Saturday, March 27, 2004

"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?"
Jean Cocteau

Verbose is my middle name, but not in this weekend update.

Thanks for all the kind words on my uber, prior post. It's fun as hell to provide something of value to my fellow poker players, despite the time involved. That being said, I think this will be my last post for a bit - I need a hiatus to work on some Real Life projects as well as some web ones. Writing these Guinness-fueled ramblings into the BlogSpace has been a fascinating experiment - it's helped crystalize some of my thoughts on poker and its attributes. But mostly, it's been a blast to meet some very intelligent people and a chance to share the interesting poker content that I discover in my voracious reading.

So I'll still be reading, hopefully checking in, here and there. I'm not sure how long I'll be gone. At some point, I'll need to pop in here and remind you about bonus code IGGY on Party Poker. ;) Of course, no one hardly ever uses my code, so that's an even bigger joke than you know.

Speaking of Party, after my week long foray into multi NL tourneys, I ventured back to the 3.6 tables the last two evenings and am barely down, about $50, not bad considering the cards have gone ice cold. I've also been playing much more short-handed poker, something I prefer to play in person, rather than online.

With the massive influx of new players, it's often hard to decide what the hell to play. There is a veritable plethora of options for the discerning player. Not including the limit and NL ring games, we have around-the-clock SNG's and huge multi table tournaments. The O8 and Stud hi.lo games are also known for their high fish content and sadly, I've been neglecting those games completely since last summer.

Because it's something I ponder quite often, too, I enjoyed Lord G's thoughts as he attempts to determine where best to stick his money right now. Go check out Rhymes with Joker for an online pro's thought making process: Best of all, Lord G coined a wonderful phrase: "exaltation of the grinder," a concept I'd like to flesh out in a future post.

You know, touching back on the community angle of the poker blogging scene, it's been mind-blowing to see the growth. And here in spring of 2004, we've been joined by celebrities/names such as Wil Wheaton, Paul Phillips and Richard Brodie. Who woulda thunk?

But now I've got an important new poker blog announcement. Some of my long-time readers may have remembered a long time ago when I was discussing some of Izmet's concepts and the ram and jam post flop philosophy. I was floored when Izmet himself emailed me to clarify some of his thinking on said topics. And in consequent discussions, that helped deepen my understanding of certain post-flop play moves.

So now, allow me to announce Angelina Fekali, Izmet's sister, and her new poker blog. She's old-school, like Izmet, and has been beating up on the high-stakes ($20.$40) Paradise players for a loooong time. I truly expect some great things from her.
Ange's Webpit

I suppose I should pimp out the rest of the new poker bloggers since I'm on the topic. When will the madness end? A big shout-out to these new guys - make sure to visit and give em some encouragement:

Double As


I was dissapointed from another perspective as well. It is a tradition in our game that you must raise preflop with 72o and then show it off when you bluff everyone off the flop. I only got 72o once and it was late in a tournament when my big blind was already in and the only caller was a short stack who couldn't even cover the big blind amount. No raising this time. To make it worse, my 72o actually lost!

Somebody brought Wasabi covered peanuts. Interesting taste....I recommend that you try one....one and only one.

Here is Monte Christo's Poker Adventure

Second, I don't claim to be any sort of decent poker player. I'll let you know that I just started playing (actually trying not to suck like a hoover) about two months ago. Before that I played on the "boat" and that's it. The boat is what submariner's call their submarine. Yeah trust me, not even great poker games can make being under the sea bearable.

And a collaborative blog: Texas Hold 'em Poker - a Game, an Attitude
6 guys with Computers.
6 guys with Ultimate Bet Poker software.
6 guys with ATTITUDE!

And last, but not least, a new poker blog with a fine, long first post. Go visit:

Jack-Six Poker!

Another bad habit that players have is bluffing too much. Not that bluffing is a bad thing, but in my opinion I think it should be done in moderation and only when the opportunity arises.

Damn, we just keep growing and growing. I'll be fixing my links on the right to ensure the most up-to-date list of poker blogs. Other notable blogging efforts include:

Bullets in the Hole - first B&M experience.

Chris Halverson is out in LA and Hank will be taking him to the Bike. Looking forward to reading both of those trip reports! Esteemed sister of PokerGrub, Grubette, has a post up about her home game. Always a great read. And finally, I'm anxiously awaiting the winner of the I AM A FISH essay over at Jeremy's site.

I know I have at least one Carolina reader, so here's Carolina Poker for you.

I read once in Felicia's poker blog that she enjoys reading and thinking about poker almost as much as playing it. And I confess, I'm the same damn way. I've always been a book nut and won't embarrass myself by posting all the poker books I own, but I saw this interesting thread on RGP entitled Old School vs. New School.


I was hoping that someone might be able to give me some pointers on a
research project regarding the evolution of poker.

I collect vintage books, and am interested in poker books that are
from the 1960s or earlier. I want to learn how poker advice has
changed over the years, how the strategy has changed, how the game has
evolved. I have about a dozen poker books from the 70s to the early
90s that are interesting to revisit, but some of the advice is plain
awful by today's standards. I am interested if it the advice was even
more simplistic as you go back even further in time.

