Saturday, November 26, 2005

My favorite hand...which won me $4,500 on Party Poker. (Yes, this photo was staged. Cut me some slack!) Posted by Picasa

Me with my least favorite hand. Check out the two monitors in the background - great for multi-tabling! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Not exactly poker, but...

For anyone on a budget looking to get the most out of their money, you know you should have your money working for you earning interest. If you didn't you do. Check out an ING savings account, as they have an easy, no fuss, no strings attached 3.5% APY Savings account. It links with your checking account, and starts accruing some nice interest on any money you deposit in there.

If you're interested in signing up, email me at so I can refer you (you will receive $25 in your account free on a deposit of $250). This is the only way to receive an extra amount of money in your account (check the site all you want to make sure). Don't worry, you won't recieve spam or pr0n, just the link to sign up at ING Direct. I'd be happy to do this as it gives me a little bonus as well. Don't underestimate the effect of saving earlier rather than later!

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and happy hunting this Black Friday!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

New features

So you may or may not have noticed the poll on the right hand side. This will be in all likelihood a weekly event, with a blog entry on the relevance of the results. Take part in the polling. It's quick an easy, much like an escort. However, in this case it is free, like a skank.* Enjoy. If you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see added to the site, drop me an e-mail at

*We do no discriminate against escorts, skanks, or whores of any variety.

Friday, November 18, 2005

#5 - Playing When You Feel Like It

Ok, so it's Friday, not Thursday. My apologies to the legions of faithful readers out there. Let the hate mail commence. Hate mail is better than no mail. Rofl :-/

Have you ever had a fight with someone, whether they be your significant other, a close friend, or the crazy landlord with the lazy eye, that went unresolved? Of course, everyone has. Think about how it affected you that day. Maybe you weren't paying as much attention in class, or weren't able to finish a project at work on time. There was a valid reason for your head being elsewhere, but it hardly counts as a viable excuse. Your boss doesn't care about your personal problems (at least. unfortunately for you, not more than the company's bottom line). The professor, in all likelihood, will not cut you any slack on the midterm because you were "distracted." What's more is that very few of us would use these oft-called "personal issues" as a defense for our subpar performance. Even as I write this entry right now I'm distracted too by forces outside my control and the relevance of this blog. But I digress...

So if you know that such stressful events come up from time to time and affect your ability to think clearly and function as per normal, why would you gamble for large sums of money at any time when you are less than 100% focused and committed to the task at hand? Of course you might think this is an obvious statement, but you'd be surprised how many people will still hit the tables in spite of, and perhaps even because of problems that might be going on in other aspects of life. Make no mistake about it, if you try to gamble in order to escape your problems, then you have another problem. Gambling can become a crippling addiction, much like alcohol or stamp collecting. They all have support groups. Running from problems or issues you should be facing head on will not solve anything and only exacerbate the situation.

Still, you don't need to have major marital problems, health problems, or issues with your career or finances (how ironic) to be affected at the table. There are many issues specific to each person that can grab their attention and hold it hostage. The key is to know when you are affected and your ability to concentrate is affected. Some people can concentrate on the game in spite of a bevy of external issues (Phil Ivey was playing in a major poker tournament only a week after his father passed away). Other people can't think straight because they missed the latest sale at Barney's. Go figure. In any event, if you seek to be a long term winner at poker, do not attempt to play if your heart and your head isn't into the game. You won't be able to savor your wins nearly as much, your loses will be magnified ten-fold. Your decision making will be impaired, causing you to miss value betting oppurtunites or obvious tells. A lapse in concentration might cause you to fold even while getting tremendous odds to draw or, shock of a all shocks, while holding the winning hand. Worse yet, when you realize these mistakes you'll become more disgusted with your current situation and spiral down the drain. The way to avoid this pitfall is to steer clear of it in the first place.

Play only when you are ready to devote the time and effort to the task at hand, which in this case is playing poker. Remember that as Dan Harrington pointed out, poker is a game of incomplete information. The long term winners are those individuals who pull together every single piece of information available to put the puzzle together. So, try not to be your worst enemy at the tables will ya?

Monday - No Day But Today.

Monday, November 14, 2005

#6 - Admitting you (don't) have a problem

Ok, so last time we talked about being properly bankrolled and ready to take any hits to your roll as you venture into playing poker seriously, or for leisure for that matter. This time I'd like to discuss the perception of poker as gambling.

No doubt if you've read any literature on poker or have taken the time to speak with someone who regularly plays the game and wins, they'll lay the claim that poker is a game of skill first and foremost, with luck playing a certain part at each juncture. Many steadfastly hold to the motto that poker is not gambling. To put it bluntly, they're wrong, and that type of thinking can be deterimental to your game.

