Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fear. It’s a killer. It’s what makes grown men sweat from their eyeballs, shift uncomfortably in their chair and pick their teeth in public. It’s the insidious worm that crawls in underneath your certainty and brings along its bitchy sister with bad 1987 Tiffany hair, Doubt.

Fear and Doubt are the Wonder Twins of bankroll destruction. “Form of the Second Nut Flush!” “Shape of Runner-Runner Inside Straight Flush Draw!” Fear will cripple your game and beat you into a pile of squirming, gelatinous poo steaming on the sidewalk in August.

But there’s a cure. Fear and Doubt are just like any other monsters, they have their weaknesses. They have their garlic, their silver bullet, their Kryptonite.

So how, you ask. How do I banish Doubt and Fear from my play?

I’m glad you asked. There’s no rocket science involved. Just like poker. You really don’t need an advanced degree to play this game (although a couple of them don’t hurt), just a few simple strategies and metric fuckton of common sense.

Doubt and Fear fade away (like the glamourie that made you think she was hot last night at 4AM when you wake up next to her on a Sunday morning and immediately commence to gnawing straight through your bicep so you can get the fuck out of there and back into your Pinto before she wakes up) in the face of game selection and bankroll management.

It only took me 2 years to figure that out. But I grew up in South Carolina, so I’m fucking excused.

First, pick your game. If you want to sit down and bludgeon people with chips, play Power Poker and ram & jam a bunch of pots, this is going to be really effective at some tables. When I’m in the mood for this I look for tables with a small average pot and a large percentage of people seeing the flop. Lots of limpers, but not a ton of money in the pot equates to a bunch of people who never make it to fourth street, which is perfect for when you’re playing a hyper-aggro strategy. In the interests of full disclosure, I totally stole this idea from a blog post I read of the Blogfather’s a million years ago when I first started reading blogs.

I like to play this way on full tables, and if I can peek at the average stack, I like for it to be around 60-75% of the max buy-in. I don’t want to sit down somewhere with three guys that have tripled their buyin already and are feeling strong and frisky. I’d rather play this style against timid players, folks that aren’t very interested in risking chips.

So this is an example of table selection that has allowed me to beat up on those F&D bitches. But it’s not going to help if I’m playing too high, or even too low. I’ve got to find the limits that work for my game right now, where I still care about the buyin, but don’t fear losing so much that it cripples me.

For me, with my bankroll hovering around $2500, this is the $25 and $50 NL tables. I’m not detached enough yet to stomach the same swings at the NL100 tables that I can take without being phased at NL50 (and NL25 is such a fish farm I can’t tear myself away from those tables, because it’s sooooo easy to run that $25 into $60-80 in short order). By playing at a table that I don’t mind terribly losing a buy-in I allow myself to push my hands harder, and use all the tools in my kit, including the all-in. If I’m playing too high, I’m less willing to shove all my chips in the middle, and that’s a valuable tool that I’m denying myself.

I’m still playing a bunch of limit as well, mainly $2/4 limit, and that’s another case where table selection and even site selection is critical. I find the limit players at Stars to be a lot tougher than at Party or Crypto, so I only play up to $1/2 there. The limit players at UB are so amazingly aggressive, that I can play tight and wait for good hands, but I can also watch long enough to figure out how many bullets each raise-monkey has in their gun and steal a few pots from them that way. So game selection is critical here, too.

Not really sure that went where I thought we were going, but that’s why I’m a blogger and not a college professor.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

World Series of Poker

The best in WSOP coverage can be found at the right side of the page. Click on Otis and Pauly's WSOP blogging coverages to keep updated on who's in, who's out and who's taking a piss.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Heh. Serendipity

Remember when I had tickets for the Poker Dome show? Well, Special K and Biggestron took 2, there's one left, and here's some enticing news.

THERE'S GONNA BE HOT WOMEN THERE!

Okay, I can only vouch for one. The WPBT's very own Jen Leo has won and entry into that very tourney on the 9th of July!!!

So who wants my last ticket to watch Jen take down $25K?

Pauly's got his groove back

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that the 2006 World Series of Poker kicked off yesterday. That means a lot of things. It means that dream will be made, hearts will be broken, hookers will be double-jointed, Otis will fall at some point.

But more importantly, it means that the muthafuckin’ master is back where he does his best work. Pauly is again covering the WSOP from Tao of Poker, and if you don’t check that shit out every single day, then you ain’t reading the real shit.

Here’s a brief sample of why the big media locked in exclusive deals for WSOP live internet coverage, because they don’t have ANYBODY that can hang with the finest poker writer working today. Period.

But I'm not. I'm in Las Vegas for a second year in a row covering the biggest event ever in the history of poker. I want to be at the Rio everyday and tell you what I see, hear, and smell. I'm not going to sugar-coat the poker coverage and tell you how awesome it is to be at the WSOP. I'm not going to write 2,500 words on how cool it is to see Gus Hansen and Jen Harman and Annie Duke play poker. They are degenerate gamblers just like you and me. They happen to be better at it than us but that doesn't make them rockstars and Gods among peasants.Poker is a dark and ugly entity. The media has created an aura of nebulous sanctimony and the masses are flocking to it like it's the cure for the void that they have in their sad and empty lives. I should know. I fell for it too. For most of my life I was empty and sad. Poker was the light at the end of the tunnel. I bought the bullshit like everyone else. But unlike you, I got to see behind the scenes of the poker world for the last year. I peeked behind the curtain and saw the great and powerful Oz. And he's not great, nor powerful.Poker is an old dirty whore. Poker is a $10 crack rock. Poker is an illusion and a momentary distraction from the harsh world that we live in.Instead of asking ourselves the real questions and seeking out real answers, we're hiding from the repulsive truths of this world. There are twenty-one year old internet pros making six figures a year while kids their age are getting limbs blown off by roadside bombs in Baghdad. Tell me how important poker is to our troops overseas? A coinflip to them is not 7-7 vs. A-J. Their races and coinflips are life vs. death.

That, my friends, is the man who inspired me to start writing again after a ten-year hiatus. Now bookmark his shit. Cause it just doesn’t get any better.

Micro-limit experiment

So after dropping $200 in 3 hands, flush with the glory of second-best hand syndrome, I decided that my acid reflux wasn’t quite ready for NL100 this weekend. So I dropped down to NL25 to blow off some steam and rack up some FPPs on Stars and work towards the thank-god-I-never-expire redeposit bonus. And I thought to myself Self, fuck it. You’re still steaming after giving away a full buy-in with bad flushes on back-to-back hands, so just play positional power poker, fuck the cards. Everybody says cards are irrelevant any, so just raise the fuck out of it and see how it goes.

It goes well. If there was no aggressive action to my Button, Cutoff or Cutoff + 1, I raised 4xBB ($1). If there were callers, and there usually were, then it got more fun. If there was no aggressive action on the flop, and the “check to the raiser” is very prevalent, I doubled my bet ($2). If there were callers, and there very seldom were any, then I doubled my bet again on the turn ($4). I think only one hand out of 10 made it to showdown with this betting strategy, and the ones that did, I had usually managed to make two pair with the garbage I started with anyway.

