Thursday, September 22, 2005

Say What????

I was reading CardPlayer.com during lunch today, and stumbled accross an article written by Lee Jones. The title caught my attention:


Calling on the river with the nuts


I got to thinking, why would I want to do that? So I read the article (posted below)...


“Come on, come on”

There’s nothing like seeing a card drop to the felt (be it real fuzzy padded stuff or just green electrons) that gives you the stone-cold nuts. Many of us playing brick-and-mortar poker have to practice not grinning from ear to ear, jumping out of our seats, or otherwise announcing our joy.

Even if we manage to control our facial expressions and body movements, sometimes our glee translates directly to our hand and we shove extra chips into the pot (or click the “Raise” button) without thinking. This is especially true on the river. I mean, it’s why some of us play poker — that feeling that we get when the draw that we’ve been waiting on arrives on the last card. There it is — the deuce of hearts that gives you the ace-high flush. That big pile of chips in the middle of the table is all yours; it’s just a question of how much more of your opponents’ money you can get into it before you have to show them your hand.

But sometimes you shouldn’t be so quick to put that raise in. “Huh? I’ve got the nuts on the river; why wouldn’t I put in a raise?” There are two reasons I can think of immediately; see if you can think of them before you read further.

SFX: Mary Chapin Carpenter on the stereo

OK — we’re back. Here are two examples: one in which raising is almost certainly wrong, and one in which it was correct to call, although it wasn’t obvious that was the right play.

Here’s the easy one: How often have you seen a player bet all in on the river, and the next guy raise? Now, everybody folds, the dealer pushes the second bet back to the raiser (since the bettor is all in for one bet), and the raiser turns up the absolute nuts. Nice hand, sir; well played. Let’s think about this. Sure, it’s possible that people would have come in for two bets cold on the river, but not very likely. Indeed, our hero probably shut out a bet or two that he could have picked up by just calling and letting other people into the pot. And if he got really lucky, maybe a raise would come in behind him … but I’m getting ahead of myself.

For our second example, I call your attention to the following hand I played online. I was in the big blind with the J 10. There was an early-position call, and it was folded to the small blind (SB), who raised. I called, as did the limper. The flop came a semiamazing 7 8 K. (The flop is shown here exactly the way the cards came out, because the first two cards I saw were the 7 and the 8.) For half a second, I dreamt of flopping an unbeatable straight flush. The king disappointed me only a little. I figured that I had at least 12 outs. The SB bet out, and I called, wanting the limper to help build pot odds for me. He cooperated by calling. The 5 on the turn was disappointing, as was the SB’s bet. But, we both called.

I don’t ever remember the 9 looking as beautiful as it did when it popped up on the river. And the SB bet again.

So I … Well, wait a minute. He just bet out again. That card should have terrified him — unless he had something like the A K (which would, of course, be great for me). But that was a monster under the bed (of course, I had a bigger, meaner monster in my closet). And surely the limper was calling with something.

So, I did something radical: I called with the nuts.

Imagine my delight when the limper suddenly raised! And then the SB, the original bettor, promptly folded. I said to my computer monitor, “I’m a genius!” as I clicked the “Raise” button. The limper called and showed A-6 offsuit; somehow, he’d stood all that heat to make a one-card straight that was far from being the best hand.

Now, what did the SB have? We’ll never know. But I imagine it was something like top pair — or maybe Q-Q that was obviously no good when he was called and then raised on the river. So, it’s not clear that I made the right play by calling (except in the rearview mirror, which doesn’t count). Had the bettor had the A K, I would have looked like an idiot when the limper folded and I collected one bet when I easily could have collected four.

So, it’s not always obvious what the correct play is in a situation like this. And it’s worth noting that if you’re not sure what to do, it probably doesn’t matter what you do. This is a corollary to the Tommy Angelo theorem, which states that the longer two groups dispute a fine point of poker play, the less it matters what you actually do in that situation.

But that’s true only if you stop and think before you raise — even if you have the nuts on the river.




Does this make much sense to you? I still don't agree with his thoughts. So I sent Mr. Jones and Email with my opinion..


