June 2006
    Jul »



When marginal hands go good

Nice to be on the receiving end of hands like this for a change. Twice today as well, with back-to-back big blinds having poor hands turn into winners…

PokerRoom $2/$4 Hold’em (9 handed)
Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)
Preflop: lucky_donut is BB with Jc, 9c.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls, 2 folds, MP3 calls, 1 fold, Button raises, SB calls, UTG+1 calls, MP3 calls.
Flop: (8 SB) Ks, 2h, 9s (5 players)
SB bets, lucky_donut calls, UTG+1 folds, MP3 calls, Button raises, SB calls, MP3 calls.
Turn: (7 BB) 9h (4 players)
SB bets, lucky_donut raises, MP3 folds, Button calls, SB calls.
River: (13 BB) 7c (3 players)
SB checks, lucky_donut bets, Button calls, SB calls.
Final Pot: 16 BB
SB has 8h Kh (two pair, kings and nines).
lucky_donut has Jc 9c (three of a kind, nines).
Button has As Kc (two pair, kings and nines).
Outcome: lucky_donut wins 16 BB.

Nice bit of fishing – yay me. It’s close, but the pot’s a bit too big here to give up second pair on the flop even with the two-suited board. After the raise though, I figure I need to improve (unless he’s raising a spade draw), but boy do I… The overcall on the river from the small blind holding top pair and no kicker is pretty nice – he can surely only hope to be splitting this pot three ways?

Preflop: lucky_donut is BB with 7s, Qs.
2 folds, MP1 raises, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, 3 folds, lucky_donut calls.
Flop: (7.50 SB) 9d, 5s, 6c (4 players)
lucky_donut checks, MP1 checks, MP2 checks, MP3 bets, lucky_donut calls, MP1 calls, MP2 calls.
Turn: (5.75 BB) 3d (4 players)
lucky_donut checks, MP1 checks, MP2 checks, MP3 bets, lucky_donut calls, MP1 folds, MP2 calls.
River: (8.75 BB) Qh (3 players)
lucky_donut checks, MP2 checks, MP3 checks.
Final Pot: 8.75 BB
BB has 7s Qs (one pair, queens).
MP2 has Ad 4s (high card, ace).
MP3 has 8c 8d (one pair, eights).
Outcome: lucky_donut wins 8.75 BB.

Little draw, slightly better draw, oh ok then, top pair will do. I’m getting 8.5-1 on the inside draw, a bit low but with 4 players still in I figure a straight on the turn would be good for at least 2 more big bets. The double-gutshot on the turn has plenty of pot odds though. However when the hand I made was just a pair of queens, I really didn’t know whether to bet this out of position so I craply check – I’m happily calling one bet here but if I bet and get raised things get expensive with a very mediocre hand, totally weak. Figure I probably lost a bet from 88, who might well make a crying call.

Don’t Go All In!

Could this be the first poker promotion in a Las Vegas casino in recent memory not to feature the phrase "Go All In!"?  In fact, it’s a not even a Hold’em promo – but maybe the Sam’s Town clientel don’t have ESPN and Travel Channel in their RVs? :)   Just kidding, I love the place…

Go pot, pot, pot, pot, all-in! …?


WSOP Registration Hotline

This is a complete misnoma.  I just called the WSOP Registration Hotline to check on my entry – it’s been two weeks since I faxed over my form and wired the money and I’ve not heard a peep.  Not asking for much, just an email to say "thanks, we got your money" would do.

I really don’t think there’s any reason to be suspicious of Harrah’s, and I can understand that they’re going to be a little busy processing mountains of registrations so it could take a while.  I just want to know that my money got to the right place, and they know what it’s for.

Given that when I was calling Citibank to set up the wire, they read aloud to confirm the spelling of "N-E-V-A-R-D-A", even with the written confirmation they’ve sent to me, there’s still just a niggling fear that it hasn’t gone right.

The most interesting mistake I’ve seen Citibank make is when I applied for casino credit at the Stratosphere – they faxed through an account summary stating my average balance as $487,317.  Very specific and very, very wrong I’m sorry to say.  Sadly this didn’t impress the casnio enough to make them throw any free stuff at us.

So the WSOP Hotline: 1-877-FOR-WSOP.  After over four minutes of recorded blurb telling me just how great this year’s event is going to be I press the button for "if you have any questions".  Alas, there’s no human on this number though.  I’m given the option to leave a recorded message, and someone will get back to me within 72 hours.

