If you'd like to advertise on this site, please email me to discuss details and rates.

Almost time to paint...

I'm heading out shortly to go paint some walls. Before I go, a quick comment on a few bloggers:

Chris Fargis: Finished reading everything Chris had to say regarding hold'em, triple draw, and badugi. I'm going to go back and re-read everything written about triple draw - good stuff!

Now, I just have to wait and see how well Chris does at the WSOP Main Event. Both Gus Hansen and Phil Hellmuth are out, but Chris Ferguson is still in it.

And didn't I tell you that Matt Maroon was due? $80K!

Will Chris catch some cards and join Matt near the top of the heap?

Hoyazo
: It was strange to read some of Hoy's earlier posts and his general displeasure with his performances in various MTTs. But, for anyone who follows Hoyazo's postings, you know that it all ended quite well. He won an entry into a WSOP event and he took home the big prize in a Party Poker $40K Guaranteed tournament.

I only wish I played (or enjoyed) MTTs so that I could learn from Hoy's experiences. But if you're interested in picking up some big wins here and there, go check him out!

One thing I didn't know about Hoyazo is that he's been playing poker on and off for twenty years. I guess I should stop trying to compare myself to guys like this...

FloppyJT: Another Ottawa blogger, FloppyJT is also your typical bonus chasing poker monkey. The big differences between me and FloppyJT?


  • He picked up $2500 by playing in a milestone hand at PokerStars earlier this year.

  • He's got the balls to play regularly at the $1/$2 6-max limit tables.

  • He's a winning player...who actually wins amounts of money that can buy more than a popsicle or two.
Go check him out: if anything, you'll see what it takes to grind out the bonuses and build your bankroll the bonus-whoring way.

Ok, I'm done...see ya!

Keep reading "Almost time to paint..."

Poker, sunburns, and breaking pat hands...

After sessions like those I had on Friday and Saturday, I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may be the Robin Hood of the $25 SHNL tables. Instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, I take from the aggressive players and give to the fish. Robin Hood may be too grand a title for what I do: I feed fish.

It was an extremely busy weekend for my wife and I. We spent countless hours painting, mowing the lawn, trimming the grass and weeds, shopping, assembling various purchases, and driving.

However, I did manage to get about six hours in at the tables. I played a bit of $25 SHNL at InterPoker, some blackjack at AceClub Casino, with a splash of triple draw at Ultimate Bet for good measure..

I had a pretty good session on Friday night at InterPoker. As I mentioned earlier, I spent most of my two hour session busting the LAGs at the table and giving back to the fish. It's really strange how it works out...

When I sit at a table, the first players that I notice are those trying to throw their weight around. For some reason, I take it upon myself to defend the tight, the weak, and the passive players at the table. I'll play a bunch of pots against any and all maniacs, slowly setting them up for a stacking.

On Friday night, there were three such players. It took me just over 90 minutes to bust all three and take their stacks.

I busted one when I fast played a full boat. Another fell when I feigned weakness on the turn with my top two pair. And the last was busted when we were all in pre-flop: my AK versus his A7.

In addition to busting the LAGs at my tables, I'd also managed to steal enough pots and blinds to put myself up just over four buy-ins. As I was getting ready to stand up and leave, I decided to continue my trend of feeding the fish and donked off a buy-in.

Playing against the calling station? Sure, I'll bluff - why not?

Could the fish's all-in river bet mean he has the flush? Only one way to find out!

On and on and on it went over the last thirty minutes of my session. It was a little sick and I forced myself to stop playing.

Although I managed to post a solid win at the SHNL tables, I also gave some back in the blackjack and triple draw department. There's no point in going over the blackjack play: same old, same old.

Triple draw is still a complete mystery to me. Lately, I've found myself blindly calling bets with no regard to the cards my opponents may be holding and, subsequently, to the odds I need to continue drawing.

The players I'm up against at Ultimate Bet's micro-limit tables are a strange bunch. They'll stay pat on a jack high just as often as they'll stay pat on a six high (in A-5, that is). This makes it extremely difficult to know whether I'm ahead or behind in the hand. Take the following hand as an example:

I found 2-3-4-6-7 on the button (in A-5, not 2-7, triple draw). UTG limped, I raised, both blinds called, as did the UTG player. SB drew four (weak sauce), BB drew five (wtf?!), and UTG drew three: I stood pat with my rough 7.

Next round of betting: the blinds both checked and UTG bet out. Thinking that UTG hd probably improved to a one-card draw, I raised in position to try and isolate. My pat 7 seemed good enough to win a heads-up pot against an opponent who was most likely still drawing.

Of course, both blinds called the raise as did UTG. Note to self: isolating does not work at the $0.50/$1 tables until after the third draw...

SB and BB both drew 3 cards and UTG stood pat. Yuck! All of a sudden, my rough 7 was not looking so hot. Having only seen the UTG player show down 7s or better after staying pat, I decide to break my crappy 7: I had 8 outs to improve to a 6-high (any ace and any five).

My draw gave me a K. Awful. It checked around and I decided to take the free card. No one was folding for a bet at that stage in the game. The SB and BB both drew 1, UTG stayed pat, and I drew 1 card as well.

I ended up pairing my three with my last card and was forced to fold when the SB bet out and both the BB and UTG called the bet. UTG won the pot with A-2-5-7-10. Damn it! I am such a donkey!

And this is why I have so much more to learn in the realm of triple draw. I'm still unsure of when to stay pat, when to call, and when to fold. I'll just have to keep reading SS2 and checking out Chris F.'s site for more triple draw pointers.

Hopefully I'll pull it together enough so that one day, I'll be able to sit at Ultimate Bet's $300/$600 triple draw table and give Chris a run for his money.

On Saturday night, I saw Chris sitting at an empty $300/$600 table, waiting for someone to sit down with him. I would've sat down if not for two reasons:


  • I don't know Chris.

  • I don't have enough to actually buy-in to a $300/$600 triple draw table. In fact, I don't have enough money at Ultimate Bet to one BB. Chris, on the other hand, was sitting there with $30K...cool...
Before I call it a day, let's go over my plans for the week:

  • Tonight, I'm putting the second coat of paint on the living room and dining room walls. I will get some $25 SHNL played at InterPoker once I'm home and showered, though.

  • Tomorrow, I'll discuss my July 2006 results. All bragging aside, it's been a good month for me. I think it'll be a while before I have another month like it, having worked through most of the blackjack bonuses available to me.

  • I'll most likely hit up William Hill Poker and Casino for the monthly bonuses on Wednesday. If I have time, I may also hit up Littlewoods Casino and UK Betting. After completing these bonuses, I will most likely stop playing blackjack at either of those casinos: no point abusing the bonuses too much and ruining it for the rest of you out there.

  • Thursday will be another paint-filled day, with a little $25 SHNL at InterPoker thrown in for good measure.

  • On Friday, I may hit up Pokes Poker for some full-ring $50 NL or some 6-max $0.50/$1 limit poker.
This week will actually be incredibly busy for my wife and I. Although I'm sporting a sun burn after mowing the lawn and doing the weed-whacker thing yesterday, there is more than enough work to be done at the house to keep us both busy for many weeks. Throw in a visit or two to my wife's grandmother and free-time seems pretty scarce for the next five days.

Ok, that's it for today.

[Hey, I just bought a computer - nothing like online impulse shopping! Our home PC is a broken piece of crap and needs replacing: the new one is a 3.2 GHz Intel P4, 250 GB SATA HD, 1 GB PC-3200 DDR memory, 256 MB video, 16x DVD burner and it comes with 2 firewire ports. I can finally burn the video from the camcorder onto DVD.]

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Poker, sunburns, and breaking pat hands..."

Weekend!

Things are wrapping up around here - about time for me to head home. But before I do...

--

I've got some tentative charts for any fixed limit games I play. Oddly enough, I think limit poker is a lot more art than science. Looking at my charts, it seems that there is a lot more room for "maybes" when it comes to deciding when and where to enter a pot.

I don't have any room for limping or calling in my charts - it's all about raising! When it comes time to play the passive role, I'll have to let my judgement (and the combined knowledge of all the reading I've done) be my guide.

Throw in an inability to easily control pot size and questionable implied odds and we have a nice little Picasso going on here.

I've consulted Matt Maroon's outstanding book - Winning Texas Hold'em - in coming up with my charts. We'll see how well I fare now that I'm relying a little more on my brain and a little less on a piece of paper.

--

Chris Fargis' site is so chock-full of Triple Draw goodness that I'm going to have to go back and re-read some of the posts.

I've read all entries right up until May 2006 - almost finished...

I guess Hoyazo's site is next on the chopping block...

--

Make sure that you check out CC, Pauly, Otis, and Wil as they report on the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

My picks for finishing first this year are:


  • Gus Hansen: He's been out of the spotlight for the past little while and it'd be nice to see him grab the big prize!

  • Matt Maroon: He's really been working on his tournament play this past year and I think this could be it. He's got the skillz and the attitude to get it done.

  • Chris Fargis: 2005 Triple Draw World Champion...2006 Poker Champion of the World?

  • Chris Ferguson: Anyone who can turn $5 into $20K in 3 months by playing online poker (I think it was 3, wasn't it?) has my vote. Plus, he's got a cool hat and shades...

  • Phil Hellmuth: I don't think Phil's content with just ten bracelets - I think he's gonna make a strong run at his eleventh and grab the lead over Doyle and Chan!
I've purposely avoided picking Ivey because everyone and his brother is picking him to win. We'll see if he can avoid the 8000+ landmines standing between him and the big prize.

--

Once again, have a great weekend! Time to go spend some time with my wife and get my ass reacquainted with the couch!

Keep reading "Weekend!"

