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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Freeman's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Friday, July 10th, 2009
2:01 pm
Yet another Bogus Quote
Wow, long time no post. I'm still taking a break from poker, basically, but I needed a place to park this:

Yesterday @AKGovSarahPalin Tweeted this: 'So AK kids: take time to take your parents fishing: "You learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" -Plato'

I looked at that, thought a bit, and said, "No way is that a quote from Plato." Interestingly enough, it is shown as such all over the web and in at least two hardcopy quotations reference books. However, I searched the complete works of Plato online without finding anything even vaguely like it. I asked an erudite friend about it; he did not know, but he knew someone who might, and I ended up being directed to the likely source of the quote. It's from a small 1907 book by Richard Lingard with the unwieldy title A Letter of Advice to a Young Gentleman Leaving the University Concerning His Behavior and Conversation in the World. On page 39 of that book, we find:
If you would read a man's Disposition, see him Game, you then learn more of him in one hour, than in seven Years Conversation, and little Wagers will try him as soon as great Stakes, for then he is off his Guard.

So, Gov. Palin, that is not a quote from Plato, and the original author of it was talking about gambling, not fishing.
Saturday, January 20th, 2007
11:59 pm
Bonus-whoring tour of duty on Doyle's Room
There's a nice fat 110% bonus deal for Doyle's Room advertised in the recent issue of Poker Pro. Having boosted my bankroll on UB to a new personal high, I was already considering peeling off $100 to go play low-stakes games somewhere softer when I saw the bonus deal and the review, which restated the common perception that Doyle's Room is a fish farm ("A lot of the players, let us say, have not read any of Doyle's books.")

That decided me, so I did the deed on January 6. It turned out to be true that the nano-stakes NLHE games there are well-stocked with fish, but I had a shocking revelation: where the players suck, the suckouts rule. I turned my $103 deposit into $12.62 in about a week, and the vast majority of those losses were of the form, "You put all your money in with THAT? Didn't you know you had only THREE OUTS? Were you depending on the dealer to give you one of those three outs? Ooops. There's one of them now. Nice Hand, Sir (and by "hand," I mean "catch," and by "sir," I mean "moron.")

Not that I ever typed as much as that into the chat window, mind you. I try really hard to say nothing much, although I do slip once in a while.

To be fair, I also had a couple of cases of my classic leak: "No fucking way you made that hand, you are bluffing your donkey tail off."

That's the bad news; the good news is that I seem to have finally tuned in and made the right adjustments, because as of just before dinner tonight, I am back up to $103.98, with about 1/6th of the Action Points I will need to collect my 110% bonus. I didn't know the bonus was paid out in a lump at 33990 AP instead of dribbled out as bonuses usually are.

I also found out that my UB friend HeavenlyEyes plays on Doyle's. I guess I'm like the last to know about it. Can't wait to run into her there.
Sunday, January 14th, 2007
4:41 pm
Other reversals in HE hands
HE is very entertaining, to say the least, with all the twists and turns that can come up. Fingalling is only a very simple case; here's a great example:

Pre-flop:
Hero raises with QQ
Villain calls with JTo

Hero is about a 6-1 favorite going in:
 123,285,888  games     0.047 secs     2,623,104,000  games/sec
	equity 	win 	tie 	      pots won 	pots tied	
Hand 0: 	85.770%  	85.58% 	00.19% 	     105505632 	   236592.00   { QQ }
Hand 1: 	14.230%  	14.04% 	00.19% 	      17307072 	   236592.00   { JTo }

But villain flops top two, becoming a 3-2 favorite:
 990  games     0.031 secs    31,935  games/sec
Board: Js Td 8h
	equity 	win 	tie 	      pots won 	pots tied	
Hand 0: 	39.596%  	39.19% 	00.40% 	           388 	        4.00   { QhQs }
Hand 1: 	60.404%  	60.00% 	00.40% 	           594 	        4.00   { JcTh }

Wait! There's more! Hero hits his gutshot, moving to an 8-1 favorite, and all the money goes in:
Board: Js Td 8h 9s
	equity 	win 	tie 	      pots won 	pots tied	
Hand 0: 	88.636%  	86.36% 	02.27% 	            38 	        1.00   { QhQs }
Hand 1: 	11.364%  	09.09% 	02.27% 	             4 	        1.00   { JcTh }

And, of course, to make the story complete, Villain hits his 4-outer on the river to win.

