Sunday, July 31, 2005


YTD: +$14880.84

One of the things that interests scientists isn't just the numbers revealed by experiment, but the underlying numbers. By this we mean the numbers that drive the numbers. One of the most common understandings of that now, popularised by book and TV, is chaos theory. This was "discovered" by a guy who realised that just minute changes in his underlying system had massive impact on the behaviours he was modelling, which turned out to be the weather. Incidently, this is one of the more "fun" explanations of Ice Ages. It's not asteroids or dramatic climate change, rather just that a tiny change in our weather system "flips" the climate into an alternate Ice Age state. Nice.

My YTD, subject to much interest of late, has also had some interesting numbers beneath it. As the Faithful Reader will recall, I started my Bad Run by going through a ton of money at 5-10 PLO. About $30k to be exact. What the numbers never showed, and got lost under the avalanche of loss, was that I had started to stage a come back. I had won back about $8k of it, before Party flipped the PLO climate over by the introduction of the 10-20 game. Overnight there was no 5-10 to be had anywhere on the net. In fact on Party, there was barely any action above 1-2. I foolishly took a shot at the 10-20, lost 14k in less than 2 hours, and then spiralled into bad game selection and some painful bursts of tilt. Fate sucks.

There is another very pleasing number under today's YTD. I have stopped playing for July a day early, so I can bask in the advent of black text appearing in my profit for the month column. OK, that black text is effectively zero, but considering that at points I have been nearly $6k down this month it feels very, very good.

Here's hoping that my own personal Ice Age is about to change state too!

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Question

YTD: +$11091.89

Well posts on here have been about as common as The Hendon Mob Diary entries. Has anyone checked out that morgue recently? It is truly terrible. There seemed to be a minor revolt the other day where someone dared ask WTF was the point of the site anymore, but thank god Harry "Gus Layne Danny Doyle are my Best Friends" Dem was on track to put things right. I never understood the Prima sponsorship deal. I wonder if Prima are now starting to ask the same question.

Enough gossip, this was actually going to be about poker for a change, and about asking the right questions.

Most of the interesting questions in Poker are meta questions like "which game should I play", "why am I losing", "how does my style effect my profitability", "why am I *still* losing" etc. These are tough questions to answer.

Questions about individual hands are often not as interesting, however in some cases, where a seemingly sensible approach can lead to completely the wrong view, it is about asking the RIGHT question. There was a interesting case on 2+2 recently on the Omaha8 forum about PLO8b. You can read about it here at

There is a lot of talk about +EV and getting 3 to 1 on each of the bets called. But they are not asking the right question. Which is given the hero's statement that he almost never passes a nut low in this spot, he is in effect betting his whole stack, and saying what is his return when the smoke is cleared. The bets on the other streets are illusory, kinda.

The analysis then becomes a straightforward one. Assuming that he will get 1/4d or even 1/6d some of the time, can he make money on the reminder of his hands? Using some rough estimates, I got the Hero losing about $500 over 30% of his hands, hands where he puts some money in but gets some, less, back. This means he would have to make $500 plus over the remaining 70% of his hands just to break even. Is this possible?

One of his foes has a short stack. If this is the "carvee", then he will have potentially risked his entire stack for half of fcuk all. He has to hope that he gets to carve up the other full stack instead, but he has no strong outs for the high. It wouldn't be too unreasonable to have almost no outs for the high. Lastly, none of the calculations so far have included the chance that he puts money in on the turn, but is counterfeited by the river.

Clearly, obviously, when you ask this question, he is not getting the right price. It may be a fold on the flop, although most players would struggle to make it. It certainly is a fold on the turn.

The Question is a crusading television journalist who is determined to root out corruption where he finds it. To that end, when he encounters stories he can't investigate by normal or legal means, he dons a special mask, kept in a special compartment in his belt buckle, that makes it appear that he has no face

Monday, July 11, 2005

Music of Chance

YTD: Anyone want my kidney, check out ebay

Well the WSOP is coming to a close, so the current rich vein of comedy will run out, probably just before my bankroll.

So a quick interlude of other things that have tickled my fancy.

For some time now, Mike Paulle has been so laser-like shrewd on the poker scene that on the perception stakes he has put Stevie Wonder's fashion guru to shame. This comment was a real blast. In the head to head between Rafi "Most Winningest PLO player on the Net last year" Amit and Vinny "Angle shooting scumbag" Vinh,the inimitable Paulle commented "You get the feeling that Vinh is toying with Amit, setting him up for the kill." 3 hours later Rafi had the title. If you had ever played Rafi headsup then you would know how even more a joke this was.

Another thing you should check out is the interview of Todd Brunson by that hero worshipping geek on Mr Fluffer, seemingly in a new pair of skateboarding knee pads, actually posed the question "Was winning a braclet as good as wining $13 million in a night?" This is the amount that Brunson alledgedly won in the headsup against the banker. You can actually see the synapses flaring in Brunson's head as he tries to figure out (a) is the questioner insane? (b) has he slipped into an alternate universe where winning some gold plated jingle-jangle is the equivalent of 13 very very large.

