Monday, July 24, 2006

The Other Side Of The Three Outer

Ari Gold: Let's hug it out, bitch.

I have only just got into the first two seasons of Entourage, and I have committed myself to jumping on this bandwagon. What a great show, and Jeremy Piven owns his role like no other.

Poker has been a weird beast of late. At a live game on Friday night, I folded before the river for 5 hours before finally having a decent hand, and of course I got murdered on that one. If was really cold cards, and nothing that I could do about it. I had one playable hand in that first five hours, AK that I folded pre-flop when there was some action and I didn't like the look of it. Turned out to be the right decision in the end after seeing the board offer me no help and Queens take it down.

I was down to $27 from my initial $50 buy in, when there was three people calling raises in front of me on the big blind, and I had JJ. This is not a favourable position, so I decided to go all-in and try to get heads up with a weaker pair or maybe a strong ace. I got all three to call, and no re-raise so I figured I might be in good shape. Maybe under-pairs or maybe they all have Ace-something and are stealing each others outs.

The flop is dealt, and the first card is a Queen. While it is still an overcard, it's probably not too bad. Obviously an Ace or King would be worse, but I figured I might still have a chance here.

Player one raises, player two pushes, player three calls and player one pushes all in over the top as well.

Yeah, maybe my jacks are no good. Turns out by the end the three hands I was up against were AQ, AQ and QJ. Before the flop (disregarding flushes and straights), there were 2 aces and 1 queen that could out-flop my jacks, so basically a three-out chance against 3 players. That's a pretty good situation to be in when short stacked and all-in I think. When the queen came however, I of course only have one out which is a shit situation to be in anytime. I was forced to rebuy as the two players with AQ split the pots.

My second buy-in fared a little better, and when I folded post-flop on the last hand of the night I had reached exactly break even. Considering the five hour fold session, I guess this is alright. It was perhaps the first time though that I really didn't enjoy the poker side of things. The table banter and everything was fine entertainment and I could think of a lot of worse things to be doing with my Friday night, but the actual cards were driving me crazy.

Online wise, the games have been much kinder. I have a really good habit of winning my first hand sitting down no matter what. On one particular 25c/50c NL table I was up 60BB after winning four of the first five hands. And in the first time in ages, I stuck my money in the middle when behind and pulled out a win! I haven't sucked out in what feels like ages and I didn't feel an ounce of guilt over it. With multiple runners, I paid the BB from middle position because when I sit down to play I don't want to wait four or five hands to get in on the action, and since I play tight some people see this as a sign of loose play – someone who can't wait to gamble and needs to see the action. Anyway, I always post the blind no matter what seat position I am in.

I was dealt 82o, and being un-raised got to see the flop. 889, and happy days methinks. I call the small bet in front of me and so does everyone else, and the turn is a harmless looking 4, but it is the second spade so I decide that if anyone if looking for that last spade they are going to have to pay for it. $8 should be enough, and then the player in late position kicks it all-in for $22. Everyone else is out and I curse myself for thinking I am beat, but maybe he has just a nine or an over pair. I call, and he has A8 to have me out kicked and in trouble. The river is my suckout 2, and I take home the pot.

I've always wondered about the players that seem to have continually beaten me with less than 5 outs – how they justify their wins to others and how they describe their mad skillz. How can that person go on and tell everyone about how good they are when in reality they had a 6% chance to win and were for all intents and purposes out played? Today my friends, that person is me. I had the pleasure of being the luck box for once, and how do I justify it?

In the Friday night game, I lost to a 3-outer of sorts and the pot was over $110. On Saturday I scored a 3 outer and the pot was $62. Even it that short time span, you can see how guilt doesn't enter into it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Poker Players By Profession, Part 1

John Milton: Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow.
"The Devil's Advocate"

Why do we use stereotypes? Because they are easy, that's why. You can't judge a book by it's cover? Bullshit. I pretty much know exactly what is going on in a Playboy just by looking at the cover. Actually, I take that back as recently the cover featured Jessica Alba, and as many people have stated the inside was a great let down. Even after debunking my entire argument, I'm going to continue on anyway.

