Friday, December 31, 2004

This is the End, my only Friend

YTD: +$44955.06

Well no major surprises or upsets going into the last day. A nice little recovery to get me back in the black for December, which would have been even nicer but for some bad beats today :(

Some great hands to look forward to for next year, including my best ever call (?); shit to caviar in PLO8b; making a big move in PLO8b. Be there or be square!

Good luck and thanks for staying with me.

Have a great New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

State of the Nation

YTD: +$ 44161.01

So a year in Poker is finally over. Or as near as we can get to it with Christmas and the New Year just over the horizon. As promised, I am going to share all my detailed stats on how I did over the year. All the win rates are taken in $ ph and are only used when they are a reasonable number of hours played. Yes, some of these results were the result of extensive multitabling; because the program I use for tracking Omaha results is less reliable than PTracker, all these figures are based off my spreadsheets instead of the more usual $/100 hands commonly used for the Net.

PLO + $27938.78

Although it certainly didn’t start off that way, this soon became my bread-and-butter game, contributing the vast bulk of my profits.

Best result: 5-10 at $159.40 ph; hours played 154 hours

PLO8b +$12,652.03

I didn’t play enough plo8b, which is strange considering I always considered it my best game. I guess I just lost sight of it and got caught up in other games. My 2-4 result was the best ph I had proportionally speaking. I was also disappointed with my result in the 5-10 game on Stars, where I basically broke even, although in my defence I only played very few hours.

Best result: 2-4 at $ 118.40 ph; hours played 93 hours

Limit Holdem +$5446.67

Holdem was the fallback position for when my play went awry during the year. It’s nice to know that I have a B game plan that I can turn to for a break. The main problem with it is that I basically find it too boring and routine, especially when I have to multitable to generate a healthy win rate. Also I found that my concentration tended to wane after a while and it was hard to put together long sessions.

Best result: 15-30 at $106.25 ph; hours played 112 hours

Limit Hilo -$2526.63

Despite pretension to the contrary I have to finally accept that I suck at this game. Last year was a mediocre set of results. This year was a slight negative. The game brings out the worse in me, putting me on tilt. And when the game gets short handed I’m mostly clueless and even more tiltful.

No real meaningful hours except 10-20, where I was a 21 bucks ph loser

Tourney -$234.04

Once again my tourney results have been nothing to shout home about, although I have played very few MTT at all. My worse game by far was NLHE, with 9 comps, $2736 outlay, no return! However this result was very skewed by the fact of a tilt/unlucky go at a $100 rebuy comp.

I have a 13% ROI on turbo 1 tables, which shows how little effort or focus I put into them. Most were $105 although some were $55. In general I returned a paltry 10% on NLHE across all types. I was a bit disappointed to see that I was -1% on MTT satellites for the big Sunday comps on Stars, especially as I had extolled their money-making virtues. But also I did play them kinda wild and often used them as a means to “let off steam” from the 5-10 PLO. I still think they are good value tho’. Surprisingly, I had a –VE PLO year, although again I only played a handful. PLO8b was a more impressive 52.5% although this isn’t as good as my 80% ROI across all kinds of Omaha comp over the last two years.

In general though, these figures highlight the main problem I have with MTTs. Even with a very good ROI, my hourly rate for them still ends up less than a good cash game. So why bother?

Best site

Stars of course with +$27k, followed by Party and its Skins with +$12k. Better still - no negative sites!

For Chaos – Rake was $10.5k as far as I could track it in cash games.

Goals for Next Year

Focus on PLO and PLO8b almost exclusively
Play even less tourneys but take shots at the big ones.
Don’t spend the bankroll :(
Win $60k (I think this is very achievable and I hope to be nearer 80 than 60)

Good luck and best wishes to you all!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Two Questions

YTD: +$40541.11

As I am on an extended break over the Christmas period, my "State of the Nation" post will probably be my last major post of the year. So I thought I would give you, Constant Reader, the chance to have a say as to what is in it. Tell me what stats and figures you are interested in and I will include them, no-holds-barred.

The second question is for the maths boffins out there? How do we calculate implied odds, but more importantly, how do we see if we have met them? This could be especially important in PLO where you not only need to hit your hand but have it stand up.

Let me give an example. I make a loose call in PLO and call a $24 bet getting 3 to 1 odds. But I really needed 6 to 1 odds. I now have a short fall of $74 I need to make up on the turn to break even on the call. Say I hit my hand on the turn, but it will only stand up to the river 60% of the time. Does this mean that I actually need to make $123.33 on the turn to justify the call on the flop? Any help appreciated.

Omaha Instructional

YTD: +$40199.56

One of the significant weaknesses I see in many player's games is the overplaying of draws against a made hand, especially when a pot is small. This is a flaw which I see in the very best of the 5-10 game to the ok players in the 2-4. Because they "know" that they are probably no worse than 6:4 dogs, and they are getting 2:1 on the action, they then proceed to lump in their stack against what surely must be a made hand. But these can be very -EV plays. Perhaps an example will make it clear. In a 2-4 game, unraised pot, I flop top trips on a 2TJ rainbow flop. My opponent bets the flop, I raise, he reraises, repeat till his $317 stack has gone :-)

So what has happened here, EV-wise? He has put in $317 to win $341 strange. This is 1.08 to 1 money odds. His "wrap" was just the top cards AKQ and I had a blocker in the 9. So his chance of winning was 1.67 to 1. The whole play has a -EV of about 20% and continually playing like this will soon send him to the poker hospital.

So how do you play it then?

Just call. You will have the right odds, or near enough in most cases, to call a blank turn. And if it pairs up you can pass. Also if you do hit the turn with your draw, you can bet and make him potentially make a very bad call to fill up.

Aggression is good, but not when it drives you to bankroll extinction.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Odds and Sods

YTD: +$41033.96

Well I thought I would kick off with one of the amusing PLO hands I have had of late. No not the one where I won a showdown pot for $800 with a pair of twos (?) but the following:

I check raise from UTG with AA double suited and get one caller, the original mini-raiser. The flop comes Kh 4h 8h - which is my suit - so I bet about 3/4 of the pot. The turn pairs the four and I bet the pot, which he calls and he calls the river with his remaining small change when a rag 9 comes. And what does he have? 4c 6s 7d 7h . That's right he called on the flop to hit a middle pin against a potential already made flush and then proceeded to flush his whole stack down with it. Sometimes I do wonder how much longer this kind of madness can continue.

On some miscellaneous topics:

Doyle's Poker Room and the VC skins

Ok...I wanted the book :-) At the table the VC software is ok, but it is too buggy and you can only play two games at once. The games are fantastic however. Several times, playing 10-20 holdem, I had to double check I wasn't playing some kind of free money game. The action made Party look like Stars, mostly fuelled by clueless Brits. The PLO and PLO8b, whilst a bit small, were similar mindless. Never has so much been given by so many with so little.

The Hendon Mob Forum

I've sacked it now. I may post when I want something, like today, but no more for anymore. The incident with Mad Marty in the UK Championship and the responses it drew were just mind boggling. After all the tourney drones wittering on about the importance of the integrity of the game for it to become a sport they then, by and large, just shrug their shoulders when *one of the fundamental rules of poker is broken on TV* It was a bit like a forward scoring a goal and the referee awarding it to the opposition.

On a more amusing note, has been the comments about Grumpy, sorry "Burnley", John. Fair play to the guy winning a big chunk of life changing change. But all the nonsense about what a great player he is and what a breakthrough year he's having, by people who have never played with him, is taking Doyle Disease to dizzy new heights. I have played with John for a reasonable period of time. It wouldn't be rude to say that prior to his win, he was one of many subsistence players that you see on the circuit. And unless he has suddenly metamorphosed his play, I can't imagine he gets people's knees quaking when he sits at the table either.

Card Player

The battle of the giants continues; who can produce the worse poker "journalism" in a month - Rob V or Allyn J? Its tough this month, I just can't separate them.

The Poker Bastard

After a promising start he seems to be flagging. Telling us that poker players are cunts is not breaking news. Saying that THM is the best poker site on the web shows a fierce lack of judgment. Where was the expose, long overdue, of chronic Bolivian Marching Powder use amongst the tourney "faces" that he alluded to? He seems to have gone all toothless.

Coming soon this month...a state of the nation review and detailed win rates for all my games! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Right to Retort

YTD: +$40559.14

My Faithful Reader may remember my critical view on a Rolf Slotbloom article that I found on the web. I talk about it at

I guess Rolf heard about this from some of the guys from the Amsterdam game I was losing money to in the Stars PLO love-fest and he recently wrote me a reply. Here it is in full:

"Hi Dave,

A while ago, someone mentioned your blog, and told me that you commented on one my my works. So, as it turns out I am about a month or three late, but anyway, here's my response.

First of all, thanks for calling me "one of the favourites" - I don't get compliments that often. :) Now, as to the KKxx hand in question. The only time I have written about this hand, was not in an article, but in the "What's Happening" section on my site. You are 100% correct that in the situation described here (deep money / multiway pot) going all-in with kings single-suited is a very marginal decision. In fact, if you read some of my older PLO articles I have more than once shown the dangers of moving in with KK. And in this case the situation was even more dangerous: not just was I up against three players, my kings were very crappy, so even if my reads on my three opponents were excellent, then I would still be ahead by just a fairly slight margin. In fact, no player that I know would have made the final (massive) raise with a hand this weak, because they would have reasoned "with so much action, someone must have aces"- they would either have called or folded. So, I was proud that I had the courage to trust my read and be correct, being a clear favorite against the person with the second-largest stack, who had QQ22 double-suited, while if I remember correctly one other player had JJ22 and another QQxx - meaning that for a large side pot I was in fact an (unexpected) large favorite, and for the main pot I was in good shape as well, no one even holding a single ace or king (!). More than all this, if you read my piece, you will notice the word "fortunately" on more than one occasion, because I *had* been very fortunate. But I had also made a daring but correct decision to not just flatcall to see a flop, but to come back over the top of not just one, not two, but THREE raises with nothing more than crappy kings, and I was obviously proud of that decision. Wouldn't you be proud if you trust your read so much, that you know that if your read is right, you will probably be ahead by just a slight margin, but if it's wrong you will be a massive dog - now, if you still trust your read in a difficult situation like this and you turn out to be right, wouldn't *you* be proud?

