Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Dinosaur is Dying

"The once proud game of 7-Card Stud is dying a slow death in poker, trampled by No Limit Hold'em in particular. Every year there are fewer Stud tournaments. And every year there are fewer Stud players as the post-war baby boom busts up. As an example, I started playing 7-Card Stud when I was eight in 1954. Dwight Eisenhower was President. I'm now nearing 60 years old. Almost no one younger than me prefers to play this game anymore. Too bad, poker could use the diversification, but the end is near for this once great game. Like Omaha, Stud isn't photogenic for television. And television is now life itself in poker." --Mike Paulle

My poker career is probably coming to an end. I know this, it's no big surprise, no late breaking news. I just don't care enough for Hold'em. I wish I could build up some passion for it, but I know it's not on the horizon.

Most likely I'm going to keep traveling around to the few Stud tourneys still offered, which will probably dwindle until there are just one or two per year, and then I'll ride off into the sunset. I'm just a Stud-wannabe, who never got her chance to hit the big time. I'm not good enough yet to have won anything big, and with the dying nature of Stud, I probably never will. I was never on the fast track to success, as it was, and since there are less Stud tourneys being offered, I likely will never get there at all.

For whatever reason, this doesn't disappoint me much. I am one of those people who feels that if I'm going to do something, I should do it right. I don't want to be a twenty-one year old who suddenly takes up poker, decides I'm going to win a bracelet at the WSOP, goes to Vegas, takes a few billion lucky shots in a tourney, and walks out with a bracelet, while all of the top players are shaking their heads and dissecting my play, citing how many times I was a huge underdog and had to "get lucky" to stay in the tournament.

Sure, everyone knows to win a tourney you have to get lucky at times, but there is Raymer lucky, and then there is Varkonyi lucky. I don't want the overwhelming "she can't play a lick to save her life" type of lucky. No, I'm not saying Robert can't play, he can, but no one disputes how lucky he got in 2002, not even him.

I noticed that Foxwoods has posted the New England Poker Classic schedule. It looks really good, but who knows if I'll be able to go to Connecticut in March. I'm not going to hold my breath, with the problems I've been having in the past couple of weeks.

Greg told me that Glenn and I should buy a summer home in the northeast, and just stay at Foxwoods for as long as my health would allow me to be there. He is a lovely person, who always has held my best interests at heart, and I would LIVE in Foxwoods if I could, but I just don't think I can handle the northeast at all anymore.

Some people are complaining about the juice at Foxwoods. I know that I never got around to writing up my experiences there, but I will make sure to post some tidbits here and there. For what it's worth, FW runs an amazing ship. They do a great job, and although some people might be shocked to read this, coming from me, I would play there with the increased juice, even though they are charging far in excess of many of the big tournaments I play in.

When it comes down to it, for me, the thing that bugs me the most is not paying juice, it is what I get in return for that juice. In some cardrooms, I get a bunch of incompetent dealers, horrible floor people, rude players, no food, no coffee, a lot of hassle all around and sometimes even money stolen from the prize pool.

Foxwoods is different. The dealers are decent and respectful, for the most part, and dealing to someone like me (and many others) isn't an easy job, believe me. They really are put on the spot, because I notice a lot, and expect a lot. I never abuse dealers, they don't deserve that no matter what, but I am extremely picky about dealers who move the button twice, or shove the pot to the wrong player, or forget to make change for an oversized chip. We've all seen these things. Most of the time it's just an oversight, so it's no big deal, but if a player points it out, getting a rude, snippy response from the dealer isn't going to make things any better.

Okay, so FW has good tourney dealers (this is comparison to the dealers I have had since the poker boom, btw, not compared to dealers before 2002, who were fantastic, and we all took for granted).

Second, FW treats their players like real human beings. None of this "poker players are scumbags and we just want your money, we'll treat you any way we want to" crap that is going on today. No, FW isn't perfect, yes, you are gonna get some lip anywhere you go these days, because for every player who threatens to walk away, there are ten there to take his place, but I rate FW very high on the friendliness scale.

