January 29, 2009

Tales from Conversations with Undergrads, Part 2

Ah, a new quarter, a new class populated (in part) by really dumb undergrads. A sampling:

1) Yesterday, I'm having office hours, explaining some stuff on the whiteboard in my office. A lost-looking girl wanders by we have the following conversation:

Her: "Do you know Chris?"
Me: "Like do I know anybody in the world named Chris?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "Is this a joke?"
Her: "I think my TA's office is next door and his name is Chris but he's not there."

Each office has a list of TAs that inhabit that office on the front door. The office next to me lists no such Chris.

2) The class I'm TAing had the students fill out anonymous surveys on their height, weight, and sex to use for data analysis later in the class. The instructions clearly say:


One student put a circle in the middle.

3) The instructions also ask for your height in inches, like this: HEIGHT: _______ inches

Many students put something like 5'10". Fine. Maybe they didn't see that they were supposed to put it in inches. But one student wrote this: " 5'1" (I don't know what that is in inches)." This is a STATISTICS class. Yet this idiot either i) doesn't know how many inches are in a foot, or ii) can't do 12*5 + 1.


4) This one comes from my friend Justin:

A (quite attractive) female student approaches him during an exam:

Her: I'm a little confused on this question, can you tell me if I'm on the right track?
Justin (vacantly): OK.... (looks down to see it is a multiple choice question, with "C", the dead wrong answer, circled and no other work) There is no right track, just one right answer.
Her (flirtingly): Yeah, but if there were a right track, would I be on it?
J: (smiles and walks away before giving anything away)


January 28, 2009

More Dumb Super Bowl Prop Bets

Given the wild popularity of our prop bets on last year's Super Bowl, we're giving it another go this year. Here goes:

Bruechips has:
Coinfrip: HEADS
Rarry Fitzgerard UNDER 120 yards receiving
First pray of the game: run
First pray of second harf: pass
First team to carr a timeout: AZ
Cardinals WILL convert a 4th down at some point
Totar beer commerciars OVER 10.5
# of times John Madden says "boom" during terecast: OVER 4.5
Game MVP wirr be white

Feel free to recommend more and maybe we'll pick sides and add them in....

January 27, 2009

THIN! (Part 13)

These days even in lower stakes tourneys, most players are aware that good players are opening a wide range of hands in late position and c-betting most flops. As a result, when you're 20-25 bbs deep or so, you get check-raised all-in pretty often on rag boards that miss most hands. One way to combat this is to c-bet less, checking behind hands with some showdown value, hoping to show down without putting in your whole stack, and to pick off some bluffs on later streets. Another way is to c-bet and call shoves much lighter. It's worth mixing it up between the two, but here's an example of the second strategy working to perfection:

Blinds @ 150/300, Antes 25
Seat 5: bruechips (6,060)
Seat 6: SB (9,760)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [Ah Ks]
bruechips raises to 750
SB calls 600

*** FLOP *** [9d 4c 3c]
SB checks
bruechips bets 1,350 (If I'm not willing to call a shove, I shouldn't bet this hand. I decided to bet/call, and I want to size my bet to induce as many shoves as possible. There's about 2200 in the pot, effective stacks are 5300. If I had absolutely nothing (like 8h7h) and wanted to try and steal, I think I'd bet about 1350, which makes that a good amount to bet here when I'm going to call light. It leaves enough in my stack that I can fold. This board is so crappy, I think he's going to shove over my c-bet at least 1/2 the time. If he has 66, I've got 6 outs plus runner-runner straight, so it's not the end of the world.)
SB raises to 8,985, and is all in (On cue.)
bruechips calls 3,935, and is all in (I had already decided I was going to call before betting, so this was a snap call.)
SB shows [Th Jd] (Pwnd.)
bruechips shows [Ah Ks]

*** TURN *** [9d 4c 3c] [7d]
*** RIVER *** [9d 4c 3c 7d] [5c]

bruechips wins the pot (12,595) with Ace King high

Managed to dodge 10 outs on the river FTW!!!


January 26, 2009

How Good is your Frush?

