Thursday, March 10, 2005

Random Poker Thoughs

Would you like to peer into the mind of a demented madwoman? Does the thought process behind poker interest or entertain you? If so, please join me in the Twilight Zone!

Here are some random writings of things I've posted lately on different poker forums. Some are directed towards new, novice players, others towards more experienced players. "It's not even close. Do you know why?" LOL!

When I push in a Stud game (Stud, Stud 8, Razz) I usually have a better starting hand than anyone else. I rarely overcall raises and reraises without something extremely strong. So any player who is paying attention would be able to read me easily and get out, instead of giving up all of his chips.

Players who overcall in Stud games, during a tourney, when even the chip leaders can't get through more than one hand, are making huge mistakes.

I remember one key hand where a player (he can identify himself if he wants, but I won't call him out, lol), overcalled two bets cold on 3rd in Razz with a JACK showing. I don't think I have to explain why this is the worst poker imaginable.

I was thinking about going through the hand history, if FTP provides one, that is. If anyone would like to hear my analysis, I'll be happy to post it here. Just remember, though, my observations will always be coming from a conservative, tight background, lol.

With the amount of chips you had, it really wasn't that horrible. I mean, neither of us (the original bettors) had enough chips to get through even one hand, so cold calling with position on us, hoping that you catch good and we catch bad, isn't really all that horrible.

I wouldn't suggest it in a cash game, and I certainly wouldn't suggest it if you are out of position, have few chips or are up against players who have a ton of chips, like yourself, but it wasn't totally horrific, even though I'm having a great time teasing you about it!

My own play is way too tight and predictable. Therein lies my difficulty in big tourneys. By bullying a big stack, players like you can take a chance to knock out competition you don't want without much risk, which is just what happened during my last hand :)

My Mom was a poker dealer, and taught me how to play. Over and over again she would say, "Play super tight, play pat hands, don't play dead cards!"

So when I went to a cardroom for the first time, I followed that advice (naturally this was when Stud was the big game). I won. I just kept winning after that, so my mentality developed into a "tight is always right" way of thinking.

Boy, was I wrong when I started playing in the bigger games and tourneys! You just can't play tight in a 1k tourney when you don't get many hands per level and the structure is fast. I was slaughtered!

So here I am, back at step one, trying to play a few more hands. Drawing for straight and flushes in a Stud tourney is like committing hari kari to me. Playing a nine in Razz is akin to vomiting up bad food. It's so hard for me to do.

Watch me lose my mind! (Click the pic to watch the video)
This has been a huge problem. If you're interested, you can go read my disasterous Commerce trip for the LAPC. If you are really into masochism, you can go back and read different disasters at Foxwoods, Binion's and other big tourneys I've played in.

Or even ask Andy Bloch. Last year at the WSOP, we were playing at the same table in the Stud 8 event. Now, if Andy plays tight, well, I'm a boulder, lol.

Anyway, I completed on one hand with Q6/Q, in late position, as the first into the pot. Andy defended. I put him on a low draw, which is natural, but probably my first mistake.

I won't go through the whole hand, but I ended up catching club after club, and made a flush on sixth. Andy could see my whole hand and knew exactly where I was at, whereas he was catching low cards and I had him on a low draw. Boy, was I shocked when he ended up making quads fives on the river! Sure, it was pretty hidden, but dang! I was out not long after that, haha!

I'm probably not the best person to ask, since I'm in the midst of the tornado myself. Ray Zee, however, has an excellent article on the stages of a successful poker player. If I can find it online, I'll post a link to it.

Since I never went through his Stage One, I've had a different learning curve. Stage One is something like that loose, drunken monkey poker, where you play every hand, and your variance is outstanding.

Anyway, I will say that Stud games and Flop games are so totally different in approach. In a Stud game, deciding whether or not to play a hand is the key. One shouldn't get involved in many hands, yet it is correct to chase further down the road due to the five rounds of betting and having such great odds. A flop game is usually exactly the opposite. Many more hands can be played up front, but if the flop doesn't fit, should be thrown away early. Even in today's loose and crazy game, it's not always correct to chase a gutshot, especially if not to the nut straight.

So that has also been a thorn in my side. I don't play enough hands in HE, but sometimes I chase too far, oy!


Max and I in a small NLHE tourney. No, I'm not that much taller than him, really, but I was sitting up on my legs in order to keep warm.
Everyone has been in your shoes, everyone has experienced this, and that is why we are so anal and protective of our hand.

Glenn's hand got mucked once, now he is so overly cautious that one time a dealer had to literally pry the cards out from under his pressed down fingers.

