30 September 2005

Getting Your Groove Back

What is the best sight to see on a flop? May I submit a few variations:
  • Calling with QJo and seeing a flop of AKT with a raiser in front of you
  • Calling with JcTc with raiser in front of you with flop of 8c9cKs, turn Qd, river 5c (flush with straight kicker)
  • Five-way raised pot from bb with 97o, flop of 974, A on turn
  • Raising with 66 and flop of AK6
I think the hidden (gapped) straight is the best to flop, the most difficult to get a handle on. The question is can you have the patience to wait it out, to invite the trap late in the round, potentially getting sucked out by the flush, the boat, or the counterfeited two pair.

Second issue is booking the win as a Closet Poker Player. I'm in a groove on Party $5/10 LHE. As I'm playing in short bursts (less than 100 hands at a time), I think I need to put in some sort of session braking system. I have a bad habit of getting up then giving back, alternately playing too many hands or having good hands either not hold up or not catch flops. More questions than answers, though. I'll lay out the questions later and try to address them. I've decided doubling my money at the table is a good time to get out, playing around until the blinds come to me. This morning's stats:
  • Hands played: 80
  • Hands won: 18%
  • Showdowns won: 100%
  • Flops seen: 28%
  • Win% if flops seen: 58%
  • Session: +$308.50 (30xbb, one hour)

28 September 2005

Is a Quickie a Good Idea?

Is it healthy to play for 20-40 minutes online? Did that this morning, ended up after five rounds up $80 with the following winning/losing hands:
  • Up: 7c4c (flush), KhTh (straight), Ad8d trip 8's)
  • Down: AK (three consecutive hands, won blinds once, lost twice), AQ, KK (A on flop)
For the Closet Poker Player, it is important to balance the quick strike when you can sneak in play vs. the prolonged session. This may be similar to the PokerEdge-table-jumping-junkies, who play a few hands at a table then get out.

Another fundamental issue is when do you leave if you are in the Quickie mode. This morning, I got down $100 after the KK/three big-slik string (all in a span of a dozen hands) playing $5/10. Decided to shut my door and plan another fifteen minutes, which allowed me to luckily get up (on the KT hand, I raised late with one caller, flop was AJx and caught the Q on the river; caller raised my river bet, which I three-bet/no flushes on the board).

Another major area that I need to explore is table image. I haven't paid too much attention to it, but I can definitely see on Party folks calling me down with nothing after seeing a bluff and vice versa. I've never really focused on that much, so it's a part of the game I need to work on.

US Poker Championships event yesterday: first place to Howard Herman from NYC, $45,151--could have been yours truly...

26 September 2005


OK, I rescheduled my flight and won't go to the Taj.

A better description of the bad beat vs. unlucky examples from Party:

  • AJo (me) in late position, with BB three-betting; AXX on flop, I call down to his AQ
  • A9o (me) I raise with two callers, they stay with me with AXXX8 (A2 and A8 were the callers)
  • AdKd (me) raised on button, blinds call; AJx sb calls, x on turn calls again, T on river (JTo)
Overall, I treaded water, although I was up and down. Of the one above, you could argue that I played the AJo poorly, which I could give you. The second was a bad beat, the third was an enfuriating suckout. Very soft table where I was able to take blinds much of the time, playing 25% of pots.

To Poke or Not To Poke

I have a business trip scheduled for Tuesday early, returning Thursday late to Princeton, NJ. I've been trying to schedule other meetings around my meeting on Thursday with no success, so here is the quandary: do I reschedule my flight ($270 cost) or do I fly up early as scheduled and go to the US Poker Championships in Atlantic City. The two tourneys I would be able to play in would be $500 NLHE tomorrow (starts at 11:00AM, so it would be cutting it close to make it there) and/or $300 NLHE Wednesday. Adding unspoken, outright deceit to my wife seems to be beyond the don't ask/don't tell poker-on-the-side; so what we're really talking about is degrees of sin. EV analysis:
  • Going
    • Incremental expenses: $380 (Lodging in Atlantic City: $200, car: $120, meals: $60
    • Entry fees: $800 (from my bankroll)
  • Changing flight to Thursday
    • Incremental expense: $270 (air change fee)
So, what to do now? I would assume playing in the $500 tourney tomorrow would not be wise. I may not even be able to get off the plane, get the rental car, then get to the Taj, then get registered. Plus, would I be 100%? So, I think rescheduling is the wise move; the question then, should I try to make the Wednesday tourney. I like the entry fee of $300. Mostly locals playing, although there have been a couple of names (saw TJ Cloutier cash in one of the tourneys). I'll let you know next steps.