This is not a strategy that will make you friends at the table. It is, however, very functional at the lower limits. I had decent hands often enough in my late position raise-fest that I was able to win when it went to showdown, but most of the time I just pushed people off of pots. I ran this routine 4 times over the weekend, doubling my buy-in twice, picking up half a buy-in the third time, and going broke once. I think that qualifies as a high-variance style, but it sure is fun. Interestingly enough, the low-limit donkeys don’t seem to pay any attention to betting patterns, because they would continue to limp in front of my button orbit after orbit, only to be forced to fold to my inevitable raise. I also popped it any time it was limped to my blinds, but didn’t always continue with that, because I was out of position for the rest of the hand.

I translated a little of that into our home game this weekend, raising in position with junk way more liberally than I have in previous weeks, and it felt nice to have my game a little bit back on track before my trip to Milwaukee next weekend.

I also cashed in a $4 180-person SNG on Saturday, breaking long losing streak. I was cruising right along again last night, with a big hand in level 3 that would have taken me to the final table, until the big stack at the table caught his two-outer to send me home. I’ve played at least one of these each night for a week trying to find some of my tourney rhythm again, and I think I’m getting the groove back, fold,fold,fold,fold,fold, puuuussssshhhhh-double up, fold,fold,fold,fold, repeat. Kinda like that.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

More PokerSavvy goodness!

Yes, I know. You're getting tired of me shilling for this site. Get over it, it's my blog and I'll shill for who I want to. The PokerSavvy folks are trying to do cool things for their customers, and their customer service so far has been absolutely spectacular, so they'll keep getting pimped (click the SoCo bottle to sign up!).

Here's their newest thing - a freeroll for PokerSavvy Customers for a WSOP Main Event seat, pkus a couple grand for travel and lodging. That's pretty cool, even though my tournament game is in the shitter. But if it's free, it's for me! Even better, the field is limited to 150 players, so that is kickass!

The freeroll is on July 12th, so I guess I'll be taking the lappy to Vegas with me. There are three ways to qualify, and I'm pretty sure I'll be taking route #1.

1) Earn a total of 3,000 SavvyPoints before the freeroll. The Mansion Poker bonus was soooo fricking easy, now I've earned over 2100 points, so two more signups and I'm in there like swimwear!

2) Earn 1500 SavvyPoints and use them to buy a spot. Easy enough, but I can use those points to get free money on Party Poker, which I can then use to take more money off the Party lemurs. So why wouldn't I?

3) Sign up through CD Poker and complete their signup requirements and you get into the freeroll. I haven't really looked into their signup requirements to see what it would take, but that might be an option as well.

But right now, I think I'll just grab two more signups (or less if you guys sign up for Mansion through my link - I get 25% of the signup bonus added to my account when you use my referral, and you still get the full 900 points) and play the freeroll thattaway. A pretty damn cool thing Matt and his folks over there are doing, if you ask me. And you did, by default, when you landed here.

Disclosure: They didn't pay me to write this. I just think it's cool what they're doing.


Mansion Poker/PokerSavvy Update

So just so you know, this is the single easiest bonus I've ever cleared in my life! I deposited $200 into Mansion using the Pokersavvy link on the right hand side of the page (btw, every time we earn points through pokersavvy, it adds volume to the freerolls they're hosting for bloggers, like the next one on June 28th at Poker.com, so click through NOW end shameless shill moment), planning to clear my bonus in an evening or two.

Well, the bonus requirements are only $50 wagered, which I cleared at about 15 minutes of NL50 action. And the bonus showed up in my pokersavvy account this morning! That's some pretty spanky fast turnaround, and great customer support from the folks at Pokersavvy, too. So check out the Mansion poker bonus from Pokersavvy, it clears in minutes and the bonus from the savvy folks kicks ass! After that I'd recommend the 7 Sultans bonus, which is a Prima site and only takes about 3 nights at the $1/2 limit or higher. I've cleared 3 bonii through PokerSavvy so far and couldn't be happier. I actually still play at Sun, since their bonus was easy and they have a monthly $40 bonus (no redeposit needed) if you get 250 MPPs (each hand raked $1 gets you 1 MPP), which is super-easy to clear.

So that's my advice for the day, and it looks like some of you have already taken me up on it, looking at my signups page. Thanks Special K!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This is not a bad beat story

So I’ve been working very hard at not going broke with an overpair, or just one pair on a scary board. I didn’t, but maybe should have been a little more willing to push chips around. This is me taking a stab at a level one step higher than I usually play, which may have contributed to the timidity. I’d love critique from folks who would have played this differently.

Here’s my thought processes in italics as we go through the hand.

PokerStars Game #5323221515: Hold'em No Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2006/06/21 - 18:43:23 (ET)

Table 'Hamal II' 9-max Seat #8 is the button

Seat 1: Jhartness ($93.65 in chips)

Seat 2: H-BOMB151 ($187.20 in chips)

Seat 3: jjf3851 ($25.50 in chips)

Seat 4: W F S ($89.45 in chips)

Seat 5: VampireFox ($29.85 in chips)

Seat 6: TeacherB ($51.60 in chips)

Seat 7: jameskeene ($63.90 in chips)

Seat 8: wjpower77 ($49.65 in chips)

Seat 9: ovalgood ($26.25 in chips)

ovalgood: posts small blind $0.50

Jhartness: posts big blind $1

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Jhartness [Qc Qd]

Yippee, Queens. Fuck. Queens. Tables running very tight, routinely folding to 4xBB, let’s put in $3 and see if we can get 1-2 callers.

H-BOMB151: folds

jjf3851: folds

W F S: calls $1

VampireFox: folds

TeacherB: folds

jameskeene: calls $1

wjpower77: folds

ovalgood: calls $0.50

Jhartness: raises $2 to $3

W F S: calls $2

jameskeene: calls $2

ovalgood: calls $2


Hmmm. Expected jameskeene to call, he wants to see every flop, and expected WFS to call, too, he defends his blinds. Didn’t expect the third guy. Hmmmm.


*** FLOP *** [2s 9h Js]


Brilliant! My overpair is solid, but there are flush draws out there. Lets go about ¾ pot to make them think first before they chase the flush.


ovalgood: checks

Jhartness: bets $8

W F S: calls $8

jameskeene: folds

ovalgood: folds


Hmmm. OK. That went well, except he’s the best of the three. Still on the flush draw, with the As, maybe?


*** TURN *** [2s 9h Js] [4s]

Jhartness: bets $10


Fuck. Spade. Where am I?


W F S: raises $15 to $25


Fuck. Really? Was he chasing that whole time? Is he jamming me with some straight draw, trying to make a move? For $15 I feel like I need to see the river.


Jhartness: calls $15

*** RIVER *** [2s 9h Js 4s] [Tc]


Now WTF do I do?


Jhartness: checks

W F S: bets $35


Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I went into the tank for a while, using up most of my time bank. Two Pair makes the most sense. A flush draw would have been a stupid call on the flop. Maybe a set of 9s. I am not going broke with just a big pair right here.


Jhartness: folds

W F S collected $75 from pot

W F S: shows [Qh Jc] (a pair of Jacks)


Well. Nice of him to show me how badly I got outplayed. Nicely done, dude. Excuse me while I sit out to go smash my keyboard in the carport like that dude on the FSP video on YouTube.

Mad Poker, Beyond Poker Dome!

I just ordered 4 tickets to the Sunday night, July 9 TV taping of the Poker Dome tournament while we’re in Vegas for the WPBT get-together. Since Suzy and the rest of my crew doesn’t get into town until Monday night, that means I have 3 tickets to give away. The taping starts at 6PM, and they suggest that people arrive 90 minutes early, so if anyone wants to go, lemme know.

