Binking a Tournament

Remember me telling you about the "big" online tournament last Sunday? Then the winner/scammer problem? Well, this week it was my turn to win. Here is my story:

I guess I should have know things were going to go well for me. The first hand I had KQ in decent position and took it down with a pretty standard raise. Yeah, yeah, you could say everyone is being cautious that first hand, so it was a gimme, but let's say it was fate, just to be funny ;)

I got a lot of good hands during this event. More importantly, I got a lot of action during those hands, and players who often had the 2nd best premium hand. I will say, however, I never had AA. Things simply collided so that I was able to get the most out of my great hands/flops.

For a while I held the chip lead or the top few. I eventually lost that and got blinded down quite a bit when desperate stacks started making moves pretty much every hand. I didn't beat myself up about it, although I was pretty rough on myself after one misplayed hand. Looking through the hand history makes me cringe a little, as I'm sure better players would have made more of these good to great holdings and the flops they were getting. Then again, had I played more hands, I might not have won, so there ya go.

When we got HU, I think I was a 3:1 dog in chips. Fortunately for me, my opponent liked playing small ball and limped, almost never raised. He did bluff a lot post-flop, but would fold to be bets/raises as well. Eventually I got the chip lead, then stupidly doubled him up with a marginal holding. Yeah, amateur hour here, but I only made that mistake once. Never again.

Not long after wrestling back the chip lead, things were over. Funnily enough, not one beggar on this rail, nor since in the main chat. Guess people aren't as dumb as I give them credit for being ;)

All and all, I had a great time. I was going to post more hands and thoughts about them, but it's been long enough since the win, and I can't seem to get the motivation. And I'll leave that problem along with its resolution for the next post!


Poker Coaching

You remember the old Felicia Rants? Well, sorry to report nothing so obtuse as that these days ;)

I just can't pull the trigger anymore. I guess maybe because I'm actually alive and healthy (for me, anyway), after so many years of being sickly. It's so much tougher to be bitter-party of one, when I'm ecstatic to be here!

But I do need to plug some leaks in poker. I try to help people. Big mistake. Really it is. It never, ever, ever works out for me. No, I don't mean monetarily (hello! If I was bright it would pay off in that way!). I mean emotionally. I help people win and most the time don't even get a simple thank you. I mentor people for weeks/months/years for pretty much nothing in return. And as much as I'd like to say it helps my game, too (which is the main reason I do it), it really doesn't. I'd get a lot more out of my time and improving my game by reading and studying.

People like Ray ZeeMax Pescatori, Carl Frommer, Ted Forrest, et al have mentored me in the past and I'd like to think I haven't let them down. No, I never became a WCP, but I'd like to think I was a first class friend and extremely loyal. I hope I never forgot to say THANK YOU a million times.

I love you guys.

Poker Ethics

Lately I've found a new site to play on. I'm starting from freerolls, as you know from my previous posts. This new site has both cash games, tourneys and freerolls, so some players have truly deposited money. While I am not in that crowd and would not deposit money on any poker site these days, I do sometimes get caught into a trap of advising players who are in it for real funds.

Last night the site had their "big" tournament. Compared to something like Stars or Party in the old days this was not huge. But for low limit tourney players this was a big score. One player, nicknamed brownpants talked a lot of trash (BP), but played pretty well. He enticed me to rail the final table. That was a big mistake!

Once there were four players left, a medium stack took out another and suddenly became the chip lead (CL). The trash talker, BP asked him to split the remaining prize pool. He declined.

Now this is where things went wrong very quickly. The chip lead vetoed an even split of the prize money, since he was very much the leader at the time. Instead of the trash talker gracefully saying something like, "No problem," and continuing to play, he instead started needling CL. And then, to compound his error, he proposed to the 3rd player (DS) that they would "knock out the chip lead and make a deal" amongst themselves. To his credit the 3rd guy did not go along with this.

BP finally said, disgustedly, "Fine, then I'll knock him out myself!" Boom, I don't like this.

After some super aggro play, BP did just that. Then brownpants went on to make himself look even worse. He suggested a chop with DS giving him only about $10 more than second place itself paid!!!! Granted, BP had DS out-chipped about 2:1, but dang, forget about the $10, he is freerolling for the win!

Suffice it to say, DS didn't go for this deal, but not for the reason I listed. Because he just wanted to play! Good for him.

In the end, BP did win, and DS got second place money. But the point is that Brownpants crossed the line on many occasions. I tried to patiently explain to him why his chat wasn't kosher, but he responded that he was only concerned with winning, not with poker ethics. He was a good player, but not a sportsman.

I left him with this:

"Someday I'd like to tell people you are a great player and a great sportsman, too."

He never said another word. I hope that by accenting the positive and not addressing the negative I gave him something to think about!

(edited to introduce the guilty party. The next day he scammed some of the players and Bitcoin traders out of money. Can I pick 'em or what?)

Open Internet Challenge

Bring on the No Limit Baby!

