September 2, 2010

Prefrop madness, leveling, and stacking off light!

I had a such nice warm welcome back to the world of blogging yesterday I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw another post up there with a much more interesting hand. Let's get right into the action.

B is a complete monkey and I go ahead and make a 3b him from the SB. With K6 high (SOOOOOTED!) I'm obviously trying to get him to fold a bunch, or get the pot HU where he's doing something retarded like set mine IP. Unfortunately, much to my chagrin - I am COLD 4b in the BB by an aggro regular. 3b FAILLLLLLLL!

Before I go further, I want to note that I really like the sizing by the BB here, it is small enough that is not risking that much when he has to fold to a 5b and big enough where I simply can not call oop with a marginal hand. I am put at a decision for my stack right there for a relatively cheap price.

The first thought two thoughts that entered my mind were "FML" and "Fold," ROR! However before doing that I did analyze the situation a bit more. The facts were pretty clear - B is a donk and rarely has a hand here and I know this, thus I 3b him. If the BB has even the slightest clue (which I suspect he does) - his response SHOULD be to cold 4b with many a hand as a bruff. Easy SORUTION!


Before anyone who reads this jumps on the bandwagon of 5b shoving K6s a cold 4b, let me get into a few criteria I weighted before doing so.

a) BB is a relatively aggro regular and had a HIGH 4b% percentage
b) I was SOOTED - a nice 3% boost to my equity when called
c) Having a K was probably the biggest factor in reshipping here. This makes it less likely he has hands that he would go with pre that would completely screw me. KK and AK.

Full Tilt Poker $400.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

MP2: $1275.10
CO: $407.20
BTN: $780.60
Hero (SB): $400.00
BB: $439.70
UTG: $536.10
UTG+1: $776.80
UTG+2: $521.70
MP1: $1291.20

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is SB with Kd 6d
6 folds, BTN raises to $14, Hero raises to $44, BB raises to $104, 1 fold, Hero raises to $400, BB calls $296

Flop: ($814.00) 3h 2h 7s

Turn: ($814.00) 5h

River: ($814.00) Js

Final Pot: $814.00
Hero shows Kd 6d
BB shows Jh As
BB wins $811.00
(Rake: $3.00)

While I got stacked and definitely give the BB ALOT of credit for calling off with A high here, I'm still fine with my play. BB tanked down FOREVER before calling it off. Anytime you have your stack in the middle with K high and you get a tank from a guy who put a 1/4 of his chips in the middle - CLEARLY he was bluffing. I can tell you with certainty his original plan was not to cold 4b SNAP get it in vs a 5b. Also I think AJ is at near absolute high end of his 4b bluffing range (that he somehow turned into value, ROR). I think he's going to fold AT and lower, all Kx hands, and any other crap he was bruffing with.

I had 39% equity and and lost, oh well - RELOAD!

Remember folks - red cards are the anti-nuts. Always bet on brack!!!

September 1, 2010

Rush Poker + JJ FAILLLLL

Well as I'm sure you know by now...I've been on a massive blog hiatus the past few months. I'm sure you ALL missed me. And by all, I mean nobody, ROR!

I've pretty much officially transitioned over to RUSH poker - its ridiculously addicting and while you can't game select and pick and choose seats, the ease at which you can fire up/close games is amazing. The games are by no means easy, but after a few good months at 1/2, I felt confident enough to return to my old stomping grounds at 2/4 when they opened up RUSH at that limit earlier this month.

The caliber of players sitting at these games is a true testament of how popular RUSH has become. You've got guys who are regulars 5/10+ coming down to swim in the RUSH waters! Below is a hand vs David "Raptor" Benefield. I got stacked...but I just think it's hilarious that this guy has played as high as 500/1000, RORRR! And apparently he's a winner there, according to PTR, he's up 333k in 679 hands, ROR!

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): $402.70
UTG: $466.80
UTG+1: $560.60
UTG+2: $866.20
MP1: $400.00
David Benefield: $414.00
CO: $584.00
BTN: $534.70
SB: $403.00

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is BB with Jd Jh
4 folds, David Benefield raises to $10, 3 folds, Hero raises to $34, David Benefield raises to $88, Hero requests TIME, Hero raises to $402.70 all in, David Benefield calls $314.70

Flop: ($807.40) 8d Kh As

Turn: ($807.40) 3h

River: ($807.40) Qs

Final Pot: $807.40
Hero shows Jd Jh (a pair of Jacks)
David Benefield shows Ah Ks (two pair, Aces and Kings)
David Benefield wins $804.40
(Rake: $3.00)



July 15, 2010

Go Andrew!!!!!

For those of you who aren't aware, Andrew Brokos (aka Foucault, author of the outstanding Thinking Poker blog linked on our right sidebar) is making ANOTHER deep run in the Main Event. Congratulations and good luck to him. We'll certainly be rooting for him all day here - if you want to follow along as well, he has been sending updates to his twitter page:

July 1, 2010

THIN! (Part 19)

Perhaps the king of THIN! thus far:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $63.55
UTG+2: $31.90
MP1: $88.15
MP2: $50.50
CO: $45.80
BTN: $129.40
Hero (SB): $61.80
BB: $51.55
UTG: $85.95

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Ac Td
5 folds, CO raises to $1.50, BTN calls $1.50, Hero raises to $7, 2 folds, BTN calls $5.50 (Squeeze here is a little thin - I'm not doing it every time, just sometimes. Button is a pretty loose player, so could be calling pretty wide. CO is a standard TAG type, so I think he folds to the 3b quite a bit.)

Flop: ($16.00) 7c 5c Jd (2 players)
Hero bets $11, BTN calls $11 (Not the greatest flop to one-barrel on, but I do have backdoor straight and flush draws, and is it too much to ask that he fold QT or something to me on this frop?)

Turn: ($38.00) 3c (2 players)
Hero bets $22.50, BTN raises to $111.40 all in, Hero calls $21.30 all in (He does call, and I pick up backdoor clubs. I'm not folding this hand. I think he's just floating the flop with a pretty weak hand a bunch of the time. Like I'd estimate a jack or better to be less than 1/4th of his range. I've got 3 options: 1) open shove $44 into $38 2) bet something that might seem to give me room to fold, like $22 3) check, hope he bets smallish himself then shove over it, and lead river if he checks back. Of these, I think 2) is by far the best. 1) seems very draw-ish - I think he'd call me with pretty much any pair, and all the hands he's folding are worse than mine. If I had AcAs, I'd like this line more to get max value from lower pairs. 3) is pretty risky, because he could just shove himself when I check, which puts me in a pretty gross spot, and is really the only situation where I'd end up folding, which would really be a disaster against his range for calling the frop. I like 2) much more, since it looks more like I'm trying to get some value out of one pair myself, without putting all my money in yet, so he might find a fold with 66 or 76 or whatever. Or even better, he might call and then fold when I hail-mary shove the river. Also, he might shove over my bet with a bunch of worse draws. At the time I was thinking something in the T9/98 with one club range. Little did I know I'd be in even better shape than I could have hoped for!)

River: ($125.60) 9s (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $125.60
BTN shows Ks Tc (King Jack high)
Hero shows Ac Td (Ace Jack high)
Hero wins $122.60
(Rake: $3.00)

95.5% equity on the turn there with ace-high!


June 29, 2010

I Finally Play a Hand Well (I think...)

I'll be honest, part of the reason I haven't been posting much recently is that I haven't really felt too on top of my game. In particular, my non-showdown winnings have been hurting a bit over the past couple of months compared to what they have been in the past. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing - if you're at a table full of total calling stations, then the optimal response is to forget about non-showdown winnings and just try to maximize the pot size when you've got the best hand and crush in showdown winnings. But I think at the Rush games I've been playing, it isn't necessarily that (i.e., that I am forgoing bluffing opportunities), but that I am getting bluffed and re-bluffed myself a fair amount, and also getting called down lighter than before in some spots.