Climbing The Charts

I've actually got something to talk about today - and it's poker related! But first, let's get the house update over and done with.

--
If I thought for a second that my readers weren't interested in my boring personal life, I'd stop with these updates. But people keep reading, so I'll keep writing.

After work and a quick bite to eat, my wife and I were out at the house. Here's a quick recap of all the action at the money pit:


  • My wife and I were a little bummed to discover that the kitchen and family room need another coat of paint! Three coats! I think Tuff_Fish sums up my feelings about that quite nicely (thanks to Wes for finding this - go visit Wes you lazy buggers!).

  • My brother-in-law came over to fix our kitchen faucet. Unfortunately, we discovered that the faucet isn't the thing preventing us from getting hot water in our kitchen. Time to call the plumber...My wife is estimating the repairs at $100; I've chose the over and am guessing $600. I just love the way contractors can rob me blind with absolute impunity. I'll try and find a contractor who plays at InterPoker - that way, I may be able to win my money back at some point.

  • Painting a ceiling that contains numerous rounded edges is a real pain in the ass! I have seriously fucked up so much of the painting that my wife owes me an ass-kicking or two.

  • While doing a shitty paint job, I managed to break the roller-thingy. How the hell did I break something as solid as a paint roller? Jebus!

  • We bought a living room set and an extra chair at The Brick (not to be confused with the Brick). Price wasn't too bad seeing as how they threw in the loveseat for free. I'm sure we could have worked out a deal to knock some off the price, but I'm not a negotiator. Ruthless at the tables, cuddly wuddly in real life...

  • Finally, my wife and I realized that we have a whole heck of a lot to finish at the house and very little time. I have a funny feeling that the next month will be extremely exhausting...

--

The anonymity of online poker is a good thing in my case. If anyone out there were to actually see me play poker, I think I'd lose any sort of psychological edge over my opponents.

I picture most solid poker players sitting in their poker dens, calmly and carefully watching multiple tables of action displayed on two 21" LCD monitors. A soothing music is created by some nameless melody played over the computer's speakers combined with the rhythmic clicking of the mouse. This music, a theme song shared by only the best of poker players, is interrupted only by infrequent murmurs of elation or frustration as a the pixellated drama unfolds before the player's eyes.


Now, let's take a look at my reality...

I sit upon a second-hand, yet extremely comfortable, sofa wearing only my WSOP pyjamas - bottoms optional. As I frantically rearrange multiple tables of action on my under-sized laptop monitor, the floor fan suddenly catches the piles of starting hand charts beside me. The room is suddenly alive with floating sheets of paper.

The laptop beeps at me, letting me know that it's my turn to act at two of the three tables at which I'm currently seated. Yet I am unable to act, on my hands and knees on the floor, desperately trying to find the sheet of paper that will tell me what to do.

The phone rings and my wife lets me know that my mother wants to arrange a suitable time for me to refill her barbeque's propane tank. As I grab the phone, the laptop beeps a third time - I have less than ten seconds to act! I drop the phone just as I finish collecting the last of my charts.

The TV suddenly comes alive to let me know that a new Will Ferrell movie is coming out and I'm instantly distracted. My wife snaps me out of my reverie by asking me which colour I think would look better in the dining room: brown or brown, or maybe the brown?

The laptop beeps one last time: I glance at the appropriate chart. Raise! Slider to the right, raise button clicked!

The laptop beeps again! The second table! As I desperately try to regain my place on the couch, my grip loosens on the fistful of papers in my hand. The fan swivels back towards me and the papers are in the air again. My frustrated moan quickly becomes a yelp of pain and surprise as I my foot lands upon the phone receiver laying on the floor.

I lose my footing and I'm suddenly floating to the ground, joining the falling pieces of poker wisdom detailing starting hand requirements.

I hit the ground hard, unable to comprehend what's just happened.

The laptop beeps...


The moral of this story? I need to organize my starting hand charts a little better.

When I started playing the 6-max NL games, I decided to design a chart based on one concept: first-in to the pot and raising (Phil Gordon discusses this in his Little Green Book).

This chart design has worked very well for me due to the compact nature of the information. One 13x13 table holds all the information I need to work my magic.

Granted, the simplicity of the chart makes it harder for a pure novice poker player to use. However, I find that I can filter the chart's suggested course of action based on the table's dynamics, the reads I have on my opponents, and my current table image.

I have now created three colourful starting hand packages:

  1. Blackjack charts: Single Deck, Two-Deck and Four-Deck strategies

  2. Triple Draw: Ace-to-Five and Deuce-to-Seven

  3. NL Hold'em: 6-max, Full Ring (Tight, Average, and Loose Tables)

I hope to consolidate all my limit hold'em charts into three 13x13 colour charts as well: 6-max limit and full ring (tight and loose tables).

In a year's time, I should be able to make due without any starting hand charts. In fact, I very rarely consult my 6-max no-limit hold'em chart because I've played quite a bit of that game in the past couple months. Also, it takes very little memorization to know that I should be playing and raising about 30% of my hands.

Anyway, my plans for this weekend include poker and painting. Although I plan on spending some time at InterPoker's $25 SHNL tables, I'm going to spend some time at Pokes Poker's $50 NL tables as well.

I need to get back into the full-ring swing of things before I forget everything I learned this past spring. I really hope that I'll be able to tone down the aggression I learned at the SHNL tables: otherwise, I'm probably looking at a pretty big swing in the old bankroll.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Keep reading "Climbing The Charts"

Push-happy with greed!

I was going to come up with some fancy little post today discussing the current state of affairs in the online poker world. Failing that, I thought I might discuss the value of patience at the poker tables. Then, I thought I might discuss greed instead. Maybe I should just discuss my past couple nights at the SHNL and triple draw tables? And then, I thought, screw it - let's just throw everything together in one big post

--

First, what's going on in the online poker world? Well, it seems that the B2B network has gone the Eurobet way of things. Effective September 1st, U.S. players will be banned from playing at any B2B site.

What does this mean? Well, the B2B sites are chock-full of primarily European players. So it looks like U.S. players were staying away regardless.

And the network doesn't offer any rakeback deals whatsoever. Although I'll probably give a couple B2B sites my business at one time or another (when I play well enough and at high enough stakes to clear bonuses quickly), I don't think that this news is really all that big.

U.S. players still have lots of sites and networks to hit up for the time being (Party Poker, Ultimate Bet, InterPoker, Doyle's Room, etc). If this internet gambling legislation falls through (Iggy said that the vote is being pushed back), I'm hoping that U.S. players are welcomed back with open arms at any and all sites (maybe BoDog will allow Canadians at some point as well).

I don't know how well the rest of the world will do without all the U.S. players and U.S. cash. Maybe the vote will be held off long enough to allow for this year's newest crop of college and university students to put their parents' money to good use?

By the way, for those of you out there who were getting a rakeback deal at Eurobet via RakeTheRake, check your e-mail. It seems that Pokes Poker (also on the OnGame/PokerNetwork...whatever it's called...) has agreed to offer great rakeback deals (35% to 40%, depending on your volume) to all existing RTR members. I'll be taking advantage of that deal and I'm hoping that many of you out there will too.

--

Greed. It's what drives me most times at the tables and it's what keeps me coming back time and time again.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is patience. Patience is what keeps me at the tables long enough to fulfill my primary goal, which is to make money.

Lately, I've found a lot of players driven by greed but lacking the patience to keep it under control. Everyone's seen these players at the tables: they like to raise a lot, they love betting, and they won't fold if there's a good amount of money in the pot.

Day one, you learn that the money in the pot is not yours. You use pot odds (and implied odds, etc.) to determine whether or not you should stick with your hand. However, at no time should you consider the money you've already invested in your hand when making a decision to call, bet or fold. "Never chase bad money with good" is the expression, I think.

In the past, I noticed a lot of loose-passive players. Limp into a lot of pots and stick with the hand until the very end in the hopes of hitting something good and raking in a huge pot. These players played poker like any other casino game: sure, the odds are stacked against them but it's the big score they're looking for.

Lately, I've seen many of these loose-passive players replaced by loose-aggressive players. Maybe it's that I've been playing the short-handed games more and more. Or maybe it's that the whole "aggressive poker is winning poker" mantra repeated ad nauseum by many winning players. In any case, these LAGs limp with 30% of the hands dealt to them, raise with 50% of their hands, play hyper-aggressive poker post-flop, and seem to feel that any money invested in a pot belongs to them. They want the pot, they want the money, and they're willing to feed their greed by pushing all their chips into the pot and hoping for the best.

There are players who play the LAG role very well (Sam Farha, for example); however, micro-limit players are micro-limit players for a reason. I don't mind having these weak maniacs at my table. They loosen up the table and put everyone on semi-tilt. Although I can expect more variance when sitting with these players, I welcome the edge I have over a player who pushes far too much and looks only at trying to win a lot of money quickly.

A couple nights ago at InterPoker's $25 SHNL tables, I ran into a guy who seemed to thrive on being the table bully. If multiple players limped to him pre-flop, he'd jam and take down the pot. If someone raised pre-flop, he liked to test the raiser by re-raising a large amount.

Admittedly, I have fairly loose pre-flop raising standards at the short-handed tables. AJo? Sure, pop it! 56s? Hell, why not? AA? You betcha! Aggressive poker is winning poker, right?

Many players will do one of two things when faced with a maniac who keeps pushing and re-raising pre-flop:


  1. Stop raising and limp into pots, hoping to hit post-flop against the maniac.

  2. Lose patience after being re-raised three or four times pre-flop and make a move with a weak hand.
I watched a couple players bust against the maniac by pushing pre-flop to the maniac's re-raise, only to find themselves behind with their KQs versus the maniac's A3o. This happened time and time again and no one seemed to be learning anything from others' mistakes.