I will discuss this entire night of poker into depth in one of my upcoming CardPlayer articles, including this final hand. I have sent over the article already and I cannot make any changes now, so I'll just hope that indeed I have acknowledged how lucky I had been! :) Anyway, Dave, just thought I'd send you a reply, also to compliment you on your blog: it is well-written and contains some excellent info. Keep up the good work, man.

Rolf Slotboom"

Firstly, thanks for the response and the kind words. You were/are one of my preferred writers and I am prepared to forgive this one "lapse" :-)

I guess I would like to add two further points. I still don't like him referring to a short stacked approach as a successful style in PLO; I'm not convinced it can be a good approach except in very unusual conditions and moreover it's a style that will limit a player's ability to develop his game longterm.

More importantly I think that in such highly marginal decisions "backing my judgment and I was right" is not enough; those of you who went through my plo8b example earlier in my blog will see why that is flawed thinking. The reason is that for this play to be correct he probably has to be 40-60% certain that the hands he is against are so bad and so counterfeited. Any permutation of either an AA in there or just better hands as a whole, with an A flush in there, make his hand very much weaker. This means that on the balance of probabilities he is at best zero EV or even losing money on the coup, unless he has a very large headsup sidepot involved, which would affect matters somewhat and this was not mentioned in the original article. Sometimes the weight of mathematics outweigh instinct.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Taste of the New Part 2

YTD: +$41029.90

I guess you all prefer PLO hands then! Thanks for Simon for his thoughts on the's my reasoning through the streets:

Party Poker 15/30 Hold'em (10 handed)

Preflop: Hero is dealt Ks As

UTG raises, SB calls, Hero calls.

The standard play here would be to reraise. However I have no clue as to how these two foes play. More than likely I will still end up with three players to the flop, but with my hand more exposed and caught in a sandwich between the SB and the UTG. Normally I would follow the typical pound, pound, pound Abdulian strategy, but in this spot I would be somewhat exposed to tricky plays from either side. So I am sacrificing some short-term EV and gaining some deception by just calling instead.

Flop: (1.66 SB) Qd, 5h, 8s (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB calls, Hero calls.

I may have check raised here if headsup. I want to see what the SB *really* has.

Turn: (2.33 BB) 5c (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB folds, Hero raises, UTG calls.

Now the SB is gone I can spring my trap. By check raising here it puts real pressure on nonsense no pair hands and *may*, although very unlikely, make an AK or small pair pass.

River: (6.33 BB) 2d (2 players)

Hero bets
, UTG folds.

I'm committed now. It's very hard for him to cling to AK in this spot, which is his most likely holding.

Final Pot: 7.33 BB

The nice thing about this play is that I end up losing about the same against a stubborn pocket pair, but also give him the chance to pass a hand that splits the pot. Also the % increase of him passing that underpair is now significant, as opposed to the "I'm putting him on AK so I'm calling all the way down" which mostly happens.

Friday, November 26, 2004

A Taste of the New

YTD: +$42030.62

Here's a limit hand for discussion. No clue as to how the opponents play, except that they are on Party :-) FWIW I really liked it. See what you think and I will share my thoughts later.

***For some reason this hand didn't come through properly originally - it has now been ammended***

Party Poker 15/30 Hold'em (10 handed)

Preflop: Hero is dealt Ks As

UTG raises, SB calls, Hero calls.

Flop: (1.66 SB) Qd, 5h, 8s (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB calls, Hero calls.

Turn: (2.33 BB) 5c (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB folds, Hero raises, UTG calls.

River: (6.33 BB) 2d (2 players)

Hero bets
, UTG folds.

Final Pot: 7.33 BB

Friday, November 19, 2004

Paid in Full

YTD +$42552.12

I'm having a little rush on Party. One of the benefits of Poker Tracker is that you can see these rushes in action. I know that 6BB/100 is not my *usual* win rate. One of the beauties of limit holdem is that bad players are transparent. Playing PLO, it is easy to get completely the wrong view on a player as you end up being focused on showdowns, which may not be the whole story. Several players that I had initially labeled as maniacs actually proved to be fine players, and embarrassingly, also turned out to be playing less hands before the flop than me too.

But in a ring limit holdem game, bad players are transparent. They stick out like beacons in the fog, or glints of gold in the darkness. If a guy calls UTG with K7o - bad player; if he is playing 35% of his hands - bad player; if he keeps calling raises cold, or even better, RE-raises cold - bad player.

And Party is absolutely full of them. There was some scaremongering on 2+2 that the 15-30 was tougher, and whilst more aggressive, this in itself is not "tough" and is easy to handle. But some of the play is mind-boggling bad. Two examples:

3 to the flop in an unraised flop. I have QJ in the BB and bet out into a rainbow Q34. Limper folds, SB check raises. I make it 3 bets, he makes it 4 bets and bets the turn of 6 and the river of 7. He has T5o.

The next one amazed me. The player, according to 100 hands in PT is tight sensible, playing 20% of his hands and raising 6-7% of them. He raises midd-late and I defend the BB with 55. The flop comes 866 (2 spades) and I check raise him (no 5 of spades). He calls. The river comes 4 of spades and gritting my teeth I bet out. He calls again. What does this seemingly solid player have?

KQ of diamonds. No draw. No pair. Not even A high. And all his pairing chances could put a four flush on the board.

Party is goot!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fear of a Black Planet

YTD: +$39399.12

I’ve been taking a cursory look at other people’s blogs again. By and large, with some noticeable exceptions, I don’t really enjoy them. This is mostly because they are about life, the universe and everything 80% of the time, and poker maybe 20% of the time. This does not mean that they aren’t well written and interesting; it’s just that I don’t have a huge desire to read about the personal lives of poker playing strangers. Sorry.

But one topic that piqued my interest on a newbie’s blog was that of poker bots destroying online poker. Now the concept of a poker bot has been around now for some time, with whispers and rumors around the edges of the poker community like old scary fairy tales to frighten children. For example, Neverlose on the 100-200 game on Stars is alleged to be a bot. These scaremongers cite the cases of Chess and Backgammon and how computers have “solved” those games, and predict poker Armageddon when the rise of the robots marches into poker. Bullshit.

The reason Chess has proven so amenable to computing is that it is a game that can be beaten if you can process through all the future permutations successfully. Kasporov wasn’t outthought; he was “ground out” by a processing engine with huge capabilities and had been programmed to understand his style. Similarly, backgammon just happened to be a game that fitted a neural net approach, whereas neural nets have not been anywhere near as successful in other games.

To my mind, one of the issues will that will prevent computers tackling high level poker play is that so many situations are very flexible – for example the compensations and differences between playing a hand against many or just one player. Another major factor is the necessary combination of lots of money, technical ability and poker excellence. As Darse Billings put it, as the inventor of the leading HU poker bot, the problem with poker versus the other types of game is that the computer has to think. This is something computers have a long history of not being very good at.

Beating low limit games on a rule-based basis, maybe. Becoming excellent at headsup play, probably. Being able to beat all-comers in a ring environment, I think not.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Interlude...Sound and Fury

YTD: +$slightly up, but can't be bothered to update :-(

I am trying to play a little less poker and be a bit more balanced, but in doing so I seem to be unbalancing things on the poker writing front :-) Of course I am referring to the THM thing. Although I was pissed initially, mostly through my own confusion, I wasn't surprised by their reaction to my post in the end. In some ways it's even flattering. However I think I am done there now. As Chaos puts it, its become a place to hang out for no real reason. If I post there, its just for vanity, and I've got enough vanity and ego wrapped up in this place thank you very much :-) Its also good to see a little storm of discontent kick up amongst the Doyle Disease types. That Ambassadors of Poker crap always stuck in my craw and smacked of hypocrisy. But I'll leave it to other to elaborate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

May the Last Become the First

YTD: +$38518.61

I liked my play in this one....any comments? Beside the one that the completion preflop was a little loose :-) BTW the foe was v v loose aggressive.

PokerStars 30/60 Hold'em (10 handed)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 7d, 2d.

4 folds, MP2 calls, 3 folds, Hero completes, BB checks.

Flop: (3 SB) As, 2c, Ac (3 players)

Hero checks, BB checks, MP2 bets, Hero calls, BB folds.

Turn: (2.50 BB) 4s (2 players)

Hero checks, MP2 bets, Hero raises, MP2 3-bets, Hero calls.

River: (8.50 BB) Kh (2 players)

Hero checks, MP2 bets, Hero calls.

Final Pot: 10.50 BB

Hero has 7d 2d (two pair, aces and twos).

MP2 has Td 8c (one pair, aces).

Outcome: Hero wins 10.50 BB.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Best of Bronski

YTD +$39953.81

Can you tell me why I seem compelled to fall into the same traps again and again and again?

The Eternal Recurrence?

Having finally fought into profit for the month I proceed to sit in a big hilo limit game, which was great. But I wasn't. As usual I tilted into needing to get lucky and the Gods of Poker didn't disappoint me.

