December 8, 2009

Tales from Undergrads, Part 3


Sorry I have been posting Brackchips-style over the past month or so. The holidays had me traveling a bunch, and I've been busy with school without much time for poker or blogging. I will put up a big post later, but I just have to share with you this email exchange I had with an undergrad, which I am reporting here verbatim except for where I turned some stuff into *** to protect privacy.

Email 1:

From: hempinaintez@******.***
To: bruechips
Time: Saturday, 2 pm


I noticed that the practice finals say a two sided cheat sheet is allowed. Are we allowed to bring a cheat sheet to the final?

Chris *****

(Sunday afternoon, I forward this to the professor to ask, he says yes, then I write back to the student:)

Email 2:

From: bruechips
To: hempinaintez@******.***
Time: Sunday, 6 pm

Yes, cheat sheets are allowed.

Email 3:

From: hempinaintez@********.***
To: bruechips
Time: Monday, 7 am

Wow, if I could I would give u the shittiest TA evaluation, u rele dropped the ball. I moved all day sunday, that's y I emailed u friday....... Thanks for nothing, I thought u were supposed to be helpfull .

Email 4:

From: bruechips
To: hempinaintez@*****.***
Time: Monday, 8:30 am

The time stamp on your email is from Saturday. Maybe on Friday you were hempin'? I hear that's not easy.

Email 5:

From: hempinaintez@******.***
To: bruechips
Time: Monday, 9 pm

Are we reading the same email? U sent it to him on sunday to ask I can see that email, and then u try to lie! Don't sit here and make me look stupid.

Email 6:

From: bruechips
To: hempinaintez@********.***
Time: Monday, 10 pm


By "your email," I meant the first email you sent to me, which I received on Saturday, not Friday as your second email claimed. I then emailed you back on Sunday, about 28 hours later. If you feel this constitutes dereliction of my duties as a TA, you are free to complain to Professor ****** or to the Vice Chair of Undergraduate Studies. I'd advise you to spell out the second person singular pronoun and use a different email if you want your complaint to be taken seriously.



November 12, 2009

Isildur1 vs. durrrr

There was some sicko poker going on over the last few days, but it wasn't at the ME. As we all know and have said many times here at Spritpot, tourneys are for donks and lucksacks. I did listen to a lot of the ME live on internet radio. The funniest part was listening to Hellmuth. How does this guy ever win? His "pupil" Jeff Shulman played terribly IMHO, much of it probably due to Hellmuth's advice. The retardo 4-5x raises? Phil's justification: "so they can't set mine against you." ROR! It was funny to listen to the Sebok/ZeeJustin team try their hardest not to ridicule him on live radio. Anyway, Shulman eventually lost all his chips on a suckout, so I'm sure Phil thinks that he gave Shulman great advice and he just got unlucky.

Anyway, the real show in poker was the Isildur1 vs. durrrr matchup on FTP. Everybody knows that durrrr is Tom Dwan, but there's been debate on who Isildur1 is. There seems to be the most consensus on some guy named Robert Flink, but I don't know much more about him. Aside from the fact that he RAPED durrrr over about 20k hands at 500/1000 NLHE for over $3m. Sunday and Monday durrrr dropped about $1m each day. Sunday he got in a big hole early, climbed all the way back to a win, then gave it all back, part of it in a short PLO session. Tuesday he started off running hot, at one point up nearly $2m between 6-tabling Isildur1 at NLHE and 2-tabling Ziigmund at 500/1000k PLO (yes, he really is that sick - 8-tabling HU vs. two of the best in the world for insane stakes).

We all know durrrr is a sicko degen. Which is why you gotta be amazed at Isildur1 - even durrrr had to chat in at one point vs. Isildur1, "ur quite a sicko". What else can you say when two guys can get all-in on the turn for 300k each with a pair of sixes vs. a pair of sevens?

How is Isildur1 pwning durrrr? He is certainly SICKO aggro postflop. But you can't just mash pot every time and expect to beat durrrr. There are two main ways I think durrrr was leaking. Obviously, this is my humble opinion. I'll never be as good as durrrr, and don't think this means I want to play him HU or anything like that. Just my opinion, after watching a lot of the hands between the two.

1: durrrr folding in big pots on the river

Durrrr is quite loose, but is actually not that aggressive on flops and turns. He likes to get deep into a hand and play a lot of rivers, but he likes to call down pretty light on earlier streets. This got him into trouble vs. Isildur1 who, particularly early in the match, was overbetting pretty much every river, and Dwan had to fold most of the time. Durrrr did adjust, partly by slowplaying some big hands and letting Isildur1 bet into the nuts, and partly by making some really big thin calldowns. This might convince some opponents to slow down, but Isildur1 managed to adjust very well by making some thin river value bets with anything from top pair no kicker to third pair to combat durrrr calling down light, and also checking back some pretty strong hands on the river when durrrr was slowplaying.

I think against a very good, aggressive player, you're just not going to be winning in the long run when they have the betting lead and you're getting to a river with a range of weak made hands, a few slowplayed monsters, and no idea what they have (check out the second game theory video I did on CR for more explanation). Especially out of position, which was the situation for durrrr a lot in this match. Occasionally he would make some sick hand on the turn or river and get a lot of value. But he was getting into these kinds of situations on the river so often after calling down light on earlier streets. Watching the match, there were so many times watching where you had $120k in the middle on the river and you were just waiting for the $160k bet from Isildur1 and a fold from durrrr.

2: durrrr underestimating Isildur1's pre-flop 4-betting range

Both these players are insanely aggro preflop and durrrr was 3-betting quite a bit, so of course Isildur1 is 4-bet bluffing sometimes, but I think durrrr went way too crazy with the 5-bet bluffing. Maybe he just was unlucky in running into a lot of monsters, but...he sure did run into a lot of them. When he wasn't 5-bet bluffing, he was often calling 4-bets out of position with J8o and J9o and then stacking off with top pair, which usually wasn't good. I think durrrr was a little off in not seeing how strong Isildur1's 4-betting range preflop was and not adjusting by giving him a little more credit and just folding to them preflop. Isildur1 wasn't immune from this either though, as this sick hand shows. And this one.