I hope to provide you, gentle humble reader, with a greater character study and insight into other players sitting around your table according to their occupation. I pull this research from years of experience. Experience garnered from home games, bricks and mortar games, casino games, watching "Rounders", and other such experiences I like to call "life". We used to practice something similar when I was in college, and you could tell a persons degree by just watching them walk a few metres (usually that few metres was into a class room with the name of the course on the door, but that is beside the point).

I am not only going to characterise your opponents style by their occupation, but also things to look out for and how to beat (or limit the loss) against each opponent.

One caveat though – this will not work for online games and may not work for most casino games. The reason behind this is people lie. If anybody ever says anything online, they are lying. In a casino, most people will make up their back story to hide this kind of insight into their psyche. Hey, I can't tell you how to decipher a person's occupation by the way they play at the table, and using this guide back to front for that sole purpose is not only unlikely to work but completely pointless – unless you are looking to win a few prop bets along the way, in which case hey, it's your money.

I estimate that this will be a multiple part post, as there are far too many occupations to cover in just a single reading. And please, just because you have Job X, and have mad skillz don't think that proves this character study wrong. I'm invoking the Maddox defence here – YOU are wrong instead. That is not your real job, or you are in fact not that good at it.

Let us start with a few of the obvious ones:


This is a very loose term, and can imply a very varied meaning. Does the guy who spends all his unemployment checks on the horse races qualify as a professional gambler? Is a poker professional with multiple bracelets a Poker Pro or a Pro Gambler as well? For this example we will separate them.

Professional Gambler – this can cover a wide variety of beasts, so you best look around and figure out if they are a professional gambler or a compulsive gambler. While all professional gamblers have a little compulsive gamble in them, not many compulsive gamblers have a professional gamble in them. But how to judge? If they are pissed out of their mind, take a seat and enjoy the ride. If they are trying to borrow cigarettes while at the table, happy days! If they look like they haven't shaved in months, smell like Courtney Love and have multiple plastic shopping bags stored on their person, chances are they are not here for the long run.

If they are an actual professional gambler then consider what level you are playing at. If this is a decent sized game and they are heads down full on concentration mode, then this might be slim pickings. If this is a very low level game and they are laughing it up, then they are here to gamble and you are going to get paid off. They will be playing a wider array of hands than Gus Hansen wearing a blind fold and looking to bluff so be prepared.

Famous Poker Pro - Here is something that should be obvious to you – if your opponent happens to be a regular at WSOP and WPT final tables, you can consider them a hard target. That doesn't mean you have to stand up a leave the table, just if you are going to loose all your money here, make sure you get a good story to tell later. Get a photo once you get felted, and if you manage to make a few dollars then add a zero to it before you tell your friends. I'm not going to go into detail on how to play against a Famous Pro Poker Player, because what the hell would I know and if you are good enough to match it with the best in the world then what the hell are you doing reading this drivel?

Self Proclaimed Poker Pro – Here is a different breed, the Poker Pro who nobody has ever heard of. This is not a myth, and most readers probably know of a few people who make their living grinding out wins without too much fanfare. But then again there are those people that won $300 yesterday and consider themselves a pro today, right before they go back to Kinkos for their shift tomorrow (FYI – Kinko's employees = fish. You heard it here first).

You need to know which kind of pro you are dealing with here. The fact that they refer to themselves as a Poker Pro and not a pro gambler makes them different. If they are an actual poker pro, make their living at the turn of the card then you are in for a tough time, just play your game and have some confidence. If however they are of the other variety, the $5 Pro variety, please just call when they over bet. Even if you don't understand how that was the most perfect, sophisticated bluff ever, you'll thank me.


Yeah, well you can play against them if you want to. You may win, you may loose, but either way it is going to be boring as hell. They are going to be tight and frugal, so give some respect and feel free to take their verbal cues to their hand.


