October 03, 2013

Bout time I made a post

Yes, almost 2 years since I posted, I was living abroad for a bit, so didn't play, or I didn't have the urge / time, so didn't play much. In January I have started playing more again, this time more on Pokerstars than anywhere else, and mainly the deep stacked games, I just love the dynamic there.

Recently however I have started playing more 100bb tables and I will say that although it is a different game, the tables here are great, I just play a little tighter here.

Playing all 6max, and the graph below represents my progress, some of these hands are 2011, nothing in 2012, and the remainder, looks good although some of that is at lower stakes deep stacked as I learnt a game plan around playing with different stack sizes and short handed. Will likely be the last graph I post for another year, as I don't see the point, unless I can play 100k hands per month, which, at the moment, I can't.

My view on the games is they seem same as before, ie pre Black Friday, just with new countries replacing the usual fish and sharks!

October 01, 2011

Full Tilt purchase news, and Player Funds

It seems finally FullTilt’s owners are beginning to understand that any deal is better than no deal, althoughI would imagine they have been “encouraged” to reach this conclusion, not by their caring for the outstanding player funds that they have refused to give back, but by their lawyers advising them that it may help their case. Hence it looks like there finally is a buyer, through the French investor Groupe Bernard Tapie.

No matter what happens I believe a deal with someone will happen, sometime. The DoJ understands that a lot of its young citizens have money tied up there, and it doesn’t want to bite its nose to spite its face . So a compromise will be found for the $1 billion in restitution for alleged bank fraud. Sensible profit orientated investors will see beyond the current mire and will see the long term profitability of the assets. I believe everyone will see their money at some time.

Post Black Friday it’s clear online poker is a still a fatted goat, and I for one would not rush to take my money of the site once it is reinstated and the site back online. And neither should you if you want to keep playing poker online and you’re not from the States.


First I don’t see them ever making a similar disgusting error again as the eyes of the community will be on them (never mind the authorities), and second, the Rush Poker format which I would imagine the patent ownership will go as a condition of the sale, is, quite simply, worth hundreds of millions in revenues in its own right.

Personally I hope Ferguson, Lederer and Ivy go to jail. Deal or no deal. I really do. Their silence on the issue over the past 6 months (notwithstanding Ivey’s nonsense, see my previous post), whether being advised by lawyers or not, makes me sick. They took the money for many years. They part-owned the company. They traded whilst being insolvent. They stole from us.

June 15, 2011

Thoughts on Fulltilt, Black Friday, Phil Ivey and Pure Greedy Rich Bastards

I didn’t have much to say about the DOJ and poker’s “big three” after Black Friday (although I was worried by it, having $10k online at the time), but with Ivey entering the picture, the whole thing changes perspective once more, and I do have thoughts on that.

Taking the points in order, I think the complaints from the poker community fall into two areas

1) “the DOJ is evil and stupid, how dare they, etc etc” and “the USA sucks, casino conspiracy" etc etc
2) "I want my money back" etc etc

Regarding point 1, if we take the time to read the charges and the build up to them, I don't see much that the sites can say to defend themselves. Let's even ignore the long DoJ indictment, and talk about the context of Black Friday. They were repeatedly warned about illegal activity, it wasn't just a bolt out of the blue, which makes it all the more stupid, or maybe just plain greedy, given the billions that were still to be had, even without the fatted pig of the American market. And us, the humble grinders????.....C’mon, we all knew what they were doing was breaking the law.

Lets hear it from someone who knows, how about Bwin joint CEO Norbert Teufelberger. Now Bwin is only the world's largest publicly traded online gambling firm (owning among others, Party Poker). In 2006, not only did Bwin pull out of the US due to the UIGEA legislation, but in August 2010 Teufelberger warned that FTP and Stars were illegally transacting using fake processing and that they would be prosecuted. Hell, his comments were even published in various mainstream industry magazines. It was no secret that an impending prosecution was on the cards.

One could argue (somewhat coldly perhaps) that the only stupid people here were not the DOJ, but instead any dumb American grinder who thought his money might be safe on an illegal (in his state, at least) gaming site.

