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Friday, January 26, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

I'm waiting for little hand on the clock to reach 5 and I'm bored.

Thinking about what to do tonight. Crashed instead of playing CC's bash or the Riverchasers event last night. Thinking about playing some tonight. I'm tempted to go to the track and check out the newish 1/2 "NL" game. Technically I think it's required to be spread limit, but the upper limit is high enough to make it in reality a NL game. Or so I've heard.

Let's see, in order to do that, I'd have to get some cash together. Hey, that would be easy! I can just go to the bank or ATM! Thanks, government!

Getting a little punchy.


Miami Don has some odds up for the 2007 WPBT season. Any time the "field" has Fuel55 in it, I'm definitely going field. I'd lobby for odds on myself, but since I think I played one event last year (I'm not fond of Sunday nights), they'd probably be 1,000 to 1.

Or about where SirWaffleMan should be, right?

I kid. Mostly.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shameless Shillery

I'm a lousy pimp, but I'm always good for a plug.

CC is hosting another in his series of Thursday Bashes. I've not yet played in the event, seeing as how it starts at 9:30 and the buyin has historically been in the $22 range. I shouldn't let the former stop me, since it's not like I'd still be in at the first break, and this time around the man has lowered the price of admission to a very reasonable $10+1.

Hopefully nothing so trivial is stopping you from playing. I'm going to try, but we'll see if caffeine will be sufficient to keep my eyelids propped open. Work is kicking my ass right now.

Since I'm such a lousy pimp, here's what some other assorted people would advise you to do:

Smokey the Bear: Only you can prevent forest fires ... and if there aren't any in your neck of the woods, play CC's Thursday Bash.

Jenna Jameson: Harder, faster, push you stupid donkey, oooh CC's Thursday Bash.


Slacker: Seriously, dude, what else have you got to do? Chill out, play CC's Bash.

Okay, scratch that. Lame. I suck at plugging, too. So here's one more reminder:

Sorry, couldn't resist.

BTW, you could play Al's Riverchasers tournament on Full Tilt too, ya know?


Absolutely zero to add. I've been on a cold run, donking back the gains of a good run. So very standard. Taking a couple days off to recoup.

Damn, those play money bad beats still sting.


The following is NOT a paid endorsement:

Free poker money is good. If I played for real money (and if I hadn't done all of their free poker money promos back in the day), I might be checking Poker Source Online out right now.

That's one way around the inability to deposit.

Fun With Google

I'm bored. How to kill the boredom? Stupid poker blog Google searches!

Let's see. Key in "stupid poker blog", and ... I'm not listed in the first five pages, yay! First result: A post from the Pokerstars Blog.

"useless poker blog". Whew. First up: Jon's Phuquing Useless Poker Blog - not recently updated.

What other words best define this blog?

I'm going with crappy. Thesaurus time.

Main Entry: bad
Part of Speech: adjective 1
Definition: poor
Synonyms: abominable, amiss, atrocious, awful, bad news*, beastly, blah*, bottom out, bummer*, careless, cheap, cheesy*, crappy*, cruddy*, crummy*, defective, deficient, diddly*, dissatisfactory, downer*, dreadful, erroneous, fallacious, faulty, garbage, god-awful, gross*, grungy*, icky*, imperfect, inadequate, incorrect, inferior, junky*, lousy*, not good, off, poor, raunchy*, rough, sad, scuzzy, sleazeball, sleazy, slipshod, stinking, substandard, synthetic, the pits*, unacceptable, unsatisfactory
Antonyms: acceptable, excellent, good, satisfactory, superior, worthy

"crappy poker blog". Still no top hits. First result: Up For Poker.

"abominable poker blog" pretty much just brings up shill sites. Screw that.

"atrocious poker blog" ... shill site. The Poker Prof is #2.

"awful poker blog" gives me Hoyazo as the first up.

"beastly poker blog"? Ummm, forget it. I'm not touching that one.

"blah poker blog" gives you the Poker Fool up top.