Not very hot at all really.

Blogger Tournament at PokerStars

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 1878312

Well wouldn’t you know it…

Coincidence?  First hand I play on PokerStars today and my premium hand loses to connected garbage.

PokerStars 2/4 Hold’em (8 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)
Preflop: Hero is BB with Qh, Qd. MP1 posts a blind of $2. UTG raises, 1 fold, MP1 (poster) calls, 3 folds, SB calls, BB 3-bets, UTG calls, MP1 calls, SB calls.
Flop: (12 SB) 5d, 4s, 7s (4 players) SB checks, BB bets, UTG calls, MP1 calls, SB calls.
Turn: (8 BB) 7c (4 players) SB checks, BB bets, UTG calls, MP1 calls, SB folds.
River: (11 BB) Ac (3 players)Hero checks, UTG checks, MP1 bets, Hero calls, UTG calls.
Final Pot: 14 BB
Main Pot: 14 BB, between Hero, UTG and MP1. Pot won by MP1 (14 BB).
Results: Hero has Qh Qd (two pair, queens and sevens). UTG has 6s 6h (two pair, sevens and sixes). MP1 has 7d 8s (three of a kind, sevens).
Outcome: MP1 wins 14 BB.

OK so he’d posted to play and it was only one bet to call.  But with 78 offsuit.  Out of position.  And to an early position raise.  I have to be pleased about having this player at the table though really, and what’s more pleasing is that he didn’t raise when his hand improved to a certain winner, giving me a much cheaper showdown than I should have had, and letting me check-call the scary river.  Admittedly, with any card other than an Ace on the river and I’d be coming out firing, allowing him to raise but surely the smooth call – particularly vs two opponents – was a big mistake.

I don’t think you can fold for one bet on the river here as many players would bet regardless after I check the scare card.  Leading out might be better to gain extra bets from worse hands (in this case, a juicy 66 makes a crying call).  However I still don’t know if it’s an easy fold for one more bet and a big pot – can we be sure a raiser actually has a pair of aces or better, or is just taking a stab thinking I probably do not have an ace after betting all the way so far.

I must not talk back to my superiors. I must not…

Below is the transcript of a post I made to the UK Poker Info forums, which somehow actually resulted in me getting banned from the site and the entire thread being deleted - it was only my 3rd ever post!

Whilst there is clearly an element of smugness in my being able to find fault with the original poster’s strategy hints (notably, this is one of the players who used to come to our home game, and now thinks that he is too good for us) I really did enjoy writing this and found it very satisfying to be able to create what I think is a well-reasoned analysis.

I’ll let you judge for yourself.  I’ve colour coded this for your viewing pleasure – my response is in blue, original poster is red and too-good-for-home-game is in green.

The thread began with someone asking for advice on how to play a live satellite tournament, and initial responses advised her to play tight in the early stages…

knowing u always only play prem hands and if I had a good chipstack I would call your raise with anything like 67 suited

ok how come u would call my raises with 67 suited????

if flop comes low cards which gives me some str8 options it would be hard 4 u to call a bet or a raise with cards like AK A10 etc unless u had an overpair but even so if I had an open ended  str8 I would be 2 /1 to hit it.

There are just so many things wrong with this logic…

For starters, let’s face it – you’re calling a raise with garbage.  You know you are behind in the hand and are – at best – a 2:1 dog.  Assuming the raiser’s range from early or mid position is AK-AJ and pairs AA-99 then you are actually going to be a 4:1 dog about 40% of the time (36 ace-hands vs 24 pairs).  Therefore the preflop action is serious negative equity.

(Note: I’ve since realised I miscounted here, there are 48 ace-hands – 12 suited and 36 unsuited - making you a 4:1 dog 33% of the time.).

Then by smooth calling you just keep adding to your problems.  You not only don’t make any attempt to win the pot yet, or to define your hand, you also encourage other well-stacked players to join in and create a pot that becomes very difficult to get away from when you do catch some kind of donkey draw.  You might get the odds to keep going which would be great in a cash game when going bust is not a problem.  But in a tournament you could be risking your future with 4-1 shot after the turn, or have to make another mistake by folding when you actually have the correct odds to draw.

