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All Together Now

The blogger gathering in Atlantic City is shaping up nicely. Much like how things went when I was hosting the DADI tournaments along with TripJax and GCox, I had a moment of fear that nobody would turn out. That, naturally, was followed by a later realization that everything has worked out once again, thanks in large part to some convenient timing and the undeniable pull poker has on us all.

As it now stands, I am heading out from NYC at 3pm on Friday March 9th with Roose as my chauffeur. He wanted to leave a bit earlier, but my commitment to my job doesn't allow this. I guess we can't all be Dawn.

When we arrive in AC at around 5:30pm, I am probably going to do one of two things: (1) Head over to Caesars to play Satellites, or (2) Sign up and play the 7pm $53+12 Tournament at Showboat. If I miss the 7pm tournament, I will have to seriously consider the 11pm game (same stakes). If anyone is interested in either, hit me up with a comment or email (see the tab at the top of the page), and I'll gladly share my cell phone number so we can meet up.

Of course, I am also hopefully going to hunt down a couple of fellow bloggers/players. Hoyazo won't be in until Saturday, so I won't be looking for him just yet. AlCantHang, however, will be in AC with Big Mike for a bachelor party, so while I am sure they will be...busy, I still hope to at least get some phone time with the legend himself and perhaps a couple of Socos. As I expect to also be jonesing for pokery action, its a good bet I can meet up with the I Had Outs girls, F-Train, and crew (Mary, Alceste and Rybka--incidentally, I don't know if I've met Rybka yet). Rumor has it, they are staying at the Fairfield. From what I've read, its a nice hotel a block or two from the Resorts (favorite room of Karol, if I'm not mistaken), but it fails the HoP test. It is neither a casino/hotel, nor is it on the Boardwalk. Still, a suite is a suite, and its also sweet that the crew will be down for the weekend. I wonder if anyone is playing in the WSOP Circuit event.

Speaking of the Circuit, after I hit the sack, I hope to wake up at around 10am on Saturday to head over to Caesars. If all is well, I will have been there the night before to sign up for the event. Otherwise, the day-of lines are usually atrocious, so I'll have to be up and out by 10, instead of up and ambling, with time for breakfast, a walk on the Boardwalk, and a little meditation before the event. The $300+40 event kicks off at noon, and hopefully, I'll still be in it at 2am or so when they break for day two. If not, I'll be back at Showboat for the $120 tournaments at 7 and 11pm.

Truth be told, I am almost thinking of skipping the WSOP Circuit event. Roose wants to play in it, and Hoy will definitely be in it, so I expect to at least stop by to railbird for a bit, but with so many people in town and only a weekend, I wonder if I'd have more fun and luck at Showboat's many tournaments. That and I wouldn't have to worry about going to sleep at a reasonable hour or waking up early for the game. It would be nice to remove all of that mental preparation, but as of now, the plan is to play the event. If I'm out early, so be it. If I'm not, well, then I have some chance at decent money (off the top of my head, I'd expect 1st to be more than $30k and probably $60k).

Sunday is a fun day. Assuming I went to sleep, I'm just about game for anything on Sunday. I have to speak to Roose, but my plan is to not rush home at all. If we leave by 5 pm, I'll be happy, which means a nice day of mas poker.

I might be forgetting someone(s), so if you think you can make it March 9-11, shoot me an email or comment. IHO peoples, let me know what you are thinking. Is there any game or place you particularly want to play? I'm game!

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 1:42 PM, ,

High on Pakistan

Picture it, Pakistan, 1991: I was a young boy of 12 when I first visited the capital city of Islamabad. It was March 26th, a day past Pakistan Day (essentially, Pakistan's Independence Day), when my family decided to leave the capital city and head south, to the coastal city of Karachi. Islamabad was an interesting place, but Karachi was the jewel in Pakistan's turben. Behind Mumbai, India, Karachi was the world's second most populated city. The other City of Lights, as it was known, was the perfect place for my family to sell its wears. My father, a tall, greyish, but burly man was seeking new work at one of the city's many cement plants. It was simple work, but my father was a simple man, and the fact that he spoke English and Pakistani meant that he could easily find work as a foreman in one of the more international companies.

We were riding south, camel-back, on our several-day trip from Islamabad to Karachi when we stopped at a small village, approximately 100 miles from our destination. We were tired and sore from the ride, and our camels, while sturdy and healthy, were stubborn and demanded a rest. My mother was happy to stop and see the sites in the small town of Hyderabad. The city is known as the City of Perfume, mostly because in years past, the city would wash its roads in perfume daily. It was also the city where most Pakistani bangles were made, a piece of jewelry for woman, not unlike a bracelet, save for the fact that bangles are not flexible.

My mother, always the shopping sort, took me on a jaunt, me my 11 years, eyes wide open at all of the new sights and sounds. We were in a crowded marketplace when I saw a small shop selling all sorts of candy. Being young in years and mind, I crept over to the store and grabbed a handful of mint fennel candy from one of the outdoor barrels. I stuffed some in my pocket and others in my mouth. I saw my mother, bangle shopping, a few storefronts away. I called to her as I tried to move in between the many shoppers out for their weekly provisions. But as I neared her, I felt an arm pick me up and sweep me off my feet. Another hand came over my mouth, and I was pulled into a small alley by a short man with thick arms.

"Quiet now or I kill." The man's broken English told me he was a local. His smell of piss and body order told me that he was probably one of the lower class of Pakistani, likely from the nearby Umrani tribe of Pakistan's impoverished Baluchistan province. "I saw you steal and you are coming with me."

He pulled me into a room, little larger than a walk-in closet in a small door by the alleyway. There, I found four other men seated around a small table. One man in particular looked different than the rest, cleaner, but not quite clean. I also noticed the contents of the table, notably, the pile of Rupee bank notes, the many colored clay discs and the deck of cards. I didn't know what was going on, and I had heard that other foreigners had been abducted before on the streets of Pakistan. It was also during the Islamic religious observance of Moharram, when hostilities seemed extra intense. But I had to think fast. I saw the players deal out 5 cards each, and then, to my amazement, after a round of betting, draw. I seized the opportunity.

"I want in," my 10-year-old voice squeaked. The men turned to me. One, the seeming leader, laughed. I guess he saw something in my eyes, because he moved his chair aside and told me to come join him. I stood next to his side and he lifted his cards, three of a kind, 3s. This, normally, would be a decent hand in a single draw 5-card game, and he bet with a flourish. The man to his left (my left, really) was a fat man with a stack of chips. He folded, though, and we turned our attention to the man across from us, the well-dressed man that seemed out of place with this group. He reached for his chips, hand shaking, and threw them into the pile, a substantial raise. The man on our right folded, and the Boss, or at least who I assumed was the Boss, started to reach for his chips. I gently put my 9-year-old hand over his cards. "Fold," I suggested. I saw that the clean guy had something he wanted called. But Boss didn't take my word. He called, and lost.

