Monday, December 21, 2015

PokerNews article #94

This one is about how a small sample size of observations can badly distort your view of an opponent's playing style, and thus lead you into a bad decision.


http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/call-or-fold-a-dilemma-caused-by-small-sample-size-23694.htm

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

PokerNews article #93

When you lose money at poker, it's gone forever, and you can't win it back. But that's OK. Here's why.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/you-cant-win-back-what-you-lost-previous-session-heres-why-23644.htm


Monday, December 07, 2015

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Deuce-Four update

It's been quite a while since I wrote about the Mighty Deuce-Four, so I thought I'd tell you that it's still working. I just played this hand in a HORSE tournament:



Of course I made a flush. And of course it beat the other guy's straight.

LDO.

The problem, in a nutshell

Read from the bottom up here:




Those tweets were soon followed by this series of replies, all from one dude asshole:  






So a female poker player reports a session in which the sexual harassment was so thick that, in recounting it, she even forgot to mention the rape threat--and a male poker player is willing to go on the record publicly telling her that she has no right to play without being harassed, that she should "get over it," that she's being a "baby," that harassing "the new girl is not over the line," that she shouldn't "whine about it," that if she's being harassed she should "leave" and/or "man up," that "nobody cares" about her harassment, that her harassment is "Part of the game" and "standard," that she's being "2 sensitive," that surely what she perceived as harassment was said "in gest [sic]" (despite him not having been there), and that her complaints are "crap that doesn't matter." 

I think there are relatively few men who would lay on the sexual harassment at a poker game to the point that somebody like Cate Hall--who strikes me as quite evidently tough-minded and resilient--would take to Twitter to denounce it. But I think there are a very, very large number of male poker players who share one or more of Andrew's reactions to it: It's part of the game, it's not over the line, it doesn't matter, she should respond by leaving or enduring it without objection. 

IMHO, it is the latter group, rather than the former, who make this such a difficult problem to eradicate. If it were only handful of obnoxious jerks who were quickly, reliably, and sternly rebuked and shunned for their crass behavior by everybody else at the table (and, not incidentally, ejected from the game by the poker room staff), it would soon be extinguished. It's the fact that women end up having to deal with the ill-bred mouth-breathers all alone--with the silence of others constituting tacit approval--that makes their conduct so damaging. 

Thanks, Andrew, for encapsulating the problem so perfectly. 

(Please insert here all the standard caveats that as a male I can't know what it feels like, shouldn't be mansplaining, etc.) 


ADDENDUM: At first I couldn't figure out who "Andrew" was. But then it occurred to me to do a Google image search on the photo he uses on his Twitter account. The photo is of an Andrew Liporace; see here. Hendon Mob info is here. I assume, but do not know, that that's who we're dealing with here. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Winner



The epic last hand:



Monday, November 30, 2015

PokerNews article #91

Could your game use a little cognitive-behavioral therapy?

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/training-your-brain-could-your-poker-game-use-a-little-cbt-23505.htm

Mahjong raid


"Police had to take action. If the cops had allowed elderly mahjong players to win more than $10 at a time, middle-aged poker players might think they could get away with the same sort of thing. What a terrifying world that would be."

https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/30/florida-cops-shut-down-old-ladies-mahjon


Saturday, November 28, 2015

I could've had...

...a royal flush.

But I folded.




Thursday, November 19, 2015

Strange rule at Harrah's Cherokee

I was at Harrah's Cherokee over the weekend. While I was waiting in line at the cashier, I noticed this list of house rules on one of the monitors. Look at the third one.




I suppose banning Google Glass has some rationale, because one might theoretically use it to beam images of one's cards to somebody outside the game and surreptitiously get advice on how to play via an earbud. But I'm unable to come up with a justification for banning "smart watches."

Any plausible ideas?


Monday, November 16, 2015

PokerNews article #90

Daniel Negreanu made an offhand comment during a hand of this year's WSOP Main Event. He probably didn't intend it to be a strategy lesson--but I made it into one.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/thinking-ahead-one-sentence-poker-lesson-daniel-negreanu-23382.htm

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Part 2 of "Bust"

Just as riveting as part 1, linked yesterday.

http://bittersoutherner.com/bust/part-2

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Home poker game gone really, really wrong

Fabulous long-form reporting by my friend Brad Willis:

http://bittersoutherner.com/bust/part-1

Monday, November 09, 2015

PokerNews article #89

This one is about how poker players tend to use and misuse the idea of some event being "due."