So I have been more on the lookout recently for more spots where I could run a big bluff, induce some bluffs from opponents, as well as make some thinner value bets in spots where I have been getting looked up light. Here's one hand where I think I played pretty well. Or maybe I just got lucky this time, you can decide for yourself:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+2: $131.70
MP1: $17.95
MP2: $50.25
CO: $54.80
Hero (BTN): $67.40
SB: $69.65
BB: $21.50
UTG: $28.80
UTG+1: $103.10

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Qh 9h
5 folds, CO raises to $1.50, Hero raises to $5, 2 folds, CO calls $3.50 (The villain in this hand and I didn't really have a history, but I have him at 27/21 over 129 hands, so he is quite an active player. Given that, Q9s is way too good to fold on the button vs. his cutoff open. The main reason I 3-bet instead of flat is that the small blind is fairly squeeze-happy, and calling would put him in a perfect squeeze spot. I don't really want to face a re-raise from him 140 bbs deep, I'd rather just get the pot down to heads up between myself and the CO, or take it down immediately.)

Flop: ($10.75) 6h 4c Ad (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $6.50, CO calls $6.50 (Can hardly ask for a better flop to c-bet. He calls, which means he most likely has something in the AJish range, or perhaps a 76s. It's possible he has AK. I'd usually expect a player like him to just 4b preflop and get it in with AK in these positions, but you never know.)

Turn: ($23.75) Qd (2 players)
CO checks, Hero checks (I wasn't really planning on barreling the turn anyway, but I'm certainly not now that I picked up a pair.)

River: ($23.75) Tc (2 players)
CO bets $15, Hero raises to $55.90 all in, CO folds (OK, here's where it gets interesting. Basically I decided that I have enough very strong hands in my range that I can shove here and get some respect from the medium-strength hand that he almost certainly has. AT is pretty much the best hand he could have. It's possible he has AQ, but I think he 4-bets it preflop a fair amount of the time, plus I have a Q myself. I can have pretty much all of the hands that beat AT. I could certainly check a set or top two on the turn some of the time, AT most of the time, and more importantly, I am checking back TT and KJ there every single time, and 3-betting with them pre-flop pretty much every single time, and he can pretty much never have KJ or TT. Finally, I decided that he was capable of reading hands a little bit, and could fold an AJ, AK, or even possibly an AT here. Or course it's possible he had just a pair of sixes and I was betting for value!)


Final Pot: $53.75
Hero wins $51.10
(Rake: $2.65)

June 3, 2010

Brack is Beautiful (Part 22)

Wow, way too long since our last post. Some random stuff since last post:

1) Went to visit Russia with the gf, was pretty sweet.
2) Been doing a lot of work/research, not that much poker playing...trying to load up for the job market, which starts in the fall, and I hope will not end with me being unemployed.
3) What poker I have been playing has been of the Rush variety.

Anyway, what better way to break a long dry spell than to remind ourselves of the power of SPADES????

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (CO): $65.00
BTN: $151.20
SB: $79.90
BB: $14.50
UTG: $150.75
UTG+1: $53.80
UTG+2: $65.40
MP1: $56.05
MP2: $58.05

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Ks 4s
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.50, 1 fold, SB calls $1.25, 1 fold (Pretty standard open for me unless the button is just a total 3b monkey)

Flop: ($3.50) 7c 3s 9s (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks (Not my standard play, but I do include it, since 1) I will get check-raised a fair amount on this frop, and I don't want to get it in this deep with 2nfd 2) if I check here and make a frush later, I should get some good value for it, whereas if I bet here, get a call, and make a frush later, I might not get as much 3) I have the best hand at least some of the time, and most of the better hands are not folding to a c-bet, so I'll probably have to barrel the turn too to get him to fold any pair or a decent A-high...which I'm not averse to doing at all 4) protects me in other hands when I want to check down AQ or 44 or something and the board gets gross later, means that he can't blow me off my hands with marginal showdown value quite as profitably)

Turn: ($3.50) 5s (2 players) (I forgot to mention the other reason...spades get there EVERY TIME)
SB checks, Hero bets $2.50, (Great spot for me to bet, because I apparently rep so little after having checked the flop, it looks like I'm just stabbing, which I would do quite a bit with any random spade or six or something. Also it's a board that's supposed to hit a pre-flop caller, so he might think he can raise and try to represent sets/2prs/pair+sd, flush himself since he'd be much more likely to check the frop with a fd than I would)
SB raises to $6.50, Hero raises to $13.50, SB calls $7 (I get the raise out of him, and I decide to go ahead and 3b, and not that big. I could have made it a little more, but again, if I were bluffing, I'd make it pretty small too, both to lay myself a good price at getting him to fold complete air, and also because I wouldn't want to put him in a fold or shove situation with a bare As or 67 of 66 with a spade or something. I'd rather get him to call and then check/fold the river.)

River: ($30.50) 6d (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $34.50, SB folds (At this point, he either has a naked As, or something with some pretty decent showdown value, like 2pr+, maybe a straight. Also this card looks scary, like the kind that I might bluff, but not very credibly, if I had 3b the turn with an As. I say not very credibly because the reason it's scary is that it completes a bunch of straights, but I think he might think that I wouldn't overbet a bare 8, or certainly not a bare 4, for value here with the flush and higher straights possible. So I was hoping he'd think I have air or flush, and a flush not very often after I checked frop, and make a call with a worse hand. Brackchips said I should have bet less, but whatever, that's my reasoning. Anyway he folded after some contemplation, so I guess we'll never know.)

Final Pot: $30.50
Hero wins $29.00
(Rake: $1.50)


April 12, 2010

THIN! (Part 18)

Haven't had a THIN post in quite sometime and felt that this hand simply could not be overlooked for a THIN nomination. Been grinding out NLHE quite a bit with decent success, one thing I have noticed along with Bruechips is that NOBODY FOLDS anymore. NOBODY. From one pair to friggin 8th has become quite difficult to pry people off any of any semblance of a hand. It's friggin nuts. I guess it is just part of the educational evolution part of NLHE as the players get progressively better and the fish pool dwindles. The players that will succeed need to continuously find new ways to exploit their opponents. 3betting/cbetting by even bad players is becoming pretty standard - alot of your edge will come in later streets where players are uncomfortable/unsure as to the best play.

Enter Provided you can VB your hands better than you opponents - you will be ahead of the game. Being able to VB later streets as your villain's range becomes more polarized will maximize your WR.

Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $202.85
UTG+1: $263.25
MP: $200.00
CO: $202.50
Hero (BTN): $490.20
SB: $100.95
BB: $55.55

Pre Flop: ($3.00) Hero is BTN with Ks Jc
2 folds, MP raises to $7, 1 fold, Hero calls $7, 2 folds
(this call is not completely standard - i think a mix of calling, folding and 3b'ing are reasonable. One thing to note is that we are 7 handed. The reason I chose calling here is I felt I might get played back if I 3b here since I had been pretty aggro pre IP, I felt I could outplay him on most flops.)

Flop: ($17.00) 2h Kh 3s (2 players)
MP bets $11, Hero calls $11
(Boom goes the dynamite? Good flop but not necessarily I feel super comfortable raise getting it in with. Raise folding would be retarted for obvious reasons. I call the standard cbet - with the intention to take him into town (value town that is!) if I sense weakness on later street.)

Turn: ($39.00) 7c (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $26, MP calls $26
(Pretty much the nut card for me that does not improve my hand...when he x's I'm quite confident that I am best here, I am betting for value but it would be REALLY gross if I got XR here, honestly idk what I would have done. Maybe shit my pants and reshoved, but that is probably influenced by the fact that I know the outcome of the hand.)