86,40,88,0. Sheesh.

Of course, this happened on Doyle's Room.
Sunday, January 7th, 2007
8:59 am
New Poker Term: Fingal
Fingal, v.t.: (Texas Hold'em poker) To call a raise with a readily dominated hand, such as A3 or K9, and beat a dominating hand such as AT or AK by flopping two pair.

Origin: named after a player from Dublin who succeeded in Fingalling me twice in one game on Doyle's Room. Of course, one could aptly say, "Fingal me once, shame on you; Fingal me twice, shame on me."

Can also occur as a "delayed Fingal," which makes the dominated hand dominant:


Hero: AsKs
Villain: Ad3c

Pre-flop:
Hero raises to 4BB
Villain calls

Flop: 3s 5h 8d

Hero checks
Villain checks

Turn: Ah

Hero bets 6BB
Villain calls

River: Jc

etc.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2006
9:10 am
One year of piddly-stakes poker
I just "closed the books" on my first year playing online. Until just recently, I had not played any games or tournaments with a buy-in greater than $10; for about the last three weeks, I have been in $50 buy-in NLHE cash games on Titan (but only buying in for $30-$35). That sets the scale by which my gross win for the year, $443, looks pretty good. The net of $368 is what I'm actually playing with, having withdrawn the total of all my deposits, $75, back in April.

In the upcoming year, the decimal point will move on those numbers. Maybe more than one place, if there's a big tournament score.

The bulk of that is from players on Titan who are even worse at folding than I am :-)
Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
10:07 pm
Cash Game Success Again!
I seem to have gotten re-attuned to cash games1. I've moved up to the $50 buy-in NLHE tables on Titan (ooooooo, huge!) and I'm tearing them a new one. I picked up on a suggestion from Poker Professor to play a tight-aggressive game on full ring tables instead of my beloved but variance-enhancing short tables. It's working; I'm up $120 in a few sessions at that level, and I was up a bit from lower levels before that. Titan just added 8-player tables, and "turbo" tables2 (even shorter think time), and those seem to be just fine, too.

The "tricks" are simple and obvious:

  1. Good table selection: I had always avoided tables with high players/flop, but Poker Professor convinced me that those are fish schools.
  2. Good hand selection: play at those tables but play (just enough) tighter than everyone else.
  3. Play position!
  4. Learn your opponents.
  5. And, pace Antonio Esfandiari, "Don't go broke with Jacks"; or more generally, fold when you're beat!.

I find it also helps that I am playing at a level where I actually care a little about the stakes, but not so much that I play scared.

Also, don't read Sklansky's No-Limit Holdem: Theory and Practice unless you promise to stay off my tables.


1. [Update 9/20/2007]: In the meantime, I've been amazed at how often and how easily I can slip out of this attunement. Right now, I'm back in, and the one thing I'd add to my list of notes to myself is from a poker epiphany I had on New Year's Eve: assess each starting hand from the point of view of "if I played this hand from this position at this kind of table every single time, would it be +EV?" Like many such revelations, it's screamingly obvious once stated.
2. [Update 9/19]: NO, the "turbo" tables are NOT "just fine." Poker with no think time is a load of crap. Having so little time that one can be timed out while sizing a raise with AA UTG is not just fine, not a bit.]
Tuesday, September 5th, 2006
10:01 pm
Intelligent bust-out, dumb tourney
[I actually got a request (in the form of a good-natured jibe) to update this blog more. So here's an actual blog entry, Mr. K.]