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/think-youre-due-to-flop-a-set-this-time-think-again-23316.htm

Monday, November 02, 2015

PokerNews article #88

This one doesn't have any practical strategic advice, but hopefully will open your eyes to the weird ways that randomness works in poker.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/on-improbable-events-in-poker-learn-how-to-take-your-lumps-23242.htm

Sunday, November 01, 2015

TitanBet article

The good folks at TitanBet poker asked me to write a long article on poker etiquette--so I did. You can read it here.

If you're blocked from accessing the article directly because of geography, you may be able to work around the firewall. Search Google for this phrase, in quotation marks: "poker etiquette protects the sociability of the game." With any luck, that will yield exactly one result. (Well, probably two now, because it will find this blog post, too!) Going through Google may sneak you in--but no guarantees. 


Monday, October 26, 2015

PokerNews article #87

This one is all about self-control: why we need it, what taxes it, and what increases it.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/self-control-most-important-poker-resource-how-to-get-more-o-23180.htm

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Best televised hands

PokerUpdate has been running a "tournament" to determine readers' most memorable televised poker hand, out of 32 nominees. I haven't been following closely as things progress, but I popped in to see what the final four were--and they are all excellent, well worth re-watching.

http://www.pokerupdate.com/news/poker-opinion/the-most-memorable-televised-poker-hand/

For sheer poker skill, the one with Tom Dwan is the clear winner. But for viewing pleasure, it's hard to top seeing Phil Hellmuth take the bad end of one of the most incredible suckouts of all time.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Podcast with moi



Ashley Adams recently interviewed me for his "House of Cards" radio show. It was broadcast this past week through its syndicated stations across the fruited plain, and is now available as a podcast, here. It's the one dated October 19, 2015.

The impetus for the interview was my PokerNews article on the newest edition of the tournament poker rules. But we ended up chatting much more about my general life history and getting into and subsequently out of poker as a career. Only in the last few minutes did we get to talking about new tournament rules.

I apologize for the bad sound quality. I know what I was saying, and still find it kind of hard to understand. I'm not sure what went wrong with the call, though it must have been on my end, since Ashley is clear as a bell. Maybe my phone sucks worse than I was aware of.

BTW, in case you don't recognize Adams's name, I've written about him a few times before. See all those posts collected here.


Monday, October 19, 2015

PokerNews article #86

This one is about paying attention to gut feelings you get while playing poker.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/gut-feelings-in-poker-what-do-they-mean-23095.htm

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Top Pair" podcast

The boys discuss a couple of my recent PokerNews pieces in their newest episode:

http://toppair.net/pls/apex/f?p=TOPPAIR:1:0


Monday, October 12, 2015

PokerNews article #85

How should you interpret a player voluntarily showing his cards after a hand?

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/what-does-it-mean-when-a-player-voluntarily-shows-a-hand-23009.htm

Monday, September 28, 2015

PokerNews article #84

This one is about the problem of being too stubborn, in science and in poker.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/in-poker-being-stubborn-as-a-mule-can-make-you-a-donkey-22886.htm

Monday, September 21, 2015

King Ball

The biggest hand of my poker session yesterday:

From early position, I raised to $7 or $8 with A-K. Guy three seats to my left, who had overdosed on the scented body wash and/or cologne, called. The man with the love bird moved all in for about $70 from the big blind.

I was willing to call him for that much, on the assumption that he did not have aces or kings, and we would most likely be flipping. But I wanted to shut out Fragrant Man, so I moved all in myself, which was something like $400. After tanking for a while, Fragrant Man said, "Oh, what the hell," and called for about $170. Yikes. I just hoped that he didn't have any of my outs.

Cards revealed: 8-8 for Bird Man, 7-7 for Fragrant Man.

The flop was all bricks. No pairs for me, no draws for anybody.

Turn: More of the same. It was looking grim for me. I was set to lose about $70 to Bird Man, and about $100 on top of that to Fragrant Man.

But the Poker Pro circuitry took mercy on me, and delivered a king ball, corner pocket.

It's nice to get a little run-good at the perfect moment.

PokerNews article #83

This one is all about bar poker, a venue that poses unique challenges.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/seven-tips-for-success-at-tavern-poker-22829.htm

Sunday, September 20, 2015

What's the strangest thing a player has ever brought to a poker room?