And then, I started picking up some hands.

Came in for a $1 raise (I really hope a 4xBB raise ends up being much larger at some point soon...) in MP with AJo; maniac re-raised to $5; I folded.

Came in for a $1 raise on the button with JTs; maniac re-raised; I folded.

Came in for a raise in the CO with an A2s; maniac re-raised; I folded.

Why would I keep raising in this way knowing that the pot would be stolen from me? It's an easy answer: greed and patience. I was being a little piggy: I wanted to the maniac's entire stack. However, I knew that I'd have to be patient. I had to lay the groundwork for my little trap. I was willing to gamble it up with the maniac but I knew I could choose when and where to do it.

And then, it happened...

I raised to $1 from MP with 55 - not a great hand, but a made hand. Everyone folded to the maniac in the BB: they knew what was coming - Maniac re-raised to $5.

At this point, I'm guessing I'm 50/50 to win the pot. He may have held a pocket pair, he may have held garbage, but he most likely held a couple overcards to my pair. Having waited long enough, I pushed for my last $24. The maniac took only a second to call.

According to Sklansky, I probably made a move pre-flop that allowed the maniac to play the hand correctly. Faced with such a large re-raise, my opponent would most likely fold any hand not having at least a 50/50 chance to win. However, Sklansky doesn't play against these micro-limit balls' war specialists: the maniac turned over his K5 s00ted and was in trouble. Presto! Just like that, I'd doubled up.

Did I get lucky? Sure I did. But against the maniacs of the world, you've got to be prepared to take your chances if you want to win money. I recommend waiting for a big ace or a pocket pair, but it's all read-dependent anyway.

Who knows - maybe triple draw has loosened me up so much that I'm too willing to gamble it up. Maybe I'm becoming the maniac at the table, destined to scrape out a meager existence at the $25 NL tables?

--

This post grew a little larger than I thought. Damn! Let me quickly recap my play over the past couple days and I'll leave it at that:

  • Blackjack at AceClub Casino is going well. My streak theory of betting seems to be working for now. I do love the way my mind can see patterns where there are none! I'm just over halfway though clearing my bonus: another 5 hours or so and I should be done.

  • My time at InterPoker's $25 SHNL tables is going well. I'm still having trouble playing against fishy players and calling stations; however, the maniacs have been paying me off enough to counteract the (somewhat puzzling) holes in my game.

  • I finally booked a winning session at Ultimate Bet's Triple Draw tables. I played a little A-5 last night and came away up 9 BBs ($9) after about an hour of playing. I still feel quite lost in the game and find myself lost as to what to do in certain situations (I may discuss this tomorrow). I am, however, enjoying the game immensely and look forward to "getting it" (sooner rather than later, I hope).

--

By the way, go check out Pauly and CC for some stuff about Phil winning his tenth bracelet. Hellmuth is one of my favourite players (I'm not being sarcastic) and I'm happy to see him tie it up with Chan and Brunson. I'm hoping Phil manages an 11th bracelet this year - his ego would be unstoppable if that were to happen!

--

I've got some wallpaper removal to do tonight at the house, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a little time at InterPoker or Ultimate Bet, depending on my level of fatigue.

Have a great day everyone!

Keep reading "Push-happy with greed!"

Kind words and Annoying Games

I don't have much to report today. I spent the bulk of my evening last night painting the family room and kitchen at the new house. The second coat of paint is on and it's looking pretty good. My wife did step in and fix up some of my sloppy painting mistakes, for which I am eternally grateful. Man, I'm glad my wife knows how to paint...

Anyway, two things to report today.

First off, thanks to everyone who stopped by and gave me the old "Congrats" on hitting my $5K bankroll goal. Some say that poker bloggers are merely taking part is some large circle jerk: congratulating each other on the small wins, minimizing fault for horrendous losses, and constantly seeking the comfort of an ego-stroking reach-around.

Yep, that about sums it up. Hey, it works for me (although the reach-around imagery turns my stomach a little), so I'm not gonna complain about jack.

So, shout outs go to the following group of people who stopped by to boost my ego:


  • Wes: Said congrats and told me to try jumping up a limit or two!

  • L'artiste: Another congrats and warned me of the pitfalls of variance.

  • Tripjax: Congrats and has decided to make "small and gay" a common office-place phrase.

  • Marl: Good friend - has taught me that ignoring certain pieces of advice can, at times, be the best course of action.

  • Lastly, a shout out to Element59 (a reader from Puerto Rico) who sent me the following e-mail:
    Hi Klopzi’s am very glad to hear about your $5000 goal and the all the good things going on with your life. About 2 month ago I was looking around to see if it was possible to build up my bankroll from the microlimits alone. So I started reading some blogs until a stumble on yours. I have to tell you I really enjoy your writing and by going over all your files you can see how much you have improve your game over a short time.
    Well from the beginning your poker logic was much better than my (in my first year I lost $300, what a donkey!). Right now I’m not playing because I busted my bankroll for the third time (long story short, I was playing $50 and $100 SHNL with a $100 bankroll at poker star!) but now I know the obvious, thanks to you. Well I’m thinking of coming back after rereading some books and un-tilting my self and yes I will use your links. Thank you for the inspiration.
    See you around.

    Cool! I actually inspired someone (ultimate ego stroke)!
That's all I'm gonna say about clearing the $5K mark. That's old news - time to aim for bigger and better things.

--

For those of you interested in or knowledgeable about triple draw, here are some hands from my 2-7 session at Ultimate Bet's 0.25/0.50 limit tables last night. There were no 0.50/1 tables going so I had to step down a limit. Given the way I play, that's probably not a bad thing.

Hand #1
4-handed, all fold to me in SB and I raise (7h Qd 4c 2h 4s), BB re-raises and I call.

[I take two (2-4-7-J-K), BB takes one.]

I check, BB bets, I fold.

I think raising with my 2-4-7 is the correct move, even though I'll be out of position in the SB. I wonder if I should have capped it pre-flop in order to maintain control of the hand.

When I failed to improve and was a card behind, I didn't feel like continuing with the hand. In hindsight, I probably should have called the bet and taken one more draw.

The player in the BB wasn't a total idiot and was probably drawing to either a 7 or 8. Still, folding when getting 7:1 odds after the first draw is probably not the best thing to do when holding a 2-card wheel draw.

Hand #2
6-handed, I raise UTG with (2-5-6-7-x), Button calls, SB calls, BB calls.

[SB takes 3, BB takes 2, I take one (2-5-6-7-8), Button takes 3.]

SB checks, BB checks, I bet, all call.

[SB takes 1, BB takes 1, I stand pat, Button takes 1.]

SB checks, BB checks, I bet, Button raises, all call.

[SB takes 1, BB stands pat, I stand pat, Button takes 1.]

SB checks, BB checks, I bet, Button folds, SB folds, BB calls.

BB shows 8-6-5-4-2 and wins pot.

I don't mind the way I played this hand up until the river (does that term hold true for triple draw?).

At that point, I was only thinking about knocking out the button and the SB, both of whom drew one on the third draw. What I failed to think of was the fact that the BB stood pat on the last draw.

I've been showing strength the whole way and my opponent stands pat. Would he do that with a pat 9? Probably not. If he picked up a pat 7, I think he would've bet after the second draw given that two of his opponents were still drawing. And since I'd stood pat so early, it'd be quite possible that I was holding a pat 8.

So at the end, I probably should have checked it down and hoped that the BB had lost his mind and stood pat on a 9. As it stood, the pot was too large for the BB to fold for one bet and I don't think there were any hands he'd show at the end that I could beat with my rough pat 8.

Once I've played a little more, this could be one of those hands where I break my pat 8 and draw to a seven. If you're showing strength and someone suddenly stands pat, breaking an 8-7 is one possible move if you're pretty sure you're beaten.

Hand #3
3-handed, Button folds, SB raises, I re-raise in BB (2-3-4-5-x), SB caps it, and I call.

[SB takes 2, I take one (2-3-4-5-9).]

SB bets, I raise, SB calls.

[SB takes 2, I stand pat.]

SB checks, I bet, SB raises, I re-raise, SB calls.

[SB stands pat, I stand pat.]

SB checks, I check.

SB shows Q high and I win with my 9.

First off, this hand needs some history. Having only played a couple hours of triple draw in my lifetime, I'm a stupid n00b fishy at the best of times. However, I did know that the player in the SB was a complete maniac and a real gambler.

When the SB raised me before the first draw and I was looking at a 1-card draw (granted, it was a straight draw), I was sure I was ahead and could easily re-raise. The SB capping it was not a surprise.

From that point on, I knew I was ahead. Once I picked up my pat 9 after the first draw, I knew that I could sit on that to the very end and most likely come out ahead.

After the last draw, notice that I checked it through instead of betting when my opponent checked. As in Hand #1, my opponent had stood pat for the last draw. Although I was pretty sure that my 9 was good, I wasn't willing to bet out and lose an extra bet on the off-chance that my opponent had me beat.

I think with experience, I'd probably make the value bet on the end here for the following reasons:

  • I'm in a heads-up pot where standing pat doesn't necessarily point to a pat 8 or pat 7 hand.

  • My opponent had shown that he was willing to stand pat on a K-high, often in multi-way pots.

  • My opponent was not very good and would most likely call a bet with a hand far worse than mine. In fact, I'm sure he would have called a bet with the Q high.
Okay, I'll stop here for today. As I mentioned above, if you have any input on my triple draw play, fire away. Also, feel free to let me know if I've misused any terminology or lingo in discussing triple draw. I'm a total fish and I'm not afraid to admit it.