Mr. Jones,



I have to disagree with your article. While the idea is surely a great idea, and when it works you will make a few extra bets, but is it really truly worth it? How many times do you need a raise after you call to make up for your missed raises? I would have liked to see some mathmatical analysis of this idea before it is suggested to those who may blindly accept what they read. Your play in that situation is good because it worked out, but from the betting that took place you probably were not playing against good opponents. Lets take another look at it:



"For our second example, I call your attention to the following hand I played online. I was in the big blind with the J 10. There was an early-position call, and it was folded to the small blind (SB), who raised. I called, as did the limper. The flop came a semiamazing 7 8 K. (The flop is shown here exactly the way the cards came out, because the first two cards I saw were the 7 and the 8.) For half a second, I dreamt of flopping an unbeatable straight flush. The king disappointed me only a little. I figured that I had at least 12 outs. The SB bet out, and I called, wanting the limper to help build pot odds for me."

If the better was holding AK would he have bet out, or would he check raise? He almost certainly is ahead at this point. The only hands he can worry about is your hand, 56, and 9/10 (assuming he doesnt hit his flush). Depending on the style at the table a case can be made for either a check-raise or a bet out. If he is check-raising, he has to think that if you have a straight draw/flush draw you would bet at it.

"I don’t ever remember the 9 looking as beautiful as it did when it popped up on the river. And the SB bet again.

So I … Well, wait a minute. He just bet out again. That card should have terrified him — unless he had something like the A K (which would, of course, be great for me). But that was a monster under the bed (of course, I had a bigger, meaner monster in my closet). And surely the limper was calling with something."

In a good game your thoughts are spot on. However, remember this. The only way you are going to get the other limper to raise is if he has a high club. Imagine that he has been playing 34. Would this hand merrit a raise in that situation? What if the better did have AK and had bet at it again, you called, and the other person played his straight correctly you would loose a ton of money.

The only time i truly see this situation working is if the limper held the A. In fact, if the limper holds the A the first bettor should fold based on having a cold call and a raise, so you really only make 1 extra bet.

How often is that final person going to have what he percieves as a strong enough hand to raise with? Will these raises make you more money then the times that you just have a call behind you, or even worse a fold behind you? I dont think they will.

Feel free to respond either via email, or on my blog which I will post a link to your story to and my thoughts.


If he responds, I will be sure to blog about it. Hopefully he will respond directly on this blog so I do not need to be a middle man in the conversation. I open this topic up to anyone else who has their own thoughts to feel free to post them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Semi-Pro

I think its time to take my game to the next level. Im not considering going pro by any stretch of the imagination. There are many reasons for this, which are not related to this topic that I can get into later. Anyway, what I am going to do is turn "semi-pro". I already play enough to do this, I just dont have a consistant way of tracking my money/time/results/ect. I am going to go out to the bank this week and setup a new checking account for the sole purpose of poker. This account is going to be my bankroll. Im going to start off with my bankroll at $500. This number is not arbitrary, but I dont want to waste time explaining it. Out of that $500, Im going to put $195 into play in online poker. I will split the $200 into three accounts: PokerRoom, Noble Poker, and PartyPoker evenly, putting $65 into each account. That leaves $305 in my bankroll account. This will be used for live games. There are two that I will play monthly, and some others that I will play less frequently. The first of the two is the Chesapeake City firehouse tourny. It usually attracts between 35-75 people (hopefully it will be doing better now that it has changed hands) with a buyin of $125 total (including rebuys,ect). The second is the singerly firehouse tourny which is setup similiar. The Singerly tourny usually draws larger crowds. The singerly tourny is held the first sat of each month, and the CC-tourny is the second saturday. So I will use money directly from my poker bankroll account to buy into these tournies. Any money I win will be put back into my bankroll. I am going to write an application to keep detailed records of outings including how much time I played, what I spent, what I won, ect... For online play, I will setup a couple basic rules I will try to follow:

Rule 1
1) Poker Room I will play only tournys
2) PartyPoker I will play only nl/pl cash games
3) NoblePoker I will play a combination of tournys/games

The idea behind this is to see where I fair the best. I have a feeling it will be at tournys. I just feel I am a better tournament player then cash game player. Nonetheless I want to see what the actual data says, and see if it is worth while to continue to play in cash games or whether I should scrap it all together (or get a lot better).