Anyway, it's been great theater so I hope these two continue to go at it. Durrrr was having to split stacks a lot in order to keep playing because he didn't really have enough money in his account to keep 6-tabling all the time, especially after losing a couple million the first couple of days. But this will probably change as durrrr will transfer in some massive amount and play Isildur1 until one of them is broke. Call me a fanboy, but I'm rooting for durrrr.


November 11, 2009

ESPN's WSOP Main Event Coverage

WOW is all I have to say. Talk about some bad TV...we got to see roughly one hand per commercial break and the hands we did see - about 95% of them were preflop all ins. I don't really watch that much poker on TV these days other than HSP...but boy this was downright terrible. Unless you are interested in seeing suckouts/badbeats/Joe Cada run like GOD - this was incredibly terrible coverage. I'm not kidding you when I say that the most entertainment I got from that 2.5 hrs was the clips they had of Humphrys, Ivey's elderly superfans. The husband was wearing a button the size of a watermelon with a picture of Ivey...HILARIOUS.

I had not watched the FT at the ME for several years...but this year I had to check it out - the one and only PHILLIP HORATIO IVEY was somehow able to navigate through the minefield of 6k+ players and make it to the final 9. I can't imagine what a boost the ESPN ratings got since he made it to the FT. We are all just playing in his lil world of poker...where he is a god amongst men.

There were literally ZERO interesting hands that played out - aside from Joe Cada's insane ability to flop sets, Darvin Moon's desire to bloat pots out of position with no pair/no really didn't get much value. The only interesting hand I took note of was the A9dd vs 77 where Ivey xc'd the flop, turn was xx, Ivey led the river after his draw bricked off.

Does anyone have any info about the hand where Darvin Moon xr bluffed a flop with KQ high and then folded to a 3b shove getting like 400-1? He went back to his wife and told her that he had QUEENS. Either a) he misread his hand...which I highly doubt because there is no way he would have folded or b) he just decided to lie to his wife on national TV. Did he not think she was going to going to see the coverage?

So while the FT ME coverage was shit...if you want to get your fix on some high stakes action - check out the action running on Full Tilt lately. Durrr has been battling a Sweedish action junkie by the name who goes by Isildur1 at MANY A TABLE of 500/1k. These guys have been putting in some MARATHON sessions and the only thing that has slowed the action has been Durrr's apparent liquidity problems - which he has been working on since he's been getting pretty tuned up by this new Nordic phenom. I think Bruechips will be posting later this week about this high stakes bloodbath - stay tuned.

Congrats to Joe Cada...I'm especially glad that he took it down for one very special reason. With him eclipsing Eastgates record last year for the youngest person ever to win the Phil Helmuth is officially something like the 172nd youngest person ever to win the ME. LOL. Yer still the greatest Phil...I'm sure you have at least 11 more bracelets coming your way. Make that a double LOL.


November 9, 2009

A Case of the Mondays (Part 10)

People-watch right from your desktop:


November 5, 2009


Top pair is one of the more difficult hands to play in a full ring game of Hold 'Em. Obviously it's a pretty good hand, much better than average, but every time you get a bunch of money in with it, doesn't it seem like things don't work out to well?

Most small-stakes full ring regulars resort to just folding top pair pretty much all the time to any pressure, regardless of the players or board texture involved. While that's probably not too costly a mistake vs. most players at those stakes, it's obviously massively exploitable. And it also misses out on a bunch of spots where top pair is truly golden, such as this one:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $113.40
SB: $100.00
Hero (BB): $100.00
UTG: $41.35
UTG+1: $82.60
MP1: $76.30
MP2: $73.50
CO: $37.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BB with 8s Kd
UTG calls $1, UTG+1 calls $1, 3 folds, BTN calls $1, 1 fold, Hero checks (UTG+1 is a 54/31 total fishcake)

Flop: ($4.50) 2c 2h 8d (4 players)
Hero checks (Top pair is absolute gold almost always here. It's possible that UTG limped a hand like 99-JJ, but he only has $40 so I'm not gonna hate stacking off against him too much. It is possible UTG+1 has a 2 just because he's playing so many hands, but even for him, he's not going to have a deuce that often limping in early position. If he had open limped I might worry about QQ+ a little bit, but limping behind a limper cuts down on that. But he's very likely to overvalue a worse one pair hand on this flop. If he has 55 or an 8 with a worse kicker, he's not going anywhere. I could lead and try to get him to call down three streets, but it allows him to control pot size somewhat by just calling, and plus by check/raising instead I can get at least one bet out of his total air hands, and it makes it a little more likely he'll spaz out with something completely random...)
UTG checks, UTG+1 bets $8, (He overbets the pot! I'd expect him to do this with a deuce approximately...never. And if he does, then he deserves my $80. He's more likely to do it with some hand he thinks is probably good, but is vulnerable, like a crappy one-pair. But since he thinks it's good, we know he's not folding!)
BTN folds, Hero raises to $24, UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to $40, Hero raises to $99 all in, UTG+1 calls $41.60 all in

Turn: ($167.70) Td (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($167.70) 4d (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $167.70
Hero shows 8s Kd (two pair, Eights and Twos)
UTG+1 shows 9d 8c (two pair, Eights and Twos)
Hero wins $164.70
(Rake: $3.00)



November 2, 2009

A Case of the Mondays (Part 9)

If this doesn't start off your week right...yer pretty much hoperess. Enjoy.

October 30, 2009

PLO: Exactly 6 times as sick as NLHE

In my last post I showed how to figure out what % of a player's range certain hands make up in PLO and how that compares to NLHE. An observant reader might have noticed that the answer for PLO was always 6 times the answer for Hold 'Em. Coincidence? No.