Once you are in this pot, suddenly calling with suited connectors starts to become attractive – but not for you, for the next guy to act, and the next one, and only because of your mistake.  You’re just stuck in the middle not knowing where the hell you are at.

But as you didn’t mention position at all, lets assume that you are on the button and have great reads on both the blinds and know they are going to fold.  So you smooth-called a raise from a solid player who only plays big hands, and expect them not to bet at almost any flop? Now you’re going to raise then back to try and find out how much they like their hand?  The price for this information just went up.

The times your opponent missed, if you’ve got the balls to raise you’ll win a fair pot, probably 3-4 times your investment pre-flop.  The times you’re wrong (I can’t see why we shouldn’t still use the 40% 33% number here) you’re making a huge mistake, spewing chips and digging a very deep hole for yourself on the next street.  You are investing much more than you can ever hope to win.

On the other hand if you are talking about a "first to the pot wins" move on a low board you are in much better shape to make this play out of position, which means limping in early position with a shit hand and then calling a raise, or stubbornly defending a blind.  Or maybe you know that the player is transparent and will bet if they hit the flop (or still like their overpair) and check if they miss.  This is about the only opportunity you will have to bet and make it hard for her to call.

The problem here though is that your implied odds are a big fat zero. Whilst no-limit poker allows you to play hands with a negative pre-flop expectation because of the potentially huge payoff you can get when you make a monster hand, calling a raise and playing heads up against a premium hand is not the way to do this.  Your pre-flop call is dead money, and then you’re having to make a large bet to win it back, along with the other player’s initial raise.  Net profit is what – 3 big blinds?

Finally, if your intention is to outplay Little Miss BigCards when the board comes low and you think she’s missed, the hand selection is irrelevant.  You don’t have to have a small hand do it – any two will do.

Basically, (original poster), don’t be afraid of getting calls like this.  You need ‘em.

Apologies for the amazing technicolor dreampost – it seemed a better idea before I painted it up.  Hope it’s readable!

World Cup Winner

I really had wanted to plan this a bit better to take advantage of as many World Cup promos and new player signups as possible, but as usual I’d left it too late.  So after getting back from town today about an hour before kick off, I scrambled to at least find some kind of good value bet I could put on the England game.

I discovered a £60 free bet offer with Victor Chandler.  I’ve used their poker software but not their sports betting site so I qualified for this as a new player.  After placing your first bet of between £10 and £60 you are awarded the same amount as a free bet to place on another event in future.

The only stipulation is that the first bet you place has to have odds of evens or greater – basically you can’t lump £60 on a sure thing at 1/20 odds and still take them for the free bet.

I decided to back England on the half time/full time market at 5/4 – I win £75 if they are leading at half time and win the match. My original plan was to have lots of different free bets working for me all hedged against each other for a sure-fire profit.  With the "odds must be evens or higher" rule, which applies to most promotial bets, this is tricky but I’m sure it can be done!  Without enough time to do it properly though today, I was happy enough having a flutter on England with a second chance free bet still to play.

Sure enough, the early goal means England are ahead at half time and this bet is in good shape.  I wimp out a bit and lay off part of the bet with Betfair, making sure that I’m guaranteed a win – I’ll make a net profit of £60 now if England win and £15 if they choke – freerolling!  England win – £60 kerching – and I still have another £60 of Mr Chandler’s money to bet with on the next game.

I mentioned I was in town before the game: having realised that I’ve continued to grow outward since last summer and can no longer fit into most of my shorts, I thought it was time to get a new pair and show off my lovely white legs again.  The world truely appreciates this effort.  With that mission accomplished, Claire also finds herself a bag that will be most useful for our Vegas trip (T-42).

I ponder whether I should get one myself - not the same one of course as it’s a woman’s bag – but something similar, but kinda more manly.  I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but all I can think of is Jack Bauer’s bag in the latest season of 24.  This bag went everywhere with him, and of course contained almost anything you’d ever need to use on a counter-terrorist mission, despite Jack having not worked for CTU for quite some time until that morning.

So, I need to find a "Jack Bag". Reckon I can pull this look off?


Kerching – Party Poker Reload Bonus

You just can’t beat free money from Party Poker!  Their reload bonuses are very easy to clear even at the low limits, so when a 20% up to $100 bonus popped up on my account yesterday I got busy.