I was "rock"ing along in a $5 buyin, $4000 guarantee tournament on UB, sitting slightly above middle of the pack after the first break, and the old familiar refrain of "time to get some chips or GHN" was playing on the mental reminder box. An extremely loose player who had finally gotten short (M=6) went all-in two to my right, and a bigger stack fairly new to the table went all-in ahead of me. My first impulse was to fold JJ, but I figured I was up against two A-rags or an A-rag and something worse, and had to have better than 50% equity, getting not quite 3-2 (actually very close to sqrt(2):1).

"First impulses" like that are what make me short-stack-bust-out just out of the money over and over, and anyway, who wants to play like Hellmuth?

But mainly, it was time to get some chips or GHN.

Gotta love my read: the hands were A2o and 44. JJ is 59.2% to win.

Don't gotta love the way the hand actually played out this time, but I'll sure the heck do it again in a similar spot.

This is, of course, a subject of debate in tournament theory, with some people preferring not to risk all without a big and definite edge.

BAHH for those who want itCollapse )

IGHN.

Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, July 23rd, 2006
11:20 am
Poker Filkage
The Loose-Aggressive

(To the tune of "Locomotion," with apologies1 to Kylie Minogue)

Everybody's takin' a big new chance now
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
I know you'll win big money
If you give it a chance now
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
Kids who watch ESPN can do it with ease
It's easier than counting probabilities!
So come on, come on,
Do the loose-aggressive with me

You gotta fling your chips now
Come on baby, bump up, hmmm bump back
Pretty soon you'll beat Layne Flack

Now that you can do it
Let's play a game now
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
Keep those chips flyin' like a runaway train now
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
Play it fast and sleazy, but don't make bad calls,
A little bit of rhythm and a lot of balls
So come on, come on,
Do the loose-aggressive with me
You gotta fling your chips now
Come on, come on,
Do the loose-aggressive with me
Yeah

Move around the game playin' loose-aggressive
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
Do it with no hands when the table's passive
(C'mon baby do the loose-aggressive)
There's never been a chance that's so easy to take
It even makes you happy
When you're paying rake
So come on come on do the loose-aggressive with me
You gotta fling your chips now

Come on, come on,
Do the loose-aggressive with me
Yeah
Come on, come on,
Do the loose-aggressive with me
You gotta fling your chips now



1. For example, "It just had to be done," "I couldn't stop myself," etc.

Current Mood: amused
Friday, June 30th, 2006
4:00 pm
SnGs again
I said: "Since I am now up over $200 on UB, the next phase is to try three $10 SnGs and see how that level suits me. Time to play them is still a problem, so there's no target date by which to have played the three events, only an intent to pick times when I'm alert and ready to play."

I just finished the second of the three. I played the first one shortly after I posted, and won it going away. In the second tournament, I had one good competitor, and I made a loose reraise all-in of his reraise with 8 players left and blinds at 75-150. I had AhJh, and was raising for the fourth time in a row, so I thought it likely he was reraising with any semi-decent hand to put me in my place. Turns out he was using AsKs for that purpose. I had him covered by T$140, so losing the pot put me well into the Dead Zone. Next hand, UTG, I had 7d5d and put my stack in. Two players contested the pot, so when I picked up 55 on the flop and 7 on the turn, I tripled up. There were two more races after that, requiring luck to win, but one orbit of the button after I blew my stack, I had a new one good for second place. That's where I finished, as the other player (DRNEIL on UB) was actually quite good, and had his share of luck at the end, too.

So, I'm up $50+$30-2*($10+$1) = $58 on $10 SnGs so far (or up $47 even if I whiff the third tourney). This means I'm not looking back. In fact, once my bankroll goes north of $220 again, I may just hop to the $20+2 level and see how that is.
Sunday, June 11th, 2006
11:28 pm
Roller Coaster
For the past several months, I have either been financing my tournament entries with cash game winnings, or making up for cash game losses by cashing in tournaments, and I've either been winning on Titan and losing on UB or vice versa. My total bankroll number has risen and plummeted accordingly.

Also, with a new baby in the house, I hadn't been playing any kind of tournament, but now that he's settling in, I get a chance at a SnG occasionally. So today, after winning about $30 in a completely wild and crazy cash game, I played one $5+.50 10-seat SnG on UB and won the $25 first prize. My total bankroll is back to something close to what it was when I cashed out my initial deposits, but now it's all poker winnings.

