Sunday, July 31, 2005

Random Weekend stuffs

I finished Aces and Kings - Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker's Greatest Players, and I have to say: "Enh." and "This is going to the library as a donation rather than take up space in my library." Maybe it's because I read it after The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King - Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time, and that's hard to live up to, but it really didn't tell a gripping story. This could also be the fact that I'm not terribly interested in the 'old greats' of gambiling, but prefer to read about those folks who are still playing.

Also, I'm a little ticked that they gave women just a lumped chapter, which tPtBatSK did not do - it treated Jennifer Harman as a player in her own right, and didn't marginalize them into a lumped category at the end of the book.

Plus, any book that says that if you have the NUTS when you hold J8, and the flop is Q T 9 loses major points, because hello, the NUTS would be KJ, morons.

* * *

I took Saturday off from poker and decided to go spend some time at the movie theater. I saw Stealth, which was basically what I expected it to be - eye candy, both with the stars and with the flight scenes, and I was more than ok with that - in fact the parts where they tried to put some 'meat' into the story were slow and cumbersome, and I wished they'd just get back to the sexy flying stuff.

I ducked into Must Love Dogs just as the movie was starting, and I am totally in love with John Cusack again. Diane Lane was great, too, though the rest of the movie was pretty trite and formulaic. Definitely a chick flick, but not a horrible one if you're looking for one.

* * *

Made it to church this week, and spent Saturday relaxing around the house, ordering pizza, and playing in the PLO satellite on Stars and getting really annoyed that I keep having connection problems, which almost caused me to fold QUADS BITCHES in the PLO game. RRR.

But, I can fold my way to the satellite with the best of 'em! Nerd is so right, the PLO satellites are SO SOFT.

Next weekend, Poker, then Michigan on Saturday!

Weekend hit #1

Took off a little early, and headed down to the boats. The $400 game wasn't going yet, so I sat down in the baby game and proceeded to get a rush of cards and run my $200 buyin up to $1200 in about an hour, if that.

Most of it was from this interesting hand: I limp in early position with 2s4s. I often limp with suited aces and little connectors and little pairs. The Aces and suited connectors I'll generally play for 4xBB, the small pairs I play for 10% of the smallest stack - mine or the raisers for the implied odds. A pretty tight but easy-to-read-and-overvalues-and-overbets-his-hand guy raises to 6xBB ($30) with $500 or so back. I look at his stack and decide to play this, because of my implied odds - if I hit, I'm going to break him. Plus, a $1000 LAG player has $5 in, and if I come in, he's coming in too, which puts more money in the pot.

Flop comes down 3s Tc 6s. I check, raiser bets $50 into the $90 pot, which is a really weird bet, but I call, as I've got the flush and i'm getting 3.8 to 1 on my money. LAG behind me folds, alas.

Turn is 3h; I check again, raiser bets $75 into the now $190 pot. Again, this is an insanely WEIRD bet, and I know he's not thinking about the odds because I'm getting 4.5 to 1 now. I look at him for a while, and call.

River is GIN - 5d. I'm sure he has me on a flush draw, but there's no way he's going to put me on the straight. I check, knowing this guy is not smart enough to check behind, and doesn't see the straight out there at all, and is never going to put me on 2s4s. He doesn't, and he bets $100, leaving $250 behind. I wait a second and say, "I'm all in".

This absolutely throws him for a loop and he looks at the board, and looks at me, and looks at the board again. After about 2 to 3 minutes, he says, "I call." I flip my hand up and say, "Straight." As the $1000 LAG player says, "Of COURSE she's got a straight or a boat with that move, what were you thinking?" Raiser said, "I put her on the flush draw, and not on TWO FOUR FOR A THIRTY DOLLAR RAISE PREFLOP!!!" The boys at the table agree that they had me on the flush draw, etc etc, and I say, "Well, I have to mix it up some times."

... of course, then I had someone stay in for a $40 raise (I had 55 from the SB and 8 limpers) with K8o and the flop came down 2 2 8. Wunderbar. Turn was another 2, then an A on the flop, and the moron still called with the high likelyhood I had at least an ace. Oh well. I left the baby game to the $1000 max buy in game with $840, added $100 from my pocket and sat down and played there instead. I'd managed to grab another $400 until I got three big pocket pairs in a row, and lost 2 out of three of them. Sigh.

