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Monday, November 28, 2005

Bobby Wins!

* and a copy of "The Big Lebowski", which I'm almost ashamed to admit I've never seen.

Congratulations, Bob, and many thanks to Pauly for one of the most enjoyable blogger events ever (at least until Vegas). Can't wait for the next one.

And happily my router suffered no damage when I tripped over the cable afterward. Such a klutz I am.



I had one of those moments today where all you can do is shake your head in wonder.

{Warning: Boring hand history}

Playing 2-4 at Pokerroom (halfway to clearing the bonus), I have KK on the button. UTG is possibly on tilt after getting a good hand cracked. He raises. MP calls. I make it 3, UTG caps, MP calls. Flop is J-9-8 rainbow. UTG bets out and reraises when I pop him. Turn 7, River 7, check-bet-call (we lose MP on the turn).

UTG flips 7-4o for runner-runner trips.


I can't explain why, but this was pretty funny even with the loss.

{/end hand history}

Not So Smrt

It's Monday. Back to work after four days of not work. Ugh.

So, after another lousy performance in Saturdays With Pauly, I end up with the chance to play Bobby Ipod heads up for the prize. Barring unforseen circumstances, tonight at 10:00 pm.

Considering that:

a. I'm in a serious NLHE funk;
b. I have never, to the best of my recollection, played a heads-up SnG; and
c. Bobby just happened to relieve me of better than two buy-ins at Friday night's homegame,

a smart person might try and do some preparation, or at least get a good night's sleep. Someone like me, however, says 'screw that' and will end up winging it. Instead of doing the smart stuff, yesterday I

1. Played a PLO8 tournament on Full Tilt, cashing and then giving away most of my stack on a truly horrible decision.

2. Worked on clearing a bonus at Pokerroom, with hopes of also clearing requirements to get an gift certificate for holiday gift-giving purposes. I'm not a huge fan of Pokerroom -- it's almost impossible to clear their bonus playing NL, so I'm ending up playing 2-4 limit (which I am NOT bankrolled for, frankly, based on my deposit, although I could always reload). So far, it's been going reasonably well, and I think I've discovered and plugged some of the more serious leaks in my limit game.

3. Closed out the evening playing play-chip Chinese Poker with Drizz. Fun game, but the swings are ridiculous. After one short session on Friday, I came to the definite conclusion that Chinese for cash is a very bad idea, at least on a short bankroll.

I m not smrt. I hope I'm still awake at 10:00.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Post Title Goes Here

Happy Thanksgiving to all -- except our Canadian friends, who get a 'Happy Random Thursday, Eh?' Hope you all have a lot to be thankful for. I know I do.

Time to go mash some potatoes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Because I Have

more time on my hands than expected, thanks to a fabulous FIRST HAND bustout in a $10k Party freeroll...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Helpful Hint

Proper equipment and superstition are your friends. Go play.

{Yes, I've seen Rudy. Still not a ND fan.}

Blatant Idea Theft

One more thing to be thankful for: Other people's good ideas.

My Titan cashout hit today, so I had some money available to tackle a bonus or two. Gotta keep trying to accumlate cash for -EV Vegas gambling. I dumped some into PokerStars to stack up some more bonus money that I may or may not ever clear. (BTW, STARS RULES).

I had just enough left over after doing that to (gulp) take a shot at a Party reload popup bonus.

Whenever I say I'm done with Party, they keep dragging me back with bonuses. Damn them. Party bonuses clear so much easier than almost anywhere else.

Anyway, I was so impressed by Drizz's efforts clearing the same bonus by 6-tabling PLO8, I decided to do (almost) the same thing. No PLO8 for me, I haven't figured that game out yet. So I went with 2 tables of 2-4 bad beat jackpot (my personal nemesis) and 4 tables of $25NL.

I not only ended up on all seven tables I played (one broke and I had to move), I had my best day at ring games in approximately FOREVER. And cleared the bonus in one night. Now, if only I'd won the bad beat jackpot ....


Money = Good. Me = Happy. Computer = Off.

Hey, Drizz, Cap'n and Coke in Vegas on me!

Thankful And Stuff

Five random things to be thankful for this holiday week:

1. PokerStars, which continues to step up to the plate. Not only do they have just about the best site in the business (IMHO, along with Full Tilt), they continue to support the blogosphere in a way that's just incredible.

2. Bloggers who work for said sites who get and keep the attention of the companies when it comes to poker blogs.

3. The people who are organizing the WPBT event in December and those who are recruiting poker personalities to show up and talk to us ordinary folks.

4. Random fish who will stack off in a NL cash game with nothing more than TPTK.

5. Short work weeks and turkey with all the trimmings.


Time for a new "feature" (using that term very loosely): One sentence book reviews!

I've been doing a fair amount of reading lately, especially after discovering that our local library has access to a pretty decent assortment of poker-related books. Here are reviews of three recent reads:

Ace On The River: An Advanced Poker Guide, by Barry Greenstein

Not like anything else I've ever read, amazingly broad yet deep, will be coming back to it again and again, has the most lavish photography of any $25 book ($16.50 Amazon) ever - glad I bought it.

The Professor, The Banker And The Suicide King: Inside The Richest Poker Game Of All Time, by Michael Craig

Deeply engrossing, immediately jumps into my personal top 3 in the category of 'books about poker-related events', highly recommended.

Moneymaker: How An Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 Into $2.5 Million At The World Series Of Poker, by Chris Moneymaker with Daniel Paisner

Better than I expected, not a bad read -- the guy is kind of a train wreck but honest about it -- I probably wouldn't buy it since I don't think i'd come back to it again and again.