Here are some older books that I am aware of:
- Oswald Jacoby on Poker, by Oswald Jacoby, 1940
- The Poker Game Complete, by George Sturgis Coffin, 1950
- The Education Of A Poker Player by Herbert O. Yardley,1957
- Complete Guide To Winning Poker, by Albert H. Morehead, 1967
- Advanced Concepts of Poker, by Frank R. Wallace, 1968

Are there others?

I would love to get some opinions about the evolution of poker theory
and advice. Did anyone contribute groundbreaking insight to the pool
of poker knowledge prior to 1950? In more recent years, can you point
to major leaps in the development of poker, such as the application of
mathematics or computers or psychology?

In your opinion, is there a year when old school stopped, and new
school began? If so, can you point to a transformational event or
work? And, is there still a major leap in our future?

Interesting stuff, imho. Several people chimed in with other archaic poker books and Carson gave his two cents on how differently poker was written about, pre-Sklansky & Malmuth. Side note, I own a first edition of Yardley's book, and still occasionally flip thru the Frank Wallace book for fun. Damn, I love books.

I also discovered this wonderful thread picking on Mason Malmuth. Enjoy:

Poker predictions can be risky, even for pundits. I pulled out a volume of essays (Poker Essays, Volume II, 1996), by poker guru Mason Malmuth and found the following fascinating predictions.

1) "There will be a decrease in the number of major tournaments."
According to Malmuth, these events "tend to burn players out both mentally and financially."

2) "No-limit hold'em will be a game that a few old-timers will remember."
Gee, isn't this the game that's sweeping the TV ratings? The one everyone wants to play so badly that cardroom managers are forced to turn people away unless they sign up early for the no-limit tournaments?

3) "The rake will continue to rise and stifle the growth of poker and will cost cardrooms money in the long run."
Hmmm. Cardrooms are adding tables; casinos without poker rooms are scurrying to include them, and millions of people around the world are all fired up about poker through the magic of TV. Just about everybody is suddenly crazy about poker. (Must be the dreaded rake backlash hasn't had a chance to set in yet.)

4) "Limit Omaha, played for high-only, will slowly disappear."
Really? I think the jury is still out on this one - at the very least. I've heard only this week that the Orleans, among others, has an active interest list in this game. It's been going strong at Sunset Station for the last several years, and at plenty of other places too. Most importantly, it's available all over the Internet. That means anyone with a computer can play it - here, there, and everywhere - even in Iceland.

I guess predictions are rather tricky. Or maybe they're just a matter of timing.

(This post is an excerpt from my editorial column "From Kathy's Desk," in Players Choice Magazine, out Thursday - Other material in that column deals with Malmuth's essays opining limit hold'em to be a far more complicated game than no-limit hold'em.)

Kathy Watterson, Poker Editor, Players Choice Magazine

I guess Mason has a propensity to rip other poker books (gasp!) in the reviews section in his site. Apparently, he gave a very negative review to Lou Krieger's new Omaha book, knowing full well that Lou would never respond in kind. To which someone had this to say:

Having Mason Malmuth criticize your prose style is like having a
Kennedy criticize your sobriety.

Hey, it's funny cause it's true.

A few relevant poker news tidbits for you. First off the bat is this encouraging and realistic look at the efforts of the US to shut down online gambling from CNN/Money.

Don't bet against online gambling

Talk about betting on a long-shot. Members of Congress, sports organizations such as the NCAA and some federal prosecutors believe they can hold back the growth of Internet gambling.

This is another example where the house is almost sure to come out the winner in the long run.

This is a humorous look at the 'Dogs Playing Poker' prints from Up and Coming magazine. Note to self - check Ebay for these.

Want High Art? Try 'Dogs Playing Poker'

Who realized how easy it was to cheat a Collie at cards? Consider Coolidge's nihilistic masterpiece, "A Friend in Need." This painting has it all. Pathos, humor, intrigue, poker chips and beer. Two bulldogs in the center of the painting are in cahoots. The brown Bulldog is holding three aces. The grey Bulldog smoking the cigar is sneaking the ace of clubs to the brown Bulldog with his left hindpaw. Three St. Bernards look suspiciously at the grey Bulldog. The Great Dane smoking the pipe casts a gimlet eye on the Bulldogs. At the end of the table, the Collie doesn't suspect a thing. The Collie is leaning back in his chair sporting a big old doggy grin. His half empty glass of beer accounts for his inattentive behavior. Everyone knows that Collies can't hold their liquor.

And the obligatory poker is hot, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Poker's popularity easy to see at Foxwoods event

"Poker is the only sport where anyone can enter and rub elbows with the pros," Raymond said. "This makes it unique from other sports. You or I can’t enter a golf tournament and compete against Tiger Woods. In poker, amateurs compete with pros all the time, and that’s why it’s popular on TV.