River: ($91.00) 9s (2 players)
MP checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $446.20 all in, MP requests TIME, MP calls $156 all in
(After he xc's the turn I can be pretty confident that he does not have a one pair+ hand that beats me. I really think that AK, KQ would have tried to sqz out some more value on the turn when the brick rolls off. It is obvious he is trying to get to SD without putting any more money in the pot. When I am trying to figure out what is the best to bet, I realized that I could very easily make my hand look like a bluff with an overbet shove...and given that NOBODY folds these days I figured it was the best play. I felt that KQ was the ONLY hand that I would be value cutting myself on - but against worse one pair K hands and hands like TT-QQ, I could pwn him hard.)

Final Pot: $403.00
MP mucks Td Kc
Hero shows Ks Jc (a pair of Kings)
Hero wins $400.00
(Rake: $3.00)


March 29, 2010

A Case of the Mondays (Part 12)

Tarrantino's take on TopGun...undoubtedly one of the best youtube clips across the entire interweb. Tremendous stuff.


March 15, 2010

High Stakes Poker Recap, Season 6, Episode 5 THAT is what I like to see in an episode of HSP. Four massive pots that I can remember off the top of my head, three of them very interesting and I think well-played on both sides. With all the action from episode 5, I don't think I'll have time to talk about episode 4, whose best action was a massive non-poker side bet between durrrr and Ivey.

The players are getting more and more aggressive as the match progresses with three, four- and five-bet bluffing pre-flop and re-bluffing post-flop. The best players have adjusted by going for thinner and thinner value.

For instance, Daniel Negreanu manages to get value with a cold 4-bet shove preflop with KQ. One player who needs no excuse to play looser is Eli Elezra. We accumulated more evidence in the case of "Eli Elezra vs. folding", as he called off another thirty-something grand with eight-high preflop. I'm not even kidding, you can watch the tape. It's actually not as terrible a call as you might think once Daniel shows the Q. Eli is calling off $35,900 to win $63,800, so he needs at least 36% equity to call. Given that Daniel shows a Q, Eli has only 37.8% equity against a range of QQ and Q9-QA. Even tightening that up significantly to QQ,AQs,AQo,KQs, Eli has 35.4% equity, which is pretty close to a break-even call. If Daniel doesn't show the Q, it's a worse call because there's more of a chance of Daniel having an overpair. For instance against 77+,ATs+,KQs,AJo+ Eli has only 32.3% equity. But if it's close, we know Eli is calling! He does claim in an earlier hand with Dario that he would have folded his jacks to a river shove, but I have serious doubts.

The first really interesting hand involved, of course, Tom Dwan, and Dario Minieri. Durrrr opens in the cutoff with KTo and Dario 3-bets with K3hh. Durrrr calls, of course, and the flop comes Th3s2c. Durrrr checks to Dario, who bets $13,700 into the $26k pot, and that's where the standard play ends. The first thing to realize about this hand is that Dario is a 3-bet MANIAC, especially in position. He also c-bets probably a little bit more liberally than many of the other players at the table. But even without that, his range is just so wide that KTo is pretty much the nuts against this range, even 200 bbs deep in a 3-bet pot. Most players in durrrr's spot would just call this flop bet, because 1) if you raise, he folds all of his air, and don't you want him to keep barreling on later streets? 2) if he 3-bets, you're in a gross spot because you're afraid of an overpair, AT, or God forbid, a set, in which case you're drawing practically dead 3) if you raise and he calls, you have to play two more streets out of position, which will be tough. These were all the things I was thinking as I watched Dario make the flop bet, and I was dead wrong. Raising is absolutely correct, for a few reasons: 1) it is hard to rep a bluff by calling. By calling, you give Dario a pretty good idea that you have one pair, and AT or KT is as good as you could possibly have, because JJ or better probably 4-bets preflop. You can still induce bluffs by checking, but it's likely to be one barrel or MAAAYYYYBE two, and of course you let free cards come off that could make Dario the better hand. So you put yourself in a position where Dario has a very good idea of what you have, you have no idea what Dario has, and he has position. 2) Dario is fairly likely to spazz out to a raise here, and although sometimes you will get it in drawing pretty thin if Dario has a monster, there are actually a lot of hands that he can go nuts with here. It's common knowledge between Dario and durrrr that Dario is 3-betting a huge range pre-flop and c-betting this flop pretty much every time, so we know that durrrr will be giving action often, either by calling or raising, fairly often, so as to prevent Dario from stealing him blind. So if Dario thinks durrrr isn't merging his check-raising range by check-raising with, say, KTo, then the 3-bet shove on the flop is going to show a good profit with all sorts of hands like any ace-wheel card hand that makes either a pair or a gutter on this flop, particularly if it comes with a backdoor flush draw (and since this is a rainbow flop, if Dario has a suited hand, pretty good chance he has a backdoor draw). Against a lot of players this would be a great play since their check-raising range consists of sets, the occasional slowplayed AA/KK, and then a whole bunch of absolute air and gutter balls that they won't call off 100k more with. So Dario shoves it all in and runs into the absolute worst hand for him, a higher pair with the same kicker, which durrrr pretty much instacalls. Raise/calling this flop by durrrr is just a great play. I know it seems like I'm just nut-hugging durrrr all the time, but the guy is just a monster. Get used to it, because you're about to hear more about it later in this post. I don't think Dario played the hand terribly at all, he just got outleveled a bit by Tom Dwan.

A similar hand played out between Jason Mercier and Phil Ivey. A steaming Gus Hansen opens in early position to $4200 with Q6o. Eli "never met a call I didn't like" Elezra wants to see a flop with 9c5c. Ivey calls on the button with a pair of nines, putting the action on Jason Mercier, who makes it $22,100 to go with Ah4h. Given the state of the game right now (and I'm not just talking about this particular HSP episode, I mean even low-stakes online games that I play at), this play is almost standard at this point. At some point over the last couple of years, people started realizing that 3-betting EP raisers can be very profitable, even against tight openers. I mentioned this a little in my post on Rush poker because I think Rush accelerated this trend to some extent. So when Jason gets a suited ace in the blinds and looking at $15kish in the middle, I think he, most players at this table, and even many regulars at $.50/1 Rush tables, are jacking it up all day long. Ivey is aware of this of course, and will be calling quite a bit lighter than the nines he has. They see a flop of 7h3d2s with $55k in the middle. The flop is similar to the one between Dario and durrrr in that it's rainbow, which puts a lot of backdoor flush draws out, and includes two little cards, which puts wheel draw and pair+ace hands out there. Jason bets $28,700. I'm definitely surprised that Ivey raised here. I don't know that much about Jason's game and maybe Ivey does, but I still don't know if I like this raise by Ivey. The two main differences here between this hand and the durrrr/Dario matchup: 1) Ivey, the pre-flop caller has position, whereas durrrr did not. This argues for calling instead of raising for Phil. It's harder for Jason to pot-control, fire barrels, etc., on later streets without position, which makes it easier for Ivey to make thin value bets and pot control himself than it would have been for durrrr. Also, Phil CAN represent a bluff by calling here, precisely for those reasons. 2) Jason's range is tighter than Dario's, both preflop and on the flop. While the pre-flop 3-bet represents a fairly wide range as I discussed earlier, perhaps as wide as TT+,AQ+,KQs-87s, any suited ace and many suited kings (~11% of all hands), I'd estimate Dario's 3-betting range from the button vs. a durrrr open is at least twice that big. I'm not sure if Phil raises for the same reasons durrrr does in the KT hand - i.e., because he thinks his hand is very strong vs. Jason's range and he thinks Jason will 3-bet bluff a lot. If so, he'll need Jason to be doing a LOT of 3-bet bluffing and/or his range to be a lot wider than what I claimed above. Against that range on this flop, Phil has 60% equity. And I don't think Jason is shoving in all of it. Phil's raise, to $78.7k, is pretty large to be one that's intended to just protect his hand by folding out overcards. It works out this time, as Mercier shoves in for $110kish more. I think Ivey eventually decides that he's put in too much money to fold and does call. I like Jason's play though. He's the player with the much stronger range in the hand, in that he will often have strong overpairs, and after Phil's overcall pre-flop, nines are really the best unimproved pocket pair he can have, to go with the rare sets. Given that Jason is going to have the stronger range and therefore often be making big value bets, he has to balance it with some bluffs, and a gutter, over, and backdoor flush draw is as good a hand as any to pick. If Phil is raise/folding the flop with things like 87s or some other gutter-balls plus the occasional air, Jason's shove will show an easy profit. Even as the cards lay, Jason had 32% equity, which isn't a disaster. But Jason bricks out, sending a $425k pot to Ivey, and Jason to the rail.

