Tuesday, September 27, 2005


YTD: +$30564.99

There was a small demand, after my last post on the good ol' days, for some more anecdotes on the heart break and wallet ache of playing poker in the pre-Internet era.

I was going to make the main focus the amusing story of when a player drove across country to confront a well known poker contributor, occasional funny man, and often hard nut. This confrontation was principally around a pick axe handle, brought just for the occasion. On seeing his interlocutor, stepping out of a car with the said debating tool poised for questioning, our comedian said, quietly, coolly "Is that all you've got?" Which if it had been me, would have provoked a fast rewind of existence so far, back into the car, reverse out of the street, Keystone Cops-style, and getting the fuck out of Dodge.

This did not happen.

The next day I saw our jovial friend, still jovial, and as unblemished as he ever could be. Our misguided friend, however, was bundled up like a decade early audition for The Mummy.

Within two weeks, they were both playing at the same table again.

However, I didn't want to make the prime focus of my reminisces *quite* so negative, so instead I have the triumverate of terror.

The Good

Blackpool, in the North of England, was very much an acquired taste, and a poor one at that. However back in the 90s, it was often home to some of the worst cash players in human existence, and that alone made the trip worthwhile. These were the types that thought 10 card Omaha the epitome of skill, and a 8th nut low a solid investment.

However, at my table was a more fearsome bunch. A guy who would later end up European champion. Another, the youngest player to win $1 million at the WSOP. In the hand in question there was some considerable preflop action and on the flop a tight, fearless, aggressive, well known Oriental player went all-in. I put him on a flush draw and called him with top pair and some kind of American wrap - this was some time ago, please! As we were friends and there was no more betting we shared our hands. He had an overpair and a flush draw, which made matters worse as he hit his pair on the turn. I was now in a world of hurt. A seemingly irrelevant river arrived and I desperately shuffled my cards, trying to find something that would win me this monster pot.

"You have the straight," he gently nudged me.

Only he had seen my hand.

Ever since, in the same circumstances, I have repaid the favour for those unfortunates who haven't realised that they have thumped me with their exposed hand.

And as a sad addendum, the player in question got effectively broke and never recovered.

The Bad

Let's Quantum Leap forward half a decade. We are now in a very pleasant cash game playing my game of choice, PLO8b. The main donator in this game was a young, loose student guy, from a very rich family. He was waaay to aggressive and had a waaay to high opinion of his own game. By the river of this particular hand, I had him all-in and declared my hand "Nut full, and a low" and exposed my hand to the table. My low wasn't great, hence the "and a low" phrase.

Well the youngster shook his hand and thought and shook his head some more. "You win" he said, and started to muck his hand.

"No wait!" shouted The Rock, who had not spoke a word for the last two hours and had saw his hand inadvertently as he was sat next to him. This is the key point. At no point was his hand exposed to the table. Rather, The Rock had seen it because the student was taking one last wistful look at it before conceding defeat.

"You have a better low, look" and the Rock showed him.

To say I was fucking livid was an understatement. We both knew why The Rock had done this. He hadn't wanted to let the loose money get into my stack. He wanted a chance to get it himself.

"If he puts his fucking hand down, *I* will show him he's beat me", I said softly, truthfully.

The Rock looked guilty, went quiet again, busted the rich kid and promptly left almost the next hand.

The Ugly

OK time trippers, we are back to the start of my career again. The soon to be WSOP millionaire kid was busting up games all over England. He was good and he was on fire. At the time he was ferried around the country by some old friends, one a small time tourney hustler, the other, well just a hustler at best, at worst a rumoured cheat, although that was to come later.

Having duly bust the cash table again, the young tyro needed a hand carrying his chips to the cash desk and the hustler duly obliged.

Some time later our friend realised that he was £50 short.

Yes, his friend, long established from his recent teenage years, and an older figure by far, many hours spent following the white line with, and whom he would often give money to, well, just because he could, had stolen from him.

Yes, his friendship was only worth £50.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


YTD: +$21828.54

Well that's the end of the WCOOP for me for another year. I only played the two PLO events, both making kaput, but playing very differently in both.

The rebuy event went poorly. I did not have my head "straight" and I decided that as I was likely to not win the event, I should keep my outgoings low. Entering a rebuy event with this approach, especially one where swings can be as severe as PLO, is simply fatal. My stack could have been at least 50% bigger at the first break if I had played my normal game and shortly afterwards my stack took a big hit when I talked myself into believing that a player could not have called bets to the river just to draw to a bad straight. Soon afterwards, IGHN, feeling I never really did myself justice.

The main PLO event did not have rebuys and so it was important to play well right from the off. Which I did. When the blinds are small in comparison to stack sizes then my lack of aggression preflop and playing through the streets style pays dividends. Funnily enough, when the PLO element diminishes and it becomes more tournament poker, then the "faces" start to do much better. I don't think it was a coincidence that the final table of this event had no cash game players in it - the rebuy event was the same, as I recall.