Then I decided to multitable up to four tables of holdem, even though long experience has taught me that two is my maximum, three at a very short push.

Back in the red, then.

Does anyone else have similar repetitive destructive habits of the poker variety?

Look for a repeat of this post sometime soon...

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Boys are Back in Town

YTD: +$40803.31

By a strange set of circumstances that I can't explain, suddenly the 30-60 Holdem on Stars has turned into a good game. Admittedly, I am not winning in it yet, but it is far from the rock fest it usually is. How about this one:

An UTG and middle position limper. I raise in the cutoff with AA, all call. The flop comes T86, two spades. I have the A of Spades. Everyone checks and only the UTG limper calls. Turn a rag 2 - check-bet-call. River another 2. Suddenly the UTG springs to life and bets. I raise, he just calls.

And shows 32 of clubs.

I don't think this one needs analysis, rather just praise to god :-)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

OK, Alright, You Win

YTD: +$Back, but not played yet

A word of advice, don't go on night flights of 4+ hours with small children!

Thanks for all the comments on the hand. I think the answers are fairly clear cut. A6, suited or not, is always a raise. I too, like my friend Chaos, do not like the thinking behind the call play as advocated by Sklansky. The 87, suited or not, *should* always be a pass, although like Aksu, sometimes you feel tempted to raise by "accident". FWIW, I think that this is one of the big leaks of people coming to limit holdem from a big bet tourney perspective, like many UK players do.

Lastly, and surprisingly, no one mentioned the call play with AA. If you raise here and they both pass then this is a disaster, as AA is worth more than 4 times the blinds here. Admittedly, the chances of them both passing are not high, but the trap call play also has some additional positive side effects as it often causes players to go "off on one" with your perceived weakness. In a Party 15-30 game I think that this play is so effective that it should be used at least a good % of the time. If the game was just a bit tighter, or even much tighter like the 10-20 on Stars, then this shoots up as being by far the best play.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Much Ado About Nothing


As I am going back to limit holdem it struck me that some posts on the game might be useful. This seems doublely so as reading THM, it seems that some posters there, especially Brits, do not necessarily have a good grasp of some of the basics of the game. On reflection, I think that this is a consequence of playing PL Holdem in tourneys, which whilst great fun, resembles limit holdem only as far as oranges resemble apples.

In the limit game, how you play against the blinds and in the blinds can be a huge factor in your hourly earn. Let´s look at a brief quiz to test your knowledge about stealing blinds:

You are in a 15-30 ring game on Party Poker. Everyone passes to you on the button. Assume the blinds are Party typical, i.e., too loose, too aggressive in spots, and unaware.

What is your action with (a)AA (b)87o (c)A6o. How does this change if your hand is suited in (b) and (c)?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Club Tropicana


Cocktails by the pool while my family pitter-patter around me. All-inclusive luxury in searingly hot Gran Canaria. All paid for by poker! In this dark and dismal October, poker-wise, thinking that all this holiday is f.o.c is very sweet.

So just a quick thought for today. The jackpot game on Party, how bad is it really? I´ve been thinking that as -EV bets go, some selected play of the 15-30 jackpot holdem game may be quite a good one. Even winning just one of the "other seats"`may pay for selected participation for the jackpot for another four years, and that isn´t including other meta game factors too.

What do you all think?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Doyle Disease

YTD: +$41282.46

I first invented the term Doyle Disease some time again. Little did I know it would become an epidemic! For a while I checked out the WPT forum on 2+2, mostly to see Paul Phillips being mischievous. Now 2+2 has always been a bit sycophantic, but the idol worshiping cluelessness that goes on there beggars belief. My recent favourite was actually on the PLO forum, where somewhere said "When Ray Zee criticizes your play, don't defend yourself, just learn." I dimly remember the said Ray Z advocating timeout cheating online if your foes were doing it. Learn at the feet of a master I guess.

However my favourite DDism of late must be on the THM forum where someone referred to Harry D as Harry 'the lionheart' Demetriou. WTF? I almost puked in my shoes. And no one seemed to care or notice. I guess it is only right that a perpetrator of many Doyle Disease-isms should indeed find himself on that holy altar himself.

For my Constant Readers, I will be on my hols for the next week or so, so please be patient. I will try and put some posts up, hotel technology permitting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Poker Writing Redux

YTD: +$40627.47

Internet journalism has been a reoccurring theme here. It never ceases to surprise me. Clicking onto Pokerpages today I was fascinated to see a section titled “Top European Poker Players”. Well it was worth a click. There are some strange names there to put it mildly. And some strange omissions. A couple of the players, whilst European in origin, play almost exclusively in the US. One of the players, “The Nugget” I used to know very well. I am sure that he wouldn’t describe himself as a tournament player, or at least I hope he doesn’t. He has had some nice results of late, but his primary focus and ability has always been cash games. Yet one of the most successful big tournament players is not included. I am of course referring to Julian Gardner. Even when you take out his WSOP 2nd, his record across Europe in the late 90s was phenomenal and his winnings turn the Nugget into fool’s gold. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of some pretty pictures. Let’s have some more stuff by Paul S!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tournaments Part Deux

YTD: +$44122.93

On the subject of tournaments, or rather whilst other people have been discussing them and I have been mangling my numbers :-), I have played a few recently. Small losses in headsup; a 3rd place in a plo8b on Stars; and also some turbo satellites for the Sunday night $215 tourney. I quite like the fun fast pace of these things but the poorness of the play is truly incredible. It is very common to see people playing the dying stages of these things completely and utterly wrong. I am convinced that a good tourney player could make a nice ROI on these things, even assuming a 10% vig for selling on the entries. Here are some of the terrible plays I saw last time:

I’ve Got a Hand, So I Must Play

We were on the bubble and the big blind completely swallowed up my stack, bar a few hundred $. Everyone passed to the cutoff, who went allin for an amount less than the big blind with TT. This is insane play. There was a maybe a 1% chance he was going to be compelled to post a blind and he could have safely passed his way into the money. But instead he sees an ok hand and automaton like decides he must play it, even though he cannot make anyone pass and must win the hand to showdown.

I’m Table Captain, But I Don’t Know How

In the very same hand the small blind, he had enough chips to take us both out comfortably, decides this is a great spot to finish off the tourney and makes up the blinds. That’s right he doesn’t put me all-in! If he had raised there I probably have to call but it is by no means certain in this very unique situation. He gives me a free shot on the pot which I duly take. Although the TT takes the main pot.

I’m Table Captain Again, But I STILL Don’t Know How

It’s a few hands later and the running ante has taken my last few chips. On four tables there are at least 4 people who will have to go allin on this hand and break the bubble. What’s the correct play here for people who aren’t involved? Pass any hand. It’s that easy. AK – pass; KK – pass; AA – pass. If you are not being compelled to play by the blinds then with only one player to go there is no reason to play any hand. But the table captain from the hand described above sprang into life from late mid position. With players still to act behind him you would expect him to have a monster…but no…he had 87s! Which duly went on to knock out both me and the blind that was also all in. Truly terrible play.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Now for Something Completely Different

YTD: + $43726.21

We've been having some swell comments in one of my posts about SnG play. Chaos and Andy W believe that you should pass up small edges early on even to double up. I, Paul Phillip's like, don't agree. Here are my stats for why...please feel free to poke big holes in them: (We are assuming 9 handed, $109 entry; if you pass you still have the same chance of getting into the money as you normally do; if you double up you knock out a player)

Finish…Net $...% Place…EV……%P x2…..EV x 2

This makes the EV for not doubling up in the SNG to be +$28 with a ROI of 26%...very respectable. But after the double up this leaps to an EV of $55.54 with a ROI of 51%. Clearly you have to be very very sure it is a marginal edge if you want to pass it up.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Madness of Crowds

YTD: +$47452.03

One of the hardest things to do in Poker is to accept failure.

It is very hard, when you have played the biggest game in town, as it were, to step down to the next level. As the film says, “That’s pride fuckin wit ya.” But the truth is my game is still quite wobbly and results have not improved much. I am still $15k-ish down from my high point. But as the commenter Chaos nicely put it in perspective, considering I only play part-time, I have had a fantastic set of results, even now. I have taken $25k out of that game, in what would only be less than a month’s play to a full-time pro. And yes I am boasting because Christ I need the morale boosting :-)

But I’ve spent the winnings and my virtual bankroll is now kinda thin for this kind of action.


It’s still hard to move down. The 5-10 on Stars is very soft at the moment, as a certain player is hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate. One source said he lost $50k in 24hours, and this is not hard to believe when the average pot is $1-2k.

But the game whilst soft technically is dangerous soft, like quicksand. As the action gets looser so do I, in a mad spiral of ever decreasing edge. The other day I lost a 4k pot to a guy who insists on ram-jamming at any sign of weakness. He plays like The Choirboy on speed and acid :-) Bizarrely he thought he was bluffing but he actually had the best hand, although my draws meant I was 50:50 and 55:45 on the flop and turn respectively.

In theory, this is a great spot to be, taking better than even money on 2:1 shots. But not if I miss. And also this isn’t the way to murder aggressive players; rather in PLO you can wait and catch them drawing thin, instead of tossing a wonky coin.

Another frustration I have noticed is watching the fish win big. I’m grinding away, feeling frustrated, whilst a guy playing 70% of his hands, nearly all of them badly, turns $400 to $7k in an hour. Exasperation and jealousy do not make easy bedfellows.

So I am moving back down to $2-4 PLO (the $3-6 has basically disappeared.) I am worried that the action may burn out of the big game but the truth is that my online BR can’t stomach any more swings at that level.

