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Two Fine Blogs

While my online play is probably at an all-time low (not low enough to avoid a series of bubbles on Sunday night), I have been seeking out new reading material in the blogoverse to keep my needs satisfied. My most recent favorite two-some come from a live-poker-playing 1/2 NL pro in Vegas and a well-known, name-brand pro.

The first, the 1/2 NLHE pro in Vegas, is none other than Poker Grump, aka Rakewell. I highly recommend Grump for you fans of HoP. He plays nearly daily at the local casinos in Vegas, amazingly sticking to 1/2 NLHE almost exclusively. The amazing part is that he apparently pays the bills with that lowest of NL games. I can appreciate the Grump for dozens of reasons, but what I really love is his detailed accounts of his daily play, whether he focuses on individual hands or the characters at the table or the venue. It's really like reading a travelogue of Vegas low-limit poker, and Grump has a way of telling a story that sucks me in.

I can also appreciate his dedication to 1/2 NLHE. It's my game of choice, mostly because of a thin bankroll, but it also has the advantage of attracting the most incompetent players but paying off fairly well. I could personally move to 2/5 NLHE, but whenever I think to do it, I choose instead to "start the day" playing 1/2 NLHE and usually without fail, I'll stick to the 1/2 NLHE. The action is usually good, the money is good, and the play is terrible.

The second new blog to my reading roster is the blog of Daniel Negreanu. I have to admit, I admire Negreanu for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are his results and his ability to make and follow reads. Like Grump's blog, I can go through a littany of reasons why Danny's blog is great, but I'll stick to a few.

First, it is interesting to read about a pro's travels on the tourney circuit. It's a bit of vicarious living and Danny gives enough info that you can really understand what it is like to be traveling all over the globe to play poker with a band of likeminded gamblers.

Second, Danny does a great job of going over key hands in tournaments. The key here, though, is that Danny is not a Harringbot. Most of the plays he discusses are crazy, even to a loose mofo like me. A perfect example is from a recent hand he posted where he played a speculating 67 and ended up calling a bet on the river on an otherwise scary board with a mere pair of 6s. Here is the actual quote:

"A tight player raised under the gun to 300 and the aggressive player called in the next seat. I called form the big blind with 6-7. The flop came 8-5-3 rainbow and I checked. The aggressive player bet 600 and we saw the turn heads up. Turn was an Ace, and I check called 1100. The river was a 6 and I checked. Again, the aggressive player bet 2800 and something did not seem right. The bet was too big, he was unlikely to call a raise from the tight player with Ax making it difficult to put him on two pair, and I didn't think he'd bet a pair of 99 or 10-10, especially not that much. He was going to have to show me a set, or I was convinced he had a hand like K-Q. I called... he showed K-Q. I played my hand like such an obvious draw so I figured he was certainly capable of firing the three barrel bluff. "

The bottom line is, most of the readers of this blog simply fold preflop to a tight EP raiser, especially if the tournament was costing them thousands of dollars to enter. And yet, when you read through his analysis, you realize that Danny could probably call with any two cards there and as long as he is able to make the right decisions post-flop, the seemingly-loose preflop call is correct.

Now, if I post that scenario, I'd bet dollars to donuts that I'd get comments about playing the hand poorly. And probably before I read Negreanu's analysis, I would even agree. To call preflop, out of position against a tight preflop raiser with speculative cards and then to call three bullets with an open-ended straight draw that results in a mere pair of 6s takes cajones. For you online poker aficionados, the play is probably utter crap. But when you read Danny's analysis and consider that he was (and is) capable of getting a read on the table, his opponent and the situation as it unfolds, suddenly, Danny's play makes perfect sense.

Reading something like Danny's hand analysis just makes my brain explode in all sorts of directions. I'm excited to get back to playing, I'm encouraged to trust my reads (even though I am no Danny N.), and I'm re-invigorated that the game is not just about folding to the fucking money. It's about taking control of your fate by intellect, observation and more than a pinch of cunning.

So, there you go. Poker Grump and Danny N., two blogs that remind me why I love poker.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:23 PM,


At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading poker grump for a long time and his blog is great. He plays a lot and posts a lot. That is the key to a great poker blog.

Daniel is good to, but I like the old Daniel from a couple of years ago than this one.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I'll second the endorsement of the Poker Grump. Here are a few reasons: (1) Anybody can tell you about a poker hand, but he tells you about the person. (2) He adds material on a high-frequency basis (like HoP does). (3) He tells you stuff in a modest fashion.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no, it's a love fest for the Grump, Lol. But seriously, he posts frequently, includes a lot of interesting hand history and most importantly is believable.

I could do less with some of the posts about certain slights that I deem completely trivial, but he makes it up with good content and a good read on the Vegas poker scene.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger gr7070 said...

Grumps the man.


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