Thursday, November 20, 2003

"Here is the terrible truth: I got more pure happiness winning 20 grand at the casino craps table than I did from a check many times that amount as the result of honest hard work on my book."
Mario Puzo, author of the Godfather

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to come and read this poker blog. That makes it worthwhile to come on here and ramble every night. Also, it's too freaking cool to see someone take my humble advice, jump on Party Poker and win immediately. That's the best. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me.

I'll say it one last time: if you are playing on any site besides Party Poker, you are doing a disservice to your bankroll. BTW, I forgot to mention you get a $100 signup bonus by using the signup code IGGY and/or download the software with the link on the right. Or download it on your own. Seriously, Party Poker has 22,000 players tonight - how money does your site have? And thank God, Party doesn't show the "players seeing flop" percentage like every other damn site out there. Showing a stat like that, drawing attention to those things, is BAD for tight players. Is it any surprise that Party has the loosest games? Grab PokerTracker. Tag the fish. You won't be sorry.

Epic Poker Announcement: NBC will be showing the World Poker Tour on Superbowl Sunday. Just when you thought poker's popularity may be ebbing...wow, superlatives are failing me for once. It's now the golden age of poker. Obviously, poker's 15 minutes of fame has been grossly underestimated. Thank you, BB, for teaching me about hold em many years ago.

LOS ANGELES - NBC is teaming up with WORLD POKER TOUR and Travel Channel to bring the smash hit cable series to network television on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2004, from 4-6 p.m. (ET). On a day when television viewing is 15 to 20 percent higher than typical Sunday afternoons and when many people are flipping channels, looking for an alternative to pre-game Super Bowl programming, NBC will broadcast a new event: THE TRAVEL CHANNEL WORLD POKER TOUR BATTLE OF CHAMPIONS, where the ultimate poker champion will be crowned.

"With the World Poker Tour becoming one of the fastest growing and most talked about new properties on television, we are looking to create a showcase event," said Jon Miller, Sr. VP, Programming, NBC Sports. "Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect day to present the World Poker Tour to a network audience for the first time. There are enormous numbers of people at home and at parties looking for something entertaining to watch before the Super Bowl."

The champions from the 13 tournaments on the World Poker Tour's historic first season have been invited to square off at the incomparable Bellagio, Las Vegas. For the first time, champions from the classiest high-stakes poker tournaments across the country and around the world will meet head to head, card to card, chip to chip at the World Poker Tour final
table--and only one will be crowned the ultimate poker champion, walking
away with a six figure cash prize, plus a $25,000 seat in the next World Poker Tour Championship, a tournament with a prize pool worth millions.

The World Poker Tour has transformed poker into a televised mainstream sports sensation, creating record-setting ratings and capturing millions of new fans for America's favorite card game. The blockbuster series has riveted the nation's TV viewers thanks to its hallmarks--a blend of high caliber sports-style production shot from 13 different camera angles, expert commentary, cliffhanging 'reality TV' drama and the WPT's signature "ace in the hole" -- its revolutionary WPT Cams, that reveal the player's hidden cards. For the first time on network television, viewers will see those cards, making it possible for the audiences to feel like they're sitting in the seat making million dollar decisions on each hand.

Positively brilliant. You've got a massive captive audience ready to watch television, and you present them with superior content to the banal pre-game chatter with Katie Couric. It's a no-brainer. NBC's worst day is superior to the Travel Channel's best.

Kudos to NBC.
I wonder if this could lead to something bigger & better - God knows television is a vapid wasteland and they are desperate for new ideas. I can't even bear to think about the possibilities.

Found an entertaining review of the World Poker Tour DVD. I've still never seen an episode, damnit.

Enjoyed a 50 BB win last nite. $200 ain't a bad night if you're sitting 2.4. Hell, that's one or two weeks worth of typical grinding right there in 2.5 hours. I may play a little bit later but am packing for vacation. Sadly, I'll be gone until Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Please come back. :)

Link o' the day:
Dial 999 for Any Reason
Not only does this collection of inappropriate emergency calls serve as a public service, it proves that no people deliver subtle verbal sneers better than the British.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Poker Blog
Mike Caro's Law of Least Tilt: Among similarly skilled opponents, the player with the most discipline is the favorite.

The deck hit yours truly in the face from the moment I sat 2.4 tonight. Hit a straight and two sets and BAM - up a hundred in twenty minutes flat. As a grinder, I truly relish small rushes like that. It doesn't happen very often when you're only seeing 20% of the flops.