Back to grinding :-)

“… Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps.”

Friday, October 01, 2004

Lucky in Love

YTD: +$49741.28

I’ve tried playing through the bad patch like last time but it’s hard. Hard because I am playing bad, especially in critical, very large pots. Hard because I am being fucking unlucky. In the space of a couple of hours the other day I lost $8500 in pots, three in total, when I was more than even money to win all three. I was actually about 650 to 1 to lose all three. I seem good at hitting these 500+ longshots :(

Just to show that I post the ugly as well as the beautiful, here is a hand I really chewed up:

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $10 BB (8 handed)

saw flop|saw showdown

MP2 ($2938)

CO ($1104.25)

Button ($1221.75)

SB ($892.50)

BB ($735.50)

UTG ($517)

UTG+1 ($536)

Hero ($2924.25)

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with 9s, 4s, 8h, 7h.

UTG calls $10, 1 fold, Hero raises to $30, MP2 calls $30, 2 folds, SB raises to $140, 1 fold, UTG calls $130, Hero calls $110, MP2 calls $110.

This was a loose gambling raise by me here. If I am thinking str8 I should really pass to the reraise as although the reraiser is marked as AA, the other two guys are likely to have hands that seriously interfere with mine.

Flop: ($570) 9d, Tc, 3c (4 players)

SB bets $567
, UTG calls $377 (All-In), Hero raises to $1134, MP2 raises to $2798, SB calls $185.50 (All-In), Hero calls $1650.25 (All-In).

This is just madness. I'm drawing far to weak here for multi-way action. Although I convinced myself if I could just get out the guy behind me I would be in good shape, the reality is that even then I am probably drawing to 6 ish outs based on the action in front. And if he does call, I am probably drawing next to dead - which was the case.

Turn: ($7281.75) Kh (4 players, 3 all-in)

River: ($7281.75) 7s (4 players, 3 all-in)

Final Pot: $7281.75

Main Pot: $2078, between MP2, SB, UTG and Hero.Pot won by UTG ($2078)

Pot 2: $1126.50, between MP2, SB and Hero.Pot won by MP2 ($1126.50)

Pot 3: $4063.50, between MP2 and Hero.Pot won by MP2 ($4063.50)
Pot 4: $13.75, returned to MP2.

SB has Ks Ac Ah Qc (one pair, aces).

UTG has 8d Js Qd 9h (straight, king high).

Hero has 9s 4s 8h 7h (two pair, nines and sevens).

MP2 has 6c 4h 9c Th (two pair, tens and nines)

Outcome: MP2 wins $5203.75. UTG wins $2078.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Get by With a Little Help from my Friends

YTD: +$52271.43

Apologies for faithful readers for a slightly longer than usual pause between posts - unfortunately my pc is somewhat on the blink again.

I wanted to get back to another topic raised by David Young in a comment a week or so back. The problem, if you can call it that, is an influx of new, WPT and ESPN driven players, cluelessly diving into a pot limit holdem game. In the classic way of lemmings searching for a suitable cliff, PLHE is the worst game they could have stumbled onto, bar plo8b. Their chances of even short term success, never mind long term, are very, very low. Especially playing Gus-stylee tourney moves.

But why is this bad and why should players care?

Players who make any substantial amount of money in live action should look at themselves as being in the entertainment business. Live players, especially in the UK, are a valuable commodity. They do not exist in US or Internet type numbers. Many players may be 'happy' to pay to be 'entertained' over a long period, but will struggle to maintain an interest facing unrelenting losses. A player after throwing off a couple of thousand $ in short order may never return, yet if he had felt that he had a remote chance and was getting some kind of value for money he may have gladly paid for many years to come.

So what is the solution?

Firstly, the newbie players should be treated well. As Tommy Angelo says, this is how you should treat everyone over the felt, not just the fish. Unfortunately for DY, the Vic, the place in question, is fairly well known for having an unfriendly ambiance. And that's putting it mildly.

Okay, anything else? Dealers choice games. Although they can confuse beginners the inherent luck in them shoots up variance and gives weaker players a shot at the loot. Here though the new players are their own worst enemies, as they tend to see these more varied games as some kind of conspiracy to befuddle the money out of their pockets.

The only answer is one that US casinos have adopted but the half-wits that populate card room management in the UK are unlikely to adopt unless coerced by the players. Who unfortunately themselves don't see the wood for the trees. NL games instead of PL. And crucially, critically, maximum buyins of about 100x the big blind. These factors will give conditions more akin to the tourneys these types know and love, shoot up the luck to give them a chance to get some winning sessions, but still leave skill as the dominant factor.

Everyone's a winner.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Crade of True Art and True Science

YTD: +$52786.73

I did promise a hand about AA some time ago. Well here it is. The last time we looked at AA is was where a player seemingly overdefended his hand and made a weak call. Although the outcome in this hand is the same - I call - hopefully you will agree that the reasoning and situation is much more sound.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $10 BB (9 handed) converter

saw flop|saw showdown

CO ($632.50)
Button ($261)
SB ($1070)
Hero ($2489.75)
UTG ($390)
UTG+1 ($205)
MP1 ($1083)
MP2 ($57.25)
MP3 ($1516.50)

Preflop: Hero is BB with Th, Ah, Ac, 7s.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $10, 3 folds, CO calls $10, 1 fold, SB raises to $50, Hero raises to $140, UTG+1 folds, CO folds, SB calls $90.

I'm not a big fan of raising with any hand out of position. But there are some big advantages to be had here. SB is a tight, solid player and is actually likely to be raising with one of the hands I can dominate, e.g. a high pair-ish hand. Also a reraise is likely to push out the limpers and actually give me position on the whole coup.

Flop: ($300) Ts, 2c, 4d (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $230, SB raises to $930, Hero calls $700.

When I completely miss a flop I do not always auto bet it, simply because it gives good players the opportunity to check raise me thin out of the hand, figuring that my reraise must mean aces. As faithful readers will have noticed, this is not always the case, but it will still be their most likely view of my holding. In this case I felt that the flop was fairly safe for a bet and SB thought for some time before check raising me.

Now sometimes the pause check raise is a sure fire tell of "let me think while I raise with the nuts". But in this case it is very difficult for my foe, if I have read him right, to have trips. It is very unlikely, if next to impossible for him to have a draw, or even two pair. And the ten in my hand nicely makes the top trip scenario unlikely too. As a contributing factor, just a few hands before I had wiped him out, raising with suited aces, hitting the nut flush on the flop and he had check raised me with the K high flush. So he was potentially in the mood for revenge and he was good enough to be making a move.

So after some thought I decided that either he had me strangled or I had him strangled, on which basis it must be a fairly straightforward call for better than 2 to 1 money.

Turn: ($2160) 3d (2 players)

River: ($2160) 3h (2 players)

Final Pot: $2160
Main Pot: $2160, between SB and Hero.
SB has Kc Tc Ad Kd (two pair, kings and threes).
Hero has Th Ah Ac 7s (two pair, aces and threes).

Outcome: Hero wins $2160.

Afterwards I did some more of my infamous EV analysis, which I may write up later - I just can't get the damn tables in. It showed that the breakeven point, where calling was neutral, was with SB having trips a massive 65% of the time, assuming my "he has few outs or I have few outs" analysis was correct. Clearly, based on my read of the player, this was a hugely profitable call.

Science and Art in the same bed again! Who would have thought it?

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Music of Chance

YTD: +$55394.38

David Young made some interesting points in response to my gripe about tournament play. So much so that I think I will break them into two separate posts. Here’s what he said in response to my complaining about the luck factor:

“It will even out if you play more tournaments. Make that a LOT more tournaments. Accept that or don't play.”

I think that this is a common fallacy. The difference between luck, or variance if you want to be more high-falutin, in tournaments and cash is that if you keep your stack at consistent levels, online buy-in maximums to one side, in a cash game, then when and how you have good and bad luck makes little difference. However, in a tournament, exactly when and how your bad luck strikes could be the difference between being a major success or going broke. Perhaps a slightly hypothetical example will make this clearer.

Imagine, in an alternate universe we have the power to see the destiny of a tournament player over the next two years. We know that despite excellent play, discipline and some recent success that Mr X will lose $1million in entry fees and expenses over the next two years. I don’t think that this is particularly an extreme example – see Sklansky for his look at tournament variance and the potential for “bad runs”. Certainly, Mr X, playing the circuit across the globe could easily rack up such expenses. Unfortunately for Mr X, his tank is exactly $0.9 million and this bad run will render him broke.

But Twilight Zone style we can stand with him at the cross roads of a major drama that may give him a chance to avoid his fate.

Mr X is down to the last few tables of the World Series, just before the albatross of long term doom is about to descend on him. Mr X is at the peak of his game. He has all his chips in the middle on the right side of a 6:4 shot. If he loses, he pockets $100,000, and like a Flying Dutchman, sails off to his doom and poker ignominy. If he wins, he will go on to get into the major money and pocket $2.5 million. The bad run will still come, but he will survive and go on to potential greater success. Unfortunately our glimpse into the Book of Destiny only extends for two years so we don’t know what the long term, whatever that means for a tournament player, actually holds. But at least now he has a shot. (I know that this is very much a similar situation to Harry D found himself and I am only using it because it struck me how it highlighted the importance of “particular” luck. All other resemblances to people and events living and dead, past or future, is purely coincidental.)

The whole of Mr X’s poker existence rests on a crooked coin flip.

Now I know I have grossly simplified rather complex issues around money management to make my point, but I think the point is still well made. In tournaments, the luck may never break even because some events are hugely distorted in value and these almost-never –to-be-repeated events just do not exist in cash games, assuming you are playing within a sensible bankroll.