Consider a single two card combination, like AsKs, just to take an especially juicy two cards. In Hold 'Em, there's obviously exactly one hand that contains those two cards. In PLO, there are 50*49/2 = 1225, which is the number of combinations of any two cards that aren't the As or the Ks. So there are 1225 times as many hands that have AsKs in PLO as in Hold 'Em. How many total hands are there in PLO vs. Hold 'Em? In Hold 'Em there are 52*51/2 = 1,326. In PLO there are 52*51*50*49/(4*3*2) = 270,725, or 204 1/6 times as many. And 1225/204.1666 = 6. So a given two-card combo is six time as likely to be in an Omaha hand as a Hold 'Em hand. So while AsKs is 1/1,326 = .0754% of all Hold 'Em hands, the Omaha hands including AsKs are 1225/270,725 = .4525% of all Omaha hands.

This might not be too surprising since each Omaha hand includes six possible Hold 'Em hands (first card/second card, first/third, first/fourth, second/third, second/fourth, third/fourth). However, they are not independent. So it's not just like dealing a hold 'em hand, reshuffling the deck, dealing another hold 'em hand, and repeating six times and seeing if any of the hands dealt were AsKs. This would be (1-.000754)^6 = .4516%. On the other hand if you dealt out six Hold 'Em hands, without putting the already dealt cards back in the deck before dealing the second, third, and later hands, the odds of dealing AsKs are .5629%. It's not totally clear whether an Omaha hand should be more or less likely to have AsKs. The fact that the first and second cards are not the As and the Ks makes it MORE likely that the third and fourth will be. On the other hand, it makes it LESS likely that the first and third cards, for instance, will be. In any case, it turns out that the effects kind of balance out, so that the final result is that AsKs is included in .4525% of all Omaha hands, much closer to dealing 6 independent Hold 'Em hands with card replacement than dealing them without replacement.

Oh, and just so this post isn't totally useless and boring, if you've made it this far, here's a 900 bb pot I won vs. a complete monkey who had absolutely no fold button:


October 28, 2009

PLO Math: Answers

Ok well, here goes:

First, the Hold'em warmup: there are 3 combinations of 66. You have two cards in your hand, there are three on the flop, so there are 47 cards unaccounted for. Since he was calling with any hand preflop, his entire range is all two card combinations of those 47 cards, which is 47*46/2 = 1081. So 66 makes up 3/1081 ~ 0.3% of his range. There are also 3 combinations of 33 and 99, so 9 combinations of sets, so sets make up ~ 0.9% of his range. If he calls with only 30% of hands preflop, then this increases, because we're taking a bunch of junk out of his range, so the number of combos he could possibly have is ~.3*1080 (*), so then 66 makes up ~ 0.9% of his range, and all sets make up ~2.7%.

Now that we see how to do the two-card problem, let's move on to the four-card (Omaha) problem. There are still 3 combinations of 66. But there are also two other cards in the player's hand. There are 43 cards left in the deck (52 - your 4 cards - 3 frop cards - the two sixes), so 43*42/2 = 903 ways to arrange the other two cards in his hand, for a total of 3*903 = 2709 hand combinations that include 66. There is a total of 45!/(41!*4!) = 148,995 ways to choose 4 cards out of the remaining 45 in the deck. So hands including 66 make up 2709/148,995 = 1.8% of the villain's range. Much more than the 0.3% from Hold 'Em.

Now consider all hands that include at least one set. We could just do 3*2709, and that's almost right, but it double counts TT66, 6633, and TT33. There are 9 combinations of each of those hands. So the actual number of combination of hands that include at least one set is 3*2709 - 3*9 = 8100 combos. So hands including at least one set make up 8,100/148,995 = 5.4% of all hands.

Just as before, if he calls with only 30% of hands preflop, then there are only ~ 148,995*0.3 = 44,698 combos possible (*). Then 66xx makes up 6.1% of his range, and he has at least one set 18.1% of the time. Sick!

Moral of the story: There's a good chance you will run into some very good hands in Omaha. Whereas in Hold 'Em when someone is repping a set and a set only, usually they are bluffing, if only because they only flop sets less than 3% of the time. In PLO, however, opponents make sets often enough that they would have to be raising a TON of flops for them to be bluffing a very high % of the time.


(*) - In order to do this, we have assumed that the cards on the board remove just as much of his pre-flop calling range as from his pre-flop folding range. This will never be exactly the case, but it's pretty close, and figuring out the exact number is ridiculously complicated and involves specifying his entire calling range, so it's way more trouble than it's worth.

Another note: 32% of PLO hands contain a pair, so if the villain is calling with any TT, 66,
and 33, certainly he is calling more than 30% of hands preflop.

October 27, 2009

PLO Math...

Both Brackchips and I have been diving into PLO recently, I think partly due to some boredom with NLHE, partly due to the NLHE games getting worse by the day, and the PLO games still being very good. If you're a fish and you want to gamble, PLO is the game for you. Look how often you make a straight or a flush! Every frop you'll get at least a pair or something, how could you not stay in?

While it doesn't take a mastery of the game to pwn your average PLO game, I've been trying to do some more thinking about the game. Loyal spritpot readers might by now have become adept at the following types of NLHE problems:

You have AA, your opponent calls your pre-flop raise. The frop comes T63. How many combinations of 66 are possible? If your opponent calls with any two cards pre-flop, what are the odds he now has a set of sixes? What are the odds he has any of the three possible sets? What if he preflop calls with 30% of hands, and that 30% includes TT, 66, and 33?

Ok, that was a warmup. In NLHE it's not too difficult to work out those kinds of problems. In PLO it gets a little trickier since everybody gets four cards. But try the same problem:

You have AAJ9, your opponent calls your pre-flop raise. The frop comes T63. How many combinations of 66xx are possible? If your opponent calls with any four cards pre-flop, what are the odds he now has a set of sixes? What are the odds he flopped one or more sets? What if he calls preflop with 30% of hands, and that 30% includes all TTxx, 66xx, and 33xx?

Answers to come later...


October 26, 2009

A Case of the Mondays (Part 8)

For this week, less comedy, more Ivey:

But if you don't have ESPN Insider, here's some comedy for you:


October 24, 2009

The Death of Set Mining?

