Back in the day, they stole a cookbook from God. His secret ingredients were all spelled out like a husband's list at a metaphysical grocery. His secret formula laid bare. The mystery of the Universe unraveled like a 5000 year Matlock drama.
I'm not sure I believe the whole apple to gravity thing. I do know Newton was a very smart dude.
I don't get how a patent clerk with little formal education could come up with theories that explain the entire known universe. But sure as shit, Einstein had the answers.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Or so we thought
Didn't work out that way. did it? As it turns out the elements of the unknown, or the too small to understand, would prove almost everything we know and knew....to be less than absolute. Einstein and Newton explained most of the big world but in the quantum world, that inside the atom stuff, everything was backwards. The laws wern't even suggestions there. They had the cookbook and were ready to bake brownies...but the damn oven kept melting away.
I have a theory
I've always thought our investment peaked our interest. Every year I log at the old sawmill makes me more dependant on the bossman's good grace. Better still, lets neuter the metaphor: the more I'm invested in the retirement fund and the 401K...the more I'm interested in the stock market report. That would mean the more time and money we invest in poker the more interest we should take in the game. Pretty obvious stuff eh?
But what about quantum poker?
I made that up to make a point.
On a hand-by-hand micro level high investment should yeild a LOWER interest. At least, it should, if we want to win. The worldwide wonk, the widows peak of wisdom, the great Otis taught me this.
One night I was hosting the local game and Otis made a now rare appearance. (he's handcuffed by diapers these days) Within 2 minutes he blew my mind. He lost more than my enitre bankroll on a single hand of online poker when he knew he was probably behind. But he had the outs,and the pot odds made the call a 50/50 flip. He made the call, I never woudda had the balls. Its emotional disinterest on a single hand with a HUGE investment. He lost, but in the long run it will pay off. That's why his bankroll is much larger than mine.
So, big picture, we should devour poker knowledge, but in each hand we much have our emotion run counter to intuition. That's been F"N hard for me to swallow. I find that the more I put into a hand, the harder it is for me to back down. The less I've committed to the pot the easier it is to walk away. But that's how losers talk and my interest level should be independent of my investment.
Hopefully I'll figure that out. Hopefully that whole string theory thing will work out too. I have my doubts. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to post on this site without being so damn long-winded. C'est la vie.<-- Hide More
In case you haven't heard, AlCantHang, Boy Genius, Pauly, Iggy, Hank, Grubby and BadBlood are stranded on a desert island. Apparently, island leader has come down to Hank or Iggy and they can't figure out who to eat.
What they don't know is that they're not alone on the island...
On the other side of the island is a more formidable group of poker bloggers. (Yeah, I'm bitter for not being included in the conversation, so sue me). On our side, we've got the Up For Poker Crew (me, Otis and G-Rob), along with Maudie, Sean, April, the Poker Geek and wil wheaton.
And things on our side of the island are much better!More in this Poker Blog! -->
First of all, there's gonna be no fight over who's in charge. That's me. I'm power hungry, it's in my nature. I'm drawn to positions of power and I just act like I'm in charge until everyone else starts to believe it. There will be no power struggle here...
Sean's my vice-president. He's an Eagles fan, so I know he's smart. He's also organized and I sense his type-A personality will work well with mine.
G-Rob and Otis are in charge of entertainment. If you think there's nothing to do on a desert island, think again. G-Rob and Otis have invented ways to entertain themselves with much less. Ask them about the Drunk Olympics some time (or just come to Bradoween!!!!).
That other group was dumb enough to travel with just guys. That will never work. With Maudie and April on our side of the island, we've got a clear advantage.
The Poker Geek's first task was to figure out how to develop an alcoholic beverage with whatever is at our disposal. If you can't tell, the Poker Geek is smart. He'll come up with something.
Finally, I brought wil wheaton. That automatically puts us ahead of the other side of the island in the coolness factor. Plus, we're much more likely to be rescued because the world will want to know what happened to wil!
After while, we'll stumble upon the other group near death, and considering who among them would taste good. That's when we'd rescue them. We are nice people after all, right?<-- Hide More
Hello again dear readers. I've been deep in the tank, sifting through the mud, combing the gravel for nuggets of wisdom. Its easier to see when the light is dim.More in this Poker Blog! -->
My computer is fairly new but nearly useless. I brought it straight home and crammed it full, like Dagwood at a deli. I can play poker on 5 sites in 5 countries where the laws are softer than an Otis handshake. I have surround sound speakers and that cool game where you hijack cars. Computer geek indeed!
The computer is above the garage. So is the rest of the computer room. I have a TV with rabbit ears, so I can watch COPS on 3 channels. I have a ping-pong table, a Joe Morgan bobble-head and the decapitated head of Bobby Cox. His body shattered at a game last year. He was soft.
The room is just down the hall from the bedroom where my wife is snoring. Its a cute snore. My kids are in their rooms and the dog is licking his ass on the landing between the first and second floors. I can barely hear the slurping though, because COPS is too loud.
There's always plenty of action here and the best of it is rarely poker. Right now, while I type this, I'm playing a multi-table tournament on UB. The fucking thing's been going on for at least an hour and I'm doing OK. I'm a little bored with the play. That's not helping. I'm already thinking about ditching this post for a game of car-hijacking. You can pick from about a dozen types of guns and the cars blow up if you crash too much.
This is the lesson I learned in the deep water swim. The lesson of...hey the weather-dope says rain again tomorrow...where was I again?
I've learned to set a timer on my poker play. I take a break every hour. It may not be true of every player, but I can plot a steady decline in my online play as soon as my ass goes numb. I've learned to turn off the TV and tune out the snoring and slurping distractions. This is common sense stuff and you damn well know you still screw it up.
We talk about the newbie fish who play their cards by "feel"..but you know the "feel" is real. When we have real focus we can read ever card, its the shooter's zone and the runners high. When we have distractions, and we're just doing math, the game is less fun and baby the thrill is gone. So are some of the profits.
I'm done with the grand month of self-pity and the FOCUS is back. Screw you reader....I'm posting again!<-- Hide More
I've just about finished compiling the RSVP's for the June 4th event at the Aladdin Casino. We have at least 59 and as many as 66 depending on a few loose ends. That doesn't include any invited guests or pros that we hope to include. That means there will almost certainly be a waiting list. At best, we'll be able to push the Aladdin to 6 tables of 10 players, but nothing more.