I just jumped down to 50.1 so I could bang this post out. My first hand went 8 handed to the flop. God love the 50.1 limits. Easy money for those inclined (and disciplined enough) to play tight, ala Fuzz (see prior posts).


Speaking of which, if anyone ever wants to sign up for Party Poker, the main vein in this historical gold rush of poker, please do so with the Bonus Code "IGGY" or click the Party Poker link on the right to download the software and/or use that code to sign up. I'm loathe to even mention this, because it's certainly NOT why I'm writing this rambling poker blog, day after day. This is just for fun, after all, and I absolutely love thinking and discussing poker strategy - this blog is only an extension of that, and I hope my four, err, five readers enjoy reading my soliloquies.

Seriously, if anyone out there is playing on *any* site but PartyPoker, you are cheating yourself out of potential money. Don't get me wrong, I have money straggling on other sites, but the majority of my play is Party. More games and the softest games, by far, of any site out there. However, if I was to recommend a "free" or play money site to practice on, it would be Poker Stars, hands down. The best software and the site actually stays up seven nights a week.

DavidRoss - Playing Online for a Living, Week 29 - is up. I'd like to drink some Canadian beer and watch over his shoulder for a few nights.

I saved this hand because I was curious to see what he had. I raised UTG with 88. Cold called to my immediate left, and everyone else folded. Flop was Ad 7h 5h. I bet hoping to represent the A, and he called. Turn was the 7c. I bet again and he called again. Yuck. I will usually fire again on the turn because a lot of guys will call the flop bet but fold. Now I'm in a tough spot. There aren't too many hands except flush draws I can be ahead of here. River is the 4c. Usually I will check here and hope to induce a bluff from a busted draw. For some reason I decided to fire away here again, and he just called. I won when he had J5o. Wow.

Saw an interesting thread on "poker table coaches" (pet peeve!) and also someone had the audacity to post a link to a column bashing David Sklansky literature relating to the loose, low-limit games typically going on in America today and how Sklansky is irrelevant.

I'm torn here. I'm ultimately a Sklansky disciple, but the last time I picked up AHEFAP it just wasn't applicable to the games I sit at Party. Given: he doesn't write theory/strategy to those games, but still, I've sat my share of upper limits and the play can be pretty wacky up there, too.

And just think: the World Poker Tour comes back on TV in a few months.

Oh the humanity.

So, it's been awhile since I bashed Phil Hellmuth, right?

Phil Helmuth versus Paul Phillips

>Phil Helmuth is on the cusp of a rise as the best tourney player alive.
>His personality takes an unfair beating because most people don't
>accept that it's all "table image".

They don't "accept" that because it's not true. Phil's behavior is
not calculated in the slightest. His fans like to imagine that it's all
part of some grand ploy -- I suppose because it seems more supportable
if he's doing it to improve his results instead of because he's an
emotional cripple. But you don't have to know him for very long to be
quite sure that it's not all "table image".

>Most all Phil's contemporaries describe him as a very nice guy.

Sort of. That is almost invariably a highly qualified statement though.
They say he's a nice guy in this-or-that context, or if you ignore this,
that, and the other, or etc.

>Time to listen to what the people who know him say.
>Basing an opinion of Phil on what you've seen on TV is a mistake.

I seem to be the flag bearer here for certain aspects of the anti-phil
camp, and it's not an opinion formed from television. I believe that the
abuse phil directs toward players unknown to him is very bad for the
game, and I detest seeing people use bullying tactics to make others
feel badly. This assuages any guilt I might otherwise feel for the
criticism I send his way.

Which is not to say that this is my high-minded motive; I do it mostly
because it's fun, and secondarily because my particular sense of cosmic
justice requires me to do it.

>With everything you have going for yourself in life, you waste all this
>energy on such ugliness.

Ugliness? Is the fun factor in all this so opaque? Try to picture me
giggling and amused as I write this stuff, not screaming, fist-shaking, and
with bulging veins. You'll be approximating reality much more closely.

and the classic RGP retort:

>face it Paul...your a bit of a cunt yourself....
>pragmatically speaking with deepest regards

His blog may suck, but Paul Phillips kicks ass.

Good God, this has been a long post. Enjoy it, because I leave town on Friday and will be on hiatus for a week.

Link of the day: Details of Michael Jackson accusations

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Poker Blog

There is much to post but sadly, I endured a late afternoon dentist appointment and I've been loopy ever since.