But all that is just an appetizer for the last hand of the episode. Phil Laak sits down at the table and immediately raises it up with A9o in early position (humble advice to Phil Laak: don't do that at this table). Eli calls with Ac7c (was there even a doubt?), Ivey calls on the button with Ad6d, Negreanu somehow finds a call in the small blind with Jc3c, putting the action on durrrr, who looks down at 9s8s (SPADES!!!). The Unabomber starts talking about how he expects durrrr to raise now, which is an attempt to get durrrr not to raise (the logic goes like this: buddy, I know what you're trying to do, I'm totally prepared for it, so don't mess around...the actual process is: don't raise, I can't call!). Durrrr reads this pretty easily and throws in the chips for a call along with a $25k chip.

Everyone folds (Eli especially reluctantly, announcing that letting go of the Ac7c is the "worst fold of his life", so that he won't look dumb on TV if durrrr has 9-high) but Ivey, and they see a flop of KdQcTd with $70.7k in the middle. Durrrr c-bets $45.8k, which I think is pretty much mandatory. Although it looks like a pretty gross flop, durrrr sets himself a pretty good price at roughly 2/3 pot. This means that if Ivey folds more than 1/3 of the time, durrrr shows immediate profit. The flop nails all of Ivey's broadway hands, but there are enough low pocket pairs and suited connectors in Ivey's pre-flop calling range that this bet will show a profit, as I don't think Ivey is fighting back with those hands on this flop really ever. Ivey is faced with a big decision here. He could raise and probably fold out some hands that do beat him. All underpairs, for instance. Perhaps AQ/AK/JJ. However Phil decides to call because: 1) They are VERY deep. durrrr says he started the hand with about 750k and Ivey has him covered. 2) durrrr could have a monster like a set or a straight, or a lower diamond draw, all of which will pay off big time if a diamond comes, and Ivey doesn't get a good result from either group of hands by raising the flop 3) Ivey has position, so he SHOULD be able to take it away from Dwan if he has air on later streets, since who keeps firing shells with air at Phil fawking Ivey on this board?? 4) I think durrrr would often be checking a flop like this to Ivey with some of the better hands that he'd fold to a raise if he had bet, like AQ, maybe even AK/QJ/JJ.

Phil's call brings the pot to around $160k and the turn brings a total blank, the 3s. Durrrr's decision here is basically check and give up, bet the turn and give up on the river, or fire both the turn and the river. I don't think there's any way he can check the turn and then bet the river if the turn checks through. It's just too difficult to represent a hand on the river after checking the turn on that draw-heavy a board in that big a pot.

So which play is best? First, what does Ivey's range look like to durrrr? So far he has called Laak's open on the button, called durrrr's $25k re-raise preflop, and called the 2/3 pot c-bet on the flop. This is a pure float almost never IMHO. It's possible Ivey has a set of tens. If he flopped a set of tens, I'm pretty sure he'd just call on the flop. If he raises and gets it in, it's almost always going to be against a straight, a higher set, or a monster draw (pay no mind to Gabe Kaplan saying durrrr is never folding AK or AA nearly 1000 bbs deep on this flop, but KQ and J9 are other candidates for inclusion). Against that range, Phil would have only 39% equity with a set of tens. The unlikely part of the set of tens story is the pre-flop action, where Phil just called when Laak raised and Eli called in front of him. It's true that earlier he made a very similar play with 99, but I think at least some of the time he'd be re-raising with TT there. KQ is in roughly the same spot. AJ is another very strong hand Ivey could have. Again, he'd probably 3-bet it pre-flop at least occasionally, but I think he'd call/call preflop with AJ more than TT. I think he raises the flop with it though. There are a lot of bad turn cards for AJ, i.e., a lot of ways the best hand can become the worst one, or at least have its action killed. Any A, any J, any 9, any diamond, and even the board pairing is bad for Ivey. That's a lot of cards to worry about. AJ has 57% equity against the strong range I mentioned earlier. Although TT also has to worry about all these cards, bottom set isn't really strong enough to get it all in with this deep on this board, and also could improve by filling up to beat a flopped straight. By contrast, AJ, being the nuts, is obviously strong enough to raise and get it in with (although in PLO with no redraw this definitely wouldn't be the case), and can only get worse on the turn or river. The same applies, to a somewhat lesser extent to J9s, although I think Jd9d will just call always. This rounds out the really strong part of Ivey's range for calling pre- and on flop. I'd say it's something like 20% of his AJ hands, 50% of his TT hands, 60% of his J9s hands, and 100% of his KQ hands. From durrrr's perspective, with the 9s in his hand, that makes .2*16 + .5*3 + .6*3 + 9 = 15.5 combos. These hands Ivey is certainly not folding on the turn and is probably not folding on almost any river (an Ad and a durrrr barrel gets Ivey off KQ for sure, but I don't think there are enough of these situations that durrrr would want to bet the turn if he knew Ivey had KQ).

What else is in there that durrrr might hope to get a fold from with further betting? First, many diamond draws. Diamond draw hands that will probably call one more bet on the turn and then fold unimproved on the river: AdQd (less likely due to preflop action), Ad9d,Ad8d,Ad7d,Ad6d,Ad5d,Ad4d,Ad3d,Ad2d,QdJd,Qd9d. We'll throw out AdQd for reasons mentioned and call it 10 hands even. Diamond draw hands that fold immediately on the turn (I think): 9d8d,9d7d,8d7d,7d6d,6d5d,5d4d, perhaps others...but let's just call it 6 combos. The second group of hands are other hands with some showdown value and also some chance of improving. These include AQ, JJ (again, both less likely because of preflop action, but still possible), and then the jack+pair hands, KJ, QJ, JT. Tough to say how often Ivey is calling pre-flop with the offsuit varieties of these hands. But given that there are 12 combos of each possible, let's say Ivey calls preflop always with the suited versions, and half the time with offsuit ones. This means 3 + (1/2)*9 = 7.5 combinations of each hand. Let's call it 22 even for the total. You'll notice immediately that we're already getting past the combinations of monsters that Ivey could have mentioned above. If Ivey calls turn and folds river unimproved with the jack+pair hands as well as the diamond hands mentioned above, that's 32 combinations of hands calling turn and folding river, along with the 6 that fold immediately.

With so few hands folding on the turn (only the weak diamond draws, perhaps some other random hands not considered here like the occasional ATo), barreling turn and giving up on river is clearly the worst idea (you probably could have guessed that from the beginning). What about betting $123k on the turn and then $270k on some rivers? Which rivers? Let's assume for the moment the worst for this strategy, that Ivey will slowplay his monster hands and call down on every river durrrr bets. Let's also say that durrrr will fire any river that's not an A, J, or 9, and that Ivey folds his jack+pair hands to these bets unless he improves to trips, and checks back all jack rivers. With his diamond draw hands, he obviously calls or shoves if a diamond hits, and we'll say he folds any other river to a bet, and also checks back a jack on the river.