"careless poker blog"? Nope, I'm not in the top 5 pages. "cheap poker blog"? Nah, but hey, April and Geek make #1. "cheesy poker blog"? Uhhh, hey, what up willy? Nope. "crummy poker blog"? "defective poker blog"? "deficient poker blog"? No, no and no.

How about "god-awful poker blog"? Nyet. ZeRat11 has that one.

"stinking poker blog"? Again no, although this one turns up a lot of familiar names. Drizz is #2, probably for his frequent use of the word(s) stinkin' badgers.

I'm reaching here. "unsatisfactory poker blog". Whiffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff.

Dammit, that's like a lot of synonyms for crappy and I'm still not making the grade.

Oh, well.

Last shot: "strange poker blog". Nope. Bill Rini is #1.

I guess this means that I hate Google and that Google is rigged. Not to mention completely wrong.

I mean, come on. I'm not even the #1 result for "OMATARD FILLED POKER BLOG". I'm not in the first five pages for "badly drawn poker blog". Nor am I there for "poker blogs that completely suck".

Commence total Google tilt.


I suppose that I'll have to take solace in the fact that I'll always be the number 1 result for the search "trisha volpe poker blog".

That's right, I'm #1. Deal with it.

On a semi-related note, I'd like to welcome the dozens of people from Denmark who've landed on this site by using to look up "promise me son not to do the things i've done". I would suggest searching for "Kenny Rogers lyrics" instead.

Same goes for you folks from the Phillipines.

And whoever got here by searching on "chance of a9s beating jj" ... I have no freaking idea.

I'm done.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Some obvious signs it's not your night, PLO style:

See a free flop in the big blind with a total junk hand, say 74KJ. Flop is 774. Bet out, get raised pot, re-raise pot. Turn is a blank, push and get called. River 5. Lose to donktard with 75JT.

Another free flop with AK55. Flop is K52. Bet, raised pot, call with short stack. Of course villain has the case two kings and my flush and straight draws don't fill on the river.

Okay, I'm done.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Look, The Sky Is ... Well, Not Falling, But It's Kind of Shifting Around

... and HEY where did that bus come fro


One more post about Neteller / the future of online poker and then I think it'll be time to let the subject go. This time around, I want to take on a question that seems to be popping up on the forums and which I expect that casual players are asking a lot:

As a U.S. player, should I be afraid of losing my money that's online?

Now, since I don't play (ahem) for money and am no expert on the workings of the global financial system, don't confuse me with someone who actually knows the facts. This is strictly opinion.

Short answer: No. I don't think so.

Longer answer: Two of the biggest sites out there that still accept U.S. players are PokerStars and Full Tilt. I have a great deal of confidence in the people that run those sites. I also think that internet poker is a sufficiently profitable business - even without Americans -- that both sites will wish to remain in business. If they stiff U.S. customers, why would any non-U.S. player play there?

Is it possible that they could shut the doors and everyone loses? Sure. That's true of any business. I freely admit to having no idea what the sites have in the way of fixed expenses, but when your business is largely virtual, it would seem to me to be more scalable than, say, Ford Motor. A lot of people may lose their jobs and a lot of really swell perks and promos may go away, but I'd speculate that the majors could 'downsize' themselves enough to stay in business. Profitably.

Part 2 of my answer: The thing that's going to be the hardest for poker sites to deal with is (duh) cashing in and out. I think that people who say 'we can always use good old paper checks and money orders' are a bit delusional. If the U.S. government puts enough pressure on, those checks won't be honored. But:

Even if the sites are unable to use the EFT system, and are shut out of the banking system (either by banks refusing to do business with them or their intermediaries, or by the system refusing to honor their checks), I still don't think you'll be screwed. The cashout system may need to get creative -- using nominees, a variety of shell corporation, or just plain individuals to get the money through the system. I think you *will* get your money back, it just won't be fast and free.

So no, I wouldn't be worried.


