55 games in that 100 game set, then every additional win is pure profit of the $20 prize. (Note, this is post-calculated AFTER you've played the entire 100 games.)

If you win only 45% of the games, you lose $200. If you win 65 games, you profit $200.

At 70 percent you make $300, and it's hard to imagine winning more than that consistently. So as you see, your profit margin is not likely to be very extravagant, since you have invested $1,100 in the 100 games, and made back only $200.

On the positive side, these games tend to go by very quickly; I don't think I've spent more than twenty minutes max on any one game, probably 15 on a few, and some have literally lasted only the first hand. And if your buy-in is $100 + 9, your profit per game is multiplied by ten PLUS you save $1 per game overhead.

That's more than $3,000 per set, and if you can sustain that winning average, you can make mortgage payments.

But here's the rub. Making 70 percent long-haul winning percentages in heads up requires more than mere skill. With Eight or NINE opponents, a good player can play very carefully and overwhelm the luck factor.

But in HU, the luck factor is considerably higher, so that your skill advantage is already reduced as you begin. In reviewing my own losses, I find that about half of them were due to hands played well and either getting outdrawn, or else having situations such as wired KK vs wired AA etc, where you would have to be at the very highest level of skill to know when to surrender a three-raised pot holding KK. I confess I'm not that good, not nearly.

The way I see it, you can probably win about 70 percent if you face total incompetents, and 65 percent against run-of-the-mill skilled players if you are "right on" your game. But many of your opponents are likely to be better than average, and the more of these you face, the lower your winning percentage is going to be. Obviously, against your own skill level, your win will be about 50 percent, which is a money-loser (the house wins).

With the potential profits at $3,000 per rack of 100, you can bet that the better players are going to be attracted to this game, at least until they decide whether it's for them.

Also, this game figures to be more of a hit online than at B&Ms, because the cost of providing a dealer for only 2 players is five times the cost (counting only wages, not floor space), of a ten-player table.

Despite all that, there are two major things I like about heads up. One, I have learned a whole lot about the heads up situations I face in sit-n-go trnys. Even online, you can make "read" assessments of a player pretty quickly by the way he bets. Second, as I mentioned above, is the intensity and the adrenalin rush. I usually have to take a short break after each game, even if it only lasted five minutes. It's a lot like the feeling after a long, close chess game.

For my part, I'm barely scraping by so far, but I'm hoping to improve my profit margin, tell my boss to shove it, and then marry his daughter! :)


Entertaining post - David Sklansky and Chris Ferguson both pointed out that in a heads up freezeout game, with blinds equal to 2% of each players stake, a player who goes all in every hand has a roughly 40% chance of winning the freezeout. That puts an upper limit of a 60% edge, unless your opponents are using strategies WORSE than going all in every hand, or the blinds are much less than 2% of your initial
stake - A. McIntire

RIP Puggy. I read that he was pretty abusive at the tables but had mellowed out tremendously in the last decade or so. I tried to confirm the rumours that he peed on a dealer to no avail. But here's a great article about the legend from the Las Vegas Sun.


Poker tournament pioneer 'Puggy' Pearson dies

As the quintessential road gambler, cigar-chomping Puggy Pearson would take on anyone, anywhere, anytime and at almost any game you could wager on - providing he liked it.

He developed a fondness for poker as a teenager and came up with an idea that revolutionized the modern game. He proposed that players at the same table start with the same amount of money and play until one player had it all - "freeze-out" style, he called it.

In 1970, Horseshoe owner Benny Binion used that formula in his new World Series of Poker tournament, launching a format used in poker tournaments to this day.

Walter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson, the 1973 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy in, no-limit Texas hold 'em champion and a member of the Poker Hall of Fame, died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 77.

The cause was not immediately released. The Clark County coroner's office conducted an autopsy Thursday and the results are pending. But Pearson's family said he had oral surgery on Tuesday and that he apparently hit his head when he either fell or had a heart attack on Wednesday.

Pearson had been ailing for several years, but earlier this week played poker in the Bellagio card room, his favorite haunt in recent years.

Palm Mortuary on Jones Boulevard is handling the arrangements. A memorial service has been tentatively scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Bellagio, his family said.

"I'm a roving gambler," Pearson was quoted as saying in the 2002 book "The Championship Table," by Dana Smith. "I ramble all around. Wherever I meet with a deck of cards, I'll lay my money down. I've gambled all over Texas, I've gambled up in Maine. And now I'm going to do it all over again."

