Archive for the ‘Poker’ Category

* vici ergo sum optimus

Posted on September 24th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Poker, Whinges.

I love to see people look back on hands and think “I played that really well” whereas in actual fact they played like a weak donkey.

Nick Schulman’s post on full-tilt is the perfect example. He raises with a middling hand, gets reraised and decides to call anyway. He then misses the flop – there’s an overcard to his middling hand – but calls the bet on the flop. He then proceeds to give his opponent two opportunities to hit a card that beats him, assuming that he wasn’t beaten by the queen on the flop or indeed before the flop.

In almost every situation this is just rubbish. He’s then giving himself kudos because he won the pot but that’s just results-orientated thinking. If he’d reraised all-in he’d have won much more, was that a better play?

IMO he played the hand badly from start to finish. Thoughts?

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* Another decent full-tilt read

Posted on August 5th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Poker.

The gist of this full-tilt post from Jay Greenspan is fairly simple: if you can’t decide whether to fold or raise, calling should not be the default action.

Simple, but very well put.

In these cases, the call isn’t a strategic choice; it’s a sort of compromise between raise and fold that has none of the advantages

It’s something I’ve found in my own game is a great way of leaking chips – calling on the flop when I’m not sure where I am – because (unless the turn hits me in a big way) I still won’t know where I am.

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* Have I lost it?

Posted on March 31st, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Poker, Whinges.

No, that’s not a question on the state of my sanity.

The last few live games I’ve played I’ve bemoaned the fact that I’ve hit no cards. However last night I played in a game which was the weakest table I’ve ever sat at but I singularly failed to make any moves at all. Maybe it was because the first hand I tried I lost but it’s almost like I was having some sort of out-of-body experience, watching myself playing as a complete passive fish.

I have been blaming my recent run on a complete lack of cards (which is admittedly true, last night I hit one pair – 66 – and one AQ in 90 minutes of play) but I’m beginning to wonder if actually I’m running scared.

Perhaps I went out early too many times playing overly aggressive; however I think I’ve reached the conclusion that I had more fun losing quickly being caught out in a bluff than painfully. Last night I just watched myself melting into nothing and, unless I can fix it, I think my live game will be dead.


* Full Tilt email in decent read shocker

Posted on January 15th, 2009 by whinger. Filed under Poker.

So I’ve criticised the last couple[1][2] of Full-Tilt howtos that have dropped into my inbox; I thought I should redress the balance and say that Aaron Bartley’s discussion on early-aggression in MTTs is a good read. The content may seem obvious and I’m sure it doesn’t say anything that’s not in a thousand poker books but I think it’s always good to crystalise things like this.

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* whinging^Wwinning poker strategy

Posted on December 19th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker, Whinges.

Today’s state-the-bleeding-obvious award goes to Jordan Morgan in the featured tip in this week’s Full Tilt newsletter.

One of the keys to making money at the poker table, however, is being able to interpret when the three-bet means what it’s supposed to mean, and when a player is only representing a big hand and making a move.

The next tip in the series is “only bet when you think you have the best hand or your opponent might fold”.

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* it’s bubbleicious

Posted on November 27th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker.

Howard Lederer’s post on full-tilt yesterday talks about S&G bubble play.

You’re second in chips with 3,000, the blinds are 100/200, and you’re dealt Ad-7d in the big blind. The chip leader is on the button and raises to 600; the small blind folds and you call the extra 400. The flop comes Q-8-3 with two diamonds, which is a pretty attractive flop for your hand. You check, and your opponent does exactly what you didn’t want him to do: put you all in for about double the size of the pot. You’re getting slightly better than 3-to-2 pot odds on a call for your tournament life.

Is it just me or is the correct thing to do with the nut draw there never ever ever ever to check??? Move all-in yourself and put the decision on your opponent.

Admittedly we don’t have a lot of information about the relative chip-stacks; if your 3000 is a decent proportion of the chips on the table and the fourth-place guy is short then clearly you can pick a better spot, but if everyone has 2000 or more then I don’t see the value in folding there.

The only way your opponent can call is if he has AQ, AA, KK or QQ, which is possible given the preflop raise but four-handed a button-raise could have a much wider range of hands than that; otherwise I don’t see how he can possibly call and – even if he does – you’re about 45% (?) to the nuts and pairing your ace may still be good.

Of course the real mistake Howard hasn’t talked about is much earlier on in the hand: if you’re planning on checking that flop you should have folded to the 400 bet in the first place – what on earth were you hoping for – AA7? Did you really expect the chip leader not to lead out and bet at any flop on which you’d checked?


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* insert pun about memory “chip” of your choice here

Posted on September 16th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker, Tech.

