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

Birthday Fun!

I had a pretty good birthday yesterday. I spent the day relaxing (as best I could given that I have two young boys), playing poker, eating, and spending time with my wife and kids. All in all, it was everything that I could have hoped for and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. After the jump, I'd like to discuss food, Sam Farha's book, PLO, and my plans for tomorrow evening.

We all have certain meals that we associate with different special days. For Christmas, it's turkey. For Thanksgiving, turkey. Easter? Turkey...Wait a second? Why the heck am I eating so much turkey every year? I'm not even a huge fan of poultry and here I am gorging myself on the stuff on every single special occasion.

Thankfully, my birthday is all about me. And I can tell you that turkey does not ever make an appearance. Instead, my wife makes me a huge dish of lasagna. This is not the normal shit lasagna that 99% of the world makes with their bland tomatoey sauce and wet noodles. To put in frankly, my wife's lasagna is better than your wife's lasagna so suck it! The dish itself take about 8-12 hours of prep work and 3 hours of very specialized cooking. The end result is a one f*ckign amazing dish of lasagna. I gain about 5 pounds a year eating it and it's well worth it!

As for my special birthday dessert, my wife knows me all too well. "Birthday cake" is typically shit. Let's be honest: sponge cakes with icing are among the most boring and tasteless of desserts. When you're five years old, it's fine to get a spongy piece of shit covered in pounds of too-sweet icing or oily butter cream icing. But when you reach my age, there's no call for having to put up with that crap. 

For my birthday dessert, my wife typically makes special brownies containing any number of ingredients (and not the "special" ingredient that you're thinking, hippie) including such fan favourites as Reese peanut butter cups. Last night, my wife outdid herself yet again with a Peanut Butter Pie. Imagine a cheesecake permeated by the intense and unbelievably rich taste of peanut butter. Now cover the thing with a couple pounds of Reese Peanut Butter Cups and serve it all on a semi-sweet graham cracker crust. And that is what I call an awesome birthday dessert! I had another piece of the pie for breakfast this morning. If I listen closely, I'm sure that I can hear myself getting fatter!

Besides lasagna and peanut butter pie, I also ate a half-pound of Swiss cheese served on a couple cheddar cheese buns dripping with grease. Diet starts up again on Sunday! In the meantime, I'll see if I can pick up the latest strain of the stomach flu to help thing move along a little more quickly.

I'm currently reading Farha on Omaha. My books all arrived in the mail on Tuesday - less than 24 hours after I ordered them from Amazon! For those who don't know, Amazon is the best and cheapest way to buy books!

Farha's book seems pretty standard and uninteresting. Most disappointing is the minimal content for pot-limit Omaha. There are three sections in the book: limit Omaha, Omaha/8, and pot-limit Omaha. Does anyone even play limit Omaha? As for the PLO stuff, Farha's advice seems pretty standard and intuitive thus far. I think Farha's advice boils down to the following points:
  • Always come in raising so that your opponents can't put you on hands.
  • If you get three-bet, your opponent usually has aces and you'll have a better chance of outplaying him/her after the flop.
  • Look for good spots to bluff (not applicable when playing against micro-limit donkeys).
  • Build pots with your good hands (ie. AAxx, KKQQ, AKQJ, etc.) and don't be afraid to build pots with your "gambling" hands (ie. rundown hands such as 9876, 8764, etc.).
  • Omaha, especially pot-limit Omaha, is the future of poker.
Don't get me wrong: Farha's advice is sound. But it's also pretty straightforward and basic. I haven't seen any hand examples yet but I'm hoping that Farha threw some in to better explain some of the points he brings up.

I haven't finished reading Farha on Omaha so I'm not sure if the book is worth the $13 price tag. But for $13, you can't really go wrong!

One of the birthday presents that my wife gave me yesterday was a invitation to go play poker at my local casino. She arranged for me and Mr. V. to hit the casino tomorrow night for some live no-limit hold'em. I haven't been to the casino to play hold'em yet and I've never played live cash game poker (excluding playing for pennies with friends).

I'm really looking forward to the experience. The local casino does not use chips and cards; instead, the game is played via computer screens embedded in a poker table. I've been told that the level of play is pretty random though obviously a little weaker than what I'd find online. I'll be playing the $1/$2 game which is the lowest stakes game available.

The only downside to the experience is that:
  1. The casino does not offer comps of any kind.
  2. The casino does not permit eating or drinking of any kind at the table.
  3. The casino is located 5 minutes away from downtown Ottawa on the Quebec side of the Ontario/Quebec border. Much of the table talk will likely take place in French which is a little annoying; however, I speak French fluently so I can't really complain.
I'm going to get Mr. V to brief me on how the whole casino process works. Hopefully I'll be up to speed and ready to play come tomorrow night.

One last concern with casino play is that the games are all played 10-handed. I haven't played no-limit hold'em regularly since the Fall. And I haven't played full-ring no-limit hold'em for two years or more. Here's hoping that I don't LAG it up and get stacked by your typical casino nits.

Here are some gross PLO hands that I played yesterday. I'm trying to force myself to give my opponents bets a little credit, especially on the river when there are no further cards to come and my EV is either one or zero.