His motto was emblazoned across his 38-foot-long, diesel-powered Imperial Holiday Rambler tour bus: "I'll play any man from any land any game that he can name for any amount that I can count," followed by, in much smaller letters: "providing I like it."

Pearson's showdown with fellow Hall of Famer and three-time world poker champion Johnny Moss at the 1973 world championship game was the first World Series event recorded for TV broadcast.

On the final hand, Pearson defeated Moss to win poker's most prestigious title and the winner-take-all prize of $130,000 from a field of 13 players.

By comparison, the winner of the same event at last year's World Series of Poker won $7.5 million from a field of 5,619 players.

In the 1970s and '80s, Pearson often showed up for major tournaments wearing costumes. One year he dressed as a cowboy with six-shooters; in other years he appeared in full American Indian dress or in Viking gear.

Although he won four World Series events, Pearson, in later years, declined to play in long tournaments, preferring shorter, live-action games that were his bread and butter as a road gambler.

"He was a colorful character with two feet in the past taking a step into the future," said Howard Schwartz, marketing director of the Gamblers Book Shop downtown. "Puggy played a major role in helping poker make the transition from the back rooms to the modern televised game."

Several books about gambling devote entire chapters to Pearson, including "Fast Company" by Jon Bradshaw and "Aces and Kings" by Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan.

Pearson was a quick learner, said fellow poker player Paul Magriel, author of the 1976 book "Backgammon," which is considered the bible of backgammon.

"He was a remarkable guy - a good ol' boy from Tennessee," Magriel said. "He sounded like an illiterate Southern guy, but Puggy was highly intelligent. He quickly picked up backgammon. He had a flair for the game."

Longtime Las Vegas gaming analyst Larry Grossman added: "During the era of Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston and Sailor Roberts - the early days of tournament poker - Puggy was as tough a player as anybody.

"He was an all-around athlete who would play pool, backgammon, golf, tennis - any game as long as he thought he had an edge. He had a great sense of his own skill, which he used to survive as a gambler."

In addition to capturing the World Series of Poker's premier event in 1973, Pearson won the 1971 limit seven-card stud world title, the 1973 $1,000 buy in, no-limit hold 'em crown and the 1973 $4,000 buy in limit seven-card stud title.

Pearson last placed in the money in the World Series of Poker in 1989, when he finished 35th and collected $7,500 - $2,500 less than he paid to enter the event.

Born Jan. 29, 1929, in Adairville, Ky., and raised in the hills of Tennessee, Pearson was one of nine children. He got his colorful nickname as a youngster when he crushed his nose after falling on his face while attempting to walk on his hands.

Pearson dropped out of school at age 11 and made money hustling pool. He joined the Navy at age 17, was trained to be a frogman and toured the world.

In the service, he learned to play poker. He later traveled the United States playing in back rooms or anywhere there was a big game.

Adept at all forms of poker, Pearson, in his prime, was regarded as one of the game's most aggressive players. Seven-card stud was considered his best game.

Pearson estimated that in his lifetime he won and lost millions of dollars at pool and poker tables.

Pearson was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame at Binion's Horseshoe in 1987.

He is survived by his longtime companion, Simin Habibian of Las Vegas; one son, Stephen Mark Pearson of Las Vegas; one daughter, Andrea Elaine Phelan of Nashville, Tenn.; a brother, J.C. Pearson of Las Vegas; two sisters, Bobbie Jean Bailey of Florida and Gladys Gracie Pearson of Clarksville, Tenn.; and one grandson, Walter Frank Phelan of Nashville.


PokerPages has a pretty good bio: "Poker Greats" - Puggy Pearson by Mike Sexton.

I also came across this very amusing article about the wild and wacky prop bets made by the Big Boys of poker, including Pearson. Written by Michael Kaplan in C Cigar Aficionado.
All Bets Are On
In the wacky world of proposition wagers, the ability to run on one foot or hit a golf ball 500 yards can offer gamblers a quick adrenaline rush.

There's a 2 minute video of Sexton and Puggy here. Watch it if ya wanna see Puggy sing his trademark tune.

Here's an interview with Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi at Poker Lizard. The Grinder talks about his style of play, the latest online cheating scandal, and what it's like to be a "Poker" celebrity. The strange thing is that he admits to multi account tabling in online tourneys. WTF?! What a freaking joke.