The issue of whether sites will continue to allow American players is another one all together. I tend to think not, just because of the level of difficulty they're going to face with cash in/out issues.

I admit that I'd kind of like to be a fly on the wall at the brainstorming sessions the management of the sites must be having (with and without their lawyers). "What if we do this, what if we do that".

I wonder if you were a poker site if you could get around the UIGEA by offering NO cash in or cash out services to American players without explicitly barring them. I suspect that even facilitating player-to-player transfers, if the receiving player is American and uses the money to "gamble" is a violation of federal law, meaning that this wouldn't work, but I haven't taken the time to research it. On a practical level, this would be awkward but it could work -- people would slowly form networks of trustworthy individuals including non-USians who'd cash in and out. It would certainly have its drawbacks, but with the ubiquity of the web I do think it'd work. It'd be a nightmare on the fraud detection front too, I suppose. Just a thought.

Anyway, enough of the steaming-pile-of-consciousness.


I really missed the boat on New Year's Resolutions. I definitely should have resolved to never play Razz again.

Despite enjoying the company of instigator Change100, Zeem, Drizz and Poker Peaker, and further despite being the chip leader or at least in the top 5 for the first two plus hours, I can't remember when I've been more pissed off to be playing. It's just something about razz.

No mas.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Okay, so today feels like the day they finally got around to wacking Saddam. You knew it was largely over when the UIGEA passed (Baghdad falling, or spider holes FTW), but Neteller waving the white flag will really rip the guts out of American participation in the global poker economy.

Neteller says no more deposits to or withdrawals from gambling sites, which they define to include poker. They're kind of ambiguous on whether you can withdraw by EFT to your bank account, but you can always pay them a fee and cash some money out via the Neteller ATM card ... at least for now.

Poll question time: If you (HYPOTHETICALLY YOU PURITANICAL ENFORCEMENT SOBs) had some modest amount of money on a site or two or three and could no longer withdraw it conveniently, would you:

A) Leave it there and try and gambooool it up to an amount that would actually make a difference, or

B) Withdraw now via some inconvenient method and eventually blow your ill-gotten gains on hookers and meth, or

C) Some other option?

Since I only play for play chips it doesn't really matter, but I'd lean towards A.


I can almost hear the question: What is WITH the hand history posts?!?

Sigh. The answer is pretty simple, really: The creative wellspring is rather dry at the moment. It's a function, I suppose, of not really playing much coupled with not thinking about the game, not reading, not doing anything poker-related. I'm even slacking on reading the 2+2 forums.


One story I have been following with some interest is the arrest of the Neteller founders. According to Bill Rini, they're to be charged with money laundering, or at least conspiracy to launder money.

Assuming that these gentlemen have adequate funds to pay for their defense, representing them would be a lawyer's dream. I'd be stunned if they were dumb enough to commit any acts whatsoever on U.S. soil. Where's the jurisdiction? Also, the argument that they conspired to break U.S. law strikes me (not that I have any facts) as being decidedly flimsy.

These arrests aren't about justice. They're about other things, like publicity and strong-arming people. The moral crusaders in power in the United States want to get the word out -- if you're at all involved in online gaming, we just may come for you, and while we're at it, you online payment services better shut down or you're next. Most of them will, which will cripple what's left of the U.S. online poker economy. I expect arrests of players will follow at some point and that will complete the job.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Neteller guys beat the charges, but it won't matter. Their arrest will have served its purpose, and they will have wasted lots of time and money fighting charges that never should have been brought in the first place.

The approach taken by the U.S. government -- our laws apply to you no matter where in the world you do business -- is eventually going to have consequences. I wonder if they've really though it through.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Now THIS Is What You Call Lots of Outs...

aka Yes, Virginia, it's still rigged.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $0.50 BB (9 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: Plain Text)

BB ($28)
UTG ($27.50)
UTG+1 ($35.90)
MP1 ($31.80)
MP2 ($14.55)
Hero ($9.50)
CO ($31.75)
Button ($45.90)
SB ($49.50)

Preflop: Hero is MP3 with Qc, Ad, Kd, 8c.