After that hand, Boss and I went on a tear. I guess he saw that I had some knack for the game, because he began to follow my, well, 'suggestions.' Soon, we had all of the chips on the table, and the cleaner man looked very upset. With my limited Pakistani, I had some trouble understanding what he was saying, but I could tell he needed the money for his family. He looked desperate. The Boss, the man I would hopefully win my freedom from, decided to up the stakes. "Your daughter" was all I understood, but once the cards were dealt, I think I understood all too well.

Boss was dealt two Queens, and four spades in total. Clean guy looked at his cards and placed one down, for his draw. At this point, Boss started to prepare to draw three, clearly under the belief that our opponent was drawing. "No," I gently suggested in my weak 8-year old voice, "He has three of a kind. He is making a play." I don't know what it was that spoke this to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I was watching the cleaner (but not quite clean) guy all too well, and I began to get a feeling for what he was up to. I think he was trying to bait us into making a bad play with a single pair. Boss looked at me quizzically. Perhaps it was the faith I had earned over the last hour of play, but I suppose it was as much the thought that he had all the money and little to lose. He drew one.

At showdown, the cleaner man laid out his hand...three Kings. We laid out ours, a Queen-high flush. After that, there was a flurry of activity. From what I understood, the "daughter" was only 1. Boss had no use for an infant, apparently, so he told the man to go, but expect to pay up later. To my surprise, when the clean guy left, Boss looked down at me and smiled. He tussled my hair and then said something foreign. My abductor openned the door. Boss said in English, no less, "Good job, boy. Go." I didn't take a moment. I was out the door in a flash.

My mother and father found me five minutes later, a scared 7-year-old in a different and exciting place. I told them of my adventure, and they seemed relieved as they laughed. I guess it just sounded like the kind of hyperbolic story only a 6-year-old could make up, but it was all true. They were glad I was safe and we resumed our trip to Karashi.

I haven't thought about that day a lot. Sure, on a random night, when I'm lying in bed, the thought of what could have happened will play through in my mind, but as time passes, it all just washes away. But I guess while the story ended for me, it didn't end for everyone else. For it has come full circle, and as I perused the news this morning, my memories came flooding back.
For the epilogue of this story, ENJOY!

posted by Jordan @ 9:43 AM, ,

Hammer Play

For all you people who enjoy a little hammer play:

I was playing a .15/.30 deepstack table on FullTilt with an assortment of bloggers and had an interesting hand with the hammer. Now, I play the hammer whenever I get it, blogger game or not (barring, of course, situations where action has made it clear that the hammer cannot be played).

Some people believe that suited hammers are actually not hammers at all. Those people are what we call pussies. Eh, more accurately, they are just conservative. For my money, I'll play the suited hammer, mostly because it is just a wider range of hands (72o and 72s) to randomize bluffs. If you want some more information on why the hammer is actually a good hand to play, check out THIS POST, inspired by the recently hibernating Anonymous King.

Club Hammer was open for business as soon as I saw the 72c dealt to me UTG+1 at the full ring table. I decided to raise it to 3x the BB, or .90 total. I was immediately raised to $3 total by the man on my left, Drizz. It folded around to me, and normally, I'd fold here, but since I was surrounded by fellow bloggers and I'd get paid well if I hit, I flat called.

The flop was 9c 5c Jd. Alright! Club Hammer is open 9 to 5. I now have my flush draw and a couple of potential runner-runner straights out there. Also, unless he has 99, JJ or AJ, I can't imagine that the board helped him. I hope that he has AK or something, but I have to be cautious. I puss out and check. He bets $4 into the $6+ pot, and I decide, mostly because of the flush draw, to call. Looking back, this was stupid. If I hit my flush, I'm not getting paid off, most likely, so there are little implied odds. The only saving grace is my loose image and the potential to let Drizz bet my flush for me, if it comes.

The turn is a 7h, and I actually have a pair, albeit third-pair. I check, hoping that Drizz will slow down, and he complies by checking after me.

The river is a Js. I'm thinking about betting, but in the end, Drizz seems likely to call, even with a mediocre hand like A9, since that second J probably would lead him to believe that I don't have top pair. And then this happens:

Drizztdj: hammer good?
Drizztdj checks

*** SHOW DOWN ***

Drizztdj shows [7s 2d] (two pair, Jacks and Sevens)
HighOnPoker shows [7c 2c] (two pair, Jacks and Sevens)
HighOnPoker ties for the pot ($6.90) with two pair, Jacks and Sevens
Drizztdj ties for the pot ($6.85) with two pair, Jacks and Sevens


posted by Jordan @ 10:33 PM, ,

I'm Dead Money

Poker Sites

posted by Jordan @ 4:35 PM, ,

Question for the Masses

In the last month, I've received at least three emails from strangers asking about poker in NYC. I admit, I told the first two about Salami, but now I'm starting to reconsider. Is there a reason not to tell? The only two I could think of is putting the clubs at risk of being busted, and attaching myself to the clubs if they do get busted via my tips. But realistically, these clubs are more likely to get busted because of other reasons. Hell, one of the clubs is listed if you search for it on Yahoo, provided you know the right information.

On the other hand, what's the benefit to me? Really, there isn't one. I like helping people out, but that might not be reason enough.

So, leave me a comment, because I don't know what the right move is.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:18 PM, ,

Friday Ramble

"That's just not something I'm all that comfortable doing, besides, I am not sure if I'm a winning player online against tough competitors. I have lots of trouble focusing online and reading players."
-Daniel Negreanu in his post 'A Poker Story from the 'Old Days'".

Thank god I'm not the only one.

So, online poker has been tempting me more and more lately. Reading about the many blogger tournaments gets me chomping at the bit, but a healthy diet of television has kept me away. As much as I would like to play in some of the tournaments, I can't help but want to watch Heroes (Modays against the MATH), Lost (Wednesdays against the Mookie) and Survivor (Thursdays against CC and the Riverchaser events) as soon as I can. Truth be told, I'm a junky for Heroes and Lost, but I can skip Survivor, if not for my desire to enjoy some time for wifey Kim. Thank god I can just fall back on the thought that, although I want to play online poker, it just isn't good for me.

Meanwhile, I've played no live poker this week. I am, however, playing in an upcoming montly IHO tournament, which I'm ecstatic about. I need to keep my live game diet strong, because it is the primary way to keep me away from the evil pull of online poker. This weekend doesn't look to be very poker-busy though. Hell, maybe this will get me to finally give in and play this Sunday's WPBT event.