And the fine folks over at Wicked Chops have an interview up with Mark Seif. A worthy read.

Of more interest may be this brand spanking new interview with PPA President Michael Bolcerek at Chops.

An excellent article about Stuey Unger; excerpted from the book "Aces and Kings" by Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan. To Live and Die in L.V

Damn, I just realized I forgot to point out this fine poker gossip post by our friends over at Pokerati. There's a sweet list of Mike Sexton observations about some of the biggest names in poker. Check out: Sexton Appeal

Finally, the writers of "Rounders" address the issue of why Mike McDermott doesn't shag Petra when she drops by his apartment.
Courtesy of Curious Guy Bill Simmons, ESPN Page2.

OOOPS. Someone goofed up here. Say it ain't so, Clonie.

Explanation/apology from Clonie.

Here's an interesting post in defense of negative-expectation gambles.

That "Deal or no Deal?" thread brings up a good point about expectation.

In many situations and for many people, expectation has no bearing.

This is a good reminder for serious poker players who are so trapped inside the "EV" box that they've forgotten that it is a box.

Pros and pseudo-pro poker players simply do not think about things from the perspective of recreational players when those players call to hit two-outers. They're not idiots. They're not even wrong to play as they do. If it's one of your last hands of the night, it costs $40 to draw to a two-outer, and the pot is $500, and you only play $20/$40 Holdem once every five years, and your money is on the table purely to be gambled with, then why the hell shouldn't you call? Maybe it would even be wrong NOT to.

In other words, an "incorrect" play can actually be correct, if the meta-circumstances are right. A "bad player" can't be said to be playing badly, because he isn't subject to the many presumptions of expected value.

This applies to serious, long-run minded players too. Let's say Barry G hands you $100,000 to play in the High Stakes Poker cash game from TV for six hours, no more, no less. If you are a winner, you keep your winnings but Barry will take the original $100K. If you end up stuck, Barry will just take whatever's left, no harm, no foul for the loss. Total freeroll.

How should you play?

I would say that the correct strategy would be to take more small-to-moderate risks than would normally be correct, and fewer significant risks than would normally be correct. Forget about any sort of absolutes when it comes to pot odds or any other math of that nature.

Example of small-to-moderate risks you might take: in a fairly large pot, it would be better to call a bet with a gutshot, or try to spike a set with an underpair, than it would be to fold, whether or not you're anywhere close to getting correct odds. Because, in a larger sense, you *are* getting correct odds.

Example of a large risk you might not take: you could very easily fold pocket Aces in this game if you were a hand away from the six-hour quota, you stood at $150K (up $50K), and somebody who had you covered went all-in ahead of you. Take the gamble if you want, but you're either going to walk away with a guaranteed $50K or be 4-to-1 (at best) to either walk away with net $200K (4) or lose everything (1). This situation would be more of a personal philosophical quandary than an objective mathematical absolute. EV does not exist then and there.

Shit, did I just talk about when it might be correct to fold pocket Aces? I swore I would never do that on RGP.

Everything about expectation and poker assumes constancy. It's always based on the assumption that the game you are sitting in - the stakes, the opposition, the game itself - is going to be there forever, and you will be in it forever, or at least, a long time. Many short term or "one time only" gambling situations are more complicated than that, and expected value can be an irrelevant concept, where trategy can and should be based on something totally different.

People ought to think about this more, so that they will recognize when they are in situations where it applies. It's not always about "EV."

Chris P.

Of course, Gary Carson had to respond, and because I can't help myself, I must post it.

If your goal is to win money then it's always about EV.

Players with other goals are considered "bad players" because they can help you acheive your goals, if they can acheive their own goals at the same time then they're certainly good opponents to have but are still considered "bad players".

Sometimes it can be fun to just get lucky and win a big pot or to draw out on an emotionally unstable but very tight player. I'll sometimes take bad gambles myself to acheive those kinds of sub-goals. But, that has nothing of note to do with playing winning poker.

It makes no difference at all whether you're going to make a bet once or a million times. If you're goal is to make money, and you have a sufficient bankroll, then you should make bets iff they have a positive expectation.

The negative EV choices in the deal or not thread are about bankroll risk, not about EV. If you aren't properly bankrolled then you should sometimes turn down positive EV bets even if your goal is to maximize EV.

But, to interpret that to mean you should sometimes accept negative EV bets is just silly and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works.

