Monday, November 28, 2005

who's that girl?

Yeah, it's been a while. I'm still alive and still playing poker.

The lack of recent posts is mostly due to the fact that I'm more than a little weirded out by the fact that no less than a half a dozen people (including one dealer, hi Gary) have mentioned to me while I've been playing at Trump that they've read my blog. Not that this isn't incredibly flattering, but I didn't start out writing about my poker experiences to vault myself to be known to random people. Fame among poker bloggers and my friends, sure, but I'm not used to this people-I-don't-know-saying-hey-I-read-your-blog thing.

Don't worry, I'm not going away, I'll get over it, but at the moment, I'm going to be taking some time to adjust. And if you see me at the tables, don't be afraid to say hi just because I wrote this. :)

Meanwhile, you can read some (long) third party accounts of my adventures in fishing over at Shelly's site until I return.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Why do it, part two, angle shooting

Okay, so while the anonymous commentator's post sparked words about the fact that there are multiple ways to play stupid in poker, I realize I didn't really answer the commentators question, which I think boils down to:

Why do poker players angle-shoot?

The commenter says, don't good players want to avoid a confrontation with the opponent / floor and just keep their cards to themselves until someone says DEFINITIVELY that they're pushing / folding / checking? [...] I hear a lot of people tell stories like this, and they're either just barely over the line, or not-as-out-of-bounds as their opponent, but the fact remains that you don't want it to be YOUR fault when there's a situation like this.

Well, first off, good players want to rake in the chips. If you show me someone who doesn't shoot any angles, I'll show you someone who doesn't play poker. Angle shooting happens to be part of the game, and even the professionals utilize the rules to their favor. Jennifer Harman took a pot off Doyle when she tabled her hand and he mucked the winning hand, as noted in The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King. People will use the "string bet" rule to their favor when they don't want to pay big money to chase their draw, and Annie Duke is famous for wanting to allow Jim McManus to put in a string raise so that she can fold her A-rag and is livid when other players call it on Jim. I can't find the article, but what about the guy who looks down in the big blind, sees pocket aces, and says "I'm all-in. Just kidding, but I'm going to raise!" knowing full well that he's going to be called on it and the all-in will stand, but it could induce someone to call, thinking he's weak. The article actually talks about a professional player making this move, and says it's a move in the pro's playbook. But it's still angle-shooting, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Of course, the angles range from rule nit-picking (where I know I do angle shooting - I've called the clock on someone because I want them to fold), to annoying - like stalling when the bubble in a tournament comes close, to downright immoral (colluding, or cheating by sneaking on more chips than the max limit at the NL table would let you do), but I know people in all three categories - they all shoot angles. As a point of note, I don't condemn the immoral angle shooters, and in fact have gone off at them more than once when I find it out, and someone constantly shooting every rule-based angle gets on my nerves as well, but that is poker, and caveat emptor still is the default law in the card room, despite the clean up from the ol' wild west it used to be. YOU, the player, needs to be aware of what collusion looks like, what the rules are, and the like, so you can protect yourself, as well.

However, great players not only want to rake in the ships from the less-skilled players, but also want those players to have fun losing their money so they keep coming back and donating. In that sense, most great players stay towards the rule-based angles and try to do it as pleasantly as possible, especially when a whale is involved, because you don't want them getting pissed off to the point where they're going to take their ball and go home. But, in the case of the baby game at trump, it's really not as important, because when one guy gets up, there are 10 more waiting to take his place.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Why do it?

This started out as a conversation in this thread, but I think it's long enough that it deserves it's own post.

Also, I'm getting tempted to turn anonymous comments off because y'all don't SIGN them and I like knowing who's posting comments in my journal. HINT HINT

From an anonymous commenter:
but why do it?
sure, you can expose your hand if you feel like it, but don't good players want to avoid a confrontation with the opponent / floor and just keep their cards to themselves until someone says DEFINITIVELY that they're pushing / folding / checking?

I hear a lot of people tell stories like this, and they're either just barely over the line, or not-as-out-of-bounds as their opponent, but the fact remains that you don't want it to be YOUR fault when there's a situation like this.

My answer:
Actually, Mr. Anonymous, in this case I wasn't out of line at all - the action [from my view] went:

1.) Opponent thinks, then checks. (he made a hand movement that looked like check and only two people at the table could even hear that he said all in)
2.) The dealer looks at me for my action, and there's no way I'm going to bet that scary board, and I've been the aggressor in the entire hand, so I think I'm good, but anyone that can call a bet is going to win the pot.  Thus, I just table my hand and say, "jacks"
3.) My opponent, upon seeing my hand, tosses his cards into the muck
4.) Seven players, plus the dealer, assume that I win the hand, and the pot is pushed towards me.
5.) The player who mucked his cards starts screaming.

It's very very common for the aggressor to table their hand on the river when they're checking-esp when they're assuming they're good and don't need to see the crap their opponent was attempting to suck out on them with, so they save time and speed up the game by showing their hand and allowing the opponent to toss their loser.  What I did was commonplace at a live table, except that the better hand didn't table their hand and say "I beat you".