Calculating the EV of two bets:

Against 15.5 combos of monsters:
EV vs. TT&KQ:
10.8*((33/44)*(-123-270) + (4/44)*(123 + 140) + (7/44)(-123)) = -3136
EV vs. AJ/J9:
4.7*((35/44)*(-123-270) + (9/44)*(-123)) = -1587

Against 10 combos of diamond draws:
(as an approximation, assume all are ace-high draws)
10*((9/44)*(-123-270) + (3/44)*(123+140) + (6/44)*(-123) + (26/44)*(123+140)) = 762

Against 22 combos of jack+pair:
22*((7/44)*(-123)+(2/44)*(-123-270)+(35/44)*(123+140)) = 3779

Add up all these numbers, you get -183. Then divide by 15.5 + 10 + 22 = 37.5, Ivey's total hand combinations, and you get an EV of -4.9k. Using our assumptions, it's a -EV play by a RAZOR thin margin. Change things just a little bit (for instance, if Ivey never has TT or if he plays QT like QJ), then it becomes +EV for durrrr.

Whether through these calculations or some other, durrrr does end up firing the two more shells. The river happens to give Ivey a pair of sixes, and amazingly, he contemplates calling the $270k for QUITE a while. He is surely aware that durrrr probably puts him on something like the range I mentioned above, and could be trying to bluff him. Part of the problem is that durrrr still could be bluffing with a better hand (99,T9,JT, say), which is why Ivey asked how much durrrr had left - he might be better off shoving than calling to avoid this possibility, albeit at the cost of another $300k if durrrr does have a hand to call him with. Finally after much contemplation Ivey does lay down fourth pair to the $270k river bet.

I'll leave off the commentary there before this thing becomes a novel. But needless to say, both of these guys were way above the rim on this hand. It was exciting to watch. Another HSP season, another legendary durrrr bluff. In a show featuring a number of daring massive post-flop bluffs, his was the only one that worked. Hopefully the action only heats up from here.


March 14, 2010

PLO - Misc

Hey folks, thought I'd throw in a PLO hand and mix things up a bit. I have spent several months trying to learn the ropes of the game and despite my poor results, I really have enjoyed the challenge of a new game. The state of NLHE games is pretty rough right now, the game is by no means "solved" - but there are fewer and fewer fishy games. That being said, IMHO there is definitely some money to be made at the PLO tables - provided you can handle the insane variance, ROR!

Let's get into the action...

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 5 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $174.60
UTG: $204.90
CO: $160.00
BTN: $386.90
Hero (SB): $346.10

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is SB with 3s 4c 6d 2h
1 fold, CO raises to $12, 1 fold, Hero calls $10, 1 fold

Flop: ($28.00) Jh 5d 2s (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $14, Hero raises to $52, CO calls $38

Turn: ($132.00) 4h (2 players)
Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $132, CO calls $96 all in

River: ($324.00) Th (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $324.00
CO shows 7h Ac 9h Ah (a flush, Ace high)
Hero shows 3s 4c 6d 2h (a straight, Six high)
CO wins $321.00
(Rake: $3.00)

Prefrop - I'm by no means a PLO expert, but I believe my defense here in a HU pot where I will be closing the action is pretty standard. That being said, if I were in the SB, it might be closer towards a fold especially when you are in a pot with a squeeze happy BB. While I'd obviously prefer a rundown with some higher cards and frush draw potential - this is a hand I feel you can defend as it rarely dominated and has quite a bit of deception when you do make a hand.

Frop - And BOOM goes the dynamite...I flop bottom pair, and a nice wrap. It is a pretty standard spot for a xr here because the board looks harmless - and I expect the villain to cbet most of his range on this board. Much to my surprise the villain cold calls (given the stack sizes, I figured he would fold his air or simply go with his made hands of 1 pair+). When he calls here I thought he might be running some kind of soul read and folding to a straight completing turn card.

Turn - always nice to bink the nuts. I ship it in and get snapped off by dry aces (that picked up a FD on the turn). Unfortunately by some freak accident hearts gets there and I rose the pot...can't win em all!


March 1, 2010

High Stakes Poker Recap, Season 6, Episodes 1-3

Finally, a HSP recap. As always, everything here is just my opinion. If I say that your favorite player did something I don't agree with, and you think that I'm just an idiot, fine. As a low-stakes player, I'm not claiming I have all the answers concerning the analysis of a high stakes poker game.

Anyway, reasons I haven't recapped until now: 1) been very busy, 2) HSP has, kind of a dud so far this year. I'm sure it will heat up before the season ends, but there haven't been that many interesting hands, the new show segments of Kara Scott interviewing the players and Daniel Negreanu telling stories from poker history a) aren't entertaining or worthwhile in and of themselves, and worse, b) take away from air time that could be allocated to showing more hands. I understand that some viewers want to "get inside the heads" of the top players and have them explain their reasoning, but often it's difficult to relate all these reasons even to another top player, much less a lay audience and an interviewer asking unspecific questions. And that's even if the player being interviewed wants to convey information, which they have every incentive not to do. I think it's best just to show the hands and let viewers decide for themselves what's going on, perhaps with help from the commentator (although I often find myself disagreeing with Gabe Kaplan, so listen to him for actual poker analysis at your own risk - he is pretty funny though. His shit about Hoivold saving up for some new shirts at the Army/Navy depot in Oslo and Hellmuth not owning any clothes that aren't black was hilarious).

As for the hands shown, Phil Hellmuth is still pretty awful, although he might be slowly realizing it if his decision to not re-buy is any indication. The chatter around the tables recently has gotten a little too overt in terms of calling Phil out, and he might be getting the hint that when they say that he sucks at cash games, they aren't kidding. It does provide for high comedy though...check out this clip starting around the 7:40 minute mark:

Daniel Negreanu has gotten a little better, but not much. Durrrr still pwns, and Ivey runs like a Hellenic deity. He also seems to be quite fond of floating and barreling, sometimes multiple streets, on dry boards in limped pots. Sample hand from first episode:

Hellmuth open limps AQs, as is his wont, Ivey completes in the SB with T6o and Hoivold checks J8o. The flop comes out a bone dry K43r and Ivey bets half-pot into both players. Hoivold folds, Hellmuth calls with his ace high and they see an 8c turn, completing the rainbow. Another Ivey bet forces Hellmuth to fold. You could see similar hands in each episode. Ivey is just extremely comfortable in his ability to outplay some of the other players on later streets. The entire point of his flop bet there is to get heads-up with Hellmuth so he can just crush him on the turn and river all day long.

Another Ivey-pwns-Hellmuth hand from the first episode occured when Hellmuth made an oversized open to $4k with AJo (btw, if you listened to the pokerroad live radio broadcast of the ME FT this year, how funny was it to listen to Hellmuth talk about his genius advice to Shulman that he should make his opens be 5x the bb "so they can't set mine against you"? Yikes....). Ivey pops it up to $15k with QQ. Inexplicably, Hellmuth then raises to $55k. And then folds to a shove. Of course he can't call the shove given stack sizes (I think Hellmuth is something like $190kish deep at that point)...but then why raise to $55k? Really, Hellmuth should probably just be folding to the Ivey 3-bet because he's just going to get crushed by Ivey. But then extending the logic of backwards induction, Hellmuth should just quit the table before the game gets started.

Then he loses a big pot to Esfandiari and starts to straddle. Why not just announce to the whole table that you're steaming? Everybody knows that Phil never wants to straddle, so him deciding to do it unilaterally is just telling everyone that he's off his game, such as it is. Unsurprisingly, he ends up losing his stack to Ivey. Don't worry though, eventually Hellmuth will beat Ivey "for a million...or two."

Episode 2 included an interesting hand between durrrr and Dario Minieri (who can really play IMHO). Daniel Negreanu opens in early position with 54s (a little bit loose, but not way out of line) and gets called by Gus with AKo. I'm not sure what Gus's plan is for this hand, but for most of his plans for the rest of the hand after calling, I think I like re-raising better. The problem is that he'll get squeezed by some player at the table a fair amount of the time if he just calls. If they were all 100 bbs deep, he would probably then be in a profitable spot to just 4-bet shove, but given that all the players are way deeper than that, this option is less attractive. So then he will have to just call and be out of position for the rest of the hand with AKo, or fold, which is pretty weak. If he raises, he probably gets rid of everyone else, and also could easily get some value from Daniel, who as we have seen doesn't mind calling pre-flop re-raises with speculative hands. Nor do I think he has to worry too much about getting 4-bet by Daniel as a bluff.