Brackchips sent me a HH where he forded a medium-sized frush (seriously, dude, you 6-bet shove like every other time you're on the button, then you fold a turned frush to one raise?) that turned out to be good, which set me thinking to what the exact "middle" flush is. For instance, A8 is the "middle" ace-high - there are 6 below it (A2,A3,A4,A5,A6,A7), and 5 above it (AK,AQ,AJ,AT,A9). It's the worst ace that beats most ace-high hands.

If you have a flush made up of four community cards and one hole card, it's easy to tell how your flush ranks: just count the cards of that suit that aren't on the board or in your hand, and see how many are above and how many are below the one in your hand. Example: The board is As Ts9s4h3s. You want to evaluate your Kh8s. There are three spades better than yours (K,Q,J) and five worse (7,6,5,4,2).

When your flush consists of two hole cards and three community cards, it's not so clear. You can't just count the cards not out, because there are more COMBINATIONS of suited hands that are ace-high than (for instance) three-high. In particular, there's only one card that goes with a three that makes your whole hand three-high (a deuce).

So let's say we're talking about a spade frush (if we're gonna talk about a frush, why not talk about the best kind?). You've got two spades in your hand, and three on the board, so there are eight spades that your opponent could have. In order to be clear, let's rank these spades frop highest card to lowest, with the highest being called "first spade", and the lowest "eighth spade". So if you have, say, Ts4s and the board is AcJs5s3s, the As would be the "first spade" and the 2s the "eighth spade". But if the board were AsKs5c2s, the Qs would be the "first spade" and the 3s would be the "eighth spade".

How many different two-card combinations can be made from eight cards? Well, he could have any of the eight spades as his first card, and then any of the seven remaining spades (after removing his first card) as his second card. That's 56 combinations. But then we divide by two, because we consider AsKs and KsAs to be the same hand. Which makes 28 combinations. Each of the eight cards is included in seven different combinations. How many of them have the first spade as the highest card? Clearly, seven. You can combine the first spade with any of the other seven spades, and it's always the highest card. How many have the second spade as the highest card? Six. The second spade is included in seven total combinations, and one of them is with the first spade. In all others it's the highest card. Continuing in this manner:

1st spade-high: 7 hands
2nd spade-high: 6
3rd spade-high: 5
4th spade-high: 4
5th spade-high: 3
6th spade-high: 2
7th spade-high: 1

28 hands*

So if the highest spade in your hand is between the second and third spade (for instance, if you have JsTs on a Qs6s7c3s board), you beat most flushes. Otherwise, if your opponent's range is any and all flushes, you are behind.


It's actually true in general that n*(n-1)/2 = 1+2+...+(n-1). To see why, note that you can use Gauss's method of doing long symmetric sums. That is, first add together the first and last term (1 + (n-1)), and the second and the next to last term (2+n-2), then the third and the third to last term (3+n-3), etc.. Note they all add to n. How many of these pairs do you have? Well, you clearly have n-1 total terms, so you must have (n-1)/2 pairs of terms. So the sum on the RHS is must be equal to n*(n-1)/2.

January 25, 2009

Sugar Shane

First of all, let me say, in the words of Andre Berto, Shane Mosley is an ANIMAL, don't get it twisted, baby!! I was at the Mosley/Margarito fight Saturday in LA. The crowd was made up of me (rooting for Shane, although I do like Margarito as a fighter, how could you not?), two of my friends (both American guys rooting for Margarito), and twenty thousand Mexicans cheering their brains out for Margarito. Mosley is from Pomona, not an hour's drive from the Staples Center (I know because we stopped there for some Denny's on the way home), and he still gets booed on his entrance.

For those of you who don't follow boxing, let me set the stage a bit. Mosley, now in his late 30s, has been around the fight game his whole life. He started his pro career fighting as a lightweight (135 lbs), and was completely dominant at that weight. Some say Shane was perhaps an all-time top five lightweight, but there weren't too many big fights for him at that weight. He has moved up over the years to get bigger fights, in particular against his now good friend and business partner, Oscar de la Hoya. But he's not a big welterweight (147 lbs). Also, although Shane had a Hall of Fame career even before last night, he had also struggled against bigger guys, losing twice to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright, both of whom are much bigger than Shane (Vernon has spent pretty much his entire career at 154 lbs., Winky has fought as high as 170 lbs.).