Success or failure is just a coin flip away.

Apocalypse Now

YTD: +$55394.38

I said that I wouldn't waste column space commenting on the vagaries of my YTD. But yesterday was such a "correction" that it seemed that if I didn't mention it, people would wonder how the hell I couldn't. For half the loss I played bad, for the other half, I was unlucky. Interesting, if my 50/50s and favourite hands had all stood up, as opposed to all being washed to sea, my 8k loss would have been a 4k profit. Such is the variance of PLO. Ho hum. I will probably have a breather from the big game and also spend some of my winnings on financing some much needed cars. Coming very soon will be some posts on the interesting points DY raised in his comment to one of my posts.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


YTD: +$62945.48

It seems that more people read my blog during the week than at the weekend, so I will just leave a "stopping by" post before the bigger splurge of the AA in PLO analysis :-)

God I hate tournaments. I played a couple of single table sats for the 215 NL event on Sunday. Yes, sadly, I will only play the big Stars tourney if I win my way in.

I had one player all-in six times before the flop. He was a real ESPN player, moving allin on a huge variety of hands, often grossly overbetting the pot. Six times I could have bust him. And he won every one. Which was a 153 to 1 shot. 153 to 1 to survive the tourney and yet he did so. When I started moaning and whining - why do I do that? - he said "Well, thats poker". This beggars two questions:

1) Why do I whinge and cry like a baby online, behaviour which I would never do or condone in the real world? This seriously disappoints me. I don't do it often, but tourneys especially bring out the worst in me. Maybe its the arrogance of being knocked out by players I perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be "worse" than me. Also I think its the frustration of tournament-style poker, where when it's over, it's over. No more chances. I'm turning into a nit.

2) "Well, that's poker." There is probably now a huge number, if not the majority of tournament players, that think NLHE is about moving all-in preflop on semi-garbage. And that's the whole of the game now.

I'll stick to cash.

*Breaking News* just watching the US Poker Championship of Gods, how much worse can Phil Hellmuth play!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Dumb and Dumber

YTD: +$61322.68

I've noticed a strange phenomenon on the Stars 5-10 game. This is that players who are otherwise moderate to tight preflop, simply cannot play from the flop onwards.

This is doubly strange as in a game like limit holdem, preflop looseness can and should be a huge predictor of playing ability and player profitability. Here in the mysterious world of PLO, we can have a player who is playing 50% of his hands preflop, but is a fine player and making profit, yet on the other hand have a guy playing less than 30% of his hands, leaking money like a sieve and playing quite poorly.

Here's some examples:

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $10 BB (8 handed)

saw flop|saw showdown

SB ($1928.50)

BB ($878)

UTG ($1221)

UTG+1 (Unlucky) ($852)

MP1 ($458.50)

MP2 (Foolish) ($1696)

CO ($955.50)

Button ($1126)


1 fold, UTG+1 (Unlucky) calls $10, MP1 calls $10, MP2 (Foolish) raises to $55, 1 fold, Button calls $55, 2 folds, UTG+1 (Unlucky) calls $45, MP1 calls $45.

Flop: ($235) Kc, 8s, 5s (4 players)

Unlucky checks, MP1 checks, Foolish bets $232, Button folds, Unlucky raises to $797, MP1 folds, Foolish calls $565.

Turn: ($1829) 5d (2 players)

River: ($1829) 6h (2 players)

Final Pot: $1829

Main Pot: $1829, between Unlucky and Foolish. > Pot won by Foolish ($1829).
Foolish has Ad Ac Kd Tc
Unlucky has Jc As Js 8d

Outcome: Foolish wins $1829.

Now no matter how you cut it up and slice it, this was a bad flop call. Sure people make plays on you in this game, but at very best it was EV neutral and at worse a losing call in the long run. This player has a serious AA problem.

This one was even worse:

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $10 BB (6 handed)

MP ($971.30)
CO ($683.25)
Button ($2905.50)
Hero ($1303)
BB ($200)
UTG ($608.75)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Ad, 2s, 2d, 3c.

1 fold, MP calls $10, CO raises to $30, 1 fold, Hero calls $25, BB calls $20, MP folds.

Flop: ($100) 4c, 9h, 2c (3 players)

Hero checks, BB checks, CO bets $50, Hero raises to $230, BB calls $170 (All-In), CO calls $180.

Turn: ($730) 7c (3 players, 1 all-in)

Hero bets $570
, CO calls $423.25 (All-In).

River: ($1723.25) 6d (3 players, 2 all-in)

Final Pot: $1723.25

Main Pot: $610, between CO, Hero and BB.

Pot 2: $966.50, between CO and Hero.
Pot won by CO ($966.50)
CO has Js Jc Ts Kc

BB has Qc Ac Jh 6s (flush, ace high).

Outcome: CO wins $966.50. BB wins $610. Hero wins $146.75.

The CO thought a hell of a long time before making that call. This let me know that he didn't have that great a hand. It also let him know that I was going to bet the turn regardless, which to some extent the stack sizes predicated anyway.

He's made a "damned if he does, damned if he doesn't" call here. Either I've got trips, in which case he is not getting the right price for his hand, especially as the other player has cold called...meaning surely some of his outs are OUT. Or, because I am that kind of player, I have the nut flush draw, in which case he is gambling his whole stack on JJ being good.

In the short term these kinds of players may do well, as they catch what they probably see as bluffs with their isolated one pair kind of hands. But these bluffs are often high % draws or even the nuts and over time this "I raised before the flop so I'm committed" will only commit them ultimately to the rail.

Sport of Kings

YTD: +$63485.73

Whenever I hear Poker described as a sport I laugh. Or cry. It is beyond ridiculous to the absurd. Here are my views on how Poker is like a Sport:

You Can Behave Like a Cock

The ESPN coverage has highlighted some truly terrible behaviour. It used to be that there was a tightening of the lips, a grimace and a firm handshake. Now we can watch the likes of Mattias Andersson contort and roll around like an epileptic contortionist crossed with a hillbilly/porcine coupling, whilst the impassive Saint of Cowboy Murderers, Chris Ferguson, shows not a trace of emotion in the foreground. And many, many more.

You Get an Audience

People watch you. Millions of people watch you. However the same is true in the US for such luminaries as “dog jumping” and “crazy golf”. We must be so proud.

You Can Take Drugs

There have been recent exposes on performance enhancing drugs in the US especially. There are plenty of drugs in Poker, also of the performance enhancing kind. Or at least the players “think” that a quick toot of Nicaraguan Marching Powder in the dinner break improves performance.

And that’s it, really.

On why Poker isn’t like a Sport:

The Luck Factor Does Not Dominate the Skill

Imagine a Wimbledon where everyone in the quarter finals of the Men’s event is not only unranked, but a club player. Then imagine that in the final a guy from the crowd barges his way onto the court and wins the title. Then watch the Reno event for Season 2. Dreams do come true.

Experience is Not Easily Overcome

Any master sportsman not only has genetics as an advantage over his amateur counterparts, but literally a lifetime of preparation, grueling training and countless experience. Even if you are literally a sporting genius this cannot be easily overcome. Unless you take up the “sport” of poker, in which case a few books, a bit of thought, maybe 6 months of play then you’re in with a chance.

The Players Benefit from the Media

Beside the ability to play $5K to $10K tournaments every month I struggle to see what the poker pros have gained from their Sportification. Besides exposing their game plans. Proper sponsorship and added prize money simply haven’t materialized. And this is three years later. It’s even debatable how much value has been added through extra players, as they seem mostly to want to play games that in the long term will destroy their own, probably far-to-small bankrolls, i.e. tournaments and NL cash.

The Sport and TV Negotiate

“We’ve decided that Soccer is a bit boring, so we’re going to get rid of goal keepers. Any problems?”

Poker’s negotiating position to TV seems trousers around the feet, ankle’s firmly gripped. Shorter rounds. No logos. Rights waiving. Speed poker???

I will leave the last word to an auld favourite of RGP, Steve Badger. Steve was the first person to give me a public slap on a forum for talking garbage and although abrasive, is rarely wrong on matters Poker related:

“ESPN is marketing to their own target market, definitely not the "casual fan". The target demographic is 18-34 year old males, and to be blunt, specifically the dork/loser element of that demographic -- people who go into a frenzy over the result of a game that they themselves don't participate in, and even call talk radio to yell at other people about such
games…They can't relate (much) to Doyle or Howard. They can relate to someone about their age making idiotic trash talk, just like they do.

It is basic sports TV marketing, and is partly why ESPN loves poker. Poker *has* people very similar to their prime market. Major sport personalities are not nearly as relate-able to. The viewers can't say "I could do that" when watching Barry Bonds, but they could look at any of this crew and think "that could be me"."

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Do As I Say Not Do As I Do

YTD: +$57930.03

Whilst I was criticising Rolf S going all-in with KK before the flop in PLO, I was very aware that I had made a very similar play myself. However in this case, the play was very clear and I was also aware that this was going to be a play with a lot of luck involved in its outcome:

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha High, $10 BB (8 handed)

Button ($845)
SB ($388)
BB ($1678)
UTG ($661.75)
UTG+1 ($803)
MP1 ($541)
Hero ($2488)
CO ($1094)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with Ks, 8s, Kh, Ac.

3 folds, Hero raises to $30, CO calls $30, Button calls $30, SB raises to $160, 1 fold, Hero raises to $550, CO calls $520, Button folds, SB calls $228 (All-In).