There are 3 tickets available.

EDIT: Byron is in, so there are 2 left.
EDIT: Special K is in, one ticket left. If you want more, go to www.tvtickets.com


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Boogie of the Week: Sam Bush - Laps in Seven

There aren’t many artists that I actively pursue information on when they’re coming to town, or really anticipate their new album releases. Usually when I’m checking out new releases on iTunes or at Manifest, I just see what comes out and if it seems cool, I check it out. Sam Bush is an exception to that rule. If Sammy’s playing anywhere within an hour of home, I’m there, with my sister/SammyStalker Bonnie in tow. So when we heard most of his new album in his set at Merlefest, I knew that less than 48 hours would pass from my release to acquisition.

So Wednesday, June 14th I manufactured a reason to be on the right side of town to get by Manifest, and sure enough, there sat Laps in Seven, Sam’s newest release on Sugar Hill. Lest you think I was slacking to wait until the say after the disc was released, I did in fact try iTunes on Tuesday, but the album wasn’t available online yet. So I bought it, along with Led Zeppelin II & IV (also unavailable on iTunes, dammit), and slammed it into the CD player in the PT Cruiser, with my Pavlovian slobber starting to puddle up in the floorboards.

This might be his finest studio album ever. Period. I think it does a phenomenal job of crossing the genres, something Sam does so well live. It’s got straight up high-octane bluegrass (Riding that Bluegrass Train, Bringing in the Georgia Mail), great cover songs (Hartford’s On the Road, Darrel Scott’s River Take Me), great original songs like the Emmylou Harris duet The River’s Gonna Run and fantastic instrumental numbers like The Dolphin Dance and New Country.

The bluegrass numbers really show what the addition of Scott Vestal on banjo has done for this band. It’s like the missing piece that finally clicks into place, you never really knew it was missing, but now that it’s in place it completes the whole picture so eloquently you can’t imagine hearing those songs without it. The songs are great, Bush’s vocals are solid, and Emmylou always sounds like an angel, but for me the top two tracks on the album are instrumentals, where these incredible musicians get a chance to stretch their musical legs a little.

New Country with Jean Luc Ponty is a standby of Ponty’s sets, but adding Sam’s great bluegrass band to the mix gives it a hotter energy and more vibrant life than I’ve heard in other versions of the song. The Dolphin Dance is a lighthearted romp that takes me back twenty years, to standing on my cousin’s dock in the Gulf, looking out at the dolphins playing at the sunset danced across the water, while I reeled in supper.

So I start the day as a huge Sam Bush fan, but this album is such a something-for-everyone feast, that I can’t imagine anyone who loves music not finding at least one track on here that they’ll love.

Maybe I should think about playing a little on Poker.com after all

Haley's got a great bit of info up from the folks at poker.com about a bail-out of the poor schlubs who got screwed out of their WSOP seats by ChecknRaise poker. Go give it a look, there may actually be nice guys in the world after all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

They're Everywhere


My wife went to Florida this weekend and met a Party Poker Low-Limit NLHE player. Fuckers are inescapable.

PokerSavvy Update

This one’s for the bonus chasers out there – from the Pokersavvy forum today. If you go for this, please sign up with Pokersavvy through the link on my page. I’ll get a few savvypoints kicked back my way, and you’ll get a chance at this apparently super-easy bonus. For those who aren’t familiar with PokerSavvy, 900 points is only 100 points away from a $100 Party Poker Gift Certificate that you can then withdraw for CASH! So it’s a lot like a $100 bonus.

And Mansion Poker is the home of the Poker Dome Challenge, you can enter 1 Cent MTTs to win a seat at the weekly Poker Dome TV taping in Vegas, including airfare and accommodations. 1 Little Penny could get you $25K in return!

Just when you thought you'd seen it all... OK, so I sound like a used car dealer. But I wanted to let you know that we just brought on another new partner that we're super-excited about: MANSION. You may have seen some of their sponsored tourneys on TV as well as their new Poker Dome in Vegas. For a limited time we're giving away 900 SavvyPoints when you open a new account, deposit $50 and wager only $50 in the poker room, casino or sportsbook at MANSION. Only $50! MANSION is very new and they're looking to acquire a lot of new players so they're making this a very sweet deal for PokerSavvy users. Take 'em up on it! To get the software, login to MyPokerSavvy or use the link below. (NOTE: YOU MUST USE PROMO CODE "SAVVY" WHEN YOU REGISTER). Visit MANSION Have fun and good luck! (image placeholder)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blogger Commandments (suggestions really)

There have been a lot of posts about what makes a good poker blog, some posts about what sucks about poker blogs, and a lot of posts about what to do and not to do at your first blogger gathering. With just a few weeks until our next gathering, I thought I’d put together a few commandments (in no particular order of importance) for how to be a truly successful poker blogger and member of the poker blogger community, such as it is.

  1. Thou shalt not stare at Iggy. Midget Pocahontasi do not approve of being stared at.

  2. Thou shalt not fuck with Mr. Subliminal’s shopping cart. Degenerate homeless gamblers are not people to be trifled with.

  3. Thou shalt not talk about going to Vegas anywhere around The Luckbox. We’ll be in Milwaulkee soon.

  4. Thou shalt not bet against BadBlood in a contest of pushups. That was one of the few mistakes I’ve seen STB make in a poker room.

  5. Thou shalt not pick the same color as G-Rob on wheel spin prop bets. It’s –EV.

  6. Thou shalt not confuse your Geek with your Nerd or your Proud Geek with your JustaGeek. Fucking that one up could lead to bad holodeck jokes, rampant l33tspeak, frighteningly deep discussions on 10-tabling SNGs, or terrifyingly good Gollum impressions.

  7. Thou shalt tell Chilly how much St. Louis sucks. If you’re lucky you’ll get a Fuck ________ blog post of your very own.

  8. Thou shalt not take Felicia’s ranting personally. It’s not you, she just doesn’t like very many people. Like maybe three. On a good day.

  9. Thou shalt not play big hole cards in multi-way pots against Waffles, it’s just going to piss you off and amuse the Waffle when he cracks them with some retarded holding that hits the board like Grubby hitting a strip bar with a prime rib buffet.

  10. Thou shalt not push all in preflop with QQ against Gracie’s AK. It will not end well for you. I promise.

  11. Thou shalt not try to go drink for drink with Pauly. Or fall for fall with Otis. These people are professionals.

  12. Thou shalt not check-raise the junkkicker. She will beat you down and rip out your heart.

  13. Thou shalt not be superstitious around Special K. He thinks it’s bad luck.

  14. Thou shalt not look up my kilt. Unless you’re a cute travel writer chick.

  15. Thou shalt not play against DonkeyPuncher if there are Jacks on the board. He keeps a couple stuffed up his ass for emergencies. Right next to the horseshoe.

  16. Thou shalt not turn down a late-night call from a fellow blogger asking for bail money.

  17. Thou shalt not let Bill Rini play blackjack. When he’s sober. Drunk, he’s golden.

  18. Thou shalt not hit Maudie in the head with a chair. That’s Blood’s schtick.

  19. Thou shalt not remind Easycure that he’s now a felon. And we thought Otis lived in a backwoods state.

  20. And finally, thou shalt Never, ever, EVER, limp with the hammer.

So I’ve got 20 commandments, but I’m funnier than Moses, so fuck off. Although that whole burning bush thing? Now that’s comedy.