Compared to some structures, FW has pretty good playability. It isn't number one on the list, but it isn't some crazy crapshoot where they just want you in and out, to keep from stinking up the place.

Starting at 10am is a real bummer. I understand why they want to start early, but it would just make it so much better if they would make each event a two day event, if it was still being played long after midnight.

The food is good at FW. Whether you are eating in one of their twenty restaurants, or just eating the free tourney food, they totally go out of their way to make you happy. Coffee, ditto.

Foxwoods always adds money to the prize pools. While this may not be a boost to players like me, up and coming, who don't cash often, this does cut the juice for the winning players.

So you can see, with me, the people make all of the difference in the world. For whatever reason, I feel much more comfortable paying 10-15% to people who actually treat me like a decent human being, than paying 5% to people who sneer at me, and think I'm a scumbag.

While I am not fond of everyone and his brother suddenly charging a billion dollars in juice to unwary, unknowing players, I would rather pay it to Foxwoods that a lot of other casinos.

Looking back at the old days, the days when the prize pools exceeded the buy-in's (there was no juice, but there was lots of added money), makes me nostalgic and sad, but then again, that is what I am, a dinosaur. I keep telling people that I'm like this old horse who broke it's leg, and I'm just waiting for the vet to come put a bullet in my brain, put me out of my misery.

The death of Stud is turning out to be a slow one, so the death of my poker career will likewise probably be slower than I'd imagined. Until then, see you at the tables.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Glenn's Online Freeroll Strategy

Felicia mentioned something about my getting in the money a large percentage of the time on freerolls and it was requested that I post something of my strategy. Well, I don’t have any guidelines that I strictly adhere to, but I’ll give some pointers of things that I do and look for. I don’t feel that I have any earth shattering advice for many people, but perhaps some of what I do needs to be repeated to pound into the brain ;)

(Disclaimer: remember this is for the NLHE freerolls that I play; this may or may not help you in pay and/or limit tournaments, but I don’t play any pay ones online—only live—so I don’t have any experience to know if it works.)

Beginning of the tournament: Notice who is actually playing, and who is sitting out, having signed up, then forgotten about the tournament. Sometimes it is over 50%.

This is where experimentation starts. Most people are playing a little cautiously and trying to figure everyone else out. Take advantage of this and play a little looser. I don’t mean become a maniac, but marginal/speculative hands will have much more value. Additionally, if you miss, since most people are being cautious, they may not necessarily call you down either. Bet those draws, semi-bluff, do all the tricks until you start getting called down. I’ve had tables with other bluffers, who, of course don’t believe anyone else either, and have had to stop this technique right away. I suppose I could be like a lot of the others and play conservatively, folding, folding, and see how the others play first. However, using this “first strike” method, I have been able to build up chips a majority of the time for later. Conversely, this method has been lead to a quick ‘out-the-door’… remember I’m playing freerolls, so for me, nothing invested, nothing lost.

Once the blinds start going up, usually around the 3rd level, it’s time to start tightening the play. Opponents that you have been playing with might get confused with this as well; it’s always a good thing to confuse your competition. They’ve seen you play more hands and now you’re not. You might get more calls from these people. Many freeroll players are completely unaware, however; so don’t expect to throw off too many people.

Now that you’re playing tighter, the newer people (as many are going to be getting bumped out) are watching you play tighter. When you’re in a hand, they’re going to believe you. Yes, once again, these are freerolls and there are going to be a ton of people who don’t believe you, but heck even pay tournaments have those people, so no surprise here. However, most of the time you’ll be able to steal in later positions with weaker values. Just keep in mind who you’re trying it against. As part of the tighter play, I will NOT try to steal from a chip leader, not unless I really have something (e.g. ATo in the cut-off).

If you go for a steal, you must follow this up with a bet on the flop. I’m assuming here that you realize that by “steal” I mean that you were in a last position (button or 1 to 2 from the button) and no one else has come in; therefore, you should be—preferably—HU with the big blind (ok, preferably, you bought the blinds no contest, hehe), at most vs. two others. If you have more than two opponents in the hand with you on a steal attempt and miss the flop, do NOT bet. Hopefully you still have last position and if they check to you, check behind and take the free card. If you raised with a weak ace, get your ace on the flop, bet and get called… proceed with caution! Remember that it takes a better hand to call a raise than to make a bet. Unless you’ve watched your calling opponent turn over very weak hands, you don’t want to be betting a weak ace when it’s entirely possible that you’re beat. Don’t try to “bet” your opponent off his hand. You raised in late position, most people are much more suspicious of a raise from late position.

