Sunday, February 08, 2009

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit! 

"I get emails every so often asking to buy a link or a textbox or whatever.
Mostly I ignore them because, what, are you high?"


Yup, I still get them daily, despite my self-imposed hiatus in this humble poker blog. It's amazing how many poker sites are out there, really.

And there's a very short list of readable ones. For which I might qualify these days.

So I'm not gonna promise an uber. But I've got oodles of notes and links and a fuck load of photos. So hang with me. It looks like I'm gonna have to hunker down and port this thing over to a domain and all that that entails.

It's tough sometimes to motivate myself when mmajunkie.com got nearly one million page views over two days last weekend. Hell, I still remember how stoked I was when the site finally hit one million for a month and here it is now getting it in two days. Insane.

Cage fighting. Who knew?

Per poker, I'm pondering this years WSOP now that the schedule is released. It seems very indulgent, in today's economic climate, to take ten large and plunk it down for a single seat in a poker tournament. But hell, I'm free rolling, right? I might just take the time off work to spend a few weeks out there playing multiple cheaper events, instead. One cash there oughta pay for a Main Event seat.

So I think my man, Johnny Hughes, took pity on me over here and wrote some excellent original content for me and my fine readers.

Bless you, Johnny.

Enjoy this excellent essay:

The Flow of the Poker Game: Money Management

by Johnny Hughes, author of the novel, Texas Poker Wisdom

Way back when I played poker for my living and all night, managing your bankroll for the long session separated the folk's ready for the Cattleman's game from the saddle-blanket gamblers. An often told story is the time Dandy Don a.k.a Polo, and lots of other names, laid down two aces before the flop to a sucker. Great play! It was a cinch he'd bust the sucker, so you do not want anything resembling a horse race in the early stages of a poker game. Dandy Don is one of those pictured in the early World Series photos in Doyle's book that used an alias.

One time I am playing heads up with a light player named Maurice. We both catch two aces. After a move-in before the flop, I beg him to split it. He makes a flush and flies to Dallas. We fly after him only to run into all manner of scufflers with larcenous intent. If you go down to Deep Ellum, put your money in your shoe. Any trick you don't know, they will play on you.

The same strategy that Iggy followed in the World Series, will serve you well in a cash game. You do not play one hand at a time. You are not there to win pots. You are there to win money. There are stages of a poker game, but for Iggy's readers, let's think of early game and late game. You must adjust your play for the stage and flow of the overall game. There is the game early/late stage paradigm, and your own early/late game strategy.

I wrote and article entitled Poker and the Gambler's Fallacy which was about money management and the flow of the game. It must be my best article, because it is stolen by weird web sites often. Pauly has tried to explain how this works. Internet thieves are the new critics. They are fine with me. They have good taste.

Tournaments have everyone playing too much two-card, macho, move-in before the flop poker. Crandell Addington, noted poker historian, has pointed out correctly that is not the way the game used to be played. In the early stages of a game, everyone is playing tight. In 2-5, 10 pot limit or no limit, I buy in for $200, and play fast while they play tight.

For example, I never raise in the two spots behind the big blind. When the pot builds up back around to me, I scoot on to the center like we did last winter. I do this on A,A, K,K, A,K, and A,Q and maybe some other hands when the pot odds look right. My opponents know this around West Texas! What you gonna do with two nines when I scoot? Be a tiny, wee favorite or an ol' wet smelly dog? This play also neutralizes position or puts it in your favor with every one of these hands. Say you make an early raise with AA, KK, or AK and five bad ass West Texans call you? Before I see the flop, I feel like a rabbit ran across my grave. Try this trapping strategy for a few sessions. I really love it on the road. You tell a good trapper by the furs on the wall.

The gambler's fallacy means that people think they are due to hit a hand after a dry spell. This also means the suckers will try to double up and catch up. The early stage of the game offers less mathematical opportunity than the late stage. You may even wait until a game "warms up" before you go. Two tight ol' rocks Pat Renfro and the Mule would always leave at the very end when things got crazy.

In the early stages of a game, you should play tight, kicker poker, top pair, one pair poker. You should never take a flop because your cards are suited or connected. You should by trying for big pairs and trips. You may semi-bluff straight draws, but rarely if ever bluff with air. The ante is usually not worth stealing, but bluffs right after the flop are less risky in the early session. I will bluff every straight draw that is not on the ignorant end.

In the latter stages of a game, you might be drawing to a straight or the nut flush. By now, everyone might have an average of $800 on the table in a game where everyone started with $200. In the early stages, you can afford to lose all your money and make a pull out. In the late stages, you must win your one big pot. You wait on it like Iggy does a prize fish. It may not come. At this point you go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and say, "Self, we have been in this boat over and over. We are going home with the $800 if nothing happens or $1600 if we have a large edge. We are not going to be scratching a broke man's ass this night!" In the latest stages of the game, the losers would call a frog up out of a log, and bluffing at them is crazy since they will willingly take the worst of it against a hand as big as a foot.

