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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

April 30, 2008

George Danzer's journey

by Otis

It was a mildly chilly night in Monte Carlo, but the northern Europeans and those who live on wind-slapped islands were smelling summer. We, a large and eclectic group of poker players, writers, and marketers, sat at a cafe table overlooking a croaking frog pond and man-made wetlands area.

At the table were two Germans. One, Jan Heitmann, was making the guys jealous and the girls swimmy with an impromptu magic act. Beside him sat Geoge Danzer. His is a familiar face on the European Poker Circuit. In fact, I thought that (and the fact he was sitting right beside me) was the only reason I knew who he was.

I'd forgotten about Dmitri Nobles.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Las Vegas , | Poker Players , | Poker Psychology

April 29, 2008

Shooting the legal angle: Ask for a jury, never see a courtroom

by Otis

PokerNews' Haley Hintze reports today that a number of people busted in the Palmetto State's latest poker raid will be opting for a trial by jury.

A few weeks back, the jack-booted thugs local constabulary cited 38 people for violation of our state's antiquated gambling law (yes, the one that makes it illegal to play even some board games on Sunday). Usually, the notion of taking a misdemeanor ticket in front of a jury is pretty silly. In South Carolina, however, it's pretty damned smart. Those people who didn't pay their tickets? Well, they may never see the inside of a courtroom.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Law and Legal News , | Poker in the News , | Underground Games

April 28, 2008

The Nuts: Katitude

by Luckbox

Before entering Sunday night's Blogger Big Game, I decided whoever busted me would get to be the latest edition of Up For Poker's "The Nuts." I feel bad, because it was really Astin who crippled me. Short-stacked, I made my stand with A9o vs. his pocket 3s. Miami Don had also folded 3s on that hand. But, nonetheless, I lost the race (I forgot my running shoes and was 0-3 in races).

Down to just 78T, I was forced all-in out of the SB. My 89o never improved against Katitude's Q3o. And that was it. Out in 17th out of 46 runners. At least 17 is one of my lucky numbers.

But I digress... This is about "The Nuts." And "The Nuts" is Katitude does poker.

If you're not reading her, you should be. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she invent the best of all the blogger tourneys, The Blogger Donkament? Is there a tourney better suited for poker bloggers than a $1 +$1, unlimited rebuys? It really harkens back to the days of micro-limit push-fests at the PokerStars tables.

For that alone, I'm proud to make Katitude does poker the latest entry in Up For Poker's "The Nuts."

Permalink | Poker Blogs , | The Nuts

April 27, 2008

The Tuff Fish Appreciation Society

by Otis

We at the Up For Poker blog don't tell bad beat stories. There is actually a clause in our partnership contract that reqires the teller of a bad beat story to play five uninterupted hours of Razz on Full Tilt. If said player doesn't finish up for the session, he has to start over.

Because we don't tell bad beat stories, our group insurance has a variety of plans to help with our therapy. Our wives frown on the local Stress Away Spa Plan (something about them actually not being happy with the happy ending) and the Whack-a-Nun program at the local covent was discontinued after one of the sisters became obsessed with G-Rob's hair and whacking skill.

That's why our internal therapists have created The Tuff Fish Appreciation Society.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Players , | Tuff Fish Appreciation Society

April 25, 2008

Pot Limit Omaha Advice

by Luckbox

I am not a Pot Limit Omaha player.

I am, however, someone who managed to finish 3rd in the last Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I'd like to attribute it to my skill, but I think my reputation precedes me. Nonetheless, I was a massive chip leader with three players left, holding more than 50% of the chips in play. It didn't last... and I think that's because I don't know how to play PLO.

Perhaps you can help me. Here are three key hands that I may have played poorly.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Online Poker , | PLO , | Pot Limit Omaha Strategy , | Tournament Action

April 24, 2008

Lee starts again

by Otis

I've never told this story in its entirety. I never will. Even if I someday abandon my 80% rule, some things about my entry into the world of the poker media will never see print. Discretion may or may not have anything to do with valor, but it certainly plays a role in the friends you make and the friends you keep.

Nonetheless, there is somebody who played a huge role in my new life who needs mentioned today. He played one of the major roles in getting me where I am--wherever that is. Sometimes I don't know whether to thank him or curse him for that, but I know I can always count on his as a friend.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Otis' Thoughts , | Poker Players , | Poker Web Sites

Don't Gamble With Your Lungs....We Want Your Cash

by G-Rob

A quick news update for our poker smokers in the Northeast. Starting this fall Atlantic City will ban smoking on the casino floor.

There's been a ban on smoking in public places there for years but, until now, the casino floor was exempt. That'll change this fall.

Starting this October smokers will only be allowed to puff away in special, unstaffed, designated areas AWAY from the gambling floor.

