Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Most Common Mistake

What's the most common mistake you see players make online?

I know there are a lot of possible answers to this question, but the mistake I see most commonly, and this is probably just because I see it so often, maybe 20-30 times per hour, is doubling the blind in a NL/PL game.

$25 NL game on Party Poker. I'm on the BB with 92o. UTG raises from $.50 to $1.00. Three other players call. It costs me $.50 to get into a $5 pot. Even 92o is good in a 10 to 1 action. Flop is T95 rainbow. It checks to me, and I check with my pair of nines, no kicker. Turn card is a deuce. UTG goes all in. I'm thinking "did UTG just catch trip deuces?" One caller in front of me and I call all-in since UTG has me covered. River is a rag and the caller flips Q9 and UTG has....AA of course.

I cannot come up with ONE situation where that raise is a good move. It doesn't accomplish anything. It builds the pot a little. But the only way it can build the pot is if you get a lot of callers. And why do you want to face a lot of callers with a pair? You are forcing your AA to catch a set if you want to win. That's like playing AA the same as 22. Insanity. How many 5 way pots do you see that are won by a pair? Not many. There's a world of straights and flushes waiting to knock your pair out. But heads up? Small pairs win all the time.

A few hands before this I get AA and raise to $4. I get one caller with A8o and I win a $48 pot. I raised to isolate, got my one "sucker" and took him down. So I even showed this moron how to play his AA and he didn't pay any attention. The beauty of Party Poker is that you will ALWAYS get a sucker to call your pre-flop raise, and the other beautiful thing about Party is the suckers will never learn, no matter how many times you show them the right way to play.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

So I was watching the disc I made the other day that has the Star Wars Trilogy all shrunk down and burned onto one disc. When I got to the Empire Strikes Back chapter, I had to laugh. That is EXACTLY what Empire did today.

Apparently word travelled quickly throughout the online poker community that Empire Poker had a $500 promotion going. If you deposited $500 and played 2500 raked hands, (trivial on the Party raked hands system,) you got $500 released into your account. Free money? Sounds too good to be true.

And of course it was. Empire revoked the bonus from everyone that took advantage, giving 10% free up to $100 (no raked hand requirement) as a consolation prize. The community is in absolute OUTRAGE.

I guess I'm accustomed to online stores making mistakes and not fulfilling them from being on for so long. It used to be every week when Dell or someone would publish an unbelievably low price online, thousands of people would order and then the orders were cancelled. The reaction was always the same. "I'll never buy anything from Dell again," or "We should all get together and sue!" All smoke, no fire. Nobody has ever sued, and believe it or not Dell didn't go out of business from the boycott.

The same will occur for Empire Poker. They made a mistake, nobody was hurt, and even those who got "ripped off" got something completely free out of it. Most online stores don't even do that, usually it's "tough luck, read the terms of the deal. Price mistakes don't count."

The "outrage" will die down in a couple of days, if not a couple of hours. The 2+2 posts were probably annoying after the third one, and that was the point where most people stopped paying attention. The big mouths who think the world owes them something will continue for a little bit, then the whole thing will go away.

Bonuses are great, and I admit to being a full-fledged bonus whore. But that's not why I play poker, and I would play poker without any bonuses at all. I did for a long time. People are starting to take bonuses for granted, and that's never good.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

I spoil ya

Holy Crap!

How do you know if your poker blog has made it? It gets mentioned by everybody's favorite dwarven blogfather, IGGY!
I go one day without reading it, and I nearly missed it when he mentions my blog! Serves me right!

If you're not reading Iggy, lets face it, you're not reading this. But Iggy puts out the most entertaining and informative blog about the poker world, both online and otherwise. How he does it without cable TV is absolutely beyond me. I would pimp bonus code "IGGY" at Party Poker for him if I didn't think would give you a better deal. Howabout this, if I get a Party Poker referral in the next month, I will send the referral money directly to Iggy via Paypal. Referral Code "DuggleBogey" at PokerSourceOnline will do it.

I'm working on another comic for tomorrow, hopefully it will appeal to a broader audience than the last one. One of my non-poker playing buddies said "I didn't even come close to getting that joke." Oh well, I know at least one poker player got a chuckle out of it.