OK, betting. I stated that you must bet your steal on the button regardless considering that the above conditions were met. Now, say those conditions are met, how do you bet? The same way you always do. This means that if you’re the type of person that, if you have a monster hand, you bet bigger than the rest of the time, it’s time to change! I played some poker with my nephew this past Thanksgiving and he was hilarious… checking when he had nothing, betting just a little with weak hands, all-in when he had a good-great hand. Every time that he bet big, I just folded (to his credit, he started to realize this, but too late, I had most the chips ;). Too many people do this in their normal play. The reverse is also true, going all-in on a draw or when they’re weak. I’ve seen so many people with a premium pair < AA check-raise all-in when an ace hits the flop. What?? Check-raising ties a player to the hand; you’ve gotten them to commit chips, which normally keeps them IN. I much prefer leading out if I’ve raised, see the resulting action and take it from there.

Later play: Towards the end of the tournament I’m normally average to short-stacked. I am rarely the chip lead with my more conservative play. This may not be for most people, but after spending an hour to accumulate chips in the early stages, I don’t want to blow them by still playing loosely and end up spending that time for nothing. During the later stages I try to hang on and get into the money. If I’m short stacked, there’s really nothing else to do but go all-in if I have a good hand. There’s really no other way to protect it. If I have average chips or better, raising is the better play. Example: the other night I had average chips in the middle of the tournament. I’m in UTG (under-the-gun, first to act) with AQs and have been playing tightly. Although a group II hand, I’m not going to throw this away. I thought, heck, I might just steal the blinds with this one (if people saw how tight I was, and here I am raising… unless they have a great hand, they’re not calling). Well, this one guy that hardly ever raised went all-in for more chips than I had, and a short-stack called. Easy muck, even without the short-stack calling. I had observed the all-in player and he had only shoved before with high wired pairs. This time around he had AKo, not exactly the correct play in my thinking, but I was right in knowing that I was beat (interestingly, the short-stack had AQo… no ace, no queen dealt, I would have been out).

Once again, I raised with my AQs so that I could have the luxury to be able to fold should someone go over the top of me. I did raise because you don’t want someone in there with a weak hand out flopping you, or chasing a straight/flush to run you down. This is a tournament; you still want to limit the field. (Another example of bad tournament play: I’m shorter stacked later on and I have JJ on the button… several limpers to me, no raise, so I shove. Caller? Early limper with KK. Flop? Axx. If I had NOT shoved, he would have allowed someone with a weak ace to out flop him. Do NOT slow play, especially in early positions.)

Sklansky: Yes, I often Sklansky my way into the money. This means that I if I’m short-stacked and close to the money, but not in it yet, I will still fold marginal hands like small pairs and weak aces (AT, AJ, sometimes AQ) in early position. Heck, if I’m close enough, I might fold it in last position, even if I’m in position to steal! This is providing I have enough chips to out last the shorter stacks. My first priority is to get in the money. If I’ve gotten this far, I don’t want to blast myself out after spending 2-3 hours getting this close. Now if you’re really short and you are in steal position, you HAVE to go all-in with those marginal hands (first to open) or else you blind yourself out, you’re that short. There’s a time and a place, monkey*!

“First to open” brings up a point I don’t think many realize. You have to be first to open depending on your stack size, opponent’s stack size, etc. If you have a limper or more, that’s more money in the pot for it to get “protected”. If the pot’s big enough, someone might call you down for the value that they’re getting based on the pot size, regardless of how tight you might be and now here you are shoving all-in. Even if you have AA and shoving is the right move since there are a number of people that have limped, one or more people might still call with all the money in the pot from the limping.