Hold 'Em and Beat 'Em

Moneymaker shocked the world when he sat down at a Vegas no limit hold 'em table with 838 of the very best poker players in the world and won. The 27-year-old from Tennessee began his run to fortune by winning a $25 online poker tournament and a seat at the WSOP. Less than one year later, Moneymaker was sitting with the all-time leading money winner, Johnny Chan, to his right and "The Tiger Woods of Poker," Phil Ivey, to his left.

And one last site to complete your day. This is an old site that I've been meaning to link up. It contains plenty of solid advice and interesting commentary. Worth a read.

Poker Page of "Dick in Phoenix"

The theme of this page is to share my own experiences and help other players in the lowest limit casino poker games, from 1-3 up through 6-12. This is not just for "beginners," but for those thoughtful players who for some reason (bankroll, geography, or conservatism) are currently playing low limits.

Alrighty then, that oughta do it. Hope you're enjoying a superb weekend, loose tables and lucky river cards. Again, thanks to anyone who read this site and took the time to say that they enjoyed it.

Link of the Day:
How's It Hangin', Neighbor?
This series of candid photos prove the old adage, "Where there's smoke, there's a naked mixed-race couple too busy watching the fire to see some guy with the digital camera until it's too late."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Poker blogs, poker blogs and even more poker blogs.

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
Thomas Jefferson

I meant to post last evening, but it obviously didn't work out. I received an email from my buddy, Dann, this morning in response to my "uber-post coming."

It simply said:

True enough, so allow me to pour myself a Guinness and commence to rambling. We've got a full docket today: interesting poker news, WSOP satellites, brand new poker blogs and my own drunken ramblings on bankroll management. Sadly, I've already been drinking (damn happy hour!) so please excuse any typos or stupid statements. Hopefully, my dozen fifteen readers won't mind.

Anyway, thanks for visiting this humble poker blog. I heartily encourage anyone at work right now to take the time and visit the poker blogs on the right. If you are tired of the nonsense on RGP and the attack dogs on the poker message board forums, you'd be wise to peruse this community if you are interested in real poker content. Nuff said.

Ready to kill some time? I'll try to deliver on my promise.

Per my latest online poker adventures: Saturday and Sunday I played largish NL multi table tournaments. Finished on the bubble both times. Dern frustrating. So Tuesday night, I was itching to redeem myself, or at the very least, build a big stack for the third evening in a row. That's often half the battle in these giant tournaments. Also, learning how to play properly with the big stack is perhaps an even more important lesson. One I had been failing.

So Monday evening I signed up for Party's nightly $30 NL multi table tournament. 1400 players. Paid out the top 135 places. First prize is 8k. I hit some cards, outplay the typically bad players and build up to 35k, the 15th biggest stack in the tourney after a few hours. I'm feeling good.

Big mistake.

All it took was two hands, one was a terrible misread and the other a suckout, to chop my stack and I end up limping into 70th place. Sure, I made a little money, and it's a moral victory considering the 1400 player field, but I'm still disappointed in my play.

I could write an entire post about playing with a big stack in a tournament. Lord knows I've made every mistake in the book.

For the record, I'm playing far looser and aggressive in tournaments than I ever would in NL ring games. As a matter of fact, because of all the great poker blogging tips about the NL ring games on Party, I've been playing them the last few days. And yes, it truly is insane. If you are able to practice extreme patience and not let the egregious bad beats effect you, these are veritable ATM machines. Sure, I've had Mister Runner Runner beat me three pots in a row, but you *will* get his stack, over the long haul, if you can successfully tag and track him.

On any given day, at any given moment, the improbable triumphs over the probable, and appears to do so frustratingly often. But, over the long haul, luck gives way to the favorite.

In that very vein, I discovered this Epic comment by the Dude, who FINALLY took my advice and decided to quit playing at Poker Stars for a bit and try out Party Poker. Oh the humanity - this event portends Armageddon - I'll bet the four horsemen are dusting off their saddles right now. For the record, allow the Dude to speak:


while some might find it fun to lose repeatedly to good international poker players at pokerstars, i on the other hand have finally seen the light. i just used IGGY and doubled my money on a .5/1 table at party in literally 15-20 minutes. why didn't you tell me about this sooner? ;)

i'm only an average player at best, but these party poker players make me feel like i could do this for a living. put simply, they are terrible.

Thanks for trying it out, Dude. Funny how everyone who tries Party Poker is always shocked at how loose the games are, especially after playing somewhere like Stars, Paradise or UB. Damnit, feel free to use my bonus code, IGGY, or not, but please, just give it a try. Your bankroll will thank me. Again, as someone wiser than me stated, 'it's not shilling if it's true.'


Interesting debate on 2+2 about which game has more luck - no limit or limit. That's not necessarily the way I would look at it - I would prefer to figure out which game has a greater "edge" to the skilled player, no limit or limit. One of the few things I agree with Russ Gorgiev about is that pot-limit is the most difficult game to play of all. Too bad I can't talk my home game into playing it, damnit.

Snippet from said debate:

If what you believe in is "short-term" luck, ask yourself whether, given basic math, a short term "cards" variance is accentuated or diminished financially by the amount of money which can be potentially risked in each case.

