Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Well, it's been a long time again. Also, in true lazy blogger style I will spend the vast bulk of this post talking about the *last* post. However, for the Faithful Reader there is a semi-useful tip at the end.

I didn't reply to the any blogs I would recommend comment. I was once asked this self same question at the table by one of my fans. Yes, I did used to have fans who would invariably declaim that they had learned more from my blog about PLO than anywhere else, just before blink-blink-swoosh they scooped me out of a pot. I replied without hesitation that the best stuff available on the Net was Roy Cooke's stuff. Anything else, he inquired? Silence.

To my mind 99.99% of blogs fall into one of two camps. The first is the Internal Monologue. This takes the form of I played; I lost; I won; here’s the hand. You get the picture. Just as if you had really looked into the mental processes of a poker player, chilling thought though that may be, this can be a fun place to visit but ultimately unrewarding. WTFP. The other kind I term A Day in the Life Of. In these the poker is often a sideline alongside a lot of other Socio-Economic-Political-Military-Complex stuff. I respect that this is what blogging is all about, but personally if I want that kind of stuff I buy a newspaper, figuratively speaking.

On the contentious point of ZeeJustin et al – and at least he’s had the decency to go into quiet mode now – I fall into both camps really. I have from my B&M days zero-tolerance for cheaters. OK, well approximating to zero. If they were very bad players too, then I was happy to deal them in. But the nature of online cheating is more insidious. Although it has been argued that Zee didn’t gain too much of an edge from what he did, by my approximate, rough-and-ready maths, if he was playing 5 accounts at once he was 5 times more likely to win. Although this does not seem to work out to be a big edge like say skilled collusion in a cash game, he is still 5x better off than me. This cannot be insignificant.

However, I have a lot of sympathy with Chaos. I have no doubt that Party was completely arbitrary in how and why it seized the money. Although $100k seems harsh-but-fair, what about if he had $500k in his account. And more tellingly, if he had $20k in his account would they have prosecuted him for the additional $80k? Anyone with any experience of Party can unfortunately answer these questions themselves. Disturbingly, “The Player’s Friend” PokerStars came out of the whole affair very poorly. It seems that in any large stacks NL game I sat in, I might be playing an unofficial team of soft players. The whole notion that online poker is helpless to this is as ridiculous as the idea that it is mostly harmless. There would be a variety of very simple detections and remedies that Stars could put into place, but it’s clear that they simply cannot be bothered. I had some experience of the Stars collusion detection in action – I got some tiny rebate from some collusion play they detected. The whole process was shrouded in the absurd and the ineffective. The amount was so tiny it could have only been one or two blinds; they wouldn’t say what game was involved, or players, or even when. I don’t see myself playing on Stars for some time.

Now the tip. One of the problems with short-handed NL is that no one wants to do the heavy lifting of thinking through things themselves. This is what often makes 2+2 forums and the like self-fulfilling prophecies in terms of advice. Here’s one based on an old favourite. Its often said to isolate with a vengeance against loose players short handed. This is mostly true. Except some of these folk are what I call “Fight Every Fight” guys. What this means is that they do not want to give up on any pot and they will often bet, raise, check-raise on very thin values. Especially in raised pots. So if you isolate raise them, especially in fixed buyin games, you often find them in much more rambunctious mood and harder to play than if you hadn’t. So don’t raise them. Let’sjust play poker through the streets instead.


Rob Sherwood said...

Funny you should comment on ZeeJustin being in quiet mode today - he's just updated his blog and posted the same statement in the 2+2 NVG Forum. He's doing his best to save face but I for one am not buying any of it.

True what you say about Blogs. I often get bored when writing mine so God knows how people cope with reading the damn thing!


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

On the NL thing about isolating, in 6-max or shorter I would isolate with any big pp or AK because I don't want to play them multiway. But with other hands, then you are better off not being fancy with such LAGs and in fact are more often to be able to steal with hands you miss the flop with if you just limp and then represent having hit it. But the plus side of isolating is that you get more face time with the most likely donator. Assuming of course you don't misread him when he has a monster or sucks out on you :).

On the blog thing, Birks has posted yesterday about your comments if you haven't seen them yet. Ribbo felt obliged to post a slightly denigrating comment about you. I say slightly because of course most of us don't take him very seriously. It is understandable he would make such a comment since you have roasted him over the years. Although of course he was the one who provided the fodder for such roasting. Ribbo is a humorous little wanker.


Anonymous said...