I started to write a post about how I've always had a life table image, but I couldn't get it to gel. It seemed too navel-gazing to me. The gist of it is that I have always downplayed myself by dressing and portraying myself as less intelligent than I actually am. How do you say that without sounding like a tool? I don't know, which is evident by the way I explained it here. So goes the perils of blogging.

I do have this thought for you all. Is it possible that the best poker player in the world is playing micro limits? What I mean is, if there was some test to determine one's poker abilities, would the size of a player's stakes matter in assessing their skills? Of course, the competition is going to be weaker at the lower levels, but let's just hypothetically say that this low-stakes player, when matched up against higher-stakes players (let's say in an SNG, perhaps), has the necessary skills to beat them. Then, does the stakes that one usually play at matter?

Yeah, tricky idea in there somewhere. I'll answer it as best I can, relying heavily on my own opinions and nothing even resembling objective reasoning (or is it subjective? whatever). The stakes a player plays is a component of how good of a poker player they are. If two players are of exactly equal skill, the player who plays higher stakes should be given more credit in general, because cajones and bankroll are elements of a player's overall ability.

Man, this is too much random pontification, even for me.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 4:23 PM, ,

Everything in its Place

It looks like everything regarding Atlantic City in March is falling into place, much like a good game of Tetris. Before I give some more details, let me just briefly touch on some of the comments to my "Dear Whiny Poker Player" post.

The number one comment I feel I ought to respond to was made by Hoyazo, one of the players confirmed for the WSOP Circuit Event #6 at Caesars on March 10th. Hoyazo stated in a very tongue and cheek way (i.e., no hard feelings either way, I'm sure) that it is the antithesis of blogging to tell other people what they should and should not blog about. Well, by way of response, let me dodge that concept all together and explain myself. My post was not, "Dear Whiny Poker Blogger." I understand that blogging is a very personal thing, and there are times, as stated by Patch, when it is actually useful to talk out one's poker pitfalls and frustrations, in a blog setting or otherwise. Plus, every blogger has the personally exerted pressure to post frequently, and when your mind is in the poker duldrums, of course that will be the source material from which you work.

What I am talking about is something much broader than blogs or blogging. It's the basic idea that harping on the negatives of the game will do nothing but hurt you. It won't hurt me. While you are licking your wounds, I'm going to be shooting new ones and taking advantage of your gunshy state. It would behoove me to actually encourage my opponent to get upset over bad beats and such. Hell, I did it to mini-Matusow on Monday at Salami. But I try to offer advice that I have found useful, and a cornerstone to my philosophy is that in order to succeed you must be confident. It is hard, if not impossible, to be confident if you personalize the pitfalls of poker, bad beats, bad players rewarded for their bad decisions, etc. Accepting these pitfalls is, in my estimation, a necessary element to maximizing any players' potential.

I also believe that some people are just not cut out for acceptance of poker's pitfalls. These people really should stop playing, especially if they are a losing player. Of course, it just benefits my wallet if they don't take that advice.

So, long story short, the post was not about Whiny Blogging. It was about Whiny Poker Players who think that the pitfalls of poker are particularly aimed at them, and feel that they "cannot win." If you cannot win, then quit. I stick by my story.

Okay, so enough longwinded philosophy. Let's move onto something infinitely more exciting. Some quick background. I love Atlantic City. I know there are a boat load of poker players and bloggers in the North East. So, I suggested that if anyone was interested, they should join me down to AC for the weekend of March 9-11, when the AC Caesar's is hosting a WSOP Circuit event. I had been to one event before at Harrah's in December 2006. I played a $300+40 event, with a backer covering me halfway, but went out after the dinner break. I had such a great time, I was determined to play another. The March Circuit events at Caesar's seemed like my best bet.

The WSOP Circuit schedule posted on the WSOP website, unfortunately, listed the Saturday March 10th event as a $1000 buy-in. I don't know about you, but that's too high for me, but I decided that, hell, let's still go and we'll just play another one of AC's many tournaments. Hoyazo brought to my attention the fact that Caesar's website had the event listed as a $300+40 event, and I did my best to get to the bottom of it. In the end, I got the number to a WSOP Circuit hotline set up at Caesar's which confirmed the $300 buy-in.

Now what? Well, I'm definitely going to play in the event, as is Hoyazo, who will be making a day trip to AC. I just heard word that we also have another blogger and company in AC on the same weekend thanks to a bachelor party. Those would be AlCantHang and BigMike, so if you like to drink, I'm sure someone will be around to join you. Guin is still a posibility and will be looking into the trip last minute. Katitude is in NY around that time, and I'm hoping she can make the trip down to AC too. My partner in crime, Roose, will be joining me. Bone Daddy is also a potential participant. So, all in all, things are coming together, and no matter what you can join me for some poker, grilled cheese, rum and cokes and more poker that weekend if you are interested in heading down for the trip.

I should probably offer some other local poker news. As it turns out, the Mohawk Indians have gotten the thumbs up to build an off-reservation casino in the Catskills, NY, about 75 miles from NYC (compared to 125 miles between NYC and AC). No word yet on whether the casino will have a poker room, but frankly, I'm not hopeful, since I am sure that space will be an issue (slots make more money per square foot than poker) and competition will not.

Also, the powers that be are really screwing the pooch on the much anticipated Express Train service to run between NYC and AC. The trains are expected to run on weekends only (okay), are expected to start in early 2008 (...okay), and will cost between $76 and $112 each way (WHAT?). Yes, folks, you too can go to AC by way of rail as long as you are willing to spend more money than it costs to just rent a freaking car from NYC. Wifey Kim and I went overnight and paid maybe $90 or so including gas for the car...and we weren't beholden to some very limited train schedule (only 3 trains back to NYC on Sunday?). Good job casinos and transit authorities! You've turned a great idea into a clunker!

That's it for today. Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:05 PM, ,

Dear Whiny Poker Player

It's time for my quarterly reminder.

Dear Whiny Poker Player,

I apologize if I am retreading over something I may have written to you about before, but I feel that it is imperative that we clear the air. Your whininess is a nuisance, and you are not winning over anyone with it. I will set forth the sole solution to all of your problems in one sentence, and then, after reading that sentence, you can skip the rest of the letter, if you like. I may go on, though and offer some further insight, but the point of this post is to offer the solution to all of your problems.

If you follow my one simple sentence, you will never again have anything to whine about (regarding poker, although I am sure you will find something else). You will never again suffer the indignity of having your 80% favorite hand all-in preflop lose by the river, sometimes even twice in a row. You will never again suffer the torture of your bluff being called by a donkey with an aweful hand like middle pair. You will never again suffer a string of soul crushing second-best hands, or worse, become card dead entirely. Above all else, you will no longer be subject to the terrible machinations of the poker gods or the blind but vicious luck of the poker illiterate. You will finally be free of the albatross that hangs around your neck, and you will never again have to tell someone of that horrible suckout or that terrible luck. Here it is, your one sentence moment-of-clarity that will allow you to be free of the shackles that bind you:

Stop playing poker.