I will get the list posted soon so those of you on the waiting list will know in case that means your plans will change. I've heard from a few players that if they aren't in the tourney, they'd rather not come. I think that's the wrong way to look at this. It's going to be an amazing weekend, with or without the tourney! It's a chance to meet some great people and have fun slinging cards. I hope you all decide to come, tournament or not!
It's not everyday that a poker blogger makes the final table of one of the world's premier poker events, but that's exactly what Ben "Milky Bar Kid" Grundy did in Monte Carlo at the European Poker Tour Championship.
And that is more than enough to get you a spot in "The Nuts." Go check him and tell him congratulations!
Um...I can't be the first poker blogger to notice this.
I think the WPBT needs to form a concensus on whether we approve and then act accordingly.
Comments are open for discussion on the topic.
When I was in highschool, my old football and gym coach, Rube Berry, liked to name his phys ed teams. When we played floor hockey, I was on the Sophomore Jinx. I always thought it was a pretty cool name. Rube was a standup guy.
I hadn't thought about that old nickname in about 15 years. That was until this past weekend.
That was when I realized, I have a problem.
I am a jinx.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Maybe it had something to do with that old episode of the Brady Bunch I watched before I left for Europe. You remember the one. Oliver has just been introduced the Brady family through some odd, incestuous cult-like kid swap. As soon as he arrives, everything goes wrong. But then, his presence ends up resulting in almost the whole Brady clan getting to be in a silent movie (I'm still not sure why a film studio was making a silent movie in the 1970s, but that's not the point).
I wish my jinxing ended so well for my Brady clan.
Victim #1: Curzdog
That's Curzdog there in the middle, sandwiched in between John Fanning (one of the minds behind Napster) and a European dealer who looks quite good in a pair of tight pants. Moments after this picture was taken, he would run into pocket aces twice and leave the tournament out of the money.
Now, you might call that bad luck. I thought so, too.
I'd been keeping an eye out for Curzdog at the Monte Carlo tournament because I'd heard so much about him from DoubleAs. As it turned out, Curz and his fiancee were great people. My favorite thing to do was watch Ms. Curz when her man was in big hand. She'd put her hands on her cheeks like the "Home Alone" kid and hold her breath until the river fell.
So, I was unhappy that Curz got unluckly. I tried to put it out of my mind and did until the next night when I witnessed...
That's Scott. He's one of EasyCure's buddies. He played a stellar game for the whole week. His wife sweated him for most of the tournament as well. After playing a great game, he made a great play at the right time, and a bonehead called him on it.
That's when it occured to me I may have a problem.
If I needed proof, I got it within 24 hours.
That's Brandon Schaefer in happier times. Going into dinner he was the chip leader with just a few people left. Shortly after dinner...he finished in second place.
Now, the question: What do these three people have in common?
All of them, less than two hours before busting out of the biggest tournament of their lives...had dinner with me.
Each night, we all drank a little red wine, ate some ravioli Marsala, and chatted about poker, travel, and life in general. I usually ate quickly, opting to head back to the tournament area to work before the break was over. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure my presence had something to do with these three fine men busting out of the tournament.
So, here's a rule:
If you're going into a big game, don't eat a meal with me before the cards get in the air.
What I'm afraid of...really...is being a jinx to myself.
I may have to start skipping more meals.<-- Hide More
First, here's a shot from my friends at Poker Images showing the...errr...glamorous life of a pro blogger. Incidentally, around midnight every night, I'd replace those Pellegrino bottles with Monaco beer. It made for a better picture, but no one was around to shoot it.
Poker Images has quite a good business going. They go to tournaments and shoot every player, then sell the shots screen printed onto fine canvas. They also have a great gallery and collection of stock footage. I haven't licensed this photo, so go make good by taking a look at their stuff. The owner has licensed some good older galleries with some great stuff in it. For other news from across the pond, my write up from Vienna and Monte Carlo can be found below.
In other news, had I not taken this new gig, I would be on the Party Million cruise right now. I'm pleased to report that private Live Journal poker blogger Terrence Chan is doing quite well. I'm sad to report that another poker blogger we all know is no longer playing. So, bloggers are 50-50 right now.
I sorta wish I was there...
The ceiling of the Irish pub was low. If I wanted to, I could hop up and touch it. But the floor was sticky enough to slow my shoes, so I guessed the ceiling wasn't much more clean. A four-piece band was too loud for the small space. Somebody forgot to tell them INXS didn't matter that much anymore. In the line for the bathroom, a man spoke to me quickly in French. I had no idea what he was saying, but held up two fingers, hoping he would understand the men's room only had two toilets and they were full. He rolled his eyes and patted me on the back. He understood, but followed me in anyway. I thought he was going to piss in the sink. He didn't.
At the bar, they served the Guinness cold with shots of Jameson's on the side. Eventually, the band would take a break and Jim Morrison's voice would blare over the crowd. I thought for a second how seven years before I'd stood at Morrison's grave and wondered why I was there. Then I wondered why he was there. While I was thinking, some young citizen of the Principality of Monaco headbanged past me, singing in broken English, "Let it roll, baby, roll."More in this Poker Blog! -->
I'd been on the road for two weeks at this point and thought I should just go to bed. But the Guinness tasted good and, frankly, I was lonely. Even when you spend your days surrounded by hundreds of people, there are times you'd give anything just to be sitting on a back porch deck drinking beer and playing guitar wih your buddies.
As I walked out to the bar patio, a television producer walked up and said, "Poker at the Grand. You in?" As my mind worked through the hundreds of valid excuses for declining, my mouth said, "Yep." Minutes later, I was walking through Monte Carlo's hilly streets on my way to a hotel room game.
Those games were going on everywhere for stakes from ten to two hundred thousand euros. In fact, that two hundred thousand euro game was the talk of the bar patio. Reportedly, a well-known player (yes, you have heard of him) was stuck 150,000 from an online massacre the night before and was trying to make it back up. Don't ask who it is. I have mental filter.
Poker in Vienna
Frankly, I was just about done with poker. I'd watched and played more than my share in the past two weeks. In the after hours, I'd play online in my room and lose. In the off hours in the cardrooms I'd play and win. And then I would play and lose. The peak of excitement came during a 3/6 limit game (essentially American 4/8) with BadBlood. We occupied the one and two seats of a table for much longer than we should've. I dropped the hammer on top pair by flopping and rivering a seven. It was a very winnable game, which BadBlood proved and I mocked by losing my buy-in and going to breakfast.
