Saturday, August 20, 2011

Poker gems, #433

Mike Caro, in Poker Player newspaper column, August 29, 2011, page 19.

Question 6: Does it upset you when players make decisions that cost you money because of their ignorance?

No. Those plays don't cost me money. They provide me with money. Even if the poor play is successful this time, I know that all such plays bundled together add to my bankroll. That's because players who make mistakes cost themselves money.

That money has to go somewhere. Eventually, it comes to me. So, why should I be upset when opponents act in ways that build my bankroll? They may fail to help me this hand and take the pot. So what? At least they're trying to help me. And eventually they'll succeed.

Isn't that a better way to look at it?

Guess the casino, #955

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

Answer: Flamingo (duh!)

Two Bodog SNGs

Just finished two Bodog single-table SNGs, $10 each. The first was Omaha/8. I thought that might be fun. First hand I flopped top full house and clicked the "bet" button every time it was my turn. On the second hand, when somebody put in a pre-flop raise three times the size of the big blind, it dawned on me that something was amiss. I looked more closely at the game header and for the first time noticed that it was pot-limit, not fixed-limit. D'oh! I likely could have made a lot more on the first hand. Well, actually, I probably wouldn't have signed up for it to begin with, since I don't have a good sense of PLO8 strategy.

Here's how I went out: I have A-8-5-2 double-suited, raise, get one caller from small blind. Flop is 7-6-3 rainbow, giving me nut low and open-ended straight draw. This I like. He bets minimum, I pot, he shoves, I call. He has Q-5-4-2, single-suited (a strange hand with which to have called from the worst position pre-flop, to say the least). That gives him the flopped straight. No problem, thinks I. If I catch my draw, I've got a higher straight, and, in any event, I have the nut low for half the pot locked up.

Not so fast, Grumpy boy! Turn is an ace, counterfeiting my low. That is, I have 7-6-3-2-A, but he now has 6-4-3-2-A. River is another 6 so I missed my high draw, too. Buh-bye. Thanks for playing.

What a stupid game.

But the other SNG I entered at the same time was good ol' no-limit hold'em. I winz it. The only mildly interesting thing was the end game. When finally heads-up, I had about 11,000 to his 4,000. He started going all-in on every single hand, and I had a seemingly endless string of 3-2, 7-4, 9-5, J-2, etc. I just folded to him every time, after I tried a raise once and he shoved yet again. But finally, after what seemed like eternity, when he was up to a little over 6000 chips and I was down to below 9000, the heavens opened, angelic choirs sang, the poker gods did have mercy, and I saw A-A before my eyes. It was his button and he open-shoved, as always. I called. He had A-2 offsuit. He did not improve.

As Mike Sexton is fond of saying, his was a move that will work every time but once.

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Bodog goodness

Bored late last night, I entered two sit-and-go single-table tournaments on Bodog. I came in 3rd in the cheaper one and 1st in the pricier one. And as for today, I just finished another $15 daily MTT, coming in 2nd for $270. I had entered the final table as the short stack, so yay me for exercising much more patience than is my usual bad habit when playing online.

Have I ever mentioned that I tend to do well playing on Bodog? I have? Oh, well, then, never mind.

Guess the casino, #954

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

Answer: Caesars Palace

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's in a screen name? #30

I get the feeling that SOMEBODY resents having to give up Full Tilt and Stars for the crappy Carbon poker network.

Article on where to play

My friend Shamus just put up a piece for Betfair about choosing a poker room for low-stakes games when visiting Vegas:

It includes some tips, both general and specific, that I suggested to him, which will probably sound familiar to long-time readers of my ramblings.

Guess the casino, #953

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

Answer: Rio

Birthday grrl

Earlier this evening I was reading through the Cardgrrl archives to find some old posts she had written. I clicked "play" on this little video she recorded the morning of Day 2 of the WSOP event in which she cashed. Seeing the expression captured in the screen shot above tickled me greatly, so I decided to freeze it and use it here to wish her a happy birthday.

