Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Friday, September 30, 2005


A few years ago, Firefly  was one of my wife and my favorite shows.  It was a space western comedy on FOX, which unfortunately only lasted one season.   Luckily they went and turned it into a movie.  They decided not to name the movie after the show so that people who didn’t like the show wouldn’t make the connection.  Sneaky huh?  We’re hoping that the movie is such a huge hit, and they’ll be forced start the show up again.  Most likely the movie will be decent enough to have a really crappy sequel that will kill any hopes on ever seeing a new episode of the show.  So just for tonight, I’m giving you permission to stop playing poker to go see this movie.  

If you haven’t heard of the movie or seen the trailers, you can find the homepage here, and the trailers here and here.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Idiots and Poker Coaches

Idiots and Poker Coaches.

So, I got called an idiot after winning a pot the other day.  It wasn’t the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but in this case I think I actually played the hand pretty well.  Let me know what you think.

FullTiltPoker - $1/$2 - Limit Hold'em -
Seat 1: Player 1 ($55)
Seat 2: VILLIAN ($45)
Seat 3: Player 3 ($20.75)
Seat 4: HERO ($107)
Seat 5: Player 5 ($71.25)
Seat 6: Player 6 ($29.50)
Seat 7: Player 7 ($36.75)
Seat 8: Player 8 ($16.75)
Seat 9: Player 9 ($39)
Player 8 posts the small blind of $0.50
Player 9 posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to HERO [Jd Js]
Player 1 folds
VILLIAN raises to $2
Player 3 folds
HERO raises to $3
Player 5 folds
Player 6 folds
Player 7 folds
Player 8 folds
Player 9 folds
VILLIAN calls $1

Ok, so far so good, I reraise to try to isolate the original raiser and it works well.

*** FLOP *** [5d 6h As]
VILLIAN checks

Not the flop I was hoping for.  There was a pretty good chance that I would see an overcard, but I could have done without the ace because I have to think he has one.  The check confused me though.  Maybe he doesn’t. I’ll bet and see.

HERO bets $1
VILLIAN raises to $2
HERO raises to $3
VILLIAN calls $1

I reraised because I wanted to see how much he really liked his hand.  He could have raised me hoping to catch me in a bluff, and if he has a weak ace then I want him on the defensive.  Plus by reraising I might get him to check on the turn giving my two more cards for two small bets.

*** TURN *** [5d 6h As] [Jh]
VILLIAN checks
HERO bets $2
VILLIAN calls $2

Jackpot!  Nothing like hitting one of your two remaining outs.  He did in fact check which makes me see think my raise on the flop worked.  Only problem is that maybe it worked too well, because I now I wish he would have lead out.  I was tempted to check behind and hope to get him to bet on the river, but I wasn’t sure I could get him to bet then, so I did, and fortunately he called.

*** RIVER *** [5d 6h As Jh] [Tc]
VILLIAN bets $2
HERO raises to $4
VILLIAN calls $2

Straight possibility, but I still think I’m good.   I’m more worried about him having wired aces than a KQ.  When he doesn’t reraise I know I’ve won.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
HERO shows [Jd Js] (three of a kind, Jacks)
VILLIAN mucks  
HERO wins the pot ($24.50) with three of a kind, Jacks
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $25.50 | Rake $1
Board: [5d 6h As Jh Tc]
Seat 1: Player 1 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: VILLIAN mucked [Ah Kc] - a pair of Aces
Seat 3: Player 3 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: HERO showed [Jd Js] and won ($24.50) with three of a kind, Jacks
Seat 5: Player 5 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: Player 6 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: PLAYER 7 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: Player 8 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 9: Player 9 (big blind) folded before the Flop

So he had Big Slick and flopped top pair top kicker.  And he then felt the need to insult me for beating him.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was ahead on ¾ of the streets.  Maybe my bet and raise on the flop was questionable, but if I don’t do that, then I’m on  the defensive for the rest of the hand, I have no idea where I stand, and I can’t possibly call another bet unless I hit one of my two outs.  By being aggressive, I can get him to fold if he doesn’t have a hand, and if not, it at least tells me that I need to get out.

Anyway, he was quite tiltable, as he kept getting beat by crap hands and he kept bitching about it.  He would call anyone that beat him with less than a premium hand a maniac, and then repeatedly claim that you can’t beat maniacs.  

Now, there are a couple of things that amused me about this situation and these online poker coach type players in general.  First of all, if you think that you can’t beat maniacs then doesn’t that have to mean one of two things?  Either you aren’t good enough to be playing at that level, or, playing like a maniac is the best strategy.  If it’s unbeatable then why don’t you use it thus becoming unbeatable yourself?    

And secondly, if you were such a great player, why would you ever want to make your opponents better?  WTF?  Bad beats are frustrating and all, but if you are smart you would do everything in your power to get people to play their garbage hands.  It just gives you that much more of an advantage.  Why would you want your opponent’s only playing hands that are as good as or better than yours?  Sure, every once in a while they’re going to crack your aces with absolute crap, but trust me, they more than make up for it by constantly playing at a disadvantage.  And yes, maybe it’s tough to read a maniac because he could have anything from 53o to AA and he’ll be raising regardless.  That’s why you tighten up and wait until you have a monster hand and punish him.  

Why berate a player for beating you with a horrible play?  Compliment him on a well played hand and encourage him to do it again.  Make him think he’s clever and then take his chips from him as he continues to play from behind.  At the very least, be considerate to the rest of us and don’t scare away the fish.  


PokerStars Blogger Tournament

Thanks to the guys at Up For Poker for the tip. Oh, and I don't think you have to have a poker blog to play, just a two month old regularly updated blog.