Make no mistake about it, if you aren't able to calculate the odds, read your opponents likely holdings, their style of play, their state of mind, your own table image, and other such factors that go into every decision you make at the table, you will not be a long-term winner at poker. No one has that much luck hitting them in the face. Not Doyle Brunson, not Bill Gates, and no, not even Fabio. Skill is what you need to consistently make the best decisions possible. What you must keep in mind however, is that they are only decisions. Once you've made them, luck plays the final and deciding role every single time.

Consider an analogus situation in which you invest in the stock market. You can do all the research possibly on any company, determine that it has a big profit margin, good prospectus, low P/E ratio, and is generally undervalued and a great investment. You do the research, using all your skills to make the most informed and best decisions, and decide to take the plunge and invest big time. You get WorldCom in 2002, Microsoft before the anti-trust lawsuits, Krispy Kreme before the Atkins diet, and United Airlines before 9/11. Or maybe you just got around to buying shares of Google last night. In the real world, you are not able to look into a crystal ball and see into the future. Unexpected things happen all the time that can ruin you in an instant. Luck (and oftentimes the absense of what we term "bad-luck") plays a huge role in your investment. What you do is play the odds, play them repeatedly, and rely on the laws of statistical (im)probability to gain a return or profit.

People often complain of their "bad-beats" or the unbelievable suck-out that jackass just pulled when he cracked your straight with a backdoor flush for the third time in a row. The fact is, you are gambling. And there is absolutely nothing to prevent you from losing, over and over and over again. Sure, you can lament that it's a real bad run of statistical improbablilty and your opponent is on one of those rushes that give people the idea they can catch bullets with their teeth and achieve cold fusion. Just don't go feeling sorry for yourself. So you say your pleases and thank yous, eat your vegetables and respect your elders. Just remember one thing; the cards don't owe you a damn thing. God doesn't hate you (hopefully). Karma isn't biting you in the ass (hopefully). You are gambling, pure and simple. All the book-reading and hand-dissecting and hours upon hours spent honing your skills give you one thing: an edge on your opponent in making decisions. After that, it's a roll of the dice on how the cards come up.

Consider how many times Brunson and Amarillo Slim went broke playing No-Limit in back rooms and dark alleys, from either an unlucky turn of a card or the untimely appearance of the law. Daniel Negreanu blow his entire bankroll the first five times he came to Las Vegas. They used to call Men Nguyen the "Money Machine" for a reason. And Gus Hansen is hiding out for a reason. They're gamblors, and sometimes you lose when you gamble. That's one of the most frustrating, hair-splitting, sudden cardiac arrest-inducing parts of playing poker and expecting to make money from it.

It's also what makes it fun.

On Thursday - Keep your heart in it, keep your head in it

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Results for October 2005

3/6 (6man)
hands played: 5255
amt won: 1333
bb/100: 4.23

1/2 (6man)
hands played: 1884
amt won: 257
bb/100: 6.83

Not a bad month, all things considered. However my profit was reduced because I lost 150 on a random 3/6 table. In the beginning of November I also lost 200 on a shitty PL hand. The results of which are presented below!

I need to
a) stop limping bad cards
b) isolate and destroy players
c) play better HU
d) stop crying calling

***** Hand History for Game 2970436883 *****
$200 PL Texas Hold'em - Wednesday, November 02, 18:54:46 EDT 2005
Table Table 66303 (6 max) (No DP) (Real Money)
Seat 2 is the button
Total number of players : 3
Seat 2: hero ( $188.40 )
Seat 4: Villain ( $426.80 )
Seat 1: win5boys ( $86 )
Villain posts small blind [$1].
win5boys posts big blind [$2].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hero [ Th 8h ]
hero raises [$7].
Villain raises [$11].
win5boys folds.
hero calls [$5].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 7s, 9c, Jc ]
Villain checks.
hero bets [$8].
Villain calls [$8].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Jd ]
Villain bets [$20].
hero raises [$101].
Villain calls [$81].
** Dealing River ** [ Kc ]
BUYLXK has joined the table.
Villain bets [$70].
hero is all-In [$67.40]

mcpeepee says I bet the max on my flopped nuts to force him to call. I'm not convinced but I do like that line better than the one I took (bet small, get him hooked, pop him later).

First of all, the raiser has garbage with his minimum raise, almost certainly a suited connector like mine, possibly lower. I should consider reraising preflop with my holding. Secondly, if he has any piece of the flop, he'll probably call a small bet but he may fold a large bet. If he folds, I take down a small pot. If he calls, I'm very happy because it's likely he'll call subsequent bets on the turn and river. Result is that he takes it down on the river with a small flush (73c). He actually wins this 1/3 of the time. I don't think his turn call is correct especially if he thinks I have AJ or any pocket pair, but basically my flop play led me into a crappy position where I had to call the river.