It's irrelevant whether one agrees with DOJ and the legislation behind it, who does in fact??, but it is the fucking law in the most powerful country in the world for chrissakes, and you just can't go around whining about laws that you think are unfair, and thus justifying your breaking them. There's a lot of dumb Christians out there who think homosexuals should be put down, and they are in no doubt about their ideas being above any law. Should we just let them wander around doing God's work and stoning all these sinners??

Regarding point 2, this is where it gets interesting and gives my motivation for posting. Mr Ivey comes in and sues. He’s got tonnes of money, so must have good people advising him, and he’s of course super intelligent (poker is a game of skill, and he’s the best after all…) And in doing so, sets back the resolution process catastrophically. Here's why.....

So his main claim seems to centre around two areas, him being mislead by FTP and the misusing of players funds by FTP by diverting them to investments with the profits not needing to be channeled back to FTP allegedly.... (in true Robert Maxwell style) leaving them with liquidity problems (ie not enough cash in bank) despite massive overall worth.

And this is where the colossal moronic stupidity of his claims lies. Lets even leave out the nonsense about him somehow not realising that the UIGEA laws were passed making online cash transactions illegal in the US, lets accept that as he continued to take a slice of their illicitly fattened profits unquestionably, Ivey just kinda uhhh.....shrugged.... at the many many gaming sites who didn’t challenge the big three’s monopoly in the US, cos they just……er……liked them or something??? (nothing to do with their being worried about being prosecuted by the DOJ, Phil?)

No, what really makes this arrogant git’s actions so utterly idiotic, is his Robin Hood claim to make a stand for “solidarity” as he puts it, for the ordinary players (ie you and me) to help them get their money back. What he has actually done, being the biggest name in pokerworld, is start a run on the bank.

Because this is what Fullltilt primarily is, a virtual bank, and which, tragically, the fuck-you-all owners of Fulltilt have allowed to become vulnerable to insolvency due to aforementioned alleged greedy misuse of liquidity. A frenzied withdrawal activity, which had died down from the non-Americans after Black Friday, rears up in even bigger form as panic ensues for all players everywhere after Ivey's high profile $150m lawsuit is made public. In light of the above, I would suggest its got nothing to do with “solidarity” and everything to do with greed and self-protection. As the main face of FTP and a part owner, the sanctimonious prick should be up there in the dock with the rest of them. Being a part owner in four companies myself, the notion that I don't make it my business to know what the fuck is going on each year in them (and thus absolve myself of any responsibility) is simply absurd.

The losers in this are the players, not only in the USA, but the world over, as the filthy rich on both sides of this lawsuit attack each other's greed in public, and through Fulltilt's inevitable counterclaim against Ivey, at the expense of this important poker site that definitely still had an essential role to play in the future of online poker and its regulation, regardless of the outcome of these indictments. If the run on the bank continues, insolvency is a very real possibility for FTP.

Thanks Phil.

May 29, 2011

Ego and Me

Hell yeah, I have a problem with ego. It never used to bother me, in fact, I thought it was a positive thing. Helps with confidence, creativity and standing out in the crowd.

I like the way in life, through experience, you get to change your view.

Some of the best people I know have little ego, and it seems to help them making good decisions, and not be influenced by irrelevant factors. They also are almost always, universally liked by their peers.

I'm trying to address ego in me.

It's helping me in a number of ways, one of which is poker. A big ego can be the cause of many tilt issues, but one of the biggest is one's perception of entitlement. Playing less hands at the moment to continue to work on this.

April 14, 2011

Thoughts on Rush Poker and My Pokerstars Microstakes Bankroll Project

I have been experimenting with various different games in the last few months, and one of these has been Full Tilt’s Rush Poker. One of the appeals to me is that you don’t need to bother with table selection, seat position, table breakups, and the main one, hands per hour is almost four times that of normal tables.