Bad Beat vs. Unlucky

I'm not sure what the different categories of bad beats are, but let me tell you about what I would call two very unlucky hands (maybe they're bad beats as well). First, I have AA up against JJ, three undercards come on the (T85), 9 on turn, 7 on river to give JJ the straight. The second hand I raise with AsKs, flop comes QsTs8s, I bet, guy raises, I call, 3d on turn, I check, guy raises, I re-reaise, he calls. Tc on river I bet, he raises, I call and go down to 88. Major pots and brutal ways to go down. So, what are the different types of bad beats? I'll be quick and come back to this:
  • Chasing and catching (the gutshot being the worst of this type)
  • Staying in with nothing and losing to runner-runner (probably the worst bad beat possible)
  • You're behind, catch and get ahead on the flop, then lose later (e.g., flopping two-pair only to lose to a set on the river)
  • Counterfeit: your two pair loses when the board pairs
  • Two made hands, yours being better than the opponent, then watching him suck out on the river
  • Aces cracked to a numbskull caller (flopping two pair playing K5 suited)
There may be more, but I'll let others put that in. For the hands at the top, they are actually much more comforting as the play seemed solid by myself and the other person both sides, only to lose to a major suckout.

22 September 2005

Back to Party

Made the plunge back into PartyPoker yesterday. Bought in for $400, played some $100 NL and treaded water, then played in a limit tourney. Placed 59/170 with cashes at 20. Played well, stumbled a bit, then got unlucky when I was short stacked. Proceeded to play some more no-limit, lost $50 on 99 vs. JJ.

I know the +EV and everything, but it still remains frustrating to have someone three-bet you on the flop when you have top pair or an overpair then see them go runner-runner for a straight or flush. I think the straight is more painful. You want those folks in with you for sure, but losing three in an hour is tough. Also, I had forgotten about the need to keep the discipline while not winning pots. Went 50 hands without a pot. Lost twice with AK during that time. I was able to stay consistently in the 18-23% hands played range, so I feel fine with all of that. I feel like I need to get cash positive to be able to play tourneys, so I've got to have a solid day. Not sure if NL or limit is the way to get there, so I'll keep you posted.

19 September 2005

Donkey Tourney Play

PartyPoker freeroll tourney qualifier for the $50,000 freeroll tourney. 510 players, top 32 get seats in the main tourney. I get down, triple up, get to last 50 or so players in 5th chip position. This is a classically stupid play on my part. I raise with AdKd, guy left of me (short stack) calls, bb raises all-in for 2/3 of my stack. There is absolutely no reason to call his raise regardless of any odds, etc. I doubt I would have had to play another hand and I would have qualified, but for some unknown reason I call his bet and the short stack calls. Short stack turns over QT, bb turns over JJ. Nothing hits for me (one diamond on the flop, all small cards), the turn and river don't get there, then I'm suddenly down to a short stack. I end up going out with second pair afterwards.

That is pretty disappointing to me as I really played well. Unlucky is one thing, but making a totally bonehead decision is something else.

I'm also having a very bad run with my simulator. I've been playing 30-table tourney and have gone 15 tourneys in a row without cashing, taking me now to a -EV for the 30-table tourneys. I'm still +EV due to being up on 12-table tourneys and SNG's, but I've got to fix the leaks. Some is due to luck/stupid play (I raise 4x bb, the bb calls with T3o and flops two pair taking down my QQ), some is lack of patience/tightness. I need to do some solid work if I have any chance to drive back into either online or live tourneys. The challenge with tourneys as I see it is that you have to cash to win, and you have to do very well to be +EV. I'm at $750 for the year in real tourney fees without cashing. That isn't alot of tourneys (maybe half a dozen), so I also need to increase my frequency at lower buy-in once I get back on the train.

15 September 2005

PartyGaming Stumbles.

For those not following at home, PartyGaming (PartyPoker's owner) announced a weak July and August, with growth of 4% vs. 45% growth forecast. Insiders cashed out close to $1.8bil after the IPO. The stock plummetted 33% the day of the lower growth announcement, trading below the IPO price.

The advertising dollars spent have been a waste, as well as the delayed WSOP (pushing telecasts back three months). This coupled with no US online winner and the strength of the professionals again may be tempering growth.

