Saturday, August 14, 2010

More on how to play Deuce-Four

I played another $15 tournament on Bodog this afternoon. I had the Mighty Deuce-Four four times. I thought I would give you all yet another little tutorial on how to play it.

The first option is to flop two pair, like this:

Or like this:

But if you have enough skill to pull it off, I would really recommend using it to hit a gutshot straight draw on the turn, when your opponent slow-plays his flopped two pair. That's the kind of play that is more likely to maximize your winnings:

An aside:

I realize that these Bodog hand histories are terribly difficult to read. Their format is maddeningly bizarre, compared to those of more mainstream sites. I apologize. If I could put the hands into a replayer for you, I would. If I could just run them through a program that rendered them into a more straightforward, chronological order with the extraneous bits cut out, I would. But I don't know of any easy way to do either, and trying to type out who bet what and which cards came is too much work.

Heck, it's hard enough just getting the hand histories in this lousy format. They are not stored on one's hard drive. In order to look at the last hand played during a tournament, you can't just click on "last hand" as at Full Tilt and Stars. No, you have to go back to the main lobby, click on "account," then click on "hand history," then specify tournaments or cash games and the date, click "search," then scroll down the list of hands to the last one, and click on that hand number. It's a horrible, horrible system. Also, it took me a while to figure out how to use a screen capture utility I have to get the entire history at once into a JPEG, as it has to be able to auto-scroll the window in order to acquire the whole thing. It's just a nasty mess. But it's the best I've been able to figure out so far.


What about the last 2-4 I had, you ask? Well, you wouldn't believe it even if I posted the hand history, so I won't bother. Final table, 7 players left. I was the short stack. I had 2c-4c. I shoved, just trying to steal the blinds. Of course, I was delighted when the small blind called me and had K-K. I was about a 99:1 favorite. But he got lucky and sucked out on me, and I was done. Picked up $85 for the fairly deep finish, but wish I could have done better. Just goes to show you that nothing in poker is certain, not even the 2c-4c. Especially on sites that are so obviously rigged.

Guess the casino, #599

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Boulder Station

Friday, August 13, 2010

Guess the casino, #598

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Aria

Poker gems, #384

Phil Laak, on how to win the WSOP Main Event (on ESPN broadcast earlier this week).

Everyone is bleeding in this thing. The trick is to bleed the slowest.

[I will avoid the obvious jokes about Laak bleeding the slowest, when he's looking like this.]

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Guess the casino, #597

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Tuscany

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who's the real devil?

If you read much from the bunch of poker bloggers that cover the World Series of Poker, you've probably heard about the guy that several of them refer to as "The Devil." He pops up in the blogs after doing something new to freak out the writers--especially Otis and Pauly. For prominent examples, see here and here. He confirmed his demonic status with the believers this summer by getting Table 66, Seat 6, in a WSOP event. The date was 6/6. You have probably seen the guy (briefly) on television: He has discovered that ESPN will put him in the beginning of the first Main Event show if he bangs a pair of cymbals to start off the event. And you thought the devil only played the violin.

James Akenhead, though, is conceding the title to nobody. On Monday night's "Poker After Dark," a flop of 6-6-6 got him talking about some of the stranger points of his life. First, he was born at 6:00 on 6/6. But wait, there's more!

I came second last year in Event #2, and that took all my prize money, my
total prize money, to 666,000. Two days later, on my birthday, I cashed in the
2K at Bellagio, and that took me to 666th in all-time money winners.

He goes on to report that the day before the taping he had played a sit-and-go at the Venetian, and was assigned to Table 66, Seat 6. In London, at the World Series-Europe, he says, he was in Seat 6 and won 66,600 pounds.

So bang away at your cymbals, fake Poker Satan. The real Prince of Poker Darkness sits in London, ready to claim your soul for having the impunity to impersonate him.

Guess the casino, #596

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Plaza

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'd flip the coin

A new week of the PokerStars Big Game has finally begun. I'm watching the first episode now (available here).

David "Viffer" Peat is sitting to the left of this week's "loose cannon," Troy Howard, and makes him an interesting offer: When they are in the blinds, if the action folds around to just them, he would match Howard's all-in, assuming that neither of them looked at his cards.*

Would you take him up on that offer if you were the loose cannon? I would.