That's it! Amazing, isn't it. The truth is, those horrible things that you suffer are not only a possibility in the game of poker, they are an utmost certainty! You will lose with your 80% ahead hand. You will have donkeys make "bad" plays against you and then get rewarded while you are left with an aching junk. You will hit strings of bad luck. That is, these things will happen, but ONLY if you play poker.

Let's face it, you just aren't cut out for poker. If you were, you'd be over these things by now. You would have realized that there is an undeniable element of luck in the game, and you would have accepted it, the way the trees accept that winter is coming and shed their leaves. Poker is, in many ways, a force of nature, something that is as controllable by you as rain. You cannot control poker. But you also can avoid letting poker control you. You can accept the rain and prepare by creating an umbrella for yourself. That metaphorical umbrella could be a deep bankroll or the knowledge that, over the long hall, there will be many sunny days too. You must be ready for these sunny days as well, so you can enjoy them and reap as much benefit as you can when they come. Or, you can expect every day to be sunny and squander the sunshine, only to recapitulate when it is rainy and damn the weather for not providing enless levity.

So, just quit. You are too shortsighted for this game. You don't have the temperment for the game, and even if you have some skill when its sunny, there will be many rainy days ahead, and the rest of us, with our umbrellas, don't really care to hear about how you keep getting wet. We are wet too, but we keep it in perspective and do our best to cover our heads (and asses) when the rainy season comes.

Quit, my friend, because if this game is really all about luck, then you could better spend your time playing the lottery, or you can lose money faster by playing high stakes slots. Granted, you'll likely complain when you bust out of the slots too, but at least the only person there to hear it will be the slot machine itself and the old lady two seats over with her hearing aid turned down to 1.

If, however, you do not think that you can quit the game, I offer you two other suggestions: (1) Contact GamAnon, because you, sir, have a gambling problem. You must have a gambling problem if you sincerely believe that the game is against you and yet you cannot stop yourself from playing. The other option is (2) Get a new perspective. Clearly, the one you have is not working, and the only way to survive this game with a modicum of sanity is to accept that not every day will be sunny.


High on Poker

posted by Jordan @ 12:20 PM, ,

The Money Tree

Money doesn't grow on trees, but it does grow on Salami. I returned to my underground pokerroom of choice last night, due in large part to the bad taste left in my mouth from recent losses and the convenient fact that wifey Kim was visiting a friend's new apartment uptown. I battled with myself over whether to wear the usual Superman shirt (Green $ shirt), but ultimately recalled what one of the players said at the weekend homegame about my loss: "You don't have your shirt." I may not be one for superstitions, but I am one for hedging my bets.

When I arrived at the club (satiated by a peanutbutter and Nutella sandwich at Peanut Butter & Company), the place was dead quiet. I was a bit concerned that the mass of police and fireman activity outside of the building chased away my competition, but I decided to wait until 7:45 to see if the tournament was going to kick off. As I waited, I chatted lightly with one of the dealers, and then listened to Ron & Fez on my walkman. I also caught a bit of the King of Queens on one of the plaza tvs, and surprisingly, that show which has always been at the periphery of my tv view wasn't too bad.

By 7:45, there were maybe 5-6 players mulling around. I decided to wait until 8 before I left. By 7:55, "Chummy" (I think that's what I heard someone call him) decided to start the tournament, and we got started with 8 players.

As usual, Salami was running it as a re-register tournament, akin to a rebuy, but the rebuyer has to pay the fee as well (i.e., $50+10). It seemed early on that players were going to rely heavily on the re-register format. One guy on my immediate right looked like a thinner Matusow and acted like one too. It was kind of surprising, as, by appearance, I would have pegged him as a conservative player, but he made some crazy all-ins, seemingly out of desperation, and cursed the gods when the best hand (best by a margin of perhaps 3%) did not hold up. He noticeably did not complain when I re-raised him all-in from the SB with A5o and he called and won with Q8o. Granted, my play was shakey, but I knew that he was ready to call with any two, and his failure to push preflop told me that he did not have me beat. I also was having a little bit of fun mocking him with a big smile, the kind of mocking that puts a player like him on instant tilt but allows me the plausible deniability that I was just joking around and being friendly. I wasn't planning on tilting anyone, but he was doing such a good job on himself, I had to encourage his behavior.

At that point, I had actually chipped up a bit. In one hand, in EP/MP, I limped with A7h. This was not a particularly smart move, given the aggression of the table. By the time it got to the blinds, a player who looked like Turtle from Entourage raised it from 50 to 250. Mini-Matusow called and I decided to join them for the ride, as did a player on my left. The flop was 7 high, so I bet 600 when it checked to me and everyone folded. For some reason, I was getting a lot of respect at the table, and proceeded to win every hand I played (excluding A5 v. Q8) for the first hour at least.

To a large extent, my win was based on timing, reads and my ability to adjust to the table conditions. I was able to capitalize greatly on the table's aggressive nature. A ninth player registered for the tournament late. Although I do not know his name, I had played with him before, and he epitomizes the Salami player. He is an older (50s? 60s?) tall white man with slavic features and frost-white hair. He has a noticeable Eastern European accent and seems to hate money. He is a gambler, plain and simple, and busting him is only a matter of timing.

In one hand, I decided to limp in EP/MP with 67s and blinds of 75/150, not long after the re-register period ended. A player to my immediate left limped as well, although this put him all-in. It folded around to the Slav and he raised 300 on top. Turtle (another loose one) called, and I called as well. The flop was a beautiful 367, rainbow. The Slav checked in the SB. Turle checked in the BB. I could have just checked it down, which I had been doing in similar situations, but I decided to make an overbet (considering the situation) of 1000. The Slav now wakes up, as he is wont to do, and decides to push all-in for a measely 350 more. I have to call. He tables 58o, for an open-ended straight draw. I have my two pair. The all-in player has J9o. The turn is another 3, and the river is a J. The all-in player quadrupled up, but I won the larger side pot, knocking out the overaggressive Slav.

I took out another player too, a bit earlier in the game. I was in one of the blinds with A8o. One player pushes, from 100 to I think 400 or so, and two players called in MP/LP, including Turtle. I called in the BB and saw an Ace-high uncoordinated flop. With top-pair, I decided to check. All of the other players followed suit. On the next card, a Queen came out. I checked, as did one other player, but Turtle decided to bet 400. I decided to call. The river was a blank and we both checked. He showed a Queen (or less!). I showed my Ace and took down the pot. What a tool, betting into a dry side-pot. It's a good thing I was confident that he did not have an Ace. If he had it, there was no doubt he was betting the flop (as opposed to the turn).