Antonio Margarito is pretty much the biggest, beastliest 147-lb guy out there. He's almost 6 feet tall, with an iron chin and will to destroy his opponent. He seems to shrug off powerful punches landing right on his chin with a smile, and continues to pressure his opponent with punches round after round until finally they can take no more. How Mosley was able to watch Margarito's fight vs. Miguel Cotto, who beat Mosley at MSG in 2007, and think, "that's the guy I want to fight next," is beyond me. And anybody else in boxing prior to the fight. Mosley came into the fight as a 4:1 betting underdog. Many of his fans and boxing writers were genuinely worried about what kind of shape he would be in after the fight. I had even bet Brackchips that Margarito would win by KO.

And what happens? The Sugar Man, Shane Mosley, absolutely dominated Margarito for a little over 8 rounds, until finally it was Margarito's corner that couldn't stand to see their guy take any more punishment. Shane couldn't miss with his powerful overhand right, his whipping left hook, and a very effective jab. Perhaps even more important, he stayed off the ropes the entire fight (in contrast to Cotto), and was able to tie Margarito up and push him around on the inside. Again in contrast to Cotto, who, as I wrote in my recap of his last fight, had no killer instinct vs. Margarito, Shane was trying for the knockout from the opening bell. To everyone in the boxing world but Shane Mosley, that was pure lunacy. Margarito had had never even been knocked out, knocked down, or even wobbled in his pro career. This is basically the equivalent of seeing a wrecking ball coming in your direction, and deciding that, instead of trying to get out of the way, you'd be better off meeting it head on. Or deciding that you'll play Phil Ivey heads up for your entire roll and be MORE aggro than Ivey.

What a night for Shane. It's too bad there aren't more American boxing fans to really soak this one up for all it's worth, but if you get a chance to watch an HBO replay or anything, sit back and enjoy watching a guy take one for the stars and stripes. I have now been to three Mosley fights (vs. Cotto, vs. Mayorga, and vs. Margarito), and Shane has brought it every night. He lost a very competitive decision vs. Cotto, battled hard vs. Mayorga until he finally KOed El Matador in the last second of the 12th and final round, and now this performance for the ages against Margarito. Whomever he fights next, be it Berto, a rematch with Cotto, or if the stars somehow align and we get a dream match of Mosley vs. Mayweather, I will be either at the fight or glued to my TV.


January 24, 2009

Spritpot, 1 Year Later....

Has it really already been a year since our first post? It appears so. Thank you to our loyal readers, as well as the online donkeys that beef up our bankrolls and make retarded plays for us to ridicule. We hope you have enjoyed the experience as much as we have (in the case of the donkeys, probably not too much enjoyment on their part). We hope to make Spritpot even better in the coming year, so feel free to comment with suggestions on how to do so.


1 year later and we're still here...cheers! Of the 5,784 hits to date...both myself and Bruechips hope that we are not the only ones responsible for the majority of the hits, ROR.

The online game sure has gotten much more aggressive and will likely to continue to do so. Hopefully the new administration will have a better approach to the online poker industry than the last...


January 23, 2009

Thanks for Not Stacking Me, Bro! (Part 11)

Today I managed to take down a 90-man donk-n-go. But I wouldn't have gotten there if I hadn't survived this hand early on:

Seat 1: bruechips (BB) (3,915)
Seat 3: UTG+1 (2,745)
Seat 9: SB (5,880)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [8d 4d]
UTG+1 calls 60
Button calls 60
SB calls 30
bruechips checks (Happy to see a free frop)

*** FLOP *** [Qd Ad 3d]
SB bets 60
bruechips calls 60 (I frop an 8-high frush. Many a time I would raise here. I decided to just call b/c the sb's small donk bet usually indicates a weak 1-pairish hand. I don't think he has a big-diamond kind of hand, which I think he'd either check/raise, check/call, or lead bigger. He might still call a raise and maybe a bet on a blank turn with his weak one pair though, which is why I'd often raise. But I also thought the limpers behind me would likely raise with their big-diamond hands, as well as sometimes complete air, which would squeeze the SB and allow me to get more value. Finally, I'm calling here a lot with a QsTd or A9o kind of hand, so I want to mix in calling with some flushes and sets, so that I'm not too vulnerable to raises from limpers or 3 big barrels from the SB.)
UTG+1 calls 60 (This is interesting and somewhat worrisome.)
Button folds