After BadBlood left, I continued to work. After the tournament was over, I had a few hours to kill and decided to play a little more. I was up about 100 at the softest table I'd seen in a while. I didn't understand the old, smoke-soaked men who played this game. They didn't understand check-raising. They didn't understand betting for value. And when they made the nuts, they flat-called. And, as you might expect, I was bored. I wanted to play bigger, but the next highest game was the equivalent of a 15/30 game and I only had enough cash on me for one buy-in. I didn't want to go in behind.
I noticed the other running game was full of action. A drunk Swede in the four seat had the entire table on tilt. When he bet, he did so by knocking his stack over onto the table. When it was his turn to act, he's always ask how much. And he never shut the hell up.
So, I don't know why I moved over there. I guess I was looking for something other than old men who didn't speak English.
I ended up right next to the drunk Swede.
"Where are you from?" he asked.
"America." I said.
"I don't believe you," he said. "If so, you're the first American I've met who speaks English."
"And where do you live in America?"
"Ah, there's a song about that, yes?" He started humming "Sweet Home Alabama."
"That's not it," I said, knowing I should shut up. "That song is about Alabama."
"I'm quite sure you're wrong," he said. The rest of the table was glad he'd found me as a target. "Sweet Home Carolina," he sang over the crowd.
This had been going on to varying degrees for some time. The table had repeatedly asked the floorman to take some action. The floor didn't seem to care until the entire table revolted. Facing a mere six euro bet on the river (after having made the nuts, by the way), the guy sat and refused to call or fold. He just sat there pretending to think. Finally the floor told him he had one minute to make a decison.
'Fine," he said, "I call" and knocked 100 red chips into the center. He won that hand, but that was it. The floor man brought the kid some racks. The kid pretended to be agreeable, but started racking his chips by putting them in the rack sideways. Finally, the floorman did it for the kid. He had 170 euros, which the floorman brough the kid in cash.
"What is this?" the drunk said. The floor explained that was his money.
"Where is the rest of it?" the drunk said, muching on a piece of toast dipped in ketchup.
By the time it was over, he kid had exploded in a rage, demanding to see the security tapes which he believed (incorrectly) would prove he had more than 500 in front of him. I smirked a bit as security escorted the kid out into the parking lot. The show almost made up for the fact I gave back my winnings from the other table.
And to Monte Carlo
So, I was about done with poker. In Monte Carlo, I played four sit and go tournaments and suffered just about every kind of beat you can imagine. I came to peace with it as I sat playing with the Russian buy-a-bride of a European player (I have to assume he bought her, anyway). So, I lost. I've done enough losing recently, I think I haven't been lying when I tell people "I'm a better writer than poker player, and that should tell you a lot."
Action had been everywhere. Chinese poker games, 1000 euro ten-person tourneys played by World Champions, entire poker tables filled with Europeans playing online poker on their laptops.
And yet there I was on my way to a hotel room game with a crew of TV people and PR folks. When I got there, I wished I had gone back to my room. It appeared there would be little in the way of poker being played. Two pretty, young English girls were gnawing on medium rare hamburgers and tossing back glasses of wine. A producer was demonstrating his ability to open beer bottles with just about anything. He did it with a cigarette lighter (easy), he did it with a cell phone (not as easy). He started doing it on the bed frame but stopped when he ripped some paint off. He started using the brim of a Yankees cap before the owner took it away from him. He finally failed when he tried to use a poker chip and the chip shattered in four pieces.
Finally, the game (a ten-person tournament) got started on a room service table. By the time we'd reached four people, I shared the chip lead, one of the players was asleep, and the floor was covered in beer. I suggested a four-way chop which was immediately accepted.
As I walked back to my hotel room, a player who had cashed for a goodly sum in the tournament was walking back with what I still assume was a prosititute. If I'm wrong, I guess I'll have to apologize later.
It's been two weeks and I get to go home in about six hours. If you've read this far, you'll likely agree, while sometimes neat and sometimes exotic, this gig ain't necessariy as glamorous as it might seem.
Then again, it sure beats digging ditches.<-- Hide More
My brother gets married today. That's him over there with the apple in his mouth. Lest you think pictures like that might dissuade his fiance from going through with the ceremony, it was the bride who sent that picture to anyone and everyone proud that this is the man she was to marry.
It's only a little weird to me that starting tomorrow I'll have a new sister-in-law. The good news is that she is a beautiful woman with a heart as big as anyone I've ever met. It didn't take me long to figure out that Meghan was going to be a part of the family. My brother likes to hide things, but it's hard for him to hide anything from me.
In a few hours, I'll stand and give a toast to the new couple, and I figure it will go a little something like this... (although I'm likely to write a lot more than I'll say!)More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've known Joe longer than anyone, which is kind of easy to figure out since we spent 9 months in the womb together. And since the day we were born, he's been on an eternal quest for the perfect sidekick.
I obviously didn't fit the bill, but for years, I was all he had. There was the time he convinced me to help him hook up the vacuum hose to the faucet so we could play fireman. I guess it's my parent's fault for taking us to the fire station. Then there was the time we managed to cover our bathroom entirely in that green Comet cleanser powder. My mother's clue that we were up to no good was the green cloud through the doorway. Needless to say, I got in trouble an awful lot as Joe's sidekick.
When high school rolled around, Joe finally found an adequate replacement. Nate took my spot and the two of them became the closest thing our high school had to Laurel and Hardy. Their widely acclaimed "Nate and Joe show" was replete with some of the worst jokes you've ever heard... maybe Joe will recount them for you if you ask.
When it came time for college, Joe was on another search. That's where Mike came into the picture. It takes a unique personality to handle and appreciate Joe's sense of humor. Mike not only appreciated it, but he complimented it well. Their summer of Gettysburg trolly shows sealed their friendship. They were only almost arrested once.
Then Joe wound up in Chicago, and I was a little worried about him. Then he started talking about this girl. She was beautiful. She was fun. She laughed at his jokes. And most of all, she actively participated in his bizarre sense of humor. Perhaps they'd go into a convienence store and pretend that Meghan had a intense fear of sugar... so when they reached the sugar aisle, Joe could apologize to the rest of the shoppers.
