Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gimme a Break!

Okay, maybe I do need a break from all things poker. I thought playing live in Laughlin was a comfy no-brainer, but instead I spent the evening as angry as a viper and snapping at everything.

Granted, this is stupid stuff that should never occur in a well run poker room, but why is it my job to tell someone else how they should run their crap?

The first problem we encountered was one of the blinds getting an exposed card. I tried to get the new dealer to declare a misdeal, but he was having none of it. He even sat there and argued with me about it, although he is new to dealing, having about two weeks of experience under his belt, lol. After I spoke to Dan about the situation, he still argued with me, telling me, "See, I told you so! I knew I was right!" He also argued with other players.

While the TDA does not address Hold'em specifically when it comes to blinds being exposed, I thought this rule was pretty general in TDA tourneys:

27) Misdeal: In stud-type games, if any of the players' two down cards are exposed due to dealer error, it is a misdeal.

Guess I was wrong.

The next thing that happened was that some bright boy decided that all players should keep their huge seat cards right in front of them, on the table, instead of having the dealer collect them and keep track of open seats, like a real tournament. Yeah, the seat cards are bigger than our playing cards. Do I even have to go into why this is the stupidest idea in tournament poker?

I personally had to fish a card out from under my seat card three times. I also had to tell several other players that their hole card was under their seat card, so that they could fish it out. Now I'm the watch dog again, lovely.

I wonder how many tables were playing with a 51 card deck last night.

I told Dan that this was a horrid idea. I said that some other moron had decided to do the same thing, over a year ago, at the Belle. That idea lasted about a month until they finally got smart. And the seat cards at the Belle were about 50% the size of the monsterous cards at the Palms.

Why is this so evident to me? It seems like it is just common sense!

Dan decided within about 10 minutes that it was a bad, BAD idea. Duh. So he said they were going to use those little hooks that old ladies use to hold their purses to the table, in order to "hang" the seat cards. Oy, you start with something perfect, like all other good make it horrible, then you make it slightly LESS horrible instead of admitting the truth that it wasn't broke in the first place!

I could just go on and on with this whine-fest, but the truth is, even little things are annoying the crap out of me. Maybe I truly should go on a break of all things poker...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More Potpourri

Wow, thanks for all of the encouraging comments (on my Live Journal, that is) and the private e-mail.

I think I may have been misleading when I talked about taking a break until I figure out how to get over this hump. I sometimes write things thinking they are obvious to everyone, yet no one gets it. Even Glenn thought I meant "take a break" from all things poker. All games, all limits, cash games, tourneys, online play...everything. So I'm a dope for not being more thorough in my last post.

I meant that I wasn't going to keep dumping $500-2000 into single tournaments when I felt that I was dead money. I meant I wasn't going to play over my limits in Stud or Stud 8.

I have every intention of playing the little tourneys in Laughlin, maybe playing some O8 cash games, playing here and there online. I just won't continue to play above my skill level until I get past this crossroads. Someday things will be great for me, until that time I can continue to play up to 20/40, maybe 40/80 if the games are good.

Again, thanks for all of the great comments!
I get a lot of comments, both online and in person requesting I post more about strategy. More of the Negreanu/Trumper type posts analyzing a hand step by step. Outlining my thought process as I'm playing, both overall and on each street.

Well, I've never posted much of that in my journal, but I have made lots of overall strategy and hand analysis type posts on 2+2. Some of them are pretty good (although there are a billion people who can do better than I can!).

I have included my own posts in full, while also giving you the link if you want to read the entire thread and get a good overall picture of where the initial poster was coming from.
So here you go, two of my recent posts on 2+2:

"First off, do you have Zee's book? I think it is perfect for the microlimits online. I have used/seen other strategies and none of them produce the results that Zee's strategy produces at these limits. I had a conversation with Steve Badger a couple of weeks ago at Commerce about his low limit O8 strategy, and told him that something that aggressive could never work online at these limits. He chuckled and said something about it being the California way, that the live games are ultra aggressive and you have to be willing to up the variance in order to get good results. He didn't argue with me that in online microlimits, it wouldn't work to be that aggressive.


I don't know that I'm playing that badly. My party stats have me seeing about 22% of the flops over several thousand hands, but I've only won 3%.

Is this outside of the blinds, or including them? I only see about 20% altogether.


I'm only playing ring games, 0.5/1 tables with an average pot over $10 and the occasional 2/4 table with an average pot over $40.

Why the big jump in limits? Does Party not have 1/2? Does the 2/4 just have a reputation of being fishy?


high hands all between T-A (except trips)

This might be your weakness, right here, especially if you are not adjusting for position. High hands lose a lot of their power in these loose, fishy games. You might be bleeding off a lot of little bets by playing ALL of these hands.