Have a great day everyone! See you at the tables!

Keep reading "Kind words and Annoying Games"

New Challenge: $75 Triple Draw Challenge

Inspired by Chris Fargis' writings, I've decided to throw my hat in the Triple Draw ring. Before I explain the reasoning behind my decision, let me outline the challenge itself.

The primary goal for this challenge is to earn $75 by playing either Deuce-to-Seven or Ace-to-Five triple draw. To help minimize the variance in my bankroll during my early days of triple draw, I'll be playing at either the 0.25/0.50 or 0.50/1 limit tables. Finally, all my time will be spent at Ultimate Bet's tables as I try to learn the ropes. However, if I find myself itching to play with no tables available, I may give the B2B network a shot.

So, why triple draw? Here are some reasons:


  • I want to broaden my horizons.

  • I think that there is little known about triple draw when compared to other non-hold'em games, such as Omaha and Stud.

  • I think that triple draw attracts gamblers; armed with a some triple draw strategy and a little experience, I think most (low-stakes) triple draw players can be beaten consistently.

  • Chris Fargis' website is a real goldmine when it comes to triple draw strategy and hand histories - why waste the resources at hand?

  • Triple draw is dissimilar enough from hold'em that I don't think playing one game will lessen my effectiveness in the other.

  • I think that playing a "draw" game may help me further develop my ability to read players.

  • After playing a lot of triple draw, I truly believe that I'll be un-tiltable when playing any form of hold'em. River suckouts? Bring 'em on!
I honestly don't know how long this challenge will take. I'm already $7 in the hole after a couple hours of playing. Even if it takes me a couple months to finish up this challenge, I think it will prepare me for the $1/$2 tables (or the $2/$4 tables depending on availability).

Over the course of this challenge, I may will post a few triple draw hand histories in my everyday posts. I'll put these up at the end of my posts so as to not interfere with your reading enjoyment. However, I would gladly welcome any advice, hints, tips, or flames about any hands played or any moves made. I'm in it to win it, baby!

To recap:
The Game: Limit Deuce-to-Seven/Ace-to-Five Triple Draw
The Stakes: 0.25/0.50 and 0.5/1
The Place: Ultimate Bet
The Goal: $75

This is gonna be a rough ride...

Keep reading "New Challenge: $75 Triple Draw Challenge"

Goals and Games of Chance

What a great weekend! There are a number of factors contributing to my out-of-character Monday-morning exuberance. Let's get to it, shall we?

After getting home and eating a quick dinner on Friday night, my wife and I popped out to the new house. After a few minutes, the AlarmForce security guy showed up and hooked up our home security system. I don't have anything to add to this, except to say that my fears of the alarm not being loud enough were quickly put to rest. I'm not sure how my wife is going to be able to continue sleeping once I arm the alarm on my way out of the house each morning!

After "securing" the house (the booming voice told us that our house was secure), we picked up Marl and Mr. V. and headed back to the apartment. While drinking and watching TV, I fired up a couple $25 SHNL tables at InterPoker.

How did my night go? Here's a flop that we saw about an hour into my session:

I threw out a pot-sized bet and only the BB called. The turn card was an A and the river was a blank. When the BB and I finally got all the money in on the river, imagine my surprise when he showed me the A2 for the bigger boat.

After a few more horrendous beats, I was down about $42. I would have felt worse about this loss had it not been for the fact that I got unlucky, as opposed to being outplayed.

I shut down the poker machine for a bit and played Guitar Hero with Marl and Mr. V. Marl soon gave up (claiming his fingers were too short to make full use Guitar Hero's plastic axe) and left for the night. Although Mr. V. and I each played a few more songs, it wasn't long before the laptop came out for some more poker.

This time, however, I wasn't in the mood for hold'em: I wanted to try something a little more exotic. After going through Chris Fargis' blog, I really wanted to give Triple Draw a try. Looking around the Internet, it seemed that only the B2B network or Ultimate Bet offered the game. Having an account at neither site, I was too impatient and drunk to try and sign up with a new poker room.

Then I remembered Falstaff talking about the soft razz games at Full Tilt. A minute later, I'm sitting at a razz table with seven other degenerate gamblers.

I'd like to say that I knew what I was doing, but I was the fish at the table. At one point, I had to ask if straights and flushes counted against me. It was brutal. I failed to win a single pot as my opponents kept picking up some perfect cards on 7th street (or whatever the slang term is for that last card). I dropped 12 BB ($6) in about 25 minutes and then called it quits for the night.

The next morning, my wife and I went to Denny's for a huge breakfast. I got the bucket of meat with pancakes on the side and my wife got the plate of meat with pancakes on the side.

As is usually the case, I finished the bucket of meat, the side bacon (mine and my wife's), and side sausage (mine and my wife's) and had the pancakes wrapped up to go. I honestly can't fathom anyone being able to finish the entire Denny's breakfast in one sitting. I'm a real pro when it comes to packing it away and I can never even touch the pancakes after finishing all the meat and eggs. My wife has told me repeatedly that she's seen people finish the entire breakfast in one go, as well as various other side dishes thrown in for good measure. Mind boggling...

Packed to the brim with bucket meat, my wife and I popped out to the new house. We had a couple big tasks to complete:


  1. Paint the ceilings in the living room and dining room.

  2. Paint the walls in the family room and kitchen.
It was a long day but we got it all done. I can't believe how sore I was (and still am) after doing a little bit of painting. I really need to get in better shape; otherwise, this home renovation thing is gonna kill me.

Yesterday, my wife and I took it easy. We just slept in and stayed on the couch from sun up to sun down. My goals for the day were simple: relax with my wife and get my bankroll up to the long-sought-after $5000 mark.

At the start of the day, my bankroll was sitting at $4900. Friday night's drunken poker session had really put a hitch in my plans to hit $5K over the weekend.

My day started at InterPoker's 1-2 limit tables. I opened up three tables and played for about 45 minutes. I would have played longer had the table not had an average VP$IP of 15% and pre-flop raise percentages hovering around 16%. Still, I managed to hold on and squeak out a healthy $16 profit.

Although the InterPoker's $25 SHNL tables had kicked my ass on Friday night, I wasn't about to stay away from those games. Spending Saturday away from the tables helped rebuild my shattered confidence and I was ready to "bring it". After a short hour and a half session of two-tabling, I was up $60 and happy as hell.

Once again, I made my money by making difficult river calls when the aggressive push-monkeys refused to let me see a cheap showdown. I find that these guys can't help but push on the river if they smell any weakness. Luckily for me, what I consider a weak hand is what my LAG opponents would deem a monster.

In one hand, I had to make a difficult call with my pocket nines on the river when the board showed four diamonds and my maniacal opponent pushed his last $15 into the pot. I held the nine of diamondsand I had a feeling that my maniacal opponent held neither the Ad or the Kd (the only cards that could beat me). With the pot at $30, I was getting 2:1 on my money so I made the call. He showed ATo for a busted straight draw. After the hand, he simply typed "wp" in the chat and left.

On another table and in position against another maniac, I found myself calling my opponent's all-in on the Q J 3 flop. My pocket kings held up over my opponent's 97o.

I'll tell you - these maniacs pay off, but they sure as heck put you to a tough decision each and every hand. Maybe I'm taking too many chances when I call these large bets on the flop,turn and river with weak-ish holdings. Sometimes, though, I just get the feeling that I'm ahead in the hand and laying down my hand would be a big mistake. Of course, I always make sure that my opponent is capable of making ridiculous bluffs before I'll call off all my chips in a tough spot.

After InterPoker, I hit up Victor Chandler Poker for a little $20 NL. I only had fifteen minutes to play before dinner was served; however, I managed to double up my $20 to roughly $40 in that short span of time.

I relaxed with my wife, eating a leisurely meal and watching TV, until about 9 PM. At that time, I'd finally managed to set up my Ultimate Bet account and was ready to play some Triple Draw. By the way, for those of you setting up a new UB account, be sure to use only letters and numbers in your passwords to avoid any problems.

In my wife's words, triple draw seems much more like gambling than does hold'em. And in my wife's defense, the way I played it last night, I'd have to agree. Although I've read a little about triple draw in Super System 2, I still have a lot of reading and thinking to do before I'll become even halfway proficient at the game.

One thing I did notice while playing, though, was the seeming absence of sense and skill on the part of my opponents. Unlike Omaha, Stud and Hold'em, many of my opponents seemed to play the game much as a drunken gambler would roulette in a casino.

For example, they would constantly show down pairs and king-high hands at the showdown. I had one opponent call my bets and raises after drawing 3 cards on all 3 draws. Unfortunately, he also managed to hit a 6-high on his last draw but that's neither here nor there.

After an hour of triple draw, I was down just under $2 (playing 0.50/1 ace to five). Not too shabby for my first go at this thing. I think I held my own...In fact, I would've finished up had it not been for one horribly misplayed hand.

When I first sat down, I got mixed up and came to believe that any hand with an ace in it would beat any hand that did not contain an ace. Therefore, in Klopzi's bizarro world, A-2-5-6-K would trounce 2-3-4-5-6: I was, admittedly, pretty f*cked up in my thinking.

So in the disastrous hand in question, I picked up A-A-5-5-3 in the big blind. UTG raised, everyone folded and I called.

I kept the A-5-3 and threw away the extra A and 5. At this point, I was thinking that I was most likely going to win (according to my weird "ace beats all" thinking) because I had already seen two of the four aces. My "stupid" opponent didn't know that he was practically drawing dead if he didn't already hold an ace.

After the draw, I'd picked up the last two aces out there, leaving me with A-A-A-3-5! Now, you can see why my thinking was incredibly awful. At this point, I was sure that, as long as I didn't pair, I would hold the absolute nuts since there were no more aces for my opponent to pick up with any further draws.