It didn't take long for me to realize that Meghan was much, much more than a sidekick. Meghan was the love of his life. When they weren't together, he talked about her. When they were together, it was hard to get his attention. You could see it in their eyes, you could hear it in their words.
It was only a matter of time until this day came. I love my brother, and wanted to make sure I could proudly stand up for him on this day. Thankfully he fell in love with an amazing woman and I can stand here today and say, "Congratulations, may your marriage be a long and happy one. I'm sure it will be."<-- Hide More
Where did I go wrong?
I suppose it started with my overly arrogant "How to Win at Craps" post. I forgot rule number one about casino gambling. It doesn't matter what the system is, the house still has the edge.
Then I played in a FTP $100 tourney last night with Erick Lindgren and some guy nicknamed GambleAB (whoever that is). I nearly knocked both of them out at different times (each had a $100 bounty). Erick folded like a little girl with just T680 when I check-raised him on the river. Punk. I was among the top 5 in chips all tourney and in 3rd place when we reached the final table. Top 6 played. Anyone wanna guess where I finished?
So I went back to the Coushatta and dropped $150 waiting for a poker table. I got there too late for the tourney again, another bad sign. And after dropping that cash and waiting for a table, I decided to grab some food... and missed hearing my name get called. So I had to get back on the list, and wait some more.
Things weren't going well...More in this Poker Blog! -->
I finally got called as they started a new NLHE table (remember, it's $1/$3 blinds and a buy in of $100 min/$200 max). I had $300 left and bought in for $200. It was 3:00 pm.
A few hands in, I'm dealt AQ of clubs in the BB. There are 4 limpers in front of me and I raise to $15. Three of the four call me. The flop comes down Q-x-x. I bet $25 and I get called by the player to my left (your typical grizzled regular in a trucker hat, but not for the style points). The turn pairs the 3 on the board. I bet $30 and he calls again. The river is a harmless J and I bet $30 again. He quickly folds. Just like that I'm up to $295.
That was the only significant hand I played my first hour and at about 4:00 pm, I'm moved to another NL table.
The first hand I played there was pocket 6's, UTG. I think Bad Blood will be proud.
The flop comes A-J-6, all clubs. I love the set and hate the flush draw. The BB checks and I bet $15. It's raised to $30, the BB calls and I call.
The turn is another J... as in Jackpot!!!! BB checks, I check and it's bet $30, as I expected. BB calls and I raise to $100. The orginal bettor goes all in for his $81. The BB thinks for awhile before folding. He was either flushed or on the nut flush draw. I'm sure I could have gotten more out of him. The river is a blank and I never see what the other guy had. I'm up to $428 and just like that I've doubled up. This game is easy!
That was the last meaningful hand I won. One time, I flopped a K-flush, but the only other guy in the hand was the SB, and he probably would have folded to anything pre-flop. The hand won me virtually nothing.
I decide to play QTo out of the BB even though it was raised to $10 in front of me. There are 2 other callers so four of us see the flop. It comes T-8-8. The SB checks, I bet $20, it's folded back to the SB and he raises all in. Check-raise? Is he just making a move on me? It's actually the second time he pulled that move on me (the other time, I was hammered). I fold and I'm down to $364.
It's 69s in the big blind. Six players ahead of me limp so I complete hoping for a good flop. It comes A-A-6. That's not a good flop, but I decided to see where I was at. I check, it's bet $10 and I raise to $30. He pushes for $45 more. Ugh. Is this another move? Am I giving off the impression that I'm easy to push around? I look him up. I'm thinking if he had an ace, he wouldn't have limped preflop. Bad theory, because he's holding A2, and fills his boat on the turn. I'm at $260.
I'm dealt AJo and I raise to 10. The BB re-raises to 20 and I call. The flop is A-x-x. Here's what I have to decide. Did he re-raise with AK or AQ... or did he re-raise with a high pocket pair like J's or Q's? He checks (big pocket pair??) and I bet 25. He check-raises me to 50 (hmm... AK?). I call.
The turn is a blank. He checks and I check (big pocket pair?? the re-raise was to see if I really had an ace??). The river is a blank. He bets 100. Ugh... now I think he's buying the pot with pocket Q's. I call, and, of course, he flips AK. I'm down to about $100 and I buy for another $100.
I'm dealt 56s in the BB. It was raised to 10 in front of me and I call with 2 others. It's not a hand I should be playing with a raise the way my day has been going, but I'm stupid, remember.
The flop is K-5-6. Okay, I'm smarter than I thought! I've got people betting into me, so I just call. The turn is a 4. It's bet ahead of me and I call again, planning for a big move at the river. The river is a 7, and it's bet big in front of me. I give a crying call and he flips an 8. I'm an idiot, and I'm down to $115.
My day came to the end with a couple Big Slicks. The first time, I raise out to $25 and get a couple of callers. The flop is 8-8-5. I check, it's bet $50 and another guy goes all in for $179. I obviously fold. The original bettor thinks for awhile before throwing away pocket 5's. He said he figured the other guy for quad 8s, but the other guy showed a J before mucking (I figure the other card was an 8). I can't believe he mucked a boat!
A few hands later, I see AKs again. It's raised in front of me to $10 and there are 3 callers. I raise all-in to $43 and get two callers. My hand never improves and I lose to pocket J's.
It's about 6:15pm now, and my Syracuse Orange tip off for the Big East title at 7pm. I thought about buying back in, but it just didn't' seem to be my day, so I hopped in my car and headed home, down $450 for the day. It hurt, but I learned some lessons. First, don't waste money at the craps table (I wasn't even following the rules I set out below, I was betting way too aggressively). Second, don't play stupid cards. Pretty easy rules to follow, huh?<-- Hide More
Whenever I get to the Coushatta for a little NL action, I have a little time to kill while the waiting list either whittles down or gets big enough to open a new table. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for me to give in to my gambling urges.
Slots do nothing for me. I know Grubby loves one-armed bandits, but I just can't seem to get much excitement out of them. The blackjack tables are okay, but I lose too much there, despite what the book says. Roulette is a money pit (as much as I'd like to play it!). And Pai Gow poker is fine at 3am when I don't have to think, but that's about it.
