Tuesday, July 13, 2004

"Thank God for Party Poker. Iggy of course, has been harping on this forever, and we all knew he was right. Just sometimes, you don't realize just how right he is."
Stick and Move Poker Blog

Damn straight, my man, and thanks. If there's only ONE thing I know, it's where the easiest money is located. By far and away, Party Poker. Go dump $50 damn dollars in there and try some 50 cent - dollar games or $5 sit and goes (one table tournaments for my new readers). You'll be shocked, amazed and thanking me later. That's Bonus Code IGGY, k?

Did you know about the populist movement to bring poker to the Olympics this year? Go enjoy this wonderful site:
Poker In Athens

Thanks for all the great comments in my comeback post below. That alone makes it worthwhile to come on here and pound out 7,000 word posts. That, and the fact I'm deeply deranged. But I'm committed to blogging more posts, more often. That may mean less uber-posts over the long-term, but you'll get more fresh content to amuse you instead of working. And that's always a good thing.

But for now, you get an uber post. Lucky bastards. I'm always sad to start a new post after a lengthy prior one. It's almost like throwing it in the trash can, never to be seen again. Am I the only one who feels this way? Wait, don't answer that.

So where to begin? Well, first and foremost, the patron saint of the poker bloggers, Wil Wheaton, has a new poker post up. It's a Part One, so get outta here and go read it now. I'll still be here when you come back.

I received my first ever Wil comment yesterday (woohooo!) and he requested, like so many others before him, that I write more about my own play. And that's so damn cool, I just assume writing about my poker playing would be boring. Because it is. I fold, mostly.

But as anyone who has talked with me about poker in real-life knows, I live to chat about poker concepts and theory. I can't get enough of it. Perhaps I need to flesh out those thoughts and put them down in here. Hrm.

IE: For me, no-limit poker is a lot like combat. Hours of boredom, punctuated by a minute or two of sheer terror.

Here's an off-the-cuff no-limit tournament thought on some minor adjustments I've made since the Poker Boom. It's an old adage that many players either try to build a big stack or go out early. And I'm now an adherent to that philosophy. It's served me well, saving me both time and money. And I'm not talking about SNG's here, I'm talking about large field multi's.

And I don't mean big stack as in 'chip leader' stack, I mean just consistently building up chips. I read somewhere that the chip leader after day one of the WSOP has never won the damn thing. And that's the idea with large multi's - it's a marathon, not a sprint. Patience coupled with steady aggressiveness is key.

My idea is anytime I play a hand in the beginning of a tourney, I'm only trying to do one thing. Double through. As many real theorists have stated before, it's correct to gamble much more with a small stack (or bankroll, to take it one step further) and to do less gambling with a large one. So while I'm not advising that you suddenly start calling preflop raises with trouble hands (remember, folding costs you nothing pre-flop. if it's a close decision, you can't go far wrong by folding) I do think that a double-through mentality works wonders for your overall game if you are able to release hands when in trouble.

Hrm, I'm reading that last paragraph and I have some issues with it, but what the hell. The problem, for me, when *writing* specifics about poker ideas, is that there are often two uniquely correct but conflicting poker concepts to balance and come up with what ultimately is right - and that shit is hard to write up. Especially in a Guinness-induced stupor.

But that's why David Sklansky has so many clarifications, addendums, and if/then statements in his books. Every answer to a poker question is 'it depends.'

I think the point I'm (not very well) trying to make is that at Party Poker you are often better off pushing some thin edges against the awful players there. In fact, I used to take umbrage with the idea of stacking off pre-flop all the time as a weapon: The System!. And now I realize that used spottingly, it is a valid strategy. It's amazing what you will sometimes get called down with.

Long ago, a poker coach once told me to take a week and never call a raise if I could help it. Talk about stretching your game - playing 'raise or fold' is now a game I am damn comfortable with. It's a concept that doesn't work as well in family pots, but is still an exercise you may want to explore for a session or two. Remember the basics: you need a better hand to call a raise with than to raise with yourself. Don't worry if you lose - embrace the concept.

I always enjoyed the thinking behind this classic column. Thanks to poker sherpa extraordinaire, Steve Badger, for posting it:


Written by Chuck Thompson of Bay 101 in 1993, the basic principles remain as true today, as ever.

Long distance runners will tell you there is a certain point in a marathon, around the eighteenth mile, when a participant reaches "the wall". At this critical stage of the twenty-six mile race, the athletes who can deal with the wall separate themselves from those who fall victim to it. It's a when-the-going-gets-tough-the-tough-get-going sort of thing.