I’m so going to hell for that.

Reload and Stars and Redecorating at FTP

A few new things in the world of online poker – and they’re all good!

First – Pokerstars is offering one of their rare deposit & reload bonuses, so if you’re not already playing on Stars, this is a great time to download the software and sign up! It’s a 20% reload bonus or a 100% signup bonus ($50 max) through this weekend. Please click on the banner over to the right to sign up, I’d love the kickback.

Secondly – Full Tilt has completely revamped the look of their interface, with easier to navigate cashier buttons, more filters for games and tourneys, and a slicker, more futuristic look. I much prefer this to the slightly cartoony look the front pages had been sporting. If you’re not playing on Full Tilt, how can you be like my main man Hoyazo, who just won a seat into a $1500 WSOP event? Same, deal, click on the link on the side of the page, and use bonus code FALSTAFF when you sign up.

These aren’t just sites I pimp because I’m an affiliate and I get a little bit of money whenever someone signs up using my code (although I sure as hell appreciate it!). These are places that I play. Pokerstars is the first site I ever played, and remains the site of my only decent tourney cash. It’s where I’d rather play tournaments, hands down over any other site. Their structures, software and support kick so much ass! Full Tilt is where I started learning to like limit poker, where I was able to start my positive bankroll growth, and where I’ve made the highest percentage of tourney cashes. So these aren’t just random sites, I love playing at both of them and think they are the shit, so check ‘em out!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stacked - up and down

I find myself stuck a lot lately. I seem to sit down at a table, ready to play, and for the first fifteen minutes, misplay everything that I’m dealt. Even as the action approaches my seat, I look at my cards and think “yes, 79s is playable in late position, but NOT to an UTG raise, wait for a better hand.” Then, like Thing, or some other possessed body part, my hand treacherously clicks the “Call” button. And I’m stuck for two bets with a marginal hand and nothing but position to back me up.

Now occasionally, I can pick off the heehaws who find it morally repugnant to lay down AKo on a 6-high flop by firing bullets on every street, but usually I end up down three small bets right off the bat, and find myself quickly down 5-8BB and struggling to make up the difference. Last night was a prime example. I signed up for Interpoker (Scurvy, if you get the signup bonus, buy me a beer, I did hit it through your link), fired up a $2/4 table with $100, and found myself down to $30 within 40 minutes. That’s a retarded >15BB loss in less than an hour. I ratcheted down, played my premium hands, caught a set or two and finished up 20BB by the time I was done, but that’s not the point. I’m not playing optimal poker when I first sit down, and the same thing has translated into my live play as well.

I wonder if I’m getting stuck on purpose, subconsciously, to make myself work harder to win money. Silly, huh? But that’s what seems to be happening. So my plan tonight is to start off very slowly, only opening one table at first, then adding one or two more as I get my game on, rather than rushing into things with 2-3 tables of 2/4 open immediately. Maybe that will help me keep my idiocy in check. I’m still profitable for the month, but I feel like my bad play early in my sessions is costing me serious EV.

On another note, I got my preview copy of STACKED the other day and fired it up yesterday. The graphics and audio are smoking, and the ability to customize your character is pretty badass. I don’t have Xbox Live, so I won’t be able to comment on those aspects of the game, but so far it’s pretty cool. If I were going to play poker for no money, I’d be much more likely to play this shit than the play money games online, even though I’m playing against the computer instead of real live donkeys. I’ll put in some more time on it this weekend and give more info next week.

No, Really, write your CongressPeople! Today!

This email landed in my Inbox this morning, so I'm passing it along. Please take a minute to write your congress-folks and please copy this into your blogs. It's important. If this bill passes, more of us than Easycure will become felons (sorry you live in the land of Cromwell, Easy). This is a ridiculous law, I agree, but that makes it no less dangerous. Please spread the word!


Dear PPA Member:


The federal effort to
ban online gambling has cleared another hurdle and within the next 10
days the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 4777, The
Internet Gaming Prohibition Act. It is essential that your member of
Congress know that you oppose this legislation. We have posted an
updated letter that you can send TODAY by going to http://capwiz.com/pokerplayersalliance/issues/alert/?alertid=8585611

It is critical that Congress hears from you before this vote!


Additionally,
the Poker Players Alliance is seeking members who would be willing to
lend their name to a letter that would be published in their local
newspaper. These letters would let fellow citizens know that Congress
is seeking ban online poker and open the door to greater government
involvement in our personal affairs. If you would be willing to put
your name on a letter contact us immediately at email@pokerplayersalliance.org



Finally, we wanted to make you aware of an excellent editorial
published on June 9th in the Los Angeles Times. I encourage each of you
to read this enlightened and thoughtful look at the current
Congressional debate surrounding online gambling. The complete
editorial can be found by going to http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/


Thank you for all you do to support the Poker Players Alliance. And rest assured that we are working tirelessly on your behalf.


Sincerely,


Michael Bolcerek, president

Poker Players Alliance

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bonus Cleared, Marketing Advice, Heads-Up and Old Men

There is luck in poker. There simply has to be, otherwise my buddy Charles would never have made 3 nut Full Houses and 1 set of Quads in the first 90 minutes of our home game this weekend. But the fact that luck is not the only factor in being a winning poker player is held up by the fact that all that money was redistributed pretty evenly around the table by the end of the night. Dad managed to get himself into the game $100 deep at one point, finally cashing out around ten bucks down. Between the wife and myself, we buried ourselves for $110, but cashed out down a whopping $6. So short term luck does not necessarily equal long-term success. Charles did finish the night up a bit, but nowhere near where he had been.

Played a little more over the weekend, knocked out my Party bonus for $100, and I think I was about even for the ride, so it actually was a bonus. But I’m starting to doubt the usefulness of chasing $100 4-tabling NLHE when I can make more than $100 in a couple of hours playing two tables of $2/4 or $50 max NLHE. I guess that’s the contradiction inherent in bonuses – if you’re playing levels that the bonus is a serious bump to your roll, the bonus is difficult or impossible to clear, and if you’re playing levels that make the bonus easier to clear, it’s hardly worth chasing. Not that I’m going to stop chasing them, but I’m not sure how many new rooms I’m going to sign up for just to chase them.

Still donking around on World Poker Exchange, currently hanging out there because the rakeback is covering my losses. That place is playing seriously tight, so it’s not going to get a ton of my playing time right now. The tightness of that site is easily attributed to their marketing plan. Promoting a site with 100% rakeback is not going to appeal to the fishies that are getting into poker on the internet because it looks neat and fun, it’s going to appeal to serious players who understand how much they are paying out to websites for the privilege of playing. And those are typically going to be tougher players.

It’s very similar to a conversation I had with Lou from PokerTek when I was over there last week. They have endorsements from Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson and Antonio Esfandiari about how great it is to not have to tip a dealer, and how many more hands you get in per hour, and how much more money a grinder will make over the course of a year just in tips and extra hands. That’s all well and good, but grinders aren’t your bread and butter market. Your leather-assed road dogs who sit for 14 hours a day in a casino are a part of the market, but they’re a niche market. Right now, to market things to the poker player, market to the casual player. Market something about how you don’t have to be able to chip tricks to sit at our table. Something about how it’s casino poker, but as simple to learn as a computer game. Something that is appealing to newbies.