This ( initially looks neat but when you think about it, given that the idea of a USB drive is that it’s as small and unubtrusive as possible it really has no value except as a gift for a geek who likes poker.

Ah. Won’t need to buy flash drives just before Christmas then…

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* and that is why kings are tyrants

Posted on September 15th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker, Whinges.

So those of you who read regularly (or indeed have the presence of mind to be able to read down a couple of entries) will know that today’s Pokerstars EPT London satellite weekly final was graced by yours truly.

Things started slowly: I couldn’t pick up a hand and when I picked up marginal holdings (A8, A6, 55) someone behind me would reraise wildly. I made a marginal call on the river in a pot from the cutoff with second pair against a straight (oops) but managed to maintain enough of a reputation (I think they thought I was a bit of a donkey) to get a few small pots, I got lucky a couple of times to stay in (second pair calling short-stack’s all-in improved to aces-up on the river, two pair against a made straight improved to a full house on the river) but I wasn’t making any great inroads, just staying still.  I chased a couple of big draws and missed and ended up at about 9BB, then hung on until I found a hand worth playing. It turned out to be AA(!) against a player who – with 3x the stack of anyone at the table – had been raising most things. I limped with the AA expecting him to raise and he joyously raised 2/3 my stack, meaning he had to call my all-in. The AA held up (for once!) and I went into the break comfortable at 21xBB.

Nothing happened for a while and I played 44 in the BB against a 4xBB all-in – I felt pretty sure it was a coinflip and it was, but his AJ hit two pair and I couldn’t magic the third 4. That left me back at 11BB and not really enough to speculate with any more.

Then came 88 and facing a bet and a raise all-in I figured the chances of winning looked slim but with the blinds increasing rapidly I crossed my fingers and called. One of the better possible scenarios looked back at me: an AJ and AK; the K came on the turn but I was saved by a river 8 and suddenly I had a playable stack – about 13th in a field of 200 or so.

The next few hands played out: I used my relative stack to win a couple of pots uncontested, then made a questionable call on the flop with Q7 – I’d hit third pair and something felt wrong about the bet – and thought better of it on the turn.

I still wasn’t sure about the fold though and when, 5 or so hands later, I picked up KK and faced a reraise to my standard raise from the same player I pushed and proceeded to cry like a baby when he virtually flipped the AA.

Aces held and (apart from a glimmer of hope with my remaining 1.7BB with A8 which went nowhere) that was that.

Oh well, there’s always next week 🙂


* w00t! My 1337 5k111z in online tournament shocker

Posted on September 12th, 2008 by whinger. Filed under Poker.

So I’ve been trying to win through the Pokerstars FPP satellite structure to the London EPT every couple of days for the last couple of weeks and not done too well; however last night I finally got a couple of breaks (winning with AT against AK by spiking a T on the river being most notable) and managed to concentrate and make a few disciplined folds and made it through to Sunday’s weekly final. So that’s about a 1 in 500 chance of me playing in the London EPT. w00t!

Anyway, the stats surprised me a bit

  122 hands played and saw flop:

   - 8 times out of 15 while in small blind (53%)
   - 8 times out of 14 while in big blind (57%)
   - 26 times out of 93 in other positions (28%)
   - a total of 42 times out of 122 (34%)

  Pots won at showdown - 12 out of 20 (60%)
  Pots won without showdown - 27

Don’t really know what to make of that. The “pots won at showdown” %age is lower than I’d like. The “while in blind” values were a product of the competition, it was _really_ tight (I guess because of the structure). I suppose in that environment playing lots of pots is valid (especially given the “pots won without showdown” amount), but I should have been prepared to fold more when I didn’t have much post-flop (improve that 60%).

These tourneys are fantastic value though, because with the number of people taking part 1/10 players have a 1/500 (or so) shot at a (nearly) $11k prize, which means the implied value (even without taking into account the secondary cash prizes) is around $2.22 for 10FPP. With the cash prizes (an extra $5000) the EV per FPP is 32c. Considering a pokerstars Tshirt is 500FPP I think that’s probably a valuation about 10-20x the usual.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed this Sunday evening. I’ll let you know how it goes.


* You Lucky Bastard….

Posted on July 3rd, 2007 by whinger. Filed under Poker, TV, Whinges.

So I was watching Premier League Poker last night and, while commentating, Roland “WPT champion y’know” De Wolfe was having a whinge worthy of yours truly about how lucky Phil Hellmuth had got throughout the whole tournament (Phil won this heat, giving him 4 out of 5 for the series so far).

Yeah, Phil’s been running hot for 18 years, Roland. I guess your WSOP bracelets are just weighing down your wrists.

Isn’t it amazing how the best players in the world always seem to get lucky?