12-31-05 [poker] - 2

12-31-05 [poker]

Played my first serious tournament in a while, a $30 three-table, it's the game I used to love and dominate before I started trying to switch to NL cash. I'm still a better tournament player than cash player, but I need to switch to cash because the profit potential is so much better. Anyway, I think it's one of the best tournaments I've ever played. The very first hand of the tournament I fucked around a bit with KJ and lost 1/4 of my stack. Immediately I realized I was being a moron and settled down and the rest of the way played solid and smart, good value poker, with just a few little bluffs here and there where called for.

In the endgame, one guy LONGFINGERS got a huge huge chip lead on everyone else and was running over the table. I had to avoid confrontation with him because there were some super short stacks at the table (I hate that situation). I managed to survive and got into the heads up. Starting the heads up, he had the chip lead on me, about 23000 to 7000. I totally punked him a few times, he was being stupidly over-aggressive and loose, and I got the chip lead, about 20000 to 10000. We traded steals and resteals a bit. A few hands later, this happened :

Seat 1: LONGFINGERS (12756)
Seat 3: chukb (17244)
LONGFINGERS  posts small blind (400)
chukb  posts big blind (800)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ Ks, 4d ] 
LONGFINGERS raises (1200) to 1600

	he min raises on the button, he does this with any two	

chukb calls (800)

	I certainly call with king high

** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 2s, 8d, 4h ] 
chukb checks.

	Middle pair is a monster heads up with the blinds this big.
	I check planning to raise, he'll bet here 100% of the time.

LONGFINGERS bets (2000)

	He bet continuation reliably.

chukb raises (15644) to 15644
chukb is all-In.

	I've got him.

LONGFINGERS calls (9156)

	He calls with A5 !!!

** Dealing Turn ** :  [ 7c ] 
** Dealing River ** :  [ 3s ] 
Creating Main Pot with $25512 with LONGFINGERS
Creating Side Pot 1 with $4488 with chukb

He spiked his gutshot, omg. Of course his two overs were also good, but he had no way of knowing that. That pretty much did it. Anyway, 2nd place isn't bad, and that one profit is better than my hours of cash play today, in which I kept getting in with donks and they'd show up with crazy hands and beat me.

With my current crappy cash game skills, my tournament win rate is much better, plus the variance in these small tournaments is much lower.

12-31-05 [poker] - 1

12-31-05 [poker]

Dustin started a poker blog - The Chapel Perilous . It's always nice to read about how great I am.

Bet the Pot has lots of articles, but they're super elementary.

I'm starting to dread when a middle card pairs on the river. So often people are calling me down with middle pairs and that board pair destroys me.

12-31-05 - 1


Truffle Garden is a SLO company that makes mighty good truffles. Give me anything involving chocolate, coffee, and nuts. Keep your freaking fruit flavors out of my chocolates!!


12-30-05 [poker] - 3

12-30-05 [poker]

I tried "LAG/SAG" play at $50 NL today. It went pretty well. I was open raising a lot of pots, always betting continuation, frequently bluffing after that if I sensed weakness. I took down a lot of pots with air, and got paid pretty well when I hit good hands. I ran into two problems - one, when I hit two pair and another guy hit a bigger two pair. When I play normal TAG, I can get away from two pair, but playing so wild I figure he's playing back with one pair, so I have to go with two pair. Not sure, maybe this is a leak. The other big problem was there were a few super-loose-passive crazy calling stations in the game, which really shuts down LAG/SAG play. I had to watch for them in the hand and become more of a normal value better, and since they were uber-loose they were in a lot of hands. SAG really only works against tight/weak opponents.

12-30-05 [poker] - 2

12-30-05 [poker]

After today's play, here are my notes to self to improve my cash game play tomorrow. A big part of my current goal in the cash game play is just to try to cut out a lot of my "moves"; I need to get back to just simple smart value poker, most of the moves I'm trying are -EV. Today I pulled a big bluff on a guy that I had correctly read for top pair. I represented the flush draw and raised all-in when the flush card hit. He called anyway and said "I thought you had the flush, but I had half my stack in the pot already so I had to call". Um, no, you didn't have to call, if you thought I had the flush you should fold. Note to self - don't try that bluff unless I'm sure my opponent can make that fold. And really there's no reason to pull that bluff unless you're not getting calls when you have a big hand.