Once I’m in the money, I play more aggressively. I’m getting paid, that was my first goal (and the point of the tournament). Now I want to be paid more :-D All-in’s are more frequent for me. I want to get higher in the money, and the only way to do that is to build chips. If I’m already average or above in chips, then I play more cautiously, but as I stated, I normally am not at this stage.

I hope this helps. I have a vet appointment for our Dax-a-monkey so I must go now.

[* ask Felicia –grin- ]

This and That

Oh, man, I'm so much better! This morning the sun rose strong and warm. There is less humidity, no cloud cover. A big thanks to Al for helping me over this hump.

I want to drive up to Vegas today to play in some sats for the O8 tourney tomorrow, but Glenn says I'm still way too sick and weak. My blood sugar has been bad, too, so he doesn't want to take any chances. I guess I'll wait til Sunday to try for the Stud 8 event on Monday.

Here are some recent comments and my responses to them:

Jon said...
That is just stunning, the conduct of the GSN producers throughout. Could not believe what I was reading.

Could you explain what you meant when GSN bought the players off? Did the players agree to make a deal once the $21,000 was added? Agree to speed up the levels?

Why would GSN want the players to make a deal??? Aren't they trying to make a compelling television show? Oy, my head hurts.

This one is a tough one to answer. I don't have cold, hard facts, because I wasn't there to witness this personally. Although I hate spreading rumors, the fact remains that unless I say nothing at all, I am contributing to spreading them. In this case, I think my source is good enough to take that chance.

James VanAlstyne, the winner of the WPPA, said that once the players got down to five, GSN offered 3rd-5th an extra 7k each to speed things up. He said the TV crew had to absolutely leave by 10am, or face late charges and/or fines that were probably much in excess of the 21k (since the equipment was rented, and most of the crew were contractors).

Jason said...
Can we get some details about Glenn's MTT strategy? I know I could use all the help I can get.


You don't have to ask Glenn twice. He got right on it. Remember, though, this is for freerolls only, not buy-in tourneys. I will post it here, as well as providing a link to Glenn's site.
DuggleBogey said...
Why do you feel like you cannot link to some of the blogs you love and read? Is it because you think the writing is inappropriate for your intended audience, or a lack of "pokery" kind of content?

I get most of my daily reading from the links of bloggers I respect that don't simply link everyone they can think of. Yours is one of the former.

Sometimes I simply don't see the forest for the trees! I can be very one minded, extreme tunnel vision. Right after I posted yesterday, Glenn pointed out the same type of thing, "Um, why don't you put more links in "non-poker sites?" Duh, because I'm a dope, that's why! You are right, Duggle, thanks for pointing it out along with Glenn.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Disappointment Brings Introspection

In this post, I'm just going to ramble around, from subject to subject, on a wide range of poker topics.
I always get introspective when I'm disappointed. Am I the only one? I would suspect everyone is like this, but whenever I jump to such conclusions, I find out that I'm totally wrong, lol.

Anyway, today I'm supposed to be sitting at Bellagio, playing a Stud satellite for tomorrow's event. I'm not there. My diabetes is causing some complications right now, so instead, I'm sitting home reflecting about poker. I tend to think very long and hard about things. I think about my play, others' play, possible hands, fantasy scenarios.
In January, I have two major tournaments to choose from. At Commerce, the LA Poker Classic will be held from January 26 through February 24. There are four Stud events. At the Horseshoe in Tunica, the Jack Binion's Open will be held from January 5 through January 27. There are two Stud events in Tunica. Although they barely overlap, I am still going to LA versus Tunica.

I know that I've said Commerce is a terrible environment to be in, but Carl Frommer told me that the LA Classic is a better festival environment than the State Poker Championship. Probably some of that has to do with stuck players right after the WSOP who are steaming and on the edge.

So why am I choosing LA over Tunica when Tunica is a great, fishy place to play? Well, let's just dissect these two festivals from stem to stern.