Random multi-table tournament musing:

Just how close to 50/50 does it have to be to be considered a coin flip?

In a sense, every time you push as a shorter stack, it's a coin flip -- you live or you don't. The odds don't matter as much.

I played one little tournament last night, and busted just inside the money (actually, I lost about $2 on the deal, stupid rebuys) when ATo pushed from the SB, I called with AQs in the BB and my opponent caught a T on the flop. According to Twodimes, I'm essentially a 75/25 favorite. Uh, right.

I do not complain -- there are no sure things, and any time you push in you're at risk -- but really. Luck is highly underrated as a factor in multitable tournaments. Doubly so at Titan, where the rapid escalation of the blinds in the second hour on ensures that you'll be in there gambooling any time you have a decent hand.

Stupid coin flips.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weekend of Tilt

Not a good weekend of pokering.

I can live with the out of the money finishes in the WPBT-related events. Poorly played. I got knocked out of the Shootout after getting my money in as a 70-30 favorite. I'm less happy with flaming out of a PLO tournament on Friday when things had been going well.

And I'm just plain ticked at limit poker. I decided to play a little LHE last night, and promptly managed to drop 25 BB in no time, bringing my current downswing at that game to something in the vicinity of minus 150 BBs.

{Rant Mode ON}

I'm mystified. In theory you should stand a reasonable chance of winning a hand when you raise preflop with a strong starter, narrowing the field to one opponent. And yet there those Party Poker whizzes go, calling the raise with QTo or 43o, calling down with a turned third pair, mediocre kicker or a rivered bottom 2 pair, which of course ends up being better than what I'm holding -- my representation of a monster hand means absolutely nothing. Call, call, catch. I may have been a sizable favorite preflop, but at these tables it's about catching cards, and I've been catching air. While my opponents make runner-runner straights and flushes, blah blah blah. You've heard it all before.

{Rant Mode OFF}

Just blowing off steam.

Anyway, I capped things off lsat night by donating a micro-NL buyin to Joanne at a blogger table. I decided to see if I could move her off her flopped baby set when a J hit the turn -- I'd raised preflop with KK, and was curious to see if representing JJJ might get her to lay down.

The answer: Nope!

Joanne > Me. (Duh.)

Hey, at least I had an accurate read on what she had.

The thing is, if I'm not on massive tilt -- this hand happened immediately after someone caught a gutshot (heads up, there were NO odds to draw to that) on the river to take the last of my limit buyin -- I probably don't event consider making this move. Oh well. I will say that it was interesting to try it.

Anyhow, that was an obvious sign that I needed to surrender to the poker gods and head off to bed. So I did, bringing to a close to a weekend of tilt.


I have no idea what the coming week holds. I'd been considering just taking a few days off and I may well end up doing that. Then again, there are a ton of bonus offers out there -- some reload bonuses (Party, Stars, maybe Full Tilt), and Titan has sent me a couple of invitations to sizable freerolls if I play enough raked ring game hands in November. I may take a shot at clearing the necessary play for all of these at low level NL, since I think with proper table selection I can survive.


Congratulations to those bloggers who had a very nice weekend crushing the tournaments!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz...

It's a fine line between playing defensive poker and playing scared poker.

I'd like to think that the train wreck that was my Saturdays With Dr. Pauly experience today was an example of the former.

My impression while the tournament was going on was that I simply had nothing playable most of the time. Started at an aggressive table - very few hands got to a flop without a sizable raise. I didn't pick up anything worth more than a limp until just before the break, when I won a small pot with KK.

All things considered, I can live with the 19th place finish. I requested the hand histories for the tournament, just to see if I can confirm my recollection that the cards sucked.

{Warning: Boring Analytical Junk}

Here's what I found when I looked at the numbers -- the categories are ones of my own devising and don't really mean anything in particular. I think I have the math right on expected frequencies, but I didn't exactly spend a lot of time on it:

Total Hands Dealt: 153

Premium Hands -- AA to TT, AKs to AJs, AKo to AJo, KQs
6 of 153 (3.9%) Expected frequency 9 of 153 (6.0%)

Received: KK (1), QQ (1), JJ (1), AQs (1), AQo (2)

Folded AQo once when UTG+1 and UTG raised 3x BB. Won with the rest, just taking the blinds with all but the KK and AQs.

Lesser Pocket Pairs -- 99 to 22
7 of 153 (4.6%) Expected frequency 5.5 of 153 (3.6%)

Received: 88 (1); 77 (2); 66(1); 55(1); 33(1); 22 (1)

88 stole the blinds
77 took the blinds once and was folded preflop to an EP raise of 4x BB once
66 caught a gutshot on the river, for which I was not paid off.
55 UTG, limped and folded to 7xBB raise preflop
Folded 33 when an all-in and call ahead of me
Folded 22 when raised 3xBB before me & I had just under 5 BBs

Borderline Hands -- ATo, A9o, KQo, KJs, KJo, KTo, QJs, QJo, QTs, QTo, JTs, T9s
11 of 153 (7.2%) Expected frequency 12 of 153 (7.8%)

ATo, UTG+1, UTG+1, button w/ limper = fold x3.
A9o, UTG = fold
KQo, MP, folded to 4xBB raise from EP
KJs, MP, folded to 3xBB raise from EP, was reraised to 7x BB behind.
KTo, bah
QJo, (x3), bah
QTo, UTG+1 = fold

Unlikely Hands -- Everything else
129 of 153 (84.3%) Expected 126.5 of 153 (82.7%)

Other Suited Connectors (Zero or One Gap): 9 (5.9%)
Offsuit Connectors (Zero or One Gap): 16 (10.5%)
Suited Ace-Rags and King-Rags: 6 (3.92%)
Other Suited Crap: 16 (10.5%)
Offsuit Crap, including A-Rags and K-Rags: 82 (53.6%)
(although in theory this includes A8o and A7o, I never had either)

Interesting -- the numbers are actually very close to the expected distribution of hands, although I suspect that within the 'junk' category, actual hands were definitely skewed toward crap. Perception is not always the same as reality - even if I was dealt Q-uberrag (Q-4,Q-3 and Q-2) offsuit more times than all playable and marginally playable hands combined.