Doesn't the fact that there is a LIMIT to losses in any given hand in limit holdem sort of overwhelm a luck of the cards factor, compared to where there is no such limit ? (The corrollary, that there is a limit to the amount won in a given hand, also supports the same proposition.)

In a Guinness-fueled way of thinking, this kind of ties back into risk management in poker. Or degree of risk, per your poker bankroll. I remember reading an old column by Mike Caro talking about "Plodders" versus "Adventurers." The point of his piece: it was nobody's business but your own how much of your bankroll you risked on a single wager or on a single bet.

As a limit grinder, I consider myself a plodder. As a no-limit tourney player, I'm an adventurer. When I moved to Vegas in '92 on my birthday, I had begun reading about that magical elixir, money management and/or betting systems relating to other games besides poker. To misguided minds (me, back then) or others who bandied about the term money management - it meant some kind of magic salvation from losing. I know people today who still believe in this clap-trap - a secret to beating casino games where the odds are against them.

Caro's point was that the more you risk, the more you stand to gain, and the more likely you are to go broke in the attempt. Whether or not the risk is worthwhile is a wholly personal decision. Only you know what the factors in your life are.

So allow me to come full-circle with this thought - money management systems DON'T WORK. I see it over and over, this pre-conceived notion of Stop-win or Stop-loss sessions. I read about it on RGP, 2+2 and even in a few poker blogs. Hell, I've been known to do it, even though it's utterly incorrect. IE: once I win/lose X amount, I'm done....

Losing in poker, by Mike Caro:

Player react differently when they're behind. It's practically a universal trait - this single tendency is responsible for more bankroll failure among capable players than any other fault. We've all done it - gotten punished, sucked out on by horrible hands and lost a nice chunk of money. Beyond a comfortable loss. From that point on, adding to the loss doesn't seem like the same thing, dollar for dollar. In fact, since the sorrow of losing is already heavily felt, additional losing doesn't register at all.

Mike Caro calls this "crossing the threshold of misery." Once you're past it and feeling sufficiently singled out and betrayed by the Poker Gods, you just quit caring. Low limit players turn $38 worth of bad cards into $80 losses. Middle limit players stretch $460 into $1000 losses. It happens every day.

Why? Again, because players are looking at session based results. Each time you sit to play, it's not a win-lose proposition. You don't need to play to "get even." The correct attitude is very different. You are always EVEN at the start of every hand - no matter what's happened, you should only pay for a hand what it's worth NOW. And the next hand, and the next.... This is an important concept - it prevents you from squandering your bankroll.

Poker is hard. Even if you are winning. Hell, I know certain guys who stop playing quality poker once they are winning significantly. That's because the money won isn't yet theirs in their minds. So they treat it as less important.

Tip of the day: play each hand as you think it *should* be played. Forget about the last one. Forget about the last hour, the last session. You are even from that moment on.

Geez, I sure can ramble, eh? I can tell you are getting restless, so let's get to the good stuff. The best of poker linkage for today:

I feel obligated to link to a Mike Caro column and this one should prove to be enlightening to any of you tournament players out there.
Conceptual Problems With Poker Tournaments And How To Fix Them

players have to decide whether they want to sacrifice profit and play for the first-place trophy or go for full profit and lean more toward survival and finishing close to first place. Tough choice, especially if you're an egomaniac like I am, interested in proving that he's the best. The only way to do that in proportional payout tournaments is to sacrifice and lose money!

Mike Caro > Phil Helmuth

Damn, I'd love to see the Mad Genius at a WPT final table.

Per all this talk about poker tournaments, there has been some hub-bub the last few days about Pokerstars not allowing table chat when you are involved in a hand in the multi-table tournaments.
Some folks think it's great, others hate it. I'm ambivalent as I only use chat as a weapon very rarely in ring games, and that's mostly to deflect attention from the fish.

I hate online table coaches. Pet peeve. See the archives for prior rants on said topic.

I've posted about this before, too:

A message board snippet to the online naysayers who say online poker is rigged and that anyone who says they win is a shill:

I find it amusing when people imply that anyone who claims to have
made a nice chunk online must be lying (one word there: projection).
It's really not rocket science, people. You don't have to be
world-class to do it. You just have to be better than most you play
against, and that's not hard to do. There are a stunning number of
really bad players in the online poker world. With patience and good
decision-making, a lot of their money will find its way to you. It's a
different game than B&M. There are more weak players. That can lead to
some bad beats, but in the long run, you WANT those fish chasing after
everything. The percentages work in your favor.


Per the poker blogging scene: I'm gearing up for another guerrilla-style public relations campaign for us. I love to pimp the poker blogs! Our burgeoning corner of the BlogSpace keeps expanding by leaps and bounds. The article I wrote for PokerSavvy.com seems like ancient history - it's time for me to crank it back up again.

Speaking of our fine friends at PokerSavvy, they re-launched with an "updated design" this week. It was surprising to see that the new design was simply the addition of giant, garish flashing banner ads for Absolute and the very unpopular Royal Vegas Poker. Geez, I hate giant blinking banner ads - who on earth clicks on these things anymore? I think most people (or me, anyway) just want valuable, timely content, not giant freaking banner ads that annoy and obstruct.

