Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bad Grump! No brownies!

I have been playing much more online the past three days than I have in a long time. After a couple of nice wins, which I described here, my $200 deposit on Black Chip Poker had been turned into $661. Josie challenged me to try to get it to $1200 by the end of the month. It's a tall order. But she promised me the world's best brownies if I managed it. I cannot resist brownies. (They better not have nuts in them. I'll never understand why so many people ruin perfectly good brownies by adding nuts. Yuck.)

Whether or not they are the best, at this point, I'm afraid that they will be the most expensive brownies on earth--and I may pay for them and then never get to eat them. I have just been completely unable to win anything.

Tonight, first tournament I entered, second hand: AA. I raise and push it on every street, including a shove at the end. What was I up against? The Mighty Deuce-Four, which had turned trips on me:

Betrayed by the hand I have done so much to promote! It's an outrage, I tell you.

But I did take my small measure of revenge. I entered another tournament and started to beat other people's 2-4:

And as if in a feeble attempt at an apology, Deuce-Four did win me one pot tonight:

It wasn't enough, though, to overcome other horrendous beats I was taking. Here's a nice, clean five-outer, for instance:

I've been losing with K-K versus somebody else's Q-Q all in pre, with A-K versus A-Q all in pre, etc. Brutal, brutal, brutal.

But on the bright side, Josie and I were at the same table for quite a while in one of the events, and I was able to torture her, which is always fun.

Here, for example, she raised with A-8 and I called from the small blind with A-3. I flopped trips and let her bet the hand for me twice before check-raising her. She called not only that, but a healthy value bet on the river, too. The board was double-paired and she thought we'd chop it with an ace each. Uh, nope!

(Sorry I didn't do the screen grab right on that one, so it doesn't show our names or starting hands. But trust me on that history.)

A while later, I pulled this very ugly bit of nastiness on her, again with the treys:

(Ignore that colored stripe. I don't know how or why that got highlighted.)

My excuses (which admittedly is all they are): She only min-raised pre-flop, so it was cheap for me to call from the big blind. Then I flopped a pair. Who can fold a pair for one bet? She might have had A-Q and missed completely. And even if she had an overpair, my 8 gives me a draw to two pair. Then on the turn I added a flush draw. Fold a pair and a two-pair draw and a flush draw? Who ever heard of such nonsense! Then I rivered the trips, moved in, and she called with top pair/top kicker. What a donkey!!!!

(OK, truth is, if you want to tell me that I did everything wrong in that hand except shoving the river, I won't argue with you.)

Would you like to guess what that hand got me called in the IM chat? Hint: It rhymes with "door."

But Josie takes her revenge seriously. She dinged me something fierce with this hand later:

I lectured her about playing that one badly, but it likely fell on deaf ears, coming from somebody who had called her raises from out of position with A-3 and 8-3 and had gotten ridiculously lucky.

We both had barely more than min-cashes in that tournament, but it was a small prize pool, so not much more than the buy-in back.

I may try again tomorrow night. But the results had better turn around pretty quick, or I will be out both the money and the brownies. I'm not sure I could live with myself if that happened.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vegas poker room changes

For those of you who have reason to want to keep track of the ever-shifting sands of Vegas poker rooms, "Las Vegas Michael" provides this handy summary of recent events for

Maybe half of those updates had escaped my attention, including that my old friend James Klotsky (I knew him first at Hilton, then at Alliante Station) was now running the poker room at Hard Rock, where I have not set foot in a couple of years. I might have to drop by there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Interesting rule dilemma about whether a conditional verbal declaration is binding, illustrated by a story from Rob:

My rather lengthy comments are there, so I won't repeat them here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poker gems, #460

Gavin Griffin, in Card Player magazine column, July 11, 2012 (vol. 25, #14), page 60.

Losing players are trying to make hands, winning players are trying to make money.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I blame Josie, obviously

After all, she's the one that got me on this little online MTT kick the last few days.

I gave it another shot today. First two tourneys were pretty fast busts. But in the third, I caught fire early and was consistently in the top 20% of stacks through almost the whole thing, peaking at 3rd place fairly deep in the game:

I had grand visions of nearly criminal levels of abusing the poor short stacks on the bubble. But a couple of hands went bad and I ended up with a somewhat below average stack when the bubble came, so I had to just play tight through it.

When it had passed, the player to my right tried stealing the blinds twice in a row, and I shoved on him both times with mediocre hands, and he folded. This was a big boost to my chip position.

Then, to reuse a metaphor from the other day, that big ol' iceberg floated down south into the shipping lanes again.

I have KK and two players move all-in ahead of me! Wheeeeeee! Even better, when the cards are revealed, I have them both crushed:

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

Except that you can, in fact, lose:

They BOTH make full houses against me. (For the record, I was 68% to win when the money went in.)

