Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Preston: This is officially the worst night of my entire life. Thank you very much.
Angel: Try having forty drunk men grabbing your ass, one groom to be throwing up all over you and then have your car break down at 2am and then you can talk to me about having a bad night, OK?
"Can't Hardly Wait"

We've all had nights like that, forty drunken men grabbing your ass, damn tiara won't stay on straight…wait, where was I?

I've been using the nights running the free pub poker as a little bit of research into the minds of others, and listening to their thoughts as to why they play what hands when. Obviously the standard here is not of the highest quality, but then again neither am I so it should be alright.

I am just amazed at some of the reasoning behind the bad plays, and it seems to be proving that a little knowledge is a very bad thing. The players who know absolutely nothing seem to stand a better chance than those that know a little something. For example, last night a girl playing for the first time was cleaning up. But just because this was her first time, nobody believed she had a hand at all, and kept paying her off. She had monster hand after monster hand no doubt, but how many times can you call with second pair to see her straight and still think she might be bluffing? It's the quiet ones you need to look out for.

I really enjoyed reading Bad Bloods post a few days ago, where he made the decision to call with JJ in late position against TT who was in early/mid position. I don't know how to explain this properly, but not just the fact that he decided to call or the rationale behind it, but just that line of thinking and process of going through the actions at that particular time of the game in that particular circumstance, I think that is poker played the way it should be. Would I still say so if the other guy had Queens? I'd like to think I would.

But back to this game, I find myself surrounded by people who know the phrase "Pot Odds", but do not know how to apply them. The next person who tries the whole "Pot Odds" argument and then calls for their whole stack with one overcard, I'm going to try to give them the St. Petersburg Paradox to mull over. That, and I just learnt what the St. Petersburg Paradox was. Wikipedia it, you'll see what I mean.

People that think calling on the turn with Ace high is still worth it when the board shows an opened ended straight flush draw, because you know, it's an overcard dude! And the same people consider someone lucky if they have a better starting hand, hit the flop hard and then have them drawing dead by the turn – and they wouldn't fold it! Who would do that?

So, here is my three step plan for beating a particular type of player. Sure, it's no "Kill Phil", but it will serve the public better than most books that they flick through and look at the pictures.


First time males are a little harder top judge, because they are either too scared to do anything or think that bluffing is their god given gift and any bet with nothing is a good bluff. You should be able to figure out which they are pretty early on.

In my limited experience, the first time female player lacks something that the first time male player has in abundance – ego.

More often that not, they are dragged to these games by their boyfriend or husband, and are just trying to not embarrass themselves. The First Time male player is trying to win the World Series with their wicked moves. Oh, and they tend to drink a shit load more than the females before and during the game.

The FTFP tends to like calling, will rarely bet and raise even less. However, they are not clueless and do know when they are holding a hand. So here is my simple plan on how to beat the FTFP:

STEP 1: When you have a decent hand, bet or raise. Check raising only works if the other person is going to bet.

STEP 2: When they bet or raise, only call/raise if you have something. If they have bet/raise, they have something and you are not going to get them to fold it.

STEP 3: If you fired one bullet and they didn't fold, don't fire another. They will call and beat you.

There, that's it. Not hard is it? It's amazing how many "Experienced" $5 Pros complain of calling stations, and then continue to try to bluff them off pots. It's one thing to be a calling station, but to continue to pay a calling station is a new level of stupidity.

The more you know…

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