Friday, June 23, 2006

When Do You Release Your Winning Hand?

Do you remember this post? Maybe you didn't even read it all, because I have posted dozens like it over the years. The main thing I want to point out in that post is the part where I talk about holding on to your cards until you are stacking the chips from the pot, and sometimes even after, if there is any doubt whatsoever.

Although that post was meant to be somewhat humorous, in response to Matt's excellent post about what makes a "good" poker blogger, harhar, most of what I was saying in such a ranting way is absolutely true. You must protect yourself in poker. This cannot be stated too many times. I know, without a doubt, that so many of you are sitting there, reading this, sighing and shaking your head. "Oh, blah, once again Felicia is telling us the most elementary things that ALL of us know, because we are such poker gods and never screw up..."

Yep, you're all so great that I see you in poker rooms giving up giant pots because some angle shooter took advantage of your supreme poker prowess. None of us are above getting scammed. I have seen Phil Ivey get scammed in a moment of distraction, and you can, too. I certainly have.

So read this post on Two Plus Two, and really think about it. Commerce is filled with scum, and most people know this. The thing that tends to confuse victims at Commerce the most is how fast the play there is. I am usually the fastest Stud player at the table, wherever I go...EXCEPT Commerce. At Commerce, I am the one requesting "time" at least once per session. The dealers there are very fast, and very competent, on the whole. The players play extremely fast, to get more hands per hour, especially when we are paying time. They are action junkies, too, and if they have to fold a hand on third, it is almost a national tragedy for them, so naturally they want to get the hand over with as fast as possible, so that they can move on to the next starting hand. Commerce is one of the only places I've played where dealers rarely have to ask daydreaming players to put their antes out. The players are ready for action, and that makes even some very seasoned, out of town vets (like me), make more mistakes. I purposely force myself to slow down and play in the manner I'm accustomed to playing (which is already pretty fast, compared to the octogenarians at Bellagio). In perhaps 100 hours of live Stud play at Commerce I've never been the victim of a known angle shot. But I have been the victim of cheating (if you're really that interested, read the archives).

Please, I'm trying to help, not hinder your poker journey. Protect yourself!

Felicia :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stay Tuned

I'm working on something right now, so be patient and I'll have a poker post up soon. No, it's not the live cheating post I promised. That one will have to wait until I'm done with something else.

Until then, please feel free to go check out Glenn's new post.

Felicia :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Washington Law FYI

I rarely talk politics here. Even when the politics have to do with poker. There are so many, well educated people who can say it a billion times better than me.

Plus I just really am not very interested. I don't have a passion for politics.

But I have finally decided to speak up on one subject regarding poker. And one subject only. And the only reason I'm speaking is because weeks after the law was passed and activated, people who should know better are still spouting lies.

The law in Washington was proposed, backed and supported by DEMOCRATS. Yes, liberals. Yes, left-wing. Yes, the tree hugging hippies singing Kumbaya. Yes, your "own people" turned on you.

No, it has nothing to do with politics, obviously. Online horse betting is allowed. Online lotto is allowed. There is an Indian or B&M casinos on every corner. But suddenly, something that the state doesn't benefit from is illegal, and even a felony.

This is not about political sides. This is about money. Don't be a moron, do some research before you keep spouting off on 2+2, RGP and on your blog that the "right wing, ultra conservative, religious majority, born-again Christians" are once again taking away your freedoms.

Do you really think the congregation at my little, rural church has that much power??? That we ware sitting around plotting to "get you?" Put prohibition back on the law books? Tell you that you can't play poker because it's a sin and you're going to hell?

Um, no. Maybe a hundred years ago conservatives wielded that kind of power. These days it just isn't so. The tables have turned and it's the conservatives who are getting told what they can and cannot say/do in public with regards to religion.

I could post a ton of links to convince you guys that the dems are riding this baby, but you would probably just accuse me of purposely posting links that were lies. The truth is everywhere. It is the subject that everyone is discussing on RGP, 2+2 and sites all over the Internet. So do the research for yourself. It doesn't have anything to do with liberal vs. conservative. It is all about the MONEY.

Ray's New Book

Probably not many of you know this. After all, who else besides me and a few other no-life losers actually surf the Internet for twelve hours per day looking for new and decent poker information? I hope most of you said "not me."

Ray Zee has a book coming out. I know, I just lost most of you to faint. It is supposed to be titled: Winning High Stakes and Short Handed Hold ’em; Expert Limit Hold ’em for Serious Cash Game & Internet Players by Ray Zee and Dave Fromm.

I hope you read that twice. Yes, he will not only be teaching you how to win high stakes games, but also shorthanded games. Shorthanded doesn't necessarily mean 5-max or 6-max, btw. I know that new players have a very hard time understanding the difference.

Ray has only written two other poker books, both considered the definitive works in their subject matter. Both are dated, but can be utilized in today's games by very easy adjustments, which I have touted time and again. An old poker book doesn't necessarily mean a bad poker book, it just means that you have to take in mind the differences in the game.