That means it's on to the craps table. And I think I've developed a system that keeps my head above water no matter how long I play. Sure, you won't get rich, but you'll walk away ahead!More in this Poker Blog! -->
It all starts with the table. First I'll tell you what to ignore. Ignore all of those boxes to the left (Hardaways, One Roll Bets, Horn Bet, etc.). Those are sucker bets. Those little C-E circles don't mean a whole lot either. And you're better off pretending the "Field" and "Big 6-8" areas don't exist either.
So what does that leave? Well, you've got the Pass Line and Don't Pass Bar and you've got the Come and the Don't Come Bar. You also have those numbers up top, but I'd stay away from the place bets.
When I play, I play "wrong." That means I'm betting against the shooter. If you're going to play this way, you need to do so quietly. Loudly rooting against everyone else is a quick way to get a right cross to your temple. Here's how it works:
Place a bet on the Don't Pass Bar. I play either the $5 or $10 tables. So let's say I put $5 on the Don't Pass Bar. The shooter throws the dice and one of four things happens; you win, you lose, you push or the point is set.
You win $5 when a 2 or a 3 or is rolled. You lose your $5 bet when a 7 or 11 is rolled. You push when a 12 is rolled. And any other number sets the point (that's those numbers up at the top, the black "Off" disk will flip over and become the white "On" disk and get placed on a number).
So let's say the shooter rolls a 9. You've bet "Don't Pass" so that means you win if $5 if the shooter rolls a 7 before again rolling a 9. None of the other numbers affect you at all. If a 9 comes first, you lose your $5 bet.
However, the real money comes when you lay odds. You see, you're at a great advantage to win your $5 bet because a 7 is much more common than a 9. That means you want to maximize your winnings. When you lay odds on a 9, you get paid $2 for every $3 you bet (same thing for the 5). For example, bet $15 and win $10 or bet $30 and win $20. That's a bet that you'll make after the point is set that's in addition to your "Don't Pass" bet (put the money behind your initial bet).
If you want to press your luck, you can also bet the "Don't Come Bar." It acts exactly like the "Don't Pass Bar" on subsequent rolls. If the 9 is the point, you bet the "Don't Come," and the next roll is a 4, your "Don't Come" bet will be moved to the square with the 4. You can again lay odds, and once again, you win if a 7 is rolled before a 4.
With the 4, however, you have to bet $2 to win $1 when you lay odds. So if you bet $20 you win $10 and if you bet $30 you win $15. Again, it's the same payoff for the 10.
When it's the 6 or the 8, you have to lay $6 to win $5. So for a $30 bet, you can win $25.
See how simple it is?
Generally, I'll bet the "Don't Pass." If a 10 or a 4 is the point, I'll take heavy odds, maybe laying as much as $60. If a 5 or a 9 is the point, I'll take solid odds, maybe laying $45 or $30. If a 6 or an 8 is the point, I won't take odds. Occasionally, I'll also bet the "Don't Come," but only if I'm on a good run. If a hot shooter steps up (hitting 2 points), I won't play until the dice move.
Again, you won't get rich playing this way, but I've figured out it's a pretty solid system for making money while having a little fun at the craps table!
A lot of bloggers have been pestering me to offer something here that's not on the European Poker Tour official blog.
Okay...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Here's a short one...
I've set up my workstation near the back of the Concord Card Casino in Vienna. I'm working off a small table that I have pressed up against a metal door.
For the past 30 minutes I've been hearing music and thought I'd accidentally left my iPod on. Then I started hearing a lot of female voices through the door.
Eventually, I made the connection (so to speak).
The CCC adjoins...adjoins...a brothel.
Welcome to Vienna.
For a less racy version of this trip...please feel free to visit me at the EPT blog.
Badblood will be joining me here tomorrow night. That should be good for a story or eight.<-- Hide More
First, there are no actual prostitutes in the post below, but I think it's fun anyway.
Secondly... Otis' brother, Little Willie, shows us how to drop the HAMMER...More in this Poker Blog! -->
All the money in the above hand went in pre-flop! I love the chat, "lol"
Thirdly, I did some free-rolling at Pacific last night. The site sucks, I remember why I don't play there. But I logged in to see what I had, and found they added $10 to my account. So I played in a $10+1 SNG and won $50. Then I played in a 2-table $30+3 SNG and won $120. Then I cashed out my $138 so I can put it into a site I enjoy. Pacific will probably drop another 10 bucks in my account in a few months.<-- Hide More
So I couldn't resist the draw of the Coushatta poker room after having such a successful session last weekend. This time, I decided to try the Sunday afternoon crowd.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived is that the Sunday crowd is much, much smaller. I figured that meant fewer fish and maybe things would be a little tougher this time. I got my name on the NL list and headed to the craps table.
When I heard my name called for a new NL table at 3:00pm, I had $45 left from my $140 in the rack in front of me, and $120 on the table waiting for a 7. It came on the next roll and I finished up about $85. It was a good start... but not necessarily a sign of things to come.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The Quick Slide Down
First hand I'm dealt pocket 10's, I raise it up and everyone folds. Second hand I'm dealt A2 of diamonds, flop comes A-x-x, I bet out and everyone folds. I'm up $8. Let's just say up $8 would sound really, really good in about an hour and a half.
A few hands later, I'm dealt ATo on the button. I raise to $10 (remember, blinds in this NL game are $1/$3, and the buy in is $100 min/$200 max), and I get called by the BB. I measured my opponent. He was a player, clearly. He had the chip tricks down, he knew all the dealers. He bet confidently and created an image of a good player. That doesn't mean he was, but that's the image he gave off. I'm not sure what image I give off... but I digress.
The flop comes K-Q-9, two clubs, no help for me. But since I raised out and he called from the BB, I figured I'd take a stab at the pot. He checked, I bet $20 and he cold called immediately. I thought maybe clubs. The turn paired my T. He checked again and I bet $40. He raised to $80.
Okay, now what. Did he make the call on the flop figuring to make a move on me on the turn no matter what fell? Did he have a K, a Q or a did he have a J and now has his straight. Really, what possible hands could he have that I actually beat? A-rag? Instead of rationally thinking through all that, I call. The river is a blank, he pushes all in and I fold. Could I have played the hand more poorly? I'm down to $87.
A few hands later, it's J5s in the SB. I complete. The flop brings two diamonds, including the A. I'm on the draw. I check and it's bet $20. I call with one other. The turn is a blank, but it does give me a gut shot draw. I check, it's bet $25 and I'm the only caller. The river is a blank. I check, he cheks and shows A5 for two pair. I'm down under $50. RE-BUY!