Back in the old days of the poker boom, we would often do little things to eliminate boredom and challenge ourselves anew. Sometimes it was the RGP challenge, the 2+2 challenge. WhiskyTown (Russ) once spread around the Open Internet Challenge. Or in other words, running up a little scratch, sometimes a "free" starting bankroll from an online poker site to see what could be done. In September 2004, Glenn decided to take Russ up on his challenge and here were the results:

Well, I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I’ve been working it, working it. And it’s not always roses. Last month I tried to do the Online Internet Challenge (OIC) after WhiskeyTown talked me into it; darn you! OK, I’ll come clean… he didn’t talk me into it, he just told me about it and I thought I’d give it a try. So instead of my normal grinding at the $25 NL tables on Party (with my Paradise Draw thrown in here and there) I started playing the limit $.50/$1 tables on Party again.

Boy in the beginning, it was great! After having a losing month (after my disastrous “shot” at 15/30), I was really running well. Ran my $40 “buy in” (for the OIC) up to a little over $80, then started playing $1/2 on Party for the first time. I had some ups and downs, but eventually got up the OIC ‘roll to about $100. Then, nothing stood up! I’d get all the “monster” pairs broken (Ed Miller calls AA & KK “monster” pairs in his celebrated book, Small Stakes Hold’em). Seemed I’d always end up with these big pairs with limpers already in (a few times I had these hands right on the button), and I knew my raise was getting no one out!  They would get run down, be dominated from the start (KK vs AA), or somehow get outdrawn. My really strong hands, like flopping a set, nut straight, etc., I’d seem to get no value out of! Like they knew what I held and would just fold to me.

Even through all these beats and struggles. I persevered! I said, “a little variance isn’t going to get me down! I can ride the storm! This is why I waited to play these levels anyway isn’t it? I built my ‘roll on Party up and now I can weather the bad times.” However, the bad times kept coming! Ugh! What gives? Either the table’s too tight or too loose. Get no hands at a tight table and you just blind away money. Get hands run down on the loose tables and I call/raise off money. I get AKo and raise and get 3 callers. Flop AJx, I bet, get 2 callers. J on the turn, I bet, get raised, I am lone caller (could be same hand, could be semi-bluff, so I call). Q on river, I check-call to see AQo! I was in the lead the whole time, until the river. Ugh!

I even started playing 4-tables at once to try to lessen the variance. Hmmm, just seems I’m losing faster! LOL!

Yesterday, I finally started playing the $25 NL games again, hoping the change would be good. What was I thinking playing limit? Oh my goodness! Doubled through yesterday, doubled through today, and I have my ‘roll on Party almost back up to where it was before I started this whole nonsense (just five bucks shy ;)

So, what does this all mean?? Stick with what you’re good at! I know I’m a good NL player. I know that I can beat the games for a decent BB/hr. I can play limit here and there for a change, but I was trying to play exclusively limit. There have been discussions on boards about which has the higher variance, and its “hands down” limit. My nature is to abhor change; variance is change… in the wrong direction :-P

Therefore, bring on the NL baby!

Back to the Four Queens

Guest Post by Glenn-Circa 2004

Felicia and I went back to Vegas for more of her “studly” Stud tournaments. While there, as always, I played the cash games.

OK, I’ll admit, I did do one satellite (-grin-). We got to the Four Queens kind of early on Monday. Last time we were there early, I noticed that there weren’t many cash games going, being downtown, LV. So, when they started calling for a $65 satellite, I figured I’d give it a go. I was able to chop one the last time we were there (I only got 1/4 of the prize pool that time though, as I was a serious chip dog HU, but the guy was willing to chop, so I took it).

As the sat was filling, we were in need of one more. One of the regular players that also always plays the side games said, “John will play, he’ll fill up your table”. Later, I came to find out that John is a “Horse”. Someone that another player backs, and gets a piece of his action (normally someone that doesn’t have the money himself, so needs someone to finance him).

It was mostly uneventful, as I did my normal “fold, fold, fold” until I had a hand. I stole once or twice with raises with AK and AQ. Other than that, just like the previous sat that I played last time, I got KK, got a caller, and doubled up. This allowed me to get to the final 3. Myself, John the Horse, and an older lady (OL) that actually played pretty well (although she did have a way of holding her cards that I could tell if she had a hand or not).

At this point, John and I had the chip leads and he starts in with “When you and me get heads-up we’ll chop, OK? You wanna chop?” Now, I didn’t really like that he did this right in earshot of OL, but wasn’t entirely sure she heard it. I tried to gauge from her face, couldn’t tell, so just kinda did the “smile-and-nod”…”yeah, sure, ok”. Most of the final 3 it was raise, fold, fold. Fold, raise, fold. After a while, the lady asked if we’d do a “save” for 3rd (i.e., 3rd gets their money back). John asked his backer and he said “no”; so, on we played. Both John and I had her all-in, and she’d win, getting some chips back. Then we’d steal the blinds from her and she’d have to go all-in again. After a while, John agreed to the save for 3rd.

I started with the biggest stack, but then got whittled down with her going all-in and the three of us shuffling the chips around. At one desperation point, she called my raise (A5o) holding 93o. She made a full-house! Very next hand I had 44 in the BB, John had folded, she put me all-in w/ KQo, but my 44 stood up and I had chips again :-P

Eventually a pivotal hand occurred where she took almost all John’s chips and suddenly he was the chip dog and then out. Good thing for him that he agreed to the save, as he was the one that ended up needing it!