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 5434913


Friday, September 23, 2005

White Sox Collapse

Any one else think the White Sox collapse is funny?


Just me huh?

OK then White Sox fans here’s a question for you…

There’s an old saying: “Its better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.”

Along those same lines, Is it better to have the best record in Major League Baseball for most of the year and a 15 game lead in your division only to choke and lose it, possibly not even making the playoffs, or like my Cubbies, to never have a legitimate shot at the post season, thus allowing their fans to stop worrying about baseball and concentrate on the start of football season?


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

WPBT Tournament Summary

WPBT Tournament Summary – Pauly’s Birthday Bash

First off, a disclaimer:  The details for this report are mostly accurate.  I didn’t take great notes, and as far as I know, there is no hand history file from Titan Poker that I can use to fill in the gaps.  If I missed something or lied about how something went down, too bad.  

I almost didn’t play in this one.  The tournament was to start at 8:00PM.  I got home from work at 7, and my phone was ringing.  Checking the caller ID confirms what I was afraid of.  It was my wife.  A call from her at this time usually means that she missed her train and I have to go downtown to pick her up.  As I suspected, that was the case.  Apparently her train just decided not to show up today, so she had to take a later one, meaning she missed her connecting train back home.  Boo.   She’ll be downtown at about 7:30, so if I can get there by then, I should be able to make it back home by 8ish, and hopefully only miss a hand or two of the tourney.  I just had to pray that traffic wasn’t bad, and everything would work out.  Luckily for me, there was no traffic out of the city, and I made it back home with ten minutes to spare.  Whew.

On to the tourney.  Only 67 players signed up, which I blame on the fact that it was on Titan Poker’s site, and not too many people play there.  At least it shouldn’t take too long.

As my table comes up, I see that I’m at what would have to be the TV table, sitting among such notable bloggers as BadBlood, Otis, and the blogfather himself, Iggy.  There may have been a few others, but I didn’t recognize the names.  Sorry if I missed you.

Level 1:  10/20 Blinds

First thing I notice is that the blind levels are 20 minutes long, not the 10 or 15 that you find in most online tournaments. I’m a fan of this as it gives you more time to play before the blinds start forcing you your hand.

I win my first hand of the day when I call a min raise with Ac5c.  The flop is Ace high with two clubs.  The turn pairs the board, and everyone folds to my bet.  

The software needs some work.  There is a warning buzzer that goes off when you haven’t acted quickly enough.   The problem is that by the time I get to the bet amount field and start typing in an amount, the buzzer has already gone off.  Quite annoying.

I’m playing real tight.  

9 minutes in and CrzyJ wins the first hand with the hammer.  

KcQc wins a decent sized pot for me.  I think four players saw the flop, and one stuck around for the turn.  The board was showed a jack and two tens.  Hopefully the fact that I have only played two hands so far this round is making everyone respect my bets a little more.

Last hand of the level and I have big slick.  The flop is king high, and I keep firing all the way to the river before my opponent finally folds.

Level 2:  20/40 Blinds

So I only played three hands last round.  I think it was a combination of bad cards, and just tentativeness due to what I perceive to be the quality of opponents.  I don’t want to get into pots where they’ll be able to force me into tough decisions.  I don’t know if that counts as playing scared or smart.   I’ll pretend it’s the latter.

First hand of this round and I have QQ in the big blind.  Next hand I have KK.  I’m up to $T2680 and in first place.    I haven’t gone to a showdown yet.    Also I’ve had AK, QQ and KK in the last three hands.  The other side of variance is going to suck.

Yup, 15 straight minutes of folding.    I finally get to play a hand when I complete from the small blind along with a few limpers with A2o.  I miss the flop and have to fold.

Last hand of the round and again I have AK.  I’m in the small blind and limp with three other players.  I thought about raising, but I’m going to be out of position for the rest of the hand, and I wanted to be able to get out cheaply if I things didn’t go well on the flop.  

Things went well on the flop as it was xKK.  It checked around, and the turn was a rag.  I bet a small amount on the turn, hoping it would look like a steal.  BadBlood raised me, and I called.    The river was an Ace.  BadBlood was the only one left.  I bet about a third of the pot, hoping he would come over the top again and not wanting to let him to be able to check behind me.  He did come over the top, going all in, and I called.  He had KQ.  Ouch.    I’d feel bad except that he had been mercilessly stealing my blinds for the past 15 minutes.  That’ll show him.  Now I’m up to 3745 and back in first place.

Level 3:  30/60 Blinds

The hand of the round is one that I wasn’t involved in.  I think I was writing notes as it started, so I missed all the details, but four players, including Otis ended up all in before the flop.  The first guy in the pot had a high pair I think.  I want to say jacks. Otis had aces, and the other two had Ax.   Otis’ aces stand up, and he knocks out three players at once, and moves into the chip lead.  

Those players are soon replaced by

Pauly, April, and Gracie.  This is now the uber feature table.  In real life ESPN would be scrambling to find a different table to move me to.

I’m still getting no cards, and have to defend my blinds with crap.  This happened to me a number of times during the evening.  It would fold to the small blind who would min raise me.  I’d min raise back and he would call and then check-fold on the flop.  

I start getting impatient and raise with TJs.  Iggy reraises all in for like $T1400.  I had around $T3500.  I was expecting him to turn over the hammer when I folded, but he just mucked it.  

At the end of this round we still have 52 of the 67 players left.    

I fold a lot.  Of the 67 hands I’ve seen, I’ve only seen 9 flops.   Fortunately I’ve fared pretty well in the hands I have played as I am in second place with $4290 at the end of the round.

Level 4.  40/80 blinds.