1 fold, UTG+1 calls $0.50, MP1 raises to $1, MP2 calls $1, Hero calls $1, CO calls $1, Button calls $1, SB calls $0.75, BB calls $0.50, UTG+1 calls $0.50.

Flop: ($8) 4d, 3d, Kc (8 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG+1 bets $4, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, Hero calls $4, CO folds, Button calls $4, SB calls $4, BB folds.

Turn: ($24) Ac (4 players)
SB bets $22.85, UTG+1 calls $22.85, Hero calls $4.50 (All-In), Button folds.

Let's review here. Hero has Ad Kd Qc 8c -- for TWO nut flush draws (with limited straight flush potential qualifying the word "nut") AND top 2 pair. Them's a few outs. If only that 8 was a jack or a ten...

River: ($74.20) Ah (3 players, 1 all-in) Here's where short stacking kinda sucks.
SB bets $21.65 (All-In), UTG+1 calls $8.05 (All-In).

Final Pot: $103.90

SB: shows [5c 2d 5d 8s] (a straight, Ace to Five)
UTG+1: shows [7d 7c 4s 4c] (a full house, Fours full of Aces)
UTG+1 collected $51.60 from side pot
Hero: shows [Qc Ad Kd 8c] (a full house, Aces full of Kings)
Hero collected $35.70 from main pot

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Strange Value Bets That ALMOST Worked (Part 1)

aka position really does mean something, aka WHAT THE [CENSORED]. And, of course, I acknowledge that this hand was totally misplayed on every street. Wasn't concentrating enough.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $0.50 BB (8 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: Plain Text)

Hero ($9)
CO ($73.60)
Button ($7.40)
SB ($44.05)
BB ($20.35)
UTG ($48.10)
UTG+1 ($21.50)
MP1 ($22.50)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with Ac, 5h, 4c, 9s.

UTG calls $0.50, UTG+1 calls $0.50, MP1 calls $0.50, Hero calls $0.50, CO raises to $2, 1 fold, SB calls $1.75, 1 fold, UTG calls $1.50, UTG+1 calls $1.50, MP1 calls $1.50, Hero calls $1.50.

Yes, this was a TERRIBLE call by Hero, although getting a lot to 1 and closing the action makes is less terrible than it could be. Too bad that 9s is dangling out there, if it wasn't useless it would be a lot easier to defend this play.

Flop: ($12.50) 3c, Qh, As (6 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Hero checks, CO checks.

Turn: ($12.50) Js (6 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Hero checks, CO checks.

River: ($12.50) Jc (6 players)
SB bets $0.50 WOW!, UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, Hero calls $0.50, CO calls $0.50.

Let's see, I lose to anyone with a Jack, or KT, or AK, or 33, or QQ, or ... Okay, screw it, I'm getting 25 TO 1 and there's only one player to act behind me. I'm still not raising, though.

Final Pot: $14

Results below:
SB has 8s 4h Td 8h (two pair, jacks and eights). again, W. T. F. ?!!!?
CO mucked Kd 2c Kc 2d (two pair, kings and jacks).

Outcome: Hero wins $14 with two pair, aces and jacks.


Even when you're mostly absent from the tables, you run into strange hands. The above is just one extreme example.

Like I said, I haven't been playing a great deal. Just a few hands here and there. Playing less and fewer tables (PLAY MONEY!). I'm rediscovering my love of PLO and have reread a few pages of Rolf Slotboom's book. It still drives me nuts sometimes, but that's due to biggest defect as a poker player -- and one that will forever hold me back -- I'm just not nearly aggressive enough. Moving down in limits, combined with some more experimentation with short-stacking, has helped.


In other life stuff, I've been entertaining myself this weekend working on a screenplay. I've never written one before, but when it's being done for my own amusement, what difference does that make? I had an idea for a television series that made me chuckle, so I decide to write a pilot episode. The hard part is defnitely writing the dialogue -- I have to give a lot of credit to people who do that on a regular basis under deadline pressure. But I'm having some success in "seeing" the scenes, so it's coming along. A fun diversion. Which has absolutely nothing to do with poker.