Played two interesting hands Online yesterday. One at Royal Vegas where I got AQd on the button and called a pre-flop raise to try and keep as many people in the pot as I could. Once it was raised pre-flop I knew I would need a big hand to win based on the raiser (Tight aggressive), and wasn't interested in isolating. The flop was all rags, but two were diamonds. The original raiser bet $2, and I was forced to chase by pot odds when all 4 other players called. Turn was another rag - no diamond, but the original better only bet $2 more to go, and everyone called again. The river was my diamond, and with no pair on the board I was left with a quandry. 6 players in the pot that was $36 already. It checked to me, and I wanted more than one caller. $4 was the magic number I came up with, and only one fold netted me a sweet $56 pot that I only put $10 into. No hand histories at RV unfortunately, I'll never know what they called with.

The other was at a Party ring game. I had already doubled up once in the first few hands to find AKh in the small blind. An EP player raised, and button +1 re-raised. I called along with the button, but EP re-raised all-in way over the top of me. Both players in front of me called, because the original re-raiser (I found out later) was a maniac. I had to call, with a chance to quadruple up with AKh. EP raiser had AKc, button had QTo(!) and maniac re-raiser? The other two Aces. Not a single heart and I was busted. Exciting hand though.

Monday, September 27, 2004

First attempt

This is my first attempt at a poker comic...I'm no artist, but here goes...


I'm pretty disgusted with online poker right now. It's the people. They act disgusting, and I am disgusted.

I played in the PokerSourceOnline Free Poker Cruise Tournament Saturday night, and got my AA cracked by 88. The disgusting part was the only reason the guy called was because I doubled up on him a few hands before when he called my all-in 88 with his 22, and because one of the other players at the table goaded him into it.

Table coaching is specifically against the rules, but it happens constantly. People make predictions in the middle of a hand, people tell other people what play to make, because it is in their best interests. The moderators at PSO tried to get ahold of it, but even the guy who eventually won was doing some table coaching at the other table when there were two tables left. Maybe they don't know it's agains the rules? Even when you tell them they are breaking the rules, they keep doing it.

After I got bad beat to lose the tournament, the guy who talked him into it was talking shit to me, saying he was glad I was gone and he never liked me. I nominated him for "Shithead of the tournament" at the PSO forum, but my post got edited. If you can't handle reading the word "shit" on a forum, you aren't mature enough to be playing poker online.

That beat put me on tilt for the rest of the weekend, so I tried my best to stay away from poker tables for the weekend. Instead I decided to try and fit all three Star Wars movies from the newly released trilogy onto one disc. Why not? I worked on it for hours and finally got them to fit (edited out all audio tracks except one and cut off the beginning and end credits.) I haven't tried to watch the resulting DVD yet, but I bet the quality is horrendous. Still kinda handy to have all three movies on one disc though. And a fun project for a couple of hours.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Where I play...

Pope asked a question in comments about Royal Vegas and how the games were there, and it got me thinking about where I've played and why I play where I play.

There's a lot of options on the internet. For B&M casinos the reason you play someplace is generally more nebulous. I like the waitresses, the dealers are more professional, the room is non-smoking, etc. All casino poker rooms are essentially the same. The bad beat jackpot might be slightly different, and the management has some effect on the experience, but one is basically as good as the other.

Online, however, there is a world of difference. I would have to say the three priorities for me picking a site online are 1)Comps, 2)Interface, 3)Competition.

I'm pretty much a full-fledged bonus whore. I have received over $600 in bonus cash and merchandise from Poker Source Online ( not including the bonuses I have recieved from poker rooms themselves. That probably adds another $300.

I have played at Party Poker, Intertops Poker, Aztec Riches, Royal Vegas and The Gaming Club. I also have some experience with Poker Stars and Paradise Poker.

Party and Intertops are essentially the same place for ring games and SnGs, with different multi-table tournaments. Intertops has 4 or 5 freerolls a week, while Party has practically none. I play in the Intertops freerolls and have made more than $500 from them altogether. Three wins and tons of money finishes. The sweet thing about the intertops freerolls is there is rarely more than 300 people in the completely free ones, and the ones with raked hand requirements generally have around 100 people in them. Compared to the 6000 player freerolls at PokerStars, I'll take it. The interface is exactly the same as Party Poker, and everyone knows Party. And the competition is the fishiest fish in fishdom. Everyone knows that too.

Royal Vegas, Aztec Riches and The Gaming Club are all Prima Poker rooms, and they share the ring games, SnGs and the Multi-tables. They even share some of the freerolls. Prima seems to put a priority on NL and PL games, and they never seem to spread too many limit tables. As most people I know prefer to play in the 2/4-5/10 limit games, they aren't going to like Prima that much. I'm a pot-limt/no-limit player so it spreads perfectly for me. The raked hand freeroll is ESPECIALLY juicy there. I have won more than $300 from them and I have played in aprox. 10 of them. The completely free freeroll always has 3000+ players and is a waste of time in my opinion. It can barely be called poker for the first two hours.