Derek joins our table.  I don’t know that I’ve ever played with him, but he always seems to be near the top of the leader board whenever we’ve played in the same event.  Not someone I’d choose to be at my table.

Wow.  I don’t think I played any hands this round.  Exciting huh?

Level 5 50/100 blinds.

Otis is running over the table.  It seems like he is in every pot, and no one wants to challenge his bets with the huge stack that he has.  

I’m still in one of the longest runs of crappy cards I’ve ever seen.   It’s a good thing I built up a lead early because I’m just blinding away chips now.   I haven’t had a hand that I even considered defending my blinds with in a while.

Can I get 68o again?  No really.  I enjoy seeing it every other hand, and when four or five go by without seeing 68o, I start to get worried.  

Tried to steal from the small blind with 67o and got reraised all in.  I feel like there is a neon sign over my head saying “he has crap, just raise him, and he will fold”.  

Tried to steal again w Q9s.  Missed the flop and the BB takes it.

Actually raised with a decent hand this time, KQ, but once again someone reraises all in and once again I fold.  

I’m starting to get real frustrated with my inability to push anyone off a pot when I get AJs.  April min raises from early position and I just call.  The flop is JKx and she bets.  This is the best hand I’ve had in about an hour, and I’ll be damned if someone is going to scare me and my middle pair top kicker out of the pot. I raise.  She goes all in.   I make the crying call, hoping she doesn’t have the king, but knowing she probably does.  I have her covered, but losing this hand is going to sting.  Sure enough she turns over KQ, and I’m in trouble.  The turn is an Ace giving me two pair, and eliminating her from the tournament.  Bad beats suffered at my hands:  1.

Level 6 100/200 blinds

Bad beat number two comes early in this round.  Derek raises from early position, and again I call with AJ, unsuited this time.  The flop is KA9.  I don’t remember the exact sequence, but he ended up going all in, and again I called.  I was hoping he had something like KQ, but I was still pretty sure I was beat.  Was I ever?  He had a pair of rockets flopping trips, and I needed runner runner to stay alive.  I was about to type “nh” into the chat when I saw the turn was a queen, and I started hoping for the impossible.  Sure enough a ten on the river, and I claimed my third blogger of the evening.  Bad beats inflicted by me:  2.

Woo hoo.  Now my raises are getting respect as I raise preflop with wired sixes and everyone folds to me.

My fourth high profile victim is Pauly.  I raised his blind with wired nines, and he called.  The flop was T87 giving me an open ended straight draw and middle pair.  He goes all in.  I don’t think he has anything, and if he does, I still have a few outs, so I call.  He shows JQ.  The turn was a 7 and the river a 9, giving me a full house.  Do I get a bonus prize for taking out a pair of brothers?

I now have $T8505 and I’m in first place by more that $T2000.

After that hand I’m moved to a new table where I’m finally on the other end of the bad beat stick.  I flop top pair top kicker with AT and get a small stack all in.  He then proceeds hits a runner runner straight.  Knocks me out of the lead, but I’m still in good shape.  Back to folding a lot.

Level 7 150/300 blinds

The second break comes a few minutes into this round.  There are 24 players remaining and I’m in 4th with 6925.

Nothing too exciting.  I don’t get any action on my pre-flop raises.

It’s just about the end of this level when I’m in the small blind with KTo.  I call a small raise, as does the big blind.  The flop is K high, and I lead out for half the pot. Big blind calls, and the original raiser raises.  I don’t like that.  I thought I was probably good when the flop first hit, but now I’m thinking that at least one and probably both of them have me beat.   I fold and see them turn over KJ and KQ.   I think more times than not I would  have reraised there and lost a lot more of my chips.  I’m proud of myself for letting the hand go.

Level 8 200/400 blinds

Pocket aces earn me a large pot when my raises are called pre and post flop.  The turn was a second king, which really worried me, but he folded to my bet.

I raise pre-flop with A8 suited and get two callers.  Not what I was hoping for.  The flop is the hammer special 722, and they both fold to my bet.  It’s funny how scary a board with sevens and twos can be when playing with bloggers.

I claim my fifth victim as I call an-in pre-flop with a pair of jacks.  He flops a straight but the river brings me a full house, and I’m up to $T12575

Level 9 300/600 blinds

Eleven players left.  I’m in second with $T13975.

A player from the other table is eliminated and I make the final table.  Only five more spots to go until the money.

Early on I bet on a missed flop and get called.  He checks the turn and river, and lucky for me, I check behind him as he had flopped trip jacks.  I think that was pretty good read on my part, although it wasn’t hard since I had nothing anyway.

I’m in 5th out of 10 with $T11275

My big blind defense move works as I make it to $13075.

And then I fold a bunch more.  

In the small blind, with Maudie to my right in the big blind, its folded to me and I try to steal with JTo.  She reraises.  I put her on just about anything, thinking she senses the steal and is trying to resteal.  I go put her all in.  I figure chances are, she doesn’t have a hand she wants to risk going out with, and this shows that my initial raise wasn’t just a steal.  I was wrong.  She lets the timer just about run out before calling with a pair of fours.  The board hits all around my JT, but I don’t improve and now I’m in bad shape.

Level 10 400/800 blinds

Ouch.  Blinds suck.  Down to T$6730

At the third break I’m in 5th place out of seven remaining players with $7930

I knock out the 6th place finisher when my A7 holds up against his K7.  As I was writing that note, I opted not to play AT when it is folded around to me on the button.  That turns out to be a real lucky choice as the small blind also folds and the big blind turns over AK.

I keep getting the hammer in the big blind.  I just can’t call a raise with it and risk bubbling out after almost four hours.  Blogger tournament or not.

Someone other than me needs to go out.  This is starting to worry me.  If I go out on the bubble there is a pretty good chance that I am going to cry.