A typical table of players in a Limit Holdem tournament will start out playing tight. Halfway through the first limit level, as players become more acclimated, play will loosen up and begin to resemble an ordinary $20/40 game. As weaker players are eliminated and the tournament moves into the third limit level, the table play will toughen up and become the equivalent to a $30/60 game. In the fifth level, the play will be like a very tough $75/150 game.

It's in the seventh level that you reach the wall. Only fifteen percent of the field remains in contention. Half the remaining players will finish in the money; the other half will have put in a long exhausting day for nothing. At the wall, the average amount of chips in front of each player is about five and a half large bets.

About seventy percent of the remaining players are farmers, bent on protecting what they have and trying to figure out a way to finish in the money. The other thirty percent are foxes, energetic speedsters out to steal from the farmers and the other foxes. The foxes, many of whom have familiar winner-circle names, will not be thinking about finishing in the money. They will be thinking about winning the tournament.

The Limit Holdem tournament started with ninety percent farmers and ten percent foxes. Those farmers who have managed to reach the wall have had more than their share of good luck. The foxes, with their aggressive style and tournament savvy, tend to make their own luck. They have held only average cards but have stolen their way to the wall.

The pots that the foxes have stolen in getting to the wall are peanuts compared to the pots they will now steal at the wall and beyond. A typical table at the wall will be so snug that three out of four hands dealt will have no flop. The foxes will be in fox heaven picking up blind after blind. Each set of blinds represents three-quarters of a large bet, a significant amount when added to an average holding of only five and a half large bets.

When the final cut is made (around the ninth limit level) and the remaining players are all in the money, half the field will be foxes. There will be a huge sigh of relief from the farmers who have made the final cut. The foxes will now be slightly more on guard lest some of the farmers, who are now in the comfort zone, begin playing out of character and splashing their chips. This guarded period will be a short-lived one, and soon the foxes will be back to their stealing ways.

When the tournament is down to the final four players, usually there will be three foxes and one lucky farmer. If the farmer's luck can hold for another hour or so, he just might win his first tournament.

Back to the wall. If you've reached the wall, either through extraordinary luck or through some foxy play combined with good luck, you now have to decide whether you are going to be a farmer or a fox.

It is hoped that you will be at a table of mostly farmers. Your first job is to notice how many chips are in front of the players who have the blinds. If either of these players is nearly all in, you'll need a fairly decent hand to raise the pot. Also, if either of these players previously has shown a tendency to call in the blinds with a weak holding, then you'll need an even better hand to raise, regardless of how many chips the players has in front of him.

Second, look at your own chips. For you to be a fox, you should not let your chips fall below three and a half big bets, the amount of chips necessary to raise before the flop and still have full compliment of bets for the remaining streets. It's not that you intend to use all these chips. Your hope is that nobody calls. But you need to have the chips so that your would-be opponent knows he can't run you down cheaply. In other words, if you have just three and one half bets, you should be willing to make your steal-raise with a weaker hand, simply because you must take the initiative in order to keep your chips up and survive another round of blinds. This is where theme song from Damn Yankees becomes meaningful: "You Gotta Have Heart."

And foxes have heart -- lots of it. If you think making an opening raise with a poor hand is not worth the risk, since you are so close to being in the money and you might pick up pocket aces the very next hand and win a monster pot, then you are thinking like a farmer. If your chips get down to just a couple of large bets or less, you can no longer be a fox; you will have to hope you can pick up a decent hand since a confrontation is likely.

Don't let the early positions scare you. You can be a little more selective, but you simply must make your move if you have borderline fox chips. This is particularly true if you have a fox or two on your right, because these foxes will be stealing in front of you, diminishing your late position opportunities.

If a farmer raises in an early position -- heaven forbid -- you need a fantastic hand to confront him. If a fox raises in an early position, you will still want to have a very strong hand to take him on. Even if you are certain you have a better hand than the fox, you may very well be out-flopped or outplayed. However, if this fox is stealing so often that you don't get a chance to steal, then you are simply going to have to confront him, even with something as weak as A9 or KT. If you do confront him, you must reraise and take the lead. You want to give yourself your best chance of winning the pot if you both have nothing.

When you are doing the stealing, you would like to have a hand with some showdown quality, such as Ax or 33. But when you consider the likelihood that you will win the blinds without a confrontation, it really doesn't matter much what you hold. The fact that you raised is much more important than what you raised with.