One day this war will be over.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Interest Breaks Out

YTD: +$14444.34

God, the WSOP has been boring this year. Maybe it’s because I'm not connected to the "real world" in that sense anymore. Sure, I've followed the mostly excellent coverage on Cardplayer - excellent in that it’s quick and easy - but there seems to be little character to the event anymore. Where are the hidden dramas and the background cash game gossip? It seemed that all those guys who wanted to turn Poker into a "sport" got what they wanted, except it turned out to be a homogenous ESPN-lite of the very worst kind, dog jumping meets log rolling meets ESPN "the Ocho". Anyone who has watched the Cardplayer videos will have seen reverential interview fellatio of the very worst kind.

But right near the end it got suddenly and unexpectedly interesting.

The Phil Hellmuth Interview

Check out his interview on Cardplayer. Never has a Poker player seemed to have tipped so far into total insanity. He was like a characterture of a mockery of a spoof. He truly is blessed.

Danny "Boy" N Becomes Phil Hellmuth

Danny N's blog has been a joy through his current rough patch. He has put the Y back into self-delusional. His latest entry where he talks about trying to persuade Chris Ferguson to stop using the moniker "Jesus" is like stepping into the Twilight Zone. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that "conversation", as Chris slowly tries to back out of the room, eyes flitting from side to side, fake but nervous smile plastered to his face. If I was Chris I would have told him only if he stopped using "self aggrandizing, insincere, publicity hungry prick" as his nickname. Oh, sorry, that’s just what others think of him.

The World's Best Internet Omaha Player Becomes the World's Best Omaha Player

You did read about him here first and it was no surprise for me, in fact a real delight, for a guy whom I donated so much money to on the Ether to go on and win the Big Omaha Event. It was also no surprise for the nonsense to take place over the fuck rule. Refaelmit doesn’t even speak English as a first language, and although his English is excellent, I'm sure speaking with poker players on a day to day basis will roughen up anyone's vocabulary.

What was very interesting was seeing who thought this rule was a good one. One interview, with that mad homeless person from last years WSOP, basically said "yes I'm an angle shooting twat." And this was the basic timbre of the "people" who "thought" it was a "good" thing.

More of the Same

Those people who knew Simon Trumper before he got "famous" would not have been surprised by the accusations about him and the now "something for him to be properly famous for" Barry G incident. Simon has a long history of previous in this area. I don't know him personally, and believe he is a nice guy, but I suspect like a lot of tourney "pros" has a severe case of Solipsism, otherwise known as IABS (I Am Blessed Syndrome - see Hellmuth above.) When all eyes are on him then doing the decent thing by his opponent is the last thing on his mind, as after all, all eyes are on him, so doing...etc etc ad nausem.

Hopefully for the Faithful reader I won't have to state my position on events, bearing in mind that I was brought up in a game where "cards speak" wasn't a rule. What has been amusing has been looking at the defence case for the behaviour. There have been the rule analists, who seem to have trouble with the fact that the "mutually assured destruction" principle of having to have a rule for every situation will either make the game unrecognisable or unworkable. The "faces" response has been predictable and even more noteworthy. Of serious mention must be Harry "I know everyone and must name drop them in every post" Demitrou on THM. And Barney Boatman's defence on the same forum had more subtext than a Kafka novel. As the child-fondling Texan poker star is fond of saying "Would you like to face a Grand Jury with this guy?"

I can’t imagine the Big Dance will be anywhere near as entertaining.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


YTD: crap, 16k ish, doing this from a pda

Well we got a fair response to the plo8b quiz, both here and on 2+2. Here's my views on the hands, which for a change I feel quite certain-ish on.

Hand 1

The real clue here was that the foes were very tight, but not especially skilled. What kind of hands could foe1 have in such a case? Clearly either an AA hand, or an A23 hand, most likely suited. In the first case he will most likely reraise, which is great for my hand, but in the second he will just call, which is likely to encourage foe2 to call also.

This second case, which is far the most likely, puts me in the uncomfortable position of having turned my hand faceup, yet still having plenty of money left to bet out of position. Unless a 2 comes, there are very few safe flops against two tight foes.

So calling has some merit, but again I am looking for a dream flop, and I miss out on the chance of potentially getting allin against a worse AA.

This leads me to an unusual correct answer of mini raising. This will probably provoke foe1 into reraising again if he has aces, but leaves me much less pot committed than if I make a potsize raise.

Hand 2

We had the full gamut of answers for this one, from raising allin, calling to passing on the flop.

The interesting thing here is the maths of the situation if you go allin. Against the range of hands where he is currently in front, from a pair to trips, you are no worse than a 6 to 4 dog and are sometimes a small favourite. More interestingly, you are a massive favourite against all his drawing hands, often as much as 9 to 1. And its not unreasonable to put him on such a hand here. Your nut no pair may win. Moreover, how will you you play the river if you miss...just pass? Especially if the board pairs, you may be passing the winning hand. Put all these together, plus some passing equity, admittedly slight, and pushing on the turn is clearly right.