A couple of years ago there were lots of full-ring nits who made a living just set-mining (calling raises with any pocket pair and shoveling in money when they hit three of a kind). As long as opponents didn't adjust, this strategy was quite profitable. You can see why - you flop a set about 12% of the time and when you get in the money you have about 90% equity. If your opponent's pre-flop raising range is mostly big pocket pairs that will often flop overpairs to your set, you will be getting the money in post-flop when you DO flop a set quite frequently.

How has the game changed to make this strategy obsolete? Two ways. One way is that players are more aware of the set-mining strategy, able to spot the set-mining nits, and fold a decent hand post-flop when these players start to show aggression. While this does make set-mining, less profitable, it's by far the less important of the two adjustments, which is that players have widened their pre-flop raising ranges, so that the set-miners will often make a set against 7-high, rather than an overpair, and make only a c-bet postflop rather than an entire stack. Hardly worth paying 3 bbs for a 1 in 9 shot at making 4 bbs. The other part of pre-flop raising ranges being wider is that sets actually have LESS equity when they do get the money in, because they will often be up against big draws or better made hands, which have far more than the ~10% equity an overpair will generally have.

There are exceptions, of course, where pure set-mining can be profitable, mostly when you are more than 100 bbs deep, it's a multi-way pot, and/or you know that the pre-flop raiser has a very narrow range and will be willing to stack off with an overpair (as I've described, these players are rarer and rarer).

I still see a fair amount of regulars set-mining in spots that I'd estimate are unprofitable. If you don't believe me that set-mining is dead, 1) go through your database and look at all the times you've called an pre-flop raiser HU with 22-66 and look at your bb/100 if it's a large enough sample, 2) look at the PTR pages of the guys that used to do nothing but set-mine. They've either moved to lower stakes, changed their games, or have lost all their money.


October 21, 2009

Yer Gonna Rove My Nuts! (Part 11)

Inducing a bluff doesn't always mean slowplaying:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 3 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

SB: $42.05
BB: $116.35
Hero (BTN): $55.10

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Kc Ks
Hero raises to $1.50, SB calls $1.25, BB calls $1

Flop: ($4.50) 5d Ts 4c (3 players)
SB checks, BB bets $3.50, Hero raises to $11.50, SB folds, BB raises to $114.85 all in, Hero calls $42.10 all in (If you read this brog regularly, you know that I do not give too much respect to donk bets from most prayers. I can't recall exactly, but I'm sure this donk had tried to lead into me a couple of times already and been denied and was starting to get fed up with not being able to take away the pot with bets that represent nothing. Like is he really expecting me to fold to a donk bet on this frop? Ever? I'm either raising or froating him every time. Which was maybe what he was thinking when he 3b shoves his entire stack in there. Which will work sometimes, but he's risking $40 to do it, whereas I'm risking only $11 to raise his initial bet. And since I'm holding pretty much the nuts, his bruff does not work.)

Turn: ($111.70) 7d (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($111.70) 9h (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $111.70
BB shows 8s Qs (Queen Ten high)
Hero shows Kc Ks (a pair of Kings)
Hero wins $110.70
(Rake: $1.00)


October 19, 2009

Art of the Min Raise (Part 17)

Gotta rove the tasty pot odds:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 Pot Limit Hold'em - 4 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $88.80
Hero (CO): $70.40
BTN: $33.80
SB: $52.15

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with 5h 4h
Hero raises to $1.75, BTN calls $1.75, 2 folds (From the cutoff I'll certainly raise up just about any suited connector unless some really good player is at the table punishing me a bunch. Get called by a donkey on the button.)

Flop: ($4.25) 2h Ah 8c (2 players)
Hero bets $3, BTN calls $3 (Frop a frush draw and a gutter, standard c-bet the ace-high board.)

Turn: ($10.25) 5s (2 players)
Hero bets $6, BTN raises to $12, Hero calls $6 (Turn a pair...certainly not expecting him to fold an ace, but folding a weak eight or a pocket pair sevens and below isn't out of the question. He could also call with a bigger heart draw that doesn't have a pair, which is obviously fine. In any case he instead min-raises, which tells me that he has some kind of pretty big hand. I'd be totally shocked if he ended up with a flush draw taking this line, so I can be pretty sure that my heart outs are good, with the possible exception of the 8h. I'd expect that a 3 would give me the best hand pretty much always as well. Those 11 outs alone are enough to allow me to profitably call this min raise, calling 6 to win the 28 in the pot, plus almost certainly the remaining 17 in his stack. The 8h and the other two fives in the deck are a little dicier, but I think I'm good enough of the time that they add to the profitability of calling, even if sometimes I will get stacked. A river four and I'd probably check/fold. I'd expect to get bluffed fairly rarely, although occasionally it will go check/check and I'll have the best hand.)

River: ($34.25) Jh (2 players)
Hero bets $34.25, BTN calls $17.05 all in (Just the card I was looking for...time for a trip to valuetown!)

Final Pot: $68.35
Hero shows 5h 4h (a flush, Ace high)
BTN mucks Ac 8h
Hero wins $66.35
(Rake: $2.00)


A Case of the Mondays (Part 7)

This one is dedicated to all you chipotle lovers out there...


October 17, 2009

Great Boxing Event Tonight

The Super Six World Boxing Classic starts tonight on Showtime and I can't wait. For those of you who haven't heard about it yet, Showtime has gotten the 6 best 168-lb fighters in the world and gotten them signed up for a tournament. This is very rare in boxing, a sport which is plagued by a cornucopia of different championship belts and difficulties in getting the best athletes in the sport to face each other.

Every boxer in the tournament is a great fighter with a shot to win it all. The eventual winner will have a rock solid claim to being the best fighter in the division, and one of the biggest stars in boxing. The first round is round robin, with each boxers scheduled for 3 bouts. The four participants with the highest point totals move on to the semifinals, at which point it becomes a single elimination tournament. Tonight the action starts off with Jermain Taylor vs. Arthur Abraham and Andre Dirrell vs. Carl Froch. Be sure to tune into the action and cheer on the Americans.