Prima rooms also have the best selection of multi-table tournaments, with a cheap (>$10) rebuy or freezeout tournament starting basically every half hour, along with a slightly higer (maybe $30-$100) tournaments starting every hour. There are around a tenth of the players at Prima that there are at Party, but that's still a lot, usually around 4,000. It's still pretty soft, but you will find the occasional power player there. You will also run into those people that are there to lose money as fast as they can. I seem to run into more at RV than at Party, as unlikely as that seems.

The Royal Vegas interface is the best of the three, Aztec is the worst. At RV the buttons appear in the middle of the table when it is your turn to play, and they are big. At TGC and AR they only appear in the bottom right of the screen and they are always smalle. I have hit the wrong button before at TGC and it is very frustrating. I have misread the chips on the table at RV before too, they don't put the dollar amount next to the chips like Party does. I called a $2 bet that I thought was a $1 bet once. Not a huge deal, as it is unlikely to happen with larger dollar amounts. I still prefer the way Party conveys the info about how much a person has bet and how much they have in their stack.

I play the majority of my hands at Royal Vegas because I am in a rake rebate program there with Poker Source Online. 20% of my share of the rake gets refunded to me in points I can use to get prizes from PSO.

I have only played multi-table freerolls in place of a friend at PokerStars and Paradise Poker. Paradise seems to spread the greatest variety of games, including Crazy Pineapple. PokerStars supposedly has the highest quality of competition, although Ultimate Bet might disagree with that supposition. I don't really care about whether a place has high quality players, just as long as they have enough low quality competition for me to beat and stay away from the sharks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


It's confession time. I actually LIKE Phil Helmouth. I know he's the "poker brat" and he has a huge ego and he swears a lot. He "misbehaves" when he gets beat.

But there's a lot to like about Phil. He's a damn good poker player. He makes great laydowns that nobody gives him credit for. He's the youngest player ever to win a WSOP main event, he is one of only two people to have 9 WSOP bracelets. (The other one is Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson, who won his when there was only a couple of dozen people involved. No disprespect to Dolly, but that's the fact.) He is a tournament specialist. In fact, he's one of the first tournament specialists. Most players make their living at the ring games and play in the tournaments just as a side thing. Players like Chip Reese and Ted Forrest didn't used to play tournaments at all, until they realized they might get their faces on TV.

But these aren't the reasons I like Phil. I like Phil because he says what he's thinking. I learned a lot about poker by watching Phil talk about what he was thinking, or what his opponents are thinking. I got his book, and he basically teaches how to be a tight aggressive player. Play tight until you get the right opportunity, then go hard and fast. He puts priority on premium hands and playing your opponents.

I prefer Phil over players like Erik Seidel, who hate for you to see how he plays. He tries to cover up hole card cameras so people can't tell how he plays. I prefer a player I can learn something from, not one that thinks he's got some kind of secret he has to protect.

The other thing I like about Phil is that he's genuine. He's a genuine flake, but he's genuine.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What's worse than losing?

The only thing worse in online poker than playing a hand wrong is complaining afterward that somehow you were "robbed."

I joined a NL ring game at Royal Vegas and had to post my big blind. Every single player limped in and the button limped right along with every other player. The flop had a pair of 8s and I was out of there when the small blind bet, although he bet pretty small. Most everyone folded, except for the button, who raised. The small blind called and everyone else got out. The next card was a rag and the small blind checked and called a big raise from the button. River was the same, rag-check-bet-call. They flipped them over and the button showed KK, beat by 78s.

This is a huge error that anyone who has played poker for more than 6 seconds can see. What does this Poker Prodigy, who held the second best possible hand pre-flop in the best possible position say? "Big pairs never hold up." DERP! Yeah, when you play them completely wrong, they never hold up. When you try to beat NINE players with nothing but a pair. When you wait until you are BEAT to try and bet someone out.

I think there is a book in this somewhere. I want to save hand histories of the WORST plays I see over and over again and publish a book called "How NOT to play poker, the 20 biggest mistakes online poker players make." Each chapter would be a mistake, why people make that mistake and how to avoid them. There would also be advice on how to spot bad players based on these mistakes and exploit them.