Finally.  Maudie goes out when her wired nines fall to pocket tens.

I made the money!!!.  Woo.  Hoo.  

Level 11 500/1000 blinds

I’m real short stacked, but I get all in with KK against A9 and double up to 8280.

Next hand and I get all-in with AK against AJs and he makes a flush.  Boo-urns.  

KT beats A9 in a hand I wasn’t involved with to bring us down to four players.  I’m the super short stack with only $T3700.

I make my final stand with wired threes, and lose to A9.    

4th place and my second money finish in WPBT events.  Not too bad.  Can’t wait until the next one.  And next time you should think about playing.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

WPBT Paulys Birthday Bash

WPBT Pauly’s Birthday Bash.

Just got knocked out of the tourney.  Not too bad. I finished 4th out of 67 for a $134 payday.    I’ll do a full write up tomorrow night.  It’s just about my bedtime, and I’ve been staring at my laptop for too long.

As a teaser, I did bust the following well known bloggers.


Although, before you start thinking that I’m actually a competent poker player, I do have to admit that at in least two of the above knockouts were due to some horrific bad beats that I inflicted upon them.  Oh well.  Gotta get lucky every now and then.  Other than that I folded a lot, and everything else worked itself out.

Anyway.  Come back tomorrow for all the exciting details.  


Monday, September 19, 2005



Ahoy there mateys!  Today be talk like a pirate day, so ye best be cannin’ that land lubber speak and be talkin’ like a pirate.  If ye don’t be believin’ me look at this here site.  If it’s on the internet, it has to be true.  


In honor of talk like a pirate day, a few pirate jokes.

Someone actually typed this in the chat during a game…

Have you heard about the new pirate movie?  

It’s rated Arrrrrr.


A captain walks into a bar with a ship steering wheel lodged halfway down his pants.  (Is there some nautical term for the steering wheel that I don’t know of?  I’d make a great pirate huh?). Anyway, Captain walks into the bar with the steering wheel shoved down his pants.  The bartender looks up and says to him “You know you have a steering wheel shoved down your pants?”   “Arrrrr” says the captain.  “Its drivin’ me nuts”


Now fetch me some rum, grab a deck o cards, and let’s wager on that there treasure.  



Saturday, September 17, 2005

I Hate Ticketmaster

Ok, big surprise there. Who actually likes ticketmaster? But seriously, this is getting ridiculous.

I bought two tickets to a concert this morning. They cost $32.50 each. Guess how much I paid for my two $32.50 tickets.

$65? (32.5 x 2) No.

$70? (32.5 x 2 + assorted taxes and fees). Not quite.

$80? (32.5 x 2 + assorted taxes and excessive fees). Getting warmer.

Try $95. That's 45% markup. Are you kidding me?

  • 32.50 x 2 ... Price of tickets

  • 2.50 x 2 ... Building Facility Charges. Ok, its in the Chicago Theater which is a historic building and blah blah blah. I can live with this.

  • 9.80 x 2 ... Convenience Charge. That's right. For the convenience of buying their product, I am charge an additional 30%. If anything, I should get a discount for ordering online because everything is automated and they don't have to staff ticket vendors, making it cheaper for them.

  • 0.80 x 1 ... Additional Taxes

  • 4.35 x 1 ... Order Processing Charges. So, in addition to charging me $9.80/ticket for the convenience of buying the tickets, I have to pay an extra $4.35 for them to actually process the order.

What a scam. Can you imagine of other businesses worked like this?

"Yeah, I'd like the $3.99 Super Value Combo"

"Ok, Sir, that will be $7.50. Please drive thru"

The WPBT Lives

After a few month hiatus, Iggy and Pauly have announced a new WPBT event this Tuesday at 9PM EST.
This one is going to be held at Titan Poker and is open to all poker bloggers and readers.

Go sign up. It should be a lot of fun.

WPBT Tourney - Pauly's Birthday Bash
Tuesday - September 20th
9pm EST
$20 +$1
Password: thehamma
Titan Poker


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy Blogiversary to Me.

Today marks the one year anniversary of this very blog. If blogger’s stats are to be believed, in the past year I managed to compile 155 posts, at least half of which had something to do with poker. Honestly I’m amazed that I’ve found that many things to write about. I’m even more amazed that people are still reading. And I’m reasonably sure they are. (What’s wrong with you people anyway?)

So this is the part where I have some grand vision for the future of this blog and/or my poker career. Too bad I’m still making it up as I go. As far as writing goes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to write about poker. There are hundreds of other poker bloggers out there with more and more each day, and finding something to say that hasn’t already been said is quite a challenge. And you can only write about your latest bad beat so many times before everyone stops caring. I’d be surprised if I still had something to talk about a year from now, but I would have said the same a year ago. As for poker playing, hopefully I’ll be able to move up a few more levels or start playing in some higher profile tournaments, and that will provide some inspiration. I just need to build the bankroll a bit before I take that step.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Book Review: The Illustrated Guide to Texas Hold’em

Book Review: The Illustrated Guide to Texas Hold’em: Making Winners out of Beginners and Advanced Players! By Dennis Purdy

The Illustrated Guide to Texas Hold’em offers a different and unique approach to teaching beginning Texas Hold’em. Rather than hundreds of pages of theory and strategy with a few sample hands at the end of each chapter this book offers a brief introduction to the game, and then follows it with 150 illustrated hand examples that allow the user to develop and test their skills. The approach is based on the fact that people learn better by doing, and seeing than by just reading.

The book starts off with a few short (as in about three pages) chapters on the basics of Hold’em. How the game works, some basic etiquette, what to expect at a live card room, and a brief introduction to calculating pot odds. After that it is page after page of sample hands, and advice on how to play them.