14 September 2005

Where's the Peak?

A few informal data points in Hotlanta:
  • Shriners tourney canceled Saturday (normally 150-200 players)
  • Weekly bar tourney last night: 22 players (down from 60)
Hardly a scientific study, but the question remains where is the peak for the poker fad, how will we know it when we see it, and what are the ramifications? Let me start with the ramifications first:
  • Poker publications will shake out. Currently, there are over a dozen new poker magazines, everyone and there brother is hocking books or working on them. I would assume the magazines will get down to the core of CardPlayer and maybe one or two others.
  • Poker celebrities wane. I would assume the easy peripheral money will be gone in the next nine-eighteen months. This includes DVD, games, etc. Except for a very small minority of players (Hellmuth, Ferguson, Lederer, Duke, Moneymaker, Raymer, Negreanu), most will struggle to really capitalize on the hype. It is questionable that even these folks will continue to capitalize on merchandising.
  • Television peaks. I know that Britain has a poker station, but what will the television future hold and its marketing dollars? WSOP on ESPN has a strong future with the partnership of Harrah's and ESPN. The WPT is a superior broadcast, but there struggle earlier with the takeover debacle point to bigger challenges. Celebrity Poker Showdown is almost unwatchable (they must give everyone ten shots of tequila before taping), Fox Poker Superstars is fraught with problems (overly complex, impossible to know when it will be on, can't stay engaged). Plus the zillions of other programs. What does televised poker look like in 2007?
I need to dig into a few areas (Nielsen ratings, the casino poker economy, etc.). Would be interested in other thoughts of where we are on the curve and where it heads.

07 September 2005

Belterra, IN

Congrats to Jim Eastham, who I met and played with at the Bellagio earlier this year. Jim's a very decent guy, so it's great to see him cash in the WSOP Circuit Event #2.

For the Closet Poker Player, the business traveller looks to find poker rooms and brings alot of risk on himself/herself. The risk is mainly due to limited time, as well as limited local knowledge for specific players/games.

Knowing this, the CPP must find a poker room when the opportunity affords it. So I found the lovely Beltera poker room. I didn't have directions, just glanced at directions online. One would think that a Casino on the Ohio River would have some sort of signage, but it took me two hours to find the poker room 45 minutes from the Cincinnati airport. After tossing the keys to the valet, I found the poker room. There were two tables going, $2/4 and $3/6, each with ten players. I got on their list for all games on their fancy Borgata-style board (which I can't understand why they would have). After two chili dogs (poor decision) and a fifteen minute wait, I sat down at the $2/5 NLHE, min $100 max $400. Eight players, I bought in for $300 after spending ten minutes trying to find someone to exchange a third of my remaining bankroll for red chips. One Asian guy, three middle age regulars, two younger players, one greenie. I bounced -$120 to +$75 for most of the session, never really catching much, raising to catch the blinds a couple of times. Made a couple of poor plays, one with A6 and calling a bigger ace. Had built up to $415 when this hand came: I raised
two callers to $30 with AcTc, Asian guy re-raises me to $75, and I call. Flop comes 9c3c3d, he bets $200, and I beat him into the pot all-in for another $135, which he calls. He turns 88 over, I catch A on turn, 3 on river to take down his 88. Had an earlier decent pot flopping top two pair with A9 (bet and caller folded my turn raise). Overall session up $500.

03 September 2005


I'm resigned to playing PokerStars play money (I'm way up--isn't that odd?)...

To build on Pauly's comments: I grew up in Mississippi, went to school at Tulane, have a sister and her family who live in New Orleans. First, the positive recollections: Audobon Tavern II (AT2's), Perlis, Camellia Grill, Fat Harry's, Maple Street Bookstore, The Mushroom, Loyola. New Orleans is a very unique place in America, and we're witnessing some of those uniquenesses. Large poor population, crumbling infrastructure, polarized city racially. I've never played poker there, but I'm committing to play there once it's back on its feet. Best source for information is probably WWLTV's site. We won't know what the task is for the greater New Orleans area (including suburbs) until October. My sister and her family escaped Saturday but didn't take too much stuff. Speaking to many people who got out, they've been surprised by the numbers who say they won't go back.

Nothing much on the poker horizon. I'll wait for September's bonuses. Boys' soccer schedules came out, so Bellagio will proably be the week before Thanksgiving.

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