I'm not too out of it to notice that Party Poker is down again, however. It's difficult to believe this has become acceptable, but it has. God knows I won't leave Party, though.

What do you picture in your mind when Party Poker goes down for hours at a time? Network geeks scrambling for duct tape? Indian guys heading out to WalMart to buy an extension cord? Someone driving home to grab their old Pentium 2 box to set up as an extra load balancing server?


Here is my favorite (non-smartass) response to the post from yesterday about collusion and weekends.


If you are playing 3/6, i'm not sure i'd worry about collusion at all.
Any colluders who are good at it have bigger fish to fry. Assuming
collusion exists at 3/6, for them to still be at 3/6 they must be grossly
incompetent at it, or else they'd be at 30/60 not 3/6. I'm sure it
happens but not very much at low limit. I still contend that you get more
bad beats on the weekend because of more bad players, not more cheats. If
you are a good player, that means you are starting out with much better
hands than your opponents in general. So what happens is that you are
often in the position where your opponent needs to outdraw you to win.
Therefore, proportionally you will experience more bad beats than a bad
player who often gets beats because of pure stupidity.

So the basic deal is this, if you are winning at 3/6, don't worry about
collusion unless you see something repeated and blatant. I've seen single
instances of things I thought might be collusion, but as I played with
that player more, I realized that the player is just a moron and raises
with anything. I've also been in situations where I was in a 3-handed pot
with the goods, and you have a moron raising you, which although you gotta
love it, I kinda got worried that people might think I was colluding
though I definitely was not. There are players out there who will try a
pure bluff, all the way to the river in limit poker with absolutely
nothing, and it's not a conspiracy.

Anyway, I'm not denying collusion exists, but I suggest that it doesn't
happen much at the low limits, if you want to understand "implied
collusion", do a google search on the topic. You can also look up
"schooling". There is also a good article on Badger's site
playwinningpoker.com on why schooling isn't as much of a problem in O8B
which does a good job of explaining how loose games are sometimes so
frustrating in Holdem and why this isn't as common in O8B

Ok, that's all. Good luck!


Monday, November 17, 2003

Poker Journal rant
"For the the talented, Las Vegas is the land of milk and honey. For the rest, it is a burial ground."
Jack Binion

Because I don't live there anymore, the closest place to play poker (legally) around here is Caeser's Palace in Indiana, across the river from Louisville. It's dank and dirty and I've just now read that they raised their rake to a max of $6 per hand. The reasons to play poker online versus brick and mortar aren't even worth detailing.

online > b&m

All four of my readers will be happy to hear I am currently up $28 on the night. Scrappy play. Dug myself a hole early but thanks to sitting and doubling through in a no-limit ring game, ended up winning thus far. I'm close to sitting in NL and PL ring games full-time again but I have been told Party is full of colluders in NL. It is prolly a better game to collude in, if you think about it.

Check out these extraordinary $$$ numbers from Sunday's tournaments:

Party Poker $215 NL Hold Em
Closed at 1500 Players, Prize Pool $300,000
1st place $60,000 2nd place $36,000

Poker Stars $215 NL Hold Em
Total of 690 players, Prize Pool $138,000
1st place $34,500 2nd place 19,734


Those numbers are reason alone to learn tourney poker. How can people still play the lottery with payouts like the above? The lottery is like a stupid tax on people who can't do math.

It's time to shift my focus from ring games to tourneys. And that means no-limit poker.

It's probably not any surprise to anyone that weekend online poker is much more fishy than on weeknights, or especially weekdays. Weekend poker is profitable for me. But apparently not for all players, as I found this post attempting to use Abdul Jalib as supporting evidence. Interesting thread regarding collusion - more forthcoming.

Abdul's post

I have always thought weekends were very hard to play on. Lots of bad beats and sometimes my bankroll would take a big hit. Much of the losses are tilt caused by the initial losses and bad beats. However, I have always been certain that there was more collusion on weekends. I believe mostly by college students. I like how Abdul links collusion with an increase of bad
beats. I have always suspected this. When I posted similar suspicions
earlier I was basically called a paranoid moron. Most believed the bad beats
were just because there was more fish on the weekends. However, with more bad beats should come larger profits form the pots you do win. Thus, you should still make good money. However, on weekends this in not the case. I believe it is much harder to profit on the weekends per hour in spite of the fact that there is apparently more bad players. This is due to the amount of collusion.

Excuses, excuses.

Link of the day:
Fuck You, Too, Future People
John Titor, who came back from the year 2036 to answer questions on the Internet: "No one likes you in the future. This time period is looked at as being full of lazy, self-centered, civically ignorant sheep."