Poker Blogs > Banner Ad sites

Hell, I'm probably being too harsh and should just ignore the banners - I enjoy the site, so allow me to link up their latest column:
Winning Online Tournaments, Part I

Here is some great, late-breaking news about the United States and the effort to halt online gambling in Antigua. It seems that Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean island nation, has won a World Trade Organization ruling in a finding that U.S. legislation criminalizing online betting violates WTO commercial services accords. Read the spin from the Las Vegas Sun newspaper:
U.S. loses WTO ruling covering online gambling

As TheFatGuy so eloquently once told me, gambling is the world's second oldest profession.

It's a conundrum. Poker's popularity is exploding while the government seeks to shut it down. I don't have any clue where it's all leading, but I'll be paying attention, that's for sure.

Well hell, I promised an uber post and doing my damndest to deliver. It's harder than it looks, trust me. So let me link up some quality poker blogs and news and we'll see what I have left over.

There's been some noise about the new poker magazine, ALLIN, that is publicizing itself all over the damn place. They have zero free content on their site, just a single page leading to their yearly $18 subscription order form. Hard to say if it will be worth a damn, go look for yourself.
ALLIN Magazine

I read a hilarious thread on RGP where this jackass guy posted a troublesome hand history, asking for help and then asked for people to go read his 'poker blog' on his web site.

Oh the humanity.

The site is www.ukpoker.com and it redirects to http://www.poker-in-the-uk.com. Once you get there, he announces (between all the garish banner ads) this:

This page now acts as a gate to the website WWW.UKPOKER.COM
This site is SUBSCRIPTION ONLY and you can purchase your subscription by visiting WWW.BITPASS.COM & signing up as a SPENDER.
Subscription rates are as follows:
Daily Subscription - 25c
Weekly Subscription - $1.00
Monthly Subscription - $3.00
Yearly Subscription - $30.00

Rinse and repeat: Oh the humanity.

He got flamed pretty hard but I'm still surprised to see a subscription based poker site like this. Thing is, how many other content orientated sites charge a subscription? Salon? Porn? ESPN?

It's against my philosophy, per the web. There isn't a site out there that I would personally pay for. A basic tenet (and attraction) of the web (for me) has been 'information wants to be free.' I'm happy to have even two dozen people read my Guinness fueled rants, I simply can't imagine charging people, no matter how uber my posts are. There are hundreds of poker sites and I cant think of a single one that charges for access.

So eff him and his subscription. Real poker blogs will always be FREE. I'm not writing these uber-posts to make a buck - I mean, if you sign up with my bonus code, great, but that's not why I'm doing it. I love poker and I love to write. This blog is just an excuse to practice both and hopefully to entertain a few people. If you get some value and use my code (that's IGGY for Party Poker!) then so much the better. At least I'm trying to provide some value - pay it forward as Grubby says.

For my one local reader (hi Mom!), here is a local (Wilmington) WSOP satellite tournament the weekend of April 2nd.
25k guaranteed first place.
2004 No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Championships of Ohio

I can barely keep up with the new poker blogs. Let's give a shout out to the new kids on the block. Please visit these guys and show your support. I really admire anyone who takes the time to write up their thoughts:

The PokerNerd gets an additional pimp because #1 he's funny #2 he writes long posts.
Adventures of a Poker Nerd

Some obnoxious kid named Hollywood Dave or something like that was in the middle being a total jackass. Think Tobey Maguire minus human growth hormone plus heroin.

As far as I'm concerned, Iggy is the king of the bloggers. He's more of a "hub" for poker bloggers, i.e., he doesn't write much about his own play, but it's the first one I look at every day.

The Pokernerd also explains that he hates country music and why he thinks Def Leppard's Armageddon It video is over-rated. For the record, I don't write much about my own play because I think it's boring. Face it, grinding is like watching paint dry.

I have very high hopes for this next blog. Must read. Experienced players and some solid writing. What else can you ask for? Please keep it up guys!
All-In: Confessions of a Chicago Poker Duo

Finally, I wrote Roy Cooke of Card Player Magazine an e-mail asking him to explain exactly what he means by, “…the recurring sum of volume times edge will equal expectation, and over the course of time will equal earn.”

Here is what he replied: “What it means is if you continuously add the amount you bet times the edge bet at into a field that that number will equal your expectation over the time of the equation.....Assuming luck to be a neutral factor over time...the recurring field will equal your earn.”

Next up, Icey in the world of Poker - he's a college student playing on Pokerroom and some other Godforsaken site. Cmon, my man, if Party Poker is good enough for the Dude, it's good enough for you!

Icey asks the question that I think ALL bloggers can relate to:

Is anybody out there reading this???

And lastly, a 17 year old poker player who claims to have three years of texas hold em experience YET states that he likes QQ over AA. Oh the humanity.
The Diary of an "Extremely Young" Poker Player

To date, I have never won a Texas Hold 'Em hand, in real life or online, with Bullets.