I had more chips then the lady as this point (being the one who finally knocked John out). I asked her if she wanted to chop and, even though she seemed reluctant to, she agreed. She said “I think I can take you, I play a lot of heads-up”. I laughed and said that I knew that was part of my game that I needed to work on. Either way, she gave me a compliment that I was a good, patient player.

Felicia finally got a Razz satellite going and I made sure she was settled so that I could “wander”. This usually meant that I’d go walk from Four Queens to Binion’s and Golden Nugget and see who, if anyone, had any games going. I found a 1/2 blind NL game at Binion’s and was able to grab a seat.

I love Binion’s, btw. The poker tables have always been good to me there, and there is never a shortage of characters! This table was no exception. To my left was a LAP (loose-aggressive-player) that had a habit of making it 5 or 10 to go each time. Of course, he _had_ to be on my left, meaning that I never got a free play from the blind, it was always raised. He was chatty too. He talked it up the whole time with a guy to my right that they ended up knowing each other. “Yeah! I thought that was you! I still have your number…” Yap, yap, yap. A true LAP (-grin-). Made a few hands here and there and was mildly up when LAP got called to the main game (they actually had two games going and mine was the ‘must-move’).

Then an interesting hand happened. A younger guy (I’ll call GQ since he had that look about him, although very soft spoken) sat down in LAP’s seat. GQ was BB, I was SB and another loose younger guy (YG) was UTG. YG limped, no surprise, and it was folded to me. I look down to see T2o; Doyle’s hand. Normally I’d chuck it, but it’s only 1 chip to me and we’re basically short-handed with only three in the pot…maybe a T will be good :-p I chuck in my chip and GQ goes, “Let’s make it five straight”, tossing in a red. YG, of course calls, as I look back at my T2o thinking, “there you go, burning chips”. YG looks at me and says “come on, you’re half way in”. Oh brother, “Alright”, says I, replacing my white for a red.

We three see the flop of ATA. I chuckle, knowing my T is no good and check. Come on, a weak raise when against just 2 people, to me has to be a big Ace, or KK/QQ. A Ten is just not cuttin’ it. I check, GQ checks, YG checks. Turn (ATA)T. I laugh again; I turned a boat and can’t bet it! I say “I check my boat”, GQ says “I check mine” (yup, big Ace), and YG says, “I’m checkin’”. River, would you believe is the case Ten?

So the board is now ATATT. I don’t see any nervousness from GQ, I think he’s been checking the nuts and hoping someone would bet his hand for him on the flop and turn. Now, the river changes things. I put him on an Ace from the start, so I go ahead and chuck a red bird into the pot to test the waters (I have to get _something_ for my quads ;). GQ makes it 15, raising me 10 and YG gets out while saying to me, “You bet $5?” I double GQ’s bet to 30 and he quickly puts in a bit more (turned out to be 65). I wonder for a min if he flopped quad Aces on me but I reraise anyway, again doubling his bet. He thinks about it and says “I gotta call you”, and shows me exactly what I was thinking he had: AK…for the flopped trips, turned boat, rivered 2nd best hand. I show him my T2o and go “It’s a Doyle!” (Unfortunately, I think that fell on immature ears :p )

After a little while, I was moved to the main game. I didn’t like it. Even with the LAP in the game, it just didn’t seem like a good line-up: no good soft spots. After an orbit I left, but still with a smile on my face due to the Doyle hand.

The next day Felicia and I got to the Four Queens poker room and she got another satellite going, so off I wandered back to Binion’s. This day they had an interest list for the 1/2 NL (no game going yet), and 4/8 with a long list of people waiting, and a 2/4 with an open seat. Action junkie that I am, I took the 2/4. Man, with seven people on average seeing the flop, I was limping a lot. Plus, of course, first hand I have a hand (QQ) and of course, no one believes me and I get beat by massive schooling.

With all the limping, I’m down about 40 until I got a hand where I actually had the pot odds to chase a gut shot! I flopped top pair, but someone that I had been watching raised pre-flop so I knew he was on an over pair. However with all the callers before the flop and him raising from the BB, there were at least 14 SB’s in the pot pre-flop, for 7 BB’s. On the flop, it’s bet and called in at least 2 other places, so I call too with my JTo on the board of T87. Turn is a Q, no help, but still bet, call, call, so I call with 12 BB’s in the pot. River is the 9. Now with only a J needed for a straight, it’s check, check, check to me, I bet, call, call. Original raiser: AA (ouch). One of the callers: J9s for the flopped straight. Slow played it the whole way and let me get there. If he raised the flop or the turn, I would have known one of my cards was gone, didn’t have the odds and gotten outta Dodge! He claimed that once the Q fell he couldn’t bet. I don’t understand this, as it wasn’t until the river that a better straight was possible. Either way, that put me almost back to even, getting almost a stack and a half back (and that was with splitting the pot). After that, KK held up for me and I was a stack up for the game. I cashed out and headed back to check on Felicia.