While you are gaining confidence and becoming more and more fox-like, and the field is getting smaller and smaller, you might hear some farmers telling bad-beat stories to each other on the rail. In most cases these stories will be about some maniac (fox) who raised the blinds in center field with an 8c5c and took out the farmer's pocket kings to eliminate him from the tournament.

Sure, the fox "got lucky." But remember: This is the wall! The rules are different here. Anybody who sits around waiting for AA, KK or AK at the wall has very little chance of succeeding.

Funny thing about Holdem... any two cards can win!

You got that right. In fact, thanks to some sophisticated packet sniffing technology, I intercepted this fascinating photo of your typical Party Poker players playing Texas Hold Em. Anyone wanna take a shot at a caption? My weak attempt:

Authentic Party Poker Player Photo
Put him allin! This is an Action Flop!

With all the poker on TV right now, don't forget about TV Poker Guide!

Soooo many things to link up and point out, so little time. Pauly is right, I need a damn intern.

Here's Darwinism in action, at the poker table in Chicago.
Teen's death came in poker game
Chicago Sun Times:

He won the hand, but lost his life.

Michael Murray was celebrating his 18th birthday last Friday, playing a bizarre poker game where bullets were dealt along with cards, when Anson Paape shot him in the forehead, officials revealed Tuesday.

Paape, 38, had distributed bullets to four teen-age players in the lower level of his Elmhurst home. The winner was supposed to point a gun loaded with one bullet to the head of the person to the right and pull the trigger.

Oh the humanity. Always remember, sit on the left of a winning player.

Moving on, I've been meaning to link up this AWESOME article about second place finisher in the 2004 WSOP, David Williams, from the Dallas Observer. This is truly a great piece - don't skip this damn link - go read it now.
Dynamite Dave
David Williams won $3.5 million finishing second in poker's grandest tourney, but dammit, that's just not good enough.

He's never been a nickname guy. Too many poker players have shticks or nicknames or both. Unabomber. Devilfish. The Magician. The Master. There's a never-ending supply of self-promoters with oversized egos. The closest David Williams ever got to a nickname came when he was about 10. Long before he knew what poker was, he wanted to call himself "Ace." Ace Williams. He even approached his mom about getting it changed legally--at 10. She told him to try it out at school and come back later. If he still wanted to be called Ace after that, it would be fine by her.

"The kids at school made fun of me all day long," Williams says, laughing. "It was brutal. That was the end of Ace."

Per the tragic loss of Andy Glazer, Jay Lovinger has a new poker column running on ESPN.com's Page 2. He spends the last third of the article writing about his short experience with Andy Glazer. It's another wonderful piece, like those written by Hellmuth and Juanda, devoted to the game's best tournament beat writer. Go check it out, please.

ESPN - Poker Jay Lovinger

Here's the full biography of Andy Glazer from IMDB.com.

Although born in the film-infamous town of Amityville, NY, Andrew N.S.
("Andy") Glazer grew up in neighboring Massapequa, NY, the hometown of
Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Steve Guttenberg. He has been a
writer for most of his life.

His early writing focused on sports: he was sports editor of his
Plainedge High School ('73) newspaper, Managing Sports Editor of the
University of Michigan's "Michigan Daily." His interest in journalism
continued when he attended law school at Emory University ('80), where
he was Editor-in-Chief of the school paper. At Michigan ('77), Glazer
also broadcast U of M basketball and hockey games for the college
radio station, doing both play-by-play and color commentary.

Glazer clerked for Judge Dorothy Beasley (now a Georgia Appellate
Court Justice) and practiced law for two years, but left the practice
in rather dramatic fashion. Representing a cocaine dealer who was
plainly and obviously guilty, Glazer defied conventional strategy by
putting his client on the stand at his preliminary hearing. He felt
there were facts about the search that might not suffice to obtain a
dismissal, but which might annoy a grand jury, and sure enough, the
grand jury refused to indict his client, the first time a Fulton
County grand jury had "no-billed" a drug case in two years. The day
after informing his jubilant client, Glazer received five telephone
calls from cocaine dealers who wanted to put Glazer on retainer.
Already suffering a crisis of conscience at putting the original
client back on the street, Glazer retired from the practice of law
that very day, figuring (correctly) that he could make his living
playing backgammon until he decided what his next professional
challenge would be.