I guess the object lesson here is that sometimes you have to be more aggressive with junk. I rarely feel the need to do that playing MTTs at Titan, since the players are total push monkeys.

Time to adjust. Maybe I should read Harrington and learn what an "M" ratio is -- I suspect I would have needed a microscope and a high-powered calculator to figure mine out today. I think the probable result would have been a bustout in the 50s instead of 19th -- of the pairs and borderline hands I didn't play that went to showdown, I would have lost all of them.

{End Boring Analytical Crap}

Man, that was tiring. Not likely to ever do anything like this again.

You're welcome.

The World of Poker Week In Review, Graphic Edition

Because I'm bored. And I'm dragging you down with me dammit.

{Images hosted by Blogger. You can always click on 'em for a larger version}

Credit gladly given to the original sources, YMMV, etc.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Live Blogging

It's 11:57 a.m. on Friday, and my stomach is asking me a very important question:

Hey, you idiot, what's for lunch?

I will be spending the next thirty-three minutes trying to answer that question.

11:59 a.m.: For lack of any better ideas, lunch is probably going to end up being Wendy's.

12:00 p.m.: That'll work. Here ends the great experiment in live blogging. Feel free to rejoice.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Collateral Damage

We had a little wind here night before last.

Nothing major, but I guess I know what I'll be doing this weekend, at least if the snow melts. Nature blows.


I made a nice little donation to the "Send Sir Waffle to Foxwoods" fund last night, after he hit a four outer for a scoop. Lucky suckout artist. Why can't I get bricks when I *need* them?

Omaha/8 sucks.

I kid, I kid.

Nice time playing with Sir, Drizz and TraumaPoker. Stud Hi-Lo stud mohuncher even stopped in to railbird for a minute. Thanks, guys, that was fun.


Not much progress in the Omatard Challenge the last couple days. I'll post some updated numbers when I get a chance later -- two tiny, tiny wins the last two days.

Drizz, you'll be pleased to know that I doubled through our new pal BobbyBob (no relation to Bobby Bracelet) after you left. That guy continued to have his industrial-sized luckbox on max power, though, because he hit a few more hands and left up about $20. I was happy to be up less than a buck, after being stuck 2/3 of a buyin earlier.

I'm *this* close to making a breakthrough, but with such a small bankroll, I'm going to need some better fortune. Case in point:

{Warning: Hand History}

Omatard in EP raises pot preflop (read: Obviously has AAxx). Multiple callers, I call with your basic semi-garbage - K987, with the K being suited - on the button -- I like this decision due to position and the size of the pot. If I hit, I'm going to stack up significantly unless EP can get away from his hand.

Flop is K-7-2, three suited. Ding. EP raising Tard bets out, not a full pot sized bet, but enough to discourage backdoor draws (read: Yes, I do have AAxx! Anyone have a set?). Everyone else drops. PERFECT. I raise pot, tard calls putting him all-in (read: I not only have AA, I'm a f'ing idiot - with that many limpers the ace outs are probably dead).

Turn pairs the 2 giving the tard aces up. Crap.

At least I got the money in with the best of it. Maybe next time I'll be holding KKxx instead.

{/end Hand History}

The joys of PLO. I'm learning. Slowly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rigged Redux

”No matter how the data are sliced, they inevitably suggest one thing:
It is hard to argue that sumo wrestling isn’t rigged.”

-- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, “Freakonomics”

Sumo? Rigged? Say it ain’t so, Joe .. uh, I mean Hirohito.

In between poker sessions this weekend, I zipped through “Freakonomics”. Yeah, I know, it was released months ago. Sue me. It was still a fascinating and reasonably quick read. If you can get your hands on a copy (library for me) and you want something that’ll make you think, this book would be a good choice.

Anyhow, I guess nothing is sacred, the whole world is probably rigged, blah blah blah, and, coincidentally enough, that’s the subject of today’s post.

Ever since releasing RIGGED! The Real E-Story of How the People Who Make Billions Running Internet Poker Really Are Out To Get You and How You Can Fight Back and Win, official friend of this blog Dave F. Beatty has received a steady stream of reader email. I assume that people stumble across his little publication via Google or something, since he still doesn’t have a deal to turn it into a full scale book.

As a courtesy to him I agreed to blog the following, which are snippets of actual emails and Dave’s response to them.

Read on…


Reader: "KK as pocket pair you would think was a good starting hand. Not on party poker where someone HAS to have AA. Otherwise they wouldn't get me to part with my money. This happens all the time. Whenever someone in the game gets a high pocket pair 2 or 3 people also have a high pocket pair. I passed it off as coincidence fot the first couple of times but then i thought this cannot be right. - They only have a pocket pair when i have a pocket pair. I can't believe they are getting away with this."