Two hands later, I'm blessed (so to speak) with KK again. This time I'm up against AQ. Once again, all-in pre-flop and I'm a huge favorite. Until fourth street:

I feel the need to cite that Geico commercial where the guy tries to save money on a weight-loss program by just having three teenage girls follow him around, shaming him with comments on what he eats: "Ew." "Seriously?" "So gross."

I was left with only about 4 big blinds, which soon went in and lost. And with that, hopes for an $1100 score went crashing to the bottom of the ocean:

$60 cash, minus $22 entry fee is $38 profit. I think both of the earlier ones were $11, so net $16 for about 5 hours.

Ew. Seriously? So gross.

The only bit of amusement I got from it was seeing this very nice screen name/avatar combo:

"You should be playing MTTs," Josie said. "You'll make tons of money," Josie said. "You're so good at them," Josie said. "You'll have fun," Josie said.

Friggin' Josie.

Poker gems, #459

Adam Schoenfeld, in Card Player magazine column, July 11, 2012 (vol. 25, #14), page 52.

No decision in limit hold'em should take more than ten seconds.

It takes a thief to catch a thief--and a bluffer to catch a bluffer


Another nice online cash

I knew early on that today was going to be a kind of lazy, stay-home day, trying a few more online tournaments. And it was. I did four of them in the afternoon, but scored just one min-cash. Disappointing.

I went offline, had dinner, watched a movie, made a batch of absolutely perfect brownies. (Best mix is Ghirardelli's "Chocolate Supreme." That company makes about 7 different variations, but the "Chocolate Supreme" is the one to get.) I decided that I had one more shot in me for the day. I checked Black Chip Poker, and there was a $3000 guarantee $10 rebuy event underway. It had been running for 30 minutes or so already, so if I joined I would be at somewhat of a chip disadvantage. But I had the itch, and it was the only tourney of the right game type, buy-in that I wanted, etc. So I took it.

I doubled up on my second hand, so never felt the need for any rebuys or for the add-on at the first break. My investment, therefore, was minimal. The prize pool was $3820 from 160 players, so the average investment was about $24. I got in cheap.

I played my very best, made good decisions throughout. Never got outrageously lucky. The worst I ever got it in was about 2 spots off the bubble, I was down to 14 big blinds and shoved with a suited J-9 in late position, got called by A-K offsuit. Flop A-J-9. That gave me enough chips that I didn't have much of a sweat of making the money after that.

People kept going out fast, and we moved up and up the money ladder. The end came when I was third in chips with four left, but still pretty healthy stacks. The biggest stack raised with K-10, I reraised with A-10 from the small blind. He called. Flop was 10-Q-2. I shoved, he called. And you can sort of guess what happened:

Frickin' 3-outer on the river! Winning that pot would have put me in prime position to take the whole thing down, for a top prize of $1031. Sigh.

Oh well. The $347 I got instead is still the biggest online score I've had since Black Friday last year. Besides, the cash was enough to make my earning rate for the day around $40 per hour. So I shouldn't complain.

You remember that I mentioned the other day that Josie is always trying to get me to do multi-table tournaments instead of single-tables? Well, though it pains me greatly to say this, it's theoretically POSSIBLE that Josie was right.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gun control

Jason Alexander posted an essay on TwitLonger in response to yesterday's mass shooting in Colorado. Among his concerns was the hyperbolic tone of those who disagreed with him. (I don't blame him. I've spent a WHOLE lot of time around gun-rights advocates, and many of them really are alarmingly immoderate in tone, not to mention embarrassingly simple-minded in analysis. And I say that even though I mostly agree with them in substance.) So I whipped off a partial reply that I hope he will think sufficiently thoughtful and respectful to be worth reading. I think he's a person who can be reasoned with.

It obviously has nothing to do with poker, and it is hardly a comprehensive or rigorous argument, but if you want to read the points that I dashed off quickly, it's here:


Jason Alexander read my reply. (How great a tool is Twitter, anyway?!) He retweeted it, then said, "Thanks4 your tone & information &thoughts. Complex subject but it is this kind of exchange that makes change. best wishes."

It pleases me greatly that I accomplished exactly what I had hoped to, which was to show him (and his many, many Twitter followers) that there is a non-crazy basis for holding a public policy position that he had come close to ruling out of decent society, and to do so without rancor. I'm sure I didn't change his mind, but if I taught him a few facts that he didn't previously know, and got him to make room in his mind for the possibility that an opposite conclusion could be a reasonable one, well, that counts for something, and it was well worth the 30 minutes or so it took me to produce it.

Addendum 2

I just reread the Eugene Volokh article that I referenced in my piece, and noticed that among the people he thanks for assistance is one "David Sklansky." There can't be that many people with that name. Does anybody know why the guy I know for poker writing would have been involved in helping research an academic article on constitutional law circa 1998?