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Friday, May 29, 2009

Engaged In Avoidance

TGIF. As the list of things I should be doing grows ever longer the more I feel like avoiding it ... by playing online poker.

I've actually fired up Full Tilt the last couple nights and indulged in a smorgasbord of (play chip) PLO. Other than brief appearance by Svetlana G I managed to avoid any slumming "red pros". Playing too long on Wednesday turned a nice win into a modest win, and last night was an even more modest win. But a win is a win and two wins are two ... um, never mind. I don't play or write good.

The BBT4 wraps up this weekend. If you have a tournament game and don't hate free money, go win yourself a spot in the Tournament of Champions for an excellent shot at a WSOP seat compliments of our friends at Full Tilt Poker.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's Here, It's There

Summer has officially arrived ... the World Series of Poker is underway.

As usual, I won't be going. I enjoyed the summer blogger gathering in '05 but haven't had the good fortune to return since. And I never have spent any notable time around the series.

Fortunately, there are a whole bunch of good folks out there writing about it. Blogging. Twittering. Whatever. If you want to stay up with what's happening, just check them out. Tao of Poker. PokerNews. PokerStars Blog. Full Tilt Poker From The Rail. There are more but I'm winging this post.

Good luck to those who are playing, as well as those working. Just stay alive, man, just stay alive.


One interesting side effect of the WSOP starting is that the Vegas jones has rekindled for the first time since December. I had thought that the debacle of the last trip - featuring my worst ever Pai Gow session - plus the cold hard fiscal reality that it ain't happening this year or any time soon had killed it off. No such luck.

I guess I need to start thinking about ways to make and set aside a little extra cash so I can maybe go and at least socialize come December. Obviously poker will NOT be the way to do it, since I suck.


On the subject of sucking, someone recently posted a link to their Official Poker Rankings rank, and I was curious enough to look up myself. I knew my recent stats have been dreadful - I was about minus $71535151513* playing the Mookie last year - but I was hoping the history would go back far enough that it would show the days when I used to play and succeed at donkaments. No such luck and an annoying reminder that the UIGEA has been in effect for a pretty long time now.

I definitely miss the old days when I'd have semi-regular tournament "scores" of some three figure amount. Of course you can't win if you don't play, and for the most part I don't. RIP poker.

(* fake dollars of course)


Speaking of poker, I may go out and play live this weekend. The Poker Zone in Holland has worthwhile local charities on a regular basis but this time it's one of my favorites - the Spread the Music Foundation - benefitting from your rake. If you happen to be in West Michigan - Holland, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Allegan, wherever and want to play some live charity poker for a good cause, stop in. Cash games and tournaments available, see the Poker Zone site for hours and games. From personal experience, I can say that the Poker Zone is a well run operation, the games are usually pretty good and there are enough crasians to get your gamble on if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gimme Some Cake

I noted while wasting time recently that Lee Jones, the former Pokerstars cardroom manager and sometime participant in blogger home games, has signed on with Cake Poker to be their cardroom manager.

I don't know much about Cake, but if I were inclined to start playing serious poker again I would be more likely to take a look at them because of this signing. At least some of the good rep Stars earned during the boom had to be due to Lee's involvement and I've appreciated his visits to the 2+2 forums to interact directly with players.

From what I understand, Cake is U.S.-friendly, rakeback is available, and HUDs/Pokertracker type programs are not allowed. If you're looking, you might want to check them out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Software Guru

I've been hard at work writing a companion app to be used with the Full Tilt Poker client - one which I'm sure will be a blockbuster smash hit.

Tentatively titled "CheekCheck v 1.0", my app will allow you to determine ahead of time if your session is going to be the usual rollercoaster ride of bad beats and suckouts or if it's going to be one of the kind where you half expect Mickey Rooney to come out from behind a curtain and say "stand up, drop trou and spread 'em wiiiiiiiiide open".

I needed it to be finished before last night. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Instead I got to spend an evening in hypermonkeytiltoramaland. Worst day in a long f---ing time. I knew things were going to be good when I got stacked the first hand in a blind-vs-blind battle, my flopped uber-wrap draw going down in flames to some cheese-eating surrender monkey who decided that an unimproved JJxx was worth pushing to the limit. Goddamned French omatards. Runner-runner jack high flush beat down my crappier flush.

I won't say I played well, but give me a f---ing break. Stacked multiple times. I certainly overplayed the last hand, but was it really necessary to give me A8xx double suited in position, throw out a flop of A82 and have a passive opponent hold AA22?

Steaming hot - and still playing PLO, you can find a picture of me if you google "wikipedia +masochism" - I signed up for the damn Mookie. Made it into the third hour by folding a lot. A timely AA - my only big pair - garnered me most of TwoBlackAces' stack. I think I got AK once too. There was this time where I flopped quads with pure gold 55 against Absinthe, but that was pretty much the highlight. I went out with a whimper, coming from ahead to lose to a turned straight and a runner-runner straight. So f---king standard. 14th place. Made the points, which when added to the dollar in my pocket will pay you for listening to the bad beat story.

So in conclusion I extend a full two middle finger salute to the Full Tilt random number generator. Once I dechiper some additional code and finish my app, your assreaming days are over you little bitch.

[O/T] The Good Times

(I know, I know ... I should have a generic blog for stuff like this.)

When even the eternal optimists in our state government issue a forecast this grim, you have to stop and wonder what the hell is going on.