The Horseshoe in Tunica was bought by Harrah's. We all know how much Harrah's loves poker (not). We all know how greedy they are. The juice in Tunica was maxed out at 10% in January 2004. Next year, they are adding an additional 3% for the house, and an additional 3% for the state. So the juice is a whopping 16% in the $500 events! Even if you win, you lose.

in January 2004 at the LAPC, the juice was maxed out at 10% for the $300 events, but went down from there, with the championship event being only 2%. In addition, Commerce had many bonuses, which included additional money added to prize pools, guaranteed prizes and best overall player prizes. This January, Commerce is keeping the juice about the same for most events, with the main event having the juice lowered 50%. There are less guarantees, but still added prize money and BOP cash. I have heard that Commerce is going to start charging juice on rebuys, but this still is a much better deal than Tunica.

So there you have it. And where does this conversation lead, other than telling you which event I'm choosing? Well, it leads to a revelation that I consider odd.

On RGP, people are griping about Commerce, while virtually ignoring the juice at the Horseshoe. Somehow the Shoe has been almost completely overlooked. No one is bothering to add up the increase in juice. It seems that only the Brits are truly interested in what is going to happen in Tunica. Over at the Hendon Mob, this is worthy of discussion, while the Yanks continue to line up like lambs for the slaughter in Mississippi. Go figure. To each his own, but I'd rather play four Stud events, and pay my juice of $40/40/60/60, with an additional 50k in BOP awards and a better overlay, than pay $80/80 for only two events, no additional prizes, a flight to Mississippi and no overlay.
Oops, this just in. I went to Commerce's web page and found out that Poker Pages has the listing slightly wrong. For the $300 events, $39 is taken for juice, so that is over 10%. The other events are $485+55, 970+90, 1455+125, 2425+155, 9603+397. While all of these are higher than Poker Pages listed, they also include house gratuities. The rebuys also have juice this year, something virtually unheard of in legitimate tournaments.

I still plan on going to LA, as the juice is less, even with the increases above, I will be able to drive and there is a lot of added/guaranteed money ($1,390,000).
Glenn plays so much at one poker site that he constantly qualifies for their freerolls. They have many per week, and the players are usually abominable. For whatever reason, Glenn has developed a sure-thing strategy that has him in the money about 50% of the time. Jeez, doesn't that seem impossible for a MTT? Mathematically, this shouldn't be happening, yet it does, and over and over again. He has been doing this for many months, and has the same, excellent results over time. Sure, some of the time he is barely in the money, and it is a joke payout, like maybe $1.00 for the last money spot, but still. If I could get in the money 50% of the time in pay tourneys, I'd be the next John Juanda of the poker world.
I've had to cut back my links over the past few months. I hate doing that, it is almost like cutting off a part of myself. Some of the journals are gone. Some are hardly ever updated and simply trailing off. Others combine so much political and off-topic content along with poker that they can't legitimately be called a "poker journal." I hate deleting, yet not adding. I hate to see some of my favorite writers get cut. I read about three times as many journals as the number of links on my site. Some of the journals I love the most are ones I don't feel that I can link.
Harry Demetriou started a poker journal recently. It is some fantastic writing. He can't quite figure out the cut-n-paste, but it is worth it to wade through the errors. A fantastic guy, great player. I seem to have a love affair with Brit players, go figure!
Yesterday someone on 2+2 asked a hypothetical question. I thought it was a no-brainer.

He asked if he wanted to "buy a bracelet" at the WSOP, which would be the best event to enter. Buy-in was of no significance, and his skill level was equal at any poker game.

I was kind of surprised at the answers. Like I said, I assumed it was a no-brainer. So when I didn't see the right answer, I posted it. To my shock, I immediately got responses saying I was wrong. Wow, I really, really thought this was simple!

Glenn asked if I was going to tell them why mine was the right answer, but I said "no." I told him that if they'd asked me, legitimately why I thought my answer was correct, I would tell them, but since they just pounced, then I would let them wallow in their ignorance.

So this morning when I woke up, I got a pleasant surprise. A response from Sklansky was in my e-mail box, saying, "Felicia's Right. It's not even close. Especially if you gamble at the beginning and never stop rebuying."

That felt good, even though I never doubted myself for a second. I had picked 2-7 NL Draw. Since they are doing away with TDL, the natural choice, I had to go with the 2-7. I really never thought anyone would say differently!