Still up 1k or so for the past 40 days. Not too shabby for a hobby eh.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

7 Steps to Being a Better Poker Player

...and possibly a better all-around person. Of course we make no money-back guarantees, but take this general advice from someone who's been there-done that and regretted a lot of it. So, in the fashion of every book on the shelf of Borders and Barnes with Nobles all around the country, here is a very basic list of the top 7 things I believe are essential to "making it" at poker, while at the same time holding onto your bowels.

#7 - Play within your budget

'Duh' you say? 'No shit, Sherlock' I here. But it's easier to say that you need to play within your budget than to, say, actually DO IT. The standard circulating around for limit poker play used to be 300 big bets. Well that was in the old days when men were men, players carried Colt .45s everywhere, and you could only sit at one table at a time. For today's internetphile, playing online can mean multitabling 2, 4, even 8 tables at once if not more. Obviously, you're going to need a bigger bankroll to be able to play so many tables, as well as have the funds to back up any downswings you are bound to incur. People now recommend 500 big bets as a good bubble, and I would tend to agree. For No Limit the general rule is 20-25 buy-ins, but obviously if you multi-table I would think 35-40 would be better. Use your own judgement. Playing in tournaments, you'll need to double the amount of buy-ins (if you play routinely at the same level) to be able to stave off the inevitable cold streak that's bound to plague you. That's just the way the game works, and you HAVE to be ready for it to happen because it happens to everyone.

The real underlying meaning behind playing within your budget is the cornerstone of what they tell anyone foolish enough to gamble (and poker is gambling, no matter what you want to believe); you must be psychologically and financially willing to lose what you are playing with. That means boys and girls, don't take out a home equity line of credit to play in the $1000 NL Hold em Game or that great $300/600 game with the one armed man and the guy who wears an eyepatch. Sure, it may be the softest game this side of John Kerry's forehead, but you simply CANNOT afford to play in that game because you cannot afford to LOSE in that game. And you will likely lose, don't even dilute yourself into thinking your going to go on a great run and be up $15,000 4 hours from now. More than likely you'll be only slightly ahead, if not breaking even or holding your head over a toilet. If you like to fantasize about dellusions of grandeur, buy a lotto ticket and a box of magnums.

Now if you want to take a shot at the $10,000 World Series Main event, have some fun, and consider $10,000 the price for great entertainment and thrilling competition with some of the world's best, then thats the attitude you need to have, and I wish you good luck. If you cannot afford to not cash, you shouldn't be playing, plain and simple. People don't need to be told that, but somehow they forget that they can't really afford to play in the $10/$20 Limit HL game. Do you have $6000 purely disposable? If not, scale down big boy.

Now, this message is not meant to deter people from taking shots at higher stakes and bigger games. By all means, the higher the level the tougher the challenge and the bigger the rewards. But you must be READY to accept the consequence of your actions. It was a hard lesson I had to learn, flushing nearly all of the $8000 I had made in a couple of days, playing above my head, both financially and skill-wise. The poker gods were not to blame, my snoring roommate was not to blame, my blurry vision wasn't to blame. I was, and Party Poker was not going to bring my money back because I made a mistake.

For every person who took a big risk and made it (i.e. Johnny Chan), there are countless others who were just a little less skilled and just a little less lucky who wound up in the red (i.e. your neighbor, your mail man, and the waiter who just creamed your cream of mushroom). They either swore off poker because of it or ruined their lives trying to "get even". Don't gamble with what you can't afford to lose.

Next time --> Oh Come on, Just Admit it

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

total hands: 2077
amt won: 115.83
bb/100: 0.93

Trashy, I know. I was down 460 at one point and up 230 at another point. I settled here. I was doing barely okay when I decided to add the fourth table. It went downhill from there. I ate a delicious meal at Boston Market and came back to repair the damage. I think I succeeded.

There were a few hands where I played them perfectly to hit a suckout on the river. Or, villain had a different holding from what I expected him to have given his play, so wild that I mis-timed a value bet. There were a few hands in the beginning where I made crying calls to lose to a hand that obliterated mine. Then the fourth table losses made me tilt briefly.

Two thousand hands on a Monday night though. I hope this doesn't become a habit.

Seat 1: dandrewno ( $69 )
Seat 4: hero ( $226.64 )
Seat 5: villain ( $95 )
Seat 6: raisecheck ( $126.50 )
Seat 3: l2play111 ( $56.50 )
hero posts small blind [$1].
villain posts big blind [$3].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hero [ Ks Ac ]
raisecheck raises [$6].
dandrewno folds.
l2play111 calls [$6].
hero raises [$8].
villain calls [$6].
raisecheck calls [$3].
l2play111 calls [$3].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 6d, 4c, 2s ]
hero bets [$3].
villain raises [$6].
burberry84 has joined the table.
raisecheck calls [$6].
l2play111 folds.
hero calls [$3].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 8d ]
hero checks.
villain bets [$6].
raisecheck folds.
hero calls [$6].
** Dealing River ** [ 7d ]
hero checks.
villain bets [$6].