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Poker Blog - How to make $800 in a few months playing 50.1 HoldEm.

I'm waking up from a 12 year coma!!

What's that feeling that is the opposite of shame? It's been sooo long. Could I possibly be feeling pride in the Cincinnati Bengals? Marvin Lewis is doing the unthinkable here - beating the best team in the NFL and placing the Bengals in first place for the first time since 1990. I can't wait to hit MikeBrownSucks.com and read the message boards.

In Marvin we trust.

Poker blog content:

I'm still bouncing around on Party, up about $100 since I came back from UB two weeks ago, playing 2.4. I've really gotten sloppy about paying attention and tracking players so I suppose I've gotten lucky. I'm just playing uber-tight and making sure I have pot odds before playing any drawing hands. I'm sure I've cost myself plenty of money by my lackadaisical effort, however.

I've written several rants on how losing in poker can make you a better player, should you decide to take the necessary steps to improve. In that vein, I came across this quote by WSOP champ, Bobby Baldwin, that echoes my previous posts.

"Playing poker for a living gives you backbone. You cannot survive without that intangible quality we call heart. I don't care how bad you are going or how good, you have to stand solid. Poker is a character builder - especially the bad times. The mark of a top player is not how much he wins when he is winning, but how he handles his losses. If you win for thirty days in a row, that makes no difference if on the thirty-first you have a bad night, go crazy, and throw it all away."

I also found this engaging quote by Jack Strauss:

"If money is your god, you can forget no-limit poker, because it's going to hurt you too much to turn loose of it. The way I feel about those little pieces of green paper is, you can't take them with you and they may not have much value in five years time, but right now I can trade them in for pleasure, or to bring pleasure to other people. If they had wanted you to hold on to money, they'd have made it with handles on."

Of course, you and I are not Bobby Baldwin nor Jack Strauss so we'll have to take our poker pleasure where we can. It's pretty cool to be able to grind out money month after month, even at small limits. It's so much damn fun to "beat" the game - it's a veritable ATM machine. It's an affirmation that there really is a right and wrong way to play poker.

That all being said, I heard from Fuzz today (my good buddy and poker student) that he hit $900 today on Party Poker, from a meager $100 initial depost, all on 50.1 tables. I wrote and asked him to explain how he did it so I could share it with all you 50.1 monster playing wanna-be's. Here are words of wisdom from the master - heed them wisely.

The VP$iP stat is: (voluntarily put money in to see the flop)

In 3,596 hands, I'm up $315 in $.5/$1 only. That works out to be $8.75/100
hands. I'm VP$iP 18.88%. I'm at 60% winning money when I go to showdown. I
started tracking back in middle of Sept. By then I was around $500.

I have actually lost money with only one pair. Down $6.25. Two pair, sets
and Full houses are my biggest winners. Each with over + $250. I don't play
the straights or flushes unless they fall in my lap.

I would have to say I don't play many draws. Do I raise my draws, absolutely
not. Could my winnings be higher, sure. I don't play that many suited
connectors under 9T. I guess I'm playing like its $5/$10. I NEVER bluff.

*if there is only 1 or 2 other people and they are checking/weak players,
I'll take a stab at it.

I fear the paired board like the plague. LL players will play anything and
with 5-6 seeing the flop, chances are good someone has it. All the time, no.
But I'm not going to play some 3-out draw with the board paired. I see guys
calling pots down to the river with 55 when the board has akT. Fit or fold.
Always look to improve. Top pair rarely holds up - with a scary board. I
check-check call down a lot, if I raise and get 3 bet. If I don't improve,
and I think I have a legit chance at the pot, I check-call it down. More
often than not, they were on a busted draw.

Do I play to maximize my winnings, HELL NO. Am I trying to get every last
bet out, no. I just want to win the hand. I have seen some of the craziest
shit ever on those tables and after many hard lessons, my mantra is: "If it
is possible they have it, THEY DO." They do not raise on the river with
shit. I have folded top pair countless times to a raise on the river. They
always have it. LL are not capable of deception. And if they are, they don't
get enough chances to make it profitable, because these players WILL call a raise on the river, where I rarely do.

Enough ramblings. Nothing we haven't talked about a thousand times.

There it is folks. How to make $800 in a few months playing 50.1. I'm off to play 2.4 and will hopefully play as well as Fuzz has.

Nope, lost $49.

Link of the day: Mom Finds Out About Blog

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