Don't play. They are evil beast that will hunt you down. There are just some problems in life that you need to avoid if you can, and a pissed off Tax Accountant is one of them. They are inhuman. Fuck that.


Forget it. These guys know how to play, they know how to read people, and they know all the tricks. Don't play against a concierge. Don't try to cheat a concierge either. They know people, who know people, who know people – know what I mean?


For better or worse, lawyers have a reputation for being on the higher end of the intelligence spectrum. Having said that, just like any other breed of human there are plenty of stupid lawyers out there.

For the most part, the middle aged to older lawyer wearing a nice suit or at least neat casual – probably a decent player and someone to be wary of. Especially be wary of criminal lawyers, as they tend to have deeper pockets and know some really good poker players.

The younger lawyers, who can't stop telling everyone how good their firm is, giddy up! He's here to prove a point and probably has money for the first time in a long time, and it's burning up in his pocket. Help relieve him of it.

And finally, not to be forgotten in this category is the Law Student. The Law Student believes they know everything already, because they are studying law. Woo Hoo! There is also a great chance that they have seen Rounders and think that they are Mikey McD paying their own way through law school, even though they are already clerking at their father's law firm who pays all their fees up front. The Law Student needs to tell everyone that they are a law student, and should be respected because they are a law student. Here's what you do: Ask them for some legal advice. I don't care what it is about, how obscure or obvious the answer will be – trust them, they know the answer and can't wait to tell you. Feed the ego, then empty the bank roll. Tell your friends about it too. If you get invited to a game at a law school itself, get prepared for the loosest game in your life. Take a friend, take your whole bankroll, and take your time.


This includes people in public office, under the employ of people in public office, or even educators of political sciences: Don't play. You are probably a better player, but they'll cheat.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Daily Poker

Chopper: Look, you're not still angry at me about the leg, are you?
Neville Bartos: Nah, forget about it.
Chopper: Because I don't know if you remember, Neville, but I had that bloody shotgun pointed at your head. I reconsidered and dropped it down to your kneecap. Remember?
Neville Bartos: Forget about it. All right?
Chopper: I mean, what the bloody hell were you doing getting lippy at me with a bloody shotgun? I had a bloody loaded shotgun.
Neville Bartos: The leg is okay, all right?

I've found a new way to play poker online. Usually I like to play 2 tables and flick between the two, while surfing the web or reading other blogs and otherwise general internet activities. Now I know the pureist among you will say you need to focus solely on the poker tables while you are playing in order to get the full value for your gambling dollar and to make better decisions and become a World Champion some day. To be honest, I know that is true but I just don't want to. I play pretty tight so I'm pretty much folding most of the time and two tables just doesn't hold my attention. Three tables can get a bit messy for me at times, so I don't go there. I just use another window to do other stuff, whatever that may be.

Lately, that has been You Tube, and most specifically every single clip of The Daily Show I could find. I even found myself at the point where I didn't want to watch the Daily Show clips unless I was playing poker, and vice versa. Whenever play gets a bit hairy, I pause the clip and concentrate on the table. But then, it's right back to the Daily Show. It's amazing that the cable channels out here are only just getting the Daily Show on, not that we have cable (been waiting 4 months now for them to hook it up).

I think in the course of two days I have exhausted You Tube of their Daily Show content, which will be very damaging as my results were decent over the weekend, including a 14 th out of 200+ MTT finish. I haven't played a Multi for so long, it was great and I felt in control for a lot of the tournament. I think I also won another 2 or 3 table SNG, but I could have come second or third...actually, I think it was third. I managed a double up on one of the cash tables when JJ cracked Aces – might sound like a bad beat, but when you don't raise with AA pre-flop and then check the 9 high flop, you get what you asked for. When the Jack hit the turn and I went all-in, he called and I was happy.

So after lamenting having my Aces cracked so many times, I have given them some of their own back a few times in the most recent sessions. Mind you, I've been ahead each time when the money has gone in, cracked or not. Ah, but what do you care dear reader, aces get cracked everyday. I could write an entire book on the cracking thereof. Part 1, or the old testament, would be of having them cracked. Part 2, which I shall call…part 2, will be dedicated to the art of cracking.