I guess lesson was learned because I took out another short stack after checking it down the whole way with two other players in the hand. I held 73o and it took until the river for me to hit my inside straight draw. Since there was no betting, it was an easy freeroll and helped build my stack.

While all of this was going on, I just stacked my chips and remained relaxed. I had my iPod on, playing random tunes from Nirvana to the Miles Davis to random euro trance. I had my sunglasses on after the first orbit and my hat pulled down. I wasn't putting up an image; this is just how I am at the table. Take a look at any of the IHO pics with me in it and you'll see what I mean. Interestingly, however, there was no one else at the table with sunglasses on. This immediately casts me in the role of the over-dressed poker player, but I don't mind that look, especially at Salami. It's great to look like the goofy kid in the Superman shirt when you want to get action, but that was not going to be an issue at Salami. My whole goal was to be able to read my players and behind the sunglasses, I had an extra aire of proficiency and power...or at least that's how my opponents acted.

I took one hand in particular to try out some reading skills. I decided on that particular hand to just look at the players' lips. When a player pushes his lips out, like he is puckering for a kiss, he is confident. When his lips tighten up and thin out or disappear, he is not confident. Take a second and try it out yourself. Pout your lips and then pull them in. The difference is noticeable when you are concentrating, but a lot of players ignore their lips when they are trying to hold in tells. They are more concerned with their eyes or their hands. This is not always the case, but from one hand, I could just about predict that the player whose mouth widened was only checking to get in the check-raise. I was not 100% sure, until he did it and then showed his made straight. I noticed another player slightly frown (it is a micro movement) when the flop came. He then proceeded to fold.

While I was watching for tells, I noticed that Chummy, a broad, tatooed employee of the room (seemingly a manager of sorts) in his mid-20s and, allegedly, a law student (although I imagine having all of those tatoos from your neck to your hands will hinder employment), had a very noticeable tell. He shuffled his cards, something that I have discussed more than once here. If a player takes his cards and shuffles them/scissors them, one on top of the other back and forth, they hate their cards. Subconsciously, by "shuffling" them, they hope that the cards will change.
I have said here that I don't mind showing cards, if it can help me control my table image. Chummy, however, showed the perfect reason why he should not show. Chummy had been re-raising big on a couple of occassions, specifically against a loose player in his 40s with uncharacteristic Tom-Hanks-in-The-DaVinci-Code hair. I had a good feeling he was bluff-raising, a fairly intelligent move in his position. In one particular hand, he check-raised all-in. DaVinci groaned and folded, and then Chummy showed his useless open-ended straight draw (with only one card to go). DaVinci showed his middle pair first, so this may have been the impetus, but by showing, Chummy basically confirmed my read.

Notably, I had a read on DaVinci, too, based on the size of his bets. He was very aggressive, seemingly stealing blinds from the first level, not a bad move in this game where you start with 2k chips and blinds are 100/200 within an hour. His bets were often large, until he min-raised. He later showed AA in that hand. So, DaVinci, if you are betting small, I'm folding. If you are betting big, I'm re-raising you. Thanks!

I made a few bad plays. I raised from 150 to 450 with AJo. A tight Asian player two seats to my left called, as did a loose player who I had played with before, who I will refer to by his Grey snow hat. GreyHat was definitely a loose player, but seemed to have more control over his looseness compared to DaVinci and the Slav. He also wore his hat semi-rolled up, so that one ear was partially covered. I noticed this because this is something I do, too. In fact, I had my black Kangol cap covering one ear at that very moment, a sign that both he and I were a bit unorthodox in style and likely, play. One thing was for certain, he was dangerous, and I was fairly confident that he would go after orphaned pots whenever he could. Preflop, he calls, and the three of us see at KQx flop. I check, as does the Asian, and GreyHat bets 1000. I had probably 6-7k at this point, and decided to call, even though I have very little here. I don't know why I called, either. Part of it was because of who bet. Part of it was the though that if a Ten came, I was golden, and if an Ace came, I would probably still be good. In the end, I also thought that I was already ahead of GreyHat. What I didn't expect was when the Asian raised all-in for 750 more. GreyHat folded, surprisingly, but since I was fairly deep, I made the call. He showed KK, a masterful slowplay that worked, mostly because he checked and let the looser GreyHat bet for him. Unfortunately, the river was a Ten, making my straight and sending the slowplaying Asian to the rail. That was my one suckout.

A while later, I lured DaVinci into a trap. I had AA and Chummy and I had probably 12k or more, each, compared to DaVinci and GreyHat, the two other remaining players, who had 3.5k and 6.5k or so (34k in chips, total, after there were 17 buy-ins/re-registers). GreyHat, on my immediate left, folded, as did Chummy. DaVinci was now on his cell phone for the seeminly the 24th time since the tournament started. He was trying to get off of the phone to concentrate, and he absent-mindedly threw in 1200, raising the 200/400 blinds. I thought for a moment, but not too long, since I wanted to act while he was still distracted. He didn't have much more chips, so I wanted him to get all-in and he'd do it too, since all he was thinking about while on the phone was his cards, which were apparently good enough for an absent-minded raise. I raised 1000 on top and he pushed all-in within seconds. I called and flipped my cards face up. He showed A9h. He hit his first 9 on the turn, and the second on the river. That was the one time I was sucked out on.

I took a monster lead when Chummy started to get impatient. He was working that night, but was able to play to help fill the table. There were two other dealers, Marie, a black-haired genial women in her 50s who always seems to bring me luck at the table, and Mookie, a punk kid. The room was very dead, so I guess it wasn't a big deal to Chummy when Mookie decided to go home, claiming to feel sick. Ricardo, who apparently was higher up on the food chain, came by later and was watching over the place, but Ricardo does not deal. As a result, late in the tournament, we had the only two dealers at our table, Marie and Chummy. Chummy had to go to deal the cash game that was waiting for him, and when I raised in EP with AQc, he pushed all-in. We had almost even stacks, and I thought for a moment before calling. He had been pushing a lot with crap, from what I saw, and he was clearly in a rush. My AQc held up against his KJo, and I was a monster stack. I tightened up, but Chummy doubled through DaVinci (77 v. Ax). On the very next hand, I had A8 and Chummy pushed again. I assumed he was in a rush to lose, so I called. He had KK and tripled up when DaVinci also called with AQ. Suddenly, Chummy and I were even again. Oh well.