I have a new answer to that question as of today, thanks to a guy who was playing at Harrah's Cherokee this afternoon with Nina and me.

A pet bird.

Not in a cage.

Inside his shirt.

My awareness of this oddity began when I heard a brief, high-pitched "tweep," which Nina later correctly compared to the chirp a smoke detector makes when its battery is running low. I figured it was some sort of notification on somebody's smart phone, and didn't think much more of it.

But a few minutes later I heard it again, and was better able to localize the direction it was coming from. I looked at the guy, and there is a BIRD POPPING ITS HEAD OUT OF HIS SHIRT COLLAR.

Mind you, this was not a stuffed bird. It was not a toy bird. It was a real, living, honest-to-goodness pet bird--a peach-faced lovebird, to be exact.

It would pop in and out of his shirt. It was out for quite a long time, sitting on his lap, as he fed it some birdseed from a little tray that he had brought along. When it chirped for attention, he would stroke and kiss it gently and talk to it softly. The bird's name is Smokey. It bit him once, and got a mild scolding, but otherwise was very well behaved. It never tried to fly away.

I know what you're thinking: "Pics or it didn't happen."

Well, OK then:


He gave me permission to take this picture, but for some reason wanted to partially hide his face.

Here's a super-cropped close-up of the bird from another shot I took a few seconds later:



I wonder how many bird poops there are inside his shirt.

Monday, September 14, 2015

PokerNews article #82

This one is about the basic steps in identifying and correcting our poker mistakes.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/three-sure-fire-steps-to-improving-your-poker-skills-22769.htm

Monday, September 07, 2015

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Historical trivia quiz

Everybody knows that the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was the Enola Gay, named for the mother of its pilot, Paul Tibbets. But flying ahead of the Enola Gay was another B-29, a weather reconnaissance plane. It found that the weather was perfect, and OK'ed the attack on the primary target. Had it been too cloudy for accurate targeting, they would have diverted to a secondary target.

What was the name of that aircraft?

First correct answer in the comments wins the internets for today.

Hint: This is a poker blog.


Monday, August 31, 2015

PokerNews article #80

Long piece on all the new poker tournament rules announced last week.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/new-poker-tournament-rules-you-need-to-know-22655.htm


Friday, August 28, 2015

Quotation of the day

"Poker has the feeling of a sport, but you don't have to do push-ups."

--Penn Jillette

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

PokerNews article #78

What skills give you your edge at the poker table? Do you even know?

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/very-particular-set-of-poker-skills-22528.htm


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The poker of politics

Clever, interesting, and original look at the presidential race as a poker tournament:

http://www.pokerupdate.com/articles/lifestyle/08122-presidential-poker-tournament-field-grows-beyond-expectations/


Monday, August 10, 2015

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Sexism

I'm about a week late getting around to reading it, but this essay by Cate Hall (whom I had never heard of before) is perhaps the most thoughtful, articulate statement I've read on the problem of sexism in poker.

http://www.pokerwomennews.com/opinion-cate-hall-on-pokers-woman-problem/

I noticed how women are treated at poker tables as soon as I moved to Vegas and started playing regularly. Though I never attempted a formal tally, my impression was that often a majority of things said by men to women during a poker game (excluding those immediately necessitated by game play) were things that could not and/or would not have been said if she were male. That is, they either were explicitly about her sex, alluded to her sex, or were dependent for meaning on the fact that the person being addressed was female.

Look, I'm not the most sensitive, politically correct of souls. But the cumulative effect was sufficiently sledgehammerish that one would have to be a troglodyte not to notice it. Confronting it directly is problematic for a host of social and poker-strategic reasons. However, I decided early on that I could at least avoid contributing to it.

So I set in place a mental filter on my conversation. When I was thinking of saying something to a female player, I'd stop and consider whether my comment or question was in that category I described above--the sort of thing that I could not or would not say to a male player in the same situation. By lifelong habit, I already heavily filter and pre-censor my speech in public settings anyway, so it was not particularly difficult to add another layer.

Of course there are common-sense exceptions, such as responding to something a woman has herself brought up that falls into that category. And I don't claim to be 100% perfect in following my own rule. But I am pretty good about it, and can recommend the practice to my male readers.