October 16, 2009

THIN! (Part 17)

Well I am still running like crap at 6-max...but god the donks are JUICY. I managed to get an hour or so of PT with this drooler the other night...unfortunately he had already sucked out on me for 100 bbs once earlier when we got in my K6 (BB special, he had limped) vs. his QQ on J66, but I got him back here: AK-high for 93% equity on the turn!

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $183.25
SB: $50.00
Hero (BB): $67.00
UTG: $54.40
CO: $48.85

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Ks Ac
1 fold, CO raises to $2, BTN calls $2, 1 fold, Hero raises to $10, 1 fold, BTN calls $8 (Trying to get heads up with the donk on the button, he will call with ATC so this is a value bet more than a semi-bluff)

Flop: ($22.25) 3d 9h Jh (2 players)
Hero bets $14, BTN calls $14 (Not the best frop in the world...but gotta throw this out there I guess.)

Turn: ($50.25) 6s (2 players)
Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $43 all in, BTN calls $43 (Very very close. He's not very likely to fold really any pair. But there are shitload of draws out there...hearts, 87,QT,KQ,T8...he could have any of those for sure. And who knows, maybe he'll fold a three or something. Also I could get called by a worse "made hand"!)

River: ($136.25) 4h (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $136.25
BTN shows Ad Qh (Ace Queen high)
Hero shows Ks Ac (Ace King high)
Hero wins $133.25
(Rake: $3.00)

If I had had KhQh and bricked out I might have quit poker....


P.S.: Unfortunately we've gotten a few "spam" comments recently where advertisers or whatever come and leave a comment advertising their B.S. products. To combat that, we're now moderating comments, so we have to approve them before they actually go on the site. Sorry for the inconvenience to our fabulous long-time readers and commentors, rest assured you won't have to wait long to see your comments up once you submit them.

October 15, 2009

Non Poker

In cerebration of the DOW rebounding to 10k...this is actually going to be a stock related post. Actually not stocks...but specifically online brokers.

I've been trading stocks online for over ten years now (FML I'm getting old) and have used MANY a brokers. Over the years I have experiemented with probably 7-8...etrade, datek, ameritrade, wit capital, schwab, firsttrade, scottrade, etc. Needless to say I've experienced a wide range of service amongst these brokers in this highly fragmented marketplace.

About a year ago I tested out Tradeking - a lesser known player but a playa nonetheless. Surprisingly I had never heard of them...but after calling and giving their website a test drive I figured try them out and transferred one of my Scottrade accounts over.

...A month later - the remainder of my accounts/securities were ALL over at Tradeking. These guys are the absolute ROCK STONE NUTS.

Unless you are someone who is mad old school and feels the need to physically spend time with a broker - IMO, you can't go wrong with the boys at TK.

1) Customer service
2) Extremely competitive pricing schedule
3) An excellent customizable web interface

I really don't even know where to start when it comes to the customer service...these guys are so far above the rim its ridiculous. However you contact them, email, chat, phone - you NEVER have to wait, and in addition to that - these people KNOW what they are talking about.

5 bux a trade people...5 bux. Ya I know some places are cheaper, and even free in some cases - but I'm GLAD to pay them for the trade. Oh and for those of you still who have not yet heard of the em up and it's STILL 5 bux. I don't think you can find anyone under 25 when you pick up the phone for a trade. Oh and none of those silly IRA/inactivity minimums either.

Big fan of their website/interface - fresh, easy to navigate, and customizable.

Oh one other HUGE thing - they offer DRIP for any security that has it available. This was a HUGE part of the reason I was seeking alternatives to Scottrade last year...HADDDD to get my DRIP on - had gone way too long without it.

Give em a shot.


October 12, 2009

New CR Vid, Case of the Mondays....

The final part of my 'Pwning Shorties' series went up on CardRunners today. Don't forget that you can get a CardRunners membership totally 100% scot free by signing up for Truly Free Poker Training and accumulating enough FT points.

Also, here's your Monday fun link:


October 9, 2009

I suck almost as bad as MLB umpires

I've been trying out some 6-max recently, partly just for a change of pace, and also because there are lots of fishies there. I've had a few decent seshes, but unfortunately it did not go well at all for me tonight. Probably has something to do with me running like poo in life over the last 24 hours. Anyway my sesh had plenty of bad beats, some cooler situations, a couple bad calls, and a couple of spots where I thought somebody would fold a weak hand and they didn't. Oh well. You'll find a lot more just completely random and spewy play at 6-max than you will at full ring. I guess it's where the aggro donkeys go to have fun. For instance, there was this hand:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $33.70
SB: $57.10
Hero (BB): $50.00
UTG: $67.95
CO: $43.05

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with 9h As
2 folds, BTN calls $0.50, SB calls $0.25, Hero raises to $2.50, BTN calls $2, 1 fold

Flop: ($5.50) Ah 3c 8h (2 players)
Hero bets $3.50, BTN raises to $7, Hero calls $3.50 (Probably not planning on folding this hand since I don't see what hand he'd limp the button with that now beats me...maybe A3 or 33 sometimes, but that's not too many hands. No reason to shove though, might as well allow him to continue to bluff if that's what he's in the mood to do.)

Turn: ($19.50) 2h (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $24.20 all in, Hero calls $24.20 (Not the best turn card, but usually people don't min raise flops with draws, so I wasn't that worried about I've got the 9h anyway which gives me some outs if he has a 7-high flush or lower, or if he does have aces up.)