We eventually ended up with three players, me with about 14.5k, GreyHat with 5k and Chummy with 15k. GreyHat wanted to work on a save for third place, but that was against my policy. Simply put, I will not agree to a save for third place (or fourth, or whatever) unless there is a good chance that I am going out in that place. If we were all even, I might agree, but here, I felt confident that I could wait out GreyHat. I will, however, agree to a chop, as long as it is final. At first, I offered GreyHat his save, $60, and then offered to split the rest with Chummy. GreyHat balked, and he was right to, since he could still win $600 for first place (second was $250) if he got lucky. I then suggested $100 for him, and $375 for Chummy and me, since Chummy was in a rush and I was willing to lock in a nice win. GreyHat still hesitated and said, "Let's play it out." I finally came up with a last offer, $150 for GreyHat, and $350 for Chummy and me. GreyHat took his time and I told him that if I were in his shoes I'd take it, but otherwise, it is up to him. I also told him that if he didn't take it, I'd make sure we played it out, not to strongarm him, but just to let him know what his options were. He relented and took the payout and I won $350 for my troubles. I gave $20 to Marie for a tip and then headed out into the cold air.

It was then that I realized that I did not have my cell phone on me. I panicked before realizing that I hadn't made a call or checked my phone since leaving the apartment. I then sat back in the cab and thought of all the people I wanted to call to tell them of my win. Yes, I'm a braggart that way, but I like to share my joy.

For those counting, that's 5 wins out of 7 tournaments this year, with the two losers taking place at home games for $25 or less, and the wins taking place in underground card rooms and home games in games $30 and more. You know, for those keeping track.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:55 AM, ,

WSOP, Here We Come

Hey bitches and bitchettes. I've been taking care of some housecleaning over at HoP, most notably, the new You Decide and Trip Report Indexes, for your pleasure. I've also had a decent run online after losing $175 at that Saturday home game. The losses were due, largely, to one tough hand that I should have laid down (middle set vs. top set in PLO8) and another hand that I had no business playing (Hammer v. KK). I can't help but blame myself when I lose, but Matty Ebs seems to think that it was at least partially due to some tough hands. I have no control over certain things, but clearly I messed up in the hammer hand, and I still think that I should have been able to fold middle set in PLO8, but I'll chalk it up to a learning experience.

I decided to futz around online and placed 2nd in a FT Deep Stack 90 person tournament. The next day (i.e., today), I won a 18 person tournament. I then proceeded to lose $130 on Razz. Stupid Razz. Stupid Jordan.

Que sera, folks. I may make my way over to Salami for the 7:30, but part of me wants to be here on the couch when Heroes starts up tonight.

On that note, let's discuss Atlantic City for that March 11th weekend. I had some nervousness about gathering some of the troops, but everything is falling into place.

The first bit of awesome news: The Saturday event is not $1000 as listed on the WSOP site, but actually $300+40 as listed on Caesar's site. So, it looks like I'll be buying my way in directly, and if anyone wants to buy any little bit of my action, I'm offering it. I'll take as little as $17 for a 5% stake (i.e., even money), but don't feel obliged. In the last WSOP Circuit event I played, I had someone staking me 50%, but I have enough money behind me and enough faith in my game to pay my way in this time.

Other great news, Hoyazo will be playing in that event. He'll be coming in for the day, only. The game starts at noon, but I recommend that anyone showing up that day be there as early as possible. If you aren't there by 11, you may end up an alternate, and frankly, to be safe, I'd try to arrive 2 hours in advance, since you have to get a Harrahs card (if you don't have one), then wait in a second line to buy-in. In fact, last time, they made everyone wait in the card line, I guess to make it first-come, first-served. Shitty set up, but I'm hoping they ironed it out.

I'll be there the night before, where I hope to play a Satellite for the event. I also plan on buyin in the night before to avoid the lines.

I'm not sure who else will be there, but Bone Daddy has contacted me and Roose is definitely in. That's all I have for you today.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:00 PM, ,

"You Decide" Index

fffWelcome to my "You Decide" Index, where you can peruse my many "You Decide" posts. In each post, I present a hand that I played and ask your opinion. Feel free to be honest and brutal. I can take it. I get emails whenever you comment, so feel free to leave a comment on an old post because I'll get it. On that note, read the comments because a lot of the hand discussion between me, the readers and some fellow bloggers (most of whom are well versed in poker analysis) offer more insight than the hand narratives alone. I will update this page as needed.

posted by Jordan @ 4:11 PM,

Trip Report Index

If you are a new reader of High on Poker or you've read the site since the beginning, you have probably come across one of my many trip reports. For the most part, the trips are to Atlantic City, a mere 2 hours from my apartment in New York City. However, I also visited Las Vegas, Seattle, and Philadelphia, ostensibly for other reasons, but ultimately because of poker. Since the trip reports seem to be a perennial favorite at HoP, I've compiled a list of links to my various trip reports, organized by date. I will do my best to update this list as needed. Enjoy!

posted by Jordan @ 8:37 PM,

Fueled Up

I moneyed in CC's Thursday Bash last night...and I didn't even play.

The night started off at 9:40 when wifey Kim fell asleep while watching a DVR'ed episode of Top Design. We are fools for reality tv contests and this one is decent enough. I like watching the social interaction and the voyeuristic elements of the shows, very similar to the reason why I enjoy some blogs, but once she dozed off, I pulled out the laptop to play some online poker.

Meanwhile, the siamese cat we are cat sitting for my buddy Jefe sulked around the apartment. How do I always end up watching cats?!

I played a quick 18 person SNG on Full Tilt for a $26 Token along with GCox. I busted pushing with a flush draw and two overs, but I should have never been in that hand in the first place. I toyed with the idea of playing another SNG, but I decided, correctly, that I wasn't playing well, part of being rusty and part of being overanxious to play. I decided to drop in on CC's tournament, since GCox was still in it and I wanted to see the other players.

On that note, if you are a blogger and want to get your name out more, there is no better way to do that then to play in blogger tournaments. Not only will you get to compete against some fellow bloggers, but its largely a very open and friendly group, and newbies, like DaFoundation last night, are generally welcomed, albeit with a bit of ball-busting.

I said hi to one table with CC, Katitude, Peaker and Chipper (I believe that the Poker Dwarf was him) and offered some words of encouragement to Peak. He, in turn, told me to stop playing online poker. Good advice.

I then went over to the other table in the tournament, when I saw this text in the room's chat box:

23skidoo: I bet that Fuel doesn't even make it to the money. Any takers?

At the time, Fuel was the chip leader with over 4500 in chips. Second place had 3600 at most, but beyond that, Fuel was way ahead of the rest of the pack. There were only 11 or 10 players left and I have a lot of respect for Fuel's game, mostly because he has the mind for the game, not to mention the attention span, something I woefully lack, online.

All that said, I wasn't going to take Skidoo up on his offer, because Fuel was sitting out. Now, I don't know what I missed, but I figured that Fuel probably knocked out Skidoo, took a big chip lead, and then, for whatever reason, timed out. Now, I like me some gamble, so I was considering Skidoo's offer when I see that Fuel had returned. Had he not returned, I couldn't take the deal. He had a nice lead, but anyone worth their weight in poop would've stole his blinds once the bubble came if he was still sitting out.