At the Four Queens Felicia was playing the side game. This time ‘round, it was 10/20 half Razz (in honor of the Razz tourney) and half Stud/8. I love watching Felicia play the cash games, she always looks so confident and in her element. Sometimes seems more so than tournaments just because there’s no pressure. She doesn’t really care if she wins or loses. You can still play to win, to enjoy the competition, but not be effected by the beats. She does well in these games. After a little while a satellite she was waiting for filled up and she left the game to play. I watched them play Razz a little and then it was turning to Stud/8. I asked if she minded if I played and she said to go ahead. I played tight, had to fold a low draw once when I bricked and another player was showing a 3 and a 5 for a possible wheel draw. But later I scooped a good hand against the same player. She went to the river with me but folded on the end. I had the 2, 4, and 6 of spades showing first 5 and I lead out when the 6 hit. I had made my 6 low on the river (I had the A of spades but no flush, and I actually had paired with the 6’s on fifth, but she didn’t know that ;) When she got her river card she was looking and looking for a reason to call, couldn’t find one, and I scooped a nice 120+ pot. Once the half hour was up, I got up, having never played Razz live.

I watched Felicia in her tournament, but she’s been running badly and getting beat when starting with the best of it. I know the situation all too well…that’s what happened with me last week! She’s a trouper though and takes the beats well.

The next day it was back to Binion’s for a very uneventful day, in terms of poker leaving –$5 after an hour, but very fun session. One of the players from the previous day was there and we ended up chatting it up. He was from Key West and talked about a good game that he runs. He takes no rake as he makes more in tips since he deals it. Plus, he plays the games as well! He says he mostly wins there too! It’s amazing the people keep coming back ;) We had fun conversation and it made me realize just how much I like playing at Binion’s. It’s a poker player’s poker room. Poor lighting, colorful characters, dingy old setting. I know I’m strange, but I love it :-)

The Key West dude was talking about having left due to the storm coming, so I had to plug Iggy’s post about playing in Aruba. I also found that Key West dude either had friends or lived at one time (can’t recall which) in West Field, NY, where my grandparents used to live—small world!

Key West dude (KWD) and a silent old man (SOM) both ended up cracking my AA’s one hand. I brought it in for 20 (10xBB) and they both called me. Dang, action on my AA’s! Flop is 986, all diamonds and I have clubs and hearts. Best hand pre-flop and I can’t bet. KWD bets 25, and SOM tosses in a call without thinking about it. I do and KWD says “I know I got you beat, but I’m more worried about him”, pointing to SOM. I flash my cards to the guy next to me, a very solid player, and say “there was a point in time I would never have folded, but let’s see if I’m right”. OK, I knew I was right, but I just couldn’t help myself. Felicia keeps bugging me to wear headphones when I play so that I don’t talk too much and give away how I play :-P

Turn is off suit rag and it goes check, check. I curse KWD for making me fold my hand, now wondering if he was on a draw. River, no more diamonds (which is what KWD was hoping for) and bet out again. SOM points his thumb up to signal a raise and grabs for a bunch of chips. KWD turbo-mucks and goes “that’s what I thought”. As SOM is pushing his cards out of the way so the dealer can push him the chips, KWD says “at least show me diamonds”. SOM, silent as ever, gestures to the dealer to flip up his cards and we get to see A5d for the A-high flush on the flop. Solid guy on my right tells KWD that I mucked AA and KWD says he had two pair on the flop. Can you believe that? Talk about loose, calling 10xBB with, what, 98 (hopefully, but not necessarily) suited, and A-rag suited? No wonder I love this game! Now do you understand why I got up after KWD left. (-grin-)

I ended up back at Four Queens to watch Felicia, where I got called “eye-candy” by one of the lady tournament floor people. “Whoohoo, did you hear that Felicia? I got called ‘eye-candy,” I said with a big grin.

After making sure Felicia was doing well, I went back to my wandering. This time ending up at Golden Nugget where I ended up sitting next to a Dapper Dan (DD) type that I’d seen play before. Apparently he’s a regular, knows a ton of people, and currently looking for his new ex-wife…hopefully, with sisters. Yes, poker is just full of characters! He had the zoot-suit going, complete with corsage. He claimed to have a bunch of flowers so he’d be prepared should he meet someone. He also had wads of cash on the table so big he needed 3 different money clips! Someone joked about him having ten thousand, and he laughed and said, “If I had ten thousand, I’d be leaving, ‘cause I’d be about seven grand stuck!” LOL.

I got a good pot there when I did the o’ limperoo with Acey-deucey suited. I got checked into runner-runner, again, and made a wheel. With about 4 others in the pot with me, I wasn’t proud of the idiot end of the straight, so I chucked the single red into the pot to see what action I got. I got raised 20 more. I didn’t like it, but I called. And wouldn’t you know it, someone slow played a set, just to get beat out. He finally bets when he’s beat! Did I already say I love this game?