River: ($67.90) 4d (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $67.90
BTN shows 9d 6s (Ace Nine high)
Hero shows 9h As (a pair of Aces)
Hero wins $64.90
(Rake: $3.00)

Anyway back to the title of the post...even in the abyss of my deepest tilt sessions, I don't think I make as many mistakes as umpires have made during the playoffs so far. How many just blatantly obvious missed calls have we had so far? There were two in the opening game of the Phillies series, both favoring the home team (runner tagging up on a fly ball, and later Cliff Lee not being called out after being picked off at second). There was one in the Sox game last night, which also favored the home team (Youkilis coming down with a throw at first base, clearly tagging the bag with the runner being out by 5 feet, called safe). There was one, probably the most egregious of all, in the Yankees/Twins game tonight when a Joe Mauer double was inexplicably called foul, again favoring the home team. Terrible. And these are just the ones I've seen. And all of them I could call immediately, in real time, watching on my TV. I'm sympathetic to the fact that it's a difficult job, and it's easy to second-guess once you've seen slow motion replays from 3 angles. But ALL of those calls were immediately obvious to anyone watching in real time, even with much a much worse view than the umps on the field had. It's enough to make you want replay available for more situations. Hopefully it won't be a continuing issue that plagues the rest of the postseason.


October 7, 2009

Brack is Beautiful (Part 21)

Can't really claim I played this hand particularly well, just counted on the power of spades to get me through it:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

MP1: $100.15
MP2: $101.50
CO: $100.00
BTN: $109.95
SB: $79.00
BB: $112.00
UTG: $197.00
Hero (UTG+1): $166.85

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG+1 with As Ts
1 fold, Hero raises to $3.50, MP1 calls $3.50, MP2 calls $3.50, 1 fold, BTN calls $3.50, 1 fold, BB calls $2.50 (A little bit of a loose open for sure, but it's spades...)

Flop: ($18.00) 8s 2h 4s (5 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $13, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, BTN folds, BB raises to $46, Hero raises to $163.35 all in, BB calls $62.50 all in (5-way pot not exactly what I was looking for, but I manage to frop the nut frush draw and bet into the field. Maybe a check here is better with so many people involved. I get a free card pretty often, can sometimes check/raise to take it down while winning more dead money, etc....anyway, this time I bet, got raised, and shoved it in. When the BB raises, he definitely has a set a huge % of the time, but I thought he'd have worse draws often enough for me to get it in. Lower spades, maybe the occasional 6h5h or 5h3h, I think he'd play those similarly. If I had a lower spade draw like JsTs or something I'd be instafolding...anyway he did indeed have bottom set, but the river gave me the inevitable flush.)

Turn: ($235.00) Td (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($235.00) Ks (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $235.00
BB shows 2d 2c (three of a kind, Twos)
Hero shows As Ts (a flush, Ace high)
Hero wins $232.00
(Rake: $3.00)


October 3, 2009

Miscrick FTW

Maybe he calls off a shove on the end anyway, but my misclick min-bet somehow induced this moron to shove on the river:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

MP2: $53.65
CO: $23.15
BTN: $107.30
SB: $26.00
BB: $123.30
Hero (UTG): $145.80
UTG+1: $48.00
MP1: $22.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG with 7d 7c
Hero raises to $3.50, 2 folds, MP2 calls $3.50, 3 folds, BB calls $2.50

Flop: ($11.00) 6c 7s Ad (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $8, MP2 calls $8, BB folds (Frop set, bet dry A-high frop as I arways wourd)

Turn: ($27.00) Qs (2 players)
Hero bets $16, MP2 calls $16 (Smallish turn bet - could def be even smaller - to make sure an ace doesn't fold and sets up irresistable pot odds for the river shove)

River: ($59.00) 8c (2 players)
Hero bets $1, MP2 raises to $26.15 all in, Hero calls $25.15 (Obviously meant to just shove but I clicked the 'Bet' button before I realized that my click on the 'Pot' button had I end up betting just the minimum, but luckily even that doesn't keep this donkey from stacking himself. Maybe he thinks I'll fold some random queen?)

Final Pot: $111.30
MP2 shows Jd Jc (a pair of Jacks)
Hero shows 7d 7c (three of a kind, Sevens)
Hero wins $108.30
(Rake: $3.00)


October 2, 2009

Brack is Beautiful (Part 20)

Hand played against a very aggro re-raiser from the brinds:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $224.45
MP: $110.75
Hero (CO): $100.00
BTN: $90.00
SB: $104.00
BB: $95.25

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with 4s As
2 folds, Hero raises to $3.50, 1 fold, SB raises to $9, 1 fold, Hero calls $5.50 (Spades, so obviousry I'm seeing a addition, this player was re-raising from the brinds quite a bit, so I kinda wanted to see a frop in position. 4b-ing is an option too, but getting 5b bruffed is def a possibility, and I trust my ability to make good decisions post-frop.)

Flop: ($19.00) 3h 2d 5s (2 players)
SB bets $10, Hero raises to $27, SB raises to $95 all in, Hero calls $64 all in (Also, spades pretty much guaranteed to frop at REAST the second nuts. I think his bet/3b is pretty spewy. This is one of the crappier boards to c-bet, and there's not much that I would be raise/folding on this board. Maybe he thinks that I will raise/fold AT or 66 or something I don't know. More likely he's just aware that he has re-raised a bunch from the blinds, and therefore thinks that I am going to be fighting back on any frop, and therefore has just decided he's never folding. It's good to be aware of those dynamics, but you still have to look at your hand and the board and do a little thinking. If this frop were 6h2s2d, then I think his play would be a lot better.)

Turn: ($201.00) 8h (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($201.00) Td (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $201.00
Hero shows 4s As (a straight, Five high)
SB shows Kc Qh (King Queen high)
Hero wins $198.00
(Rake: $3.00)


September 29, 2009

THIN! (Part 16)

Standard shorty-pwning thin-ness:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $47.25
MP1: $109.05
MP2: $60.75
CO: $15.50
BTN: $18.85
Hero (SB): $100.00
BB: $29.80
UTG: $123.95

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is SB with Kc Jc
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $1, 3 folds, BTN raises to $5, Hero raises to $17, 2 folds, BTN calls $12 (Button is a shortstacker trying to punish an EP far behind could KJs possibly be? They ARE brack cards...)