Sure enough, he durrrr squeezes with K5s (spades!). As we see here and in the next episode, durrrr likes 3-betting UTG raisers. He knows that they know that they're supposed to have a big hand there, and so when they have anything less than a monster (like not AA/KK), it's a pretty tough spot, especially deep. K5s is a pretty good hand to do it with, as it has some card removal value (having a king makes it less likely that the other players have KK or AK), and some monster-cracking power with its suitedness and big-little-ness. The big-littleness is often a disadvantage since it means it's not connected at all, but if you want a non-premium hand that has card-removal value, it has to be disconnected (unless it's ace-little, which has the added value of wheel potential). But you make up for it somewhat by the possibility of making two pair, which has more value for K5, when the opponent can flop top pair with AK, or have AA or a worse two pair (say, on K65 or K54) but think that you are value betting with AK. Two pair is less valuable with a suited connected hand like 89, because most of the boards that have and eight and a nine don't look too great for the opponent.

Perhaps realizing that durrrr likes to squeeze UTG raisers, or just giddy at the prospect of being dealt two tens (a pair!), Dario cold 4-bets to $36.6k, maybe a touch big, but a very nice bet. Definitely better than cold calling (which I think he'd almost never do with a super-premium hand) or folding, given how wide durrrr's range is. Of course, then you have to bother with playing in a big pot post-flop with durrrr, and durrrr is always capable of 5-betting air. But this time durrrr just calls. The flop comes down Q76 with two diamonds, Dario bets half-pot and durrr folds quickly. It's kind of unfortunate that this flop came down, as I'd really be interested to see what would happen if an ace or king flopped, or even something like Q53 with one spade where durrrr might be a little more likely to try a float. All we know is that durrrr had some plans for some flops, and Q76 with two diamonds wasn't one of them. Or maybe durrrr thought that Dario would be giving up on the flop without c-betting a fair amount of the time?

Looks like this post got long kinda fast, so I'll wrap up with just one more hand from Episode 3: Eli limps QTo in early position (BTW, I've mentioned this before, but that guy HATES folding...I'm not saying he's a bad player, but he does probably call than any other player at that table), Ivey raises it up to 5k with T9o, and gets called by Daniel in the cutoff with 9d8d and Gus on the button with As3s. Of course Eli isn't going anywhere and puts in the extra $4200 to close out the action. The flop comes JdJh7d and it checks around. Ivey doesn't c-bet, presumably because he's against 3 players, none of them like to fold, and this is a board where he's probably not folding out any 7 or better, any straight draw, any flush draw, probably gets floated by some ace-highs, and called by some underpairs sometimes too. But Daniel not betting is strange to me. There are so many great reasons to bet in Daniel's shoes. First, you can fold out Gus a lot of the time and buy yourself position on the other two players for the rest of the hand. Second, Ivey has already checked, which means he doesn't have a great hand most of the time, as we've already gone over the fact that he'll get called a ton if he bets here. Third, you avoid some cooler situations because if a better flush draw or a jack raises you, you can fold and you don't risk losing a bigger pot later to a better hand. Daniel's draw looks great on the surface, but it isn't going to be that profitable to him to make a flush or a straight, unless it's a straight flush. Can you think of many ways for him to win a big pot? I can't. I'd much rather use the draws as kind of an insurance policy, and generate most of my profit off fold equity of betting the flop now and potentially the turn as well, rather than trying to just check down and trying to maximize showdown equity. Anyway, Daniel checks and Gus lets a turn card come off, which is the 2h. It again checks to Daniel, who again fails to bet, even less explicably in my view. All the reasons for betting the flop are only amplified on the turn. Check-calling a bet from Gus is just the nut low. Gus could be drawing to hearts, which kills the Th for Daniel some of the time. Also if Gus is drawing to hearts, they're probably higher than Daniel's nine, and so a check/check on the river and Daniel loses. But Daniel does call a healthy-sized bet from Gus. The river rolls off a 7h and it goes check/check, sending a $60k pot to Gus with ace-high at showdown. Which has to make you sick if you're Daniel.

Well, here's hoping for more interesting hands and more frequent recaps in the future....


I berated bruechips for not including a hand from episode 3, so now it’s on me to put together a little summary of it.

Gussie opens in the 3 hole for $4,200 with the ole’ 46 (not one but TWO spades FTW!) and gets called in two spots. DURRRR with A7cc (the second nut soot) and the K8hh in the BB by the biggest station ever to set foot on HSP. Oh and that is not an opinion btw…its pretty well documented. The guy simply DOES not fold. I wish I could back this up with some empirical evidence but bruechips and myself have had many discussions about his inability to dump a hand. I feel like if he ever played somewhat seriously online, he would be in deep shit because clicking “call” is SIGNFICANTLY easier than actually placing the chips in the middle.

Frop comes down K93r ftw. From Gus’s perspective, this is a great frop to C bet. It is bone dry other than the gutterball. Despite having 6 high he represent AA, Kx, and the occasional set. As soon as I saw this frop I thought to myself, its going to take A LOT to make Eli fold his hand given this board. Eli Checks the frop, Gus bets $9,900, DURRRR folds, and Eli calls. Pretty standard stuff here.

Turn is a brank offsoot 3. Once Eli xc’s the turn, I think that Eli’s range is capped to KQ other than the occasional boat. I think that when Gus bets this turn – he’s going to bomb most all rivers. He has zero showdown value and Eli will sometimes fold hands the likes 9x, JT, QJ, TT to a river bet.

River is the almighty A of spades. Eli again xc’s ftw. As Gus mentioned, the A is a terrible card for him. Gus was attempting to rep a big Kx type hand and now all medium Kx hands will chop vs him. Also, if that is the hand he is representing, there is really not much of a reason to bet when the ace hits, other than to try prevent the pot from being chopped. I wonder if Eli calls a river overbet shove…who knows.

One thing to note is the bet sizing. I think that given the board texture, Gus can definitely get away with betting SIGNIFICANTLY less on the turn and pull off a “triple deke” (phrased coined by OMGCrayaiken which involves triple barrel bluff with a twist of a tiny sized turn bet). The 3 changes essentially nothing and it is unlikely that either of them have one given card removal. I think that Eli’s response to Gus’s turn bet regardless of size will be the same. Gus bet 74% pot bet on the turn, and I’m pretty certain that he could have made a cheaper turn bluff in the neighborhood of 25-35%.

For all of you playing HSP, please burn this into your head. ELI DOES NOT FOLD! C’mon, let’s see some razor thing VB’s vs this guy!


February 16, 2010

When's The Best Time to Play? An Empirical Answer...

First, a blog note: Just like last season, I will recap High Stakes Poker action, but probably not every episode, but more like a post every other episode or so discussing the biggest hands. The Season 6 premier aired on Sunday, so some time next week I'll try to put up a post on the first couple of eps. Gabe Kaplan did promise that durrrr and Phil Ivey will be playing in every episode, so that's certainly something to look forward to.

On to the main purpose of this post...It seems to be a general assumption that weekends are the best times to play, and during the week, evenings are best. Well, I did some data analysis to test this idea. All data are hands from 15 mid-stakes full ring FTP regulars. I took these hands and ran the following linear regression:

pi_i,t = a_i + b_1*1{weekend} + g_1*h1_t + g_2*h2_t + g_3*h3_t + g4*h4_t + g5*h5_t + error_i,t

To clarify: pi_i,t represents the winnings in a given hand for player i at time t. The right hand side of the equation is made up of data (1{weekend}, h1_t}, etc.) and parameters to be estimated (a_i, b_1, g_1, etc.). a_i represents a fixed effect for player i in predicting pi_i,t. That is, some players win more on average than other players and I don't want to think that, for instance, weekdays are more profitable only because the players within this sample who have higher win rates at all times play more of their hands on the weekdays. I want to hold fixed a player's skills and ask at what times they make the most money.