As much as it seems contrary to a decent player to play in a tight/passive mode, that is often what is called for in these ultra loose low limit games. I am super tight, hiding in the weeds checking and calling until I cannot be counterfeited, have a scoop-type hand, or have a hand that has more outs than misses and other type situations. Then I can come to life and be ultra aggressive. Until that point, though, I don't sit around bleeding off small and/or big bets to super fishy players who might have 599K and hit a set of nines to my AA23, lol.

I'm not saying that tons of bets and pressure don't work at higher limits, they do, but at microlimits, the guy with 599K is simply NOT going to lay his hand down preflop no matter how many bets you make it. Nor is he likely to lay it down postflop if a king comes along, the board doesn't pair and the board is not coordinated. He will take that pair of nines all the way, and if you continue to push AA in those situations against six or seven fishy opponents at once, you will bleed off a ton of money.

Yeah, sometimes your hand was good, or sometimes you would have hit had you stayed all the way to the river. But most of the time you simply would have lost money.

In the long run, at these games, it's so much about the bets we save, not the giant pots we win.

Overall, since I have been playing microlimit O8 online, I am up about 400 bb's. This is playing .25/.50 and a little .50/1.00 at UB, mostly just to pass the time in the winter when my blood sugar is bad (I have diabetes). I have played about 150 hours, so you can see that my win rate is super slow, yet steady. I have been down as much as 40 bb's in a session, but I have never had to reload, and have just slowly taken in the money, over time. So what if it takes a while? What else do I have to do, lol? My variance is low and I can play by rote while ill.

I am a loyal devotee of Ray if you couldn't tell, lol, so these are just my experiences. Hope they give you something to think about, at any rate."


You shouldn't feel that discouraged if you are having success else where and not at Commerce. In LA and Commerce in particular, they/we play at a different speed that takes "outsiders" some time to adjust to.

I am a winning cash game player at Commerce. I'm just not making the MOST of my winnings. Commerce players are nuts, yeah, but I should take more advantage of that.

I'll give you an example, since you provided some for me.

When players are drawing dead for a low in Stud 8 in AC or Foxwoods, they tend to slow down, go into check-call mode or even give it up, if they are pretty sure they are drawing dead.

NOT at Commerce! Not only are they NOT going into check-call, they are betting and raising while drawing dead! It's amazing. So here I am, with my made 743 low, while they are DRAWING to an 876 low, lol. And they are the ones betting and raising ME! So instead of just constantly making it more bets, I'm thinking of overcalls from the rest of the table. After all, that is what keeps them in the hand on the east coast. The flaw in my thinking is that they are going to stay in there whether I jam or just overcall! They are used to that kind of maniacal play. Here I am begging they don't fold, when I have nothing to worry about on that part. I'm sure you know what I mean, since you are a native, lol.


My unsubstantiated feel on your play is that you probably fall on the weak tight side, which seems to be prevalent amongst a lot of 2+2ers I notice. That was the problem with my friend that I had mentioned from AC, he was admittly weak tight, because that style of play was good enough to get the money in AC.

Obviously whatever style you have developed has had success, but that is not to say it will have success in any type of game.

See to me, what separates the players from those that play is the ability to change gears. That means cash games or tournaments.

I think that perhaps I'm more tight/passive than weak/tight. If you are using the definition of "weak" as taking a hand too far when I am in a hand, then I'm definitely NOT weak. I'm too much of a "folding station," lol.

Now, in tourneys at Commerce, yes, I do tend to fall on the weak/tight side, because I can't afford to throw a hand away given the structure. If I only have enough chips to get through a hand or two, I pretty much have to play it out unless I'm beat on the board. There is no wiggle room.

I definitely have to change my tourney style for Commerce. That is a given, or I'm never going to cash.

I'm going to try to play at the Bike next month, for the Winning o' the Green. The buy-in's are smaller, but I'm sure they have the same atrocious structure. I've heard the Stud and Stud 8 games there are fantastic.

I most definitely have to do something. I just want to scream sometimes in these events. I'm baffled at some of the plays I've seen. I'm not one who is easily affected by bad beats. Since I'm so tight, they happen to me all the time. That has been part of my success in poker, my ability not to steam.

So please don't think I'm telling bad beat stories to try to vent or something, I'm simply trying to improve my situation by providing some examples, and asking if there is anything I could have done in these cases.

When the betting structure is 15/30 and we have 1000 in chips, it's hard to maneuver well. Only 33x the BB, and only getting about 10 hands in per level is tough.