Naturally, after David spoke up, some others started replying, "I would pick 2-7," LOL. Baaaaah, sheep!
2+2 is going to start an Internet magazine of essays. I wonder if they'll use any of mine. Jeez, I can't wait to see how I'll be picked apart if they do!

I hope some of the better theory writers submit essays.

(Don't cry if I left your name out of this sentence. I had limited words to connect to links, so I just went straight down my bookmarked list.)
So, I guess today I'm just going to sit around whining about not being at the Five Diamond. I'll probably continue to add to this post off and on, as I think of more rambling and spill my guts.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Women in Poker

A new player asked me how it feels to be a woman in the poker world. I typed in a long, detailed response to her, and thought it might be decent enough, with a little editing, to reproduce here.

The funny thing is, I never feel like a woman. I don't ever really feel like there is a difference between myself and the thousands of other players I encounter at the tables. I only realize I'm female if someone says something about it.

While this may come as a surprise to many, it's not to me, because I have always been extremely masculine. I remember signing up for junior league football with my brother when we were kids. They tried to put me in a skirt to be a cheerleader instead! I played football growing up, never even thinking about being "different" from the guys. In high school I tried out for football, not realizing the stir it would cause in my old-fashioned redneck town. It didn't even occur to me that I wouldn't be accepted. For years afterwards, all I heard was how I was the first girl to ever try out for the football team in the 100-year history of our school. Blah, blah.

So I guess I'm a dyke, in the sense of the word that I am very masculine and don't really feel like a woman. When I try to "go girl" and wear dresses or skirts, I feel like a transvestite.

Many people mistake me for a man. I have been very fortunate in certain circumstances because of my mistaken identity. For instance, one time I was playing a one-table sat at the WSOP. We were on the 2nd or 3rd hand. I had AQs and raised up front. Someone directly to my left went all-in. I was pondering my decision, trying to read the reraiser's body language, when someone not involved at the table said out loud, "Wait! He hasn't acted yet!" The reraiser was sitting next to me and thought he was speaking about a man. So when it was folded back around to me, the reraiser didn't realize I still had my cards and showed me his AKs. I told him I hadn't mucked yet, and he exclaimed, "OMG, I thought he was talking about someone else, doesn't he know you're a woman?"

So, yeah, I was playing with some amateurs here, obviously, but it did save me the sat. I took my depleted stack and came back to win my entry into the $1500 Stud 8 event.

In other ways, being thought of as a man also has it's advantages. If I'm at a table with men who suddenly become calling stations when there is a woman in the pot, I tend to get a bit more respect if I'm mistaken as a man, since they will sometimes fold, instead of calling me down with ATC.

On the flip side, being a woman has distinct advantages, too. Most of the time, it is simply a handicap, an unnecessary burden, but it can have it's good days. I feel the advantages most in cash games. In tournaments, it is usually a huge handicap. I can go more deeply into tourney strategy vs. cash game strategy if anyone is interested and I have enough requests for it.

Soooo, here is what I wrote to Stephanie, the woman asking about being female in the world of poker. Enjoy!

You can read the journal entries from the beginning, if you want a
better bio of me. Basically I started playing casually after my Mom
became a poker dealer. That was maybe 1992, 1993? I didn't play in
casinos, back then they were hell. There was way too much abuse.

After Glenn and I retired from AOL, we began playing more seriously,
because we had too much time on our hands, and couldn't find jobs.
By then, the casinos had improved a million fold. They still aren't
perfect, but there is much less abuse in cardrooms these days.

The best advice I could give you is that you have to have balls to
play poker seriously. If you look down, and you don't see those
balls, now is the best time to get out. You have to be aware of what
is going on at all times. Some players can be such scumbags at the poker
table that if you let it happen to you, you will become a chronic
victim. You must absolutely bust them. They will try to shoot
angles, you have to stop it immediately, nip it in the bud, or it
will never get any better. When they try to take their bets back
because they "didn't realize the pot had been raised" you must insist
the money stays in the pot. They will pull these angles on you 24/7
because you are a woman, because they can, because they are scumbags, because they don't even know they are shooting an angle. If you let them get away with it even
once, you may as well just get out of poker. If you have the balls
to play, you have the balls to speak out. Too many women, and players in general, don't speak up. Too many women let players roll over them, and then can't
understand why they are treated so badly and never win.