With the bet sizes at 50 cents, we capped the betting.

On the second draw, I kept the same A-3-5 and threw away the two aces. In return, I got a 6 and a K for a 1-3-5-6-K. I was so sure that I had the nuts that my opponent and I capped the betting yet again - this time with bet sizes at $1.

I stood pat on the final draw, as did my opponent. We capped it yet again and I yelled in outrage when I found that my hand lost to a measly 2-3-4-5-6!

I checked and double-checked the lobby to make sure that I was, in fact, playing ace to five triple draw. I was confused! I was hurt! I felt cheated! How could Ultimate Bet run this game and not know the rules!?

And then, I checked out the rules to the game and realized that it was my mistake and not that of UB. Boy, was my face red! My opponents must have been laughing at me and my wife thought that I had gone completely nuts. I guess one piece of advice that I'd give anyone trying out a new game is: learn the rules of the game before sitting down!

Awful, awful, awful...Still, with a hard lesson learned, I managed to rebuild my dwindling stack from $30 back up to $48 before calling it a night at the triple draw tables.

After shutting down Ultimate Bet, my bankroll was sitting at $4994: $6 away from my $5000 bankroll goal.

How could I make $6 very quickly? Blackjack! Sure, why not? Blackjack had helped me build up my bankroll at record pace these past few months, so why not let it lead the final charge?

At 10:23 PM, AceClub Casino opened its doors to me. By 10:30 PM, I'd made my $6 and called it a night.

So, I've met my goal for 2006: I've got a $5000 bankroll! Back in January, with only $1135 to show for 7 months work, this goal seemed pretty insurmoutable. I can't believe I've done it with so much time to spare!

I'm hoping that this serves as a catalyst for my game. If I can use this success to build my confidence and push me even harder at the tables, I guess there's no limit to what I'll accomplish by the end of the year.

There are some people that I'd like to thank for helping me get as far as I have this year:

  • Matt, for showing me that there are a lot of weak players out there and with a lot of confidence and skill, there's lots of money to go around.

  • The Law School Dropout, for proving that poker is a game of skill by beating the mid and high stakes tables on a weekly basis for the past couple years.

  • Scurvydog, for showing me how profitable online poker and blackjack can be if you're willing to take advantage of all the bonuses and free money available.

  • Wes, for showing me that it doesn't take a long time to improve and start earning lots money as long as you're willing to commit yourself to the game.

  • Huma, for consistently beating the $25 SHNL games at InterPoker and for showing that perserverance pays off.

  • Mr. V, for helping me analyse certain part of my game and letting me know when I'd made a stupid move.

  • Marl, for showing me what not to do at the tables...kidding...

  • Last but not least, my wife, for being just as excited when I won my first $1 as when I crossed the $5K mark last night.
Ok, enough with the warm fuzzy nonsense. I may have hit one goal for the year, but I'm not content to sit back and relax on the virtue of meeting one tiny goal. I've still got a number of ongoing challenges that I need to finish up before year's end. I'll also be adding a new Triple Draw challenge as well, once I've had a chance to finish reading Twenty-One Outs Twice and reading and re-reading Negreanu's section in SS2.

Thanks for reading everyone! Here's hoping you reach any of the poker-related goals you've set out for yourselves this year, not matter how small or gay!

As for my plans for tonight, looks like it's gonna be all about the painting! And maybe some triple draw if I get the chance! Probably not though...

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Goals and Games of Chance"

Check, check, check...

Nyet! Nyet! No More! No! Not tonight! This son of bitch, all night he, "Check. Check. Check." He trap me!
-Teddy KGB, Rounders

Well, as is usually the case, bragging about my SHNL play and my bankroll has caused me to lose a little bit of money over the past two nights at the tables. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the "Poker Gods" have forsaken me due to my short bout of ego-stroking. I think it's been my failure to adapt to my opponents that has cost me.

There are certain player types that match up with my style of play quite well. These players are the aggressive ones. Loose aggressive or tight aggressive, I like them both. With tight aggressive players, I can really open the old playbook.

I know how TAGs think because that's all you read about in any poker book available for purchase. That's not to say that you won't get beat time and time again: tight-aggressive play is written about and discussed at length for a reason. However, TAGs will always let you know where you stand in the hand. You're given the opportunity to throw your cards away quite early in the hand, which can be small blessing at times.

Maniacs, or LAGs, never let you know where you stand in a hand. And that's why I like playing against LAGs: they are predictably unpredictable. They take away all "play" from a hand: if they bet, you call with anything. Nice and simple. You don't need to bother with making fancy plays because they won't work.

All that the LAG cares about is letting you know that he's got big cojones and he's not afraid to use them. The game quickly becomes a "balls war" (actually the name of game that Marl used to play growing up - minutes to learn, lifetime to master, and excruciatingly painful) where the LAG will constantly bet, raise, or re-raise and try to put you in your place. As it turns out, it's a war that can be won with a little patience and some well-timed raises.

The player types that I have problems with are the passive ones, especially those who won't lay down a hand. They effectively blunt the biggest weapon I have in poker: the bluff. Pure bluff, semi-bluff, or c-bet - these are all useless when it comes to playing against clueless fish, steadfast rocks, or fucking annoying calling stations.

Sure, I know that it's these types of players that I want in the game because they'll pay me off in time. Deep down, I know this is true. And when I select tables, I still look for tables with lots of limpers, checkers and callers. But I find my variance at these games is even worse than it is when playing the LAG/TAG game [ed. note: I know that this is most definitely NOT true when playing against solid, experienced TAGs or LAGs].

I'll give you one example from last night's session at InterPoker's $25 SHNL tables. This hand is fairly representative of what's been happening the past couple days.

The game was 4-handed and I found myself in the SB with a J7o. I did not have any rock-solid reads on my opponents. What I did know amounted to the following:

  • No one liked to fold until all five cards were dealt.

  • All players had shown the desire to bet blindly on the river when checked to and were happy to call river bets with any two cards.
None of these observations were true 100% of the time, but they were true enough that I'd noticed the trend. In fact, I'd dropped $10 after making four separate failed c-bets and two failed semi-bluff attempts.

Back to the hand...The button limped, I completed with my J7o getting 6.5:1 odds on my call and the BB called.

The flop came down 3d 6c 6d. Normally I would bet here, but I was not going to bluff into un-bluffable opponents. Instead, I decided that I'd take a stab at the pot if the diamond flush came in. Calling station or not, I've found that most opponents will lay down their hand when they see a 3 cards to the flush on the board and are facing a pot-sized bet.

The flop was checked around and the turn was the 6h. Ok, no bluff bet from me. If I bet, I was going to get called. And my "three sixes with jack kicker" was not a great hand. Once again, checked around.

The river was the Jd. Sweet - I got the boat. If I bet here, my opponents would most likely call. However, if I checked and got a bet out of one of my opponents, I could win a bigger pot with one or both of my opponents calling down with ace-high type hands.

The only hands that beat me at this point were any hand containing a 6, as well as AA-JJ. Given the betting in the hand so far, these are all extremely unlikely. Even calling stations will bet a premium pair. And if one of my opponents had slowplayed their trip sixes turned quads, so be it.

I decided to go for the seldom-advised river check-raise. I'd check-raised a few times at the table and had most recently been caught bluffing. For this reason and those mentioned above, I figured that the c/r was my best bet at getting more money into the pot.

The player in the BB checked and the button put out a pot-sized bet (that would be a whopping $1 - thought I'd mention it before Matt starts complaining about us micro-limit players trying to inflate our self worth by dealing in "pot-size" and "big bet" terminology).

I check-raised to $3 and the big blind folded immediately. I thought that the button had probably made a steal attempt holding a Kx- or Ax-type hand. I figured that he'd flat call my raise with one of those hands and possibly re-raise me with a Jx-type hand. I'd decided to call any re-raise on the part of my opponent: I was just hoping he'd keep the raise small in order to limit the amount of rake taken out of the hand (why do people keep betting when it's obvious that the pot will be split?).

The button immediately re-raisee to $6 and I insta-called. I expected to a Jack; I expected to split the pot. Instead, the button turned over his AA and I'd managed to make the button look like the fucking David Sklansky of the donkey circuit!

Although not all my losses over the past couple days have come in such ridiculous fashion, they have all been caused by typical over-aggression on my part and wicked slowplay or unexpected all-ins on the part of my opponents.

And in those cases where I hadn't managed to pick up a good 2nd best hand, I'd found a fairly reliable method of throwing away money on ill-advised c-bets or loose raises.

Anyway, I'll keep hammering away (quite literally given my level of aggression at the tables) and hope that it turns around. Littleacornman recently wrote that he too has been losing a little money here and there by trying to make too many moves too soon after sitting at a new table.

That's what makes poker so much fun: it's extremely difficult some times and extrememly rewarding at all times. Winning a pot brings joy, confidence and money: what else is there?

Before I wrap things up, I just wanted to let my U.S. readers know that you will not be able to sign up for Eurobet anymore. It seems that with your government coming up with all sorts of nasty laws and throwing random CEOs in jail, Eurobet wants nothing to do with the whole mess. However, fear not - you can always sign up at PokerRoom or Hollywood Poker which are both on the same network. Why not sign up through RakeTheRake (referral account number RTR03302)?

WARNING: RANT FORTHCOMING!
I honestly think that all this U.S. banning Internet gambling is bullshit. Honestly, it's because of people like this that this whole mess has come up (well, that reason and the fact that various casinos provide kickbacks to senators in exchange for voting loyalty).