Good gravy. While I admire a 17 year old trying to learn poker, he obviously has a way to go. Good luck Alex and let me know if I can help!

Also, make sure to read Hdouble - great post (per always) about playing online versus bots, specifically against Poki. Hank then uses his giant chess club brain to deconstruct poker bots. Great stuff.

Is this an uber-post yet? I'm hoping to stay sober enough to post this great thread between Sklansky, Abdul and Carson from the archives, but the Guinness is beginning to take it's toll. Plus, I don't get to play tonight, either. I found this wonderful thread where Barbara Yoon, the fiercest pit bull in RGP's dog pound, has her formidable incisors sunk deep into Mason Malmuth's meaty left thigh. I fear it shall have to wait.

So let's hit the rest of the best poker linkage, shall we? And thanks if you've read this far.

Travel Channel Poker Challenge

This is the first article in a series that Mathew Hilger is calling the Top 10 Mistakes of Online Players. Each month he will be speaking about a particular common mistake.
Top 10 Mistakes in Online Poker

I keep track of all my hand histories using Poker Stat and Poker Tracker software. These two products provide you with a wealth of information, including how often you see the flop. One interesting analysis I did was to look at the top 20 winning players that I had played at least 2000 hands against. I then did a benchmarking study for different criteria. In this particular analysis, I found the range of hands played by the winning players was between 18-28% with most players falling in the 20-22% range. This analysis was done for a relatively tight game so you ought to see slightly higher percentages in looser games...but this should give you a good idea. In general, most players should be playing between 15%-25% of your hands.

The next one is : Mistake #2: Drawing to Outs that Won't Help You Win.
A very important topic, imho.

K, time to hit the news desk.

I'm jealous of these folks. We've got gambling boats aplenty around here, but nary a one spreads poker.

After 2-year fold, poker returns to city

Poker — not the type on video screens — is back in Vicksburg for the first time in two years.
The first of what Horizon casino managers hope will be many hands was dealt Tuesday afternoon in an area set aside from the slot machines and other table games. Players said they were happy to see competitive play return.

“You can never have enough poker,” said Mack Boyd of Brandon.

From TechNews - The British Internet security firm mi2g Intelligence Unit -- in a written statement earlier this month -- said there is a correlation between organized crime and hacking attacks that are both politically and ideologically motivated.
Global Extortion: Online Gambling and Organized Hacking

Here's some hope for us all. And another tangible reason to play on Party Poker.
Olympia poker player cruises to $441,163

He started playing on PartyPoker.com about seven months ago and is on the Web site about twice a week. The Olympia High School graduate sometimes travels for work, but plays at the Hawk's Prairie Casino and Restaurant when he's home.

Who didn't know this?
Dealing them in: Poker TV shows lead to rise in home games

In her 25 years of selling poker supplies, Odessa Woodert said, she has never been busier.
Two or three sales of chips, cards and other basics used to be a pretty good week, she said. Now, that's an average Saturday.

Poker at college continues to go through the roof. What I wouldn't give to be playing poker with nubile young co-eds:
What happens in Vegas...
Gambling not strictly limited to Sin City; Aggies ante up in town, on campus

"Poker games are permissible on campus as long as they follow Chapter 47 of the Texas Penal Code," said Sgt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department. "But if you are going to play poker, just make sure you take other student rules and regulations in mind when doing so."

Wow, that's huge when Texas cops say poker is permissible. I think TheFatGuy should head back to college ala Rodney Dangerfield.

Damnit, I am done. I hope this was a worthy post. I didn't even get to rant about Sklansky.

The main thing that bothers me about Sklansky literature is that he doesn't discuss multi-way / loose game pots very often. And that's online poker, in my humble five year experience. If you are playing heads-up on the flop more often than not, for the love of God, change tables. Or change sites.

Play on Party Poker. Use my damn bonus code (IGGY). This is hard work - writing all this out. Trust me, ask any blogger. Hell, I give so much and ask for so little. :)

I won't even tell you how long this post took to write up. I measure these things in beers. Let's just say I'm Guinness-fueled and be done with it. But I'm happy, I stood and I delivered a freaking UBER POST.

Thanks a ton for reading, I truly appreciate it.

Link of the day:
Are You Being Served?
"You haven't lived until you've made a lawyer crawl on his hands and knees," writes former process server John Marcotte. His job exposed him to people from all walks of life, but mostly deadbeats.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

"Luck is not chance
It's Toil
Fortune's expensive smile
Is earned"
Emily Dickinson

Is it wrong to quote Dickinson in a poker blog?
Probably, but I think she hit the nail on the head, so it stays.

Thanks for reading - hope you enjoy today's content.

First off, I'm playing two WSOP qualifiers this evening. I'll keep you posted on how I do. I'm stinging a tad from a sad situation last nite. After banging the 3.6 tables for about $120, I decided to sit in a qualifier for the WSOP tourney tonight on Empire. Only 60 players signed up, with the final nine getting paid, and the final six winning seats. For some reason, this was a limit tournament, which surprised me, but still, I ran up a big stack and was playing extremely well, thanks to TheFatGuy coaching me. When we were down to 15 players, I had a large chunk of my stack in at the turn with top pair and then - DISCONNECT. Argggggggggg. Talk about the worst timing ever. When I finally got back to my table, my stack had been vaporized, and I ended up on the bubble, finishing tenth.