The new rules cleared the Atlantic City council unanimously.

Permalink | Poker in the News

April 23, 2008

My Poker Addiction As A Marital Defense: An Open Letter To My Wife

by G-Rob

Dearest Beloved Wife,

By now you've finished plugging our family finances into that quicken software that came shrink-wrapped with our desktop tower. I know you worked hard on that. I think it's fascinating that we spend that much on ice cream. That's a legitimate family expense.

I'd further make the case that you could classify my beer-related expenditures as "Healthcare" since I'd almost certainly lose my mind without a few cold 'uns now and then.


Our beer fund could've put a kid through college?

Well, our kids will spend that college money on beer anyway. Let's be honest about that.

And what about those "travel" expenses to New Orleans, Las Vegas and Tunica? Honey, I've got an answer for that too.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

April 22, 2008

Gambling On Politics

by G-Rob

My good friends here at the Up for Poker blog hate it when I write about something other than poker itself. This is not the "Up for Whatever Is on G-Rob's Mind" blog. Frankly I agree that such a blog would be the most irrational sort of nonsense on the web... which is setting the bar pretty low.

That said, I do love to gamble on nearly anything at all. One year Otis and I spent an entire Super Bowl betting on whether the next commercial would be "Car, Food, or Beer."

It's a sickness. But if you're sick like me, poker is gambling for pussies.

So here's another way to not-gamble-for-money-because-that's-illegal:

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Other Gambling

April 21, 2008

Poker's period of mourning

by Otis

Somebody died.


At 5am, I was sitting in a place called the Blue Gin Bar drinking a 1664 beer and wishing I'd never even heard of a place called Monte Carlo. It was a place that a hundred people would've paid to be sitting and I wanted little more than to put the entire Mediterranean coast behind me. It's one in a long list of things about the poker world that don't make sense.

I was sitting between two fellow writers, both of whom I respect a great deal. After a drink, one of them said, "Did you hear about Brandi Hawbaker?"

I hadn't heard a word. I'd been living in my own little bubble for the past nine days. I barely knew my own name, let alone that Hawbaker was dead.

Suicide. It's one of those things that makes too much sense to consider. How likely is it that someone so fragile, so needy, so imperfect, so completely fucking used by a community of people would kill herself?

Right. Surprise, surprise.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Otis' Thoughts , | Poker Psychology

April 20, 2008

The Antonio Esfandiari Question

by Otis

An informal poll at European Poker Tour Grand Final revealed nothing surprising. Three of the final eight players were considered to be the best players at the table with the best chance at winning. Luca Pagano was the most consistent--a record nine cashes on the EPT, including three final tables. Antonio Esfandiari was the proven live tournament winner. Isaac Baron was the online tournament king--2007 CardPlayer online player of the year, and, to his credit, a guy who knew how to act like he'd been there before.

None of them won. In fact, none of them placed in the top 3.

Whether a telling statistic about tournament play or merely another anomoly to add to the constant debate about the validity of tournament poker as an indicator of skill, it failed to answer to the question I asked a day earlier. With the chip lead and three tables remaining, was Esfandiari right to limp with a big pair in early position?

The comments in the above-linked post were thoughtful and exactly what I'd hoped to see. For what it's worth, my opinion is below.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Theory , | Tournament Action

April 18, 2008

The Black Hole Of Discipline And The Dim Star Of Hope (or... why I am waffles)

by G-Rob

It's like that one link to softcore porn on an otherwise boring afternoon. It's a bowl of those tasty M&Ms at a boring party that are sitting on a perfect table in the corner of the room such that eating the candies is both a bad nervous tic and a good way to avoid people you don't want to see.

It's like a metaphor that sucks its writer past the point of good sense but the urge to pull it off takes said writer to, well, exatly this point... (here).

I like to play online poker. I'm pretty good at it in small bursts. There are some things I'm actually very good at (I think) but I do lose money.

Here's the reason why...

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts , | Online Poker , | Tournament Action

April 16, 2008

EPT Monte Carlo: The Big Pair Limp Question

by Otis

Live from a fifteen minute break at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, a hand that has caused significant debate, specifically between Lee Jones and this humble correspondent. Your opinion--while, like mine, largely insignificant--is valued.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Theory , | Tournament Action

April 14, 2008

The Luckbox Returns

by Luckbox


Mondays at the Hoy.

The Luckbox is back.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Luckbox's Thoughts , | Poker Blogger Tournaments

April 13, 2008

How to Win the Pick 4

by Luckbox

So, I think my last horse racing advice post was a little ambitious. Winning the Pick 6 is hard. So hard that when you do win, the payout is in 5 or 6 figures.