For those of you out there with serious gambling problems, get help and leave the press out of it! You've got a serious problem and that's all there is to it. You will not hit a jackpot and you will not win in the long run: online or B&M, the Casino cannot lose!

Stop ruining your lives and stop ruining our fun. I'm responsible for my behaviour and you should be responsible for yours - don't count on your government to help you or make things better because it ain't gonna happen.



I'll leave everyone to enjoy the quickly approaching weekend. As has become tradition around here, here's what I'll be doing this weekend:

  • Drinking beer

  • Playing a little Guitar Hero

  • Playing a goodly amount of poker and little bit of blackjack too

  • Getting a new home security system installed at the new house

  • Priming the dining room ceiling and the upstairs hallway

  • Putting the first coat of paint on the family room and kitchen walls

  • Buying tons of wallpaper remover gel: I hate wallpaper!

  • Sleeping in if I get the chance.


Ok, you degenerate gamblers and poker monkeys - get out there and start enjoying!

Keep reading "Check, check, check..."

Turkish Delight

If you take a look at the sidebar, you'll see that my bankroll is currently sitting at $4978. Back in January, I made it my year long goal to have a bankroll of $5000 come January 1st, 2007. I think I can say with confidence that I'll make it.

Actually, my bankroll was sitting above the $5000 mark for little while last night.

When I got home, my wife was just finishing up dinner. Out came the laptop so that I could check my e-mail and such.

First, I received an e-mail from the fine folks at PokerSavvy. Let me say a few things about PokerSavvy:


  • Their promotions are excellent and should be taken advantage of now.

  • They are honest and upfront at all times: everything was on the up and up.

  • Their customer service is top-notch (or higher if such a thing exists).
PokerSavvy made me extremely happy last night and that's all I'm going to say about it. Why not give PokerSavvy a look and give them some of your business? You'll thank me later!

After getting a bankroll boost from PokerSavvy, I decided to finally sign up and start playing at Titan Poker. I'd held off for a while but wanted to give them a shot at earning my business. I deposited $200 at the site and played two hands of $20 SHNL.

My first hand amounted to less than nothing. However, on my second hand, I flopped top two pair with my AKs and took down a $13 pot with me betting it the whole way.

Anyway, I'll be giving Titan a bit of business over the next little while. I'm interested in checking out their $20 SHNL tables and their 0.50/1 SHFL games. I don't think Poker Tracker supports the iPoker network skins which may limit the amount of multi-tabling I do. I realized last night that I'm totally dependent on Poker Tracker - so much so that I began to doubt my abilities to actually play poker.

After taking care of business at PokerSavvy and Titan Poker, my wife and I had a nice lasagna supper. The lasagna was the no-name brand frozen kind (I foolishly picked it up during our last grocery store adventure). My wife prefers the President's Choice Meat Lasagna and I'm prone to agree. My wife added some cheese and parmesan to the lasagna prior to cooking and also served up a caesar salad and cheesy garlic bread! So it all ended up quite well despite my poor choice in Italian cuisine.

I ate a couple healthy portions of dinner and we watched a recorded episode of Hell's Kitchen. After the show and the dishes, I was in the mood for a little more poker.

My first stop of the evening was Victor Chandler Poker. I'd signed up with them last Friday and was pleased to find out that a $10 no-deposit bonus had found its way into my account. Sweet - more free money! I think I get more bonus if I manage to play a certain amount of poker over the next 30 days or something; I deleted the e-mail so I'll have to confirm with VC support.

I took the $10 to one of VC's .05/.10 SHNL tables. Oddly enough, these blinds are usually reserved for $10 NL but the max buy-in was $20 for the tables! Another thing I noticed about these tables was the number of players who'd buy-in for the absolute minimum of $2. Talk about taking candy from a baby: these guys were playing the role of scared money perfectly!

In the span of one hour, I doubled my buy-in and left. The hand of the session came when I flopped a full-house with my 93s (nines full) from the SB. I was in a heads-up pot and didn't figure to make much money, so I came out betting with a pot-sized bet. My opponent called.

When a blank fell on the turn, I checked it to look weak (I tend to check the turn a lot when out of position - leaves 'em guessing). My opponent came back with a pot-sized bet, which I flat-called.

The river brought yet another brick. At that point, I wanted to get some money out of my opponent. Looking at the board, the flop had come down with two clubs. Since the flush never came in, I figured that my opponent had either a 9 or 3 in his hand. I also guessed that he would be able to put me on a busted flush draw, given the way I played it.

With the pot sitting at $4, I came out with a $5 bet. As long as my opponent had some poker skill (he did buy-in for more than $2), I might get paid off. My opponent instantly called and mucked when he realized that he'd been bamboozled. It feels nice to outplay someone and take down a pot, even if it was only a $14.

After the hour-long session at Victor Chandler (which seem to be a Tribeca skin but I can't get Poker Tracker working with it), I popped over to Titan to play some 6-max limit poker. Nothing exciting, up $3 after ten minutes or so. I would've played longer, but I wanted to hit the $25 SHNL at InterPoker.

And it was my play at InterPoker that forced me to finish the day below my $5000 bankroll goal.

In the span of 40 minutes, I dropped a buy-in. No memorable hands. No awful plays. The money was lost due to a combination of:

  • No cards.

  • Missed flops.

  • Poorly timed bluffs.

  • Numerous calling stations.

  • Flopping a straight and having two opponents stay in the pot to my pot-sized bet. After leading on the flop and the turn, I folded when my turn bet was raised and re-raised. The first raise was Mr. Nut Flush's doing, and the second raise came from Mr. Full Boat. Stupid cold decks...

All told, I lost $23 at InterPoker. Not my best performance, but I'll bounce back.

My wife and I are going back out to the house tonight to paint some more ceilings and to strip wallpaper. If we get home with time to spare, I'll hit the tables and see if I can win the $22 required to push me over the $5000 mark.

It'll be interesting to see how hitting my goal affects my game. Will I feel like I'm freerolling for the rest of the year? Will it put more pressure on me to succeed and hit higher bankroll and skill levels? Or will I feel complete and give up the game entirely? Who knows? Although I wouldn't put any money on latter possibility: I'm in this thing for the long haul, I fear.

Another day, another boring post. If all my posts were insightful and well-written, I'd be getting paid to write. As it stands, this is what "free" gets you. Would you turn down a free chocolate bar even though it wasn't one that you would buy yourself? Some days I manage to pump out a "Snickers" quality post...but most days, I fear we're all destined for "Turkish Delight".

Have a good one...

Keep reading "Turkish Delight"

Afternoons and Coffeespoons

Just thought I'd post a few random thoughts this afternoon...

--

RakeTheRake is offering 37% rakeback for all your play in the month of July at InterPoker (goes to 32% next month). In addition, if you sign up before the end of the month, you'll get a 200% deposit bonus up to $200 with a measly 5x raked hands requirement!

If you interested, just click this link and follow the instructions to sign up. It takes no time at all and you will thank me!

And if you're feeling generous, why not let them know that account number RTR03302 referred you. I'll get a small cut based on the amount of rake you generate: however, this does NOT come out of your rakeback. You will always get your full rakeback owing: my cut comes from RakeTheRake's share.

Shameless advertising stops now.

--

Anyone like bathroom humour? Got another story from my brother over in China/Korea:

Anyways, for the past month around 6:00pm my stomach begins to swell and rumble. 6:00pm is also my dinner time. As soon as dinner is finished I have to boot it home, 'cause the near accident is always just around the corner.

However, there are many a time when I will eat with fellow students and they eat slow and slowly stroll back to the school. Little do they know that my anus twitching, puckering and shaking. The walk is 15 minutes to my home and I live on the seventh floor with no elevator.

Now, you know you can't run because you know something will fall out, and you can't walk too slowly because time is of the essence. So you end up walking like a German Nazi soldier with your ass held in tight and long robotic strides.

Now, everyday I see kids shit and piss on the side of the street, and when I'm only 3 minutes away from home and the pressure increases, I often think about joining the little runts by ripping down my pants and releasing Willy Wonka's chocolate river.

But I don't. I reach my building and begin the 7 floor climb. Every step forces my cheeks to separate and my anus to lax a bit. I don't know if I have shit myself or if it is sweat dripping from my ass down my legs.

I reach my door fumble hard with my keys, open the door, rip down my pants and reach my thrown. Phew, I didn't shit myself. This is almost every day.

--

Happy one year anniversary to cc and his blog, Quest of a Closet Poker Player.

He's now publishing over at Poker Works.

He's been doing a great job interviewing various professional poker players and covering some of the WSOP. Plus he's written some of the more famous poker blog posts in recent history (eg. Children and Poker & Relationships and Poker)

Why not pop on over and check it out?

--

Oh Tuff_Fish!

If you haven't checked out this guy's videos yet, do it now!

I'm having a blast going through these things.

Overall, he's a pretty solid player. However, he does play a little too tight/weak for the $400 and $600 SHNL tables and he's quite prone to tilting.

Thanks to Wes for pointing out these videos!

Here's a little quote from one of his videos. These words are spoken immediately upon finding out that his TT overpair is no good against his opponent's JJ overpair:

Can you believe it?
Can you goddamned fucking believe it?!
Can you goddamned believe it?
...one more time...
One more time...
One..more..time...we just get hosed...
...hosed by the dick...

Hosed by the dick? Who's dick? And what's with this we business? I'm not getting hosed by any dick, never mind the dick referred to by Tuff_Fish during his tilty soliloquy.

Anyway, it's really funny stuff to listen to, even funnier if you hear it spoken in its original southern drawl...

--

Professor77 is another player who's gone through the trouble of recording his poker play and commenting on the action.

He seems to focus on SNGs and tournament play, which is unfortunate because neither are as interesting as cash games to me.