I started with 6 max, and I have to say that over 20k hands I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. I don’t know what it was, but I seemed to be getting raised off every flop, and whenever I shoved, I was crushed. I ran 5bi below equity over the small sample, which didn’t help, but I still never felt I had the control in many pots. There was tons of 5bet shoving in levelling wars with garbage like 89s in the bb versus the sb, for example. It felt far more aggressive than normal 6max, and I struggled with the lack of time to make decisions. I fired up some normal speed tables at same stakes, and I realised that was the problem. 6max is all about hand reading and selective aggression, bluffing is a big part of the game. I’m happy to accept I cannot do that without more time/reads/history to consider.

So I’m trying full ring. Here it’s a value-based game, where a more ABC style is fine, extracting the most from your strong hands and giving up more on your weaker ones, which means I don’t have to beat myself up about not being aggressive enough etc.

Turning now to Pokerstars, I am having a great time at the micro micros, trying to build up a bankroll there from $20, see my previous post on this here. I am just about to go up to $25nl as I am up to $700. I just stack 6 tables on my tiny laptop when I fancy a game.

Observations? $5nl is so straightforward I don’t think there is much to say, I played a very loose style, double barrelling a lot and seemingly picking up a ton of folds. I only ever 3 bet for value.
$10nl starts to see a bit of knowledgeable players, scattered between recreational and maniac players, who are either ubernits or aggro donks and its easy to adjust accordingly. Here a bit more selective agression, and try to avoid coin flips.

So I will keep going with it till I get to $50nl and then decide what I want to do, as I will then have decent bank rolls at both tilt and stars, and be able to make a judgement on which is the better site to play small stakes games 50nl up to 100nl.

Heres the graph so far, which is missing about the first 5k or so.

January 25, 2011

Folding KK Pre flop

Our poker education is never ending, but I know there are many who think folding Kings pre is a complete joke.

At 6max it's harder to ever fold 1oobb deep (200+bb deep it's a different story), although when a nit running at 14/12 UTG raises and you 3bet in the SB, and he shoves, there is only 3 hands he can have. KK, AK and AA. KK performs 39% to that range, factoring in card elimation. We are crushed. He is never bluffing.

If we include a wider range of QQ, (where flatting is the norm) we are 54%. So calling a jam is so very very likely for us to be way behind. And we think we have an edge in the game???? So let the flip go.

When we get to full ring the fold is even easier, and when we get deep stacked, it's a no brainer. The following example shows how easy it could be 250bb deep to stack even "competent" players, who will never ever ever fold KK pre.

Poker Stars NL Hold'em Cash Game, 9 Players

LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

UTG+2: 263.40 BB
MP1: 141.20 BB
MP2: 257 BB
CO: 48.80 BB
Hero (BTN): 250 BB
SB: 100.40 BB
BB: 107.60 BB
UTG: 51.80 BB
UTG+1: 258.40 BB

Pre-Flop: K K dealt to Hero (BTN)
UTG raises to 3BB, 3 folds, MP2 raises to 10BB, CO folds, Hero calls 10BB,
(utg is an unknown, 52bb deep, 3bettor is running 19/13 over 75 hands with no 3bets and 257bb deep. Its an easy cold call of the 3 bet. I want to keep in UTG assuming he is behind, and I do not want to fold out 3bettors hands I am ahead of.)

2 folds, UTG raises to 51.8BB and is All-In, MP2 raises to 257BB and is All-In, Hero folds
(I am certain at least one of these players, if not both, have AA.)

Flop: (115BB) 3 Q 3 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (115BB) Q (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (115BB) 9 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Results: 115BB Pot (5.6BB Rake)
MP2 mucked K K and LOST (-51.8BB NET)
UTG showed A A and WON 109.4BB (+57.6BB NET)

Had I had AA on the button, I was winning the entire stack of my deep stacked friend. I mean, how much more obvious does it need to be when UTG shoves after a 3bet and a cold call???

What about the LAGS, what about the retards.....blah blah. I think you need a very good reason to call an all in in this spot, and that would include reads on 4betting and shoves over 300+ hands. In absence of that info......

January 15, 2011

Thoughts on bluffing and "history"

You have to bluff.