Dave says: "KK is quite possibly the single most overrated hand in hold’em, exactly for the reason you mention here – it runs into too many situations where you lose gigantic amounts of money. Either you’re up against AA, you’re up against other pairs that flop sets, or you’re up against other hands that make straights, flushes, trips or two pair. Sometimes it’s even set up so they get quads. Why, just yesterday, I saw a guy with QQ make quads to bust a player who foolishly went in with KK preflop.

Somebody once told me, 'don't rely on Common Sense to do all the work, because he will fail. Math can't lie, regardless of what Common Sense says.' We’ve done the math.

The odds of having AA dealt to your opponent are 221 to 1. The odds of having KK dealt to you are 221 to 1. That means the odds of having your KK run into AA should be large. And yet it happens all the time, which ought to tell you that it’s not a coincidence.

Math is your friend – use it to avoid trouble hands like KK. Thanks for writing."


Reader: "However, I do believe there is possibly a potential of 'shuffle non-randomness' and cash-out penalties. But, as I am a scientist, I believe that all conclusions are based on data. My data, for instance, shows that I’ll win 85%-90% of sessions at a live casino (playing varied levels, too. Loose-Agr., Loose-Pass., Tight-Pass and Tight-Aggr. Tables.) Online poker, however, I’ll only win 68%-74% of the time."

Dave says: "I think we’re on the same page here. Intuition and common sense are valuable, but they only take you so far. To be really certain about something, you need data. The digits are our allies.

We’ve collected statistics on a number of players and found that overall online win rates are both lower and more variable than you would expect based on those same players’ performance at home games and other live poker venues. We’ve tried to control for alcohol consumption, the presence of distracting members of the opposite sex and the possibility that live poker may also be rigged – but even with these adjustments there are too many numbers which don’t make sense. The obvious extrapolation is that there’s something fishy about internet poker. Non-believers might say we’re comparing apples and oranges, but we’ve got scientific evidence that the differences don’t matter much.

Anyway, while our current focus is more on the detailed stuff – specific situations, hand versus hand, that sort of thing -- we definitely plan to study the meta-trends in the future. Thanks for writing."


Reader: "You see, in No-Limit, great players CRUSH the competition. This problem is well noted in books by Sklansky and Malmuth. And the problem is that with all the TV exposure on the WSOP, everyone (chumps) want to play No-Limit. (We are an extreme-oriented society and the 'limit' title seems dull.) After a short time without their 'wonder rivers', most players would get discouraged and quit. The billionaire owners of Paradise and Party poker would make LESS money. Just look at Full Tilt Poker. This is run by honest professionals like Daniel Negraneu and it is fair. I almost never lose there…"

Dave says: "That’s an interesting possibility, and one which is certainly been supported by the numbers produced by our work to date.

A subject area that fascinates me and which we home to study in the future is at what point an unsuccessful player would in fact get discouraged and quit. For the good players, who have a run of success before running afoul of the doom switch, it seems that they keep going at it again and again, saying in effect ‘thank you SIR, may I have another?’ over and over…"

EDITOR’S NOTE: I had to cut off Dave’s remarks concerning specific poker rooms. For one, Full Tilt is a sponsor of this blog (link to the right). For another, well, one reason is enough. Carry on.


Reader: "One more observation that I wanted to point out to you is that in tournament play I notice that the short stacks (every time) are given bad beats on the river… when this happens I see a slight pause and then the bad beat card comes out. I’m a computer programmer so I know the programming behind it… in about 1/10 of a second the engine determines the stack size and the cards and selects the card that will give the higher stack the win… sending the lower stack out of the tourney (the faster tourney’s go the more tourney’s that can be held and the more money PP can make)."

Dave says: "Right on, although our simulations have shown that with the electronic horsepower Party Poker and the other sites have at their disposal, the average computational time on the river is actually .055e293311 nanoseconds per hand. It seems like longer than that because of your dialup connection.

We’ve been busy trying to reverse-engineer source code for some of the major sites, and we’ve found some very suspicious river-only subroutines. If you can read C++ and would be interested, let me know and I’ll forward some snippets on to you.

Thanks for writing."


Reader: "I recently turned $250 on fulltilt into 50k in 5 weeks & won a satellite to wsop, then as soon as i cashed some money out, the beats & 2nd best hand setups starting coming. I also agree with you that the illuminati runs these companies."

Dave says: "I don’t think the Trilateral Commission has all that much to do with the day-to-day operation of the internet poker sites, but they definitely are a guiding force. The best example is what Party Poker has been up to lately. I would not want to be running a skin or a competitor without the official blessing of the inner circle.

As for your success, did you shift gears after your withdrawal, or did you continue to play as before? We really need to gather more data on this, but it seems to me that you could outfox the rigging by dramatically changing your playing style after cashing out – instead of playing the dominating hands set up to be cracked, you play the dominated hands. It’s like judo. When the large man charges, the smart small man steps aside, trips him, and kicks him in the jimmy when he’s on the ground. You cannot have AA cracked if you decline to play the AA.

Also, I would think the changing gears strategy would be particularly effective against opponents who have recently cashed out themselves yet continue to play the same way they did before. We should give further attention to how the sites structure things when you have a heads-up battle between two players who have both recently cashed out – who is the game rigged against, the more recent cashout, the larger cashout or is it just both (versus a third player) whenever possible?

If you have an interest in furthering our research, please shoot me an email. Thanks for writing."