About ZeeJustin:

5 times as likely to win when he plays 5 accounts? True, but he also pays 5 times the entry fee. Thats not an argument for what he done is cheating. He has to gain some edge by playing multiple acconts like chipdumping or "colluding" with himself.

Big Dave D said...


Nice to see you around. I'm inclined to give some beneift of the doubt to ZJ. I am sure that we have all made some some dubious ethical/moral decisions at some time. The difference is, these kids today are doing it for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are not getting the chance to craft their moral sensibilities for smaller stakes, both fiscal and emotional. There was recently a "I'm quiting Poker" post on 2+2 the other day which could have simply read "I'm starting to grow up" instead. I expect more of the same.



Big Dave D said...


Agree on the hands to raise with...duh, wrote my point too quickly.

I caught Birk's post and liked it. He was spot on with my feelings, as well as identifing some of the blogs I have "trouble" with.

I guess to answer his question, my original aspiration was that the posts would have some kind of tangible value, if not educative then at least saying something beyond my own personal drama. Mostly I believe we have succeeded, and I use the word "we" as it has been the comments that have rescued the posts in some cases.

When you said "like-minded" I think the common factor is to talk about Poker. I have certainly never had or encouraged any kind of GroupThink here, and I have often been proved wrong, or let posts and/or posters I didn't particularly like at the time stay uncensored.

The problem I have with 2+2 is basically that the Poker element is quite small. Take HSNL for example. Its basically a slightly gay Dungeon and Dragons high school society. The sad thing is that there are some great posters there. They just don't see talking poker as being as important as hanging out. The AZK incident hugely tickled me; mostly unhelpful and symptomatic of the HSNL "attitude", he suddenly wants cogent brain dumps on the PLO forum? And when he gets a mild flaming, he's back off to strap on the cardboard armor.

Why am I posting it here instead of at Birks? Well I spotted the Ribbo thing, thought a few moves ahead and decided to resign my position early :)

"I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle."

Big Dave D said...


In a strictly linear maths sense you are of course right, however that utilty thing gets in the way again. Sure his mathematical expectation per event doesn't change, but then again, his most likely result isn't winning his precise expectation. The factor that skews this is the massively lifechanging factor of winning one of these big buyin events. Even ZJ seemed delighted to have won the Stars thing for 100k plus or whatever. And he has 5 times as much chance of winning this thing than I do.



AJ "The Triple Threat" Martino said...

I have certainly never had or encouraged any kind of GroupThink here, and I have often been proven wrong


Big Dave D said...


"let posts and/or posters I didn't particularly like at the time stay uncensored."




Peter B said...

Please elucidate on what "HNSL" and "AZK" mean for the poor-of-time who are not au fait with the latest developments (or not-so-latest developments) at 2+2.

I've got a bit of trouble with your logic on the Zee Justin thing (although I don't disagree with your conclusions). You wrote that:

"The factor that skews this is the massively lifechanging factor of winning one of these big buyin events. Even ZJ seemed delighted to have won the Stars thing for 100k plus or whatever. And he has 5 times as much chance of winning this thing than I do."

But by this line of thought, someone who buys five times as many lottery tickets (an equally massively life-changing event) is "cheating".

My feeling is that the cheating comes in because ZJ was +EV for each account. The "good times" will not last forever, so ZJ increased his EV by entering more than once. He gained a greater "share" of the dead money than did a person of equal skill to ZJ who only entered once. No-one seems to have mentioned this point, so I thought that I would.


Anonymous said...


You should take a shot at the 50/100 PLO game on UB during US sat. evenings...hands like this occur quite frequently.

Hand #30738534-1336 at Arnold (Pot Limit Omaha)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 02/Apr/06 00:04:19

dumbanimal is at seat 0 with $8100.
MrJones707 is at seat 1 with $8148.
Broke Joke is at seat 2 with $50176.
zaklish is at seat 3 with $24133.
hogbird is at seat 4 with $24612.50.
safebox is at seat 5 with $3606.
The button is at seat 5.

dumbanimal posts the small blind of $50.
MrJones707 posts the big blind of $100.

MrJones707: Jd Qh Ts 9s


Broke Joke folds. zaklish raises to $250. hogbird calls. safebox calls. dumbanimal re-raises to $1350. MrJones707 calls. zaklish folds. hogbird re-raises to $5900. safebox goes all-in for $3606. dumbanimal calls. MrJones707 goes all-in for $8148. hogbird calls. dumbanimal goes all-in for $8100.