*** TURN *** [Qd Ad 3d] [As]
SB bets 60
bruechips raises to 390 (The SB min donks again and I raise, hoping to get value out of his ace, and protect my hand somewhat against the board pairing again or another ace coming.)
UTG+1 raises to 960 (Ridiculously strong raise here from this guy. I have a hard time even putting him on AK or AJ. He has to realize that I could easily have those hands beat and not want to bloat the pot too much. There are plenty of boats he could have, such as 33, QQ, AQ, or A3s. He could even have AA. Add in KJ/KT/JT of diamonds, and that's 18 hands I'm drawing stone cold dead against. Even adding in AK and AJ, 16 hands that have 10 outs to fill up or better on the river. So I'm well behind his range, assuming this is never a total bluff, which I think is absolutely accurate.)
SB folds
bruechips folds
UTG+1 shows [Kd 9d] a flush, Ace high (A flush I didn't expect him to have with his early position limp, but I was indeed drawing dead. And in case you're wondering, shoving as a bluff has approximately a -58% chance of being successful. Tourney donks aren't going to give you credit for a full house and fold a fropped frush 45 bbs deep.)


January 20, 2009

It is what what is???

I think Shaquille O'Neal was the first person I heard saying it. Now it has spread like wildfire, to the point where I heard it on CNBC today. I'm talking about the phrase "It is what it is." What the hell does that mean? Isn't everything what it is? What's something that is NOT what it is? If there's nothing that isn't what it is, what additional information are you offering by saying that something is what it is? I'm confused. Somebody please help.


January 19, 2009

Brack is Beautiful (Part 16) - Straight Frush Edition

Well, it wasn't a royal, but spades worked some extraordinary magic for me yesterday. Even better, it was vs. a donkey trying to slowplay aces. Always a mistake vs. the nut suit:

Seat 5: bruechips (CO) (2,055)
Seat 7: SB (1,770)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to bruechips [5s 6s]
bruechips raises to 180 (Obviously not an auto-raise for me at this point in the tourney, but the blinds had been pretty tight, so I decided to raise it up. Nothing wrong with folding.)
SB calls 150 (This guy had been pretty tight, so I give his call some credit.)

*** FLOP *** [3s 7s 4s]
SB checks
bruechips checks (Umm...stone cold nuts?? I just checked in hopes that he has overs and hits a pair or a single spade that he'll put more money in with later. I don't have too much experience playing fropped straight frushes...maybe I'm supposed to bet, I dunno. But also I've found that in donkaments especially, checking the frop will sometimes make even tighter players go nuts on later streets, so maybe I induce some random bruffs by checking.)

*** TURN *** [3s 7s 4s] [5d]
SB bets 210
bruechips calls 210 (I continue to srowpray even though his bet makes it pretty clear he's got something, although maybe not something he's willing to go broke with on this very gross board.)

*** RIVER *** [3s 7s 4s 5d] [4c]
SB bets 444
bruechips raises to 1,665, and is all in (Another bet from him, time to ship it in and hope he has a boat or something)
SB calls 936, and is all in

*** SHOW DOWN ***
bruechips shows [5s 6s] a straight flush, Seven high
SB mucked [Ah Ad] - two pair, Aces and Fours (Or makes a horrific call with AA...dude do you SEE that board? You think I'm shoving the river with QQ or a bare ace of spades?? ROR! C'mon dude, when you see spades on the board, find the ford button!! I guess vs. this guy it didn't matter how I played this hand, I was going to bust him.)


January 17, 2009

Responding to a Comment from a While Back....