Now that he was back, I wondered if Skidoo would still honor the offer, but I jumped on it nonetheless:

HighOnPokr: I'll take that action, Skid.
23skidoo: $20?
HighOnPokr: $10

And it was done. $10. I then proceeded to watch the rest of the tournament, something I rarely do if I'm not still in the game.

Fuel's play impressed me. He set farms like a mofo, and its something I'll consider doing in the future. As a result, he felted someone when he made a set of 2s against pocket Kings, and someone else when he hit a set of 6s against pocket Tens. He was aggressive, but overall kept a level head and a strong amount of chips.

Four-handed, it was Fuel, GCox, CC, and one other player who now slips my mind (sorry, but my eye was on my action on Fuel and my good pal G). It looked like G would bubble, but amazingly, he made a valiant comeback from a short stack. Fuel took a beat and dropped to the short stack, but fought his way back. In the end, it was the forgotten player that busted and I did myself a happy dance. Skidoo paid up and I made $10 at CC's Thursday Bash without even buying in. Fuel also repeated by taking 1st, two weeks in a row. Congrats to G as well, who happened to money in 4 token tournaments along with his CC cash.

And that was basically it. I turned off the comp once the bubble burst and I made my money, and watched some tv before hitting the hay. I got a bit of a poker fix, but more importantly, I got to reconnect with some of the guys I hadn't chatted with in a while.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:03 PM, ,

Ramblin' Man

Because I am miserable at work (nothing new, but this time due to a weird combination of being overwhelmed with work followed by an immediate dearth of work -- er, dearth of work that I want to do?), you are going to be subject to one of my rambling posts. Let's get to it with the first subject off of the top of my head.

Live poker is my bread and butter. I am 5 for 5 (wins and/or chops for 1st place) in live tournaments this year (and yet, 0 for 2 in live casino cash games), so I'm obviously anxious to play some more. The next stop on the HighOnPoker live tour is in New Jersey to play with some friends, including Matty Ebs. I'm not sure how public the game is, so I don't want to out some of the other participants, but it should be interesting, as there will be some good players, some of which seem to think that I am, shall we say, overly loose.

I don't know how I feel about have a reputation. On one hand, as long as I know what people think about me, I can exploit it. If I didn't know what they thought (or didn't know what my table image was), then I'd definitely be at a disadvantage (compared to the knowing me), so at least there is that. Do I wish that people thought I was a great player? It would be nice to recieve some recognition. But realistically speaking, whether I am a great player or not is not for someone else to decide, and quite frankly whatever skill I have is not on display at my lower stakes to earn the respect of some of my contemporaries. I guess it all goes back to my competing neuroses: My addictive personality is kept in check by my anal retentiveness. Stated otherwise, I play a shit load and think about the game constantly, but I only play with money I can afford to lose.

New topic, bankroll. My live bankroll started after I won some money playing and decided not to just spend it. Instead, I tossed it in an old velcro wallet that I never used, free from Structure, now known as Express for Men. Over time, I have let it slowly build, but if there was no cash in the house and I had a delivery coming, or if there was a special occassion, or if I wanted to buy something that I did not think should come out of wifey Kim and my "real" money, I'd dip into the poker wallet. I know it is bad for discipline and bankroll building, but if I can't use my poker winnings to make my and, more importantly, wifey Kim's lives more comfortable, then what is the point? After my big win at Salami last Friday, I finally broke the $2000 mark in the roll. I then proceeded to promise wifey Kim a shopping spree for Valentine's Day, all of which would come from poker funds. When she hit $330, I started to envision a bill higher than $500, dropping me below $1500. I have to admit, I internally panicked, but after the $330, she didn't find anything else particularly worthwhile and I arranged for the $330 to come directly from this month's spending money (wifey Kim and I both get general spending money aside from our savings). So, I might be eating free crackers from the bistro downstairs by the end of next week, but my roll is still close to $2000. And yes, I have bankroll envy.

Speaking of shopping, I left something out of the Un-AC Trip Report. After I played poker and checked out with wifey Kim, we went of the aforementioned shopping spree. Atlantic City added gambling and casinos to recapture some of the coastal city's heyday, but in the long run, all they got was a decent strip of hotels, gamblers, and inner-city suffering. Outside of the boardwalk and hotels, the city has always been a bit of a slum, but it looks like AC is finally changing for the better.

Last year, a new crop of stores were built a few blocks from the Boardwalk. The outdoor outlet mall, as it now exists, has a slew of new stores in some great modern buildings. Aside from this, Tropicana has extended their hotel to include the New York-esque The Quarter (okay, it is supposed to feel Cuban, but the stores are largely NY staples), and Caesars has bought and renovated a mall on the Boardwalk. All this means that AC has more to offer than just gambling, and while the gambling (and really, poker) is all that I care about, it's still nice to see that AC is building itself up in a positive way. It's kinda like that fuck buddy from college. All you care is that she keeps putting out, but if she happens to get a great GPA in a semester, you still feel glad for long as she keeps putting out.

Speaking of AC (new topic), the Gathering is really chafing me. It has turned into exactly what I didn't want. There were more than a few people interested early on, and I suppose that I am probably making a self-fulfilled prophecy here, but since then I haven't heard any interest from anyone except Guin. Ironically, before Guin contacted me, I started my contingency plan and now Roose is on board for sure and Matty Ebs may join as well. This is ironic because if Roose is driving, I am not in a position to hook Guin up with a ride from NYC if he flies in from Canadia AND I already have a roommate. I hope I didn't sound gruff to Guin, because I would sincerely like to meet the guy, but I would feel bad if he came to AC expecting something akin to Vegas only to get a living, breathing HoP Trip Report. In hindsight, Roose and I always have a great poker-filled time in AC, so I think any blogger would enjoy hanging with us, but I am a bit disappointed with the feeling that the Gathering is a flop. It may be a flop or it may not be, but the point is, I didn't want to have to even think about it. I really just wanted to go to AC and since we have a ton of NE bloggers, I figured why not invite everyone to go down on the same weekend. Alas, looking back, I see I was setting myself up in a position that would require effort, coordination, and more than a bit of people-skills, three things that I generally lack. That said, I'm still going the weekend of March 9th to 11th, so if you are heading down there, let me know.

I think I'm running out of steam. Okay, one more. I have been toying around with buying a Nintendo Wii. I have a bit of the ole carpal tunnel from too many video games and computing in the past, so I think the Wii's gyroscope action might be light on my fingers. Still, it definitely feels like one of those unnecessary purchases, and without a bunch of buddies around, as per the college days, I wonder if the entertainment value is as high.