Saturday, BG and I put our handicapping skills to the test... and lost. I'd say it was close, but it wasn't the closest we've ever been. We lost because the very last horse we left off our ticket ended up winning the first leg of the Pick 6, and a 15-1 longshot (a horse I liked and a horse who shared the name of my niece) came across first in the 4th leg. Obviously, I didn't like the horse enough to push for her inclusion. And it cost us.

It was disappointing. As it always is to lose. However, on this day, my sadness was tempered by this:

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Betting the Ponies , | Horse Racing

April 12, 2008

The Santa Anita Pick 6 Ticket

by Luckbox

After a few days of handicapping, the picks are in. BG and I have put together a ticket we believe has a great chance of bringing in a payday. Interestingly, we were on the same page in almost every race. That doesn't always happen. We're hoping that means we're locked in and not that we're both idiots.

Both of us used the early program to handicap. That means we were not influenced by the morning lines created by some random handicapper who may or may not know what he's doing. In some cases, that meant we didn't like the morning line favorite at all and in others, we were all over a horse that will likely bring us a good price. That's how you find Pick 6 tickets with big payoffs.

So without further ado, the picks:

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Betting the Ponies , | Horse Racing , | Pick 6

April 11, 2008

How To Host A Great Home Poker Game

by G-Rob

Last Saturday afternoon I played poker at the House of Blood and, again, had a blast. I mean, sure, I went out of his tournament on an absolutely insanely disappointing bad beat, but other than that it was good.

Badblood always hosts good games. The room is always lively and fun but the poker is serious. There are drinks but nobody gets drunk. I like seeing my old friends there and have made new ones too.

Along with Gucci Rick, Blood is the best host around.

So what do those game have in common and what makes them work?

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Home Games

April 9, 2008

Pick 6: The 2008 Edition

by Luckbox

It's Santa Anita.

After looking at the possibilities, BG and I decided to look west. The California track seems just right for us. It's four dirt races and two turf races. We've got a claiming, a maiden special weight, a couple allowances, a $100K stakes race and a final maiden claiming. Lastly, the fields are sufficiently large, 9-12 horses each race, making for a nice potential payday.

In case you're wondering, last Saturday's Pick 6 at Santa Anita paid more than $36,000. That's the kind of payday we're shooting for here. We've already got a handful of investors lined up. And here's how you can get involved:

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Betting the Ponies , | Horse Racing , | Pick 6

Tiger Woods and Poker

by Otis

B-roc looked at me last night from his spot in the box.

"I'm not sure Canada is right for you. Long winters, cold weather. Not sure..."

He let the sentence hang there, a perfect joke and follow-up to my latest self-deprecating comment. It had been a rough few weeks at Gucci Rick's and I hated myself as much as usual. I use self-torture as a comedic device, a poker technique, and yes, a defense mechanism. Sometimes I really do hate myself. Saying it out loud dulls the anger's edge.

Today, I started to wonder whether that Otis should play poker.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Otis' Thoughts , | Poker Psychology

April 7, 2008

The Pick 6: It's On!

by Luckbox

So I actually played some online poker yesterday. It was the first time I sat down at the virtual felt since before I got married. It wasn't much. A little FPP tourney at Stars to start. Then a couple of $30 SNGs (busted 9th and finished first). Then the $20K guarantee. I played pretty well there through the first break before waaaaaay overplaying pocket Ts.

It was fun. I didn't realize I missed it as much as I did. It was nice getting that rush again waiting to see if my hand held up. For the record, I didn't suckout. Not once. I'm saving that for my triumphant return to the blogger games. Preferably against Waffles.

But I'm not here to write about poker. It's not nearly interesting enough... yet. Instead, I'm here for your money. Specifically, BG and I need some investors.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Betting the Ponies , | Horse Racing , | Pick 6

Another South Carolina Poker Bust

by G-Rob

Police in Charleston called it the result if a "ten month investigation." They arrested 27 people, including an assistant prosecutor at an underground poker game.

The Charleston Post says the game was run out of the bottom floor of a two story house with games spread on several tables. The host started the games last year and they "just grew."

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Poker Law and Legal News , | Poker in the News , | Underground Games

April 5, 2008

How to Win the Pick 6

by Luckbox

Full disclosure: I've never won the Pick 6.

On Sept. 3 of last year, BG and I put together a Pick 6 ticket that came within a nose of winning. Five out of 6 paid a few hundred bucks for us, but we were that close to a big pay day. The day before, we lost one race by a head and another by a half-length. Close yet again to a really nice pay day.