Rule 2
I will not recharge my account until certain criteria has been met. I am still strugling with what this criteria is. I am thinking for online play I must be out on 2 out of 3 accounts to refill my account. This will prevent me from going broke in one area while making money in another area, but having the money I made be blinded by my loses in the other area. I will have to continue to debate this and find a good set of criteria to go by (any suggestions????)

Rule 3
Anytime any of my online accounts get to 1.5 times their original amount I will withdraw the funds back into my bankroll (i.e. anytime they get to $100 I will withrdaw $35)

Rule 4
I will examine the allocation of my funds monthly and re-allocate where necessary. In other words at the end of the month if a my accounts look like this...
PokerRoom - $80
PartyPoker - $30
NoblePoker - $50
Bankroll - $500

I will then take my total - $660 and redestribute using my original rules to get
PokerRoom - $70
PartyPoker - $70
NoblePoker - $70
Bankroll - $420

This rule will allow me to play higher stakes as my total bankroll determines, not any 1 individual account determines (I.e. just because I have $200 in pokerroom doesnt mean I should be playing 5/10 in pokerroom, because partypoker and noble poker may be broke).

This was probably a bit confusing but it is just my initial thoughts. I will try to get this more organized on saturday and draft the rules that I will follow. In order for this to work , I will need to follow these rules and keep up with all the documentation so I can see the results. I will post as much documentation as possible on this blog so you can see how it is working out for me.

My end goals are
1) to get a big enough bankroll that I can play in a big tourny somewhere, possibly the wsop so I can prove my name true!!!
2) to good get enough that I can get a nice cash flow going for a second income.

Later I will post a good story of someone I know who ran into Mike Matusow at A/C during the borgota poker open.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Steve Brecher, Full Tilt Poker Lessons from the Pros...

While playing on Full Tilt Poker, I have said that there are three topics I won't discuss in table chat; politics, religion, and whether online poker is rigged. That's because many people's opinions on those topics are hardened and not amenable to friendly or productive discussion.

Away from the table, I'll venture a couple of comments about improbable events in poker. While not direct instruction in the tactics and strategy of play, these comments may help you take "bad beats" in stride -- and that, in turn, is an essential part of poker maturity.

First, let's consider what most would view as a typical "bad beat" -- a lower pocket pair winning against a higher pocket pair in hold 'em, such as KK beating AA. When those hands share one suit, the chance of the worse hand winning is about 18%. The chance of the lower pair winning twice -- that is, the next two times that such hands happen to go against each other -- is about 3%. If in one session of play, a lower pocket pair beat a higher pocket pair twice, that might seem a little, well, weird to some players.

Consider another situation involving chance. When two dice are thrown, the chance of rolling "snake eyes" (1-1) is about 3% -- about the same as a lower pocket pair beating a higher pocket pair twice.

Suppose there were 600 craps tables using standard, unaltered dice with nine players around each table -- a total of 5,400 players -- and these tables operated for a three-hour "session." How many players would observe snake eyes being thrown at least once? The statistical expectation result is not important. The point is that it's easy to intuitively see that a large number of players would.

Further, do you think some players might see snake eyes thrown several times in an evening -- say, three or four times? (That is equivalent to six or eight poker "bad beats.") And if some of those players would be inclined to report their observation on forums and in chat, then it might seem to some as if the dice were "fixed."





Let's go back to poker. Recently, I played a hand of No-Limit Hold 'Em on Full Tilt Poker. An opponent four seats in front of the button open-raised pre-flop. It was folded around to me in the big blind, and I called. I semi-bluff check-raised the flop, continued with a semi-bluff bet on the turn, was raised all-in, and called the raise. I made my draw on the river. After the hand my opponent chatted:

opponent: ur horrible steve
opponent: why the [****] did u call that?
opponent: horrible that this site rewards that

(Confidential to opponent: I know these comments were made in the heat of the moment after a big loss and don't necessarily reflect your considered view.)