Because we want newbies to come into casinos, feel comfortable and have fun. We want them to get bitten by the bug of raking a pot, of pushing all in, of winning a coin flip on the river. We want them to feel that excitement and energy. But we have to reach them. If I’m marketing a new poker site or a new poker product, I’m going the Bodog route or the Party route, shooting for either “cool” or “fun,” not “rakefree” or “tokefree.” So that’s my marketing suggestion of the day, for what it’s worth (nothing unless anyone uses it, then send me free toys!).

I played a couple of heads-up SNGs yesterday, after reading Harrington’s heads-up chapter in HOH:II. Out of a ridiculously small sample size, I’m ahead, 3-1. In these things, you pretty much have to win 75% of them to be profitable, because of the juice. I’m enjoying them, so I may add them into my rotation of games. I’m not in any hurry to take on the Yoyo or Waffles, I just wanna play random donkeys for a bit.

I’ll be back eventually with a post about teaching my 77-year old father Texas Hold Em yesterday, and goal of turning my poker-illiterate sister into a profitable internet Limit Hold Em player.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Odd Poker Spam

I get something like this every week or two, and not even in the mailbox that’s linked to this blog – how are these people finding me? I’d really like to know who’s selling that particular email address. I’m sure I’m not alone in keeping several email addresses. One is for my day job, and it is given out ONLY to people that I know from work, and the few people that I happened to have emailed from work at some point. One is my widespread personal email, poker blog email, the one I have here on my contact page, all that jazz. But the address that this came to is one that I pretty much only use for personal stuff, communicating with family, shit like that. So since I’m sure I’m not the only one getting this email, who do you guys think sold our email addresses?
Hello, my name is XXXXXXXXX, I am with XXXXXX magazine and I would like the opportunity to discuss with you the possibility of earning your business.   
 XXXXXXX is bi-monthly magazine that covers all aspects revolving around the gaming lifestyle. We provide our readers with the most informative, knowledge-based content in regards to casinos, poker rooms, restaurants/dining and show reviews, land based and internet gaming, poker, sports/horse betting strategy, interviews with celebrities, athletes and business executives, along the hottest events, and the world’s leading real estate, fashion, sports and nightclub trends. 
We are distributed worldwide, with a concentration in Casinos and gaming establishments of every level including poker rooms, high limit table-slot areas, VIP lounges, race tracks and sports book locations. With over 400 major newsstands distributing XXXXXXX, including Borders, Barnes and Nobles, Amazon.com, Anderson News and Hudson News Stands, we are also strategically placed in high end retail stores, shopping malls and airports nationwide.   
Our readers appreciate, deserve and most importantly desire the fine things in life.  XXXXXXXXXX join us in spreading “la buona vita” the good life to our readers.
 If you are interested in possibly advertising in XXXXXXX magazine don’t hesitate to contact me either by email or by phone. 
 Have a great weekend!

BTW, I did reply and told the nice man that he was a little misguided in his sales pitch, but if he needed writers for his magazine, we could talk. May as well take any opportunity out there, right?

When good home games go bad...

We taught Uncle Phil about the Shocker last week and the poor guy got so excited it blew his hat sideways!

An interesting discovery

It was an interesting phenomenon, one that I’ve experienced several times, but never with enough clarity to remark on it. Last night I got the monthly Party reload bonus, and made the max deposit to get the max bonus. Then I realized that with only seven days to play 1,000 hands on Party, I either had to restrict myself to only one site for a week, or add more tables to clear the bonus more quickly.

I’ve been playing mostly two tables of $2/4 limit lately, and doing pretty well. Playing limit on Party has required a couple of adjustments to my game, most notably a 5% reduction in my VP$IP, as the aggro-monkeys on Party will bet with 2nd pair a LOT, then catch. So I’ve been limiting myself to being hyper-aggressive with my monsters, and passive/aggressive with my project hands (Project hands are like project boyfriends/girlfriends/houses, they aren’t much to start with but have enormous potential. Two of my favorite project hands are 8-10s and J-9s.). This strategy was not going to work to clear this bonus, as there are fewer raked hands/hr. at $2/4, so it would take years to clear this bonus playing my normal game.

So I switched to NLHE, where every hand with a pot over $1 is raked, dropped down two levels to NL25, and opened up four tables at once. I’ve said frequently that I can only really focus on two tables of NLHE at once, as when I’m in a hand I want to have as much information as possible about the other players at the table, and the freedom to calculate my actions better. But I wanted to push myself a little, so I opened two 6-max tables and two full tables, figuring the slower pace of the full tables would help with the frenetic pace of the 6-max tables, and I would still have enough time to make my decisions without having to resort totally to Level 1 poker thinking.

It was interesting, because for the first few minutes, it was all I could do to keep my blinds posted and fold on the right table at the right time. I made sure my distractions were minimal, kept iTunes closed and Firefox shut down, and NO chatting on the girly chat thing, so all I was focused on was the poker.

And after about three minutes, the game slowed down. It was almost like a special effect in a movie, the action suddenly was less furious, I had an innate understanding of my position at each table, and was able to begin accumulating information about my opponents. I’ve never experienced that kind of zen moment multi-tabling before, and it was pretty neat. As my session lingered, however, I did notice that it was taking a bit of a toll, and that I was getting tired much more quickly. I hung on for about an hour, cleared about 250 hands of my bonus, and found myself down about $15. Not great, since if I’m down $15 after each quarter of bonus chasing I’m only making $40 profit over the whole bonus, but I pulled a quick 15-minute hit & run at a $3/6 table to make it up and more.

So there are a couple of things that I’m taking from this, notably that if I can hang out through the first few frenetic moments of getting posted in, seated, and getting everything set, I can handle up to four tables of NLHE without too much difficulty, although I am still playing less than my “A” game under those circumstances. Also I am beginning to realize that while a “free” $100 bonus sounds good, I have to be able to play profitable poker while clearing it to make it a winning proposition, and this means having enough time to clear the bonus AND play my “A” game.

I’m definitely not ruling out bonus chasing, as it is a decent way to pad a bankroll (especially if you also use the signup bonuses provided by the nice folks at PokerSavvy or Poker Source Online – please click through the ads on the right and use bonus code Falstaff), but it’s not going to be something I dedicate a lot of time to, as I can make more money than most bonuses offer at a decent 3-hour session of $2/4. But I’ll still finish this Party reload, because I’m now better than halfway there.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PokerPro Dealerless Poker Table

So I noticed this redhead standing in line next to me at the rebuy/add-on table wearing a fleece jacket with a PokerTek logo. Being the naturally gregarious guy that I am, and never passing up an opportunity to find out about new poker toys, I said “Isn’t that the folks that make the computerized poker table?”

“PokerPro? Yes. Have you heard of it?”

“Yeah, my buddy Tripjax wrote it up in his blog, and I saw them down at the Tampa Bay Hard Rock.”

“Did you play on them?”

“Nah, if I wanna play poker on a computer screen, I’ll do it online.”

“Well, it’s pretty different from online poker.”

“Do you work for them?”

“Yes, I do.”

The above conversation is reconstructed wholly from my fuzzy-ass memory and the type of things that I would typically say. Most of those words in some assortment probably happened at some point. So that’s how I met Becca, the Branding Specialist for Pokertek, who are indeed the folks that have a new product called the PokerPro poker table, a dealerless poker table. Turns out that their offices are just outside of Charlotte, so I played the internet writer card, and lo and behold, they set up a little meeting and tournament on their table for me!