1) So I am dealt two live aces in Stud. The player on my right is dealt two live queens. We are both split. He completes, I raise. I bet this hand the whole way, catching my kicker, a jack, right on fourth. He never improves his queens. I catch his queen on fifth. He sighs, but still won't give up. He turns to me and says, "I need to catch the case queen to beat you. I know you have aces and jacks, and that if I catch two pair I won't win, but I just can't lay down the queens."

He catches the case queen on seventh. I'm out not long after.

2) I am dealt a three straight flush in Stud. A player with jacks completes. Four of us see fourth. I catch another small diamond on fourth. Jacks bets, I raise, the other two fold. My diamonds were completely live until fourth, where two fell, one of them on the high side of my straight flush draw, the six.

On fifth I make a wheel. I still have my flush draw, but the guy with the jacks has caught another diamond.

I check-raise him because by catching the ace I am now high. He calls.

On sixth he calls.

On seventh he raises. He never improved his jacks, until he caught four runnning diamonds, although I also had four, and two other diamonds were dead on other boards.

I'm out not long after.

3) In an Omaha 8 tourney, I am dealt AA24 with a suited ace. I make it three bets before the flop virtually putting me all-in. The BB calls two cold with 99JK. He makes his set, turns a FH and I'm out.
These are the things that baffle and confuse me. Why were they in with this stuff, and why did some of them chase all the way til the river? Yeah, some of it is simply no other choice. They know we have no chips and have to chip up early, so they just "go for it" no matter how dead they are drawing.

I could provide literally dozens more of these examples, jkinetic (and all of you poor readers who have to wade through this), but I'm sure you well know California play by now, lol.

I just can't force myself to push, push, push as an underdog like they do. I can't wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak, I suppose.

And this is why I cried out for help. Now, can I actually change, or get someone to coach me through this miserable crossroads of mine... that is the real question!"

Monday, February 14, 2005

Can't Spot the Sucker?

So, I haven't felt like updating my Commerce report lately. Lots of reasons.

1) I'm still running badly
2) I'm still playing badly
3) It's our anniversary today and I don't feel so lovey-dovey
4) I'm at a crossroads in my poker career
You know that saying, "If you can't spot the sucker...?"

I always assumed that meant something like a loose fish in a game where he is being totally outplayed. I thought the sucker was loose, couldn't read poker hands, drunk, new, etc. Maybe even a decent player, but one taking a shot playing way above his comfort level in a game full of sharks.

One thing I had never stopped to consider about being a "sucker" was that even tight players can be the sucker. Even rocks.

Sure, it takes a heck of a lot more work for a good player to get the chips from a rock. He has to be really patient and crafty, waiting hour after hour while the rock runs super bad. Waiting for opportunities to outdraw the rock. Waiting for the rock to overplay a hand while facing the scraggly board of his opponent (in Stud games). Waiting, waiting, and eventually getting all of the chips.

That night I lost $800 at Commerce playing 20/40 Stud 8? They just waited patiently. Four of them split up my $800 into $200 chunks. Sure, it was less than they'd given me over the past week, but it almost got them back to even with me.

Even the rock is sometimes the sucker. I have been the sucker lately.
I am truly stuck, for the first time since I learned poker from my dealer Mother.

Five years ago I could have gotten off of this plateau pretty easily with some high end help who had the time to take my money for coaching and catapult me into a higher limit Stud and tourney player.

These days? Well, Barry Greenstein said it best in his e-mail to me the other day:

"Any one who would have the time to mentor you is probably unable to make much money playing themselves."

In this day and age of winning with virtually no great effort, no one is willing to give up their money at the table to coach some half-baked wannabe Stud champion.

Even Mason told me last night that he would have no idea what to charge for coaching were he to offer it these days. He mentioned that even $300 per hour would be less than his hourly rate at the current fishy games at Bellagio.

Everyone I respect has given me a resounding NO to inquiries about coaching. None of them are even interested in a cut.

Why do I always come along about three years too late?
Getting over this hump is going to take more out of me than I'm prepared to give at this time. I think I need a break.

Bad beats, smoking, drinking, poor etiquette never affected me before at the poker table. Neither in cash games nor in tourneys did this ever become "personal" for me. No tilting or steaming, I just accepted the bad with the good a la Dr. Shoonmaker.

Now, even little, petty things are starting to annoy me and make me play badly. Just little, stupid things, for the first time in my poker journey. One of my biggest advantages in poker has now turned into a nightmare.

I think I need a break. I'll see you all soon.

Felicia :)