Oh the humanity. I'm still irked.

Here's a classic quote from Scott:

thefatguy: limit tournies are like dry-humping
thefatguy: you both know what you want but you can't quite get there

So I'll be taking a crack at the $150 buyin tourney this evening. I don't understand why in hell these are limit tournaments. It seems bizarre to be playing a limit satellite tournament to the NL championship event. Maybe it's just me.

But it was another fine weekend of poker on Party. With the exception of the Great Disconnect on Saturday evening, I had a fine time at the tables. I even discovered that with the new software, I am able to play SNG's again. For the fun of it, I played in a $30 NL yesterday, and finished second. I suppose I should play some more of these, to sharpen up for the next poker bloggers tournament.

Speaking of which, I like how PokerStars will run a private tournament for RGP, but not for the poker blogging community. Damnit, I'm gonna fire off another email. The fact that these sites can just ignore new business is indicative of how much money they are raking in. Literally.

All poker bloggers please hit Felicia's site for details on the upcoming poker blogger tournament next Sunday at 9pm. She's done a great job setting us up with a custom tourney structure.

Whoa - this is the most amazing post, ever, in a poker blog. I don't want to spoil it, but you must go read this entry before it's gone. For the record, she said YES.
cardplayer's journal Congratulations, Steve!

Hell, how do I segue after that?

Let's try this: here's an interesting RGP post about the legality of wearing a mask in a poker tournament:


While packing for Reno and the WPC, I came across an old Halloween
mask, basically a skeleton head, death mask with wild purple hair,
which of course got me to thinking that it would be pretty cool to
show up at a tournament table wearing this thing. I mean to hell with
wraparound shades and a baseball cap. Is there any rule against
wearing a mask at a tournament?

He never received a straight answer, but I'm waiting to see if Matt Savage will respond. How flexible are the rules on this, I wonder? Personally, I'd go for a welders mask.

Also, from poker pro Tommy Angelo, a final word in a long thread about wearing sunglasses at the tables:

As to sunglasses, I can see how they might be helpful to any player under bright lights in high-stress games, but at a regular casino, at mid-limit, sunglass-wearers smell like fear.

One last interesting note, per RGP. I discovered an old thread with Adbul and John Feeny giving the old back and forth. Fascinating. Here's a snippet relating to luring your opponents into dominated hands, while avoiding dominated hands yourself as a clear path to victory. Feeny first up, with a follow up by Abdul:

I might quibble a bit, however, with the assertion that this preflop accomplishment "gets you most of the way to victory". As you know, it's generally accepted among top hold em players that most of your profit comes after the flop. There are games which are exceptions, but post-flop play is typically the key to winning more than a little.


Unfortunately I cannot really argue with you here, as it would be a silly argument. I can argue that table selection is the most important thing, as a good player with bad game selection skills might be only breakeven in expectation. Or I can argue that hand selection is the most important thing, as someone who plays very well after the flop but has horrible hand selection skills will be destroyed. Or I could argue that any number of other things are most important, but really everything is interdependant.

But anyway, once you enter a pot, pot odds dictate that you should continue contesting it quite frequently, so your pre flop play tends to set you on a course for the rest of the hand. If you are calling tight raises with hands like KJ, no matter how creative your postflop play is, you're not going to be able to reduce the effect of this disaster by much.

Abdul rules.

Damn, Stars support got back to me quick:

We have received, over the last few months, a veritable tidal wave of
requests for private tournaments and cash games. Given that, we're
going to suspend doing *any* private events (except those for which we
have a prior commitment) until we can review the whole process and
decide exactly how to proceed with them.

Please accept our apologies for not doing your tournament or cash
game at this time. When we have reviewed the private event
situation in detail and have a reasonable plan for doing them, we'll
consider all offers.

Boooooooo. That's the same thing you said three months ago.

So let's see what else I have for you today. How about a brand new LionTales, with our poker blogging hero, Richard, cashing in this latest event. Congrats, Richard!
Welcome to the Party: The 2004 PartyPoker Million Cruise

We snagged Andy "The Rock" Bloch away from a Chinese Poker game with Phil Helmuth, Jr., who was in the process of buying and drinking every bottle of Dom Perignon aboard ship

Ever since Fuzz ran his $50 buyin at Party up to a grand, he hasn't needed any of my help. So I've been helping Hawkman, a brand-new hold em player and friend. He sent me his stats, but I'm too lazy to grab them right now. Anwyay, abridged version: after a week, he has tripled up on the 50.1 tables. About twelve hours of play. Let's see if he can't run his bankroll up to a grand in a month or two.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't post this email from Fuzz this morning:

i was playing party poker .50/1 last night and i won a 36 dollar pot. That
has to be one of the biggest pots won at a .50/1 table. Needless to say i called it a night after that. God i love the taste of fish in the wee hours of the morning.