Each example consists of two pages. On the left, there is a diagram of the table, where the blinds and button are, who is still in the hand, your hole cards and whatever board cards are known. There is also an explanation of the action so far and a question as to what you should do when it is your turn to act.

The right hand page offers an answer to the question, along with an explanation as to why that is the correct play.

One of the things this book does well, especially for new players, is to teach proper pre-flop hand selection. Most of the early examples have to do with this. The author takes a number of hands that new players, and too many experienced players will play when they should really be folding. Any two suited cards, Ace/rag, low pairs in early position, and just plain garbage hands, and shows why it is a losing decision to play those hands with any regularity. He also does a good job of showing the importance of position. There are a few times when the same starting hand is used for two examples in a row. The only difference between them is starting position, which ends up determining if the hand is playable or not.

There are also a number of examples when the author shows that you sometimes have to fold hands that you thought were monsters, which is another thing beginning players will often have a difficult time with. Wired Kings look great pre-flop, but when five people are still in on the river, and there is an ace, and four cards to a flush you don’t have on the board, you might as well have 8-3o because neither one is going to win the hand for you.

Similarly a couple of examples that show unless you have the absolute nuts, you don’t have the nuts, and to be aware of what hands could beat you. That is something even I sometimes have trouble with, making my hand, and not noticing that the same card also could have made someone else’s better hand, or blindly betting on later streets without reevaluating the strength of my hand based on the board.

Learning when to chase is also a skill that most players, probably don’t understand. Drawing towards your straight or flush can be a good decision, or maybe not, depending on the odds the pot is giving you. There are examples throughout the book where you have draws to big hands, and must decide if calling a bet is a good decision or not. Purdy goes through the odds calculations, and shows you why it is correct to fold in some cases, while chasing other.

One of the problems with books in this format is that with so many examples they all start to run together after a while, and I think the advice stops sinking in. If you try to read this book all in one sitting, I don’t think its going to be all that helpful. If you can look at five to ten examples a day, then the format probably works a lot better. I had similar problems with Caro’s Book of Poker Tells, and I don’t know if there is anything you can do to about that using this format. It should really be treated more as a study manual than anything else.

I think the author could have done a better job of using your opponents playing style to help make decisions. Purdy does a good job of reinforcing the fact that an early raise means you need to reconsider the strength of your hand, but he doesn’t often consider the type of opponent when making that decision. A raise from the maniac who has played every hand since you sat down, raising more often than not should not nearly be the cause for concern that a raise from the guy who hasn’t played a hand in over an hour would be.

Along similar lines, many times the author takes his opponent’s failure to raise as a sign that the opponent doesn’t have a monster hand. He often dismisses the chance his opponent has trips on a paired board based on a call rather than a raise. Maybe it’s just in online play, but I think he is grossly underestimating player’s, especially low limit player’s, tendency to slow play big hands. I would guess that more times than not they are going to slow play those hands, and automatically assuming otherwise could be asking for trouble when you get check raised on a later street.

Overall, I think is good book for someone just getting into Hold’em. It provides a good foundation for building your poker skills that will be a good starting point to successful play. If you are an experienced player, you might still gain some new insights into your game, but you are should already know most, if not all of the concepts discussed.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Change in Skills

Change in Skills.

When I first started playing poker online it was all Sit-n-Goes all the time for me.  SNG’s were how I first really leaned to play poker when we would have a weekly tournament after work.  They were what I understood, and what I was good at.  I was also a decent multi-table tournament player as the skill sets are pretty similar, but I didn’t really have the time to pursue many big tournaments.

My first few forays into limit ring games were less than successful.  The fact that seeing another card was so cheap was often just too enticing to pass up, and I would slowly bleed away my chips.  I even swore off limit poker on more than one occasion because I didn’t think I could be successful at it.

A few months ago I rededicated myself to becoming a good ring game player.  There were a number of reasons for this.  The first was bonus chasing.  Playing tournaments didn’t accumulate player points fast enough to claim bonuses, so I felt like I was leaving money on the table.   Along with that was the fact that the bonus could cover some of what I might lose, making the learning experience less costly.    Another reason was time.  If you are going to be play in tournaments, you have to be able to designate a enough time to finish, and that often prevented my from playing.  In ring games, if something comes up where you have to stop playing after half an hour, you just take your chips and leave.  That made if much easier to find the time to play.  Lastly I felt like I wasn’t always playing good fundamental poker, and I felt like playing ring games would help enforce some of the concepts that I knew I wasn’t really using in my tournament games.

Flash forward a few months, and now I play limit ring games almost entirely.  I’ve been pretty successful at it lately which makes the choice between, ring and tournament games go in favor of ring more often than not.  To balance out my newfound limit skills, my No-Limit tournament play has completely deteriorated.  I’d like to blame it on just rustiness, but I don’t know if that’s it.  I’m just not reading players right, and I’m being overaggressive at all the wrong times, and its costing me.

I like to take a shot at some large multi-player tournaments every once in a while.  I usually do well enough to finish near the money but not quite there.  I feel like a final table appearance is easily within range, and the payoff of such a finish would easily pay for any missed attempts.   I think they could be +EV in the long run, as long as cash every once in a while.  

Lately it seems as though I make it through the first break in decent shape, at about the middle of the field in chip count.  Then I start running into problems because the blinds have escalated to the point where I over commit myself in a hand, or I lose/fold a hand where I invested a decent percentage of my stack, and then I’m in all-in or fold mode, which never turns out well.  