Unfortunately I usually don't notice when people put up a comment on a post that's more than a few days old. So today I randomly noticed that Pinky commented on a post from a couple of months ago. I thought I'd respond in a post, since if I responded with another comment it would probably go unnoticed. If you're too lazy to click back to read the original post, I flat-called a 3-bet preflop with KK and then called down three streets on a 597hh2A board 200 bbs deep. The villain had TT. Pinky wondered if I'd get as much value by raising the flop, and what I would do if the villain checked the river (I had position). My response:

I think it's very VERY unlikely I'd get 200 bbs in on the flop vs. this player with TT. If 200 bbs goes in on this flop, I'm probably behind, either to AA, a set, or some huge draw like JhTh or Ah8h. If I raise the flop, he probably calls and then check/folds the turn, or maybe check/calls turn and check/folds river, depending on how I sized my bets.

As far as the river, if he checks, I probably check back, because, as I said, his checking range after barreling twice is mostly total air and a pair of aces. When I bet he obviously folds air and calls with top pair. The only case for betting would be to fold out a weak ace. Even if his checking range does include QQ-TT sometimes, the % of time he calls a shove with those hands isn't high enough to compensate for the frequency with which he's calling with top pair. Even if he's check/calling QQ-TT 100% of the time, that's 18 combos of hands. AK and AQ add up to 24 hands. Throw in A3,A4,A6,A8,AT,AJ of hearts, that's 6 more hands. I'm positive he would be double barreling those heart draws (although maybe not 3-betting them preflop). AK and AQ I'd expect a 3-bet preflop pretty much always, but a second barrel on the turn only some of the time. On the other hand, he'd 3-b preflop and second barrel the turn with AJ or AT occasionally too. In any case, it's pretty clear that 1) there's a bigger universe of potential top pair hands than pocket pair hands that I beat, and 2) he would have to be more likely to call with top pair, having checked, than QQ-TT. Combining these two facts, and the fact that for me to make money by value betting I have to have better than 50% equity vs. his CALLING range, I would check down if he checked in front of me. If I thought he were capable of a hero call with 88 or T9 or something, I might change my mind, but I would have to have a pretty good read on a player before thinking they're capable of that, as I think it's rare.


January 16, 2009

Back in the US

Back from my trip after 27 consecutive hours of travel yesterday. I gotta say, if you enjoy outdoor activities and don't mind a little bit of cold, Patagonia is a true paradise. I did a lot of hiking, including some ice-trekking and -climbing on top of a glacier near El Chalten in Glacier National Park. I got to kayak right next to a penguin colony in Ushuaia as well. Above is a picture taken in Ushuaia of Beagle Channel near sunset.

Since I was traveling solo, I decided to stay in hostel dorm beds throughout the trip, for two reasons: 1) Even though I could afford to stay in a hotel, the price difference between a single room and a dorm bed is just ridiculous. Dorm beds range from $12-15, whereas single rooms start around $50-60. That adds up pretty fast over a 2 week trip. 2) If I had a nice hotel room, I'd have more incentive to stay in it. Having a crappy dorm bed motivates me to get out and do more stuff, which is really what I'd like to be doing on a vacation like this one.

However one thing I saw a couple of times that I just do not understand is couples who go on vacation and stay in hostel dorm beds. I mean, seriously, WTF? First of all, if you're a couple, the price difference between a dorm bed and a single room is cut in half. Second of all, you go to a beautiful location with your special someone, you want to spend the night romantically and privately, then sleeping next to them. Not sleeping on top of them...as in on the top bunk while they're in the bottom bed, in a smelly room full of bunk beds and their snoring inhabitants. One of the couples made the big decision to share a tiny bed for one of the nights...maybe they got in some hot dry-humping after everybody else went to bed. Bottom line, I understand wanting to save money but...either save up until you have enough to get a private room on your trip, or go somewhere closer and put the saved airfare towards decent lodging.

Anyway, the trip was lots of fun but I'm glad to be back home, getting back to research, spending time w/ my rady friend, and hopefully pwning the game.


January 15, 2009

THIN! (Part 12)

Ok back to our regularly scheduled content of poker hands...check out the action below.

So we have a pretty standard call with AQ vs a UTG raise...