Let's take a look at my call on the turn. I held Ad Td; my opponent held Kd Kc. The board was Qd 9d 7h Jc.

With my opponent's actual holding, I had 16 outs to win the pot on the river, making me a 1.75 to 1 underdog. Of course, it could have been worse for me against other holdings, but even the worst case for me would have been to be up against K-T (a made straight), and then I would have been only a 3 to 1 underdog.

After my bet and the opponent's all in-raise, I was getting pot odds of 3.7 to 1 to call, so the call is clearly correct. But it seemed to my opponent -- and to at least one observer -- that I made a bad call, and that my winning with a 36% chance to do so when I called was a bad beat for my opponent.

The moral of this story: While "bad beats" (low-probability events) do occur, sometimes a closer examination of a poker hand can change first impressions and allow you to continue to play with a cooler, clearer head.

WPBT Tourney - Pauly's Birthday Bash
Tuesday - September 20th
9pm EST
$20 +$1
No-Limit
Password: thehamma
Titan Poker

Party Poker blog points out some of the pro's screen names for online player...


Re: Pro Players Online Usernames

PokerStars:
Josh Arieh - razorbax
Aaron Bartley - GambleAB
David Benyamine - magicpitch
Steve Billirikas - MrSmokey1
Noah Boeken - Exclusive
David Colclough - el blondie
Hoyt Corkins - EasyH
Scott Fischman - Emptyseat88
Layne Flack - reloadthis
Prahlad Friedman - Prefontaine
Kirill Gerasimov - kirillG
Pete Giordano - TheBeat
Gus Hansen - broksi
Phil Hellmuth - #1_Lucky_One
Brett Jungblutt - gank
Thomas "Thunder" Keller - bigglesworth
Kathy Liebert - Kathy Liebert
Erick Lindgren - EDOGN
Hans "Tuna" Lund - luckysucker
Marcel Luske - El Capitano
Mike Matusow - MrPokeJoke
Chris Moneymaker - money800
Dan Negreanu - DoubleSuited
Scotty Nguyen - Noo limit
The Poker Babe - Siren
Greg Raymer - Fossilman
Shawn Rice - WestTexasMan
Erik Sagstrom - Erik123
Simon "Aces" Trumper - PateK
David Williams - RugDoctor
Todd Witteles - Dan Druff
Dustin Woolf - neverwin

UltimateBet:
David Benyamine - magicpitch
Lyle Berman - buckskin
Freddy Deeb - kid44/kid55
Annie Duke - Annie Duke
Layne Flack - LayneFlack
Prahlad Friedman - Spirit Rock/Mahatma
Russ Hamilton - pokerchamp94
Phil Hellmuth - Phil Hellmuth
Bobby Hoff - DaWiz
Phil Ivey - joe buttons
Thomas Keller - GummyBear
Shawn Keller - catchoftheday
Erick Lindgren - Mr Belvedere
Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot - Devilfish
James Worth - KrazyKanuck

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Its that time of the year.... Duh Duh Duh Duh.... NFL!!!

Here are my fearless predictions for 2005

AFC
East - New York Jets (3)
North - Baltimore Ravens (bye)
South - Indy Colts (bye hfa)
West - Denver Broncos (4)
WC1 - New England (5)
WC2- Jacksonville (6)

NFC
East - Philly Eagles (bye hfa)
North - Green Bay Packers (3)
South - Atlanta Falcons (bye)
West - Seattle Seahawks (4)
WC1 - Dallas Cowboys (5)
WC2 - Carolina Panthers (6)

WC Round
AFC
Jags over Jets
Pats over Broncos
NFC
Packers over Panthers
Cowboys over Seahawks

Divisional Round
AFC
Colts over Jags
Ravens over Pats
NFC
Eagles over Cowboys
Falcons over Packers

Conference Championship (oddly enough, both games would be a rematch of week 1 games)
AFC
Ravens over Colts
NFC
Falcons over Eagles

SB
Ravens over Falcons


awards to be posted later....

Be sure to go over to ScurvyDog's blog and read his post :

Sound of a Suckout: Playing Aggressively with Drawing Hands

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