Flop (board: 4h 3d 8h):
(no action in this round)
Turn (board: 4h 3d 8h Qc):
(no action in this round)
River (board: 4h 3d 8h Qc Td):
(no action in this round)


MrJones707 shows Jd Qh Ts 9s.
MrJones707 has Jd 9s 8h Qc Td: straight, queen high.
hogbird mucks cards.
safebox shows 6d 9c 4c 2d.
safebox has 9c 4c 4h Qc Td: a pair of fours.
dumbanimal shows 5h 9d 3s 6h.
dumbanimal has 9d 3s 3d Qc Td: a pair of threes.

Hand #30738534-1336 Summary:

$3 is raked from a total pot of $28252.
$3 is raked from the main pot of $14674.
$0 is raked from side pot #1 of $13482.
$0 is raked from side pot #2 of $96.
MrJones707 wins the main pot $14671 with straight, queen high.
MrJones707 wins side pot #1 $13482 with straight, queen high.
MrJones707 wins side pot #2 $96 with straight, queen high.

Anonymous said...

'My feeling is that the cheating comes in because ZJ was +EV for each account.'

Though I sympathise how can we define an action as cheating for which only the good qualify?

The EV argument might be levelled at players who played more cash tables at one site than any single account permitted. Then they change the rules, play 10 tables, and everything is ok. Of course we'll never see such ammendments to tournies, but if the issue was solely EV then we migh've.

For sure though, he was wrong, he gained unfairly and such actions should be stopped.


Anonymous said...

yeah and Dave's fictious 500k, 20k balances makes the case against party very well. I've always been a staunch advocate of stars, and they are still my much preferred site, in principle, but their soft collusion stance was very dissapointing, I suspect L.Jones isn;t the best front man.


Big Dave D said...

Hi PLO-Anon

THis is one of the few games I have ever looks fantastic. I'm not much of a shot taker Im afraid :)


Big Dave D said...


HSNL is High Stakes No Limit forum on 2+2. AZK is a mod there.



Big Dave D said...

Chaos and Pete,

I think its hard to verbalise or express in a concrete fashion exactly why playing multiple accounts in a tournament is wrong, even without inappropriate play. I think we are all in agreement that it is, and I suspect its a combination of utility, unfair opportunity and gut feeling.



Andy_Ward said...

I wasn't convinced that the multi-tabling was that bad until someone posted an analysis on 2+2 as to how often he would end up on the same table as himself. It's like the birthday prop bet - any two of his accounts on the same table at any time is almost a certainty over as few as 10 tournaments.

At this point you must realise "hold on, this isn't right. I shouldn't be doing this". The only other alternative is to concoct a ridiculous story about opening lots of S+Gs to negate your unfair edge ...


Andy_Ward said...

I should say that there is another alternative - sit out one of the accounts any time this happens. Villain did not do this. Go figure.


chaos said...

I thought of the birthday bet too, and though I'd thought it deceptively likely, I'd not have guessed, say, 95% after 10. But even so such numbers are remarkably deceptive without context:

Only one in 3 instances is going to involve the primary account

How many credible opportunities will he have to dump during this window (assuming he is selective)?

How many times will he need to? Is he really going to try and dump 10,000 to say a stack of 200?

Is he really going to not try and win when not playing his famed account? It's certainly strange, if he is to be believed, that he created mulit-accounts because his famed account was better played by the masses (allbethen sng's). Perhaps not, maybe he was prepared to take the hit for the glory.

How often & much will he actually gain from dumping chips? In some instances he would net-EV lose if his desire were to transfer all the chips to one account - generally in the latter stages. Not to mention the whole distraction of coordinating the thing.

Perhaps there have been examples cited, but I'd be surprised, with PT and Party's then penchant for allowing observed hands, if all dubious scenarios had been highlighted.

Anyway, too much energy has been wasted on this: I'm probably only defending the guy to have a pop at party. And there sure are better ways to spend your allocated poker thinking time.


Anonymous said...

pardon my ignorance, but " ... was +EV for each account. " can someone enlighten me ?

i am an avid, ok when you make a post, i am an avid reader of your blog, since most others i have read are, to use a local colloquialism, pure pish.

i usually play lower limits NL holdem and was thinking about broadening my horizons. Any decent online tutorials for Ohmaha ? it seems to me you need to think a little more about this particular poker variant.

ddmcm (yes, my real initials)

Anonymous said...


You could have a look at
It helped me a lot when I started omaha

Big Dave D said...


For PLO, read the archives. Egotistical but mostly true.