I've also made a new poker lesson learned in the past few weeks. Having a perfect read on your opponent AFTER they have called your bet is not really all that useful. But I guess that is part of the betting process. You put out a feeler to see where you are in the hand with your weak top pair, he just calls and it is easy to assume you have kicker problems at best.

On to topics other than the 52 card variety, while indulging in a few quiet beverages over the weekend, it was decieded that all the punters that made the long trek to my home town last year for the wedding should do it again next year for the 2 nd anniversary. I immediately sent a bulk text message to all and sundry telling them of the plan, and lo and behold all were in the affirmative. Including my brother, who had this little gem of a reply – "Shotgun not driving, unless we're going by train in which case I'll give it a go."

I have no doubt that we will ask if this can be so, should we choose to travel by train. I have also set the task of myself over the next 12 months to come up with a list of 100 things for each traveller to complete with points awarded per task over the course of the trip, for which prizes will be awarded. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Those Damn Rockets

Corporal Dean Portman : You know, Kid, it's funny. A couple of days I asked Sarge for a little pussy. The next day he brought you onto the team.
John Grimm: Don't give me an excuse, Portman. No one here will miss you.

What a weekend of poker I had, finally finishing a raked hand bonus in the most up and down session of my life. Thankfully, it was slightly more up than down, though it didn't feel like it was going to be for most of it.

Like most bad beat stories, this one starts with Pocket Aces. There was the one table bully with a massive chip stack who was playing it accordingly, and he made a pre-flop raise that was standard, with which was met by a not-standard pre-flop re-raise. I see this as an opportunity to catch someone out with a pocket pair they can't get away from, and before long all three of us are all-in before the flop. The other player I have covered has JJ and the bully, well he has my other two Aces. Naturally, there is a jack on the flop and I am drawing dead.

An hour or so later, I got caught out again with AA vs 88. Hitting an ace was not help enough, as the river gave the 88 a straight. It was a shame too, because the 88 was a real jackass but was on a lucky streak hitting a few lean draws before this one.

But as poker is want to do, things swung back. I cracked aces with K9, another reason why you shouldn't limp with aces. From the big blind I hit two pair on an all-diamond flop. The turn made no help but the river was another nine so I had no reason to be scared of the flush anymore. I decided I couldn't check raise here for my final $14 into a $26 pot, because he would only do that if he had the flush (or a pocket pair that also hit), and if he had either of those hands then he would call the $14 bet anyway. If he has less than that, he'll probably just check if I check and fold no matter how much I bet. I thought my reasoning was correct, so I put the rest of my chips into the middle. He called with two pair, aces and nines, and I was happy.

Later against the same player, they raised in late position with me again on the big blind. I had Ad5d and decided to see a flop. The flop was A high, and he put out a little bet, I call. This happens all the way to the river and he shows the un-improved QQ for another nice little pot.

The final major pot for the weekend was with an ace on a board of AAKQQ. I had a real fear of AK, but put out my final bet on the river anyway. The opponent calls with TT, which of course meant he was playing the board. I wish I found this guy earlier…

My recent follies with AA have led me to think that I am playing them wrong, so I changed my mindset. I seem to be loosing with them all the time, and big pots too. When I do win with them, it is blinds only stuff. When I looked back at it, it's probably because I am playing very tight and a raise from me is usually noticed. The last couple have been bad beats, so there is not much I could do about that I guess. What would a post be without a bit of a bad beat whinge – readable, I hear some of you say. Smart ass.

After a nice win in a two table SNG, I managed to complete this length promo with a modest profit. I have found my feet in the small NL games again, which was very welcomed. The limit side of it was still puzzling to me, and fruitless. If it doesn't sound too stupid, I think I play too tight to take advantage of limit games. In one session, I had won 2 hands out of the 84 played at one table, and this was 6-max. Small sample size, but you get the picture.