The game went short handed, and like usual, they busted me for the last $400 I had. So, I did what any gambler does - I said screw this shorthanded stuff and moved up to the crazy monkey game, since the crazy monkeys weren't there, and the only LAG at the table wasn't that great of a player. He's a decent O8 player, and the seat open was next to him, so I sat down there and smiled my smile and worked my magic to get PLO lessons.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I wish to be like Jen Harman

I just finished reading Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King, The - Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time, which was an absolutely fantastic read, especially since I was at the Bellagio on May 10th/11th when Andy Beal was in town and they were playing $50,000/$100,000 heads up poker. I remember sitting at the $4/$8 game and hearing all the dealers gossip about The Big Game going on; I think Howard Lederer was in the box when I was there, but I could be wrong (that may have been the time that Howard wasn't allowed to play Beal).

And after reading this book, I really want to be Jen Harman - I want to be able to have the reads she does, and the cash game skills she does, and in general, be able to kick the boys' asses as described in the book. It even tells a story about when she snookered Doyle Brunson out of a large triple-draw pot - how's that for aggression and non-intimidation? Jennifer's now surpassed Annie Duke as my number one idol, and I've met Annie and liked her very much.

Anyway, I highly recommend the book, it reads pretty quick and tells both sides of the story pretty fairly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My thoughts on women in poker

All right, after a heated (mostly on my part because this is one of my hot buttons) discussion with AL on IM today, plus a link from the poker blogfather, I figure I might as well clarify my unorthodox view of women in poker, and the women tournaments.

First, a little primer of where I stand here.

Then, I need to state for the record, that I absolutely LOVE being a girl at the poker tables. I love that my skills are underestimated, leading everyone to overestimate my hand when I lead the betting into the pot. I adore being soft-played by the guys who don't want to take my money. I snicker to myself when I am given bets back on the river by men. I am thrilled when LawyerMark comes by my table and asks the boys, "Why does the GIRL have all the chips? Did you guys get beat by a GIRL? Man, that must SUCK!" He, of course, knows I am amused and pleased when he does this, which is why this goes on in the first place. I am also very keen on the idea that I get lessons from better players, because I am an intelligent, funny and generally nice GIRL.

I have also come to just recently realize that I am a much better player than most of the guys that sit at my table; there are few players that I think are better than I am that I play against with regularity. I play in the 2nd biggest limit in the casino on a regular basis (enough that everyone there knows me by name), and I've even sat in the larger limit game and held my own (except in the PLO portion, but we won't go into that).

So, when I say I'm a good female player, I think I've got enough evidence to back this statement up.

Now, to the point of my post - my thoughts on women in poker: While I think women have a distinct advantage in being able to read people, their patience, and the fact that ego is not a huge factor in a woman's play, I think they have a huge disadvantage due to a lack of natural aggression, in general. And from here on out, I'm going to drop the in general part, because obviously there are women who are aggressive, but I think we can all agree that in general, women are less aggressive, even when their reads are right.

Speaking as a woman who gets repeatedly told that I am "the most aggressive female they have ever met" or that I scare the crap out of them when I play them because of moves I've made, I can tell you that aggression does NOT come naturally, even to me. I cannot tell you the number of times that I've known I have a better hand, or that the other guy has utter crap, and have not come out with both guns firing - and I'm an aggressive female! I remember the times I had to suck it up and be aggressive and trust my instincts and come out with the guns firing, not the times I folded like a little girl. For those of you who watched the recent Rio WSoP event - we saw Jen Harman have a fantanstic read on her opponents, to the point where she said "I know you both have horrible hands", and then proceeds to fold a very decent 4 handed set of holecards, because she couldn't pull the trigger either. Chip Jett even says this about his wife, Karina, saying that Her tournament weakness is the same as that of most female players - the inability or fear of exploiting certain recurring tournament scenarios (also known as "not being able to pull the trigger"). Even dugglebogey mentions that Maudie played more weak/tight than he would like to see, and she should be more aggressive with her draws.

This isn't unusual for almost all the women I play with in the casino; in fact, there's only one other female I know that's got an aggressive streak like I do, and it pays off for her as well. This isn't saying that non-aggressive females are bad players: they can be winning players just as well as aggressive males. However, you're not going to be great if you're not aggressive (which is, as Felicia keeps telling me, my monster problem with limit O8, but that's another story for another time), and this aggressiveness is just not a natural personality trait for women. Sure, it can be learned: I've had to learn it, but learning and executing are two separate matters which are not necessarily related.