I wasn't trying to angle shoot when I tabled my hand; I honestly thought I had the best of it.  I am however, not going to forfeit a pot because my opponent was stupid.  The cards were in the muck, no one EVER saw them, and he could have as easily made a hand up and said "I HAD QUADS BEEETCHES!" but who could prove it?  That's the whole reason for the rule that you need to have a hand to take a pot, unless your opponent concedes by saying "fold" or tossing their cards in the muck.

It's actually part of the game of poker - there are many more ways to play stupid than just chasing draws or 3 outers to the river, and this is one of them.  If you sleep and muck your hand, you lose.

I have, myself lost a $300 pot because I didn't table my hand after being all in (which you don't have to do in ring game big bet poker), and missed that I had a full house to someone's flopped flush.  That was my stupid tax, and I now always table my hand when someone calls my all-in, because cards speak, and that has saved me at least twice that comes to mind immediately when I was ready to pay out a loss but someone said, since my cards were face up on the table, "no no, you win".  Don't get me started on railbirds saying "no no you win," that's a totally different subject for another day.

I've also seen people lose large main pots because their opponent for the side pot folds to a turn or more likely, a river bet.  The side-bet opponent folds, and says "Nice hand," the dealer pushes the side pot to them and by autopilot, they toss their hands in the muck, having forgotten about the all-in better.  Thus, just like in my case, the only hand that is live and not in the muck is the all-in hand, who wins the main.  The opposite has happened too - the all-in bettor, in their excitement, tables their hand out of turn, and one of the competitors for the side pot sees that, notes he can't beat that and mucks his hand, thus conceding the side pot to his live opponent.

That being said, there's a very good reason that when you are heads up, your cards are still live when you expose them: by tabling your hand in the face of a hard decision, usually an all-in bet, you can monitor your opponents reaction to find out if you should make the difficult call or not.  Since NL is a game that generally gets to be heads up post-flop, and you're not affecting anyone else's betting decision, it's quite a valuable tool - in fact I used this exact technique this weekend.  I had raised in position with AQo, and flopped TPTK with a non-coordinated board.  It was checked to me, I bet out a pot sized amount, and then got reraised all in by a regular for about $400 more.

Well crap.  He knows how I play, so he has to have a hand.  The question is, does it beat mine?  I squeaked, having mostly lost my voice, "Man I have a great hand! I don't know if I can lay this down." I look at him again, and decide to table my hand and see what the reaction is.  So I turn my cards up, but look at him the entire time, and say, "Are you sure you have this beat? Really?"  I see him look at my cards, and I see a tell that tells me he absolutely doesn't want to be called.  I'm not sure what he has, but I know I'm positively good and thus I say, "Call."  The dealer burns and turns 4th and 5th streets, and my opponent says, "Great call" and flips up KQ.

If I hadn't had the ability to expose my hand and get a read, I would probably have had to fold that pot, thinking there was no way I could be good.  In fact, my opponent then later asked, "Was that the hand you put me on?" I answered honestly, "I didn't put you on a hand, but I know you didn't want a call."  He looked at me funny and said, "I gave something away? I thought I wasn't giving anything away!"

Oh, but you did. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em

For those of you who have rarely played live, here's a tip for you: never toss your winning cards into the muck until you have been awarded the pot.  Let this be a reminder to those who do play regularly live, as well.  You should never give your cards to the dealer until those pretty pretty chips are coming your way.  Why? Because you may not be awarded the pot.


It's true.  Let me tell you about this true example that happened when I was playing on Friday night:

It's the baby game, and I've amassed a stack of ~$1500 in (play) chips.  With such a large stack comparative to the table, I turn from "only monsters" princess into G-Rob "how much do you really like your hand, short stack?" princess.  I'm in the cut-off (ish), and see J9 of clubs, and since it's folded to me, I bump it up to $15 to play.  The guy to my left calls, because he calls everything, the button folds, the SB folds, and the BB calls.  $47 in the pot.

Flop comes down Ad Jx 6d.  BB checks, I decide to check, the guy behind me checks, and the check is good. $47 in the pot.

Turn is a 8c.  BB checks, I bet $30,  guy to my left drops, BB agonizes yet calls.  $107 in the pot, heads up.  I put the BB on a flush draw at this point.

River is another 6.  BB goes into the tank and starts thinking.  After about 10 seconds, I say "that's not a diamond, sweetie", at which point he makes a hand motion and mumbles something.  I take this as a check, as does the dealer, and I turn my hand face up, as there's NO WAY I'm going to bother betting that with an ace and a pair on board.

The BB looks at my hand and then pitches his cards to the dealer at which point she pushes the pot towards me.

Of course, at this point, all hell breaks loose, and the BB starts screaming that he actually said "ALL-IN" not check!  I told him I didn't hear that and the dealer concurred, and he mucked his hand.  Instead of getting into a shouting match, I told the dealer to call the floor and let them make the ruling.