There's a market for a book like that, isn't there? Sure it would be beginner level, but DAMN if there aren't a lot of people online that need a book like that.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I should stick to online poker

Well, not really. I played in a home tourney against some coworkers and came up empty in two events. One was a $20 buy in with a save for 3rd and 70-30 split of what's left for first and second. We start at limit and then go no limit when the blinds reach a certain level. I did well in the limit portion, check raising a few times with flushes. The no-limit portion was a disaster when I couldn't get any action when I had a decent hand. I think my reputation hurts me in this home game and nobody wants to play me. I went all in at least 4 times and never got called. Finally I held A9o and called someone's all in with 77. I didn't improve and was out in 4th place, just out of the money.

The second game was $10 buy-in winner-take-all and I was forced all in with Ace high. RZ called with king high and caught a king on the river to take me out in 4th place again.

RZ caught cards like nobody's business. In game one he bluffed all in with 73 against a big pair, kings I think. He gets runner runner 3s to win the hand. RUNNER RUNNER 3s? That's something like an 800-1 shot. He got the save in the first game, and won the second on an equally unlikely hand. He held 57 heads up and the board showed 2356. His opponent went all in and RZ says "I call, because you don't have the four. Sure enough, he made the wrong call and his opponent shows K4. He says "I'm drawing dead, no wait, we will split if I catch a 4." What do you know? A 4 comes on the river and they start splitting up the chips when I nudge him on the elbow and say, "You've got a 7." A two-outer gut shot to win the whole thing. Unreal.

The next day made up for it when I was playing Pot Limit at Royal Vegas. There was a guy whose name was some variation of "hornytoad" that would call any pre-flop raise, not matter how big or how many players. What's even better is he had $150. I bought in for $10 and quickly blew it with KK when 99 caught a set on the flop. I re-bought and instantl won a $28 pot with AA. I doubled again with KK and was sitting around $68. Again I caught a huge hand and knocked a couple of guys out moving over $100. Then I got AA again, on the button in seat #1. Horny was in perfect position at the table, to my right in seat #10. Every person at the table called the big blind and action got to the #10 seat and the timer scrolled....I yelled "No!!!!" as he timed out and his hand was automatically folded. This is like a bad beat to me. You have the perfect hand to push a guy all in, and technical problems keep him from playing. One other player called my max raise and I won around $25. I have no room to complain, being up over $100 in one sesson, but man, I thought that was going to be a big payoff. I hope I see Horny again so I can get the exact spelling of his name to add him to my RV fish finder. They need buddy lists like Party has, my manual fish finder is much more difficult to use.

Three freeroll tourneys last night. I cashed in one, finishing 12th in a Limit $500 freeroll at Intertops. I struggle with multiple tourneys at one time. I definitely need work there.

Friday, September 17, 2004

A Brilliant Poker Player Once Said...

"If you bluff more than once a week, you're not as good as you think you are."

This is my favorite poker quote. It doesn't even have to be true to be correct. Almost all of us are not as good as we think we are. And all of us bluff more than once a week. "More than once a week" is an exaggeration of course, and even though I've told you a million times never to exaggerate, I'll allow it this time.

Bluffing is what poker is all about, right? Especially no-limit poker. Bluffing is all about applying pressure, and going all in for 10x 20x or 100x the pot is a little more pressure than a check raise.

The eternal truism about this is that there are online players who bluff at EVERY DAMN POT. If more than once a week is too much, how can once per hand be good? It can't. These guys kill me.

On party last night, I get T8s (spades) in the small blind. I complete and get to see a flop, which comes out T65, with the 6 and 5 being spades. I bet small with top pair and a flush draw. Player one raises me to $5 and player two goes all in for $32.

I'm staring at T65 and thinking "What on there is worth $32? Maybe someone flopped a set and is afraid of the flush?" I call, because I'm already almost getting 3 to 1 on my money, even if Player one doesn't call. Which he does. Turn and River show no spades, but I'm shocked when the money comes my way... A pair of 10's with a crappy kicker takes the pot? I had to look this one up in the hand history. You gotta love Party for the chance to look at mucked cards after a call. I was facing a mighty 69 and A6 respectively, no spades, obviously.

What in the hell are you going all-in with second pair and an ace kicker for? This one's easy, he saw rags on the board and thought he could buy the pot, which was a whopping $7-8 due to Player One's $5 raise with second pair and a 9 kicker. The truly puzzling move is the call with that rubbish, after 2 players are all in in front of you.

One player who thinks it makes sense to risk $32 to win $8, and another who calls with second pair and no draw.

Habitual bluffers get marked by me, and added to my fish list. I love a guy you can count on to try and steal a pot. Hell, I like a player you can count on to do anything predictable. But you have to mark an awful lot of these guys, because for some odd reason, they tend to disappear and never show up again.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

How can you call with that? Pathology, that's how.