JTs and Rockets both net me small pots, but not as much as I'd hope to get out of them.
Then I'm looking at AJo when the flop comes A-x-x, all spades. I check raise from $25 to $75 to see where I'm at. Yeah, I know, it sounds pretty dumb to me when I read it, too. I get two callers. The turn is a fourth spade and I have to fold. The showdown ended up being AQ (spade) vs. K (spade) Q. Let's just say I was way behind the whole way. I'm down again to $120.
So there it is. Just an hour and a half into the session, I'm down $280 and playing really stupid poker. Maybe I should get out and cut my losses.
With A8 of hearts, I check from the BB. I was getting pretty gun shy at that point and I think it was obviously hurting my play. The flop is Q-x-x, two hearts. I check and it's checked around. Maybe a bet there at least wins me the blinds or makes my flush draw more valuable, but I'd been hurting.
The turn is my heart and I'm looking at the nuts. I check and it's bet 10 in front of me, I just call. I want value on the river. Right play? I don't know. The river is a K, putting a possible straight on the board. Maybe I slow played it enough for him to catch a hand?
I bet out 20 and he quickly raises to 40. If he wanted to buy it, he'd have pushed. He must have a hand because he's begging for a call. I push for my final $96. He waits a bit and then calls. I flip the nuts, he flips a small flush. The table commends me for my check on the turn. It worked, for once.
I'm now at about $300, down $100 for the session. And at 5:15pm, I get moved to the main table. I'm now at a bit of a disadvantage because I don't know the players, and many of them have much bigger stacks than me.
How a Rock Tightens Up
Apparently the message at this table was "No Limping Allowed." With my relatively meager stack, and considering my poor play thus far, I wasn't planning to make any moves unless I had the cards.
It wasn't long before I looked down at Cowboys in the BB. It was raised to 15 in front of me by a pretty aggressive player on the button. I put him on a steal and I re-raised to 55. He called pretty quickly. I put him on an Ace and hoped it didn't hit the flop.
The dealer flips K-T-3, rainbow. I've got bells and whistles going off in my head. I check and he checks. Yeah, I know, I tend to slow play. Remember that when Vegas rolls around. The turn is a 7, the second spade. I bet 40 and he cold calls. Is he on a straight draw (QJ)? Is he now on a flush draw?
The river is a 9 of spades. Dammit. That's the straight or the flush. Did I just slow play this into second best? I bet 50 and pushes all in for another $135. That would leave me $7 if I lose and would send me home. I pull out the chips and think about it.
"Tony, I'll need to rebuy," he says as he reaches in his pocket and pulls out $200.
"What?" I ask, not sure I heard him.
"Well, if you're calling, I'm beat, so I'll need to rebuy," he tells me.
What the hell does that mean? I fight with this in my head wondering if he's trying to induce a call or not. I have to call. What hands could I put him on that he's calling my $55 re-raise? Whatever it is, my trip K's beat it. I call. He shows just the 3 of hearts while mucking his other card. I'm up to $542.
A few hands later, it's AQo. I just check from the BB. I guess I should have raised, but I thought maybe I'd disguise the strength of my hand in case an A fell. It did, A-8-7. It's checked all the way around. Yep, there's that slowplaying again. It will kill me eventually.
The turn is a blank. It's bet $30 from the guy in the SB. He's wearing a stain Coushatta Casino jacket and a felt hat of some kind (I wish I knew what kind so I could describe it better). I raise to $60 and he calls. The river is a 5. He bets out $100.
Damn, did he catch his straight? Or was he playing A-rag and hit two pair. That's what I actually imagined in his hand. But it's the hand I wanted and if I played it into a loser than I've learned a lesson. I call and he flips 56. He had a straight draw and caught a pair on the river. Apparently the table thought I could be run over because that's twice they've thrown big money into a pot with a marginal hand. I'm up to $680. And things are looking up!
Get the Manager Over Here!
It's the Hilton Sisters. They always get me in trouble. So I raise to $15 and get two callers. The flop comes T-9-x. I bet $40 into a guy with just $118 in front of him and he hems and haws before pushing all-in. I call quickly and flip up my Q's.
For some reason, my opponent didn't flip his cards. The turn is a blank and the river is another T. Before I know it, his cards are in the muck and he's screaming for them back. It happened so fast, I didn't even see it. Apparently, he attempted the most dramatic flip possible and his cards landed face down beside the muck, touching dead cards.
He starts screaming something about 9's full of T's and asks the dealer for his cards back. The dealer rightly informs him that mucked cards are dead and that the player is responsible for taking care of his own cards. You know, like when I calmly flipped my cards directly in front of me.
The manager comes over, hears the story and helps the dealer pull out the two 9's and flips them. It wasn't hard to figure out which two cards were his. That wasn't the point. He had the hand. That wasn't the point. Unfortunately for me, the manager decided to ressurrect his hand, with a stern warning and never asked for my opinion.
I suppose I could have put up a fight. I didn't. I suppose he had me beat, and he did flop the set, but the pot should have been mine. That was his mistake. I didn't fight it and merely hoped karma would bring it back to me. I was at $565 now.
But Where Are the Four Hookers!?!?!?!?
If you've gotten this far, you must think the title is just a big lie. Okay, I'm getting to it... bear with me.
Let's just say my donation to karma made a big difference. That would be the last big pot I would lose. The rush was on.
J8s brought me a flush that took me to $610.
KT flopped two pair beating the Hilton Sisters. I'm at $750.
I flopped a set of 9's and had the guy in the satin jacket betting into me. I'm up to $865.
I've got Big Slick with an A on the flop and an A on the river. My opponent calls me the whole way before saying at the river, "I can't beat Big Slick." He flips AQ and I'm at $1150.
Pocket A's hold up and take me to $1250.
And then it happened.
I look down at two black jacks. Some people call 'em Fish Hooks, I prefer to call them Hookers. And, yes, I've got just two of them.
I raise to $15 and get just one caller. The dealer flips the flop cards and I see a red J. Great! Then I see him slide out an A. Even better! And finally, another red J. I just flopped quads.
I've never flopped quads in my life. I'd like to see the security camera video of it to see just how I reacted. I think I hid it extremely well!
Naturally, I check. If I'm willing to slow play top pair, I'm damn well gonna slow play quads! He bets $20 and I cold call. My plan was to make sure I get every chip in front of him.