Now, back to the salt mines.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

People Really Will Call With Anything (Part 1)*

alternate title: Misplayed on every street, who cares, value bet for the win.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.05 BB (8 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

MP1 ($4.18)
Hero ($11.11)
CO ($10.92)
Button ($9.98)
SB ($1.25)
BB ($5.48)
UTG ($10.25)
UTG+1 ($2.43)
Preflop: Hero is MP2 with Td, As.
UTG calls $0.05, UTG+1 calls $0.05, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.05, 2 folds, SB completes, BB checks.

Flop: ($0.25) 6s, 6c, Qs (5 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, Hero checks.

Turn: ($0.25) 2h (5 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, Hero checks.

River: ($0.25) 5s (5 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, Hero bets $0.25, SB folds, BB folds, UTG folds, UTG+1 calls $0.25.
Final Pot: $0.75

Results below:

UTG+1 has Ah 7d (one pair, sixes).
Hero has Td As (one pair, sixes).
Outcome: Hero wins $0.75.

Deep analysis: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA you have got to be kidding me.

Maybe I should play penny ante NL in 2007.

* Tip of the cap to Fuel for title inspiration.

Monday, January 08, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Not Different

A home game, five hours in.

Hero holds As 5s on a board of Js Ts 3s 2d.

Villain has been the aggressor and leads again, this time for two thirds of Hero's remaining stack. Being a huge (91%/9%) favorite with one card to come, Hero is okay with getting the rest of it in.

Hero loses.

(Bet you didn't see that coming).


Hero was starting to think that 2007 was going to somehow be different than 2006. Glad that we got that cleared up. Welcome to the new year, same as the old year.


Apparently I've been too busy filling out applications to refinance something to do much of anything else. Why, this weekend alone I received at least seven almost word-for-word identical versions of this:

Thank you for your loan request, which we recieved yesterday, your refinance application has been accepted

Bad credit OK, We are ready to give you a $355,000 loan, after further review, our lenders have established the lowest monthly payments.

Approval process will take only 1 minute.

I should be a millionaire in less than fifteen minutes.

Hey, after that maybe I can turn my attention to answering the flood of emails for "eReplicaShop" and "HoodiaLife" and forty-seven 'different' internet pharmacies promising that I can be the "biggest" of all of my friends.

It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

How To Not Lose Money Playing Poker

Step 1: Don't play.
Step 2: See step 1.

We're almost seven days into 2007 and I have played a grand total of zero hands. Quite a change from the last couple years' average of a thousand hands plus per week.

I didn't go so far as to make a New Year's Resolution to play less poker (although I considered it) -- I just decided that I shouldn't play when I don't really feel like it. So far, I haven't had the urge.

Home game tonight, so the streak will come to an end.


2006 ended in pretty much standard fashion. I was actually enjoying a nice game of $25 PLO and was up a buyin, when I run into the following hand:

Very passive table. I have AJJ9 single suited in middle position. I make a smallish raise, looking to disguise my hand as much as anything else. This is the first raise in at least two orbits. Several callers.

Flop is A22. Anyone scared by that?

Checked to me, I represent AA and bet the pot. One caller. Um, OK. Someone's got a 2, maybe with an ace.

Turn is a J. Yahtzee. I slow play (you knew I'm an idiot) and check/call. Maybe I don't have AA, maybe I have a weak 2!

River is a meaningless 3. I pot it and get raised. I'm only too happy to call, and of course lose to AAxx, whose slowplay was superior to mine. I have to admit it was a surprise to see AAxx there -- too bad I didn't have 22xx.

Anyway, the standard part is that I donated my profit and quit up a buck. Yay.


Not much else going on. The weather continues to be unseasonably mild. Played golf on the first, yay global warming.

Off to watch one of the DVDs I got for Christmas.