Felicia :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cheating and Poker

Part One, Internet Poker

Although this post is aimed at beginners, and experienced online players already practice caution and diligence, I feel that anyone, at any stage of their poker journey, may benefit from another look at the topic.

Cheating is something that comes up so often in poker it is to the point of absurd. Not absurd because it doesn't happen, but absurd because it is something so ingrained in poker that it seems to go hand-in-hand with the game.

From the earliest mentions of poker, you will read about problems with cheating. I'm not going to sit here and tell you it doesn't happen, both live and online, but I will tell you some things which may help you avoid or even benefit off of cheating.

Most people are probably scratching their heads wondering how a person could possibly benefit from having a cheat, or cheaters at their table. It is not always as bad as it seems. First I want to tackle the online world of poker, and then, in another post, I'll tackle live poker.

Let's say you are about to open up the software to play at an online poker site. First you must decide what game you want to play. If you are concerned about bots and teams, the most logical thing for you to do is look for a game and limit that flies under the radar of the most likely "infected" tables.

Get into the mind of a person who would create a bot and put it at the table to play for him. If you were a cheat, where would you place that bot? Probably not the lowest stakes, but definitely not higher stakes, either. So let's just say that if you want to avoid a bot, you won't play between 2/4 and 10/20.

Let's assume pot-limit games are likely to be bot-free, so those are clear for us as far as that goes. Let's further assume that Stud games will not be infected. The one thing that the creator of a bot wants is reliable, steady income. He doesn't want to deal with the swings of variance, so he is going to choose a relatively low variance game to place his bot into. He probably is going to choose Hold'em. I would guess either low limit HE or low buy-in NLHE. So that leaves the other games theoretically free.

Now that we have narrowed down which games to play that might have a better chance of being bot-free, let's narrow down the games which might have a better chance of being cheat-free.

Cheaters benefit in games when they can squeeze a victim in between them and get him to put his chips in with the second best hand. The best hand will keep pushing you higher while the junk hand will keep pushing you even more. This is so elementary that it borders on ridiculous. In other words, if you know you are being cheated, that means the cheats aren't any good ;)

Online, this is the most common form of cheating that we see daily. The cheaters are caught by anyone with half a brain, and they go somewhere else. Some sites are more diligent than others when it comes to catching and banning these guys. But when I started this post, I assumed you were bright enough to pick the very best poker sites to play on, which have at least the appearance of integrity.

So what games would colluders sit in? The number one choice is going to be Hold'em, I believe. They have a better chance of getting lost in the crowd in HE. Just two little peons in a huge ocean. They most likely will not be playing for big money. People who play bigger pay more attention, in general. The games are fewer and farther between, less players are playing eight games at once, more players will recognize nicknames and the signs of collusion. So I think that cheaters will probably stay at 3/6 and below. In NLHE, let's say $100 max buy-in or below.

Remember, these are assumptions by me, so don't try coming back here and claiming, "I was cheated at the $500 buy-in NLHE! You said there wouldn't be any at that level!!"

While cheaters may not last very long at a site, in the meantime they might take your stack. And if you think that the site is going to go back and do your homework for you, think again. They will not be checking every, single hand history and refunding your money if they aren't alerted. You must be diligent and report suspected cheats. In addition, you must follow up on it. Also, if someone at your tables busts said cheaters, you must not think to yourself, "Oh, well he already did it for me, I don't have to do anything." Think again. You need to write to the site, or you can just kiss your money goodbye. It is a rare thing when a site writes you out of the blue, says they busted some cheats who were at one of your tables, and gives you some dough.

So now I've given you some guidelines on what games to play, and what limits. Let's move on to the fun part, where you get a chance to use cheating and bots to your advantage and have some fun with them, while frustrating them to no end, busting them both monetarily and then reporting them to the site!

There are some games where it is to your advantage to have a lot of players in the pot at times. In most forms of poker, this is not the case. Schooling is usually not a good thing, and that is why aggression is so important.

But then there is the one, the only, THE OMAHA. My, oh, my, is Omaha ever something to behold. Retard poker at it's finest.

Omaha is so different from most poker games that it really deserves it's own name. Maybe pokhim, instead of pokher, lol.

In low-limit Omaha 8, the laws of poker don't really apply the same way as other games. Sometimes aggression is not the key, but rather fishing for MORE callers, by overcalling or calling along with the absolute, mortal nuts. Seems completely the opposite of Hold'em or Stud, right? That's because it is :)

So where better than to bust a team? Where better than to have fun taking advantage of a bot? Yeah, you got it, in Omaha.

In O8, colluders only lose MORE. In O8, schooling only puts more money into YOUR hands. It is a sight to behold. So many players grumble about cheats sitting down at their table in Omaha. I grumble, myself, AFTER they are busted! Seriously, though, if they cheat in any way other than collusion, I do the ethical thing; I bust them first, not later. But that is live poker, I'm talking about online poker, where palming is impossible and stealing chips out of another stack is impossible. Collusion is really the only thing these idiots have going. And if they are stupid enough to sit down in an Omaha game, well then god bless them, I'll sit right there until I have everything.