If there's one truism in betting the ponies, however, it's that close doesn't pay the bills. And yet, here I am, imparting my amatuer knowledge on you. Thank me later.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Betting the Ponies , | Horse Racing , | Other Gambling

April 4, 2008

Too Scared To Play Poker: How I Learned To Play Through Fear And Why It Came Back.

by G-Rob

I'm in a big pot with Rick. I play a lot of big pots, of course, but this one is especially large for the stakes and this one hand will make or break the session for one of us.

I have pocket kings in late position in a straddled pot and there are a half dozen callers ahead of me when Rick calls to my right. I pop it to $30. Naturally, everyone at the table calls. Including Rick.

The flop comes 4d 8c 10c. There are checks around to me and I make it $100. Everyone folds except Rick who smooth calls. I'm just hoping the turn isn't a club.

It isn't. It's a 5d. And here's something that makes no sense: Rick leads out for $200. Why?

I suppose he may have a nervous set with 2 flush draws there, but is he putting ME on the draw? Probably not. Did he hit a gutshot? Again, probably not. He has to think I'm holding air.

He wants me to fold... so I push.

Rick calls.

We have a pot of more than $1800.

And Rick shows Ac4c. And he wants to make a deal. Only a coward would take it.

Here's why I said "Yes."

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

April 3, 2008

UIGEA: Troubled child of troubled parents

by Otis

"I am not a biblical scholar," Rep. Barney Frank admitted of his inability to understand. The conservative mores of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle are confounding to some members of Congress. "But I can't find an exemption for horse racing!" The sport of kings' absence in the good book notwithstanding, Frank had a point.

The scene was Wednesday's House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology hearing and a debate that should've been conducted before the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became a reality (UIGEA live blog ).

Frank, one of the UIGEA's most vocal opponents, was pointing out a common theme in America's stance on federal gambling law enforcement: hypocrisy. It's an environment where gambling on juiced up athletes and ponies is perfectly acceptable, but betting on a skill game over which the player can affect the outcome is not.

The Committee hearing was one of the--if not the first--public discussions of the UIGEA, a law attached to must-pass port security legislation and spirited through the halls of the Capitol in the waning moments of the 2006 Congressional summer session. After nearly two years of being a burden only on confused government regulators, the law now threatened to disrupt the lives of many more people.

More in this Poker Blog! -->
Permalink | Internet Gambling Bill , | Poker Law and Legal News , | Poker in the News , | UIGEA

April 2, 2008

UIGEA 'Burden Without Benefit' Live Blog

by Otis

The House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology (say that five times fast) is holding a hearing this morning to talk about the proposed regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Given technology works the way it is supposed to, we'll be live blogging the whole of the hearing (you can find the live portion of the blog after the jump).

Scheduled to start at 10am ET, the hearing looks to be favorable toward the position that the UIGEA is an unnecessary law that puts the onus on American banks to serve as an unfunded law enforcement arm of the federal government. Then again, the way things work in Washington sometimes, it might turn out to feature balloon sculptors and Hoppy the Sad Clown.

Among the scheduled witnesses in the hearing are:

  • Ms. Louise L. Roseman, Director, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Ms. Valerie Abend, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Ms. Harriet May, President and Chief Executive Officer, GECU of El Paso, Texas on behalf of the Credit Union National Association
  • Mr. Wayne A. Abernathy, Executive Vice President, Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs, American Bankers Association
  • Mr. Leigh Williams, BITS President, The Financial Services Roundtable
  • Mr. Ted Teruo Kitada, Senior Company Counsel, Legal Group, Wells Fargo & Co.
  • More Information

    National Sports Leagues Letter on UIGEA

    Links to transcripts of UIGEA hearing and additional letters -- HERE

    UIGEA Burden Without Benefit Webcast--No longer available

    House Committee on Financial Services website

    Poker Players Alliance


    More in this Poker Blog! -->
    Permalink | Internet Gambling Bill , | Poker Law and Legal News , | UIGEA

    The BadBlood "Procedure" In Jeopardy

    by G-Rob

    We all have our own way of getting mentally tuned in to a game. Mine is usually to get super-excited, dump off an early stack, get angry and abusive, and then try to recover with pointless agression. It doesn't always work.

    My good, and always invited, friend BadBlood has a "Procedure" of his own.

    But, as if to personally tilt the poor bastard, our state my make his pre-game warmup... ILLEGAL.

    More in this Poker Blog! -->
    Permalink | G-Rob's Thoughts

    April 1, 2008

    I Return To The Felt...And Fight With Friends

    by G-Rob

    Hello dear blogging world! I've missed you terribly. You know, according to this blogging widget we're using here I haven't posted since the middle of February. Kinda pathetic methinks.

    I've made a commitment to change that from here on out. We'll see how that holds.

    So how does a one-time frequent blogger return to the page? By fighting with his good friends of course!

    More in this Poker Blog! -->
    Permalink | Home Games