I don’t know when we’ll hear from Dave next. My understanding is that he’s headed back to the lab for some heavy duty number crunching on the question of whether the Party Poker Sidebet feature may be rigged. I’m guessing that he thinks Party wouldn’t be satisfied with a mere 5.88% house advantage.

For myself, I’m going to stick to something that IS obviously rigged – the state lottery. $300 million and change tonight. It’s almost +EV. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Monday, November 14, 2005


Happiness, thy name is Titan Poker, home of the worst players on the internet.

Please don't start playing there.

For a change tonight, I decided to take a shot at a $50 MTT with $2,500 guaranteed. It looked right up to the last minute like there would be overlay, but we started with exactly 50 players. About 30 of those players did not last the first hour.

I was the uber-shortstack at the final table, with a massive 820 chips. Darned happy to make it that far, as it meant money. I managed to survive two all-ins, with JJ against K9 (I rivered a flush after a K on the turn, phew) and a three way job with A8o vs. QQ and 55 (A on flop). I knocked out a couple players and actually had the chip lead (barely) with 3 left. Didn't last long - I let myself get pushed off top pair, crap kicker for a third of my stack, and found AKo on the next hand. The BB woke up with KK and I didn't get the miracle Ace.

3rd place, plus $246. I'll take it.


Somebody better point out to me where I get my membership card and T-Shirt.

I had the privilege and honor of joining a select group yesterday while playing in the WPBT Shootout event -- my name is now permanently etched on the rolls of a non-exclusive club called "People Having Been Basically Bluffed Badly By The G-Rob" (a/k/a PHBBBBT G-Rob).

Thanks for showing the 3-2o. Where's my sign?

I finished an utterly unremarkable 13th or so after an assortment of mostly unplayable hands when AJo proved to be temporarily non-gold. Oops. Congratulations to Jason and Bdidde for punching their tickets to the show. One chance left.


Omatard Challenge Update

Yesterday: DNP - Coach's Decision.

Other than the Full Tilt event, I played very little on Sunday. I spent a few minutes on a $25NL table on Party, managing to relieve some emu of his entire stack when he thought he had my JJ beat on a 55QJ2 rainbow board. Sorry, sir, but no, I did not have the two pair you were putting me on and I was pretty sure from your weak betting action that you didn't have QQ or 55.


No content, I know. I'll try again later.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Friendly Suggestion...

For main_event15 and others of the same ilk:


Still floating along after yesterday's win. Thanks to all for the kind comments and rather generous assessments (*cough*Pauly*cough*) of my game.

Here's all the proof you need to show that the end result was largely a matter of luck:

Pots won at showdown - 12 out of 13 (92%)
Pots won without showdown - 37

That's right, I lost one time at showdown. Joe Speaker outdrew my A9o with QJo, but I had him covered 3-2 at the time and he called my push. An aggressive decision - I'm way too weak/tight to make that call, but it worked. I have a ton of respect for Joe's game. Same for the Big Pirate and quite a few others.

Moral of the story: It helps to have the Random Number Generator on your side.


Unlike Stars, the Titan RNG hasn't been my friend lately. I played two tournaments there last night, a $10 rebuy and a $20 freezeout, and bombed out of both short of the money when I (a) went completely card dead for three or four orbits in the face of rapidly rising blinds, and (b) when I did finally get a hand, someone woke up behind me with a better hand. Oh, well. That's poker. It wasn't as bad as the other night, where I went 38 minutes in the first hour (of a rebuy!) without having a single marginally playable hand, but things were still pretty chilly.

{Warning: Hand History}

At least I did have one of those moments in the freezeout -- the kind that give you a huge adrenaline rush. I have 33 in LP and limp. Blinds are 10/20 at this point, I have about 2,000 chips from a good early run. One limper before me, the SB folds, the BB checks.

Flop is AK3 rainbow. Jackpot. BB checks, other limper bets, I raise, BB checkraises, limper calls, I push, and *both* call. Yes! First limper has AJo (huh?), BB had K3o. I pick up better than 2,000 chips for a 20 chip investment, and am actually the chipleader for a while.

What a great feeling.

{/end Hand History}


Omatard Challenge Update, Day 10

Current Level: $25 PLO ($0.10/$0.25 blinds)
214 hands, minus $32.90, bankroll balance $76.47

Running total: 2131 hands, plus $61.47

Ugh. Gave back yesterday's gains. Much of it on one hand where I made an overly tight laydown.

{Warning: Hand History}

I have QxQh6hX in MP. Flop is AhXhXh. 2nd nut flush. It was raised preflop with multiple callers (I called given the size of the pot and because I was closing the action, otherwise this is a pretty weak hand), so there's a fair amount of money in there. It checks around on the flop. Mistake by me, no question. Kc on the turn. Checked to me, I pot it. Villain checkraises all in. I fold.

I think this was a bad decision.

For one thing, I already had more than half my stack in the pot. Getting something along the line of 4-1 or 5-1 on my remaining $11, I should probably take the chance. I'm behind only one hand - someone holding Kh with another heart. That K on the turn may have given courage to someone holding a naked KK without the nut flush, or someone holding a straight draw. Or he could be pushing a non-nut flush (J or T high, perhaps), maybe in combination with a set. Some people are even aggro enough to do this with a naked AAxx. I would strongly consider this move myself if I had the Kh without another heart - to see if I could get my non-nut holding opponent to fold. I was way too cautious.

Also, I didn't have a read on my opponent. He hadn't been there long, and for the time he had been, I'd been focusing on the tourney. He proved later that he was entirely willing to push edges with non-nut hands.

A very questionable decision on my part.