Today (Wednesday) was the last day of our stay. I found a 1/2 NL going again at Binion’s and sat down. This time nothing was standing up and I left a bit down after an hour. For a while it was a fun time playing with the local pros, one of which was very chatty and a little sarcastic. But then he started getting beat and his sarcasms turned mean and I was wishing I had my headphones. He really started tilting when he got his PP (pocket pair) beaten by…drum-roll please…32s! Yes, for the _rivered_ flush! “How can you pay 25 pre-flop with deuce-trey?!?! And then you say ‘here take it all’ [the guy shoved all-in], after we just shook hands!” Oh, man was he steaming! Even though I was losing, I was just waiting for a time to bust him (well, double through—he was another one of those with a wad of hundreds in front of him). Unfortunately for me, that time never came.

I got the old guy with the 32s in a later session, however, when he tried to draw out against me. I had ATo and limped in mid position, he had A9o and we both flopped our side cards. I was first to act, potted it and he called. Ace on the turn gave me top two and after I bet again he went all-in on me for 25 more. Even if I thought he might have a set, I can’t not call for 25 more. I was happy to see that he had two pair as well, but of course I had the best hand and took down the pot when no 9 came on the river. He did get some of his money back later, when he claimed he flopped a boat when I flopped trips. I had a suited Daniel Negreanu (T7s) and limped in mid position. It got raised from someone in late position to 10, but there were so many others in the pot called that I called too. The flop came 877 with 2 clubs and I decided I was happy with the size of the pot and would just take it down with a bet of 40. The old 32s man, shoved all-in for over a hundred more and I went into the “tank”. I’d seen him bet big, but never go all-in. We had a split pot before where be both flopped trip 5’s with Ace kickers and we had a fun little raising war until the board double paired on the turn and we checked the river. As soon as he bet weak on the turn I told him we now had the same hand and I was right. His A5 was unsuited, but I just meant I didn’t know his side card, but I was sure he had a 5 and that now the side card didn’t matter, cause he I know he didn’t have a 6.

Back to the 778 hand, everyone folded back to me after he shoved in. After thinking for a little bit, I showed him my 7 and asked him if he had an Ace kicker again. He said ‘yes’. I didn’t believe him but I still didn’t like the fact that he shoved in. I kept thinking he was stronger than me and I finally folded. Now I know that poker players lie but he said, “I had ya’ beat sonny. I had a canoe, do you know what that is?” I said that I didn’t, but I was thinking that I could figure it out. “A big fullhouse is a ‘boat’, if you have a little one, it’s a ‘canoe’”. So he basically was telling me he had 87 for sevens-full-of-eights; the smaller of the possible fullhouses. Whether he had it or not, it was a good move and I laid down my hand.

I still ended up 55 for that session. Lately my reads have been pretty darn good. I also folded a smaller pocket pair (though still an over pair to the ragged board) when I felt the smooth call by one of the other players would only be with another pp. He said later he had a “made hand”, which means a pp, and I knew I was right. Only misread I did was when I had implied, if not pot, odds to draw to my AK over cards (since I put in a preflop raise) with a board of: QTx. I _really_ only wanted a J, since I was unsure if my A or K wouldn’t give someone two pair or a straight. The bettor in the hand I put on AQ or at least KQ to cold call a raise (since he acted after me) after watching him play for a bit. K on turn, after I folded of course, and on the river he and the only other in the pot (a calling station) turn over QJo! I didn’t think that player would call with such a hand, and either way, I was already bit once by the calling station slow playing KK on me, so I laid down my overs to the decent size flop bet. Even though I might have misread his hand, I still think it’s a lay down with that board and a bettor and a caller.

After returning to Four Queens, I found Felicia still in the Stud 8 tournament. She still had chips but had just lost a hand and was back down to where she started. I found a 4/8 HE side game going (of all things, they usually only played 10/20) and I started to play. I dropped almost 40 a little too quickly playing short-handed (I really need to steal more, but was also cold-decked) and then we started playing 1/2 NL (Whoohoo!). I still didn’t get many hands and ended almost 50 down, canceling what I just won in the last session at Binion’s. Ahhh, well, such is variance.

All-in-all, I had a good time. I wish Felicia was able to place during one of her tournaments, but she had a few too many out-draws. We both started home exhausted and ‘pokered-out’!

I just finished pounding this out, and Felicia has just gone to the bedroom after I said “almost done” for the 3rd time, so I’m going to post this and ask that you forgive any English errors, as my editor is MIA :-P


Back to Vegas for WSOP $1500 Stud Event-2004

While looking up poker websites for my nominations this year, I ran across a guest post that Glenn did in 2004. Pretty good, actually. Who knew that monkey could write? I'll re-post it here, for your reading enjoyment ;)

This past weekend Felicia and I made our way back to Vegas so that she could play the WSOP $1500 Stud Event. Last time we were there she won two $500 lammers in a satellite shootout (go Felicia! : ) . While she still planned to play some more sat’s to try to win her way completely into the tournament, she was 2/3rds the way there. 

We got there Thursday and played just a little. I think I made $44 in the 2/5 blinds NLHE (no limit hold’em) cash game in a record 15 minutes. I can’t even really recall what I had and how I won it so quickly. I just know, I love no limit! 

I believe we ended up calling it an early night. 