The turn is a T. I check. He bets $40. I cold call again. The river is a K. I check. He bets $50 and I raise to $100, putting him all in. He was pot commited at this point and I knew he would call. The check on the river was dangerous because he could have gotten away from the hand without losing any more, but I knew he would bet.
He looks at me and says, "You have pocket A's don't you?" That's when I perhaps let a little disappointment show. I was praying he had pocket A's because then we would have qualified for the $28,000 bad beat jackpot. He reluctantly calls and flips Big Slick. I show my quads and the table erupts. I'm up to $1500.
I peek at a few more pots over the next 45 minutes and at 9:30pm, I stand up with my $1400 and leave the casino. My best session ever.
By the way, I promised I'd also include this...
The guy who pushed me off my first pot is named Todd. He seems like a pretty solid player although he didn't have his best session Sunday. He's also starting a new poker room with his brother, and I'll hopefully have more information on that for you, too.
Oh, and a really attractive dealer named Leah gave Todd a pretty hard time. You gotta watch what you say to her, she'll come right back over the top of you and you'll fold. I promise!<-- Hide More
URGENT NEWS!!! URGENT NEWS!!!
It's an odd life I lead these days. Twelve hours ago, I sat in the dining room of a Carolina surburban home, playing cards, drinking a few beers, and laughing with my buddies for the first time in weeks. Now, I sit in a $435-night hotel room in the middle of a king-sized bed, a view of Miami's South Beach in the window.
I'll have more on this trip in the coming days. It's work-related. In fact, I have to get to work here in a second. But I've played a couple of hands recently that I've felt fairly good about.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Written on a plane, so forgive the turbulence
I'll admit at the outset that I probably shouldn't be playing the $5/$10 $1000 buy-in NL game on Party. While my roll can handle it, the swings can be big enough that I don't quite have the stomach for it yet. Still, when Party introduced the higher limits, I couldn't help but sit down for a session.
By and by, I finally got dealt pocket aces in middle position. I made a raise to $35 and got one caller. Just a few hands before, I'd watched the caller get all his chips in with top pair and a six kicker. That is, he was capable of playing with and going all-in with just about anything.
The flop came down king-high, all hearts. Of course, I hated the flop, but I didn't sweat it too much. One of my aces was a heart, so I had all the heart outs twice. I bet $100 into the caller. He smooth-called the bet.
At this point, I was obviously a little concerned. If he'd made a set, he likely would've re-raised me here to see where he was. I figured I was in one of two situations. Either he had gotten lucky and flopped his flush, or he was holding a king and a high heart (KQ, KJ...).
The turn was a blank. At this point I had to make a decision. Either I wuss out and check to my opponent, essentially giving up. Or I bet into him again.
I bet into him again. $300. I just couldn't accept that he'd flopped his flush. Why? I'm not sure. I think it had something to do with watching him play his top-pair-weak-kicker for all his chips.
So, when he raised me all-in, what did I think? Well, I thought maybe he'd made his flush and I still had a few heart outs for the flush. Not enough outs to give me odds to call, though. I never seriously considered he might have a set. I couldn't get away from the thought he was holding top pair with a heart kicker.
So, I called.
As it turns out, my read was both right and wrong. He didn't have the flush. In fact, he didn't have any hearts in his hand. He did have the king, though, for top pair on the board. Thing was, he also held a five for a flopped two-pair.
I kicked myself a little for not putting him on that hand. At the same time, it's hard to put a guy on two pair with no hearts on a board that flopped three hearts.
On the river, I was left with quite a few outs (enough, in fact, that had he been playing his hand face-up, I would've had almost exactly the right odds to call). Two aces, the remaining hearts, and five cards that would give me a better two-pair.
None of the outs came though and I lost my entire stack. It is, to date, the most I've ever lost on one hand. When compared to some folks losses, that's no big deal. And, oddly, I didn't lose my mind about it. In fact, I felt sorta good.
That worried me a little bit. When you feel good after losing a hand like that, there's a chance you're enjoying the action too much.
So, I'll defer to the greater minds in the community: Was I complete iditot for playing the hand the way I did?
It was a live-game at Casa De G-Rob. The game had been winding in and out of good beats, bad beats, good laughs, and bad jokes. I was in for a couple of buy-ins for no particular reason. I'd brought my stack up to a nice level after playing an interesting hand with BadBlood (I'll let him write that one up if he wants). I was looking to end the evening as a winner.
From the cutoff, G-Rob made the standard pre-flop raise. In the SB, I found a pair of jacks. I'll admit, I figured I was ahead and wanted to maximize my win, so I smooth-called. We saw the perfect Hammer Flop.
I checked from the small blind and felt good that G-Rob bet the pot. He woulda checked his Hammer. Again, I smooth called.
The turn came down as a four. Again, I checked. Again, G-Rob bet the pot.
So, what am I thinking? I'm thinking he has AK, AQ, TT, or 99. He wanted me off of that pot in a big and bad way. I considered a smooth-call again, but decided I'd made as much off the hand as I could and didn't want to risk him catching an overcard on the river.
So, I pushed all in. G-Rob had to call around $80 more. He was getting less than 2-1 to call.
As soon as I saw the look on his face, I knew I had the hand won. What made it so confusing was...he called.
As we counted out the chips (I had him covered by about $7), G-Rob was bluffing posthumously.
"Well, I have trip sevens," he said as he counted out his stack.
Calmly, I said, "If you have trips, you win."
I still haven't figured out why he was trying to bluff AFTER making the call.
I turned up my jacks and G-Rob's face sank.
He turned up an ace...as I suspected.
And a three.
Immediately, G-Rob proclaimed his insobriety. I asked him what in the world he put me on. He shrugged his shoulders.
In G-Rob's defense, I had showed a serious bluff for a big pot earlier in the night, so maybe he had me on a bluff. Still...
He had four outs to the straight and three to his ace.
Teddy Ballgame burned and turned...a fucking ace of diamonds.
It stung for a few minutes, but as I drove home, I was really happy with the hand. Not sure why.
I'm a little worried that I'm starting to like the losing a little too much. It may be time to start playing Euchre again.<-- Hide More
In July of last year, I was working on my first (um... and only) article for All In Magazine and I asked you for advice on the Best Poker Rooms in Vegas. Thanks to that entry, I rank third in Google for searches for Vegas' Best Poker Rooms.