What we call tilt is the gambler's fallacy in action. Some folks are actually calm and accustomed to throwing off their money if they lose a big hand. It is kind of a rule that you do not get the major sucker off winner early. He will go home or play as good as he knows how.

Casinos are wonderful because any time of the day, the gambler's fallacy has the suckers really ready to play. I can watch a game a nano second, through a casino wall, from a half a mile away and tell you who is winner or loser and their specific feelings about it. Whining is the background music that means cash on the wood is making gambling good.

What about you? What plans and promises do you make to yourself before you start a game? Starting hand discipline is the key to long term success. Late game decisions are so much more important than early decisions. Suited connectors are rarely a good deal early, but trick hands can make you a pile of money a show horse couldn't jump over late in the day. If you play too many pots, calling $5 often to see a flop, only to be raised out, that costs you way more than the $5. It costs you all the money you would have made when you do make a big hand.

At any stage of the game your all-time best mathematical hand is trips, a set, when you have a pocket pair. I disagree with Phil Hellmuth about raising with pairs and how to live as a psychologically healthy man. Usually, a small pair, Queens on down, is worth calling a single raise. However, it is not worth a re-raise or a move-in. One advantage of trapping everything from the top spots behind the button is you avoid raising into a huge hand or two. When the action comes back around, the players have bid their hands, like in bridge.

Most poker games have frequent raises. If you do trap with a AA, KK and several smooth call, watch out. Make a soft bet into a favorable board, but if anybody gets mavericky, dog it.

As I said, my favorite hand is a set. Nearly everyone checks them and check raises and wins a little bitty pot. I might lead out for half the pot, or even a little less hoping top pair will make a stand. A major mistake the new players make is to worry too much over protecting a hand. When you have way the best of it, like with a set, start putting them on a range of hands. If it is an unraised pot, you may not want to run them off.

Play the nuts late and high. I see people flop a set, straight, or nut flush, even quads, and run everyone out. I'll take my chances with a slow play, especially with one or two opponents. If I am pretty sure I have the best hand after all the smoke clears, I will bet the size of the pot. I see people make these little piss-ant third of the pot bets. Mine has to work one in three times to gain what they get if their "value bet" works. I do not need the nuts to move in on fifth, especially in the late stages of the game. Bluff in the early stages. Look like a big bluff in the late stages, when the gambler's fallacy is working.

If you flop quads, wait until fifth street if you need to. After a check or two, the larcency comes out. I will take my chances if I flop the nut straight. Slow play and watch that board for a change in the weather. It is all about reading the board, putting your opponent on a narrow range of hands, and game selection.

Only fools start out drawing at two pair. That is A,7 or so. More money is lost with A,rag than any other hand. Say you have top pair, top kicker and sense you have a sucker outkicked after the flop. String him along with the right amounts. Get a call on the flop. Price him out on fourth. There are some fellers in these parts that would not fold if God came down out of heaven and just begged them to fold.

When an Ace comes on the flop, it is never a good time to bluff air because of all the suckers playing ace rag. When an ace comes on the flop, the next card can always make someone a straight. It there is another card above a ten with that ace, make a healthy bet to get rid of all the any two big card players.

When you have AK in position and turn top pair against one player, consider a slow play. There is no overcard that can draw you out.

When you flop three Kings, Queens, Jacks, consider a slow play to let them catch something is there is no other card above a Nine,Ten out there.

However, with three Aces, you have that deal about the next card making a straight.

When you are sitting there working hard at clocking the changing emotions and therefore hand ranges of your opponents, keep asking yourself, what is this game going to be like in an hour or two?

Larry W. Phillips has a nifty little book entitled The Tao of Poker about personal control and money management. One of his ideas is to get home with 75% of the amount you were winning. If you are up $2000 and start to slide, leave up $1500 regardless of the game.

Another idea is to be very patient and not try to force things to happen. If you rock along near even, then some days you will catch a rush and somedays your will not but you don't get bigger behind than a cotton patch spider waiting on a hand. The smartest move in hold 'em is and always will be the slightly fancy flick of the wrist, when you fold. You make your money with self discipline and folding. They give you the money late in the game. We all love fancy moves, but the basics get the money. First time I laid eyes on Iggy, he was playing $4 limit in a weird hat. When he had such grand success this year in tournaments, I would have never of guessed it. Never underestimate your opponents. Poker is the great leveler. Two of my long-term pals, and idols, Iron Drawers Shaw, a poker robbery murder victim, and Poor Ol' Ignorant Ed had never read a poker book. I do not think they could read at all.

However, they both won steady for fifty years by following a patient early game/late game strategy.

Johnny Hughes, the author of the novel, Texas Poker Wisdom

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

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