Flop: ($36.00) 4s 7s 3d (2 players)
Hero bets $3, BTN calls $1.85 all in (Not exactly the nut frop for KcJc, but I'll put in his rast $ a sick varue bet!)

Turn: ($39.70) 8h (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($39.70) As (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $39.70
BTN shows Kh Th (Ace King high)
Hero shows Kc Jc (Ace King high)
Hero wins $37.75
(Rake: $1.95)

Red cards? Way behind....


September 28, 2009

September 23, 2009


So I was away from the game for about two weeks at the beginning of the month...good to take a break from things, relax, and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being a poker player :) Went on a travel tear up to NYC, LA, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Chicago, Knoxville, and back home. Surprisingly despite bringing my laptop along for the trip...I didn't feel the urge to fire up Full Tilt.

After I came back earlier this week, I was INSTA ready to fire things up and pick up where I left off. However I definitely hit a few speedbumps in my return to the tables...which has become a pretty consistent theme when I take extended breaks. The most difficult about my game/style is striking a balance between LAG/MANIAC. IMO there is a razor thin line between the two styles and when my game starts veering towards the latter - 3 words come to mind. FML. My variance goes through the roof and then my game suffers in general. There are also alot of THIN decisions that I find myself being on the wrong side of...and if I were in the grove, I'm more confident that I would make the correct decisions.

Here's to pwning donkeys and bringing your A game!


September 21, 2009

Vegas Trip Report

Got back from Vegas last night - all in all, a very solid weekend. Boxing, gambling...only downside: a lot of us got sick (cold sick, not drunk sick), including me. All in all I managed to end up a slight winner on the weekend, up ~$400 from poker, down $100 from boxing and $150 from blackjack. Fawking blackjack.

As usual, we did all our gambling downtown (except for the boxing bets we placed at the MGM Sportsbook). This gives you great value at the brackjack table (if you get lucky, you can find $5 at Las Vegas Club's "Fetish Pit", which involves hot brackjack dealers dressed up in various uniforms (e.g., nurse, biker babe, etc.), and some scantily clad female dancing on a pole in the middle. Unfortunately it doesn't offer the best poker games - The Golden Nugget only had $1/$2 hold 'em, and while the game was obviously pretty soft, I'd imagine the $2/$5 games on the strip were much juicier.

In any case, I did play the $1/$2 games at the Nugget for a few hours. It really couldn't be any more different than the online game. Probably the most notable hand of the weekend happened in the first half hour or so of my Friday night sesh. I had been playing fairly tight while the whole table was seeing 6-way limped flops, etc.. Anyway finally I picked up 4c3c on the button and raised up a couple of limpers to $15. A couple of them called and we saw a flop which was...arr crubs!! I think it was Qc8c5c. They check to me and I bet $30, only to be min check/raised by a lady with a bunch of the money on the table (like probably $800), which I thought might be an indication that she has some clue. Enough of a clue that if I 3-bet, she'll fold everything, and if I call she'll put me on a single club or a scare one-pair and shove the turn. So I kind of played with my chips for a while and finally called. The turn paired the 8 and she shoved. I wasn't crazy about the board pairing since she could have 55 or Q8, maybe even 85, but I'm obviously not folding. I made the call and she showed a single queen, saying she didn't have a club. She just mucked her other card as the river came a 5h. Then she went on for about 5 minutes about how it was so hard for her to put me in 4c3c. I'm's not the 4 and the 3 that matter. It's the crub and the crub! If you don't want to put me on 4c3c, put me on AcJc and don't overplay your Q! All of that was in my head of course...I just told her it was a tough hand and stacked the chips.

The boxing match Saturday night was definitely well worth the trip. It wasn't a sold out show, so we moved down and ended up with seats significantly better than the ones we paid for. Which was the other side of the bad part of it not being a sellout, which was that we could only get half price for the extra ticket we had. So we basically ended up with 5 $600 seats for the price of 5.5 $300 seats. Not too bad. The Katsidis-Escobedo undercard was, as anticipated, the highest-action fight of the night.

But Floyd Mayweather was the undisputed star of the show. Say what you will about Floyd (and after some of the things he said leading up to the fight, you'd be justified to say he's an idiot), on Saturday night you got to see an all-time great at the peak of his powers. It was the kind of performance that I will put with getting to see Jordan play for the Bulls, and getting to see Pedro pitch for the Red Sox, in the category of truly spectacular athletes I have gotten to see in person. Sure, Floyd did have a size advantage (although according to the ESPN measurements, Marquez has a longer reach than Floyd). But if you made a list of all the fighters in the world that could take the fight at 147 lbs (Justin and I tried to do this), you'd be hard-pressed come up with 10 that would be liver dogs than JMM. Here are the ones I can think of (no particular order):


1. Pacquiao
2. Cotto
3. Mosley
4. Paul Williams
5. Andre Berto
6. Josh Clottey


1. Tim Bradley
2. Devon Alexander
3. Margarito
4. Luis Collazo

I don't think you can really make a case for anyone else, although if you want to, feel free. I haven't seen Sergei Dzindziruk fight, nor do I know if he could make 147, so maybe him. I don't think Sergio Martinez could safely make 147. Even putting Paul Williams on the list is questionable. Among the guys I've listed here, Clottey, Collazo, Bradley, Alexander, and Williams are complete non-starters because they can't bring any fans to the table and therefore don't offer Mayweather as big a paycheck for a fight. That leaves Mosley, Cotto, Pac-Man, Margarito, and Berto. Throw out Margarito because he's still not even licensed to fight in the US. That leaves four feasible guys that Mayweather could have picked that would have been tougher fights for his comeback, two of which (Cotto and Pacquiao) are fighting in November, a fight whose winner Floyd will probably face next year in a megafight. So just keep that in mind when you hear people talk about Floyd cherry-picking opponents. Sure, he could have come back against Mosley, a much tougher fight for probably not much more money than he made vs. Marquez. But it's not like Marquez is some tomato can. He's ranked #2 pound-for-pound in the world, has gone toe-to-toe with Pacquiao twice in fights that many thought he won. Even coming up in weight, he has to be considered among the top 10-15 people in the world for Mayweather to face.

