The Beast

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.

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.
The Beast

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:

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.
The Beast

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

Hero raises to 4BB
Villain calls

Flop: 3s 5h 8d

Hero checks
Villain checks

Turn: Ah

Hero bets 6BB
Villain calls

River: Jc


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 :-)
The Beast

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.]
The Beast

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.

Collapse )

  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful
The Beast

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

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
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 Music
    Locomotion in my head

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.

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 excited