We explained the story to the floor, and the BB INSISTED that my hand was dead because I tabled (showed) it.  This is true if there are more than two players in the hand, however if you are heads up, you can expose your cards all you like, so my hand was still live.  The guy was not happy when the floor explained that to him, too.

The floor agreed with me, and awarded me the pot, to his screams of "but I folded trip SIXES".  The floor said that the only hand he saw at the table was mine, and he couldn't prove he had trip sixes, and thus, I was awarded the pot.

In fact, said the floor, I was being extremely nice because if I'd wanted to - as soon as I realized that he said "all in" and then mucked his hand, I could have said "call" and had the rest of the chips in front of him.

Somehow the BB wasn't mollified by that.  In fact, he then began to say that he was going to call all my $30 raises and get his money back.

Sho'nuf, 3 or 4 hands later I see Serena and Venus and raise to $30, and he (and the guy on my left who calls everything) calls. The flop comes down 9 7 2 all spades, and he checks to me and I bet $75; I don't LIKE the flush on board, but since I've got the queen of spades, I'm going to bet this pretty hard.

The guy who calls every preflop raise folds, and sho'nuf, the BB pushes all his chips in.  Since it's another $20 to me, this is an easy call. 

... imagine my surprise when he turns up a monster: 8s 3h.  SHIP IT TO ME.

So, kids, here are your lessons learned:
1. You can expose your hand to your opponent when you're heads up
2. DON'T give your (winning) cards to the dealer until you have been awarded the pot
3. 8s 3h is rarely worth $30 preflop, and not so much after a flop when you're drawing to a 9 high 4 flush.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

back in the saddle again

It was 1 pm on a Friday, and for the third weekend in a row, I was unexcited about going to the boats.  In fact, I could definitely say that I had absolutely no desire to go play live poker.  Was something wrong with me?  Was I coming down with bird flu?  Quite possibly.

I checked the IM listed, and oddly, badblood was online and not idle.  I posed this question to him, knowing that he'd give me a straight answer and not the "GO! GO!" answer most of my lovable-enabler-friends would give me.  After explaining my situation, he said that I should go and play - that the times when he is not excited to be playing is exactly the time that he plays his best and tends to win big, because of the lack of emotional investment.

I hemmed and hawed and continued to give reasons why I didn't want to go, to which he responded, "There are times when you cross the line from don't want to play to shouldn't go play - maybe that's where you're at."  He could be right.

Then I remembered some advice I'd gotten from G-Rob (yes, you heard that right), that he plays games with people who are worse players than him.  Which crystalized my feelings in my head: I had absolutely no desire to go play The Big Game, and that was absolutely ok.  When I thought about going to play the baby game ($200max NL), I found a desire to go to the boats, and told the blood this.  Hooray.

And then my afternoon meetings were cancelled.  If that's not a sign, I don't know what is, so I packed up and headed to the boats early, and hit surprisingly little traffic.

And wouldn't you know it? Both the G-Vegas guys were right- I played fantastic, and was making moves when I should be and I was running over the table and letting all the chips come to me like I was the black hole of poker.  I watched the big game go with a really tough lineup and said "Screw that, I'm making money here and it's so much easier than sitting there!"

In fact, when my KK ran into a flopped set of jacks, the player against me gave me one of the highest compliments I've gotten so far (although nothing can compare to otis telling me I intimidate him at the table), telling me that they were talking about me while I was away from the table and I was "probably the best post-flop player at this table." 

Boy, did that (and my considerable profit) help restore my confidence, I'll tell you what.


Omatard challenge total: 832 hands, +6.76

update: 950 hands, -7.24; i suck.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Omatard challenge

I've been sick all day; I did make it to the boats this weekend and it was a very very good weekend, and I have many stories to tell from it.

But tonight I decided to start thg's omatard challenge. Tonight's results: 432 hands, +$6.07. 

zoom zoom!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

That's a tournament win, beetches!

I love HORSE. LOVE IT, especially when for the first hour you get people saying "What's razz?" and "I got a low with 22 in Stud/8, it can't be 8 or better". LOVE IT.

That's a tournament win, beetchesI was chip leader for most of the way, until we went HU in hold'em which is one of my weaker games - short handed hold 'em. Of course, then we went into short handed O8. And, if you've been reading my blog, you should know that O8 is truly my worst game. I was outchipped 100k to 17k quite a bit, but luckily... jdquads is a WORSE O8 player than I am - he capped every street every time with any cards; he couldn't fold. I made some laydowns and scooped a bunch of pots knowing he was on a low pair, and then managed to work my way to this: (clicky for bigger version, and you'll need to tell IE to expand the window)

I wish drizz was here to see it, he'd be so proud! And thanks to boobie lover for sweatin' me - he has the line of the tournament in that snapshot!

And, since I know you're all dying for the next round...

Marry, F, Cliff:
1. Jessica Alba
2. Angelina Jolie
3. Elisha Cuthbert