As a whole the event went well and I played something approximating my A game. Some key hands, however, "fated" me to lose. Raising on the button with a very healthy stack with A88 suited, a strong player in the big blind called. I bet the flop when I hit my set, he called, we both checked the turn when a flush draw came and he bet into me on the river when the 3 flush was added to by a straight card. Eventually I summoned up a pass. Later, I called on the button with JJ ss after an early limper. Everyone checked a QQx flop and I took a stab at it. Unfortunately I not only got a caller, I picked up a J on the turn, and payed off a small bet on the river against quads. 0-2 vs destiny so far.

The coup de grace came after the four hour mark. With only 10 big blinds left I raised UTG with QQ64 ss. The big blind, a poor cash player I had some experience with, reraised me. I hummed and hawwed and eventually passed. He showed an AKJ9 ds. The very next hand, my reraiser and I were on the blinds and he raised again. With AA94 ss I reraised and he set me in. His AAJ6 hit two pair and kismet won. Interestingly or not, if I had called and doubled up on the QQ hand, I *still* get busted the very next hand. No wonder I hate tourneys.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dead Presidents to Represent Me

YTD: +$23138.19

All good things come in threes. Trilogies for a start. Rocky films as another. After the interlude of the last post, I thought it would be interesting to look at some hands that highlighted some of the key points made in my PLO quiz and answer posts:

The Dave D Factor

One of the things I admitted, or maybe conceded, was that much of my play revolved around putting my money in when I was mathematically getting the best of it. This isn’t exactly rocket science of course, but I felt it was something my foes didn’t necessarily understand. Here’s an interesting example of this:

$1000 PL Omaha Hi
Table Table 39938 (Real Money)
Seat 10 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 2: pandirector ( $1000 )
Seat 3: Vivaldi1 ( $1000 )
Seat 4: BUGSY5040 ( $1415 )
Seat 6: THAIHOLDEM ( $1118.25 )
Seat 8: Efletch ( $510 )
Seat 10: gostop999 ( $6153 )
Seat 9: Hero ( $1872 )
Seat 5: Mordin1 ( $1144.25 )
Seat 1: MAKE4_KILL_U ( $990 )
Seat 7: flash11 ( $580 )
MAKE4_KILL_U posts small blind [$5].
pandirector posts big blind [$10].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ad 8c Qd 5d ]
BUGSY5040 folds.
Mordin1 folds.
flash11 calls [$10].
Efletch calls [$10].
Hero calls [$10].
gostop999 calls [$10].
MAKE4_KILL_U folds.
pandirector checks.
** Dealing Flop ** [ 3d, Ts, 6d ]
pandirector bets [$52.25].
flash11 folds.
Efletch calls [$52.25].
Hero calls [$52.25].
gostop999 raises [$313.5].
pandirector is all-In.
Efletch is all-In.
Hero calls [$937.75].
gostop999 raises [$4198.75].
Hero is all-In.
** Dealing Turn ** [ 5h ]
** Dealing River ** [ Qh ]
gostop999 shows [ Tc, 9s, 3s, Th ] three of a kind, tens.
pandirector doesn't show [ Td, Jd, 3h, Js ] two pairs, tens and threes.
Efletch shows [ 7c, 6h, 3c, 4h ] a straight, three to seven.
Hero doesn't show [ Ad, 8c, Qd, 5d ] two pairs, queens and fives.
gostop999 wins $2650.25 from side pot #3 with three of a kind, tens.
gostop999 wins $1744 from side pot #2 with three of a kind, tens.
gostop999 wins $1470 from side pot #1 with three of a kind, tens.
Efletch wins $2052 from the main pot with a straight, three to seven.

Interestingly, I was getting a good price on my calls, even though I was counterfitted by the other diamonds being out there. Also note what a blunder Efletch makes in this hand. Even though he gets 3 to 1 for his money, he still isn’t get the right price. This is a milder example of my point that even good players make terrible mistakes in these spots.

The Fabrizio Fumble

Pete Fab raised an interesting point, which I mostly ignored, that sometimes you *think* you are in a good spot, but in actually fact you are being strangled. These don’t happen that often, but this was an interesting example against a LAP:

Table 'Harpalyke' Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: DextSiegler ($767 in chips)
Seat 2: Tekkie ($246 in chips)
Seat 3: lokemupsally ($691.45 in chips)
Seat 4: dmacgran ($600 in chips)
Seat 6: otro ($240 in chips)
Seat 7: someclown ($2302.25 in chips)
Seat 8: kylki ($679.50 in chips)
Seat 9: Hero ($1482.25 in chips)
DextSiegler: posts small blind $3
Tekkie: posts big blind $6
otro: posts big blind $6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Qd 9h Tc 8d]
lokemupsally: raises $6 to $12
dmacgran: calls $12
otro: calls $6
someclown: folds
kylki: calls $12
Hero: calls $12
DextSiegler: calls $9
Tekkie: calls $6
*** FLOP *** [9s Qc 6d]
DextSiegler: checks
Tekkie: checks
lokemupsally: bets $36
dmacgran: folds
otro: folds
kylki: folds
Hero: raises $132 to $168
DextSiegler: folds
Tekkie: folds
lokemupsally: raises $417 to $585
Hero: calls $417
*** TURN *** [9s Qc 6d] [4h]
lokemupsally: bets $94.45 and is all-in
Hero: calls $94.45
*** RIVER *** [9s Qc 6d 4h] [7h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
lokemupsally: shows [Qs Ks Qh Td] (three of a kind, Queens)
Hero: shows [Qd 9h Tc 8d] (a straight, Six to Ten)
Hero collected $1439.90 from pot

For some reason I had convinced myself that I had played Lokem b4 and that he was a LAP. I’m not sure after this hand  If Lokem was a LAP then I was in great shape here, but in actually fact I was in a world of unspeakable hurt.

The Pete B Problem

One of the things Pete B raised was I was underestimating my opponents. Perhaps, I replied, but one of the things that struck me, and keeps on striking me, is how seemingly good players make hideously bad errors in the area of making plays that are putting themselves allin in big pots. Here is one that so horrified me that four months later I could instantly recall it. What made it more bizarre was that Reydel was a strong, tight player.

$1000 PL Omaha Hi
Table Table 48783 (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: Barnielle ( $2723.1 )
Seat 2: ISSIMI ( $925 )
Seat 3: Hero ( $2187 )
Seat 4: ReydelMundo1 ( $2051 )
Seat 5: dakyras ( $1805.5 )
Seat 8: KrIs2704 ( $1915 )
Seat 10: MAKE4_KILL_U ( $2402 )
Seat 7: dismas ( $300 )
Seat 9: Cubus ( $572.5 )
Seat 6: suziemarie ( $787.5 )
ReydelMundo1 posts small blind [$5].
dakyras posts big blind [$10].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ad 4c 9d Tc ]
suziemarie calls [$10].
dismas folds.
KrIs2704 folds.
Cubus folds.
MAKE4_KILL_U folds.
Barnielle folds.
ISSIMI calls [$10].
Hero raises [$30].
ReydelMundo1 calls [$25].
dakyras folds.
suziemarie calls [$20].
ISSIMI calls [$20].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ks, Jc, 8c ]
ReydelMundo1 bets [$127].
suziemarie folds.
ISSIMI folds.
Hero raises [$500].
ReydelMundo1 calls [$373].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 8d ]
ReydelMundo1 checks.
Hero bets [$1000].
ReydelMundo1 is all-In.
Hero calls [$521].
** Dealing River ** [ 2s ]
Hero shows [ Ad, 4c, 9d, Tc ] a pair of eights.
ReydelMundo1 shows [ As, Kh, Jh, Qd ] two pairs, kings and jacks.
ReydelMundo1 wins $4169 from the main pot with two pairs, kings and jacks.

Now my play needs some explanation. At the time I was raising with a lot of hands in position so this was certainly not an “I have AA raise”. Also, Reydel was not the kind of player who would lead out with the nut flush draw, and I felt that two pair or a small set were his most likely hands.

His play on the turn is unfathomable. There is no reason to think that I don’t have a full here. And if he called on the flop thinking I have AA, he has now turned into a monster dog. Furthermore, what hand can I pass for 500 into a 3500 pot? This is classis DIYDDIYD of the most insane order. No read or feel can compensate for the fact that check raising in this spot cannot be the right play.

Monday, September 05, 2005

It's Hammer Time

YTD: +$25333.89

I love the WCOOP. Not because of the *actual* events, in which I invariably play very poorly - case in point, busted out nice and early in the $200 PLO. The real reason is all those satellites. PLO sats are heaven sent. I am currently running at well over 200% profit on them, which is quite an achievement considering that they are "capped" in terms of how much you can win.

How has this been achieved?

The heady combination of completely clueless PLO play coupled with no idea at how to play a game where winning a seat is the goal.

Many times I saw players with monster stacks, far in excess of what was needed to drift into a seat, get into pointless confrontations and not even make it to the final table.

After one such occasion, a very unusual hand occurred at the final table. The antes were something like 1-2k, maybe 800-1600 and I had about 20k. The other short stack had 16k and was conveniently situated on my right. The other four players were waaay chipped up. We were in a classic bubble situation, with only 5 seats getting paid.

Everyone passed to me in late middle position. The blinds were both very losey goosey. I had AA with some other nice cards.

I passed.