Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
This post is in the form of a letter to Tony (yes, the same Tony featured in the previous post's silly story), but because the problems I identify are common, I hope there is value to my readers in letting you all peek in on it.
I play poker on a need to know basis. I need to know the thoughts my opponents are thinking. I need to know the feelings they are feeling. And I need to know the cards they are playing. Meanwhile, I need them to know as little as possible about me. I call this relationship the information war.The information war is fought on two fronts--sending and receiving. To win it, send less information than they send, while receiving more information than they receive. By controlling those differences, you control information flow....The information war at poker has an arms race, and if one were to take it to its natural extreme--which I have--one would play a style of poker I call "mum poker"--which I do.On the outside, mum poker is the classic poker face, extended to the entire body, and maintained through sixth street. [Angelo coined the term "sixth street" to refer to everything that happens after one hand ends and before the next begins, most especially the players' discussion about what just happened.] On the inside, mum poker is no complaining, no blaming, no regretting. Mum poker is stillness. Mum poker is readiness....Or you could just think of it as sit up and shut up.Today, when I am playing primarily for profit, I play mum poker.... I do not speak unless spoken to, and even then, I do not react to questions or comments about poker.I have found that the less information I send, the more I focus on the game. And when I am focused on the game, I send less information. When I employ mum poker, I fight on both fronts of the information war simultaneously....Mum poker is not about not talking. It's about not talking about certain things, namely, poker things. Mum poker means not talking about poker plays, poker thoughts, and poker feelings, especially the recent ones. And it means not talking about poker players, especially the present ones.Mum poker means not saying certain words and phrases when you play. Words like ace, king, queen, spade, heart, pair, straight, gutshot, river, etc. Mum poker also means not being a dickhead. If someone asks you if you like your food, answer. If someone asks you if you like your cards, don't answer. That's mum poker....There's a big difference between ignoring the people and events in a poker game and not reacting to them. Ignoring is when you react on the inside, but not on the outside. Not reacting is when nothing happens, inside or out. Not reacting looks the same as ignoring, but it feels better....Everything everyone does is a tell. What they wear is a tell. How they sit is a tell. What they say is a tell. What they don't say is a tell.... It's all a seamless trail of tells. And what do all these tells tell you? It depends. Tells might tell you about your opponent's thoughts. Tells might tell you about your opponent's feelings. Tells might tell you about your opponent's intentions. Tells might tell you what your opponent's hole cards are. It all depends on what you are doing. Are you listening? Or are you telling?
I wrote quite a bit about Tony "TBC" a couple of months ago here, after watching him play a heads-up Omaha match at the Tropicana poker room. (Since then he has moved his blog to here.) Last night he and I shared a table at Hooters for a few hours.
I sat down for what turned out to be a long interview with Glenn at Missing Flops:
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Interesting and informative post from "Taxdood" on a recent case from the U.S. Tax Court:
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
A small controversy erupted yesterday during the World Series of Poker. Long-time boyfriend and girlfriend David Sands and Erika Moutinho, against all odds, ended up next to each other at the feature table very deep in the Main Event. I wasn't watching the live webcast on ESPN3 when the incident in question occurred, so let me quote a couple of poker media sources.
TD JACK EFFEL ISSUES A WARNING TO THE COUPLE ON THE FEATURED TABLE
Before the dinner break, there was a small controversy at the featured table because last-woman-standing Erika Moutinho and her boyfriend David "Doc" Sands were whispering between hands.
Yes, the last-couple-standing is still alive with 30 players remaining.
During the dinner break, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel tweeted that he had discussed the issue with Moutinho and Sands, because there were complaints about the whispering.
@WSOPTD: Had a conversation with them, and they are both on notice.
No matter what happens, it's an awkward situation for Moutinho and Sands.
If they stay out of each other's way, they're open to accusations of soft playing. If they play against each other, they're open to accusations of chip dumping. It's a bit of a no-win situation.
The two began play on separate tables, with Sands on the featured TV table and Moutinho on an outer table. But when Bach was eliminated from the Main Event, Moutinho was moved to the TV table and seated right next to her boyfriend.
When Moutinho took her seat at the table, Sands greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. Moutinho had 2.6 million when she sat down at the featured table. Sands had 2 million. When Sands and Moutinho weren't in hands, the two looked like they were lost in their own universe, talking quietly to each other.
But when it appeared Moutinho had whispered what she had just folded to Sands (Sands was not in the hand), tournament officials stepped in and warned the two players to be very careful about what they communicated and how.
Tournament officials told Casino City afterward that due to the unique and high-profile nature of the situation, they had to make extra sure there was not even the appearance of wrongdoing at the table.
@SavagePoker RT @SammyTheDentist: did you see Moutinho/Sands hand? <--They were told to stop as it is not fair to everyone at the table.
97. Players are obligated to protect the other players in the tournament at all times. Therefore, whether in a hand or not, players may not a.) Disclose contents of live or folded hands....
Please go read the two-part blog post from my friend Dominic about his first WSOP Main Event. The combination of his skill as a tournament player and good first table draw enabled him to acquire and then maintain a big chip stack through the first three days--quite a contrast to my experience being handcuffed and surrounded by talent. It all came crashing down for him--as it eventually does for all but one player--but not until he had made it into the money on day 4. He writes poignantly about how it all felt.
A few days ago I presented a rudimentary statistical analysis showing, I believe, that women in the WSOP Main Event performed less well on average than the men did, in terms of surviving to the money. I wanted to do another test of how the women cashing did compared to the men cashing, in terms of final standings, but I couldn't do it until now. With the last female in the field eliminated a few hours ago, I can now proceed.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I've mentioned a few times here that in recent weeks I've been participating semi-regularly in a weekly team pub trivia contest run by Vegas Pub Quiz. The team, "Quiz On Quiz Off," is a loose and ever-changing group anchored by Katie Baxter and Bob Lauria. The team has been privileged to have as guest players such luminaries as Shamus, Julius Goat, and Matt Matros.
My power move against new opponents is to say, "I'm going to throw rock," and nothing else. I am doing this to induce in you a belief that I'm not going to throw rock, at which point I will throw rock. Or if I think you are the type to believe that I will do as I say, then I'll do so with the intention of throwing scissors (or paper, depending on whether I think you will be aggressive or not).