And Floyd completely dominated him. Totally and absolutely. Watch any other Marquez fights and then compare it to this one. Watch his fights against Pacquiao, or against Juan Diaz or Joel Casamayor. I have seen all those fights and can tell you that Marquez deserved every bit of his #2 p4p status. He is a very accurate combination puncher and a skilled and experienced boxer. Floyd made him look like an amateur. Floyd stood right in front of him as Marquez threw whiffing combinations. Floyd landed jab after jab and peppered Marquez with counter right hands and left hooks. He landed 290/493 of his punches for 59%. Marquez landed 69 of 583 for 12 percent. Of course the weight difference helped Floyd, but it's not as if they were trading bombs all night and Floyd's power and chin were the difference.

Marquez showed great heart to make it the whole 12, although some of that has to be attributed to Floyd not really going all-out to get the KO. I had bet the late-round KO, so of course I was disappointed that didn't happen.

It's OK to be frustrated with Floyd for not fighting Mosley and for not trying harder to KO Marquez. But at the same time, you can't take anything away from his boxing skill. He's the #1 p4p fighter in the world, and he should be considered a significant favorite in any fight he takes next, whether it be Pacquiao, Cotto, or Mosley. If he wants to be considered a true top 20 all-time pound-for-pound fighter in the conversation with Sugar Ray Leonard, for instance, he'll have to take those fights and win them. If not, he's merely the greatest fighter in the game today, and a wonder to watch.


A Case of the Mondays (Part 5)



September 17, 2009

Vegas Here I Come!

Tomorrow morning I'll be up early driving out to Vegas for the Mayweather/Marquez fight. I'm really looking forward to it - should be a great fight in the main event, with a couple of very nice undercards. Anybody else going to be in Vegas for the fight? I definitely encourage all SpritPot readers to get the PPV or watch the card at your local movie theater.

I'm sure I will try and hit the tables at some point, but I'll be with a group of guys so not sure when I'll be able to negotiate a few hours away from the crew to pwn some live donkeys. More likely there will be hours and hours of low stakes brackjack with the free drinks flowing like wine.


P.S.: Anybody watching the PAD cash game this week and last? Did you need further conclusive evidence that Howard Lederer is a donk/durrrr is a beast?

September 16, 2009


It's been a middling run at the tables for me recently but every once in a while I still play a hand well. I think this was one of them:

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $120.05
SB: $198.05
Hero (BB): $113.00
UTG: $178.65
UTG+1: $68.55
UTG+2: $135.75
MP1: $20.30
MP2: $49.00
CO: $37.85

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BB with 5h 4h
4 folds, MP2 calls $1, 3 folds, Hero checks

Flop: ($2.50) 3h Th Kh (2 players)
Hero bets $2.50, MP2 calls $2.50 (Frop a cards though. Generally I like to lead in these spots because it's hard to get much value out of a check/raise, often it gets checked through, and since it's a limped pot, I have to start building it now to get his stack. Also if another heart comes my hand kinda sucks.)

Turn: ($7.50) Jd (2 players)
Hero bets $14, MP2 calls $14 (Here's the interesting decision. With the Jd on the turn, I think his calling range is very inelastic to my bet size. That is, if he's gonna call, it doesn't matter what I bet. And there are a lot of hands that he's gonna not want to fold, like any Ah, any Qh, KQ, QJ, JT, a big bet gets called just as often as a small bet, and it sets up a pot-sized river shove.)

River: ($35.50) 9d (2 players)
Hero bets $35.50, MP2 calls $31.50 all in (BOOM goes the dynamite!)

Final Pot: $98.50
Hero shows 5h 4h (a flush, King high)
MP2 mucks Qs Ks (Huge suckout by me, obv...he had SPADES!!!)
Hero wins $95.50
(Rake: $3.00)


September 14, 2009

New CR Vid Today

My new CardRunners video is up today. It's the first video in a five-part series about combatting shortstackers. So there will be a video every Monday for the next five weeks. Apologies again to those who don't have a CR membership. But if you do, please give it a look and leave a comment and rating letting me know what you think.


A Case of the Mondays (Part 4)

My favorite standup comedian...enjoy!


September 11, 2009

Back from Vacation!

Just got back from NY. A friend of mine got married last weekend upstate, so we scheduled a few days in the city around it. Does anything beat the Big Apple? I've been all over the world, and I'm gonna go with a no. For its energy, dynamism, intelligence, rapacity, and beauty, I think you just can't beat it.

We saw a couple of Broadway shows, the best of which was God of Carnage. Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini in a witty comedy involving a whole bunch of power plays/marriage commentary. Good stuff.

Wednesday night we ate at one of the better restaurants I've ever been to, Eleven Madison Park. I made the reservation about a month ago after reading a glowing NYT review, and it was well worth it. It may seem crazy to call an $88 Prix Fixe dinner a bargain, but it really is.

Anyway, I'm back in town now, with a lot of work to do. Gotta get back to pwning the tables, hopefully it'll be a good weekend!


September 1, 2009

Yer Gonna Rove My Nuts! (Part 10)

Not much comment on this one...just your standard call 3b/OOP float c-bet with gutter for 1/2 your stack/shove turn...

Full Tilt Poker $50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $8.50
UTG+1: $63.35
MP1: $92.05
MP2: $22.30
CO: $62.70
BTN: $33.40
SB: $47.75
Hero (BB): $50.75

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Ah Ac
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $2, 4 folds, SB calls $1.75, Hero raises to $8.50, 1 fold, SB calls $6.50

Flop: ($19.00) 5h Jd 9h (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $14.00, SB calls $14

Turn: ($47.00) 7c (2 players)
SB bets $25.25, Hero calls $25.25

River: ($97.50) Js (2 players)

Final Pot: $97.50
SB shows Td 7d
Hero shows Ah Ac
Hero wins $94.50
(Rake: $3.00)