{/end Hand History}

Anyway, I shut it down not long afterward when it was clear I was on Omatard Tilt. I have just enough to take another crack at the $25 level, probably today.

On a related note, I'd like to welcome the latest blogger to take the Omatard Challenge -- Mourn has signed on to take a shot. Good luck!

That's enough drivel for this morning -- I should spend some time working on adding some more people to the blogroll -- a lot of interesting new poker blogs out there.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


You can just ignore that prior post, 'k?

I still suck, but I look smarter when I win a lot of coin flips... even more so when I get KK during three handed play and AA heads up... Thanks for the game, Pauly, and see all y'all next week.

Superdonkalicious System: A Course in Awful Poker

Mommy! The bad man over there writing a blog knows NOTHING about poker!


It's sad, but oh so true.

I could give lessons in how to play awful poker. Write a book even. For this, I blame the denziens of Titan Poker. Oh, sure, I could accept responsibility for my weak game, but that would be un-American. I'd rather blame the people that play so horribly that I've learned to just fold, fold, fold my way into the money.

Yeah, I've brought my solid D-Plus game to the Wil Wheaton invitationals the last two nights. Not even worth talking about. Let's just say I got thoroughly outplayed by 'Sweet79Chuck' and friends.


Still, let me drop some knowledge on you. This concerns one of the more underrated hands in poker, nine seven off.

I can't play many other hands with confidence, but 97o is a monster. Four for four with it last night, and I didn't even have a situation where it was dominating the Hammer.

Next up, Saturdays Getting Owned by Dr. Pauly, today at 1 PM Eastern.

Playing horrible tournament poker isn't good for the bankroll. Thankfully, however, there are always Omatards.

Omatard Challenge, Day 9 Update

Current Level: $25 PLO
164 hands, plus $32.35, bankroll balance $109.37

Running totals: 1,917 hands, plus $94.37

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Love Letter and Other Crap

Good grief. I told the Princess that I was going to have a tough time deciding whether to drink heavily or play PLO tonight. I think both was the answer, but the PLO part was clearly a poor decision - it only took 14 hands to drop a buyin at $25 PLO. One missed monster wrap, one flopped nut boat running into turned quads beetches and I'm knocked way back down into $10 PLO land, where things continue to go badly.

Guess I should have started drinking earlier. Much earlier.


Because I love beating dead equines, a love letter first:

Dear City of Grand Haven:

Sunset Waste picked up my trash at exactly 1:17 pm today.

You'll be pleased to know that I removed my emptied cans from the curb immediately, thereby doing my part to ensure the continued bucolic tranquility of our beloved little town. Keeping nature in balance. Putting the smack down on the riff-raffery, all that.

Good thing I was home for lunch!

Say, I have a question. When you passed that new ordinance dictating that trash cans must be removed from the curb by 7:00 pm the day of pickup, and can't be put out earlier than 5:00 pm the night before, I have to know:


No? No?

Why not?

Don't you ALWAYS think of the children?

Anyhoo, I just want to let you know that I'm doing my part, unlike all those disgraceful deadbeats. You know, those horrible, HORRIBLE people who

* Work an odd shift, like 11:00 to 7:00;
* Work a normal shift, but in Grand Rapids or Lansing or some godforsaken place like Allegan or Kalamazoo;
* Travel out of town on business during the week;
* Have evening meetings at church or school or something and don't get to go home first; or
* Are blind, deaf, mute cripples who don't know what day it is, let alone what time.

Please feel free to fine their sorry asses.

Speaking of which, I wonder if I can set up an account to handle future fines that are sure to be coming my way. You see, I'm going to this shindig in Vegas in December, and I'll be leaving early on the holy Day On Which They Pickest Up The Trash. Because I'll be busy trying to make biblical infants weep, I won't be around between the hours of 1:17pm and 7:00pm on Thursday to retrieve my recepticle.

We have a problem. Do you see why?

Now, I know exactly what you'd like me to do. You'd like me to just generate no garbage during the week before I leave. No work for Sunset Waste, no threat to the very fiber of our democracy that is the act of leaving out a trash can over the weekend. Win-Win, right? There's really only one small problem here - it it really sucks when your garage ends up smelling like somebody died for all of the following week. When I come back from Vegas I'm probably going to be feeling like a dishrag that's been through eleven straight spin cycles, and the smell of week-old banana peels might be enough to push me over the edge.

So can I just send you the $25.00 now? Maybe it'll come in handy, since the giant street and sewer repair millage went down in flames this week (I voted 'Yes' because I love you). If it's a deal, I'd like to see an engraved brick with my name on it set at Waverly and Beechtree, just outside the Clover Bar. I want to be able to show out of town guests the street that my trash can helped repave.

I sure hope that's okay. It would be quite a comedown otherwise.

Say, i'd love to chat some more, but I have to go over to Z-Tire to look at getting Hakkapilitas for my car so as I don't up and kill someone at Taylor and Hillcrest this winter. Hope you understand.

A Homeowner


Note to self: Reading that Dan Jenkins novel would have been a much better idea than this poker crap. Maybe I'll go see if I can come up with some classic bad songs from the 80s, see if I can get Al Can't Hang knocked off his barstool.


Note to readers:


Omatard Update, Day 8

After the smackdown at $25 PL, I got busy rebuilding at $10 and have enough to move back to $25 next time.