Remember, in Omaha 8, your nut hand only gets stronger with a lot of callers, not weaker. So sit back and let the cheats give you their buy-in's. It will make you feel better during a losing streak, and you can report them as soon as they are busted, if you are so inclined.

In conclusion, here is my best contribution to the topic of cheating in online poker. I am obviously addressing new players in this post, not hardened, experienced vets. I do not have enough firsthand knowledge of online cheating to address the topic more thoroughly.

This post has taken me quite a while, because I simply don't have as much experience playing online as someone who has played quite a bit in ONE month! Over the past four years, I've only played sporadically. Glenn was kind enough to step in and give me some help with this one, although we both still maintain that we are speaking in very general, definitely disputable terms.

When you deposit money into any online cardroom, you are taking a gamble. Whether it be state law, international disaster or a myriad of other things, online poker is still a gambling endeavor. Choose wisely. Be diligent with your money and your choices. If you play at a location other than your own, personal computer, never save your password to log on automatically. If your own PC is shared with others, ditto.

If you use common sense, the likelihood of getting burned is less than if you take unnecessary chances. And yes, this is before you even sit down at the virtual felt!

Monitor the table before making the choice to sit in. Watch the players and the pot. One site may have a rake policy that makes the game unplayable. Protect your money!

I hope I have helped out one or two new online players. It was a difficult post for me, because of lack of experience, but if nothing else, I pray I have made it clear to be cautious and aware whenever you decide to play online poker.

Felicia :)

Wheaton and Diamond Redux

I'm going to try to work on a real post today.

But first, I just want to apologize if I was wrong about the bloggers and Wheaton. This is why I hate listening to gossip and rumors. I usually don't spread them or give them any credence, but I felt that I got it from a good source and no one had ever bothered to dispute it over the years. Shame on me.

If it is true, that Mr. Wheaton, like all good poker players, "made his own luck," then I am all the more impressed with his poker celeb success.

Regardless of how Mr. Diamond got into a financial bind, my point is still valid, that the bloggers wield a lot of power that can be used for good. In this case, it might hook me up with some fun poker porn with a giant penis. That would simply make my day!

Felicia :)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dustin Diamond

Today there is a discussion on OOT about Dustin Diamond. He was the character, Screech in Saved by the Bell. I guess he mismanaged his money, so now he is in danger of losing his house. He obviously has a good sense of humor, as indicated by his career and selling of tee-shirts with him being a broke bum.

Anyway, I figured that the bloggers have a lot of power. Power enough to get someone like Wil Wheaton into the poker spotlight, on TV and a deal with Stars. No offense to Wil, but that is some feat!

If the bloggers wield that much power, which they do, then surely they should be able to turn some guy with a recognizable character name, and a reputation of a monster schlong , who has a good sense of humor, into the poker porn king!

I put out some feelers. Surely bloggers can turn this into something. I don't have the personality to make this happen, but I have a good reputation for copying other great ideas, lol.

I'm thinking: porn, strip poker, monster schlong, poker...something has to fit!

Felicia :)

Blogger Freeroll FYI

I didn't play in the Blogger freeroll. FeliciaLee was Glenn.

Back when we first opened a Stars account, only one account per household was allowed. I learned this the hard way, after having spent the winter with my Mom in Nevada. We opened a Stars account once we retired from AOL. I think it was in the fall of 2002. When we left for the east coast spring in 2003, my Mom wanted her own account. Since we'd opened our Stars account with my Mom's address (we had our east coast house for sale at that time), we were unable to open an account for my Mom. Eventually Stars believed us about the situation and let my Mom have her own account.

Since I don't play online very often, I just assumed their policy was the same. Once again, Al bailed me out of a situation I've become to hate more and more over the years. He told me that Stars had changed their policy, and that he knew this firsthand, since he and Eva had separate accounts.

I went and read through everything on their site, and noticed that it does seem to be allowed.

So now I can open another account, an anonymous account so that I can play in peace.

I don't think I've had one Stars session in the past year or so which hasn't ended in IM's, PM's or e-mails. Someone from 2 Plus 2, here or elsewhere assumes I am playing, when it is usually Glenn. They ask me why I'm slumming in the NLHE micros. Why I'm playing Stud 8 when I said I only play O8 online. Why I'm playing in a LHE freeroll. Why, why, why. They are offended that I didn't answer them in chat. Offended that I left the table right after they sat in.

Since Glenn rarely has chat on, and I never do, I changed my location to indicate that I wasn't chatting. I also don't have avatars on, so no one would understand why I didn't "get" their pic, or why I had a pic of our Chihuahua on Stars when I've always said I don't usually post dog pics.

With a new account, I can just play an hour here or there every once in a while, working off that Stars bonus in peace and anonymity. I don't have to have some stupid avatar that Glenn put up, and I don't have to listen to people complain about my behavior or game selection.

Believe it or not, I'm not looking for attention. We opened that account four years ago, and never figured I'd become the trainwreck of bloggers back then. FeliciaLee was just some low limit Stud player. Still am, I guess. I didn't understand the impact that a nickname I wouldn't be allowed to change later would have on me. I just don't dig it.

So look for "IBustChumps" from now on at Stars, lol.

Felicia :)