El Diablo has said many times that he does not surrender the cards, period, until he has the pot.

I take the stance of not giving up the cards until they wrench them out of my cold, dead fingers unless the pot is in front of me.

This is because of past experience, not because we are so bright

In today's poker world, the dealer does less and less for us, and we must protect ourselves more and more. Many of us didn't realize just how good we had it until the poker boom. Looking at my watch and seeing 14 minutes go by during ONE O8 hand was a real wake up call. I certainly hadn't realized just how much I took for granted the pre-2002 poker boom dealers. Not that it was ever their job to protect us, but they surely did!

As an even more absurd example (to make you feel better, I hope), Commerce has instituted a policy about cards going off the table. I believe this was patterned after the Bike's policy, which began last summer (someone please correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm not from LA).

Anyway, the rule in tourneys is that if a card goes off the table, the player pays the penalty. It doesn't matter if the dealer pitches the card off the table, it doesn't matter if it hits your finger then goes sliding off. The TD knows that it is not your fault in any way, shape or form, but you still get a 20 minute penalty.

Supposedly this rule was put into effect because of angle shooting at the Bike and in LA in general (again, correct me if I'm wrong here).

While I won't go into the whole angle shooting scheme, I really do have a point, lol.

Anyway, The Hendon Mob posted a story about how two players got into a fight at Commerce. Cursing, arguing, rolling around on the floor, etc. They each got a 15 minute penalty. Barny, however, had a hand where the dealer pitched the card off the table. He got a 20 minute penalty, lol.

Hmmm, two guys fighting, F-- word being slung back and forth, rolling around on the ground...15 minutes. Barny has a dealer who pitches a card off the table which Barny never touched...20 minutes...

Boy, has poker changed in the past three years!

Okay, so here is some good news! My friend, James VanAlstyne is the chip leader in the Bay 101 tourney. Please cheer James on. Not only is he an excellent player, but a wonderful human being!

Felicia :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

2005 Blog of the Year Candidate

My pick for "new" blog of the year!

Bubble Girl

I've been bubbling a lot online. 10th in a Stud tourney when the top five pay. 130th in an O8 tourney when the top 100 pay. Stuff like that. I'm too tight, and a tight, conservative player cannot make it as a tourney pro. I'm trying to loosen up, oy.

Last night at the last second I entered a Razz tourney. I built myself up to 2k early, then got moved to a new table. The first hand there, I got three to a bike: A45. The only other low cards out were two fives, bonus! I completed and fired away on every street. One of the fives stayed with me. I made a 7543A right away, he rivered a 7542A. Ugh.

Immediately afterwards, I got another bike draw: A35. Got outdrawn on that one, too, bah. Now I was down to 400 in chips, and when I got A27 I was committed. By fifth I made my 8-low, and went all-in. Another guy had a draw at a seven, and caught an ace on the river to beat me. C'est la vie.

This is why so many people hate Razz, and go nuts playing it. It is my one advantage. I never dwell upon these beats, really. It's just some crazy game and no one ever knows what the next card will be off the top of the deck. No matter how live you are drawing, no matter how horrible someone else is drawing, it is still a 52 card deck, and you can only go in with the best of it, but can't be horrified if the luck of the draw doesn't go your way. You just go on. Each hand is a separate entity, and if you let a bad beat affect your subsequent play, you are simply giving money to a player like me, who doesn't concern themselves psychologically with the last hand.

One day this is going to put me into the John Juanda/Ted Forrest arena, but right now, I'm too tight, only playing cinch hands, and playing them too conservatively, at that. I have a giant hole in my game, a mountain to overcome, but I'll get there one day :)

Phil Ivey Lookalike?

Yanno, when I play poker, it is not how much I win or lose that makes me feel good about myself. It is how I played, and how I managed myself at the table. Sometimes little things make me feel really awesome, no matter what my results (I have never been results oriented, and perhaps that is lengthening my learning curve in poker right there, huh?).

The other day I was playing in an O8 game. Some guy from California was at our table. He was the only other decent player there, not seeing 100% of the flops, lol. Anyway, during one hand, he said to me, "Wow, you are really good!" I laughed and said, "Good, huh?" He said that I reminded him of Phil Ivey. I joked with him a bit and asked, "I'm a man?" He was fumbling, trying to explain himself so I took it even farther. "I'm a black man? Look at how pale my skin is! Sure, I may look like a man, but I was born with the female parts, I swear!" He was laughing along with me once he realized I understood what he was talking about, but was joking with him. Finally he said, "You are like him, your eyes, they are everywhere, all of the time, they don't miss much, do they?"

I just said, "Thank you."

Felicia :)