The flop is pretty nuttish for our hand...but how does it fair in a multiway pot that includes a UTG raise?  Obviously we are behind any sets and any overpair...so I think calling behind is pretty standard.  You could make a case for raising here to get value from draws, but I only think you will get played back by sets, Axhh, and overpairs.  

UTG checks back the turn on a blank 8, and we are faced with a decision to check or bet.  Betting is pretty much a no brainer here...we want to get value from any heart draws, and 99-JJ.  I was prepared to pitch my hand in the event that was check raised here, a utg raiser who c bets into 4 people and then check raises the turn, that's a pretty daymn strong line - and I'm likely no good vs this player...who was not playing particularly aggressive. 

I'm a little confused when UTG check calls...it sure doesn't feel as if he has an overpair, especially when he checks back the river.  I was VERY tempted to make a thin value bet here on the river, but I felt like there were SO few UTG raising hands hands that will call me with worse here.  

He tables a second best KQ and I throw up a bit in my mouth...I missed a MONSTER vb on the river, it would have been razor thin but I DOUBT he is check folding.  It is very possible he could put me on missed hearts.  

It really PAINS ME to miss out on value on the river...its the street where decisions are the most expensive and thus have a monsterous effect on your winrate.  I missed out on a 1/4 - 1/2 buyin here when I missed a river bet.  GROSS.


January 12, 2009

2009 Goals

I figured i'd jump on the "goals" wagon and write up some of my poker goals for 2009...

I am constantly battling to find a balance between finding the optimal number of tables to play while sustaining a solid winrate.  While I have had Full Tilt limit the number tables that I can sit at 8, I am often on several waitlists...and have to constantly battle prioritizing the tables that I sit at.  Obviously this process is far from an exact science (I have to look at opponents, stack sizes, the table avg VPIP, etc.), and it is definitely a distraction while I am playing.  I think that 6 is ideal given my style of play, but its too tempting to not sit with as many donks as possible, ROR.  So I am going to try shoot for an average of 7 tables.  

2) Be a winner at NL1k
Last year I was a loser at 1k...that's not good.  The games at this stakes are tougher and as this is not my regular stake, so I either have to play better, donk off less, and table select better.  

3) 3k hand limit per day
Often if I am bored during the day...I will find myself GRINDING my ass off.  Its ok to grind...but I gotta make the time for other things.  Also, there is NO WAY I can sustain my A game for that long.  

4) Less variance and no more D-Days
Since I am one of the more LAG players at FR, I encounter a bit more variance than the average regular.  I can reduce this by adjusting better to my opponents and playing fewer 3b pots.  In addition, every 3 months or so I find myself down an absurd number of buyins and end up trying to battle through it.  Gotta put an end to this, period.  

5) Sustain a WR of 6 bb's/100.  
Considering the fact that I am multitabling, given the stakes and state of the game, I think this is a good number to shoot for.  


January 4, 2009


So last night I was at a small party and I had a random stranger walk up to me and abruptly ask "hey, what do you do?"  My response - "oh, i'm not working...I am unemployed."  Random stranger's response, "Oh, so what are you aspirations."  Wait a second...dude I don't even know yer fawking name, yet you want to know what I do for a living and my "aspirations?"  WTF is that all about?  I think the fact that these were his two questions pretty much make this guy a d-bag by default.  Seriously bro, we are at a PARTY...this is not a job interview...oh and no, I don't know yer name.  

After I politely explained how I am able to "get by" without working via online poker...he digs further and asks how much money I make!  ROR.  I'm still not sure if this guy was serious, or possibly he was a figment of my imagination.  I really should have responded by asking him how much money HE made.  Here's to inappropriate random questions to complete strangers, ROR!

However, back to the topic of aspirations...it got me thinking a bit about what I want to "do" with my life.  I have been unemployed for 7 months now and have applied for exactly 1 job, ROR.  I truly enjoy playing poker almost everyday and having an extremely flexible schedule.  Heck if I want to grind 5k hands a day, take a vacation, go golfing, its up to me.  A combination of a shitty economy, enjoying poker, lack of motivation to look for a new job, and not knowing for sure what I want to do professionally has left me where I am now...and I'm enjoying every minute of it (except the times when I get my soul ownd by the RNG!).