Next day she was off to do more satellites and I went back to my no limit games. I tried the 1/2 blinds some, but, while they only have a minimum $100 buy-in, the players will bet the same amounts that they do in the 2/5 with a $200 min buy-in; which is crazy for the stack sizes. Mostly I played 2/5, making a little profit here and there, usually no more than $50. Felicia usually took that profit and tried the satellites. Just call me “Sugar Daddy”. :p 

Felicia ended up winning a seat to a super in one of the satellites. She had no intention of playing, just wanted to make a profit by selling the seat. Wouldn’t you know it? All the players already had a seat and were just trying to win a rebuy! LOL! So, she did what any tournament player would do…she played the super! 

I rail-birded while she played. Luckily she was only one table away and, while I couldn’t make out the boards, I could usually see what she had when she was all-in. I watched her flip up some of those here and there: KQs once on a steal that didn’t hold up (BB was almost to the felt and defended w/ 66); Couple times with KK—last one didn’t hold up and put her in bad chip position. She went all-in in her next BB with her last 2 chips (classic Felicia-style) without looking. I know she needed to do this, but it hurt when I saw the 83o. No help and she was gone. Still, she was in a $250 tournament for $50; and she lasted a heck of a lot longer than I would have, being that I wouldn’t have been as aggressive as she. This is the type of play that makes her a much better tournament player than myself. 

We tried the new Golden Nugget poker room. Very nice place. They are going to eventually move it, but I hope that they keep the look. I found a 4/8 Omaha 8 game open and joined. Boy these guys were bad. One lady calling every hand, any raise. One memorable hand, I raised in mid-position w/ AQsAJs and was called all around! (At this point we were short handed with 5 players. I bet the flop, as it gave me a nut flush draw, but then checked the turn when a low would have gotten there. Check, check, check. River: check, check, check, check, check. I spread my hand on the table declaring, “well the flush didn’t get there, so I still just have AA’s.” It was comical to see these boneheads all staring at their hands and having to muck. One or two hand top pair, but no one had more than one pair. No one even had a low! I scooped it. Unbelievable. I got counterfeited on the river on one of my hands—low didn’t get there once or twice. I ended up $44 for about 1/2 hour worth of play. 

At this point, Felicia had me come over and play her chips in the 1/2 blind NLHE game they had going. She was going to play a $225 single table shoot-out they called a satellite for the $2000 NLHE WSOP event the next day. Either way, it was winner-take-all, whether or not that person chooses to do the $2000 tournament. She told me most the players from the NLHE game went to play the satellite and that the majority of them were horrid. So, I played her chips. I topped her off from my winnings at the O8 and played the short-handed game. Boy I suck short-handed. I lost about $50 in that game altogether; mostly from a flopped nut flush by the SB that probably just wanted to steal. I chose to defend that time with T8s and got two pair. He checked his nut flush on the flop and I took a stab at the pot and got called. When he called, I stopped betting. After my check on the turn, he bet into me on the river; no more diamonds, so I was hoping my two pair was good, but I certainly didn’t raise him. He showed me the nut flush, I showed him my two pair and told him “good hand”. Went back and forth a little bit, but after a while it got to 3 handed and I knew to get out. The two players that left I considered the weakest; of the other two that were left with me, I considered myself the weakest and got the heck outta Dodge. At least I can say that was the only loosing session for me for the weekend. 

Back at Binion's, I even managed a $46 profit out of about 1/2 hour play at a 4/8 table. I didn’t like the way the table dynamics changed at the 2/5 NLHE table I was at, and the lists were long for the 1/2 tables. So I went over to the other side of the room where they had the low stakes. I was hoping to find some stud games, besides 1-5, with the $1500 Stud event coming up, but no way. That sucks; I really enjoyed playing the 4/8 games at Bellagio and the 5/10 at the Tropicana. While I know that I can win at the 1-5, it’s more of a grind. Ending up at the 4/8 HE game, I got my profit basically with one hand: AA’s of course ;-) UTG limped, UTG+1 raised, I reraised, and the SB was wondering whether or not to call. I know the more people in, the more chance I have to be out drawn, so I think twice, while the dealer was saying “8 more”, I was saying “TEN more to call”. He he. He finally figured out I wanted him to fold and did so. The BB took the flop though. I bet the flop and turn, but chicken out on the river when the board paired (not to mention the possible straight on the board). I showed down my AA’s and they were good. At that point, Felicia wanted to eat, so I cashed out my winnings and we headed out. Binion’s is my new favorite casino! 

On the day of the $1500 Stud tournament, we slept in and took it easy. Had breakfast and made our way to the upstairs at Binion’s. I found a spot on the bleachers and kept myself rooted there. Mas ( came in at one point during the tournament, and I, unfortunately, didn’t get to talk to him much, as a very talkative gentleman was talking with me at the time. Interesting fellow though. 