In the SnG, I got into the money with the shortest of the three stacks, but not by much, and then was able to bust out the 3rd-place finisher so that I was behind the chip leader by around 6300 to his 8700. I had been watching this guy closely, and I was pretty sure I could beat him, but he showed more guts heads up than he had with more players in. I was down to about 3000 in chips at one point, with blinds at 150-300. I survived a race (the only time in the whole tourney when I was all in and covered), chipped away at him, and got back into a small lead before we finally found a hand to race with. When he went all in, I had A5o, so I shrugged and called. He flipped up ATo. Ouch.

Now, during the middle of the tournament, my opponent had won two huge pots by making A-5 straights; without those, he likely would have not been in the money at all. So it was especially gratifying, in an ironic way, when I caught a 2 on the flop, a 3 on the turn, and a 4 on the river to win the thing. Admittedly, I shouldn't have been in that position in the first place!

So maybe the "jinx" is fading away. Since I am now up over $200 on UB, the next phase is to try three $10 SnGs and see how that level suits me. Time to play them is still a problem, so there's no target date by which to have played the three events, only an intent to pick times when I'm alert and ready to play.

Current Mood: excited
Saturday, May 27th, 2006
9:35 pm
No one's life or property is safe ...
… while the legislature is in session. In response to this crap, I finally got around to joining Poker Players Alliance (after writing my Congresscritter).

Join up. The minimum buyin is $20 and you get a cool T-shirt.
Thursday, May 25th, 2006
9:24 pm
Free Rolling!
At the end of April, I decided I had enough of an online bankroll to take out the grand total of $75.00 that I have deposited. I've been playing since on nothing but poker winnings.

Of course, I had a little case of the cashout curse right after that, but I'm almost back to where I was at this point. RAWK!

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
8:32 am
Something I wish I had known
Or had enough sense to estimate on the fly:
Text results appended to pokerstove.txt
 888,248,592  games     3.405 secs   260,865,959  games/sec
        	equity (%)  	win (%)	tie (%) 
Hand  1:	36.1852 %  	34.95% 	01.24%      { AKo }
Hand  2:	20.0396 %  	18.80% 	01.24%      { A7o }
Hand  3:	43.7752 %  	43.65% 	00.12%      { 55 }


In the actual hand that sent me thinking about this, the first card on the flop was a 5, so it didn't much matter that the A7 had grabbed 19% of my starting equity.
Saturday, April 15th, 2006
12:24 am
Got Live If You Want It
Just got back from playing in a little local live tournament. 7 players, 4/2/1 payout. For a first time playing live (other than penny-stakes kitchen table games), I did OK, busting out in 3rd (My A8s got sucked out on by a 7 hitting my opponent's A7o) for the play-for-free prize.

Lili went with me and I got a lot of good hints on the way home out of pooling her observations with mine. I'll be back …
Thursday, April 13th, 2006
8:58 am
Flush the flush
Seriously, I think poker, especially all the seven-card games, would be improved by ignoring flushes. Leave the straight flush, sure, but this "oh look, all my cards are the same suit" is straight out of some kid's game.

Yes, I did get sucked out on twice yesterday. Yes, I do enjoy beating up on baby-flush-drawing weenies when I have the suited ace and a fourth of the suit hits in Hold'em (no such luxury in Omaha, but I think that's an argument against Omaha, not flushes :-).
Wednesday, April 12th, 2006
12:33 am
Poker Blogger Tourney!
Apparently tournaments and other meetings for poker bloggers are becoming fashionable. Great, I say. Wish me luck in this one:

Bloggers Championship I am registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Freeroll
Win your share of $25,000 and a set
of Nevada Jacks poker chips.
Hosted By: Absolute Poker
Sponsored By: Poker Source Online
Registration Code: 53980374

Sunday, April 9th, 2006
8:27 pm
Progress and Silliness
Progress: I got paid 4 buy-ins/hour for my efforts in SnGs today, and also won a few bucks in cash games (almost 1 buy-in/hour, but with excessive variance). I also had the pleasure of "running the table" in a NLHE cash game: everyone else at the table left because I broke them, or because I got more than half their stack and they didn't want to give me the rest. I'm finding the $5+.50 "Bondi Beach" 20-player SnGs on Titan quite profitable in particular; it's nice to have a tourney on Titan that isn't a complete waste of time.