The other factor that cannot be ignored is intimidation. Women are intimidated (in general) by the thought of going to a casino, by the aggressive males at the table, and by the table stakes as well. I have several woman friends who play poker in our home games and could absolutely hold their own at the casino, but have expressed their trepidation at playing for money with strange men, and won't come play even if I offer to stake them in the game. I can't count the number of women who have come up to me at the boats and have told me how great it is that "I hold my own with the men", and that "I'm their hero" for playing at the high stakes with the men. While I'm flattered at the compliment, it also saddens me a little, because this compliment is given because they are too intimidated to play at those stakes themselves; even the other aggressive female won't step up in stakes to play "my" game, nor will some of the other decent women players, because of both the stakes, and the indimidation factor of the men playing at that game.

I don't think I can truly blame them, either; heck, it took me the better part of two years to sit down and play live poker in the casino myself because it was unnerving! And it still happens: the boys tried for months, literally, to get me to play in their game, and I refused, because - I admit it - I was intimidated, by the stakes, by the players, by the moves, by being out of my element. In fact, I could say that until my recent realization that I can take most of the boys down in a game, I've been trying to overcome my intimidation as I'm playing. Truth be told, if a couple of guys hadn't taken me under their wing and given me some crucial insight into the game of No-Limit, and especially high-stakes NL, I'd most likely be back in the safe waters of $10/$20 limit (need I say that there's nothing wrong with limit players?). But they convinced me to play the bigger game, and now I'm eyeing the Crazy Monkey Game with some trepidation, a large dose of intimidation, and yes, interest. The boys are already working their wiles on me to move up in stakes, and I'm sure I'll take the plunge sooner or later. Most likely, later.

Some of this could be the environment, and some may be culture, and some may be biological. I can say that the boys at the table take women as easy marks, in general, but they're quick learners - if you can play, they'll give you respect. And they'll also still be boys and you'll have to put up with the potty jokes at the table, which can also be somewhat intimidating, too if you're not used to it.

I'm not surprised at all at some of the recent reports that online poker is skyrocketing in popularity with females, because it's quite difficult to be put off your game because a computer screen looks at you funny: the great thing about online poker is you can turn the inane potty talk off with a click of the mouse, which is much more difficult to do in person. This is also why I'm all for women tournaments - it allows the women a bit more comfortable place to play their game, and not have to hear about how the blonde chick in the mini-skirt is so hot. I can tell you I won't play in any of them, because I'll be honest: my game really sucks against girls, and is much better suited to being the girl amongst the men.

That's why I stand by my opinion that out of 100 males, x will become good/great poker players, and out of 100 females, y will become great poker players, and x > y for quite some time.

Which, you know, is okay in my book: more men for me!

Weekend update

... I know I was going to write something on my thoughts about women and poker, but I still don't have a coherent block of thoughts for it. So what I wrote Friday will have to do for now.

I seem to be taking after April in more ways than one: my iPod has to go in for battery repair as well. We didn't tell the technician that this is because I spilled my diet soda into my purse on Saturday which is where she was hanging out. I say she, because that's what the tech support guy called her, though she's still nameless.

So, Friday I headed out to the boats, and the $400 / $1000 game was seriously like playing on Party Poker. There were two major polliwogs hanging out at the table, and it was fantastic. I had the drunk really horrible player LAG to my right, and when I raise the straddle ($20 to go instead of $10) $100 to $20 total, everyone else at the table folds, because they play with me often and this is a signal that I have one of two hands: AA or KK. The drunk guy says, "I'll give you a loose call..." and tosses in the money, and he's got $300 behind. The flop comes out 10 high, and I bet enough to put him all in, which turns out to be a mistake, as he shows me QJ offsuit! Daaaaaamn. Had I known it was THAT loose, I'd have just bet $125. And it was nice that my AA held up to KK and JJ, even with a flop of 884. To show you the kind of table image I have, I bet what I think is the pot (but turns out to be a bit of an overbet at $300 instead of $240), and the KK and JJ fold with overpairs to the board. ChaCHING. So, that was a pleasant +$1500 night.

Saturday was the birthday tourney, which I was debating even playing in. I decided to play a $20 satellite, and got sucked out on twice and I Go to the Cash Game Now. I don't do much there because I play for 20 min, and then the tournament starts, which breaks the cash game. After a horrible first deal which includes misdealing, and then dumping my soda into my purse, I manage to take 8th in the tourney, which of course, doesn't pay anything because only the top 4 play. Alas. So, off to the cash game for me, which is a $100 max table, playing shorthanded. Normally I hate playing shorthanded, but I managed to run over the table on this one - I bluffed someone out of a $150 pot because I could tell he hated his hand, and I wasn't going to win with my 24d any other way. I even showed the bluff, and the guy said, "uh, so what's on the board?" while Mike just looks at me and smiles, knowing I made an excellent move. It's one of the rare girl bluffs, I tell you.