1{weekend} is an indicator variable that equals one when the hand is played on Saturday or Sunday, and zero when it is played on the other five days of the week. The b_1 parameter estimates what effect a hand being played during the weekend has on that hand's expected winnings.

The hk_t variables are also dummy variables. I put each hand into one of six four-hour blocks: 12:00-3:59am, 4:00-7:59am, etc.. The FTP hand stamp records EST, so those are the times given here. In order to make the regression work, one category must be omitted (if you have no clue why this is the case, it's too much to explain here, but if you remember a little bit of undergraduate econometrics, it's because the sum of the time dummies and the player fixed-effect dummy are then co-linear). For this regression, I omitted the first four hours of the day, so the interpretation of each coefficient is the change in predicted profitability of one hand RELATIVE to the first four hours of the day.

If you don't understand or aren't familiar with regressions, here's another way of thinking about it. Since all the RHS variables are dummies, you can think of it just as taking how much better each player is on weekends than weekdays, and then taking a weighted average of that statistic, where the weights are given by the total number of hands that each player has in the data set. Doing similar calculations for the hour dummies will yield coefficients identical to those obtained from regression estimates.

Here are the results on the coefficients of interest, in bb/100 hands:

b_1(weekend effect): 0.77
g_1 (4-8am): -1.26
g_2 (8am-noon): -0.38
g_3(noon-4pm): -1.26
g_4(4pm-8pm): -2.52
g_5(8pm-midnight): -0.84

A note of caution is that none of these coefficients are statistically significantly different from zero. In other words, it could be due to just random variation that the weekend turned out to be more profitable in this data. Since there's such wide variance in profits across hands, this isn't too surprising. So proceed with caution, but the data seems to indicate that: i) weekends are in fact more profitable ii) 8pm - 4am EST are the best times to play. These results pretty much corroborate what you might think. The main surprise is that the 4-8 pm EST time block seems to be so bad. In fact this is the coefficient that gets closest to statistical significance, with a 95% confidence interval of (-5.55, 0.51).

Note that I did not include interaction terms in the explanatory variables, so I can't pick up things like: i) better players are more better on weekends/during certain hours ii) certain hours are more better than other hours on weekends than weekdays. And, of course, since I put the hours into groups, I can't say anything about how things change within the time blocks I have.


January 31, 2010

Accidental Thinness, and a Derty River X-back

Been grinding pretty hard at the Rush tables these days, and overall things have gone well. Unfortunately HEM came up with a way to send stats to your notes, so Rush poker is no longer HUD-less. I say unfortunate because I think I had more of an edge when nobody had any HUD stats. Oh well. Anyway here are a couple of hands I played tonight:

Hand 1:

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

Hero (BTN): $192.15
SB: $42.80
BB: $89.50
UTG: $106.10
UTG+1: $217.85
UTG+2: $201.85
MP1: $113.90
MP2: $68.75
CO: $56.20

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with Td Th
UTG raises to $3, 5 folds, Hero calls $3, 2 folds

Flop: ($7.50) 4c 6d 9c (2 players)
UTG bets $8, Hero calls $8

Turn: ($23.50) 4d (2 players)
UTG bets $8, Hero calls $8

River: ($39.50) 5d (2 players)
UTG bets $12, Hero raises to $37, UTG calls $25

Final Pot: $113.50
Hero shows Td Th (two pair, Tens and Fours)
UTG mucks 8d 8s
Hero wins $110.50
(Rake: $3.00)

I wish I could say I was raising the river for value, but I thought I was doing it as a bluff to get him off a bigger overpair, since the straight gets there, plus I could have been slowplaying a set on earlier streets, especially with the turn pairing. That plan was obviously terrible, but two wrongs ended up making a right for me as he pretty much instacalled me with pocket eights. Which I did NOT expect ROR.

Here's a somewhat similar hand where my plan also didn't work, and this time it cost me:

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

UTG: $128.60
UTG+1: $216.50
Hero (UTG+2): $133.45
MP1: $58.30
MP2: $100.00
CO: $86.40
BTN: $89.30
SB: $33.80
BB: $40.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG+2 with Th As
2 folds, Hero raises to $3.50, 1 fold, MP2 calls $3.50, 4 folds

Flop: ($8.50) 5d 9c Ah (2 players)
Hero bets $5, MP2 calls $5

Turn: ($18.50) 2s (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 checks

River: ($18.50) 7s (2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 bets $12, Hero raises to $37, MP2 calls $25

Final Pot: $92.50
Hero shows Th As (a pair of Aces)
MP2 shows Kd Ac (a pair of Aces)
MP2 wins $89.50
(Rake: $3.00)

When he bets the river after calling pre-flop and on the flop and then checking the turn, I pretty much know he has an ace, and any reasonable ace is going to beat me. I don't think he would bet, say, Ad8d on the river. And even if he does, there are so many aces that beat me that I don't think I can call. So I decided to turn my hand into a bluff and try to get him to fold some of the aces that beat me. AK is pretty much the top of his range, so I'm not too upset about getting called by that. If he folds AQ and AJ, then my play is good. I'm risking 37 to win 30ish, so if he's folding 2/3 of the time, then I'm golden. Granted, I'm not repping too much on the river, but I could conceivably have A7, 77, even the occasional 68s or 22. But really I'm just banking on most players at this limit folding to a river check-raise when they have one pair. Unfortunately this time he had the nut one pair. Oh well. I did manage river check which worked out pretty well:

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

Hero (UTG+2): $160.65
MP1: $91.05
MP2: $85.90
CO: $100.00
BTN: $68.40
SB: $247.95
BB: $160.85
UTG: $151.65
UTG+1: $96.05

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG+2 with Qc Qd
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $4.05, Hero calls $4.05, 6 folds

Flop: ($9.60) 7d Qs 6c (2 players)
UTG+1 bets $8, Hero calls $8

Turn: ($25.60) 5s (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets $14, UTG+1 calls $14

River: ($53.60) As (2 players)
UTG+1 checks, Hero checks

Final Pot: $53.60
Hero shows Qc Qd (three of a kind, Queens)
UTG+1 shows Ac Ah (three of a kind, Aces)
UTG+1 wins $50.95
(Rake: $2.65)

Usually I am pretty obsessed with getting river value and loathe checking back big hands like this one, but here, there's just not that much value in a bet. When he check/calls the turn, he usually has an overpair, and occasionally has AQ or spades. The oversized early position raise pre-flop had me thinking big pocket pair from the start, so I was mostly discounting spades (esp with the river spade being the ace) and AQ. Even if all AQ combos are possible AND he's calling with all of them, AND he never has spades (or a straight, etc.), then I'm just breaking even on a river bet, with there being 3 combos of AQ and the same number of AA combos possible. KK he's never calling. A lower set, I think he bets turn. So I ended up checking back, ready to vomit all over myself if he had shown top two, but the decision saved me probably $35 or so.


January 25, 2010

Rush Strategy

I have been pwning Rush for pretty much all of my sessions's just so nice not too have to worry about table-selecting to avoid shorties and bad tables (although the recent move to raise the min buy-in makes this easier). And just not having to worry about tables breaking all the time, not having to keep track of 14 tables open at once...I've been able to 4-table Rush without too much of a problem, which puts me well over 1,000 hands/hour. Sick. Verneer had a pretty nice Rush poker video up on CardRunners if you're a CR member, I found it quite useful.

The change in the game is that you're essentially trying to play against a population-average player all the time, and other players are trying to do this too. You can't use a HUD and the game goes too fast to take notes if you're 4-tabling (more on this later). So unless you recognize somebody as a regular by their screenname, you just have to assume that they're some random donkey and play like the average player. They have to do the same thing for you (if you recognize somebody as a reg, chances are they recognize too, so usually you're either both unknown to each other or you both realize that you're regs).