Silliness: skydancerlilitu and I were making up jokes about our phenomenally stupid cat, Osiris, in the context of me summarizing my day at the tables. So, based on that conversation, here are some reasons why Osiris T. Cat would be a pain in the tuchus to play poker with:
  1. He's so easily distracted, he never knows when it's his action;
  2. When he's called, he won't come;
  3. Not only has to check his hole cards often, but tends to bat them off the table;
  4. Randomly freaks his shiznit when someone says, "I'm all in," even when he's not in the hand;
  5. When anyone folds, he insists on sniffing the muck pile;
  6. If there is a more comfortable chair in sight than the ones at the table, he tries to play from there;
  7. He can't seem to stop marking the cards;
  8. Makes a big deal out of sneaking up on opponents when everyone can see what he's doing;
  9. That ass-licking thing — really;
  10. Whines pitiably when he loses;
  11. Not interested in the pot unless it's someone else's;


  12. and …

  13. Banker gets tired of arguing about conversion rate for buyins in used catnip mice.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006
10:48 pm
Good beat story/ & Waves to Antonio
I got a nice response back quickly from Antonio Esfandiari when I sent him my "Triumph of the 97" story (below the line). Now, there's some class!


"97 was already my favorite "little" hand before I heard about it being your signature hand. A couple of days ago in a little NLHE cash game on Titan, I had been playing a tight game and winning small, and it was time for a gear change when I picked up a 97 offsuit on the button after the player to my right had limped in.

"I limped, it went around unraised, and we saw the flop: 995. Victim bet half the pot, and I flat-called. Still some danger here, or more bets to be extracted if I am ahead. My ruminations about which hands beat me and how there weren't that many that he wouldn't have raised (although I am seriously thinking he might have slowplayed TT or JJ) were interrupted by a lovely 7 on the turn, using both of my cards to make the classic Magic Boat. Now he must have at most a three-outer on the river (more likely two, one, or none), and all I care about is how to coax all his remaining Rials into the pot.

"Yes, I am singing the Steppenwolf song ("Magic Carpet Ride") at the computer at this point, and getting ready to do the Wave at the end. I promise not to imitate the inimitable Antonio in public!

"He bets about half the pot again, so I raise him the same amount, thinking he's pretty much hooked at this point. Surely enough, he reraises his whole stack.

"River is a blank and his hand turns out to be Presto (55), so he has a "bad beat story" to bore people with, and when he tells it, I hope someone tells him how you probably don't want to bank your whole stack on an underfull most of the time ... or maybe not, since I'll probably see Victim again, and if he's gunning for me, I don't want his aim to have improved.

"Since this is a letter to ASK Antonio, not TELL Antonio, I invite you to make any comments about other ways to play this hand."

Thanks,

--
-- Freeman (Ulbh on UB, Titan, etc.)
-- http://www.livejournal.com/users/ulbh_poker/
-- " ... remember that no matter what I say now, I might do just
-- the opposite if the situation calls for it." -- Doyle Brunson

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, March 30th, 2006
12:17 am
4x!
OK, this time I did it. I have quadrupled up the original comp'ed bankroll on Titan. If I divide by the amount I had at my low point, before I stopped playing their crapshoot SnGs, it's 5.3x.

That, plus I won the third of my four planned SnGs on UB, quadrupling up that little nub of a bankroll as well.

Overall, I'm at 3.7x my total deposits (there was bonus money in there as well as winnings) since September 2005.