Current Level: $25 PLO ($0.10/$0.25 blinds)
14 hands, minus $25.00, ending bankroll $77.02
(bankroll includes 173 hands at $10 PLO, plus $26.75)

Running Totals: 1,753 hands, plus $62.02

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Challenge Update (No Content)

Omatard Challenge, Day 7 Results:

Current Level: $10 PLO ($0.05/$0.10 blinds)
437 hands, plus $40.35, bankroll balance $75.27 (time to move up again)

Running total: 1,566 hands, plus $60.27.

Good day. It's always nice to get paid off when you're holding the nuts. Got to tag a few 'tards with Drizz, we both had a good run. For some idiotic reason, I also played a Limit O/8 tournament with Drizz and (on my left) GameC. Playing Limit O/8 after so much PLO (and a NLHE tourney at the same time) made my head hurt. I really suck at O/8.

Coming up next time: Level 3, $25 PLO.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And Now, A Word From the Ad Council...


Happy Election Day! Democracy in action, or at least that's what the people who are trying to sell newspapers want you to believe.

Think about it, what does that democracy get you?

We end up electing a bunch of clowns who don't ever seem to do anything that makes sense. A bunch of things that people safely enjoy get illegalized (hey, it's a word if I say so) just because. We pay plenty o' taxes so they can waste the money on an endless series of studies and stupid projects.

Did I say stupid? I meant pointless AND stupid.

From today's paper (which also featured a theatre review from the Boy Genius), our state and local government at work:

* City council votes to enact a fine for people who put their trash out earlier than 5pm the night before pickup or don't remove their cans by 7pm the day of pickup. Gee, if I don't get to come home at lunch, I have to race straight home from the office so I don't get a $25 ticket. Thanks, guys (and gal)!

* City council votes unanimously to make a 4 way stop permanent on a street corner near my house - it's been that way since early summer. The thing is, there is at least a THIRTY degree slope on two sides of the intersection, no more than a car or two from the stop sign. This is Michigan. Let's do the math, you idiots: Assloads of snow + lots of traffic on that street + steep slope + four way Stop = PROPERTY DAMAGE.

* State lawmaker introduces bill to criminalize smoking in a car when children are present. Self-righteous PR-seeking health nazi expects lots of press for his move.

These people work for you and me. Ain't you proud?

That's all the opinions I'll offer on politics. I won't bore you with my thoughts on other controversial subjects -- Coke or Pepsi (Coke), the best Van Halen song (Janie's Crying and it's not close), whether we should mock the French or ignore them (both) -- this is supposed to be a poker blog.

So when I update this post later, it will have some more omatard stuff appended to it. You can hardly wait, I know.


Omatard Challenge, Day 6 results

Current Level: $10 PLO ($0.05/$0.10 blinds)
54 hands, minus $9.50, bankroll balance $34.92
{also 67 hands of $5 PLO, plus $8.06}

Running total: 1,129 hands, plus $19.92.

I may need to explain this one a bit. I started the day at Level 2 ($10 PLO). Played 20 hands, plus $1.50. I then got in 9 hands and dropped an entire $10 buyin -- I flopped the nut straight with a redraw to a higher straight, and someone aggressively played bottom set (read: was a total MORON). We got the money all in on the turn, and he caught his boat on the river. It happens. So I had to drop back down to $5 PLO to win back the $2.14 I was shy of the $30.00 minimum for level 2. Mission accomplished and then a little bit. No love on a brief followup session at $10 PLO, and I end up down a hair for the day. Better luck next time.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Challenge Update

Quote of the day:

"Bring in pot limit omaha, the closest thing to gambling crack that I'll ever play. I'm addicted. And an idiot." -- Chad

PLO is definitely the crack of poker.

I made it through level one of the Omatard Challenge tonight while trying futilely to hit the 3 billionth hand prize on Party. Still, things were slightly profitable, so I'm a happy camper.

Updated challenge numbers:

Level: $5 PLO ($0.01/$0.02 blinds)
319 hands, plus $9.74, bankroll balance $36.36 (Made it to $30, so I move up)

Running total: 1,008 hands, plus $21.36. It's possible that I may be a bit off on the hand count (I'm just using the Stars stats), but it should be close.

Coming soon, the next level of omatards. $10 PLO ($0.05/$0.10 blinds), need to make it to $75.00 to move to Level 3.

It does occur to me that I'll probably still be grinding away at Level 2 as a certain Princess blows by me on her way to completing the challenge in fine style. Good luck!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I had a real poker highlight yesterday.

It wasn't the 8th place finish in Saturdays With Dr. Pauly, in which I played poorly. Nor was it the final table in the $5 rebuy in Titan (busted 10th on a coin flip, stupid medium pockets).

I won a contested pot in Pot Limit Omaha at showdown with ACE HIGH.

{Begin boring hand history, skip it if you hate that sort of thing}

Lots of limpers, I limp with 2 high cards and 2 medium cards including a suited ace. Far from a premium hand, but the price is right. Flop is not especially helpful, although I have a gutshot and a couple backdoor draws. It costs nothing or close to it to stay in. Turn is helpful, as it gives me two different straight draws to the nuts (one of which open ended) and the nut flush draw. That's 18 outs minus those which would pair the board, so 14 or 15 (forgive me, it's early). The pot is very small and there's no action, so I pot it both to see where I am and to either thin the field or build the pot just in case I hit. It's a small enough bet that I expect multiple people to come along. Nope, just one caller.

The river bricks, and I smoothly check behind, since there's nothing on the board I can realistically represent and I can't beat anyone with a pair in their hand or with any one of the cards on the board. I somehow win, think 'WTF?' and it's a real struggle to refrain from asking my opponent just what the heck he was drawing to.