EV is a nebulous poker term, meaning Expected Value. Its a borrowed maths terms and mostly used 'cos its the only semi-scientific term we have. If something is EV+ then it means that it makes profit, in the long term. Clearly EV- is the opposite. So the point being made was that each additional account used was adding to his total sum of expectation...or $, to be frank.



chaos said...

Some proper cheating?

I just wonder if A posted as the hero, with QQ, what would they all say?

The one thing that concerns me is whether there is a shift in policy, if it was ever otherwise, from drawing out to obscuring the cheats.

Most people's perception of risk is fucked up. The London Underground feels a whole lot safer now than it did August last year. But I'm sure it's much less.

Arguably, for the majority, a site that denies it has a problem is gonna feel a whole lot safer than one that admits to treating it. 'After all, how could you trust a site that could be so lapse in the first place'

Aksu said...

Thanks Chaos.

Maybe the most alarming thing in that thread is the followup response from UB. They clearly have no clue. And if one of the biggest sites does not know what to look for, the situation can't be better in smaller sites.

chaos said...

Hi Aksu,

I read the site's reply, but only a handful of other comments. I have a little confidence in most of the sites ability or desire to deal with collusion, the only exception being Stars (soft playing withstanding).

In this instance though, I thought there are several that could be played this way by A. Some players against some opponents will defintely play, say, QQ this way on the turn then flop. It looks a trivial call for QQ on the river but with the cold-call overcall, the 5th BB by his opponent and his curiosity satisfied (always part of the value call!) I could see some players folding an overpair against oppo's that aren't too tricky.

Big Dave D said...


Return of the Prodigal Son!

The Fatted Calf is being slain as we speak :)

That UB stuff is v bad. As you said what is worse is that UB has no clue. And this is a real shame as online poker is uniquely placed to pick up on collusion. But as Chaos said, saying "We have the best collusion detection software on the web!" is not quite so Marketing Tasty as "Come play here...everyone is luuurvely".



chaos said...

My bad: I completely misintrepetted the hand when I read it - it it looks way worse than I'd thought, although I still think there can be a fair explanation. I've certainly been B in slightly more wreckelss times, or less recklessly against a very fishy A.

If A is full of shit a lot, B's play is understandable. B is naturally pretty confident that C is weak and 2 bets will put him off most of the time - unfortunately he's copped 2 pair. Obviously, A may have called if C folds, but situations like this do happen. I've certainly bluffed in B's position like that and got C to lay down the best hand, winning it for A.

I just hope it's a sign of a good player to be accused of cheating once in a while!

I also think B might veeeerrrryyyy occasionally try this against I thoughtful A expecting to hold an overpair, but A's image would have to be just right. And let's face it at those sorts of limits gulping's gonna precede a lot of calls.

Aksu said...

Thanks for the warm welcome D.

I agree with you Chaos, it could be a fair game. I quite like TommyA's line: "Toss in some tilt here and a misclick there and some booze here and a misread there and a billion-dollar bankroll here and maybe even some good old fashioned "bad playing" there, and the case never even makes it to court."

This is generally true in almost any single hand. Therefore it's so crucial to be able to track down lot of hands with all the information. But it's not much of use if the guys who do this are naive enough to think that only the player who won the pot can be colluding.

Anonymous said...

The four horsemen of the aplocalypse (for internet poker):




over exposure

Anonymous said...

"In a strictly linear maths sense you are of course right, however that utilty thing gets in the way again. Sure his mathematical expectation per event doesn't change, but then again, his most likely result isn't winning his precise expectation. The factor that skews this is the massively lifechanging factor of winning one of these big buyin events. Even ZJ seemed delighted to have won the Stars thing for 100k plus or whatever. And he has 5 times as much chance of winning this thing than I do."

With all respect, I think that stuff about "life changeing factor" is complete nonsence. Playing multiple accounts MAY lead to collusion and is therefore banned, because of that ZeeJustin should be punished.

Anonymous said...

If the life changeing argument was relevant, then playing multiple acconts in smaller "not lifechangeing" tourneys would be ok? Seems very strange to make a difference beacuse of that.

Big Dave D said...


The point I was making was that there are other reasons why playing multiple accounts is wrong. Of course the collusion thing is the most important.



Anonymous said...

Imagine, if a player entered an offline tournament and turned up at the same table as himself, playing 5 hands, would it be considered slightly inappropriate in the essence of fair play?

its a disingenious scam.

mike andies said...

I love playing 5 hands all the time, hope I can win tonight, easy $3000, you bet im the online poker king. June 1st

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