Although Glazer did eventually leave backgammon for two forays into
the business world (including one in which he wrote, produced and
directed a four-hour documentary about law school, a half-hour version
of which appeared on The Learning Channel), his creative side (he'd
already written, directed and starred in several one-act plays) kept
tugging at him, and he left the business world in 1992 in order to
write fiction, planning on supporting himself by playing poker.

Curiously, the poker aspect of this plan worked just fine, but the
writing didn't; although he completed several novellas and short
stories, he never did finish a novel. Just as he was beginning to
enter the film business (he'd served as a gambling techical advisor
for the television pilot adaptation of John Grisham's "The Client"),
his three-year relationship to Dr. Cornelia Cho ended, and Glazer
decided to take a month-long "timeout" to attend the Esalen Institute,
in Big Sur, California. He left Atlanta in June, 1995. Glazer quickly
fell in love with the world-famous health spa and educational center,
and his planned one-month stay turned into a two-year residence.

Glazer worked as a chef and earned a massage certification during this
time, but the years were more notable for the four additional one-act
plays he wrote, directed, and starred in, as well as a bizarrely
coincidental hot tub encounter with 1989 World Series of Poker
Champion Phil Hellmuth, Jr. This meeting led to a friendship that
eventually pulled Glazer into the world of professional poker, where
he used his sportswriting experience to quickly establish himself as
the world's foremost poker tournament reporter. He also finally
finished a book, albeit non-fiction: "Casino Gambling the Smart Way"
(Career Press, 1999).

Once his new path as a professional poker player and writer was
established, it didn't take very long for television and the movies to
take notice. Being called "a poker scholar" in the May 17, 1999 issue
of Newsweek Magazine probably didn't hurt. Glazer appeared in the
Discovery Channel's broadcasts of both the 1999 and 2000 World Series
of Poker, was invited into the ESPN broadcast booth in 2002, and
served as a Techical Advisor for a seven-part ESPN documentary about
the 2003 World Series. Recently, Glazer received a great deal of
attention in the 2003 bestseller "Positively Fifth Street," by James
McManus, a book about McManus' experiences at the 2000 World Series.
Glazer now lives in Hollywood, California.

Although his ties to the film, stage, and television worlds continue
to grow, he still earns the bulk of his income by writing about
gambling. He is a weekly gambling columnist for The Detroit Free
Press, and a columnist and Poker Tournament Editor for Card Player
Magazine. He is working with Hellmuth on a biography entitled "Poker
Brat," and has several other poker book projects in the pipeline.
Nonetheless, he willingly concedes that he would give up poker "in a
New York minute" if he could obtain his dream job: writing teleplays
for, or obtaining a role in, either "Stargate SG-1" or "Enterprise."
While Glazer's feet appear planted firmly beneath his computer, his
heart appears to be somewhere in outer space.


They say poker is a hard way to make an easy living. It's a cliche, but it doesn't mean it's not true. And so I found this post from this RGP goofball. Every post he makes is insipid -it's tiring. Although he's likely a troll, I enjoyed the writing that followed.


Today was my last day of work. I've decided to roll up a stake and go
to...my lazy boy. I've built up my roll and turning my back on my degree
and the 9-5 world. Saying hello to the "whenever I roll out of bed and
find a good game online world". I have no wife, no child, however, being
a Frat Boy and having to look my best, gym time will be my controversy.
I'm playing in the big boy land of 10-20 and 15-30, looking into going
multiple table although I don't need too. My goal is not to replace a
wife's income, but live the playboy lifestyle of a man that sets his own
hours and gets tax free US funds shipped to an account. Here's to a hard
partying weekend before it all begins.....


Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a
fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc
players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol
and dental insurance. Choose fixed - interest mortgage repayments. Choose a
starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching
luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking
fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose
sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit - crushing game shows,
stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end
of it all, pishing you last in a miserable home, nothing more than an
embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace
yourself. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a
thing like that?

I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There
are no reasons. Who need reasons when you've got poker?

Alrighty then.

I'm certain this post is already far too long. Prepare yourself for semi-succinct posts in the future. In the que, I have an interesting three-part poker theory essay to post, new poker blogs to pimp, Monty updates, and the continual assortment of random poker nuggets. And lastly, your favorite: poker pro flame wars. Scintillating stuff.

Bonus Cod - ahh, fuck it. I feel like a carnival barker.
Thanks to anyone reading.

Link of the Day - One of my all-time faves:
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."

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

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