So I’ve never sat down at one of their tables before, but I had read an article in last month’s Bluff magazine by Antonio Esfandiari raving about the tables, and I checked out their website to do a little research. I found the screen interface super-easy to navigate, and the setup was simple as well. When you arrive at the casino, you get yourself an account card at a kiosk, put cash on it, and sign up on a list to play. Currently they support single-table tournaments and ring games, with multi-table tournaments available soon on networked tables. And over in the corner of the demo room was a new product that looked totally badass that I promised not to say anything specific about so all I'll say is watch this space for details. Yeah, that was cheap, I know.

So when your game is called, you sit down at the table, slip your card in the reader, it deducts that tourney buy-in (or amount for your ring game) from your account, and you’re golden. So you're playing against other live players, and the money is real, but the chips and cards are virtual. I thought this would be kinda silly, but I had an absolute blast! It helped that I won the first tourney and was 2nd in the other (I think they took it easy on the writer guy).

Each seat has a touchscreen built into the table, and there a much larger display in the center of the table where the community cards appear. They also appear on the smaller monitors, along with your options to bet, raise, fold, check, etc. My initial concern of playing with a monitor in front of me was “How do I hide my cards? Am I gonna have to sit here all night with my hand on this monitor?” Ummm, no. The cards are “dealt” face-down, and you have to cup your hand around the cards for the corners to bend up, just like you’re squeezing cards on a table. Pretty damn neat graphical job there, I must say.

And speaking of dealing, just like any reputable online site, PokerTek has had their RNG (random number generator) certified by an outside firm. And UNLIKE online sites, they have set up their random number generator to “burn” a card before dealing the flop, turn and river, in an effort to more accurately mimic the traditional game.

That sentence actually took a little while to craft, because my first instinct was to use the phrase “mimic the live game,” but it IS a live game, just a hybrid between traditional poker and internet poker. I’m gonna need a bit of a lexicon upgrade, I think.

So we played a couple of SNGs, me against 3 of the PokerTek folks, and it only took me a matter of seconds to grasp the use of the touchscreen. All the buttons were big enough, and the graphical representations of chips were neat, and easy to read and bet with. We played one round on the new tables, which are under review by gaming licensing folks and one round on the original table, which is what’s currently installed in casinos like the Winstar and the Florida Hard Rocks.

So what did I like about them? Faster, faster, faster. It speeds up the game by about 50%, because there’s none of the mechanics of getting cards to people, getting chips into the pot, etc. The possibility of dealer error is reduced to, ummm, nil. And dealers are people, which means they’re going to make mistakes. Especially with as many new rooms as are being opened up and as many new dealers that are being hired, trained or not. And did I mention it’s faster?

Then there’s the video-game aspect. People that are slot machine junkies or video poker junkies will sit down at one of these, because they don’t have to mess with chips, they don’t have to deal with cards, it’s a familiar place for them, in front of a screen.

Now, I don’t see this as a product that is going to replace poker dealers. Entirely. I see this as a product that facilities that are opening new, smaller poker rooms may want to invest in because it is lower overhead. Yes, I’m sure the tables are expensive (I didn’t ask because I didn’t really care), but when you look at a room the size of the Imperial Palace, with maybe 10 tables, the infrastructure in cards, chips (at nearly a buck apiece!) and dealers, it’s gonna take a long time to amortize that with the rake that you get at low limits. So I see this as an addition to traditional tables, like they have in Florida.

It’s absolutely perfect for low buy-in SNG tourneys, because who really wants to deal one of those anyway? A $40 tourney with 9 people isn’t going to tip, so why not put it on a table without a dealer? A $2/4 NL table isn’t going to tip much, so why not put those on your dealerless tables? Save your dealers for your higher buy-in games, your big tourneys and your games that require some explanation to the new Hold Em kiddies, like O8 or Stud.

BTW, they do have the possibility to charge time with the PokerPro table, either on the hour, or per player based on how long the player has been there. So instead of having the dealer collect time when she sits down, each player is hit for time when they’ve been at the table for 30 minutes. Seems much more fair to me, but I’ve never played at a time pot table, so I dunno.

I also see this as a great addition to some of those terrible backwoods places that can’t have poker. Oh yeah, I live in one of those. It seems like a no-brainer that NC, with it’s provision to allow digital blackjack at Harrah’s Cherokee, would pretty easily allow digital poker. But not yet. I hope soon. I’d love to get some of those grannies across one of these tables. It can also go well in a bar, in the back room next to the pool tables to generate revenue for the bar owner without much overhead.

Okay, what did I not like about it? Not much, and my one complaint is something that would fade with practice. I found myself spending a lot of time looking at the screen in front of me, or the screen in the center of the table, rather than looking at the other players. But this was due to lack of familiarity with the interface, and as the tourneys went on, my comfort level with the buttons I needed to tap increased to let me pay more attention.

What about tells? They’re different, but they exist. It’s not often, at least at the levels that I play, that you can pick up a reliable physical tell anyway, but obviously the things like reaching for chips, looking at stacks, etc. are all gone. But you can watch as people move their hand around different areas of the screen once you’re familiar with the layout, and see if their first instinct is to push bet, fold, or check. I caught myself doing that a couple of times, reaching for the button I intended to push, and I’m sure if anyone was paying close attention, they could have picked up on that.

Oh yeah, and the best part? It’s beer-proof. I asked, and was told that even the card slot has been crafted so that any liquid poured into it is redirected out of the table, about where the offending player’s leg should be. Nice to have a sense of humour about these things.

So I had a great visit, was very impressed by the product, and think it could make a great addition to a casino’s poker room. I don’t think it will ever totally replace dealers, but it would be a good solution to single-table tourneys, low-limit tables, satellite tourneys, and maybe save some folks from the influx of new, bad dealers while making the good ones valued for the service that they provide.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kings no good here



Nope, I was right. There’s no way I’m laying down pocket Kings preflop. Especially against a loose-aggressive player like Warbucks. And on the third hand of the tournament I’m out, when his AQ off-suit catches one of his three outs on the flop.  And I wasn’t even tilted. Yes, I did make a remark to him later that I would not have made that move, calling a re-re-raise preflop, but I didn’t really mind the beat. I just sat, dealt for a little while, and figured I’d make it back at the cash table.

It’s good to be right sometimes. I ended up $25 for the night total, so it was a good night. Most of it did come from catching my card on the river against my buddy Charles, but I was counting myself as having 8 outs, and getting never less than 5-1 on my calls on every street. What I didn’t know was that both of my hole cards were winner had I paired them, so I actually had 14 outs, and I caught my Q on the river for the nut straight, so that was happy.

Came home and took a stab at 2/4 on Party for a little while. The play is very similar to $1/2 on Party (overaggressive), so I sat back ,waited for my spots, and made a quick $40. So I’m now unstuck for the month. Again. Let’s see if I can actually manage to crank out a little sustainable profit now.

My tourney game is in the shitter, and if I’m really going to play the $1K NLHE event at the WSOP this summer, that’s gotta change. Right now, the jury is out as to whether or not I’m gonna play, because I have played so poorly in tourneys for the past couple weeks I’m not even comfortable asking my friends to back me, because if I want my friends to throw their money away, I’d rather they just buy me booze.