I got knocked out of a No Limit Multi last night by a player that made three straight awful calls. Actually two of them were awful, one of them was just bad. That was the only one that I won.

I have 4500 in chips, he has 3000. He raises pre-flop to 500, I go all in with AKs. He calls, with J9s. He catches a 9 on the river.

How can you make that call?

Next hand I go all in with my 1500 left an AQ0. He calls with 44 and I win when I spike a Q on the flop.

I guess he thought I was tilting, and he did have me beat, so this wasn't the worst call in the world.

Two hands later I am all in with J10 and a J on the flop. He calls with 84 and a 4 on the board. He rivers an 8 and I am gone.

Again, he might have thought I was on tilt, but I can't give this moron that much credit.

But why do people make these calls? How can someone be THAT fishy?

I think Party Poker fish have a very specific problem. They have a pathological fear of being bluffed. They would rather lose than be bluffed. A re-raise is an absolute INSULT to their MANHOOD. Re-raising them is like making them put on a dress. They will call with NOTHING, just to prove you cannot push them off a pot.

The most important aspect of bluffing is knowing when you've been busted. If you are going to consistently continue the bluff, EVEN WHEN YOU KNOW YOU ARE BEHIND AND THE OPPONENT CANNOT FOLD, you need to switch games. I understand being aggressive is good, and raising to 500 with J9s isn't the worst play in the world. But when someone comes over the top, voluntarily telling you that he has a good hand, maybe even a monster, and you call, you're a fucking dumbass and you need to find another hobby.

If you are afraid of being bluffed, terrified of laying down the best hand, or play because of "pride" and think that someone is insulting you by playing back at you, you can NEVER be a good player until you get over these hangups.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Limit vs No Limit

Limit vs. No Limit. It's an eternal question in poker, isn't it? It gets even more complicated when you are talking about tourneys.

I'll be honest, I used to hate limit poker tourneys. I of course learned how to play poker playing limit, but moved to pot limit and no limit soon, as it is easier to make plays.

But think about what it means to "hate" a game when you are talking about poker. There's a few reasons you can hate something, but I'd have to say the usual reason is that you aren't very good at it. Instead of hating it and avoiding it, shouldn't you take it upon yourself to improve at it?

No Limit is slightly more of a 5 card game and limit uses all 7 cards a bit more. It's overly simplistic, but that's the real difference to me. In no limit you make a bet based on your hole cards, and post flop play consists mostly of who feels like they caught enough of the flop to make a play, or feels like nobody else caught enough of the flop that they can make a play. On a passive table you get some turn/river play, but you don't find a lot of passive tables at No Limit. If people want to play passive, they eventually learn that they are far better off at limit tables.

So my limit poker was weak, therefore I hated it. But was it? A large portion of the freerolls at (Did you see Marcel Luske pimping for Intertops in the WSOP coverage last night?) are limit, and I noticed that I was much more successful at those games than the no limit freerolls. The first one I ever won was limit.

The only other reason to hate limit is that it is not as exciting as no limit, especially early. In one limit tourney I won at Intertops I sat out the first 45 minutes to I could watch WSOP coverage on ESPN.

The beauty of limit tournaments is it nullifies a lot of the dumbass factor. The guys going all in on every naked ace for the first half hour. They can't do it, so they tend to stay away. Of course there are those that raise every single bet trying to bust out quickly. How do they find this even the slightest bit entertaining?

Last night's limit tourney ($10+1, $1000 added) was a very good example of the positive differences between limit and no limit. I struggled terribly for the first hour, never playing a hand to the turn. Some decent hole cards, but missing flops completely. But at the end of the first hour I managed to take a couple of pots, and just after the break I won a couple more and was in 2nd chip position out fo 60 players. Take out the dumbass factor and there's no "lottery winner" who has 20 times the starting stack from maniac all-ins. Solid play can and usually will keep you in range of the leaders. I played conservatively, stealing many pots when I felt like I was in the perfect circumstances, until I made the final table. Only 8 got paid, and I busted out one hand after number nine got blinded out. My 77 got beat by 44 in the BB when A235 came by the turn.

