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.