If you don't, its likely you can only be a break even player at the tables, unless you are consistently lucky, which I am not. Bluffing works best when you play deep stacked. 100bb deep or less, and they are usually OK about getting it in with TPGK. Most of you reading this will no doubt be content getting it all in pre flop with AK on a coin flip. I have blogged about this previously in detail if you care to look. I find it bizarre that everyone is delighted to be getting it in with 47% equity preflop, but nevertheless, that's the way it seems to be. Why not just play roulette and stick it all on red?

So making big bluffs at 100bb deep is risky, you are usually getting called.

Here I lose a big pot making a bluff 250bb deep, but bluffing at deep stacked poker carries investment value that can pay us off later on.

NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

BB: 100 BB
UTG: 215.20 BB
Hero (CO): 263.20 BB
BTN: 101 BB
SB: 255.40 BB

Pre-Flop: 6 3 dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG raises to 4BB, Hero calls 4BB, 3 folds
UTG is a tight nit 17/14 who only cbets when he has something.

Flop: (9.4BB) 2 5 J (2 Players)
UTG bets 6BB, Hero raises to 19BB, UTG calls 13BB
With my gutshot, and such a dry board, with is both deep, I make my mind up to bluff. I am aiming to get AJ+ to fold by the river. I do have a tiny amount of implied odds should I hit my gutshot, plus a decent amount of fold equity from AK/AQ, and mid pocket pairs.

Turn: (47.4BB) 6 (2 Players)
UTG checks, Hero bets 32BB, UTG calls 32BB
One could check here, as the 6 hits my hand for showdown value, but I am still sure I am beat, and think a big barrel can get a fold. It's clear he has a single pair hand, as a set is not check calling that turn usually.

River: (111.4BB) 2 (2 Players)
UTG checks, Hero bets 92BB, UTG calls 92BB
In for a penny.......

Results: 295.4BB Pot (14.4BB Rake)
UTG showed Q Q and WON 281BB (+134BB NET)
Hero showed 6 3 and LOST (-147BB NET)
I know, I know, he's a station, but man, how can you call there with QQ, I scream at the screen. Deep down, though, I think I am just an idiot.

So that was the bluffing bit, now to the "history" bit........

NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter

SB: 125 BB
BB: 62.50 BB
UTG: 434.75 BB
Hero (CO): 319.50 BB
BTN: 317 BB

Pre-Flop: 8 6 dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG raises to 5BB, Hero calls 5BB, BTN calls 5BB, 2 folds
So same scenario as before, I float off the aforementioned Mr Nit calling stations dumb UTG over-raise, with a hand just right for such an occasion, cracking his big pairs and getting paid off with his handsome stack.

Flop: (16.75BB) 7 A 9 (3 Players)
UTG bets 11BB, Hero calls 11BB, BTN folds
I have 34% against his range here, plus the implied odds, which are huge, so an easy call.

Turn: (38.75BB) 2 (2 Players)
UTG bets 25.75BB, Hero calls 25.75BB
I pick up the flush draw, to give me 9 more outs, and I am up against at least AK, AQ, AAA, 999, 777. I have 30% against this range, so it's an ok call, but I am really only calling this bet, because of my image as a bluffer.

River: (90.25BB) T (2 Players)
UTG bets 60BB, Hero raises to 277.75BB and is All-In, UTG calls 217.75BB
Oh beautiful Ten, the nut card. Station bets 2/3 pot, and my bluffing from our previous encounter now pays dividends, as I overshove jam the pot in a pretty bluffy way, very much expecting a call from his second best hands.

Results: 645.75BB Pot (32BB Rake)
UTG showed K A and LOST (-319.5BB NET)
Hero showed 8 6 and WON 613.75BB (+294.25BB NET)
In the previous bluff, I lost 147bb repping a set which he was incable of believing, here I rep a straight, and he is equally as non believing, and I make win a 645bb pot, and make a profit from my bluffing investment of 176bb. On a side note, really scary that someone would pay a bet like that off. Guy called me a moron in the chat.

Guess I'm not an idiot after all.