You're not individually obligated to clean up the mess along the highways, but you are individually obligated not to make it worse by throwing your Big Gulp cup out the window as you drive. Similarly, you don't have to be the sexist-speech police at the poker table, but you should take care not to add to it. As Ms. Hall makes clear, any one remark you make to a woman may feel to you innocuous, and may objectively be innocuous, but there is still a cumulative effect on a woman of her gender being the subject or cause for much of what is being said to her. I am not capable of experiencing that as a woman would, but I am capable of imagining it. It's sufficient unpleasant just in imagination that it makes me not want to be even a minor contributor--especially when it's so easy to avoid.

A tangential confession: One of the summers (probably 2009) that I was doing some work for PokerNews on WSOP reporting, I was of necessity following the series much more closely than I typically do, and began noticing that there seemed to be an unusual number of very attractive women having success. I started going through the PokerNews photo archives for the series and picking out pictures to put together into a post on my own blog, titled something awful like "The hot women of the WSOP." I had worked on it for an hour or two when I started to get a sense of general creepiness about what I was doing, and stopped. The next day I opened the draft post again, looked at what I had put together and thought, "What the hell is wrong with you?" I deleted it forthwith. I was sufficiently embarrassed that I had ever thought that to be a good idea that I believe I have never even told anybody I had done it--until now. Well, at least I had the good sense to abort it when I did.


Monday, August 03, 2015

PokerNews article #76

This one is my little tribute to the writings of Mike Caro, from whom I have learned so much over the years.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/what-can-you-learn-from-an-old-school-poker-player-plenty-22423.htm


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Knoxville, Tennessee

Nina and I went to Knoxville, TN, yesterday for her early birthday present of tickets to a James Taylor concert. We spent the day doing some sightseeing before the main event.

First we took a long walk through the lovely Ijams Nature Center. A log just a few feet from the Tennessee River was studded with hundreds of mushrooms. I decided this photo of some of them worked best in black and white:




This is a "geologic fold."




Bee on a sunflower:



This magnificent creature is a red-tailed hawk. It has an irreparably damaged wing, and therefore can't be released back into the wild, so the nature center rehabilitated it and uses it for education about raptors. Her name, unofficially, is Tiger.



Next we went up into the Sunsphere, a structure built for the 1982 World's Fair. I have no good photos from that part of the day.

Then it was on to the Knoxville Museum of Art, just a stone's throw from the Sunsphere. One intriguing piece was this one, by Devorah Sperber. It's constructed of spools of thread:



There's a spherical lens on a post in front of the work, and when you look through it, you see this:



This is one of the creepiest sculptures I've ever seen. It's made of silicone, and it's extraordinarily lifelike:



We had dinner at Sunspot, a funky restaurant on the edge of the University of Tennessee campus. Highly recommended if you're in the area.

And then the concert. I didn't try sneaking any videos, like a lot of people were doing. (See here, for example.) But it was great. Even after 45 years or so of performing and thousands of concerts, there was not a single second when I got the impression that he was "phoning it in." He looked and felt fully engaged with the music, his band, and the audience for every song. I'm delighted to have seen him live.

Except for the heat and the humidity--OMG, the humidity!--it was a thoroughly delightful day. I'm lucky to have had such a wonderful companion to share it with.


Monday, July 27, 2015

PokerNews article #75

One weird trick for instantly recovering from a bad beat.

That's right--I used the "one weird trick" thing.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/one-weird-trick-for-instantly-recovering-from-a-bad-beat-22370.htm

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Color Run

There was a "Color Run" in my neighborhood this morning. I took some photos, which you can see here.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Going light

It's not often I hear of a poker term that is new to me, but it happened today.

I was listening to today's new episode of the "Top Pair" podcast when they talked about "going light." (The discussion goes from about 37:15 to 40:45.) The subject was prompted by one of the hosts having read this recent PokerNews article by Ashley Adams, which mentions it.

Here's the relevant part of Adams's article:

Some games allow players to “go light,” meaning that they may call a bet even if they don’t have enough money on the table to do so, then can settle up at before [sic] the next hand. Other games actually allow players to reduce the size of their bet after they make it, to accommodate the smaller stack of an opponent, as in: “I bet $15. Oh, you only have $6? Okay, make it $6.”
The second half of that is neither remarkable nor controversial, assuming there are only two players in the hand. It's just an informal shortcut to get to the same result as formally putting out $15, then taking back $9 when the player with the $6 stack calls. I assume that Adams is not trying to say that he has seen this allowed when there are other players still in the hand who can call the full bet; that would be a whole 'nuther thing.