I've only seen his videos through Google, but they're worth checking out, even if it's just for a laugh.

All in all, I'd say Professor77 is right up there with Tuff_Fish in skill level. Professor77 seems to be another tight-ish player who is prone to tilting or taking strange gambles from time to time.

That being said, he's still a much better player than me...

--

If I come up with anything else to say, it'll go here!

Keep reading "Afternoons and Coffeespoons"

Knowing Is Rough...

After work last night, my wife and I made our way out to the house to start painting. It was hot, it was messy, and I'm really hoping to do a better job next time. That being said, the ceilings in the kitchen, family room and hallway have all been painted and I'm ready for more tomorrow night.

We got back to our apartment at around 9:30 last night. After a quick shower, I was ready to play a little bit of poker at InterPoker's fantabulous $25 SHNL tables.

After playing for about an hour last night, I've realized something: knowing a little can be rough. Whether your doing a job, spending time with a hobby, or perfecting a talent, there is a general belief that the more you know, the better.

I find this is true once you've reached a certain level of mastery, understanding and knowledge. Last night, I learned that when it comes to poker, I'm not there yet. Currently, I find myself knowing just enough about poker to give my opponents an edge over me.

You'll hear many pros say that playing against bad players is simple: pick up a good hand and show it to them on the river. Fine. So when I find myself playing against poor players, I need to pick up a hand.

However, these same opponents have a couple ways to beat me. First, they can show me a hand that beats mine. A second method of winning is to throw a bet at the pot when certain scare cards hit. Whether poor players know it or not, they have the ability to make bets and push better players off of a number of pots. All the while, the better players have no recourse but to fold and wait in the absence of a good read (which comes with a certain level of poker mastery that I do not have yet).

For example, I found myself on the button with KK last night. UTG and MP both limped pre-flop and I raised to 6xBB. UTG called my raise and the MP player pushed all in for his last $1.

At that point, all I could do was call (I would have preferred to isolate but I guess you can't when a player goes all in). UTG called the extra $1 as we went to the flop.

The flop came down Qd Jc 9s. UTG was sitting on a stack of about $25 and had me barely covered. I came out with a $5 bet and UTG instantly called.

At that point, I'm not too happy. There's a chance that UTG has two pair or a straight; at the very least, I put him on a straight draw.

The turn card brings a 7d, putting a flush draw on the board. UTG checked and I made a rather stupid mistake and checked as well. My check was caused by overthinking my play too much; I should have followed my advice of "when in doubt - bet".

Instead, I knew that by checking, I was forcing myself to call any reasonable bet on the river.

The river card was the 8d and I no longer liked my overpair. I was hoping that the UTG player would check or throw out a small-ish bet: instead, he instantly pushed all in for his last $20.

I "know" that I'm not supposed to grow broke with one pair. And at that point in time, my cowboys were just that: one pair. So I swore, kicked, screamed, and threw my brokeback buddies (is it too late in the game to be making Brokeback Mountain jokes?) in the muck.

MP showed A4s and UTG showed 86o - UTG won the pot with a pair of eights.

And that's why "knowing" can be rough at times. I "knew" that my pair was most likely not good. It was my own fault for not betting the turn, mind you, but that doesn't change the fact that I folded the best hand on the river.

Perhaps when I've learned more, I'll realize that his play looked a little like a bluff bet on the river with a busted draw. I still don't know how UTG called the $5 bet on the flop with two undercards and a backdoor straight draw. Maybe he was such a good player that he knew he could beat me on the river? Most likely, he fishy mofo who didn't know any better and mistakenly thought that his pair of eights beat my hand.

Actually, I've noticed a disturbing trend in the play of some of the players at the $25 SHNL tables in the past few days. The play is simple: check-call to the river then push all-in no matter what.

I lost the KK hand above to a derivative of that move and I'm sure I've folded the best hand on a number of other occasions as well. However, this same move has won me a few big pots as well. (GaryC has also noticed a trend where players defend their blinds against a raise then come out betting the pot on the flop: where do these guys get off?!)

In another pot last night, my opponent moved all in when a flush draw filled up on the river. I had a well disguised straight and I couldn't put my opponent on the flush with any amount of confidence. I called and took down a $50 pot when my opponent showed a lower straight.

Why the stupid aggression? If I was a mindless donkey, it wouldn't matter. I'd blindly call on the river with top pair or better and bemoan the fact that I lost to a monster or cheer loudly having busted the stupid fish.

I guess the short-handed tables are just tough at times. Most decisions are easy, but it's the hard ones where the money is made. The only chance I have is to know more than my opponents to win the small contests and to know enough to take down the big pots when those big decisions come my way.

All in all, I was still up $13 after an hour at the tables. I would have been up more had I not gotten all my money in on the turn with the nut flush and had my opponent hit his boat on the river (fourth time this has happened in three days - online poker is rigged!).

After poker, I spent about 40 minutes at AceClub Casino's blackjack tables. Miraculously, I managed to walk away only $17 down. I don't know how many 21s the dealer got over the course of my time at the tables, but I'm guessing it was a whole hell of a lot.

Tonight is a night off for my wife and I. We need to stop by Benjamin Moore and pick up some primer. Other than that, we're just going to sit back at the apartment and relax in air conditioned comfort. We'll watch some TV (Hell's Kitchen and High Stakes Poker) and I'll probably play a little poker.

Have a great day everyone!

Keep reading "Knowing Is Rough..."

Babies, Paint, Blackjack, and Poker Tips

It's been a little while since I last wrote and I apologize for that. In my defense, it's been a busy few (or four) days for me and my wife. Let me get this house stuff out of the way and I promise I'll write up some poker related content to follow.

Since I last wrote, here's what's been done at the house:


  1. Measured every single square inch of the house and picked up the supplies necessary to coat every said square inch with two coats of Benjamin Moore's finestmid-grade paint. 11 gallons of paint purchased yesterday, 8 more gallons required in the next two weeks. Painting starts tonight and will continue for the next month or so.

  2. Did my first ever home repair: I replaced a door knob!

  3. Mowed the backyard, but we need to pick up a whipper-snipper to finish off the last of the jungle-esque growth of lawn.

  4. Have picked up the necessary items required to remove wallpaper from three rooms.

  5. Sandpaper was purchased and is ready to sand the crap out of the textured walls in the spare room.

  6. Flooring guys have been contacted and we are getting final estimates done for all the hardwood and carpeting work required.
I'm going to be extremely busy with the house for the next little while, but I should still have a little time for poker. I have to find a way to pay for all this stuff, right?

--

Early Sunday morning, I woke up and was startled when my wife grabbed my hand and placed it on her stomach. I didn't know what she was doing but she seemed pretty determined to do it!

And then, I felt it: the baby kicked! I'd been waiting for at least 4 or 5 weeks to feel the baby kick and I finally felt it! That totally made my weekend!

Last night, while playing blackjack (at AceClub Casino if you must know), my wife grabbed my hand and placed it on her stomach again. Unlike Sunday morning, the baby was really giving it all that he/she had! Front kick, roundhouse, jab, a flurry of rabbit punches, hip checks, you name it - our baby was there to play last night!

I'm happy with our new house, but I'm super-duper excited about the baby! I can't wait to meet him/her! I'm also anxious to know whether the baby is a boy or girl...fifteen more weeks to go...

--

Before I move straight in to the whole "poker" thing, let's recap my blackjack play of late.

I finished up my play at VIP Casino with a profit (including the $100 bonus) of $209! Pretty sweet to actually win money on top of the already generous bonus (50% up to $100, 2500 WR). Click my affiliate link and sign up quickly before the bonus goes the way of Play Vegas From Home's bonus.

In clearing this bonus, I came up with a new betting pattern that eases the "questionable-math" part of my brain.

I bet $2/hand (the minimum allowed) and kept doing so until I won a hand. From that point on, I played two hands at $2 each until I lost; then, back to one $2 hand.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

The reason for doing this is because I feel that money is made and lost in streaks at blackjack. MrVercetti told me the story of a mathematics professor giving his class of new students a homework assignment: go home and toss a coin 100 times and record the results.

The next day, each student turned in their homework and the professor went over the results. He was able to quickly spot those students who had done their homework properly and those who cheated.

How could he tell?

The homework from the students who had made up their outcomes contained two errors:

  1. The number of streaks of either all heads or all tails were not frequent enough.

  2. The length of the streaks recorded were, on average, too short.


I took this story to heart and applied it to blackjack.

If any hand I win could turn out to be one of these "streaks", why not increase my bet size if I win a hand (and begin a possible hot streak)?

If any hand I lose could turn out to be a losing streak, why not decrease my bet size until the casino has finally won its share of hands?

Of course, my math is faulty and completely meaningless in the face of real finite mathematics. Still, the human brain does like to perceive patterns and my system worked out well for me.

I'm currently playing at AceClub Casino (link provided courtesy of Scurvydog - the proverbial "man" when it comes to poker and casino whoring). The deal is as follows: deposit $500, get a $150 bonus, WR of 5200. Not too shabby!

AceClub Casino is run by Party Gaming: the same folks who've brought us Party Poker, Starluck Casino, Planetluck Casino and more. My only complaint so far is that there is no way to play multi-handed blackjack. Oh well, we'll see how well I do by alternating my bet sizes from $1 to $2 as I try to streak my way to a big win.

FYI, I'm down $17 so far, so my "streak theory" is letting me down thus far...

--

Ahh, poker. More specifically, the $25 SHNL tables at InterPoker and Full Tilt. Tables are plentiful and soft at both sites and I have enjoyed myself immensely over the course of the past week.