I watched Felicia during the whole tournament. She’s amazing. I wish I could see the table and cards more, but due to my vantage point, I could really only see when she was betting in a hand. I loved watching her though. Almost every time I saw her enter a hand, I saw her raking in the chips after. That’s my girl! She’s a tight player, however, and with increasing blinds and one river beat, she ended up playing on a short stack for a while. Then she had a great hand that I saw her call a raise with a 6-door card. Was curious about this, until she raised on 4th when she picked up an A: so, split 66s with an A kicker. There were two others in the pot with her, and I saw the middleman call the two bets cold. What the heck did he have? I found out from her later that he was on a straight draw that got there! Fortunately, once I saw that she was all-in before the hand was over, I was freaking out at her board: it was all black! I couldn’t tell if it was all the same suit though. It was; she re-sucked out on the straight with a flush! That’ll teach ‘em ;-) 

Later I saw her go up against Ted Forrest in what was to be her last hand. I kept waiting for her to make a move, and with a K door, she did: “complete!” But what’s this? She’s calling a reraise! I couldn’t see what Ted had, but could only guess at her flat call that he must be showing an A. On 4th he lead out and now she raised. Even with his back to me, I could see the wheels turning in his head. He knew she had him at that point, but he had too many chips and she too little. He called. He called the bet on 5th too. On 6th, she was all-in. She had raised on 4th after she made KK’s-up. By the end, however, Ted ran her down with AA’s-up. 

As the floor men seemed to be running the last of the $2000 NLHE event, the $1500 Stud event AND another super to the main WSOP event, no one was keeping the “players remaining” total updated. Felicia stood there and counted the remaining players. She was out at 49th out of 258. I was very proud of her. I know that she was very upset, but I still think she did a wonderful job. 

I watched her play as the weakest links at the table kept getting busted, and she and Forrest remain at the table. I know she really loves Stud and she did a great job. I also know that she’ll be back! She was so close to the money this her first time playing in a WSOP event. I’m sure she’ll be in the money soon.

Best of/Worst of Poker Websites 2012 Nominations

Once again, I'm gearing up to post my picks and pan of poker websites. Yes, I missed a few years due to extreme illness, but that can't be counted against me ;)

I do an annual rating of poker sites.  This may be because back in the early days of poker blogs (circa 2003) I was one of the rare bloggers who expressed my picks and pans in a public arena.  This earned me quite a reputation.  For every hundred positive comments or pieces of feedback, I typically got a flamer, stalker or two. While this might seem trivial in the overall scheme of things, one or two stalkers can be pretty overwhelming.  Eventually I had to take my site to a private subscriber-only format here on LiveJournal.  This worked much better for me.

Now let's fast forward many years.  I have been MIA for most of them due to some extreme health issues.  Most of my public sites were hijacked and put into syndication.  So I had to start from scratch, and here is where I am today.

So in that vein, I would like to update my picks and pans for poker sites.  My categories can run from the plain and obvious to the radically bizarre, so your mileage may vary (YMMV).  There is still time if you are interested it getting my feedback. Please refrain if you are one of the recreational players who doesn't take poker seriously. Enjoy!


  • Best Poker Website (General Poker):
  • Best Tournament Reporting (Live):
~Pauly, ~Andy Glazer Lifetime (this will not change)
  • Best Tournament Reporting (Online):
  • Best Poker Blogger (Non-Pro):
~Bill Rini, ~Drizz
  • Best Pro Poker Blogger:
~Shirley Rosario Lifetime
  • Best Stud Website:
  • Best Omaha/ 8 Website:
~Ribbo, ~Drizz

Seven Card Stud-Beginner’s Guide

I’m often asked how to begin to play Seven Card Stud (7CS). I typically give this type of advice. I also encourage new players to try Stud variants  due to the insanely high variance of 7CS (high only).  Here are some of my tips for the beginning player:

  • Do not play on Stars.
  • Buy, read, consume, think, do over again 100x the book: Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players.
  • Consume anything by Ray Zee.
  • Read posts on the 2+2 Stud forum. Watch time and again as the best players respond to hands and situations.
  • Play freerolls online like HORSE, Razz, 7CS, Stud8, other mixes.
If I have a flush draw (spades) at sixth street how many live spades should I have at the table so I can call to see the river?

How many were dead on 3rd? What kind of spades do you have? Something like AK6 to start and then catching a Ten might be worth a lot, whereas something like 28Q might be drawing dead to the 2nd or 3rd best hand, even if you make it. If someone is betting and raising with three of a suit showing on 5th or 6th, their suit is very live, your suit is pretty dead, you don’t even have an ace, or any other hand that might back into a winning hand (pair, two pair, etc), your hand might not be worth much.

If I face a raise with a pair and have a low kicker what are the minimum requirements to call and see the Fourth Street? And to re-raise?

I’d say if you have something like K3K and the raiser has xxQ you can re-raise. If you have Q3Q and the raiser has xxK, his kings are live, one or more of your queens are dead, maybe a three is dead, too, this hand doesn’t have much value. When you have kicker problems your pair strength is very important. The liveness of your hand is always important, too.

One thing that I believe Ray said in the past is very important in poker: Think about what you want to happen with your hand.

Is your best case scenario going to be drawing to the 2nd or 3rd best hand at showdown? You don’t want to be in that situation. You want to be thinking about the best hand, not one that will get there yet still lose. Think about where you want your hand to go. You want to SCOOP the pot, not consistently lose with the second best hand. Good luck!

Glenn’s Online “Roadmap” Experiment

Glenn decided to take ten Step One SNG freerolls on Carbon to try out my Roadmap experiment.  You know, the modified Sklansky System to prove that “Rocks Can’t Win Anymore.”