You will run into some people who tell you that you should be shiny,
happy, Kumbaya singing all the time. This school of thought believes you should never complain about being cheated. You should never say anything if the pot is over raked. You shouldn't boycott a tourney because of atrocious juice. You should never bust angle shooters or cheaters. Believe it or not, these are the majority of poker players. They think that we have a huge edge over bad players, so we should just keep our mouths shut and take their money more slowly.

These people have their heads buried in the sand, and I will gladly take THEIR money. They will criticize you, however, on the table and off of it, behind your back and in front of your face, on journals and poker forums, asking why you
are always the watchdog, why you are always busting the chops of the other players and the dealers. You will have to put up with this kind of behavior if you expect to win in poker.

Good players have a tiny, miniscule edge over terrible players as it is, don't be fooled into thinking otherwise. If you add angleshooting, cheating, and over raking the pot to that, there is no way you can win. Just to clarify, an angle shooter can also be a cheat, and cheaters almost always angle shoot, but not all angle shooters cheat in poker. In fact, lots of angle shooters don't even know they are doing anything wrong.

As an example, there is an old, deaf guy sitting behind you. He is usually in the one or the ten seat, because he can't see or hear anymore and needs to see the flop better, and/or ask the dealer questions. You raise the blinds. He said, "Call," but only puts out the amount of the big blind. The dealer tells him the pot has been raised. He takes back his chips and throws his cards away.

This is sometimes not cheating. In fact, if the old man knew he was breaking a rule, he wouldn't even do it. He often has no idea he is shooting an angle. But he is, and you absolutely cannot allow it. Why can't you? After all, he is an innocent old man who has no idea what he is doing, and why would you want to exploit his mistake when he obviously didn't even mean to call a raise, and will only tighten up and "come after you" if you insist on keeping his money? Why? Because the eight other people at the table will rape you if you let one innocent, sweet old man get away with this. Because for every dollar you may win by letting the old man think you are a nice, understanding little woman, you will lose eight dollars from the other players at the table who take advantage of your "understanding."

People can talk trash all they want about being the nice guy, and letting people get away with shooting angles, but it is the absolute truth that we do not have that luxury, if we want to win. So let people gossip about you. Let people call you whatever names they come up with that week. Let them think you are the rudest, coldest most annoying witch in the universe. You will end up with the money in the end, and isn't that what really matters anyway? You are not at the table to make friends, you are the table to make money.

On the flip side, you are also responsible to do the ethical thing at all times, yourself. You cannot let the dealer move the button twice, just because it will let you skip the BB and slip into the SB instead. This is unfair to every player at the table, and gives you an undeserved advantage. You must stop it. Players will argue with you, the dealer will argue with you, but you have to stick to it. You cannot take advantage of a sloppy dealer, or players who move the button forward themselves, yet forget to tell the dealer. It is also your responsibility to give chips back to a player who put too many into a pot. Sometimes a player will not be able to cut his chips correctly. So if you make an $80 bet, in two stacks of four, sometimes he will "call" your bet by cutting two stacks of five. You must make sure to give him those chips. The player may be careless, the dealer may be sloppy, but don't steal chips that you didn't earn. Do the right thing! It is your ethical responsibility.

Now, getting back to my own history, once I found out that I could beat most of the LL players in cardrooms, I started trying to add to my edge by reading poker
literature. I think that the 2+2 books are the best books available. Sometimes RL play differs from theoretical play, and you will have to learn to know when to veer from the theoretical play preached in most 2+2 books, but by then, you will have the experience to do so. Studying, reading poker forums and thinking very deeply
about poker is one of the best teachers in the world. Experience comes slowly, but surely, if you take your sessions to heart and don't try to fool yourself into thinking you were outdrawn, when in actuality you were outplayed from the start. The more you admit to your weaknesses, the easier it is to work on them and overcome them. If you rigidly stick to the idea that you always play better than your
opponents, but just continually get "unlucky," you will always lose in the long run at poker. Try to be as realistic as possible, burying your head in the sand is only going to hurt you in the long run, no matter how many so-called "friends" you make in the poker world.