Gary Carson

Hell, I've pontificated many times about how poker has changed over the years - that's one unique perspective I can give....I was toiling alone for many years before the WPT and the Moneymaker win. I simply can't stress enough how things have changed and how much opportunity there is for a poker student with a thirst for improvement.

So allow me to reblog this prophethic post by Jesse May from September of 2002, right before the poker explosion. This was right before the Party Poker Million (and consequent explosion of Party Poker) and prior to the WPT - although he prolly had a whiff of it...sorry for the dual Jesse references tonight but I just reread Shut Up and Deal.


The decline in cash game poker around the country points towards the sport of poker's evolution, not to its decline. That's why the new Poker Million should not be looked at as a burden to the existing poker schedule, but instead as a welcome addition.

The problem with poker today has nothing to do with a cluttered schedule. The problem with poker is the profit model by which poker is run. It is a profit model which is absolutely outdated, constricting poker under the confines of "casino game", when poker is in fact a popular sport of skill, like golf. The current profit model for poker is one that sees casinos running poker tournaments because of the money they will make in tournament fees and side games.

It is a profit model that forces the best players in the sport to make their living thru money won from other players in the sport, money that comes up thru the cash game ranks, money that the casinos are already dipping into. It is a profit model that squeezes down.

Consider the profit model of professional golf. Golf courses hold tournaments because of revenues from television and corporate sponsors, money from which the tournament purses are funded. The top ranked players are qualified to play in the tournaments, and the best players earn a living from prize money in tournaments that they qualified to play in. The best players also earn money from sponsors who pay players because of the television coverage that their sport receives. This is a profit model that looks up for its profit, using the players as the stars who are showcasing their skill to generate the revenue by which the best players are paid.

Poker is not really that far off, and to suggest that poker still is far off is to be stuck in a rut. Under the table cameras really do make poker exciting to watch. The fan base is there. The tournaments are there. And the best players really are that good.

The future of professional poker is a world poker tour. The top ranked players will be qualified to play in tournaments on the tour, which will be shown on TV. The casinos that host the tournaments will generate the purses from television and sponsorship revenue, and players will earn money through endorsements. That is the future of poker, and while it has not been a to b to c, one day it will all seem to have happened fast.

Both of the Poker Million events, while far from ideal, at least look towards the new profit model for poker. The first Poker Million had 250,000 pounds added in corporate sponsorship. The second Poker Million, the Poker Million - The Classics, while having no added money, also has no tournament fees. And because the field is restricted, and because the television exposure will be maximum (six two hour shows on Friday evenings on Sky Sports with a six player table, and the final live on Sunday prime time), and because players are allowed to wear sponsor logos, for the first time prospective players really have a product of value to sell to a potential sponsor.

And depending on what the market values of those logos is, some players could find this tournament better value than any they've ever played in.


It's really fascinating, looking back. When I was running well, I used to pinch myself.

For all of you parents out there, take heed of this funny post.

Subject: Thank you Party Poker

I'm not a huge fan of Party Poker but this morning I get an email that they have put
$50 in my account.

So I get my 7yr old, open a .10/.25 NL game and hand him the mouse.

His knowledge of poker:
1) Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks are good.
2) And of course, sometimes Tens
3) Just like go-fish, you try to make matches.
4) With that little slide bar, you can push a lot of chips

I now have $97.63 in my Party Poker Account.

What he doesn't know about poker:
1) I know the password.
2) By the time he gets home from school, he will only have $1.35 in the account.

I've often wanted to get my wife to play some microlimits for the fun of it but sadly, she has no interest. Maybe I need to back one of my nephews or nieces.

Anyway, that's all for tonight. This crappy Guinness-fueled uber-post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker. Not that anyone out there doesn't already have a damn account there, of course.

A shout out to Pauly for getting back on the horse to write for us all.

Oooof. One last pimp to go. Don't forget the DADI tournament on Monday evening. We're gonna be sending another lucky blogger to the WSOP.

Link of the Day:
Fine Young Cannibal

Kevin Underwood may have few friends left after his arrest on charges of murdering a 10-year-old girl to dine on her corpse, but he'll always have these character witnesses on eBay.

* Great transaction! Would gladly deal with again. Thank you!
* A superb buyer is you!
* Prompt Payment, Good Communucation - has it all!
* An awesome buyer. A+ in my book -- great, great, great!
* extremely well packed. would buy from again.

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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