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $42.10
Hero (BB): $25.50
UTG: $23.80
CO: $9.05
BTN: $31.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BB with 99 of clubs 99 of spades AA of clubs 33 of hearts
1 fold, CO calls $0.25, BTN calls $0.25, 1 fold, Hero checks

(Not a bad hand to play in position. I'm sure this will be a raising hand once I'm more comfortable with PLO; for now, I'll play the hand like a fish and limp.)

Flop: ($0.85) 88 of clubs 33 of spades 99 of diamonds (3 players)
Hero bets $0.85, CO folds, BTN calls $0.85

(I'm out of position and flop top set so I bet pot. There are no flush draws so I'm going to hope that no cards in the 5-J range fall on the turn.)

Turn: ($2.55) TT of hearts (2 players)
Hero bets $2.55, BTN calls $2.55

(Since I'd bet my strong draws on the flop, I decide to fire a second barrel at the pot. I was going to fold to a button raise but he just smooth-called. I'm not going to put any more money into this pot unless I improve.)

River: ($7.65) 66 of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $3, Hero folds

(Another terrible card for me on the river. I might have called BTN's half-pot bet had a blank hit. As played, I think I have to fold given that I've shown a lot of strength in the hand and BTN is still willing to bet the river after I check. Is this a terrible line to follow or is this a standard play?)

Final Pot: $7.65
BTN wins $7.30
(Rake: $0.35)

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (MP): $28.25
CO: $50.00
BTN: $45.90
SB: $28.60
BB: $37.00
UTG: $14.85

CO posts a big blind ($0.25)

Pre Flop: ($0.60) Hero is MP with 77 of hearts 99 of hearts 66 of clubs TT of hearts
1 fold, Hero raises to $1.10, CO calls $0.85, 3 folds

(Pretty good hand that I don't mind raising with to help mask those times that I raise with AA...not that anyone playing $25 PLO is actually paying attention to these things. CO had been sitting out the whole time that I'd been at the table and decided to call my raise in position.)

Flop: ($2.55) 88 of spades TT of diamonds QQ of spades (2 players)
Hero bets $2.55, CO raises to $5.10, Hero folds

(I'm hoping that a c-bet with take this down. If called, I have outs. When CO raises, I think I have to fold given that I know absolutely nothing about my opponent.)

Final Pot: $7.65
CO wins $7.30
(Rake: $0.35)

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $15.80
BB: $37.60
UTG: $25.00
CO: $35.20
Hero (BTN): $25.00

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BTN with AA of clubs AA of spades 88 of spades QQ of clubs
1 fold, CO calls $0.25, Hero raises to $1, SB calls $0.90, 1 fold, CO calls $0.75

(Although I like seeing double-suited aces, I'm really unimpressed by AAxx type hands in PLO. I never know how strongly to play them and always seem to lose to straights, flushes, or garbage two-pair hands.)

Flop: ($3.25) 66 of spades 33 of clubs 99 of hearts (3 players)
SB checks, CO checks, Hero bets $3.25, SB calls $3.25, CO folds

(Pretty dry flop so I c-bet. SB, a pretty passive and somewhat loose player, calls. He'd typically folded to my c-bets in other pots we'd played.)

Turn: ($9.75) 55 of diamonds (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks

(Given the flop texture, Villain usually has a draw, a set, or two-pair. I don't really like my hand all that much anymore since I've only got my one pair and only two outs to the set. Maybe a better player fires again in this spot and commits to the pot with an overpair.)

River: ($9.75) KK of hearts (2 players)
SB bets $9.75, Hero folds

(This is a big bet from a passive player. I don't think that my show of weakness on the turn helped SB make this play. I think my hand is pretty transparent in this spot and I don't think there's any way that I'm ahead on the river. I choose to fold even though the NLHE in me tells me that I'm folding the best hand. However, I'd be surprised if Villain shows anything worse than two pair in this spot.  My guess is that he was holding 78xx and hoping that I'd bet the turn.)

Final Pot: $9.75
SB wins $9.30
(Rake: $0.45)

I've got another 2000 hands to play before I jump up to the $50 PLO games. I've been watching some videos from DeucesCracked and PokerSavvy to speed up the PLO learning process. So far, so good.
Have a good one!


SirFWALGMan said...

I do not know much about PLO.. but hands like the AA hand it seems like your building a big pot and giving yourself some harder decisions at the end.. Possibly with weak, vulnerable, hands you should slow down on the full pot flop bets.. not sure.. fun reading your hands though..

Rosie said...

Whats the issue? Just stop buying turkey. Its not the law to eat turkey at Christmas. Roast beef and goose are far better alternatives. As is lamb at easter.

Klopzi said...

Waffles -

The only issue I'd see coming up by avoiding pot-sized bets on the flop would be one of exploitability. If I choose to bet pot with big hands and half-pot with vulnerable hands, I can be bluff-raised off pots.

In choosing to always bet pot given certain flop textures as opposed to the strength of my hands, I'm less likely to be exploited in that manner. Of course, the downside is that I end up building a pot with a vulnerable hand.

The real problem that I have is knowing when I should go to war with my unimproved overpair. I should look into stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) theory and how it might relate to PLO.

PLO's a tough game. Hopefully I'll be able to give you a better answer in a year's time.

As always, thanks for the comment.

Klopzi said...

Rosie -

If I was the one buying it, I might. But the holidays are spent with family and everyone loves turkey.

Come to think of it, all this talk of turkey has me looking forward to Easter. Eating 5 lbs. of lasagna in a 24 hour period tends to do that to me...