Then a few seats opened up at the $200 max table, so I took my $300 and moved over there. I was forced to lay down what was probably the better full house when an A 6 A flop turned a 9 (to my pocket 9s) and then the 6 came on the river. I should have called the $25 bet into the $100 pot, but I was stupid. Needless to say, after that I had it out for that guy, who is SO not a good player, and played a couple crazy hands in the hopes of hitting him where it hurt. One of those lovely hands was J3d on the button, and the flop came down 8 3 3. The guy bets into me for $25, I smooth call. Turn is a 6, he bets $75 which would put me all in. Point in case that he's not that great of a player - what did he think I was calling that flop with? I perk up at that point, and Mike puts down the river, another three. He then says, which makes me laugh, "What do you say, Heather?"

"Them's QUADS, bitches!"

Then at the last hand of the night, Glenn kills* it for $6 ($1/$2 blinds here), Max raises to $20, I look at 2d4d, and decide what the heck, and call. Flop comes down Kd 4s Qd. Alex bets out $30. I raise to $100, prepared to go all in on this if I have to do so. Max looks consternated, and I flip over the 4d and this puts him even further into the tank. He asks me if I have a set, I tell him it's possible, but at the very least I have a hand I'm willing to put all the chips in with. I tell him, if he wants, I'll give him the $30 back since it's the end of the night and we'll leave it be.

He continues to ruminate, and finally says, "I don't think you'd offer to give me my money back if I have a set" (totally untrue, I just wanted to go home and take the pot, but anyway) and he pushes all in. I call, and don't hit, and IGN, +75 in the cash game instead of +375. Boo. Of course, before this, Ray played Max's chips drunk and crazy, and managed to beat me anyway. Sigh. But it was a fun evening.

I even managed to win $46 at the HOE game last night too, so that's not so bad.

* they play this really in-freaking-sane kill in NL where you can kill for any amount, and to play, you need to bet double the kill. The kill must be double the Big Blind, so the initial bet is going to be at least 4xBB. Plus, if you put in the kill, you're the very last to act - even if there are raises, re-raises, etc. All the other players' action finishes before you decide what to do with your hand. Supposedly this is normal in California, but what the HELL???

Friday, July 22, 2005


I have a whole post I want to write up about women and poker, but since I don't agree with anyone I've read, and Fridays are fun days, I'm going to wait until Monday to open that can of worms.

But here's the teaser:

  • I think women's tourneys are good

  • I won't play in women's tourneys, because my game sucks against women

  • I also think that women are better poker players than men, but lack an aggression factor that's needed in poker

  • I think the male aggression factor does intimidate a lot (not all, obviously) of women

  • Are there great women poker players? Yes.

  • Can a woman be the greatest poker player of all time? Most definitely!

  • But, I think that proportionally, there will be fewer top women players out of the general women population than there are top men players out of the general men population

  • This is because men and women ARE DIFFERENT, mentally as well as physically, in GENERAL

Monday's going to be a start a lot of things days for a lot of things. :)

Thursday poll here if you haven't filled it out yet :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The way to maigrey's heart is through her poker ego

chrisdhal: bah, pretty soon we'll be hearing about how you kicked harman out of doyle's game and took her place
maigsy: oh man, if you weren't married I'd tell you I love you right now :)

Them's QUADS beeetches, redux

First, for those of you who watched the WSoP Circuit event last night, I'd just like to say that I play cards on a regular basis with Tom Macey, and he's a pretty nice guy and a good tournament player who didn't deserve that last heart.

I forgot to mention that in the last two sessions that I've played cards (Saturday and Monday), there were 6 quads, and one straight flush. I had FOUR out of the six quads, and I flopped 3 of them. Live poker is SO RIGGED!

Saturday, I have a pair of 4's on the button, and the flop comes down 4 4 6; LawyerMark is in to my left, as is the guy to his left, the flop is checked around.
Turn is an A, LawyerMark bets out the minimum $10 bet, guy to his left calls, I raise a whole $15 to a quarter, which is hugely fishy but they both have to call, and they do. River makes a flush, it's checked to me, I bet another fishy $25, LM just laughs and has to toss in the quarter, as does the other guy.

I flip over my hand and say, "Them's quads, beeetches!"

Mark just looks at me, and says, shocked: "I can't believe you just said that! That is so rude!" I sigh and say, "You'd need to understand the back story, it's just something we say at my home game," etc etc. He says he doesn't know that he'd want to play in our homegame if that's how we play, and I explain that they're the nicest guys ever, so he probably would like playing with them.