Preflop the action is straightforward. The SB had started reraising me with less than AA type values as he had noticed that my initial raising standards were lowish, at least in position. The extra A in my hand also gives me a touch more security that he doesn't have the AA. On this basis, my equity in the hand will be significantly improved if I can get CO to pass, as I may then win the pot unimproved. As he has shown no strength whatsoever, this further makes a reraise the better play.

Flop: ($1528) 6d, 2s, 9d (3 players, 1 all-in)

When CO called the big raise cold I basically put him on one of two hands. Either two pairs, or a 4 card straightening hand. Basically my strategy was that unless the flop comes three cards in sequence, I will bet the remainder.

The flop itself is fairly disasterous. As a 9876 kind of hand was a very likely holding, this flop may have hit him pretty hard. But if I check-called, I would be getting 4 to 1 on his bet, and even if he has the armageddon which is 9876 with diamonds, I'm only a 5.5 to 1 dog. Against "just" two pair and a str8 draw, i would be getting the right price to call. So perhaps betting is better? Betting may make him pass hands that he should probably call, especially as he may be worried about the flush draw. Also if he has the two pair hand, I may be a very big favourite and I wouldn't want to give him a free card to hit on the turn.

Hero bets $1525
, CO calls $544 (All-In).

Turn: ($3597) 5h (3 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($3597) Ah (3 players, 2 all-in)

Final Pot: $3597
Results below:

SB has Qc Ts Kd As (one pair, aces).

Hero has Ks 8s Kh Ac (one pair, aces).

CO has 9c Th Jc Qd (one pair, nines).

Outcome: Hero wins $2995. SB wins $602.

Not only was a very lucky to win this hand the strange thing is that no one played their hand wrong. The SB with a small stack is entitled to make a move against a loose player and the CO, suspecting that we both have AA is getting great value.

Often it can be the case in PLO that all the participants play correctly and the Gods of Poker reward and punish as they see fit. This hand they were kind.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Down at the End of Lonely Street

YTD: +$57896.08

"I had trips and he hit quads on the river, must be fixed!"

This is a common cry and one that shows how little the vast bulk of poker players actually know about the mathematical underpinnings of the game they play. Longshots are common. Miracles seem to happen everyday. In PLO, longshots very rarely are very long, as the 6 card combinations make nearly anything seem possible. But what about $1600 lost in a 515 to 1 shot?

I think that qualifies as a longshot.

This was actually a parlay. In about the space of an hour I lost to runner runner straights when holding trips, or in one case the nut flush to runner runner full. The latter one was almost amusing, as I flopped the nut straight and the nut flush draw and wondered to myself, "How am I gonna get paid on this one?". I bet it, hit the flush on the turn and bet it again. My opponent had called on the flop with top pair, Q kicker and no draw.

Losing all three pots was a parlay of 515 to 1.

I didn't smash up the computer.

I didn't shake my fist at the "cashout curse".

I did moan and whine a bit.

But I basically accepted that as a loose player my perceived action will make these hands happen more often and I should welcome it. Because calling for runner runner is one of the worst spots a PLO player can themselves into.

Then I knuckled down and still ground out a winning session.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Words are Like Leaves

YTD: +$61390.88

I don’t read a lot about poker any more, nor post on many forums. I’ve already commented on the dire state of posting on the popular forums. I recently did a trawl of poker writing to see how that was getting on. Ughh. I was right to stay away. I was astounded by how much of it was simply bad. Bad as in wrong. Or dumb. Or both. Here are some examples, and not just the soft targets like “The UK’s answer to Mike Caro”.

Anything by Phil Hellmuth

OK..I lied…one soft target then. The man is self-delusional to the point of insanity. As a case in point, read his view of the WPT event with Hoyt Corkins. Then watch it. Then marvel at how on earth Phil got from one to the other, except as justification for being comprehensively outplayed.

Harry Demetriou at Poker in Europe

Poker Europa has long been the Cardplayer of Europe. And that is not a compliment. Although Harry generated mixed views after his appearance on THM, with his knowing everyone style, I always quite liked him, as much as you can from glowing letters on a screen. Then this article :-( Here are some quotes:

“A good player in a cash game should also be a good player in tournament play as the basics for play itself in both are the same”

This made me grimace, but it may have just been an over-simplification. As a practical matter, the intersection of sets between good cash and good tourney players is tiny. And from a theoretical POV there are even more differences. But I guess the rules are the same.

“…more than fair proportion has little or no experience of tournament play…termed dead money… 40-50%... have next to no chance of …tremendous overlay in terms of positive expectation .”

This is a corollary to the small fields with better players are harder than massive fields with mostly chimps argument. Quality outweighs quantity. Paul Phillips has already shown how simply preposterous this is. But it is.

“There is also the question of value for money as most tournaments typically charge around 6-9% as an entry fee for the privilege of playing whilst cash games can vary tremendously and are seldom less than 10% regardless of whether they are raked or time charge games.”

??? WTF

“Another appealing aspect of tournament play is that it is also possible (at least in many of today's bigger buy in no limit tournaments) to make a big score. On the downside however is that because of the increased volatility you will need a relatively much larger bankroll to play tournaments than cash games.”

Sklansky showed that even in moderate several hundred player fields exceptional tourney players could go many, many years without a profit. Based on the big score criterion then the lottery is a good investment too.

Rolf Slotboom

I always though quite highly of Rolf’s game, from what he has described of it in his articles at least. Then reading his latest article I found:

(On losing several pots) “…it was not just the money: The lucky image that I have had been shattered.”

This brought a grimace but maybe it’s a language thing as English isn’t his native tongue.

“I thought it was best to stick to my short stack, move-in-early strategy that has given me so much success in previous years”

This brought a tightening of the lips and a shake of the head. Was he actually describing PLO?

Finally, he described a hand where he takes KK single suited against 4 other players, all big stacks, all-in before the flop. Now there are some exceptional circumstances when this may happen, but in general its poor play, or at best very, very, very marginal. Obviously he wins, but the story is positioned very much as a triumph of his skill and ability, without really stressing how exceptionally lucky he had been.

Another one out of the favourites then.

Dan Negreanu on RGP

I popped into rgp to see if things had improved. Heh. What was apparent though was that DN has not learned the lesson of that fine poker player though he may be, whenever he puts his “thoughts” into writing, he’s far from impressive. Here are some words of wisdom:

“ When a great player is playing his best, he may be capable of unheard of laydowns, oron the other side of the coin monster calls or monster bluffs even. Typically average to good players can only marvel at how a guy like John Hennigan plays a particular hand. Often, it's simple "over their head"

and very closely related to:

“You can use a chess analogy: if good chess players didn't understand why Bobby Fisher made a play they may see it as a mistake. Only Fisher knows that it is the best play available. With poker, good players might not understand the reasoning behind a play that a great player makes. Only a player that has a GREAT understanding of the game can deem whether or not another player is skillful.”

Hellmuth hubris?

“He's just got "feel", that one unquantifiable poker skill that "math guys" so desperately want but simply can't learn.”

I haven’t put up the ripostes that DN deservedly received over these gems, you can Google them yourself. However the last one was answered so elegantly it merits repeating:

“You say that like there weren't (at least) two "math guys" at the final table of this years WSOP final. It's a pity that one had to knock out the other.

It's those kind of statements which make it pretty clear that you don't really have much of an understanding of what "math" is.

The difference between "feel" and "math" is the difference between heads and tails. It's the same coin. It's just that the "math" people know that the coin has two sides, whereas the "feel" people think it has only one.'

Friday, September 03, 2004

Back to the Future

YTD: +$55048.73

After my blooper from the last hand and some further thought I decided to revisit the whole scenario of how my foe played the hand, but with a more detailed and analytical approach.

Firstly, with a short stack, his play on the flop is flat out wrong. Here he must either bet out or check raise me as he hopes to be a favourite and should want to get his stack in whilst so, with the added equity of making me pass. A check call is the worst alternative unless he knows for sure that he can contrive the play I am about to analyse, which starts to become a bit of an extensive parlay.

So we’ve got to the turn. What are his alternatives? He can bet out or he can go for a check raise – I’m dismissing a check call here for simplicity’s sake. The bet out is the straightforward play here. Assuming I’m a LAG (loose aggressive good) then betting out will make me pass all my draws, except the 15+ out ones, and of course if he’s already losing, he has to accept that he’s going broke here. It’s hard to get away from a set with a shortish stack in PLO. This wins him the pot but does it maximize his EV? Back to the Theory of Poker thing, it actually forces me to play correctly as in that I will pass if I should pass and call if I should call. It is hard for me to make an error here. But now let us look at the crafty check raise play.

The main risk, and drain of EV, in the check play is that I check back. Not only does he then give me a free card, but he’s also committed himself to calling any bet on the river as his show of weakness is more likely to encourage a bluff (I’m assuming he understands this of course.) But. He then picks up some catch bluffs equity on the river, normally from my low odd misses. And if I hit a high % draw, in a sense he was putting the money in regardless so although it feels dumber putting it in when I’ve hit, it’s not a catastrophe as he would have paid anyway. The only real disasters are he makes less money, because I would have paid but now refuse to bluff; I hit a low % draw which I would have passed.

Calculating all of these permutations is unnecessarily complicated, all we need do initially is look at the foe’s EV for the check raise turn, but understand that it would have to be downgraded for the reasons above.

Unfortunately I can't get my calculations into any kind of presentable format, but with some assumptions on the range of hands I have, mostly skewed to the weaker side, he ends up with a huge $500 EV+ on just over a $500 wager. This is truly massive and could not be turned negative by the risk of checking unless I am a high % checker on the turn, which is unlikely from the play of the hand. I also find it hard to see how simply betting out could better this either.