So here’s the plan: I’m playing at minimum one MTT each night through the month of June, and we’ll see how we feel about the tourney game after that. If I think I’ve got my head straight and have a chance to do well, then I’ll play the WSOP. In a perfect world, I either win a seat, or cash for more than a grand to win my buy-in off of tourney play. But if I don’t feel like my game is ready, I’m not gonna play. No point throwing away a grand that I could be spending on a new monitor, moving up levels in my play, or just using to fleece donkeys at the Castle.

I’m probably not going to spend a ton of time at the bracelet races on FTP, unless I end up with a bunch of tokens, but right now my best shots feel like the Pokerstars blogger championships thing, where pretty much the whole final table gets at least a lamer for a prelim entry, or this $15k freeroll tonight on 7Sultans (interface is standard Prima, but it was a Pokersavvy bonus, so it was ok).

In other news, I’m on the lookout for a mentor, so if anybody wants to pore through my Pokertracker database and watch me play and tell me how to be more profitable, email me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lame-ass post for a Monday and a Question

I played the HORSE event last night. I didn’t cash. I didn’t even begin to play well. I had fun giving money to my friends, though. I think next time, I’ll just pick a random blogger and send them $22.

I was really having a lot of fun playing $1/2 Limit on Party last night. I know, I said I’ve never managed to make a significant run on Party, but I’m up a little after this last round of cashout/redeposit. I’m playing more tables, allowing me to be more patient at each one, and that’s paying off pretty well.

Home game was a lot of fun but disastrous to the bankroll. High point of the night was explaining “the shocker” to our two 50+ year old players, then watching their faces as they manipulated the fingers into the right configuration. There were photos taken, they’ll follow soon if Tresa will email them to me.

Tonight is the local actor’s tournament. Been a long time since I’ve cashed in this one, I’ve been bubble boy for months. Let’s see if I can take the advice given in the girly chat thing and put it to good use.

Question of the day – How many BB in your bankroll for limit poker? I’ve seen figures of 300-400BB for limit, which would put me playing 2/4 regularly. I’m not sure that’s wise, so I’d love to hear from some folks that are playing 2/4 or 3/6 what they think is a comfortable BR figure. I’m floating around $2K right now, having success at $1/2 and NL50, with occasional shots at NL100. All advice welcome, as this is the first time I’ve really given a shit about bankroll management.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boring statistics post

Some interesting stats from PokerTracker. If you don’t find other people’s leaks interesting, read no further.

I have 6 different hands with a VP$IP of 100%.

AA
JJ
TT
KQs
AQs
AJs

One of those hands is a net loser, and it wasn’t the one I would have guessed (KQs). I am a net loser with 10s, and apparently need to lay that shit down.

Apparently at least twice I’ve laid down KK preflop. I must have been sitting out and gotten dealt Kings while pissing, because I’m not intentionally laying down KK preflop in a cash game. On the bubble of a satellite tourney, maybe. But never in a cash game. Gracie wouldn’t approve.

I am more profitable over the last 10,000 hands (I know, statistically small sample) with 22 than with any hand other than AA, KK, QQ, JJ or AKo. I am far less profitable with AKs than I am with hands like J9s, 8Ts, A5o. That tells me something about my play of Big Slick. The $40 pot I gave up to AJ today should also tell me something about my play of AK.

My biggest losing hands are AJo and the Hammer. Stupid Hammer. 66 is right up there, too. Tens are interesting, because I win with TT 65% of the time, but am a huge net loser monetarily. That tells me that I’m not playing them very well at all. Looks like I’m not letting go of them when I should, and not maximizing my profits when I can. Need to work on that.

I have only one hand with a VP$IP of 0, and that’s 62o. Interestingly, I’m a net winner with that hand. BB specials are g00t. There are 8 hands with a win % of 0, and they’re the kind of crap you’d expect – 85s, 53o, j2o, garbage like that. Apparently I’m completing way too many small blinds.

The hand that I have gone to showdown with the most is AA. The hand I’ve gone to showdown with the 2nd most is 84s. That scares me a little. No more tequila near the mouse.

I’m sure this interests no one but me, but there are some leaks to be found in this, and that’s what makes the software really helpful to me. I’m not playing at the levels where the data mining is terribly helpful as far as insight into my opponents goes, but giving me some insight into myself is potentially more valuable.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

To Felicia, on Psychology

I’m not there yet, Felicia.

I’m not emotionally dead enough. I still get excited when I win, and losing still feels like getting kicked in the guts. In an hour or so, I’ll be able to rationalize away the sick feeling by the knowledge that in all four major losing hands tonight, I really did get my money in the middle with the best hand. I want aggro-donkeys calling me (and re-raising me) with garbage hands and then catching their 2-outer to crush my stack, and by extension, soul.

I think, by the way, that it’s a compensatory thing, why men need to have big stacks of chips to feel comfortable at the table. Except Bobby Bracelet, most of us have certain inadequacies we’re trying to cover up at the table, and that’s why we get so overwrought when someone takes away part of our stack. Especially a woman. Losing one or more towers of chips to a woman evokes unpleasant Lorena Bobbitt connotations. But I digress (not much new there).

But after a few set over set and boat over boat losses, my neck muscles are knotted up, I feel the beginnings of a headache forming, there’s a churning in the pit of my stomach that I know Alka-Seltzer won’t help, and I really, really want to break my mouse. But I don’t. Because not only is that immature and stupid, but I use a kinda expensive trackball and that could get pricey after a while. And I need all the ready cash I can muster to keep paying off morons who catch things they should never have been chasing in the first place.

I know that in a half an hour I’ll feel better. Maybe even sooner than that. I may indeed hustle over to micro-limit donkey O8 and throw away a full $5 buy-in chasing everything in the free world just to banish the visions of donkeys with fangs chopping off parts of my prodigious stack with kitchen knives. Or maybe I’ll just play this silly little $10 MTT $1K guarantee on WPX, ‘cause even at only needing 100 people to cover, there’s a 20+ person overlay with 2 minutes to go.

But that whole emotionally dead thing? I’m trying. I realize that it would be a good trait to have. But I’m just not quite there yet. There’s not quite “just chips” yet. Maybe once my entire Vegas roll is squared away for the summer, they’ll be “just chips.” Or maybe I want to keep just a hint of protectiveness of my cash, and just a little of that attitude you talked about folks like Barry Greenstein having; that unwillingness to stand up a loser after a session. I’m no Barry G., I’m neither as smart or as generous. But I’m pretty damn hard-headed, and maybe I can harness that a little more easily than I can fine-tune true deadpan.

Anyway, thanks for the psychology posts. I read them all, try to absorb some things and ignore others. Isn’t that kinda the point of all of us throwing our stuff out here into the interweb anyway? We’re all kinda yelling out to the world “Here I am! Take me or leave me, but here I am!”

Stacked

This seems pretty cool. I should have a copy to review before too long. I’ll let you know how I likes it.