I don't think I'm due for another slide, either. I know what my big leaks were during that period: playing too loose, playing too much, and playing just to pass the time. That, and staying in sour games when I should have been scouting out a better table.
Monday, March 27th, 2006
10:16 pm
Arithmetricks
I've often envied Matt Matros, Chris Ferguson, and other über-geek poker players for their apparent ability to do full-blown hand analysis on the fly, like, "Out of the range of hands I figured he'd raise with, I was only an underdog to the big pairs and AK, so 65% of the time I'm at least even money preflop ..."

I don't know to what extent they're passing off their post-game analysis as what they thought about at the table, but I figure they have to be loads better at it than I am, even so. I decided there must be some shortcuts, and voila! Here they are:

If you lay out the possible HE starting hands in a grid like Pokerstove does, with 13 columns and 13 rows each labelled A, K, …, 2, you get 169 (13x13) hand "types": the familiar AKs, AKo, JTs, etc. Just counting cells in this grid doesn't translate to probabilities, though, because there are only 4 ways to make AKs vs. 12 ways to make AKo, vs. 6 ways to make each pair. So, assuming you have assigned suited hands to the right side as usual, the upper right triangle cells count 4 each, diagonal cells 6, and the lower left triangle cells count 12.

If you want to know, for example, what percentage of all hands is represented by "any two cards T and up" (the Broadway hands), then you're looking at a 5x5 submatrix. This has 25 entries, of which 5 are on the diagonal, half of the rest (10) are suited, and the rest (10) unsuited. So the number of combinations is:

5 * 6 + 10 * 4 + 10 * 12 = 190.

The other way to compute this, not referring to the grid, is to calculate 20C2 = (20*19)/(2*1) = 190, because there are 20 cards in the A-T deck. This is simpler for the square submatrix case, but not for cases like "AA:TT, AKs:A9s, AKo:AJo, KQs:JTs, KJs" (106 combinations by quick count, close to 8%).

The total number of possible 2-card hands is 1326, which is not an easy divisor, mental-arithmetic-wise. A little fiddle with Algebra I and a calculator gives the following easy approximation:

R = a range of hands
C(R) = the sum of combinations of those hands, computed from the matrix as above
P(R) = probability of one player having a hand in R, expressed as a percent

P(R) ≈ C(R) * 3/4 * 1/10

For example, if you have JJ and want to know P(AA:QQ) close enough for government work:

AA:QQ is 3 pairs. 3*6 = 18. 18/4 = 9/2 = 4.5, and 3*4.5 = 13.5. 13.5/10 = 1.35%.

Doing it the long way, with a calculator:

18*100/1326 = 1.357466, so the error (-0.007) is -0.55%. Now, this error is linear, so the effect gets up to -0.1% for C(R) around 300, and about -0.5% for C(R) above 1200. No one that I know of makes or breaks a Hold'em decision based on ±0.5%, so we're OK (and against anyone who plays 1200/1326 hands, you don't need hand analysis).

So there ya go; if your mental arithmetic skills are more like Forrest Gump's than the Rain Man's, just get good at multiplying by 3/4. It beats dividing by 1326 while your opponent riffles his chips or the online clock runs down.

Who knows, those guys may have just spent so much time doing HA and calculating this and that about hand ranges that they have them all memorized.

The hypothetical example from the first paragraph was based on something like, "I see this guy raising in early position with about 10% of his hands. I have an AQ, so I'm behind to the pairs in his range plus AK suited or unsuited. That's five pairs for 30, one suited for 4, plus the unsuited for the other 12; 46 → 23 → 11.5 * 3 = 34.5, so about 3.5% out of 10% he's ahead, and I am OK the other 6.5%."

The flip side of that is that if the raiser is tighter than Action Dan Harrington, those hands that have you beat ARE his open-raising range from EP, so he's ahead of your AQ in 100% of the cases, and you can
save the mental arithmetic along with your chips.

["When I go out of here, this is not going to be my hand," said Doyle Brunson, folding AQ offsuit face up, in some tournament or another a few years ago. It was part of a con job, but it had the right grain of truth, too.]

This is part of an analysis I'm doing on statistical profiling: figuring out what hands your opponent plays based on how many he plays. I'll have more on that later.
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