So he took some apps and put them over the dealer chat, his own cards and the table header that tells a player what his hand is at that moment.  He played five SNG’s the regular way, five SNG’s using my Roadmap.

In the first five, normal SNG’s he won 2:5.  In the second five experimental SNG’s, he won 2:5 !  He did tell me, however, he was forced to abandon the experiment in three of them, as they were already all-in shovefests from the get-go, and he couldn’t manipulate the table.

Basically, he said that in the two successful experiments (successful meaning he was able to do the roadmap, not that he necessarily won) the affect on the table, the dynamics were probably the most noticeable change he could perceive.  The table “tilt” and the players “out to get him,” were extreme, in his opinion.  Since the tournaments didn’t take nearly as long to complete, he said it was worth it to play in this manner from now on when possible.

He won one, lost one, btw.

Felicia :)

Before the flop:

  1. If you are the first person in the pot, and are in MP or later, raise
  2. If you are checked to in either blind, raise
  3. If you are heads-up in position, raise or re-raise

Rocks Can’t Win Anymore: Why Are You Still Playing Cards?

Roadmap To Winning At Poker Again (Part One)

Tap, tap, tap.

“Um, excuse me, sir, but why are you still playing cards?”

No, I’m not trying to put down bad players. Sure, they shouldn’t play, but I definitely want them to.

In this instance, however, I’m asking you why you are still playing the cards after all of these years, instead of the players?

Poker is not about the cards, and has never been. You might think I’m trying to pull your leg. You might insist that at the lowest limits, heck sometimes even the middle limits, poker becomes a showdown game; a card catching game…or should I say “river catching” game?

It can be very much about what the best hand at the river is. But it is so much more than that; so much more, that you are not giving it credit for being.

By playing your own cards, playing like a rock, you are not seeing this. You are only seeing either showdown poker, or noticing that you can grind a little bit, successfully, at cash games when you play only cinch hands. You are a rock and cannot get into the psychology of the game, you can’t get past the bad beats or the suck-outs.

How do I know this? Because I AM ONE OF YOU. Don’t ever mistake me as someone who is above my readers and trying to talk down to them. I have said that I CAN’T WIN ANYMORE. I have said that I’m not a world class player. I have said that I cannot win a tournament to save my life. I have said that Hold’em bores me to the point that I am a consistent loser at it. I have said that I will never be a top player, and why, on many occasions.

So who is best able to help your game? Someone who is world class and has been so for many years? Someone who cannot step down to your level and see the games you play from a real world perspective? Someone who has never been a tight player, never played cautiously in his life and never will?

Hmmm, not really, unless he is a great theorist and can step into your shoes. But me? Yeah, maybe I’ll never be the best, but I can help others pretty successfully.

So, now that you believe me, or at least are prepared to listen when I say that you should stop playing cards, and start playing people, sit down and get comfortable. This may take a while ;)

Go find a loose 1/2 or 2/4 game. Yeah, I know. It hurts to sit in those games today. After all, if they are playing ATC in 15/30, just think of how much you are going to get schooled in 1/2.

If you aren’t near a cardroom I probably can’t help much. Yes, you can try this online, but your results won’t be nearly as good or dramatic.

You are going to play in a no-fold’em, hold’em game. You are going to play showdown, monkey poker at it’s finest. But you still aren’t going to play cards. You are going to play people, and you are going to play blind.

If you are the type who cannot help looking at his cards, you know what? I can’t help you. Go somewhere where gambling is a sin and taking chances is the death penalty. You will either play this way, take the experiment seriously and do what I say, or you can go to the rest home. I’m not going to help you if you refuse to listen.

Soooooo, you can’t look at your cards. Ever. Except I’m going to give you one out. One exception. You can look at your holecards if you get raised, re-raised and are planning on folding. Then you can look, and decide, if you can call or raise that bet. But you have to be at the point of folding, and that is it.

Sit down. Buy in for whatever you want. I tend to buy very few chips, and keep cash under them, but this is an experiment, not traditional poker. In fact, I would probably advise buying in for a ton of chips, like three racks. If it’s going to be about psychology, and you are going to portray a loose, wild image, you may as well go for the psych-out, too.

Now, in a move that is remniscant of Sklansky’s System, Blair’s Kill Phil or Vorhaus’ Killer Poker, I’m going to instruct a blueprint for detaching yourself from the cards, and re-learning how to play people, not cards.

I will write numbered lists. It will also be easy for you to print out and memorize and/or take with you to the cardroom, if you really plan on taking this seriously.

Before the flop:

  1. If you are the first person in the pot, and are in MP or later, raise
  2. If you are checked to in either blind, raise
  3. If you are heads-up in position, raise or re-raise

Part One is mostly pre-flop play.  I did give you the after-the-flop teaser to get you started, though.  I hope this gives you something to chew on and a relatively innocent, safe experiment to opening up your game and learning how to win again!

Felicia :)

After the flop:

  1. If you are first to act, bet
  2. If you are checked to, bet
  3. If you are raised or reraised you can look at your holecards (see above–again, ONLY exception)