STACKED™ WITH DANIEL NEGREANU DEALS TO RETAIL
The Next Generation of Poker Has Arrived with Learning AI, Sanctioned Online Tournaments
MTV Presents: STACKED Poker Television Special to Air on MTV2 on June 2nd and on MTV on June 3rd
For Immediate Release:
New York, NY – May 31st, 2006 – Myelin Media, LLC, a publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that their Texas Hold ‘Em game, STACKED™ with Daniel Negreanu, has shipped to retail outlets throughout North America. A breakthrough Texas Hold ‘Em video game, STACKED steps to the table with a powerful hand of groundbreaking artificial intelligence, massive online multi-table tournaments and involvement from seven of the most celebrated professional poker players in the modern history of the game. Rated T for Teen by the ESRB, STACKED is available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PC, and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99. In addition, MTV will be airing a half-hour special premiering on Friday, June 2nd at 9 PM on MTV2 and Saturday, June 3rd at 9 PM on MTV entitled, MTV Presents: STACKED Poker, to support the release of the highly anticipated title.
STACKED is the perfect way for a beginner to learn poker,” said Negreanu.  “It won’t disappoint the advanced players either, especially when they have to face off against me!”
“STACKED brings the excitement and strategy of professional poker into your home,” said Ken Woo, producer at Myelin Media. “Whether playing alone against the game’s realistic learning AI or online against real world opponents, you will feel the same exhilaration with every big bet, bluff and victory as if you were at the final table of a high stakes tournament.”
“MTV Games was formed with the vision of creating and promoting original video game IP and unique gaming experiences that encapsulate the passions and interests of the MTV audience,” said Jeff Yapp, EVP, Program Enterprises. “STACKED represents the first true MTV Games 360° initiative by delivering a video game experience, television special and an online component with the Stacked Masters multi-table tournaments.“
About MTV Presents: STACKED Poker MTV Presents: STACKED Poker is a half hour special premiering on Friday, June 2nd at 9 PM on MTV2 and Saturday, June 3rd at 9 PM on MTV.   The program gets inside the breakout phenomenon of professional poker and highlights the launch of STACKED™ with Daniel Negreanu.  Negreanu stars in this half-hour special with his unique brand of strategy, intuition and charisma.  Shot on location at The Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, MTV Presents: STACKED Poker takes viewers through an explanation of the video game, STACKED, an introductory game of poker with Negreanu, then he faces a group of college age competition, competes against some of the world’s top ranked poker players and ends the show by sitting down at a table with special celebrity guests, Ryan Cabrera and Benji from Good Charlotte, to pass on some of his poker expertise.  Throughout, Daniel will occasionally “freeze frame” and address the audience with his unparalleled insights into poker strategy, player tells and insider tips. 
The special also kicks off a once in a lifetime opportunity for MTV viewers.  The STACKED Masters Tournament is a series of STACKED Multi-Table Tournaments, to be played live online.   Four players who meet certain eligibility criteria may be cast to participate in the MTV STACKED Masters Showdown Special.  Participants in the special will be flown to Las Vegas, where they will face off against Daniel Negreanu at the final table, for a chance to prove their poker prowess against the best in the business.   
About STACKED The premiere Texas Hold ‘Em video game, STACKED utilizes an advanced learning artificial intelligence system that devises new strategies for victory as it learns more about each player’s individual style of play. As the player progresses through the game, the AI will become more sophisticated, as it builds a profile of weaknesses and attempts to exploit them, helping the player to learn and become a better overall player. As they progress through the game’s career mode, players will encounter seven of poker’s most decorated pro players: Josh Arieh, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Juan Carlos Mortensen, Evelyn Ng, David Williams and Daniel Negreanu himself, each with a custom AI bot that matches their real-world play style. Players can access the game’s Poker School mode at any time to learn from nearly an hour of video tips and strategies from Daniel Negreanu, covering all aspects of the game from basic rules to advanced guidance for tournament victory.
STACKED lets players compete online against the best players in the world in a unique multi-table tournament system known as STACKED Masters. Sanctioned tournaments will be regularly announced through the game’s official web site, and players with the necessary online ranking can participate to go head-to-head against hundreds of the game’s best players in a ladder based tournament system and seize their place in the STACKED Hall of Fame. Players can also choose to create their own custom online tournaments as well as smaller individual games with friends.
For more information about STACKED with Daniel Negreanu, please visit stacked.mtv.com.
About MTV Games 
MTV Games is dedicated to producing and marketing unique interactive entertainment experiences that resonate with MTV's audience. Through strategic partnerships with a range of videogame publishers and independent developers, MTV Games creates, supports, and participates in the success of a diverse slate of innovative console, handheld, and PC titles for both hardcore and casual gamers. Titles released under these partnerships receive multi-platform promotion across MTV's properties worldwide, including MTV, MTV2, mtvU, and mtv.com, leveraging MTV's unique brand and marketing capabilities to maximize sales. In addition, MTV Games collaborates with its partners on soundtracks, in-game advertising sales, and development of complementary television programming.

Waffles Poker

Poker: Pronunciation: 'pO-k&rFunction: nounEtymology: probably modification of French poque, a card game similar to poker: any of several card games in which a player bets that the value of his or her hand is greater than that of the hands held by others, in which each subsequent player must either equal or raise the bet or drop out, and in which the player holding the highest hand at the end of the betting wins the pot

Waffles Poker: Pronunciation: tilt-ma-cheen
Function: noun
Etymology: Right here, baby!
: The style of internet poker involving playing otherwise silly hands in late position in multi-way pots against opponents that you have a solid read on, being willing to fold immediately if you don’t connect on the flop, but punishing your opponents by introducing their heads to the felt unimpeded by the presence of any chips if you hit the flop. Often results in asterisks in chat boxes or creative spellings of “you suck” and “dumbass” when you stack more than one opponent in this fashion. Not recommended for live play in private cardrooms on the fringes of swamps or places where it would otherwise be difficult to find your remains.

So as I’m tilting my way through a couple of suckouts last night, building my loss for the night up to about 80 bucks before halting my skid, I decide “I’m on uber-tilt, we’ll play this last hand, sit out for a beer and a poop, then come back all refreshed.” So I’m dealt 79o in the cutoff and I think to myself “self, what would Waffles do?” See, I’ve been reading about Waffles’ success playing unorthodox starting hands, and since my Hiltons had been kicking me like a farmer kicking a swayback plowhorse, getting cracked 3 times in less than an hour, and my American Airlines behaving more like TWA flight 800, I took a flyer at the 79. I raised 3xBB with my shite, and decided to see what happened.

Three players came along for the ride, the BB and two MP limpers. Flop of J85 rainbow, and I look over at Suzy and say “If I hit this, honey, I’m gonna hurt somebody’s feelings with this garbage.” Checked around on the flop and everybody calls my $2 continuation bet. Yep, my 10 turns, and I look back over the shoulder “This is gonna get ugly, honey, just watch.” BB bets a couple bucks, 2 callers, then I raise pretty strongly. The 10 was sooted with the 8, so I didn’t want to keep it cheap anymore. I wanted to be the only successful drawing donkey in the hand. I get my two callers, and I prepare for the river push. I don’t remember what the river was, but it was checked to me, I push and get one caller. The tirades started almost before the chips had moved across the virtual felt, so BB must have been typing as soon as he clicked the Call button. I’m now the biggest fish he’s ever seen, the worst player on RiverStars (regardless of the fact that I turned the straight, not rivered it), and generally a big donkey.

Heh. Waffles poker = fun. Playing this style of chase/punish position power poker  is kinda like dating the chick that throws shotput for the high school track team – not for the faint of heart, but a fuckton of fun after a couple of beers. I’ll probably try to incorporate a little more of this into my style, as long as I can remember to wait until the right moments to try it.

On Luck and Poker (F-Train saved me from myself)

My opinions on luck and poker can be found here, written far more coherently than I could have done.