In any case, I don't want to give away too many secrets...and Verneer covers them pretty well in his video, but here's a list of some things that average players at .5/1 don't do that often, that are wildly profitable to do vs. players who assume that their opponents don't do them very often:

1) 3-betting
2) In particular, 3-betting and squeezing early position raisers. Ranges are tighter for early position raisers than LP raisers and everyone realizes that. But most people don't realize that EP raising ranges aren't so tight that 3-betting isn't really profitable when you get folds from everything but QQ+, whereas when you 3-bet a button raiser you're getting a fold out of KQo and JTs pretty rarely these days.
3) Raising c-bets. Raising c-bets in position, deep, with two overs and a backdoor draw, for instance, is pure gold.

These are all strategies that should be employed in normal games too, but to a lesser extent, because opponents can adjust and start giving your raises less respect. But in Rush, they won't adjust unless 1) you do it so much that people start making notes on you, 2) you post on your blog that you'll be doing it, or 3) the entire pool of players starts doing these things, in which case you have to figure out how to adjust yourself and exploit players who are best responding to this new norm.


January 20, 2010

Rush Poker

Whoa dagg....loooooooooooong time no post. I really apologize. At first traveling for nearly a month around Christmas was keeping me away from posting, and then I ran bad in life for a while, which has limited my productivity in many spheres. Both professionally and personally, the last month or so has been probably the toughest of my life. But I'm working through it, and hope to come out of it a much better person, no matter how things turn out. That vague enough for you guys?

Anyway, a mitigating factor that really has me looking on the bright side of life is Rush Poker, the new gimmick at Full Tilt. I tried it out for the first time tonight and God is it awesome. The deal is, you're basically place at a new table with a random group of players every hand. Whereas when multi-tabling, if you click the auto-fold button, you have to wait for the hand to finish to get dealt a new hand, in Rush Poker, you can 'Quick Fold' and just get insta-dealt a new hand at a new table. The pros:

1) You can still multi-table it. It looks like 4 is about the most Rush tables anyone is playing right now, which I think might get you over 1,000 hands an hour. I was playing two tables just to get the hang of it and managed to get in 413 hands in 41 minutes. You'd have to be playing really sick numbers of non-Rush tables to get this many hands/hour.

2) Another factor that adds to your hands/hour is that you don't have to wait for a seat to open up at a table, and you don't have to worry about tables breaking. Also you don't wait to get to your big blind at the end of a session, when you might be down to playing just 2-3 tables at the tail end of a session. With Rush tables you're up to your peak hands/hour rate right when you sit down, and you never slow down until you decide to end the session. By the same token, it's much easier to take a bathroom or snack break.

3) Much easier on the eyes. Four-tabling Rush tables gets you sick hands/hour without having to try and read the small numbers and fonts and whatnot if you're instead trying to 12- or 16-table traditional tables.

A few cons:

1) You can't use a HUD, because the tables are changing every hand. This does matter, but if you know your game well, then you know who the solid regulars are and you can pretty much assume everybody else is likely to be a weaker player, although you don't know if they're just weak/tight or loose/passive or a monkey or what. But hey, that's what notes are for!

2) You can't table select. Everybody gets the same chance of getting a whack at the donks in the player pool, which is good if you would otherwise be sitting on an 8-person waitlist hoping to get the Jesus seat on a 89/12 fish, but bad if you would otherwise already have that seat and four others like it because you are a derty table selector. If a lot of your profitability comes from game selection and you can't beat the slightly-better-than-average player at your stakes, Rush might be worse for you.

3) You are taken to a new table as soon as you fold, so you can't get reads on players by watching hands where they show down against players other than you. Full Tilt still downloads the entire hand history so you can look at it later in HEM or whatever program you use, but then you'll have to look at it there and somehow go back and find any player you want to make notes on, which is annoying.

4) By the same token, you can't build up a particular dynamic with a specific player or the entire table where you steal a few times and then tighten up and hope to get a big hand to get paid off with. This can be good or bad...if you use this strategy successfully a lot, then obviously Rush takes it away from you. But if you're bad at this type of leveling war, no worries, Rush to the rescue.

5) Availability. Right now they have only up to $.5/1, but I'd imagine that will change soon.

Hope to be posting more in the future. Good luck at the tables!


January 14, 2010

Poker after Dark

LOLLL - be sure to check out this weeks so lineup but it is definitely worth its weight in GOLD as far as entertainment. Catch episodes from earlier this week on

Watching helmuth donk around with these guys is just epic stuff. He moans, whines, complains NON STOP with his UB cap, shorts, and WSOP GHEY is that?

Here's a question...if this guy played HU with an ANTE vs any competent HU player - how long would it take for him to be completely bankrupt? ROR.

January 9, 2010

PLO Brag

I played a PRO hand that I felt was rather brag worthy. In PLO, given the fact that equities run SO effing tight...the nature of the game provides "gamblers" an artificial edge given the fact that they are willing to stick their money in light. Its pretty rare to ever be a HUGE dog pre or postfrop as it is in NLHE...yer often going to be in a bunch of 60/40s...on one side of the other, and provided you can run'll prolly have the illusion that you are gods given to PRO.

AnyWHO...provided you can get yourself on the CORRECT side of those 60/ will be printing money, provided you don't get raped by the RNG. Now I don't craim to be an expert/winner at PLO by any means...but I'm going to review a HH below and provide some analysis on a hand which I thought was particularly interesting. Given that equities run so's pretty very difficurt to play a hand optimally.


Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 6 players -

The Official Hand History Converter

CO: $715.00 BTN: $400.00 SB: $275.00 Hero (BB): $599.20 UTG: $551.40 MP: $80.00

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is BB with Qd 9h Kh Kc

1 fold, MP calls $4, CO calls $4, BTN raises to $22, 1 fold, Hero requests TIME, Hero raises to $76, 2 folds, BTN calls $54

Flop: ($162.00) 6c 7d 3d (2 players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $88, Hero requests TIME, Hero calls $88
Turn: ($338.00) Js (2 players)

Hero bets $338, BTN calls $236 all in

River: ($810.00) 7s (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $810.00

BTN shows 8s Kd 9d Th (a pair of Sevens) Hero shows Qd 9h Kh Kc (two pair, Kings and Sevens) Hero wins $807.00
(Rake: $3.00)


Pre - virrain is SUPER in nitty unlike Tiffany's mom's vag. Rike 19/15 in PLO...I honestly can NOT believe that styre can be profitabre in PLO...given that IMO its far too tight for a 6M NLHE game. W/E. I 3b the SB for value and get fratted - the key thing to take way from this frat is that his range now does NOT included AAxx. Also, I don't think his 3b calling range will include many pairs...unless they are of the well connected double paired variety. I expect him to pitch junk like AK99 (which he may actually open fold anyway). Frop - There is one three letter phrase that comes to my mind when this comes down. FML. Times 100x. I instantly considered xf'ing given how GROSS this board is and that I have zero draws/backdoor draws...and that I'm almost NEVER going to get it in on this frop as a favorite. It also is BURRIED in his 3b calling range that is weighted towards sooted connectors. While debating the xf option...I just go ahead and check and evaluate. Sorta ghey, but I'm out of position with a naked overpair (full stax vs a competent player) and literally want to jump off a bridge. Virrain goes ahead and bets a rather ghey amount...VERY enticing for a xrai, but I opt for a variation of the patented Bruechips Fade and Go. My plan is xc, shove ANY non diamond that does not complete 89 on the turn. Granted its a HUGE chunk of the deck...but I felt that given his range, it was a better play than to bet fold, bet call, or xf. Turn -BINKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK. J of excellent card for me. Ipot donk it into him and booya, he calls it off as he should with a big timey wrap with a FD which I'm able to fade on the river. Villain was prolly thinking (HOW THE F DO I NOT BINK FTW?!?!?!) instead of realizing that he got ooooooowwwwwnnnnddddd! For all you math geeks out there - here are the equities street by street.

PREF - 69/31 FROP - 34/66 TURN - 58/43

Ship it.