Interestingly, this expert play does not mean he is an expert. As I commented recently, many expert Omaha plays look identical to chump ones. It’s the thought that counts.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bad Company

YTD: +$52914.78

After one of my best months ever, I’m still unhappy with some of the quality of my decision making. In some ways – not many admittedly, but some – I feel better losing when I’ve done the right thing than winning when I’ve done the wrong thing. The first is a short term fluctuation, the second the start of bad habits. However, one of the mitigating factors in the Stars game is that many players, even the good ones, are making worse decisions more often than me. Here’s an example below. Let the mediocre prevail!

PokerStars Omaha Pot Limit ($5.00/$10.00)

Seat 1: Ludster ($467.90 in chips) (sb)
Seat 2: batoelrob ($1176.00 in chips) (bb)
Seat 3: dougthompson ($450.00 in chips)
Seat 4: acekingqq ($1529.65 in chips)
Seat 5: Foe ($713.00 in chips)
Seat 6: joelmick ($3282.75 in chips)
Seat 7: Lowbrow ($548.00 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($1124.00 in chips) (button)
Ludster : Post Small Blind ($5.00)
batoelrob : Post Big Blind ($10.00)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [ Ah 9d Qs Ks ]
dougthompson : folds
acekingqq : folds
Foe : raises $20.00
joelmick : folds
Lowbrow : folds
Hero : raises $60.00 (button)

This is a loose reraise against a mostly unknown player, although my hand is quite strong. This was early in the session and I wanted to build some image too.

Ludster : folds (sb)
batoelrob : folds (bb)
Foe : calls $40.00

*** FLOP *** [Kc 8c Jh]
Foe : checks
Hero : bets $110.00 (button)

Not a great flop, but one worth betting.

Foe : calls $110.00
*** TURN *** [Kc 8c Jh] [4d]
Foe : checks
Hero : bets $352.00 (button)

Foe has shown no strength at all. If he’s drawing a big bet should move him out. Over the table I felt I was in front at this point.

Foe : raises $543.00 and is all-in

OK, now I know I’ve been trapped. But. He could have two pair. He could just have a big draw and want to put it in for value. And I still have 3 nut outs. On the range of probabilities against a typical Stars player this is an automatic call.

Hero : calls $191.00 (button)
*** RIVER *** [Kc 8c Jh 4d] [Ts]
*** SUMMARY ***
Main pot $1438.00 | Rake $3.00
Board [Kc 8c Jh 4d Ts]

Seat 5: Foe lost $713.00 [8d 8s 9h Kd] with three of a kind
Seat 8: Hero bet $713.00, collected $1438.00, net +$725.00 [Ah 9d Qs Ks] with straight

I did say this post was about bad decision making, not bad beats :-) At least not for me. On one hand I’ve been outplayed and my foe has made me put in a good chunk of money very thin. But that was only because my hand was in essence a semi bluff anyway. But from his perspective he did not know I was drawing so thin and he has contrived a compulsory call out of me. Anytime an opponents calls when he should fold, or folds when he should call, you make theoretical profit. But the converse is equally true. If your foe calls when he should call and folds when he should fold, you make theoretical loss. And over the long term this theory turns into real money. Or real loss. (For those that don’t know this is in essence the core of Sklansky’s Theory of Poker.)

The check on the turn is especially bad, assuming I had the draw hand, as (a) I could just check it back (b) if I’m the aggressive player he assumes I am, he doesn’t have enough to make my call of his check raise wrong. Unless he puts me on naked AA he must either check raise on the flop or bet out on the turn.

Bad decisions all round.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I Think We're Alone Now, The Beating of our Hearts is the Only Sound

YTD: +$51824.75

I have been posting to various forums for the best part of 8 years now. All about poker. But eventually the poker content dies. RGP withered on the vine a long time ago. THM has become what I always feared it would. Finally, the last bastion of solid poker content, albeit sometimes heavily moderated, has started to slide down the slippery slope.

I really had high hopes for the new PLO forum. Initially there was some good content but it soon became clear that we were either in armchair expert territory – see post below – or we were having to explain why to raise with top trips when they are the current nuts. I recently posted a hand that I felt was really fascinating, even though I lost. I hoped it might spark off some intelligent debate. Instead it sunk like the proverbial lead balloon. Here it is again, this time with my comments:

PokerStars Game: Omaha Pot Limit ($5/$10)

Seat 1: MickTheHoon ($824.50 in chips)
Seat 2: HOT TEA ($215.50 in chips)
Seat 4: c.cris ($442 in chips)
Seat 5: ungar ($628.50 in chips)
Seat 6: luckylefty ($1456.25 in chips)
Seat 7: Foe ($2117.75 in chips)
Seat 8: Hero ($4536.90 in chips)
Seat 9: TheFelt ($947 in chips)
ungar: posts small blind $5
luckylefty: posts big blind $10
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Jd 9s Ks Th]
Foe: calls $10

Foe is loose aggressive good and a very experienced live cash player

Hero: calls $10

I would raise or even reraise with this hand in position, UTG I call

TheFelt: calls $10
MickTheHoon: calls $10
HOT TEA: calls $10
c.cris: folds
ungar: folds
luckylefty: checks

*** FLOP *** [Qh 2c Ts]
luckylefty: checks
Foe: checks
Hero: bets $50
TheFelt: folds
MickTheHoon: folds
HOT TEA: folds
luckylefty: folds
Foe: raises $150 to $200

This is a very interesting raise. My Foe knows I am loose aggressive too and he may just be trying to move out my semi-bluff. But why hasn’t he raised the pot, which would certainly be the expected play with two pair – perhaps he is looking for a reraise from me?

Hero: calls $150

I’m not a favourite over trips so I don’t want to lump it all in on the flop.

*** TURN *** [Qh 2c Ts] [Td]
Foe: bets $100

This is a beautiful bet. The foe knows that if he checks now, I will simply go dead on the hand, because I will put him on the nuts full. By betting small he could be trying to provoke me into making a raise. And yet he could also be drawing too and be looking for a cheap card!

Hero: calls $100

*** RIVER *** [Qh 2c Ts Td] [8s]
Foe: bets $500
Hero said, "im stuck"
Hero said, "gimme a clue"
Foe said, "lol"

I really was stuck. My str8 could be good. The $500 is an interesting bet because (a) its not the pot again (b) physically it looks smaller online. I would have been much more likely to call a full pot size bet. And yet my foe may know this as well and so is doing a “milk bet bluff”.

Hero: folds

In the end I decided that I could only beat a bluff or a busted draw. And that discretion is the better part of valour. But god, did I want to call!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Apologia BigDaveDous

YTD: +$ 47924.00

It’s nice to see that my PLO8b hand has sparked some debate. My initial thought was to show that you didn’t have to just play A-B-C poker to win. Unfortunately, my hand was so far out to right field that I had run out of letters and was getting stuck into the numbers!

On reflection, I don’t like that initial preflop call. However the hand does illustrate some valuable principles, such as how to think ahead and plan your moves and bluffs through the streets, as well as constructing a strategy that is game theory balanced, so that you are not leaking away too much information to those hopefully few players who are paying attention.

Tally raised an interesting point in the comments – why bother with these kind of plays when PLO8b players often simply hand you their money with no risk? Well this is certainly true in the initial stages of a PLO8b game evolution; for more on this see:

But there is a kind of temporary stage, certainly when the stakes become meaningful, where players somewhat wise up but still make fatal errors. By adjusting your game you can then take advantage of this better-but-still-bad play. What kinds of errors are they making? They fall into four areas.

1. Love and Marriage – AAxx is routinely taken to the river, regardless of the board or danger.

2. Hi Fear Syndrome
– If there is a high out there, someone has it. This is a common problem of tight PLO players switching game. I can think of a player on Stars who plays the PLO8b all the way up to 5-10 who is at best mediocre, but makes money just because people don’t look him up when high hands come.

3. I’m Low Therefore I Am – All nut lows must be played. All nut low draws must be played also, regardless of action and counterfeit protection.

4. All Draws are Created Equal – Drawing to nut highs on the turn is debatable in PLO; when there is a low present in PLO8b it is financial suicide, unless you are getting 8 to 1 ish on the bet!

If all you are playing is freerolls and 3/4s you will simply be leaving a lot of money on the table that could rightfully be yours if your foes are making these kind of errors. In B&M, this stage can last quite a while, especially if it is dealers choice where the harshness of PLO8b is mitigated by the kindness of more wilder games. Online it doesn’t last long at all and you have to be careful that you don’t take your looser game into one that has finally gone to a terminal rockfest stage. As an example, although it briefly burnt bright, all the high and medium stakes PLO8b has again gone from Stars. Thank god for PLO! For now :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Armchair Expert

YTD: +$44449.15

This post has a dual nature. Mainly, I wanted to show how some of the super rock thinking on plo8b has become quite prevalent on the web, which my hand below was meant to be an antidote to. And yes I will come back to that hand later! I also wanted to make a small comment on how poor posting on poker has become over the last year or so. RGP has long become mostly noise, or as the long timers (mostly all gone) would have said, the SNR is very low. THM is mostly a chat site. And finally 2+2 has become weak in terms of original, thought provoking content, although I am still battling away in the PLO forum. In fact a few months ago, in an act of pathos, some of the high limit holdem posters said "hey, are we the best there are now? We're not THAT good?" They then stopped posting, mostly.

What you have got left with on 2+2 are self-appointed experts who expound in great detail, often incredibly, ridiculously, lengthy detail, popular wisdom as if it were from tablets of stone from on high. And they are never ever wrong. Even when their previous posts completely contradict what they are saying now, even sometimes in the same thread, as I recently, reluctantly, had to point out to another poster on the PLO forum.