When you play poker, play your best at all times. Yes, you will still make mistakes, but you must absolutely play your very best when you play. You don't have a big enough edge to make mistakes. When I hear players say, "Oops, I didn't know he was still in the pot, I thought we were head's up," I want to cringe. You cannot afford to make mistakes. When every pot is raked, you must know how much was in the pot, and how much the rake should be. A dealer cannot drop five chips down the slot when the cardroom has a $4.00 max rake! Every time a dealer over rakes a pot, you are losing money. The edge becomes meaningless if you consistently allow this to happen. If you set a maximum number of errors allowed per session, and stick to that rule, you might save yourself some losses. You can lower the number of allowable errors as you gain experience. I am fully from the Mike Caro school of poker, that you must play your A game at ALL times to avoid your miniscule edge becoming null and void. Just think, if you continue to make errors, you are actually giving odds when you play poker, instead of taking them! This should not ever be the case.

That is all I can type for now, my fingers are bleeding (lol). Good luck, and play your best at all times.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I had a great time in Vegas. I played some 20/40 Stud at Bellagio. The 40/80 looked horrible, and Jean ended up playing it for about 30 minutes while waiting for his satellite to start, then told me it was a horrible game, just as I'd expected.

I left Bellagio for a few hours to go to the Wednesday Poker Discussion Group at 2pm. Big turnout, which was not expected, since it was the day before Thanksgiving. Dr. Al was there, naturally. Al Spath was in from California. Some 2+2er's were there.

I went back to Bellagio and played more 20/40. They didn't even have the 40/80 going this time (I guess it really was a bad game). Jean had busted out of the tourney very early. Alan Bernstein from the WPDG ended up sitting next to me, and we talked about Israel and politics for hours. I think some of the grumps were getting irritated. One said that Alan took too long to play his hands, lol. I cashed out early and decided my day had been long enough. I was up about $300 and some change, $500 for the day. Alan was playing very well.

I decided to give Palace Station a try for sleeps. I'd heard they offered good room rates. I think I'll go back to downtown, I wasn't impressed with PS. The one thing I did like, though, is that they have a full coffee vending machine, which was right downstairs from my room. The coffee was good, and they offered many varieties.

On Thursday I couldn't steal a pot with a gun and mask. I just couldn't get anything going on. The table was pretty good, a nice mix, but I wasn't dealt many playable hands in the first place, then when I did get something, I got outdrawn almost right away. That was actually what saved me from losing thousands of dollars. The suck-outs happened very early in the hand. I played for six hours, but just couldn't win a hand. I actually won 2 hands in six hours, lol. There were a couple of very good Stud players at our table.

The 40/80 only got going for about 30 minutes, then broke up. It looked bad again.

Joe Sr, Joe Jr and I went to Hugo's Cellar for Thankgiving dinner. We never thought we'd get in, but then the hostess felt sorry for us and squeezed us in at the last second. The dinner was very nice, all foo-foo and stuff. Our conversation was great, as we are all three as crazy as bedbugs and get on well. The only downsides to the cellar are that it is very smokey, and smoking is allowed anywhere. With such a small area, and low ceilings (it really is in a cellar), the smoke seems worse than it is. Also, once the hostess realized that people with real reservations were waiting, she came over and kicked us out. It's not like we were dawdling over dinner or anything. The whole thing went pretty quickly, yet she still had to come over and give us the boot. We couldn't even finish our coffee in a relaxed atmosphere. Besides those two things, though, it was great.

I decided not to play any more poker for the day. I'd switched from Stud to NLHE about an hour before Joe met me at Bellagio. The NLHE was a great game, even though it was a must-move.

On Friday I decided to go home and rest for the day, before returning on Saturday to pick up Glenn from the airport.

Now we are sitting around at home just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. Good times!

Someone on RGP said that I had a good poker journal. Under my name, he put the comment, "Glenn is a saint." This might be the most accurate thing anyone has ever said :)