Last night I played a couple tournaments on Poker Room.  The first was $10 + 1, and there were only 150 or so people registered when I signed up.  10 minutes later there were 395 and the cards were in the air.  10 minutes after that I had busted out in 372 place.  Quite possibly my worst showing ever.  There was no reason for me to go out on that hand.  I had made the decision going in that I was going to try to see more cheap flops early on in the tournament.  I think if I can do that, and hit a few flops I can be in better shape later on.  I’m never in the chip lead in the early stages, partly because I don’t play enough hands to get there.  So I figured if I loosen up at first, when it is cheap to do so, maybe I can lucky once or twice, and if not, then I won’t go broke trying.

Now for the hand in question I had A9 in late position and limped in.  The flop was 279, and it checked around to me.   I bet T$45 which was about half the pot, fully expecting to take it right there.  Plus I figured that if anyone called, they would probably have overcards, and I would still be in good shape.  Especially if they were hanging on hoping for an ace.  The small blind raised to T$240.  At this point, I thought he thought I was trying to steal the pot, and that he was trying to push me off it.  So I reraised trying to do the same to him.  He called.    He checked when the turn was a Q and I can’t imagine that card helped him based on how the hand has progressed so far.  I felt like I had to bet here, and the pot was over T$700,   so it had to be substantial.  I bet T$250 and he calls.  Crap.  I don’t remember the river, but it didn’t look like it would help him.  He went all in.  I don’t know why, but I called.  I knew I was beat, but I didn’t want to believe it.  I was still clinging to the thought that he was bluffing me.  Plus, I had already bet most of my stack leading up to this point.  I had top pair on the flop, and since he bet so strong on the flop, the overcards on the turn and river didn’t worry me since I didn’t think he had them.  Turns out he had flopped a set of twos, and I was done.  

Horrible play by me.  There is absolutely no excuse for going broke on that hand.  I just couldn’t lay it down after I had invested so many chips in the beginning when I thought my hand was good.  Here’s where I think my limit play hurt me in that situation.  In the same scenario in a limit game, he raises, I reraise, and he either calls or rearaises back.  On the flop I bet to see if he is still interested, and then if he calls or raises, I check-call the river, losing at most five big bets.  Still maybe not the optimal play, but I can use a cheap raise early in the hand to find out how much he likes his hand.  In no-limit, I had to raise so much of my stack that I felt committed to finishing out the hand.  I guess I should have seen his initial raise as strength and bailed there, but unfortunately I put him on a bluff and didn’t properly reevaluate when he wouldn’t go away.

I wasn’t too upset about losing that tournament because there was a $20 short handed tournament starting up in a few minutes Maybe I’d have better luck with that.  Or not.  156 participants, and I was out in 152nd.  I have successfully blocked this hand from my memory as it was somewhat traumatic in it’s suckiness, but here’s what I have listed in the notes from my spreadsheet:   “AQ lost to A7.  xQ7 flop.  7 turn. Called an all in. I suck.”    I think part of the problem is that I feel like I have been folding hands in these situations a lot, only to see my opponent show down with a weaker hand, and that has been frustrating me, so I was determined not to let that happen.  So I showed them.  This time I called and game them all my chips.  Maybe next time they’ll think twice about pushing all in .  Or something.

Anyway, after the 20 minutes of complete suckiness on the tournament scene, I fired up FullTilt for some ring games.  I still have a little bit of bonus to clear, and I was pissed at PokerRoom for making me lose so I wasn’t going to keep playing there.  

I tried mutli-tabling for the first time since moving up to $1/$2.  When I first made the move to $1/$2, I went back to one table so that I could fully concentrate on it, as mistakes were now going to be twice as expensive.   Lately I’ve been losing focus, engaging in other –EV activities while playing; working on my website, reading other blogs, doing fantasy football research, etc.  Might as well use that time to play more poker right?  At least that will force me to stay focused on the task at hand.

For the first part of the night I was even.  Table one was down $20 while table two was up.  Then it was $30 each, then $40.  It was interesting.  I felt like I was playing the same on both tables, just the cards kept falling my way on one and not the other.  $40 was my low water mark and I eventually finished down about $30 on table one.  Meanwhile, I went on a huge rush on table two, ultimately finishing up $112.   Granted I most likely played that one table longer than I’ve ever played a single table, but that finish was probably double any other finish I’ve had.  And it covered my losses in the tournaments earlier.  It was tough to leave the table, but at some point sleep is a good option.  

Anyway, I started this post with the intention of talking about my shift from no-limit tournies to limit ring games.  I don’t know if that’s what I ended up doing, but let me finish by saying that my results last  night were a great example of where I currently am in my poker journey.  The question now is if I want to try to rededicate some energy into getting back into tournaments, or stick with the seemingly less volatile world of limit ring games.  


Friday, September 02, 2005

PokerRoom Promotions

PokerRoom Promotions.

Sorry for the commercial nature of this post, but PokerRoom has a few cool promotions going that I though I’d share. And as always, you can use bonus code POKERWORDS for a 40% bonus up to $200.

First off, you can now turn your player points into free tournament entries, which is something I plan to take advantage of.  They actually released this a few weeks ago, but I’m a bit behind.  Here’s the points/tourney value:
$5+0.50 - 550 PP
$42+3 - 4,200 PP
$50+4 - 5,000 PP
$100+8 - 10,000 PP
$300+20 - 30,000 PP
$400+20 -38,000 PP
$1,000+0 - 90,000 PP  

They are also running sit and go challenge this weekend.  The top 10 points finishers earn a freeroll to a $20,000 added sit and go.  Players get 30 points for a 10 handed win, 10 points for a 10 handed runner up and 15 points for a five handed win.  Chasing this bonus is probably not something that’s good for my bankroll, but tell me this wasn’t made for the PokerNerd?  I think 8 tabling sit and goes for a few hours/days would qualify him.