But, like Bruce and Robbie (the "Top Pair" hosts), I was unfamiliar with the "going light" part. I have neither seen it done nor heard of it.

By happy coincidence, just yesterday I bought Michael Wiesenberg's "The Official Dictionary of Poker," second edition, for my Kindle--a bargain at just $5. (That is an unsolicited, unpaid endorsement.) Here's his discussion of the subject:
lights. (n) In a home game, a situation that comes up when a player is LIGHT (definition 1). In some home games, not played for TABLE STAKES, when a player does not have enough chips to continue betting in a pot, that player withdraws chips from the pot equal to the amount of the betting beyond his chips, (usually) stacking them neatly in front of him. These are called lights. (To withdraw chips in this manner is called go light.) At the end of the hand, if the player does not win the pot, he buys enough chips to cover his lights. He then matches his lights, that is, puts the lights into the pot plus an equivalent amount of chips from the ones he has just bought. For example, in a stud game, Emilie starts with $16. After the sixth card, she has $2 left. The high hand bets $4. She puts her last $2 in the pot, and pulls $2 from the pot, and stacks it in front of her. At this point, she might say, “I’m light,”or, “I’m going light.”On the last round, someone bets $4 and someone calls. She pulls another $4 from the pot, adding it to her pile of lights. On the showdown, she finds that her three 7s are beat by a small straight. She buys another $50 worth of chips from the banker, adds $6 to her lights, and puts the $12 in the pot. At this point, the winner takes the whole pot. In a split (two-way) pot, if either the winner of the high half or the winner of the low half has lights, or both do, they exchange lights and then split the pot. This is equivalent to each first matching lights, and then splitting the pot, and saves time. 
It's easy to see why no casino would ever allow this: there's no way to verify that a player has enough cash to cover the loss, and no way to force the money out of him should he lose and just walk away without settling up. I suppose they could allow a player to take money out of his wallet and use cash to cover each call he makes as the hand unfolds, but then you've got problems of confusion, making change, slowing down the game, etc. 

(Note that casinos do do something that looks similar, i.e., stacking chips from the pot in front of a player to represent the amount he has pledged to put in the pot. However, this is only when the player is awaiting delivery of chips, either because he just sat down or because he busted and bought in again. Either way, the cash has been handed over to a casino employee, so there's no worry about a player not making good on his commitment. One time I saw a new player lose his entire buy-in on the first hand, before his chips had been delivered to the table. See here for that story.) 

But what about a home game where everybody knows and trusts each other? I still think it's a terrible idea, for exactly the reason that Bruce and Robbie intuit: it invites angle-shooting. 

From both Adams's description and Weisenberg's discussion, I gather that the concept is limited to calling bets, and does not extend to making bets or raising, though neither source makes that completely clear. If I'm right about that inference, then it's a slightly less-terrible idea--but still terrible. Also, it's somewhat less terrible if the game structure is limit than if it's no-limit, pot-limit, or spread-limit--but still terrible. 

The problem is that it allows (I assume) a player to choose whether to "go light" or simply be all-in with less than a full call. It must do that, unless you're going to look in everybody's wallets before the game starts to see how much "light" they can cover. I can't imagine how you could have a "mandatory lights" policy; if Emilie says she has no more cash, functionally you have to accept that. 

But if a player can choose to call for more than he has on the table, obviously he will only do so selectively. It's like the players who abuse the disconnection protection feature of some online poker sites.* In both situations, you are allowed to choose to risk either less or more. It's as if you had two different chip stacks, and you can choose to be playing with either the big one or the small one, depending on how strong you think your hand is.

In at least some situations, it would allow you to win far more than you had at risk. Suppose after the first round of betting you have a $50 stack, while an opponent has $500. On the flop, your opponent moves all-in. If your hand is strong but not a monster, you can call just the $50 with the chips in front of you. But if you got lucky and flopped, say, an unbeatable straight flush, you can call "light" for the full $500--far more than you would be willing to put at risk if you had any serious doubt about the outcome of the hand. 

As I said, the wrongness of this is less egregious in limit games, because the discrepancy between your actual stack and your virtual one (i.e., the real one augmented by the cash you're willing to make up after the hand is over) is relatively small. But it's still a discrepancy. 