After that I joined a limit ring game at Royal Vegas. I am becoming a limit LOVER! I bought in for $40 at a $2/4 limit table, and in a mere 15 minutes was up to $154. This was more card rush than fine play, but man, you find a lot more callers at limit poker, and it sure is easier to chase down those flushes. My rush was pretty overwhelming and it broke up the table.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Go Be Rude is growing

I want to thank Derek for adding me to his aggregator at Damning the River - . If you like to read a lot of poker blogs, the aggregator is great. It grabs a lot of really good blogs and lets you read the latest posts from them in the order they were posted. Some of these guys are really prolific.

I also want to add that anyone who wants to make $100-$200 easy plus $100 in Amazon gift certificates should run to and play the Starluck and PlanetLuck casino offers right away.

Here's how you do it. Deposit $100 into PlanetLuck, receive $200 in credit play 800 hands of blackjack at $2 per hand. It will take a little over 2 hours. Variance should get you at least $50 profit. Do the exact same thing at Starluck. After a week or so PokerSourceOnline will send you two $50 Gift Certificates for Pre-order the Star Wars Trilogy. You can cash your money back out of the casinos in 24 hours.

If you do it, make sure you put the name DuggleBogey in the referral field. And you should do it, because with a 1% house edge, you'd have to be EXTRAORDINARILY unlucky to lose money on this deal. I personally made $180 plus the gift certificates.

Blackjack Mentality

Another trip to Kansas City in the books. This time I took a day off work so I could sleep a bit more before driving back. It's a good thing too because I left for Kansas City at noon, we started the home game around 6:00pm, got to the Casino at 1:00am and got back home around 7:00pm. That's a lot of driving and poker before sleeping for me. I started watching the Chiefs game at 7:30 but was dead asleep on KingLucky's couch by 8:30.

Playing in a Casino is definitely different than online, or even the home games. There's always some people at a table in a Casino that have what I call a "Blackjack Mentality" towards poker. In blackjack you get two cards, just like Texas Hold Em. You bet money every time in blackjack, don't you? Then you should in poker too, right? Take your two cards, pay your money, and see what you get. Maybe you hit two pair or a full house. That's like getting blackjack. Maybe you just hit one pair. That's like getting a 18. Or you hit nothing. That's a bust. Either way you play your hand, see what you get, and get ready to play another. You wouldn't fold a hand in blackjack would you? (I'm pretending there is no surrender, since I've never actually seen someone surrender in blackjack in a casino.) Hell, 74o is a GREAT hand in blackjack.

I don't mean to insult those people and say they are stupid and shouldn't be allowed in a poker room. They have every right to play poker as anyone anywhere (which is too few places, if you ask me.) And everyone has to start somewhere. Some people walk into a Casino and say to themselves "I am going to lose money today." And they are bound and determined to do it. They want to lose it at poker? If that's what they consider the most entertaining way to lose their money, more power to them.

The point to all this is that you have to adjust your game to these people. Don't assume that just because you raised, you got 38o out. Especially at low limit poker. I'm sure my $3 pre-flop raise has gotten a player who might have played the hand otherwise to fold, but I sure as hell can't remember it happening. I did raise with JJ on a kill pot once, and won the hand even though a King came out. In my fantasies I believe that a naked king folded so I could win that pot, but there was probably never a king to start with.

I have never EVER had someone fold to a check raise in the Casino. It has NEVER happened. And I always have it on a check raise. ALWAYS. You'd think that after playing with me for 4 hours, seeing me check raise and ALWAYS have the nuts or at least a monster, someone would say to themselves "This guy ONLY check raises when he has the nuts," and lay a hand down. But they always stay. Maybe it's pot odds. Maybe it's fear of being bluffed. But you can ABSOLUTELY count on these people to bet the river in hopes of the rest of the table folding to them, so check raises are EASY. I do them constantly, and still, never a fold. Even with rags. I just don't get it.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Not much poker. Bad idea.

Not much in the way of poker this week, which is a really bad idea. I played some while burning DVDs yesterday. I routinely do this to make the burning process go faster. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but if you just let the discs burn without tending to them, you tend to forget they are going and neglect them. If you are doing something else on the same computer at the same time, you are contantly reminded by the slowness of the computer and all the alerts to add new discs and whatnot. Anyway, poker becomes more of a time waster than a money maker. Usually that equals money waster too, but thankfully my game has gotten past that point.

It's a really bad idea for me to neglect poker this week, because I am taking my monthly trip to Kansas City to visit KingLucky and play in his home game. I took Monday off work so I could spend some more time there and go to the Casino. This time we may go to Harrah's instead because they spread a $300 No-Limit game that isn't availabe at the Ameristar. KingLucky knows I am a stronger no-limit player than limit. He has better comps at Ameristar, so it's kind of a toss up. I did well at the limit games at Ameristar last time, so I don't really care either way. I've never played no-limit in a Casino before, I might enjoy it. Sometimes change is good. I will probably work on it tonight, at higher levels than usual, just to get a feel for it.