So the list of freebies thanks to PSO grows significantly, thanks to them adding new rooms which I had not completed promos for before. I think I was almost to the point where I was running out of DVD's that I wanted to get. Such a shame that most of the suppliers on the Amazon website don't deliver to Australia. I found one such company that does, and therefore I channel all non-amazon purchases through them even if their prices are slightly higher. There's a little business promo for you, Amazon retailers!

Currently, I have $4 sitting in online poker rooms, so I will be having a few days break from the tables at least. More of a chance to catch up on my video game habit I guess. I'm nearly half way through Heroes of Might and Magic V, and I'm finding it to be exactly as I had expected, maybe a little harder which is great. I've always been a big fan of the series and it is good to see the latest instalment hasn't disappointed.

Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 WSOP

Elizabeth: Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royale.
Barbossa: There be a lot of long words in there, miss. We're naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?
Elizabeth : I want you to leave and never come back.
Barbossa: I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request... Means "no."
"Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

Just like everyone else, I'm pretty excited about going to see Pirates 2 tomorrow night. It will be a part of the Distraction's birthday present, seeing it in Gold Class at the new local cinema. The place is awesome, and being within walking distance for these late Saturday night screenings when the bar is open is also a welcomed convenience.

By now everyone is in the full swing of the 2006 WSOP. It is good to see that Joe is still passing the sugar putting in a good showing against everyone's favourite online poker room operator, and then 22 year old Mark Vos – Pokerbok to those who are familiar with his online exploits – pulls out his first bracelet and $800K to go with it. 22 years old with $800K – what the hell? That really spun me out, the more I thought about it. Then I went online and won $4.50 last night. At 22, my net worth was firmly in the red. What am I talking about – even now at 25 it still is firmly in the red.

Is making a prediction on the Main Event winner even worth bothering about anymore? I think more interest will be around the $50K HORSE event, which ought to be a favourite amongst the pros. Funnily enough I didn't see many online qualifiers to that event, and you can already here the poker purist claiming it to be the "real" main event. It does lend itself to the title a little, considering it is 5 times the buy in.

Can't agree more with the recent writing of the good Dr Pauly, re Mr. Hellmuth. Like him or hate him, you gots to respect him. And while I'm talking about Dr Pauly, I don't think I will ever enjoy or follow a WSOP without his writings. In such a short amount of time, it has become a tradition and an integral part of the poker event. Pauly, you deserve everything that has come your way since the last World Series, and here's hoping there is plenty more to come.

Work has been extremely busy of late, so the poker has been scarce but I have managed a few session here and there, still finding my feet and continuing my whoring ways.

I have had the chance to catch up on some all important TV shows, and once again I wish to enter the debate on The Shield vs 24. Our former room mate has seen season 5 of 24 (which is only up to the 5 th or 6th hour on TV here, but thanks to the internet…) and claimed it to be the best series ever, with no filler like previous seasons. Excited by this recommendation, the Distraction and I popped it in for a look-see at this exciting new season and…disappointment. There was more emotional drama filler than ever before, and Jack has lost his touch. By hour 19, he was trying to sneak onto a heavily guarded plane, and how did he do this? He pulled his hoodie up. Yep, super agent Jack Bauer could not be seen with his hoodie on. Then, he walked right up to the plane – with two suitacases mind you, and walked into the cargo bay safe and sound. Man, did they just give up on this or what? And who is left alive after this season? It's one thing to kill off a main character for shock value, but when you kill off 3 or 4 in quick succession, it's kind of redundant.

In contrast, season 5 of The Shield rocked. When they killed off a character, it was gut wrenching to watch. I think one of the differences in the shows is in 24 they think of a cool way for Jack to get out of a situation, and then create the situation. In The Shield, they think of the situation that would arise through the course of events so far, and then try to figure out how to get out of it.

To put it bluntly, as I have said many times before even though I am a fan of both shows, The Shield > 24. Always.

This is still about poker, right?