In poker, the amount you can win from another player and the amount you can lose to that player should always be identical. In poker, you should be able to limit your losses by folding, and by checking and calling rather than betting and raising. You should not be able to limit your losses by manipulating the amount of money in play in the course of a hand. 





*If you opt in to this feature, or on sites where it is automatic, then if you get disconnected in the middle of a hand, whatever you have already put into the pot is treated as if it had been your entire stack, rather than getting folded and forfeiting that money after the time to act has expired. Some players abuse this by deliberately unplugging their internet connection when short of being all-in because they fear losing more money on subsequent streets.






Friday, July 10, 2015

Something went wrong

I played an online tournament today for the first time in about 18 months.

The first time I was dealt The Mighty Deuce-Four, I called a pre-flop raise. We saw this excellent flop:



The only question here is whether the turn will be an ace for a 5-high straight, or a 6 for a 6-high straight. Right?

So Player 72 bets more than I have. I call all-in. Obviously.

And the turn was an ace. Of course. Got this hand locked up tight as a drum.

Until something went terribly, terribly wrong.



I'm reeling. I don't understand how something like this can happen.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Smallest jackpot EVAR

Last night I was playing in a home game. You might say it's a small-stakes format, as we use blinds of $0.20/$0.20.

Somebody suggested that we start up a bad-beat jackpot. After some discussion about how much to take from each pot and what the requirements to win it would be, it was settled. We started raking one 20-cent chip from every pot and putting it in a special cup set aside for that purpose.

Four hands into the game, it hit, and the loser of the hand was awarded the new bad-beat jackpot of 80 cents.

There was much cheering and rejoicing.



Monday, June 29, 2015

PokerNews article #71

Today I discuss three common but false poker ideas that you should purge from your brain.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/three-common-poker-ideas-to-banish-from-your-mind-22096.htm

Monday, June 22, 2015

PokerNews article #70

Should you play more starting hands in order to increase your odds of hitting a high-hand bonus?

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/chasing-poker-room-high-hand-bonuses-is-it-worth-it-22010.htm

Monday, June 15, 2015

PokerNews article #69

This one is about the recently deceased mathematician John Nash and how his theories shed light on playing perfect poker.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/got-gto-connection-a-beautiful-mind-perfect-poker-21907.htm


Monday, May 25, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Oh, what a feeling!

Last night I played another tavern poker tournament.

At one point, I raised with A-J.

Flop: A-A-J.

But wait, it gets better!

I made a small bet and got four callers!

But wait, it gets better!

Turn: the final ace. I think I probably have this locked up.

But wait, it gets better!

I made a bigger bet. Three callers!

But wait, it gets better!

Some irrelevant card on the river. I move all in. TWO CALLERS!

Both were shorter stacks than mine, so a double knockout. And I became monster chip leader.

It's all skill, ya know. You have to practice for many years to learn how to flop a full house, and improve it to quads.

Monday, May 11, 2015

PokerNews article #64

Another batch of angle-shooters, and how to foil their evil intentions.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/still-more-angle-shooters-and-how-to-defeat-them-21511.htm

Are there other angle-shooting techniques that I have not covered in these two articles? I have about 3 more, but not enough for another full article. Let me know what I've missed, and maybe I'll get a third compilation out of it.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Hellmuth vs. Negreanu

I never get tired of seeing Phil Hellmuth lose.



"The most weirdly played hand in the history of poker"



Of course, they shouldn't use the word "beat" in the title, since the queens were ahead all the way.

Monday, May 04, 2015

PokerNews article #63

Seven dirty poker tricks--and how to fight back.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/seven-dirty-poker-tricks-and-how-to-fight-back-21436.htm


By the way, I had almost as many more examples that I didn't use because of space limitations. Was that enough, or would you like to see a second article with more? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Should you go pro?

A sobering look at the financial realities of trying to make it as a professional poker player, from one who has been there, Daniel Negreanu, here.


Monday, April 20, 2015

PokerNews article #61

When you flop a big hand, should you play it slow or fast? Here's how to decide.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/to-bet-or-not-to-bet-that-is-the-question-21299.htm

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Top Pair podcast (again)

I'm not a guest on the latest episode (April 18, 2015), but the guys chat about the PokerNews article that I wrote after appearing as a guest on the previous installment. You can listen here.


Catawba Falls

Yesterday was my monthly all-day date with Nina. The highlight was the three-mile (round trip) hike to Catawba Falls, a spot about 20 miles west of Asheville.