Good times.

{/End boring hand history}

An almost lowlight was flopping a straight flush and not realizing it until the turn. At least nobody bet the flop, so I avoided what probably would have been a nut fold.

Omatard Challenge, Day 4 Results

Current level: $5 PLO ($0.01/$0.02 blinds)
304 hands, plus $2.03, bankroll balance $26.62 (Need to get to $30 to move up)

Running total: 689 hands, plus $11.62, an utterly meaningless 84.33 BB/100 hands (hey, it's fun to see a number that large)

For more on tourney action, see Pauly's site for a recap. Congrats to the winner, SirFWALGMAN.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Putting The 'Eee-aww' in Omaha

Damn, Skippy, I am in a good mood this morning. I have no idea why.

Bombed out of the Wil Wheaton tournament well short of the money. At least I managed to donate most of my stack to the Big Pirate and he went on to cash. Good job, Wes, and way to go to Alan (1st), Iggy, (2nd) and Dr. Pauly (6th), as well as anyone else I forgot. Fun time.

On the plus side, the Omatard Challenge rolls along. Last night's results:

Current level: $5 PLO ($0.01/$0.02 blinds)
176 hands, plus $7.62, bankroll balance $24.59 (Need to get to $30 to move up)

I just love it when I'm holding the nut full house and some raises me all in.

Don't forget, Saturdays with Pauly begin today - 1 PM eastern.

Now, I leave you with a few more entries from The Complete Noob's Illustrated Poker Dictionary:

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Friday 5PM Countdown Rolls Along

... just not fast enough.

Lots of pokery goodness on tap this weekend. Visit Tao of Poker for details on Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. See Bill for Sunday's Full Tilt satellite to a cool event in Vegas. And Wil Wheaton has another in his series of Friday tournaments sometime today. I don't know which, if any, I'll be playing, but they all promise to be a good time.

Until then, here's a reminder:

{tips of the cap to Jason at Catching the Antichrist and my childhood hero, Smokey the Bear.}

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Burning Up

Vegas Fever!

Got it yet? In this here hamlet, Vegas Fever is running rampant, at least among poker bloggers. Least challenging survey ever.

As we count down to one month before the WPBT Winter Classic (see Bill's Blog for more info), there are a million things to do before the time comes.

Are you packed?

Uh, me neither. I don't even know what to bring.

It's a good thing I got a few tips from last time....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Just For Fun

This is currently my favorite Full Tilt Poker screen name:


Omatard Challenge, Day 2 Results:

Current level: $5 PLO ($0.01/$0.02 blinds)
107 hands, plus $0.51, bankroll balance $16.97 (Need to get to $30 to move up)

Only one really big pot, had to lay down on the river when the last card put a straight draw out there, I let my non-nut straight and a set go when my opponent bet the pot.

Projects and More Projects

The beginning of a new month is finding me up to my neck in projects. For one, I have resolved to actually learn something about playing poker. That means studying. For another, I hope to have a good month on the tables, so that I actually have a few bucks to bring to Vegas.

I also signed up for National Novel Writing Month yesterday morning. I have half an idea for something, I just don't know if it'll end up being long enough. Regardless, whatever I produce will probably suck, but going through the experience should prove interesting. I haven't written 50,000 words about anything in a while.

And there's always this blog. I think I may need to go to rehab or something for MS Paint addiction. Instead, I keep going back to the well. Here's the first installment of a new project:

The Complete Noob's Illustrated Poker Dictionary

{The first four images are hosted by Blogger, click for a larger version}

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time For A Challenge

I splurged today and actually bought 'SuperSystem/2'. The real question is will I ever get around to reading it? Maybe after I finish my other purchase, Barry Greenstein's 'Ace on the River'.


On a related note, for fun and as a way to focus on improving my PLO game, I play to try the “Omatard Challenge”.

This works as follows: I start at the lowest of the low, the penny PLO tables ($0.01/$0.02 blinds), with $15.00. That’s 3x the max buy-in of $5.00.

I move up any time I have 3x the max buy-in for the next level of tables:

If I drop a buy-in at any level other than the first, or if I quit a session below the minimum required for the current level, I have to move back down. I won’t move down mid-session unless it’s desirable for some reason.

In an ideal world, if successful I would conclude the challenge with $1,200. The downside is the potential loss of $15, which is (far) more probable and which I can certainly live with.

I plan on updating my progress periodically, but we’ll see how it goes. I may get bored and give up.

Day 1 results: 102 Hands, Plus $1.44, New balance $16.44 (soooooo cold decked.)

Warning Labels

Man, what a waste of an hour. I spent a chunk of last night skimming through the book written by the guy who did Super Size Me. Talk about predictible. This is bad, that is bad, all corporations are evil, blah blah blah. At least I stopped reading seriously after about a hundred pages. I think the library will be getting it back and pronto.

I guess I did learn one useful factoid - the French translation for "ba da da da da, I'm Lovin' It!". That may come in handy if I need to tilt Bob at some point.

One of the guy's complaints is that McFood doesn't come with warning labels. Dude, we know the stuff isn't good for you. We're brainwashed by your friends in the media constantly - don't eat anything that tastes good, we should be living on tofu and brussel sprouts. It's bad. Bad, bad, bad.

But it'll probably have warning labels soon enough. Just like everything else.

I mean, hey, even the poker sites are getting into the warning label thing. I sign on to one of my favorite sites to play and was greeted with the following message:

{okay, so I didn't get that, but I should have. That game puts the hurt on.}