Unemployment next year is forecast to average just a whisker less than 17%.

If our pals in Washington insist on having Federal Motors build products that people won't buy (absent the return of $4 gas) or if they decide not to "bail out" - by paying for goods provided - suppliers, lolbankruptcytrickedU, that figure will be scary low.

State income tax collections are expected to be down nearly 20%. That's down 20% from this year when we already have double digit unemployment and nobody's made money in the stock market.

A variety of stealth tax increases starting with liquor, tobacco and the state parks are already in place. More increases are coming - our beloved governor is enamored of the idea of a "progressive" income tax and has an opportunity to jack up the gasoline tax by making it a percentage instead of a flat amount.

I guess I should look on the bright side - as long as I don't make any money or ever go out and do anything, I won't be affected by any of this. And I'll never be unemployed as long as I'm self-employed. Woo hoo!

We used to joke that the last one out of Michigan should turn out the lights. There was always somewhere where things were better. I don't know where that is anymore.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PLOverbet For Value?

With my reduced level of play I don't spend as much time thinking about poker as I once did. Yesterday's play (and recent sessions also) however have gotten me to think about a situation that comes up fairly often in Pot Limit Omaha:

The river card has been dealt and it has given you the nuts.
You are up against one villain who has been leading the betting.
You assume that the river card has counterfeited villain's made hand,
or at worst he/she has the same hand you do (e.g. broadway).

What is the optimal bet size to get villain to call you?
(assuming you have no read on villain).

Any time you have the nuts you want to extract maximum value. The issue, really, is whether PLO players respond differently than NLHE/PLHE players.

When playing NLHE, I am a fan of the overbet for value. Bet as much as possible. While it doesn't work every time - and you certainly are going to have opponents who are too weak/tight/savvy to call even if they think they're ahead - there is a very good chance that the overbet is a +EV play against a random opponent.

I'm not so sure that's the case in PLO. This is results-oriented thinking at its worst, but it doesn't seem like I get very many calls when I pot the river. Some of that may be table image, but I'm really starting to wonder if it's more about your average full ring PLO dabbler being a weak/tight nit who refuses to call without the nuts.

If that's the case, there should be an optimal bet size - again assuming a random opponent - of less than the pot that incites calling (or better yet raising) all out of proportion to what you would expect. I simply don't know what that bet size is. I don't seem to get many calls with any reduced bet size either - it's almost as if a 1/4 pot or 1/2 pot or 2/3 pot bet is a giant flashing "I have the nuts!" sign.

If there isn't an optimal sub-pot bet size - if any bet greater than zero (i.e. a check) will make a call a low-probability event, then it would seem that the full pot bet would most likely be the optimal strategy.

Since my thinking on this is a work in progress, I'll leave it at that for now. With the addition that the above shows just how useful it is to know your opponents, and also that I should be taking a stab at more pots than I do when I can represent a hand that got there on the river.


Fear the blue.

I saddled up for a little online poker last night. I didn't really have any goals in mind, just signed on to see what was up. Full Tilt was running a bunch of satellites and super satellites to the miniFTOPS series. Those looked amusing - most buyins under two bucks.

I do not run good at the donkaments.

My favorite red professional fish was sitting at a high-ish level deep stacked full ring PLO table, and even though a full buyin would have been more than half of my play chip roll I had to sit. The only way to find out if they've gotten better is to get in there and play. I also popped up a lower level table and had a total of four lovely windows of poker splashed across my screen.

Until Windows took a dump, of course.

I should have seen it coming. The laptop was running very slowly and it was getting worse. Still, you can never predict the exact moment you're going to get the blue screen of death. Not good times.

The annoying part is that it takes about 15 minutes for the stupid thing to reboot, and I have to wait until everything gets going so I can manually kill a program that I can't seem to uninstall and which screws up my internets access.

By the time I got back my friend had left. So I hung around anyway, hit a huge wrap draw (but didn't get paid on the river) which was enough to make it a winning night.

Later I ended up at another table with a "red pro" I didn't recognize, "Mandy B". I had to look up her biography on the FTP website, and I still have no idea who she is. Might be the tightest PLO dabbler out there, though.

Aside from the major malfunction, it was a pleasant session. No Riverchasers event for me and I'm not likely to get home in time to play the Skilzzzzz Series tonight, so it may be a while before I get to do it again. Good luck and idiot out.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I Would Buy The Book

Finally someone who gets it. Waffles on tournament poker:
There is no skill involved. Just throw your chips in with [any two cards] and pray to whatever gods you worship.
Yeah. That.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fear Improvement

Nothing much to see here. Lots going on in the poker blogosphere, just not anywhere near this space.

I worked in an hour or so of PLO this weekend, winding down from a long day of not doing very much. I was inspired by the presence of my favorite FTP uberfish superfish fish "red pro" (and a recently swollen playchip bankroll) and sat at a higher level than I have in quite some time.

To my surprise, the "pro" appeared to have improved their game and left the table a solid winner, at least for the time I was sitting. I hope this was an aberration - I would hate to have to take them off my fish list.

Anyway, nothing eventful happened. I dropped just about one round of blinds after a card-dead session. Back to more modest limits I go.


The last month of the BBT4 is underway. Tournaments continue every Sunday through Wednesday with opportunities galore to win your way to the WSOP. Visit Al, who is the man, for all your BBT4 details. I swear they're there, you just have to look past the excellent photos.