Nina noticed this critter, which I think is one of the many species of "Appalachian mimic millipedes."



Getting to the falls from the parking area requires crossing shallow parts of the Catawba River a few times. This is Nina trying the wading method. I tried the rock-hopping method, which kept my feet and pants legs only marginally more dry.




We passed by a couple of abandoned buildings...








...and some rusty steel cables.




Then, of course, there was the river and falls and rocks and trees and, well, nature in general.










It's hard to either describe or show how pretty it is in the little part of the world called western North Carolina. I guess you'll just have to visit--or move!--here and see for yourself.

Monday, April 13, 2015

PokerNews article #60

A bunch of miscellaneous tips that were too short on their own to merit a full article:

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/five-tips-to-make-your-poker-game-happier-and-more-profitabl-21233.htm


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

PokerNews article #59

This one is about how one's primary goal for playing in a home poker game is different for that of playing in a casino.

http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/strategy-for-home-poker-games-it-s-not-what-you-think-21182.htm


Monday, April 06, 2015

Slow-roller punished

This is the best poker thing I've seen in a long time:

https://paddypowerpokerblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/andreas-gann-takes-8th-place-for-e26750-deserves-it/

Best part about that clip is the other players immediately laying into Gann with their disgust at his conduct.



ADDENDUM, April 7, 2015

According to one of the commentators in that video clip, he spoke to the culprit shortly after the incident, and learned that he had previously been exclusively an online player, and had no idea that what he did would be considered bad form. Furthermore, when he was told that it was, he immediately sought out the slow-roll victim and apologized to him.

http://www.irishpokerboards.com/forum/showpost.php?p=888949&postcount=220


Saturday, April 04, 2015

"Top Pair" podcast

I was the guest on the latest episode (April 4, 2015) of the "Top Pair" poker podcast, which focuses on home games. You can listen to it here:

http://www.toppair.net/pls/apex/f?p=810:6:0::NO::: 

We talked about my history of getting into poker, my experiences with home games, and my poker writing here and for PokerNews.

They also spent some time in their previous episode (same link, scroll down a bit to March 21, 2015) talking about my PokerNews article on playing with cash on the table. It's from about 19:00 to 31:00 in that episode.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The cards can change

Great story on how your cards can literally change, if you're not paying attention:

http://blog.pokerjunkie.com/wsop/the-cards-dont-change-except-when-they-do


Monday, March 30, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Date with Cardgrrl

Once a month, Nina and I schedule a whole-day date. For March, it was yesterday.

We started with some flowers for my girlfriend--Gerbera daisies. (Right-click/open in new tab for maximum embiggification.)



Then we were off to breakfast at Biscuit Head, which is not only the best place for breakfast in Asheville, NC, but in the whole wide world.



Our next big plan was to head to a place called Max Patch for a hike. But there were lots of things to stop and see on the way there. First we spotted a burned-down house, which required exploration.





Much of the winding road to Max Patch follows the course of a lovely stream, which has many little rapids like this one:



This was the sight at one scenic overlook, on our heavily overcast day:



On the last few miles of the climb up to Max Patch, it began to snow. There was a brief window of time when the snow coated the tree branches, but was melting when it hit the ground, creating an effect lovelier than I could capture in photos, though I tried.







When we finally arrived at Max Patch, it was too cold, snowy, and windy to make for a nice hike, so we basically just turned around and drove back down the mountain. But the trip was a worthwhile adventure anyway.

Out next stop was an appointment for an hour in a hot tub. The Hot Springs Resort and Spa has a bunch of hot tubs fed by a natural geothermal spring, so that the water is a constant 102 degrees year round. The tubs are in private enclosures, some lined up along the French Broad River, some along a stream that feeds into the river. (We were told that tubs 5 and 8 are the best positioned, but we didn't know that in time to request them.) It was a lovely, relaxing way to spend an hour.

This is me, getting in the way of you seeing the nice view that we had from the tub (photo by Nina):



Then we headed back to Asheville, to the opening of the annual orchid show at the North Carolina Arboretum. There were so many spectacular orchids on display that it was hard to pick just one--or even just a few--to show you.












Our last stop was dinner at an excellent Nepali restaurant in downtown Asheville, Cafe Kathmandu.




Finally, we went back to Nina's house for a couple of cutthroat games of Quiddler.

And that is what it's like to spend a whole day with my girlfriend. I kinda like it--and her.