I also got an email to subscribe for a free copy of the new PokerRoom Magazine.  (oooohhh).  “The first issue, a full 64 pages about and the world of poker in general, will be released in early October.”  I’m sure it’s going to be a bunch of crap about how great PokerRoom is, but it was free, and “Limited Edition”, so of course I signed up.   I’d guess that they are giving this to all their players because I can’t imagine that I am anywhere near the high roller uber comp level of play.  And I don’t think I’ve even logged into the site in about a month.  

Finally, like a bunch of other sites, they are running a Hurricane Katrina Aide Tournament.   $20+0 and they match the prize pool with a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.  


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fantasy Football Draft Results and Analysis

Fantasy Football Draft Results and Analysis

So the fantasy draft is over and all in all I would say it went pretty well for me.  As I mentioned yesterday I had the fourth pick and I was worried because after my top three draft choices there wasn’t really someone I wanted to take over any one else.  It worked out fine as the number one and three picks made some choices that I wouldn’t have expected.  So in case you are interested, here are the results.  Please don’t mock me too much for my selections or commentary. I make no claims to be an expert.  I’m also trying out this new Blogger Microsoft Word plugin, so if the formatting is messed up that’s why.  It looks good in Word I promise.

Oh yeah.  We play QB, RB,RB,WR,WR,WR/TE,K,D and have four bench players and scoring is as follows:  

  • Completions (.1)

  • Passing Yards (30 yards per point)

  • Passing Touchdowns (4)

  • Interceptions (-2)

  • Sacks (-.5)

  • Rushing/ Reception Yards (10 yards per point)

  • Rushing/ Reception/Defensive/Kick Return Touchdowns (6)

  • Receptions (.25)

  • Return Yards (25 yards per point

  • 2-Point Conversions (2)

  • Fumbles Lost (-2)

  • Field Goals 0-39 Yards (3)

  • Field Goals 40-49 Yards (4)

  • Field Goals 50+ Yards (5)

  • Point After Attempt Made (1)

  • Point After Attempt Missed (-2)

  • Sack (1)

  • Interception/Fumble Recovery/Blocked kick (2)

  • Safety (4)

  • Points Allowed 0 points (20)

  • Points Allowed 1-6 points (10)

  • Points Allowed 7-13 points (7)

  • Points Allowed 14-20 points (4)

  • Points Allowed 21-34 points (0)

  • Points Allowed 35+ points (-4)

Round 1

  1. Drunken Pirates     Bryan Westbrook

  2. Vikings     LaDainian Tomlinson

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Priest Holmes

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Shaun Alexander

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Daunte Culpepper

  6. Danimal’s Animals     Payton Manning

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Edgerrin James

  8. High Quality H20     Cory Dillon

  9. Dad’s Dynasty     Julius Jones

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     Willis McGahee

Bryan Westbrook at number one was probably the biggest surprise of the draft, but I certainly appreciated it because that meant that I would at least get my third choice.  This league gives .25 points pre reception and Westbrook will have a bunch, so he might do OK.  I had him marked as a sleeper that I might be able to pick up in the third or fourth round if I had to take a QB or WR early.  Priest Holmes was another questionable call that I also appreciated.  I had him as a possible fourth pick, but I was worried about injuries, so I would have taken Edge over him.  I certainly would have taken Alexander over both.  And I did.  Good round for me.

Round 2

  1. Salmon of Capistrano     Deuce McAllister

  2. Dad’s Dynasty     Randy Moss

  3. High Quality H20     Domanick Davis

  4. No Talent Ass Clowns     Jamal Lewis

  5. Danimal’s Animals     Kevin Jones

  6. Hoosier Daddies     Tiki Barber

  7. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Rudi Johnson

  8. Salsiccia Kings     Marvin Harrison

  9. Vikings     Tory Holt

  10. Drunken Pirates          Chad Johnson

I was hoping Davis would slip through as he’s another back that should get a lot of receptions this year.  Once he was picked I targeted Lewis, but that didn’t last long either.  I settled on Rudi Johnson who was on my team last year and did pretty well.   And then the run on top receivers began.

Round 3

  1. Drunken Pirates     Joe Horn     

  2. Vikings     Terrell Owens

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Clinton Portis

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Donovan McNabb

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Ahman Green

  6. Danimal’s Animals     LaMont Jordon

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Javon Walker

  8. High Quality H20     Andre Johnson

  9. Dad’s Dynastyy     Tony Gonzalez

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     Nate Burleson

I’m surprised Owens lasted this long.  I guess his holdout status has people worried.  Also not sure how Green didn’t get picked yet.  Did he really have that bad of a year last year?  I don’t usually like to take a QB this early, but the upper tier of WR were gone, and McNabb was the second QB on my sheet.  

Round 4

  1. Salmon of Capistrano     Reggie Wayne

  2. Dad’s Dynasty     Trent Green

  3. High Quality H20     Curtis Martin

  4. No Talent Ass Clowns     Hines Ward

  5. Danimal’s Animals     Roy Williams

  6. Hoosier Daddies     Pittsburgh D

  7. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Michael Clayton

  8. Salsiccia Kings     Anquan Boldin

  9. Vikings     Mark Bulger

  10. Drunken Pirates      Kerry Collins

I would rip on the Hoosier Daddies for taking a defense in the fourth round, but he usually ends up doing pretty well, so I guess I’ll just assume that He has some great master plan.   Pittsburg is certainly a good defense, and shutouts are worth a fat 20 points, which is why he said he took them, but I bet if he had waited two or three or four more rounds, he still could have gotten them.   Curtis Martin leads the league in rushing and then lasts until the fourth round.  Sooner or later his age has to catch up with him right?