Here's how I'd see it. I'm probably -EV overall playing against this bunch, which includes Barry Greenstein, Antonio Esfandiari, and Chau Giang. It is surely less than 50% that I will come out winner by playing straight. Doubling my money in the prescribed 150 hands is highly unlikely. For either goal--ending up in the black, or ending up at or close to double my starting stake--I am more likely to achieve it by a 50/50 shot than I am by playing the game as intended.

Furthermore, I would know that I was likely to have to take worse odds than that later on. That is because the staked player gets to keep only what he wins above the initial $100,000 that they give him to play with. That means any player who is even a little below his starting stack when the last few hands come up is going to have to force the action with huge bets, no matter how lousy his cards are. A 50/50 shot is better than trying to win in that situation.

There is also the overlay to consider. Specifically, whichever loose cannon at the end of the season has the highest total win gets an additional $50,000 in tournament entries from PokerStars. The benchmark so far is a $63,000 win. Being at or close to a $100,000 win would be very difficult for anybody else to beat. If I won the flip, I would just fold every single hand for the rest of the week, making for extremely boring television, but maximizing my chance to hold on to the profit. The blinds are $200/$400 with a $100 ante (six-handed), so 150 hands would cost about $30,000, still leaving me with a $70,000 profit--enough to be in the lead for the $50K bonus, and likely a difficult mark for any subsequent loose cannon to beat.

The show's producers would probably hate me, but too bad. I would be in it for the money, and I would judge this gambit to be my best shot at having any profit, as well as my best shot for having the season's highest profit, so I would take it in a heartbeat, and let them curse and moan over my fold-every-hand-thereafter strategy.

So did Howard do it? Nope. On the second orbit, the opportunity arose--folded around to Howard and Peat in the blinds. Howard chickened out. He had J-7 and would have been up against Viffer's K-Q. They played to the flop, and Howard hit a 7 (A-9-7), but folded to a bet anyway. He most likely would have won his crapshoot if he had had the nerve to go for it.

Too bad.

It would be interesting to ask him to explain why he turned down the offer. Just afraid to gamble? Or does he seriously think his chance of profiting 175 big blinds or more in 150 hands is better than 50/50? My guess is he just didn't think through the math of his situation--which, if I'm right, all by itself shows that he is probably not a player of a caliber that is going to fare well. (I'm only halfway through the first episode, so haven't seen him play many hands, but my radar says that he is not very good at all--something akin to the first week's contestant, but much less skilled than the second and third weeks' players.)

*Technically, they couldn't quite do it all-in in the dark, because the game is structured to be pot-limit before the flop and no-limit after the flop. But assuming both players are honorable and will stick to their word, they could just limp in, then go all-in on the flop without looking at their hole cards. Same outcome.

Stupidest arguments yet...

...for not legalizing online gaming:

(Thanks to @GamingCounsel for the pointer.)

Hint to Professor Kindt: In addition to the other idiotic arguments you make, as soon as you say the words "crack cocaine of gambling," everybody knows not to take you seriously.

Guess the casino, #595

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Mirage

Monday, August 09, 2010

Little white lies

Yesterday I scored another final table and another cash in a Bodog tournament, finishing 7th out of 400+ players. The buy-in was only $10, so one had to go very deep to win much of anything. I got $110 out of it for four hours of playing, which is OK, though hardly spectacular.

Anyway, because of this recent string of success in Bodog tournaments, I had asked to cash out some of my winnings. I got the check in the mail today. I was amused to see that my Bodog account number was listed as "Employee ID," and both the check and the stub have printed on them, "Payment for Marketing Services Rendered."

I didn't even know that I had done any marketing for them! I thought I had just won some tournaments.

When hula hoops are outlawed, only outlaws will have hula hoops


Guess the casino, #594

To reveal the hidden answer, use your mouse to highlight the space immediately after the word "Answer" below.

Answer: Harrah's

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Blindsided by the Might

I dunno. Maybe I shoulda seen it coming.

Guess the casino, #593

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Answer: Excalibur