Then, not 20 minutes later, FC flops quad 8s and shows down to the river and he says, as he turns the cards over, "Them's quads... ...bitches". The entire table erupts in laughter, and I say to Mark, "See, that's what I'm talking about".

About 40 minutes after that, A the russian, gets quads, and as he flips them over says, "QUADS DEM BEETCHES", and this time the laughter is riotous, and there is a considerable amount of teasing that goes on, because Alex was so excited to say the line, he said it all wrong.

Then, when playing 10/20 limit on Monday for a break from thinking, I got quads 3 times in the first down of dealing; however, since I didn't know anyone at the table, I merely said, "Them's quads!"

Ah, the joys of live poker. I'll probably have more stories to tell after the HOE game tonight. Yay for the homegames.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Random updates

Holy cow, I got the slowest barista possible today, so not only did it take me longer than usual to get my medium skim campfire mocha, she also screwed it up and put toasted coconut on the top instead of the marshmallows of goodness. Dammit. So forgive me if I'm a wee bit tart today; don't stand between me and my caffeine.

Last weekend was a mix of good and bad:

  • the bad: I missed playing poker on Friday night, so did not get to meet Baz and his brother

  • the good: I missed playing poker because I was hanging out and being social for Keith's birthday, and had cake

  • the good: I had a +2300 Saturday, getting me back on the winning mentality

  • the bad: I had a -400 Sunday

  • the bad: I also had a -one cell phone Sunday

  • the good: I found out Verizon now has treo 650s, so now I have a treo 650, which makes me a happy maigrey

Also of note: Greg Raymer, last year's WSoP champ is currently 5th out of 27 in chips; Mike Matosow, his nemesis from last year, is the chip leader. Phil Ivey is also still in it; I can't wait for the ESPN telecast!

April is also a total wench for being in Vegas while I am not. She just text messaged me saying that she was sitting right next to Gus Hansen's (*very hot*) nephew. Beyotch. I am so green.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Elmo plays Poker

Also, Wil Wheaton is out of the WSoP, sigh. Check out all the main event details over at Pauly's site!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The boys would be so proud of me for making a fantastic move with my super laser reading skeels

The scene: $400min / $1000 max NL, $5-$10 blinds. I'm in the 3 seat, a somewhat tight player that I've played against quite a bit (and I know i'm better than) is in the 8 seat, UTG - thus the button is in the 5. UTG raises it 6x BB to $30. Calling Station in the 1s does his job and calls. I look down at KQo, and toss my $30 in.

Flop comes down QJT, 2 hearts. UTG checks (odd, he knows what a continuation bet is but ok), CS checks, I like my hand and bet $75 (3/4 pot). UTG raises $100 to $175. I get a confused look and call. AQ? AJ? Well, I don't have a heart, but I have a good draw, so I call.

Turn is the 8h - 3 hearts now, plus the 1 card (9) to a straight. UTG bets $150.

$150?? WTF? This could be either an 'I'm strong, so please come over the top of me' bet, since it's less than his $175 flop bet, or more likely it could be a 'Crap, I hate this card but I raised the flop and now I need to put something in' bet. He's borderline good enough to do either bet, though I lean towards the latter.

I do a little talking and then a light goes on in my head as I spot a clear as daylight tell. He doesn't want me to call. I want to verify this, and actually say this, in an amused tone of voice, "You really don't want me to call!" The tell just gets clearer.

I smile sweetly and look at him, saying, "I'm all in." Yes, boys and girls, I actually pulled the trigger; something that's hard for me to do. He looks startled, and says "How much do you have?"

This is a pointless question, as I'm sitting with at least $1000 and he's sitting there with less than $500 in his hand - I assume he wants to pick up some information, too. Little does he know my KQo has now turned into the KhQh. I confidently cut down my stack and say, "Oh, about $1200."

He hems and haws and haws and hems, and finally picks up his hand to show to his neighbor, and at this point I know I'm taking the pot down. He says to no one in particular, "What an AWFUL turn card!" and flips over the Ad As as he folds. "If I had the Ah, I would have called!"

Yes, but you and I both knew you didn't have it. SHIP IT!

To add insult to injury, I just drop a $1 chip on my cards and pass them to the dealer and rake the pot, instead of showing the bluff as my friend Sam suggested. I often show my hands when I have them beat, so the fact that I didn't show them is a 90% positive admission I didn't have him beat, but he couldn't be sure.

Plus, I can't absolutely wreck the idea that the girl doesn't bluff!

Sadly, some other things happened on Sunday morning that make me think it's time for a break from poker and when i come back to move my play across the pond to Resorts on a more permanent basis. We'll see what happens.