After a bad experience a couple of days ago at Pot Limit, I may scrap it in favor of NL. I got JJ in first position, after a run of ice cold cards. I bluffed a couple of times to keep my stack in shape, but I was really looking for a big score at this loose/aggressive table. I decided JJ was it. I raised the MAX, but it was pot limit and I was first to act, so all I could raise was $1.75. At this loose table, $1.75 might as well have been nothing. I got 5 callers, and no raisers. JJ against 5 callers might as well be 22. 23 if you don't catch a Jack. A king flopped and I was done. Well, I thought I was done, the table actually checked around. So I bet on the turn, which was a queen. Some bonehead called with his queen/crap, and I checked the river and got to see his overpair. I suppose I should have thrown a bet out there on the flop representing AK and I would have taken the pot, but with 5 callers I had to assume a King, and these guys do NOT drop a pair of Kings because of a $10 bet. Even if it's K2o.

Maybe it's an isolated incedent and I'm overreacting. PL was where I learned poker, and where the bulk of my non-tournament poker is played. I've made a lot of money at Pot Limit. But it's a limit. Sometimes you just don't want to be limited.

I'd like to thank Heafy at PokeronFilm ( for mentioning my blog and for the nice comments. I am learning a lot about Australia just from reading his blog. It must be difficult being that far away and being into American culture like he is. And the movie quotes are fricking awesome.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Aggression Progression

I was reading some blogs today, few were updated over the weekend. Holidays do that. But one piqued my interest in that he seemed to think he was repeating the word "tight" very often. His game was getting "tighter" every time he played.

I'm not sure if he meant "tight" as in good, or as in more rock-like. I hope he meant he was becoming more and more of a rock. Not that I think rocks are particularly good players. They're very predictable, easy to bluff and never get a very big stack unless they catch a good rush of cards. Even then they have no idea how to act with that big stack.

But being a rock is good, because I believe it is necessary to become a rock in order to make the next step. Once you have learned what good starting hands are and you limit yourself to playing them, it becomes necessary to start playing those hands very aggresively. You have to maximize your winning percentage with those hands, because that is all you are playing. If you slow play and get beat with your KK, you quickly grow frustrated. "If I lose with these hands, how can I win?" you ask yourself. So you learn to be aggressive. You raise pre-flop. If anyone challenges, you put the pressure back on them. You always force THEM to make the hard decision. It's easy to do with KK or AA. You raise pre-flop, they raise you back. You go all in. It's an easy play.

Soon you will realize that people aren't taking you to the river with these hands. They have bought your reputation as a rock and they are folding when they don't hit the flop or make the nuts by the turn. You never get to show your KK. Then you start thinking, I never needed to have that KK, did I? If I act like I have KK, in the right circumstances, against the right player, I can take that EXACT same hand with 24o instead of KK.

Now someone could easily misunderstand and think that you can skip the rock stage and go straight to the aggressive stage. But you can't skip the rock stage. Becoming a rock takes a lot of work, but it is worthwhile because the experience of becoming a rock is the experience to know when the situation is right to play that 24o like KK. If you skip that step, you'll never know, and your 24o will get called. You won't know when to lay down your 24o bluff, and you will get busted too often with really weak hands. Not just the situation and the cards on the table, but the makeup of the players at the table and your position among them.

I am watching RZ progress from rock to fox. It's very interesting to watch, because every game is like a revalation to him. Of course he is taking some beatings along the way, but the education is worth the cost, and it has started paying off for him big time.

Aggression is usually rewarded at Hold 'Em. You hear it over and over again if you watch the WPT broadcasts on the Travel Channel. It may be an over simplification, but if you get there the right way, with no shortcuts, that quote is right on the money.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


It's been a long time since I've played sit-n-go tourneys at Party Poker. I just got out of the habit, and when I went back and tried to play a couple, felt uncomfortable. The blind structure goes up so fast compared to MTTs, and the pressure to play is much higher than ring games. Hands I wouldn't dream of playing in a ring game or even an MTT are must plays in a SNG.

I played one last night, and got bounced out in 9th place when I overplayed a questionable hand. So I played one more, thinking "If I lose this one I am going to stay away from SNGs for while longer." Ring games are easy money, so why commit 40 minutes to an hour playing a game that you don't particularly enjoy?