A buddy sent me a PDF from this site
KickAss No-Limit Holdem Poker - I thought it had some interesting points, but it's not anything I would personally pay for. I am, however, researching taking poker lessons from a top pro. I am looking at doing this in early April, when I take a hiatus from this blog. I need some time to gather my thoughts and decide what concepts I'd like to explore and discuss. I think this will prove to be an excellent decision on my part - to deepen my understanding of the game and gain a better feel for some trouble areas. Money well spent.

Oh yeah, I wanted to post this question and response by Gary Carson. A top-of-the-trees viewpoint about TOP.

Im about half way through "The Theory of Poker" and I have just finished
The Free Card chapter. In it, Sklansky explains the importance of not
giving someone a free card if you have the best made hand, or second best
made hand becuase another player's draw could hit and you gave it to him
for free. In turn, he explains how important it is to GET the free card
when you are on a draw. Yet, after rereading Mr. Carson's book "The
Complete Book of Hold'Em Poker" a short while ago, Ive been playing his
suggested strategy and have been raising on the flop with flush draws.
Yes, I do lose a little bit when I dont hit, but I usually rake in huge
pots to cover those losses plus some when I do hit...a profitable play. I
also figured that if I raise on the flop with the draw, it might encourage
other players to think I have a made hand instead of a draw and therefore
if I do hit the flush, that might be the last hand they expect I have.
Yet when I read Sklansky's suggested strategy, I think that if I cut the
losses from not hitting and win mediocre pots when I do hit, maybe I will
even win more money. Both techniques seem profitable to me, does anyone have any suggestions???


The Theory of Poker explains a bunch of fundamental poker concepts, and does a
pretty good job of that. It does not do a good job of explaining when those concepts are applicable and when they aren't.

The idea of raising solid draws for value isn't one that The Theory of Poker covers. Sklansky thinks of playing draws in terms of either free cards are semi-bluffs, not in terms of value.

There are times you should take a free card with a draw, times you should semi-bluff, times you should bet for value. If you're playing in good games you should usually bet/raise for value.

I spent some time in 2+2 this morning, and realized that GrannyMae is back. Sigh. What a dingbat. I guess Granny's real age to be around 18.

Anyway, here are the latest two David Ross posts:

Playing online for a living week 46

Playing online for a living week 47

Reviewing my rake numbers has me wondering what percentage of players can actually win. Since I started with poker tracker, I’ve won $15,350, and paid $14,600 in rake. Assume an imaginary 6 player table, with all of us paying 14,000 in rake, plus my 15,000 in winnings, that’s 100K that the other 5 have lost in total. Unless I’m missing something, those are pretty spectacular losses. It’ll take a lot of opponents to make up that 100K. Clearly I need to look at moving up in stakes if possible to reduce the rake as a percentage of my earnings.

Yet another new poker blog! John started blogging this weekend so go check out:
BadBlood plays Poker

Well, I need to run so I can't get to my Party Poker tips for the day. Allow me to link up a couple of news articles and be on my merry way.

USA Weekend: A fluff piece with sound bites from Chris Ferguson, Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke, and such other experts as Lou Diamond Phillips and Richard Karn. Nothing of any value, but it looks like really good fish food to me.
Poker faces

Daniel Negreanu. "Patience and discipline are the most important aspects of becoming a winning player. Learning that through poker can give you that virtue in life. You're waiting in line at the bank or stuck in traffic. It can teach you that calm, Zen-like feeling."

Here's an editorial on:
Poker: A game of chance or a science? Backstory: The Green Bay cops shut down all the hold em tournaments going on in bars.

Here's a long article speaking yet again about the cultural juggernaut that is POKER. And this one is worth reading. Can you say MORE poker shows on TV???? Woohoo!
Oregon Live

On "Late Night Poker," Phil Hellmuth Jr. has just played a bad hand. The announcers can't believe it.

"What induced Phil to play that hand in the first place, Barney?" asked Jesse May, disgust dripping from his voice.

"Position, arrogance, desire to control the game," analyst Barney Boatman replied.


What in the name of "Amarillo Slim" Preston is going on with all this poker on TV?

"Enough is enough, I'm tempted to say, but there's more in the works," said James McManus, the author of "Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs and Binion's World Series of Poker" and a world-class poker player.

And how does McManus know more poker shows are in the works? Well, because he's helping develop one himself. He can't talk about it (he's signed a nondisclosure agreement), but he can help explain the full house of televised poker and the insatiable demand for the game that's sweeping the country and making math popular again.

Wow, McManus developing a poker TV show. This poker thing just keeps getting more and more insane.

I suppose that's enough for now. Hope you enjoyed the post and actually read this far down. I'm off to make dinner for the family and prepare to play some tournament poker tonight. Hope you enjoyed a great weekend.

Link of the Day:
Speaking in the Nerd Person
The Joel Furr FAQ "is not provided out of a sense of personal vanity." How could anyone get that idea from a 19,900-word, 93-question, 315-Joel list that answers everything from favorite soft drink to feelings about fish?

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

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