It was on her birthday, three years ago today, that she started her blog and her experimental year of poker playing. The experiment eventually convinced her that poker worked better for her as a hobby than as a profession, and it has subsequently taken a role of much less importance in her life. But we learned of each other through our blogs, so I thank my lucky stars that she undertook the project. I am blessed to have her in my life.

Happy birthday, my sweet.

Almost forgot

Actually, I didn't almost forget--I did forget to include this in the post about winning the Bodog tournament earlier today. It's another triumph of the Mighty Deuce-Four.

Bodog makes it exceptionally difficult to get and read hand histories, but the series of screen shots above has the facts, if you take time to slog through them. Short version: I raised from UTG+1, got a caller, flopped two pair, bet every street, and got paid off by ace-high when his flush didn't come in. It was a 44-big-blind pot by the time all was said and done.

This guy lost 2/3 of his stack on this hand, half of that being the call on the river with ace-high--all because he chose to play a bad hand from out of position. And, of course, because he was drawing dead going up against the most powerful hand in poker.

Poker players show up in the strangest places

I just finished reading The Big Short by Michael Lewis. If you have any interest in understanding how the financial meltdown of 2007-2008 occurred, you must read this book. It is far more readable and engaging than material about complicated financial transactions has any right to be.

I wasn't planning to do a blog post about it because, even with my penchant for finding poker parallels and lessons in just about everything, this one would have been a stretch. I'm posting now because I was surprised at a name that popped up in the "Acknowledgments" section at the end of the text: "Brandon Adams generously offered his help digging out strange facts and figures and proved to be so smart about the subject that I half-wondered if perhaps he, instead of I, should be writing the book."

This is surely the same Brandon Adams that we know as a professional poker player. His Wikipedia entry says, "Adams teaches a course at Harvard University called 'The US in the World Economy' and has recently finished a book titled 'Setting Sun: The End of Economic Dominance.'"

So now you know that he also apparently understands a thing or two about the workings of Wall Street.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I've been playing two of these Bodog tourneys almost every day for a week without cashing once, which has been pretty demoralizing. My track record in them previously has been excellent. So it was nice to take one down, replenish the declining online bankroll, and restore some confidence. I was the shortest stack left just a few spots from the money, but rallied (obviously). Very pleased with how I played. The guy who was the big stack most of the last half of the tournament played like a maniac and hit hands like you wouldn't believe. But I picked spots well, let him take a lot of small pots, then beat him in nearly every big pot we played. It was entirely satisfying.

What's in a screen name? #29

I'm uncertain how I feel about this one.

Guess the casino, #952

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

Answer: Orleans

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guess the casino, #951

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

Answer: Imperial Palace

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guess the casino, #950

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

Answer: Mandalay Bay

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What's in a screen name? #28

I don't think I want to mess around with him. He might be a little psycho or something.

Which seat is best?

I've mentioned many times that Seat 1 is my usual favorite. A couple of years ago I did as detailed an explanation as could about the reasons why I prefer it, here. In that post I mentioned that I had first started thinking about the advantages of Seat 1 after reading a column in Card Player magazine touting the strategic advantages of that position, but I wasn't able to find it or remember who had written it.

Well, now I know. It was Matt Lessinger, and his column, from 2004, can be found here. I figured it out because in a recent issue of the magazine he revisits the question (for the benefit of online players forced to play live for the first time after Black Friday), with basically the same arguments. The newer column hasn't been made available online yet, so I can't link to it, but I'm happy to finally pin down and give credit to the source that seven years ago got me started on a habit that has served me well.

Ambien poker

I've written about blogging while under the influence of Ambien, but I've never played poker in that condition. Apparently Steve Martin has. While browsing YouTube looking for something else, I happened upon this short clip:

Guess the casino, #949

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

Answer: Buffalo Bill's (Primm)