In game 2 the story was different. I managed to pick up quite a few pots, but dropped back down to 800 (the starting point at Party, which sucks balls compared to everywhere else) when someone caught a King on the river to beat my Ace high. What the hell was he calling with king high for? I guess some people think a blind can NEVER have a good hand.

Anyway, I was struggling with 5 left and hefty blinds when this hand happened.

***** Hand History for Game 900434688 *****300/600 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (PL) (Tournament 5569677) - Tue Aug 31 21:00:15 EDT 2004
Table Table 11114 (Real Money) --
Seat 8 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: DuggleBogey (970)
Seat 3: joejamesjr (365)
Seat 5: Bond_JmsBond (1430)
Seat 8: NBiggershaft (4380)
Seat 10: beancounterj (855)
beancounterj posts small blind (150)
DuggleBogey posts big blind (300)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to DuggleBogey [ 9s, 3d ]
joejamesjr raises (365) to 365joejamesjr is all-In.
Bond_JmsBond folds.
NBiggershaft folds.
beancounterj calls (215)
DuggleBogey calls (65)
Creating Main Pot with $1095 with joejamesjr
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Jd, 8h, Td ]
beancounterj bets (490)
beancounterj is all-In.DuggleBogey calls (490)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Tc ]
** Dealing River ** : [ Qh ]
Creating Side Pot 1 with $980 with beancounterj
** Summary **
Main Pot: 1095 Side Pot 1: 980 Board: [ Jd 8h Td Tc Qh ]
DuggleBogey balance 2190, bet 855, collected 2075, net +1220 [ 9s 3d ] [ a straight, eight to queen -- Qh,Jd,Td,9s,8h ]
joejamesjr balance 0, lost 365 [ Js Ah ] [ two pairs, jacks and tens -- Ah,Js,Jd,Td,Tc ]
Bond_JmsBond balance 1430, didn't bet (folded)
NBiggershaft balance 4380, didn't bet (folded)
beancounterj balance 0, lost 855 [ Ac As ] [ two pairs, aces and tens -- Ac,As,Qh,Td,Tc ]

I was almost FORCED to win this hand. I was the big blind of 300 when someone went all in for 365. Even though I had 930 you still have to call that. Then beancounter went all in with his AA. If he had raised all in pre-flop with AA, I would have folded. But I can't blame him for slow playing it, because he was basically already heads up with me. But by the time he raised all in for another 490, I just had to call 490 to get into a 2075 pot. With an open ended straight draw that's an easy call. More than 4 to 1 pot odds with 8 outs. Roughly that's 33% to hit my straight. Especially if you consider that winning the hand put me in the money.

From there it was easy. TOO easy. NBiggershaft foled to EVERY raise down the stretch. He put himself in such a huge hole that he won two all-ins and still had no prayer. I took the chip lead on the very next hand and never gave it back. NBiggershaft got his money by luckily hitting trips three hands in a row, taking a player out with each one. Once he had the huge stack he had NO IDEA what to do with it. Admittedly I'm not the best big stack player, but this guy was horrible.

The only hand he won was when I put him all in for his 1230 with my A2o against his K3o. His flopped 3 beat my flopped 2 and he doubled up. But on the very next hand:

***** Hand History for Game 900449870 *****
DuggleBogey: vn
400/800 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (PL) (Tournament 5569677) - Tue Aug 31 21:04:31 EDT 2004Table Table 11114 (Real Money) --
Seat 8 is the button
Total number of players : 2
Seat 1: DuggleBogey (5540)
Seat 8: NBiggershaft (2460)
NBiggershaft posts small blind (200)
DuggleBogey posts big blind (400)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to DuggleBogey [ Ts, Th ]
NBiggershaft raises (600) to 800
DuggleBogey raises (2000) to 2400
NBiggershaft raises (1660) to 2460
NBiggershaft is all-In.
DuggleBogey calls (60)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Qd, 7s, 3h ]
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 5d ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 9h ]
Creating Main Pot with $4920 with NBiggershaft
** Summary **
Main Pot: 4920 Board: [ Qd 7s 3h 5d 9h ]
DuggleBogey balance 8000, bet 2460, collected 4920, net +2460 [ Ts Th ] [ a pair of tens -- Qd,Ts,Th,9h,7s ]
NBiggershaft balance 0, lost 2460 [ Ac 8d ] [ high card ace -- Ac,Qd,9h,8d,7s ]

I think he finally caught on to the fact that I was being aggressive, when he folded 6 hands in a row after paying to see a flop. By then it was too late. He had too few chips and my cards were too good.