I have to thank Huma (SHNL machine), Wes (SHNL animal whose recently started to turn towards the dark side of poker - MTTs), and, more recently, Grinditout (young SHNL player beating the low-limit tables for consistent profit) for getting me interested in these games.

I find myself up almost 7 buy-ins so far and have 13 buy-ins left to win before I complete my SH Primer Challenge.

I've learned many things in the past week that have helped my short-handed game as well as my poker game in general. I'm going to list some thoughts about things that I've witnessed, experienced and learned while playing SHNL. For those of you not taking advantage of the SHNL games, maybe this will help get you off the fence and in the game:

TPTK is not that bad a hand!
There are a few things that I force myself to remember when it comes to playing TPTK.

  1. Be the aggressor.

  2. Know your opponent.

  3. Never "call" an all-in with TPTK without really, really knowing your opponent.

You need to be aggressive because you want to take down the pot as quickly as you can. Knowing your opponent will help you lay down your TPTK depending on how your oppponent reacts to your bold aggressive betting on the flop, turn and/or river. And if your opponent pushes all-in in the face of your aggression, you'd better know what you're doing before you call.

Since poker is a game of incomplete information, there is no right way to play TPTK. Play hard, play smart, but be willing to gamble if the timing is right and your opponent is donk-tastic.

Aggression is key!
The concept is easy but the lesson is hard. Unless you're willing to bet and raise with less-than-premium holdings, SHNL will destroy your stack and your bankroll.

Aggression means never limping into an unopened pot! Raise or fold, there is no other choice.

Don't be afraid to isolate loose limpers pre-flop with any two cards if you feel that you'll have an edge post-flop.

If you raised pre-flop, you need to bet the flop. There are times when you may need to rein yourelf in after the flop (eg. 4+ opponents, slightly coordinated board), but those times are few and far between.

When in doubt, bet. Betting gives you control of the table and it will win you the pot if your opponents have nothing.

Never fear the check-raise! As Doyle says in his book: you're gonna get check-raised from time to time if you're playing with an appropriate level of aggression. Just keep betting and raising and stealing pots - that's how you make money at SHNL!

Know when to fold 'em!
If you're playing aggressively enough, your opponents will typically get into the habit of folding their hands. Pre-flop, flop, turn, or river - you will see your opponents muck a lot of hands.

When an opponent does come back at you, though, you've got to know when to push and when to fold. If you keep track of your opponents' recent play and your own table image, knowing when to let go of your hand isn't always that hard. And if you've been playing hard and stealing pots, it's not always a bad thing to let a hand go.

In fact, I find that by dropping a hand or two from time to time may get your opponents thinking that you may be simply getting good cards and lucky flops.

Image is everything
At a short-handed table, your image is everything. I find that image becomes even more important as you ramp up your aggression.

As you continuously pound on your opponents, they may snap and push with garbage. Or perhaps they are waiting for the right time to strike and double up through your large stack. And since you are playing at a short-handed table, your opponents are being slapped in the face by your bets and raises at an almost comical pace.

Here are some of things I look out for:

  • Have I shown down a winning hand recently? If not, I've got to expect some of my more aggressive and/or tricky opponents to feel that a re-steal is in order.

  • Have I been caught raising and winning a pot with a less-than-optimal hand? If so, I can expect to get re-raised pre-flop more than usual.

  • Have I raised pre-flop on consecutive hands? I find that anytime you pick up a streak of good cards (cards don't need to be that good in a short-handed game to warrant popping it up pre-flop though), your opponents will look for any excuse to make a play at you.

  • Have I been caught bluffing? Pure bluff, semi-bluff, whatever - you're going to find yourself throwing bets out with very little from time to time. Occasionally, this will happen when you are out of position on the river and you have, what you believe to be, a good read on your opponent. You throw out a bluff with your 64o when the flush completes on the river and get called by your opponent's pocket threes.

    If this happens to you, use it to your advantage. Value bet a little more on the river and watch the money come rolling in. And once your opponents get used to you value-betting on the river, bring the mighty 64o out of retirement for a little river bluffing.


Be careful what you wish for!
Last night, I set up my opponent perfectly. I raised first-in from MP with AQs and only the extremely-loose, fairly LAG-gy Button calls.

I hit top pair on a rainbow flop. Although I would normally c-bet here, I'd done so against this one opponent many, many times. I decided to use my previous play to my advantage and checked. At this point, I knew that the button would check because that's what he did - he preferred to gamble on the turn for some reason.

When the turn came with a blank, I was looking for a way to stack my opponent. I had $45, he had $12 and the pot was sitting at about $2.

I figured that overbetting the pot would induce my opponent to push all his chips into the middle. Perhaps he'd caught a little piece of the flop or turn, or perhaps he'd think that he could push me off the pot. In either case, I was looking for all the money to go in immediately.

I bet $4, my opponent pushed, and I immediately called. The button showed me his pocket fives for the flopped set and I lost a $27 pot.

All this to say that there will come a time when your opponent will do exactly as you'd hoped and you'll be unpleasantly surprised by the result. But hey, that's poker! At least I figured out the correct means of getting my opponent to push, even though it meant that I lost more money on the hand than I would have otherwise.

Know your lines!
When playing a hand aggressively, it's best to know what you're going to do before you see the flop, turn and river. Develop a plan of attack for your current hand and try to tailor it to your opponents.

When playing after the flop, I like to consider how my opponents have seen me play a similar hand in the past. If they've seen me check-raise out of position with a monster hand, should I lead out the betting in order to put their fears to rest? Shoudl I check raise my crap hand and hope to take it down on the flop?

If I've c-bet a number of flops but check-folded on the turn, should I check-call or check-raise on the turn with a solid hand?

Most importantly, are my opponents experienced and observant enough to remember how I've played in the past?

These are some of the questions that I ask myself before and after the flop on any given hand. Planning a betting line and knowing past betting lines can help you rake bigger pots, see more showdowns cheaply, or simply force your opponents off the pot.

And always develop your plan of attack as far in advance as possible. Knowing what you're going to do ahead of time can help you maintain a solid level of aggression. It's far easier to act than to react; instead, let your opponent react to your pot-sized bet on the turn when the third heart hits the board.

Know your opponent!
Although this is true of any form of poker, short-handed games (NL in this case) force you to play many more pots with the same opponents over and over and over. Not only are you playing against the same opposition, but many pots will be played heads-up on the flop.

Here are a few things that I keep in mind when playing heads-up against specific player types:

  • Remember that maniac's are all about ego. Give them control of the hand with your mediocre hands and be more willing to call them down. If you've got a strong hand, give the pot a little extra pop on the flop or turn and watch the maniac push his few remaining chips into the pot with his ace high.

  • Calling stations don't fold, so don't bother trying to push them off pots. I used to think that NL would differ from fixed-limit ring games, but that's not true. A calling station is just as likely to call a 1/4 pot-sized bet as he is to call a 2x pot-sized bet. Value bet is the word of the day and don't be afraid to lay down anything less than two-pair if the calling station puts out a river bet.

  • Fishy players can be a little difficult to play against at times. You need to value bet them mercilessly as you would when playing against a calling station. However, fishy players will bet when shown passivity, from time to time. And unlike calling stations, fishy players have difficulty in determining the strength of their hand in a given situation. So don't automatically fold your top pair on the river when the fish comes out with a pot-sized bet: in many cases, it's possible that he just picked up a good second-best hand.

  • Rocks are the easiest players to play heads up. Just bet. If they don't fold and there are no obvious draws on the board, you are done with the hand. If they raise, your cards should be mucked before his chips are in the pot.

  • Table coaches can be a little harder to beat consistently, but I find that they are far easier to stack and put on tilt. The name of the game with these players is "implied odds". Make a few loose calls against these players and stack them when you catch your gutshot on the turn. Be prepared to hear a Hellmuth-ian speech afterwards and for the next 30 minutes or so.

  • As for the good players (tight/slightly-loose aggressive), you're going to have to gamble a little. Play the odds, test them from time to time, and hope to catch some well-hidden monsters. The sooner you stack these players, the less you need to worry about your own stack of chips. An alternative plan of attack is to stay out of the good players way and hope he does the same with you (usually the case since you're both raising pre-flop to limit your competition).


Slow-playing
Slow-playing is a good way to let your opponents keep their money. Leave the slow-playing to the fish who think that you're going to call their all-in on the river.

Fast-play and ram 'n jam are the new slow-play, so start betting!

Hands that make money
In full-ring games, the hands that make the most money are your standard Group 1 type hands.

In the short-handed games, you can't sit around and wait for good starting hands and fortuitous flops. If you play with a sufficient amount of aggression and fearlessness, your money is going to made with just about any two starting cards.

Raise pre-flop, bet the flop, and take the pot. If you're playing properly, this is what should happen time and time again. Your stack will continue to grow in short jumps and spurts.

And once your opponents have lost their patience with you, just pray that your raggedy 83o in the BB hits two pair on the flop. Your opponents will make the fatal mistake of assuming that you are bluffing at the pot yet again and you'll stack them.

I know that my list is simplistic. And I know that I have a lot to learn. Still, I wanted to put that stuff down so that I can return a year from now and laugh about my attempt at sounding smart and/or proficient. Most of the stuff I've written here is either common knowledge (or possibly wrong), but it accurately details some of the things I think about while grinding away at the tables.

If anything, I've learned that SHNL is a game about people, circumstances, timing and aggression. If I can master any two or three of these things, I should find myself able to consistently grind out some solid wins. But if I want to truly excel, I'll need to master all four.

I guess all I can do now is play and play and play some more.

--

This post was a pretty long one, I'll admit. I guess I just wanted to make up for my lack of post yesterday.

Have a great day everyone!

Keep reading "Babies, Paint, Blackjack, and Poker Tips"