Okay, I lied. One more. I'll be heading to beautiful, sunny Buffalo, New York in April with wifey Kim while she goes to a speech/hearing conference up there. She'll be at the conference for the entire day on a Friday, so I'll be heading to a poker room in the nearby casinos. I went to college in Buffalo, but back then I didn't play poker and there were no poker rooms in the sole Canadian casino anyway. Highlights will hopefully be the poker, eating at a bunch of shitty eateries in Buffalo for a little bit of college nostalgia, and dropping by the ole fraternity house. Iakaris lives up there too, but he seems like a busy mofo, so I don't know if that would work out.

Okay, last one, I swear. I should have about $50 in my Full Tilt account now, and I just received $105 in my Stars account, although the source is, well, unknown to me. What does this mean? I have money online again, so expect me to write about losing $155 in about 2 hours time. Whatever the case, I really have finally shook the online poker bug, so I don't expect to be returning to my old habit. At least I have that going for me.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:37 PM, ,

This is True

I received 7 very well thought out responses to my post yesterday asking which is true:

Statement A, Better players will suffer from more suckouts because they get in with the best of it more often than not.

Statement B, Better players will appear to be more lucky because they can make plays with marginal hands due to chips accumulation.

When I formulated the question in my head, I was actually emailing back and forth with DP from Wired Pairs. We were not talking about this subject specifically, but more generally about some tough situations in a cash game where he kept suffering from suckouts. I think DP has what it takes to eventually be a top player if he has the opportunity to make that leap, but at the very least he has a great aggressive style and the intelligence to think about his game critically. All that said, suffering repeated suckouts is tough and the only advice I could offer is that he was playing well and making the right decisions.

Let me backtrack for a moment and comment on some of the responses to my last post. Hoyazo was the first person to respond, and he believed that A was 100% accurate, but B could also be accurate. He correctly pointed out that B (which I had disclosed as an idea from Doyle Brunson's Super/System) actually addressed Brunson's playing style specifically, and his willingness to gamble after accumulating a bunch of orphaned pots in a cash game. That said, Hoy thought you could argue Statement B either way.

Gadzooks64 and Teresa, both from a blog I had never read before but plan on adding to my read list, Adventures of the Poker Sluts, both commented seperately. First, let me say, kudos on the blog name, ladies. Gadzooks pointed out that it depended on what side of the bad beat you were on. As for statement B, marginal players may think great players are lucky because they get "good hands", and I think this is a very smart analysis. Imagine getting constantly pushed off of pots by an aggressive good player. It isn't a big leap to see some players assume that the aggressive player keeps hitting his flops. Lord knows people have said this to me in cash games when I was really betting with air...repeatedly. Teresa agrees, but adds that Statement A is more about tournaments and B is more about cash games. This is interesting, mostly because it somewhat is opposed to what I said earlier about "getting lucky" with marginal cards when calling a shortstack's all-in. But she makes a good point, as we have all suffered suckouts from pushing donkeys in tournaments, and Statement B is attributed to Brunson's analysis of his NLHE play. She also adds, sort of as an addendum to Gadzooks ideas, intentional or not, that only "bad" players (and by those I assume, players who don't think about the game in the right way) would assume that the good player in Statement B is "lucky." I'm not 100% with you on this one, as I've explained my bluffing with air scenario, but its definitely true that less experienced players are more likely to fall into this type of thinking.

DBrider, from the PokerBus (and, former DADI sponsor and host of the Blogger iPod tournaments) believes, as most due, that Statement A is simple fact. He makes an interesting point, though, in regards to Statement B: "ood players will often get their money in from behind in situations where they either have +EV pot odds or the shot at knocking a player out with little risk. To win, they will have to get lucky, but it's still the correct winning play...." Well said, DBrider. The issue of pot odds is one that no one else brought up, and while I didn't envision it when I came up with Statements A and B, the concept clearly fits in there. This actually relates to Teresa's comment that bad players are more likely to believe B. After all, they may neglect to even consider pot odds and therefore think that the player calling them down with middle pair, inside straight draw is a moron, when in fact the bettor is just not betting enough to the "moron" to fold his hand. I have been on the business end of a bitch and moan more than once when a player small bets his way into pot committing me. When I suck out, my opponent has, in the past, asked (none too politely) "WTF are you doing calling me with that!" The answer, which I usually will not share is, "You priced me in...bitch."

TripJax seems to really sum up the overall consensus when he points out that Statement B is the more interesting of the two. He also references the section in Super/System as something he vividly remembers from the huge book. Me too, Trip. For some reason that idea by Brunson really stuck with me, likely because it is so contrary to common beliefs. I'm a contrarian at heart.

PokerWolf is one of the only people to put a qualifier on Statement B. While he acknowledges that great players will build a large stack and then take more shots at pots, he also notes that great players will also lay down those marginal hands when they don't have the best of it. I suppose if you take into consideration pot odds, then it is true. The great players are going to lay down their marginal hands when the odds are against them, so you won't see them hitting the river with bad cards as often...unless they were in a position to draw out comfortably. I don't know if this was exactly what he was getting to, but its at least something I was able to extrapolate from his qualifying statement.

Finally, SIF brings up the implications of pot-size in regards to the two statements. SIF postulates that Statement A is more about big pots, and Statement B is more about small ones. I can see his point in A. Great players are not going to get all-in with the worst of it if they have to risk a deep stack. They are more likely to pick their spots instead of playing for a lot of money in a marginal situation. On the flip side, he says that B applies to small pots in very specific situations, where the great player is betting with a semi-bluff. This will make it appear that he got lucky when he was betting with air and/or he will win the pot without a showdown and appear to be getting lucky on the flop or with his hole cards. I suppose it can also apply to a pot-odds situation where the pot is small because of the weak bets (pricing in our good player with a bad hand). Whatever the case, the distinction is an interesting one.

Let me put in my final thoughts. Clearly, both statements are true depending on the situation. In a sense, they can be simultaneously true: It appears that a great player is getting very lucky because he keeps hitting flops or turns and is able to win pots without showdown (statement B), but when he does get to an all-in situation or showdown, he may suffer more suckouts because in THOSE situations, he is only willing to get his money in with the best of it, since he "knows" he isn't pushing players off of hands. I agree largely with the commentors, but I also have one thing to add: Statement B is probably more true for loose aggressive players but Statement A can apply to loose or tight players. Aggressive players are, in my estimation, more likely to make the semi-bluffs and attempt to steal from or call all-ins from short stacks, putting him or herself in a position to look like they are "getting lucky." Statement A applies to tighter players because they are usually in with the best of it due to their tight play; it applies to loose players because they may get called down more (eventually) due to their loose image.

I guess that is all for now. There is a lot of pontification in here, and I am glad to have been able to dip my toe in an obscure area of poker theory. If you have any further thoughts on the subject, please feel free to comment. And thanks for reading.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:42 AM, ,