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.