Round 5

  1. Drunken Pirates     Michael Bennett

  2. Vikings     Steve Smith

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Bret Farve

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Isaac Bruce

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Mike Vanderjagt

  6. Danimal’s Animals     Antonio Gates

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Michael Vick

  8. High Quality H20     Larry Fitzgerald

  9. Dad’s Dynasty     Warrick Dunn

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     Stephen Jackson

Ok.  A defense in round four and a kicker in five?  Someone started drinking a bit too early.  I’m also not so sure about that Bennett choice.  Is he even still playing?  I haven’t paid too much attention to the Viking running backs this year since they always seem to rotate in three or four.

Round 6

  1. Salmon of Capistrano     Tom Brady

  2. Dad’s Dynasty     Darrell Jackson

  3. High Quality H20     Jerry Porter

  4. No Talent Ass Clowns     Muhsin Muhammad

  5. Danimal’s Animals      Laveranues Coles

  6. Hoosier Daddies     Donald Driver

  7. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Ashley Lelie

  8. Salsiccia Kings     Plaxico Buress

  9. Vikings     Mike Anderson

  10. Drunken Pirates     Jerald Sowell

Its getting tough to find good players now.  Lelie completes my starting offence but I’m not sure if he’s a good pick or not.  Like I said yesterday after the first twenty or so WR I didn’t really prepare.  Don’t know what the pirates are seeing in Sowell.  Unless they are expecting Curtis Martin to go down.  

Round 7

  1. Drunken Pirates     Derrick Mason

  2. Vikings     Michael Jenkins

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Jerome Bettis

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Chris Chambers

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Drew Bennett

  6. Danimal’s Animals     Ronnie Brown

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Carnell Williams

  8. High Quality H20     Keary Colbert

  9. Dad’s Dynasty     Chicago D

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     Jake Plummer

Ok, you’re going to have to let the over abundance of Bears picks go since most of us are die hard Bears fans.  I picked up Chambers mostly because he was the highest ranked player remaining and his bye week doesn’t conflict with anyone else on my team.  I’m not too confident in the Dolphins offence so I’m not expecting great things here.  

Round 8

  1. Salmon of Capistrano     Jimmy Smith

  2. Dad’s Dynasty     Jason Elam

  3. High Quality H20     Aaron Brooks

  4. No Talent Ass Clowns     Matt Hasselbeck

  5. Danimal’s Animals     Baltimore D

  6. Hoosier Daddies     Eric Moulds

  7. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Larry Johnson

  8. Salsiccia Kings     David Akers

  9. Vikings     Kevan Barlow

  10. Drunken Pirates     Adam Vinatieri

Nothing too exciting here.  I picked up Johnson because I think he’s supposed to get a decent amount of carries, and I think there’s a reasonably good chance that Priest won’t make it through the whole season.

Round 9

  1. Drunken Pirates     New England D     

  2. Vikings     Buffalo D

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Carolina D

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Atlanta D

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Keenan McCardell

  6. Danimal’s Animals     Carson Palmer

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Philadelphia D

  8. High Quality H20     Charles Rogers

  9. Dad’s Dynasty     Jake Delhomme

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     Rod Smith

And the rush for defenses is on.  I could have done worse than Atlanta.  I usually end up changing my defense up a few times during the season, so I’m not too worried about this.

Round 10

  1. Salmon of Capistrano     Sabastian Janikowski

  2. Dad’s Dynasty     Chris Brown

  3. High Quality H20     David Carr

  4. No Talent Ass Clowns     Eddie Kennison

  5. Danimal’s Animals     Deion Branch

  6. Hoosier Daddies     Fred Taylor

  7. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Brandon Stokley

  8. Salsiccia Kings     Byron Leftwich

  9. Vikings     Travis Henry

  10. Drunken Pirates     LaBrandon Toefield

I’m surprised Taylor lasted this long, although I guess he is injury prone.  If he stays healthy that could be one of the biggest steals in the draft.

Round 11

  1. Drunken Pirates     Amani Toomer

  2. Vikings     Tyrone Calico

  3. Salsiccia Kings     Roy Williams

  4. Wait ‘Til Next Year     Jeff Reed

  5. Hoosier Daddies     Lee Evans

  6. Danimal’s Animals     Chris Benson

  7. No Talent Ass Clowns     Ryan Longwell     

  8. High Quality H20     Jeff Wilkins

  9. Dad’s Dynasty     Justin McCareins

  10. Salmon of Capistrano     T.J. Houshmandzadeh

I pick up my kicker not that it matters.  I went for the Steelers kicker because I don’t think their offense is all that great so hopefully they’ll be kicking a lot of field goals.  Dad’s Dynasty completes his all Naperville IL team for the second year in a row.  For those of you non-Illinoisers, Naperville is a the large suburb about 30 miles west of Chicago where most of the members of the league lived at some point in our lives.

Round 12

  • Salmon of Capistrano     Indianapolis D

  • Dad’s Dynasty     Joey Harrington

  • High Quality H20     Washington D

  • No Talent Ass Clowns     Kyle Orton

  • Danimal’s Animals     Josh Brown

  • Hoosier Daddies     Rueben Droughns

  • Wait ‘Til Next Year     Thomas Jones

  • Salsiccia Kings     Alge Grumpler

  • Vikings     Chad Pennington

  • Drunken Pirates      Jason Witten

Yaaaaay.  Done.  I think Thomas Jones is underrated, and picked him up just because it seems you can never have too many running backs.  Plus until Benson proves himself Jones should get the vast majority of the carries.    So.  There’s our draft.  Someone remind me how much of a pain in the ass it is to write this up, just in case I decide that writing this up might be fun again next year.