I decided to play for this bonus using $25NL only.  I wanted to see how no limit compared to fixed limit hold’em as I’ve mostly played $1/$2 to clear these bonuses so far.  Because the wagering requirements are based on a number of raked hands, regardless of the actual amount of rake paid, the limits do not really matter.  In fact a quirk of this system is that you have to play less hands at $1/$2 to clear a bonus than at $2/$4 – although you pay more rake in total, $1/$2 games are raked in 25c multiples, whereas $2/$4 is raked $1 at a time.

I thought you would probably need to play more hands at $25NL than $1/$2 as there would be fewer flops, but really this doesn’t seem to be the case – I’d usually bank on slightly more than 50% of hands being raked at $1/$2.

Stand by, stat fans – here’s how I did :)

Hands played:  1540 (for 1000 raked hands)Hours played:  23.63 (approx 6 hours @ 4 tables)Rake paid:     $30.10 (so Party Poker lose $69.90 on this promo!)

Amount won:    $35.52 (4.61 BB per 100 hands)Win rate:      $5.92/hrBonus awarded: $100

Rate w/ bonus: $22.60/hr

Certainly not bad for the smallest game in town.  And for those who like even geekier stats, here’s how I was playing:

Vol. Put $ In Pot:       14.29%Pre-flop Raise:           7.21%Post-flop Aggression:     3.72Won $ When Saw Flop:     33.59%Went to Showdown:        20.99%Won $ At Showdown:       50.91%Folded SB to Steal:      87.50%Folded BB to Steal:      80.00%Attempt to Steal Blinds: 18.57%

So it’s a fairly small sample size, but the diagnosis looks pretty good – firmly rooted in the Tight/Agressive camp.  Poker Tracker gives me a little cash bag icon – result!

If I try to be objective, my blind play looks kinda weak, although 8 times out of 10 is probably nothing to be concerned with.  Need more input.  When there are a lot of limpers, as you get in these low limit games, there’s not too many opportunities to steal.  I could be raising a bit more pre-flop, but again with lots of limpers I’m aware that my range of hands to raise with is tighter than usual, and limping into multiway pots with small pairs and suited aces becomes attractive.

Oh, and I appear to be rather aggressive post-flop.  That one really surprised me as I still think I check/call too much on the river.  The aggression factor is calculated as the number of times you bet or raise divided by the number of times you call (checking is ignored).  A number between 2 and 3 – betting twice to three times as often as you call – is thought to be nicely aggressive.

Grrrr, then.

Sell Your PokerStars Tournament Dollars (T$)

Until I started writing this blog all I had put under this domain was a very short page stating that I will buy PokerStars T$.  I never really thought much of it because I never really took it any further – I was thinking about building an automated exchange process like on, but that’s just another project I never got round to finishing.  But checking the usage statistics, I’m actually still getting a fair bit of traffic to that page.  So I thought I’d put the exact same rushed and pretty unhelpful wording back up.  Here is is :

If you win a seat in a satellite on Poker Stars you can unregister from the event you qualified for and collect the value of the seat in tournament dollars, or T$.

You can then sell your T$ to me for real cash!

I will be putting more information on this web site shortly, meantime contact me at if you have a seat to sell.

So although the main reason I’ve done this is to try and keep that position in Google, the offer still stands.  I’ll pay $200 real money for T$215 (the value of a Million Guaranteed seat) with transactions done through the PokerStars lobby.

My First Royal Flush

Title sounds like a poker set for babies, doesn’t it.

I don’t have a date for this - thanks to a hard disk crash all my screenshots (yeah, pretty sad but tell me you don’t do it too.  Oh, just me?) have the same timestamp on them.  I’m pretty sure this was my first Royal Flush experience.

This has to be from 2002 or earlier.  Wagerworks ceased to be a long time ago, which is a shame really.  This was a not-for-real-money casino games web site.  You played with play money but the more action you racked up the more player points you got, and those player points could still be redeemed for real stuff.  The site was operated by (then) MGM Mirage, so there were goodies for half a dozen Vegas casinos to collect.

The games were obviously rigged with a positive payback.  I had written a macro to keep pressing the button on Keno or some of the slot machines so I could just leave it overnight clocking up points :)   I never once went broke and won a huge amount of play money along the way!  For the trouble, we earned a few free buffets at and a ride on the Manhattan Express.