Anyway, have a taste of plo8b thought:

(The snipped thread I am quoting started off with the question do you play a naked A2 in plo8b)

If you can pass a naked A2 draw on the flop then sure you can play the A2. Have you seen the donkey bollox that most of your foes are playing? Even at the highest limits online you will see terrible hands played badly, and your A2 gives you a freeroll on the other two cards. If you are in a tight game then get the hell out because you cant out-rock a rocky game.

These were the predictable responses:

yeah, but it gives you a free roll for nothing.

For naked A-2, I am assuming A 2 7 J

If you have a good flush draw, or a pair to go with it, something that can make a strong hi, then yeah I agree.


Fold it Preflop.

You are at best drawing for half the pot and have no counterfeit defense. The naked A2 is GARBAGE!

Back to me:

What makes you think everyone else is playing A2 only? Also even the junk part of A2 has quartering possibilities, simply because you can often catch people with a nut low, no pair. The guys here who are saying pass an A2 either (a) cannot pass a low draw (b) don't play online.

The other day I won a $2200 pot against a guy who raised UTG with Q876 and bet and bet, and even called a $700 raise on the turn with just a high draw. Whilst this is an extreme, bad play in plo8b is part of the game. And if it isnt then you shouldnt be playing it as tight plo8b is the worse game in the world.

Smasheroo, who became the main protagonist then made this frank admission, which he seemed to forget later:


I think it's more along lines of avoiding tough decisions with marginal hands. If you can eek out extra profit with a naked A2, more power to you, you are a better man than I.

I'll keep folding A27J.

I then commented on playing in loose games to another poster:

Interestingly I posted about how plo8b games get looser or tighter in my blog (ok..its a plug :-)

Almost by definition any game of plo8b on the net is loose, although Ive never played microlimits or even below 2-4 in quite some time so there may be some very rare anomolies. If playing A2 isn't profitable....get up! Of course what some people here are not taking into the equation is that you do actually have a say in how to play it. You don't have to go beserk with it and its ok to pass a nut low or nut low draw. Most of the advice for playing plo8b on here seems to have evolved from playing limit Omaha 8b which is a much MUCH tighter game. As in all big bet games the target is your opponents stack, not winning a few blinds.

So for example, I almost never raise with an A2, in fact I almost never raise in any early positions with any hand. Because you are not raising with it, the A2 becomes much more deceptive, and allows you to play hands with a bit of aggression, knowing you have the nut low for backup. So to use the worst case example, A27J, perhaps the flop comes J83. Although this is by no means a monster, you now have a hand that you can put down some pressure with.

When your opponents are playing loose, you can win money by playing tighter than your "core" game; however you will win much more money by playing looser, although no where near as loose as your foes.

Smasheroo is back with...

In my oppinion, the amount of times you'll have even a vauge hi hand is negative EV to the amount of times you'll just be dumping it. The amount of times you stay in with it for the low is negative EV to the amount of times you get quartered.

This doesn't mean I'm right, but explain to me how it ever ends up being a +EV situation? This is PLO8 we're talking about, where it's almost impossible you're getting to a showdown without calling at least one pot sized bet.

I was getting a bit exasperated now


What games are you playing in? Your response seems to be based on a hypothetical game not the ones I play in. Why should I be being quartered often? Why am I calling pot sized bets? As opposed perhaps to making them. In any big bet game its generally OK to see the flop with medium hands for the implied general I see A2 as a medium strength hand. I believe I gave a reasonable example of a kind of hand that is ok with a medium strength high. Another okay example might be a 3-4 way limp pot where you flop the nut low and everyone checks to you and you bet and take it...or perhaps have to push again against a headsup foe on the turn.

Im not saying that A2 has to be played religiously, or aggressively, just that to say it SHOULD ALWAYS be passed is simply leaving too much money on the table in online games, where even at the 5-10 level, people are playing bonkers.

Smash then retorted, but made me more convinced that he was one of the many armchair experts that haunt 2+2. The NL comparison is exceptionally trite, imho.

The fact that you're playing in looser games would mean you're MORE likely to be quartered with A2 and nothing.

Look at this way, it's like playing any two suited cards in NL holdem. Your argument is basically that sometimes you'll have the nut low alone, or be able to bluff a pot down, or occasionally hit the nut high and scoop. Sometimes you'll make a flush that holds up with 84s. I'm still not going to play 84s in NL holdem, and I'm still not going to bother with naked A2 in PLO8.

PLO8 is about freerolling people who play exposed one way hands and scooping. Why would you want to provide the opportunity for someone to quarter you?

Your example of everyone checking to you after you make a nut low and then taking down the pot is fine, but works with any four cards.

I don't want to argue about it, we'll have to agree to disagree, I guess.

There are many, many better opportunities to get your money in with better EV and I just can't see A2 all by itself not being a negative EV play.

If it's profitable for you, fantastic, keep playing it. As a general rule, though, I'd say it's really not worth playing in PL. In limit, sure. Getting quartered in limit is annoying but not ussually a big deal. Getting quartered in PL is much more of a big deal.

I'd rather be the one doing the 3/4ing.

Not sure why I persisted...


U seem to be continually missing my point that you will only get quartered with an A2 if you allow yourself to do so. You don't have to play these hands by rote. There is a very strong belief in playing ultra ultra tight in plo8b on this forum, popularised by crockpot, which is certainly a winning style, and great for beginners. However Im starting to think that the people that advocate it dont actually play the game much, rather they just hypothesize instead. You can play the game very rigidly and make money for sure, but just by expanding that core of hands a little and experimenting, with skill and thought, you can win much more, especially in the very loose games on the net.

Also your NL example is not a good comparison. A2 is not 84s by a long way. And NL is very fundamentally a different game. In fact plo8b stands alone in the big bet world, imho.

Anyway its clear Im in a majority of one here, so if anyone wants to check out my thoughts, there will be more on this on my blog.

Like most of these kind of guys, he has to have the last word. Where he really seems to believe that a naked A2 is as valueless as 4 random cards...

I'm not missing the point. I'm missing the point at which your argument makes more sense with A2xx than with any four cards.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

In the Kingdom of the Blind

YTD: +$ 41299.45

As a change of pace, and also as someone requested it, I'm looking at PLO8b today. PLO8b is a strange game. There is some excellent advice on how to become a competent, very tight player. However most players seem to think that the entire of the game is waiting for freerolls. What they seem to miss is that if the players are bad enough to give you a freeroll, they are bad enough to give you several opportunities where they will be putting money in the pot in prohibitively poor equity situations. These aren't quite as painless as freerolls, but getting someone to call a pot sized bet on the turn when he only has 20% equity is a hugely profitably exercise. And to get these opportunities you simply have to play more hands than the tighties advise.

PokerStars Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit ($5.00/$10.00)

Seat 1: Foe ($1173.50 in chips)
Seat 2: Regency ($882.50 in chips)
Seat 3: Hero ($980.00 in chips)
Seat 4: riskynunber ($369.00 in chips) (button)
Seat 5: DeadMansHnd ($115.00 in chips) (sb)
Seat 6: LuvKingAlpha ($751.00 in chips) (bb)
Seat 7: davmcg ($569.40 in chips)
Seat 8: kdhspyder ($894.15 in chips)
DeadMansHnd : Post Small Blind ($5.00)
LuvKingAlpha : Post Big Blind ($10.00)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [ 2s 4h 8s Kh ]
davmcg : folds
kdhspyder : calls $10.00
Foe : raises $20.00
Regency : folds
Hero : calls $20.00

This is a hugely loose call and "not to be tried at home". There are some big howevers here though. The foe is monstrously loose aggressive dumb. The foe will auto-bet the flop, almost 95% of the time. I am sure the button, who is very tight will pass. Lastly, we both have quite big stacks so there is money to be played for.

riskynunber : folds (button)
DeadMansHnd : calls $15.00 (sb)
LuvKingAlpha : calls $10.00 (bb)
kdhspyder : calls $10.00

*** FLOP *** [Jd 3h Jh]
DeadMansHnd : checks (sb)
LuvKingAlpha : checks (bb)
kdhspyder : checks
Foe : bets $97.00

No surprise.

This is a good flop for me in the sense that I can bluff with outs. One thing that many players don't seem to get about plo8b is that high hands are out much less often. This means that high flops are good places to bluff, and also play strong for value when in PLO high only you may be more circumspect.

Hero : raises $210.00

I don't raise the pot. I want it to look like I want a call. Also I don't want to make him run out of money and call out of desperation. His probable ace high is winning after all. I need to leave him with money for the turn.

DeadMansHnd : Fold (sb)
LuvKingAlpha : Fold (bb)
kdhspyder : Fold
Foe : calls $113.00

*** TURN *** [Jd 3h Jh] [7s]
Foe : checks
Hero : checks

This is a bad turn. If I bet here and he has the low draw, which his call of the flop indicates, then he will call. If he then makes the low on the river, I may end up in the ridiculous situation of him scooping me with A high, if my flush doesn't hit. I need to keep him with money so I can get him out if it bricks.

*** RIVER *** [Jd 3h Jh 7s] [Ts]
Foe : checks
Hero : bets $320.00

Bingo. It now looks like I’ve played the hand either like a weak trips or a flush draw. So I want him to think I want a call. So I bet less than the pot again, indicating a "milking" bet.

Foe : Fold
Hero : collected $517.00 from pot

A nice thing about betting less than the pot in this case is that I would have played it exactly the same if I did have the trips. So in a game theory sense my two strategies seem identical from the outside, plus I have the advantage that my bluff is cheaper :-)