Unfortunately, I don't provide any valuable information there, and I'd like to correct that by really giving my readers what they want. That's where you come in. Now's your chance for a guest column on Up For Poker. Write a poker room review and email it to me. I'll post the best reviews. And if you have a blog of your own, I'll link back to your blog with your review.
So get writing (no too long) and send an email to pagemaster --@-- upforanything -DOT- net.
If I had more time to write, I'd go all Mean Gene on this. Instead, just a blurb:
I'm one who fully believes the concept of jumping the shark has long ago jumped the shark. In fact, the idea that poker jumped the shark about the first time someone used the phrase jumped the shark and poker together. That said...
On a return trip from the kid's daycare, I heard a radio commercial based at a Poker Championship. The protagonist had a big problem...how to concentrate on his cards with all that itching and swelling going on.
Yep... a poker commercial for Preparation-H medicated singles.
On the advice of blogger-extraordinaire Wil Wheaton, I've installed FeedBurner as Up For Poker's feed service. In doing so, I may have screwed up everyone's feeds, so let me know and I'll try and fix it. Thanks.
I think its Dostoevsy who said, "Every happy family is the same. Unhappy families are each unhappy in a different way". That's not an exact quote, but I don't expect most people will notice. Most people don't read Dostoevsky, that Fyodor's a downer.
Writers love losers but your average fella doesn't. "Jose Canseco the MVP" is a man about town. "Jose the Doper" is under house arrest. We all have our moments of defeat and loss, but no matter how much your friends love you, they really don't want anything more than a gossipy thrill, and a shadenfruede buzz. Everyone has a bad beat story. We want to hear your big suckout win.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I played in a 50+5 tournament in the swanky clubhouse of a local subdivision. BadBlood let me tag along. The tournament director was a very large man in a cheap T-shirt. It bore the lovers cards with the words "No Limit : All In!". It should have come with gills.
I'd played with some of these guys before and I thought I had a shot. But the setup was sloppy and new players kept drifting in well past the 7:30 start time. By the time we kicked off we had 50 players on 6 tables and I was half pissed about the game.
Midway through level four, I'd only played a few hands, I found the suited hammer on the button. UTG pushed his timy stack all-in an barely matched the blinds. UTG +1 and the man to my right both called. I bet the pot. Everyone calls.
The flop : 6, 9, Q....of hearts. I had the baby flush. Checks around to me. I bet the pot again. UTG+1 calls. Guy to my right pushed all-in to call. Obviously I'm beat.
The turn is a rag and the opponent who still has chips just checks. I push all-in. He calls. Now I'm beat for sure. The river..another brick. And 4 players are all in.
Early small stack shows a pair of 7s. UTG +1 shows A, Q spades. Yup, that's Ace high. Guy to my right just mucks. And, lo, the suited hammer eliminates 3 players on a single hand. G-Rob is triple the average stack and headed to the final table.
At the final table Dr. T-shirt takes control. 10 players remain and the average stack is 4,500. I have 5,400. Good shape you say? You'd say wrong. The blinds are leaping every 15 minutes and they're already at 1000/2000 with a 100 ante. We high card for the button and I'm the big blind. 3 hands later, I push with pcket 4s and the tournament is over. C'est la vie.
Three players played that hammer flop poorly. They had nothing and let my train roll into the calling station of victory. Screw 'em I say. Stupid losers.
But we all lose sometimes
And that's the rub. (We read Hamlet because our teacher's made us) I'm on a miserable tear of losing. My cards have run dry and the bankroll is sorry. My UB account is down 75% this month and after a few sessions of O8 on Party, I think I may need an e-bay auction to fund my jones.
There's more, of course, in the big picture. Perhaps you read my long-winded whine below about the misfortune at work. God know my friends are sick of hearing about it. I dare say you're sick of it too. Nobody likes a loser. Lately my friends are avoiding my calls for fear of another bath in self pity. My wife would rather talk about the Oscars. My co-workers think I'm pathetic.
There are dozens of posts that could sound like this, hundreds of losses that we could add to our blog, but nobody likes a bad beat story. This is what depression is. Everyone has a bad day but the isolation of loss is a black hole of doom. The gravity will crush you if you don't pull free.
So, here's the pledge : No more posts from G-Rob until the stars come out again. You don't want to hear it and, frankly, writing about my bad play and my crappy situation is making things worse. I'll let you know when the skies clear.
I'll leave you to Otis and CJ.
Good luck at the tables.<-- Hide More
I'm such a slack-ass. I know that I'm behind in my poker writing when my other blog gets more attention than this one. This new job has left little time for fun writing or poker playing. And the little poker I did play over the weekend was, in a word, bad. After reading countless bad beat stories on other blogs (and finding a few of my own on here) I vowed never to write a bad beat story on UFP again. So, I suck at poker and when I don't...well, we're not swimming in those waters.
So, for those not reading about the upcoming trip to Vegas for the WPBT or CJ's newfound semi-loose-aggressive style (a style a lot like the sexual habits of a high school girl I once knew), here's some stuff you really should be reading this week.More in this Poker Blog! -->
First and foremost, be sure to visit Iggy and Hank's sites to check out their months-long labor of love, the new and expertly written Poker Tracker Guide. Anyeone who doesn't use PT to track their play is taking a knife to a bazooka fight. And anyone who doesn't spend a lousy $20 to buy the boys' Guide is playing hardball without a cup. I have my copy, so you should have one for yourself.
Actually, Mean Gene said it better, so go read him. What are the chances we can get this fabulous writer to go to Vegas in June? I want to play him heads-up for the right to love his favorite female pro more.
I've spent quite a bit of time recently chatting with The Geek. He's had some good material recently. Go check out his four-part tale of living the celeb life with Wil Wheaton.
There. That should hold you until I find my interesting pills.<-- Hide More
Is there a more brutal game than Razz? I goaded Bad Blood into joining me for a Full Tilt $5 Razz tourney that started at 11pm ET. Bad news for both of us who need sleep, but we both played. I, as expected, busted out early. Bad Blood was the chip leader with 7 left. Then he hit two brutal hands, losing more than half his stack on the river on the first one. And then this one, which he went all-in on early:
Yeah, that's a boat. Think he gets a boat at the final table if it's Stud instead of Razz??? What an ugly game...