! stop making blocking bets for now, just check-call or check-fold bad river cards
! stop c-betting the turn, also check the turn sometimes with pretty good hands
! watch out for "sponges" who will call or min-raise c-bets on the flop with any two - reraise them or call and lead
! try to get a read on how much they river bluff vs. value bet, if they don't bluff much just check it down
! play weak OOP, play strong in position - try to avoid being OOP
! don't be tight/weak , but also don't spew chips!
! avoid bad "reverse implied odds" situations - even if you probably have the best hand, don't
	make a big pot if it's not a hand that can play a big pot.  AQ is not a good hand!
! don't stab at multiway pots, there's no need
! I have a big leak in that once I get about 30% of my stack in the pot I have trouble folding, that's bad!!
! (again) - don't make big bluffs for now, just make small bluffs when they look weak

12-30-05 [poker] - 1

12-30-05 [poker]

Last night at the live game it was the battle for "Roadhouse player of the year". I was slightly ahead of Dustin going in, so he had to get more points than me by placing better. About half way through the game, I had the big stack and Dustin was on a desperately short stack, and it looked like I was a lock to win. Well, it didn't happen. I made one mistake pushing the A5 late. I (correctly, I think) thought that A5 was well ahead of Dustin's range there, but that still doesn't make it right to push since his calling range has me beat and I have no need to risk my stack like that late in the tournament. I went out in 3rd place and Dustin got 2nd, just enough to edge me by 1 point, 56 to 55. Congrats Dustin, you lucky bastard!

Let's check it out. Blinds were 1000/2000. Dustin raised to 6000. Jim folded the SB. I was in the BB with A5. We all had nearly identical stacks, about 24k. The payout was $40 for second and $100 for first. Before the hand started each of our EV was about $46, but I'd lost a lot from being in the BB already. If I just folded my EV would be $43. If I push, I'll guess he folds about 50% of the time (worse aces, king-highs). In that case my EV goes to almost $57. If he calls I'm probably dominated either by a pair or higher ace. In that case I'm about 30% to win. If I win my EV goes to almost $81. So, what's the EV of a push?

0.5 * 57 + 0.5 * ( 0.3 * 81 ) = $40.6

Compare to $43 for just folding, clearly folding is correct, though pushing isn't horrible.

12-30-05 - 1


The other day Dan and I were playing football, and she hurt her finger catching a punt. At first we thought it was just a bad jam, but I'm starting to think it might be broken knuckle. She can bend her joints sort of, but it's all swollen and blue. Unfortunately Dan has no health insurance, and an emergency room visit + X ray would cost a small fortune. At the moment I'm splinting it, icing it, she's on anti-inflammatories (now advil), and tying it to the next finger. I don't think a doctor would do anything else. I wish there was better online medical reference and OTC drugs, I'd just treat everything myself.


12-29-05 - 1


Poker Grader is pretty cool. It analyzes play and makes long term EV guesses about your play based on short term results, eg. it tells you the expected profit of your plays rather than the actual profit. Man, there's a lot of software to help online poker play these days. I guess that's what happens when you get lots of coders playing poker - they write apps to help them!!


12-28-05 [poker] - 1

12-28-05 [poker]

Played the live game heads up series with Dustin. It was 3-2 his lead going in, in a best of 7 series. I won the first match today and he won the second, which means he won the whole thing 4-3. In the first match I was basically holding over him, and in the second match he was holding over me. I think I played badly in the second match though, I blew off too many chips without hands. Not to make excuses, but I think I could've played much better if we put it off to another day. I always have trouble playing one game after another. After a tournament is over, I just get exhausted and my brain shuts down. It's like when you've been working hard and then get a vacation and instantly get sick.

12-28-05 - 1


Maybe I should do the Ken Demarest thing and buy an RV with a satellite internet hookup and "walk the Earth". It would severely reduce my monthly burn rate, cutting rent and my high bills. I'd hate losing my kitchen, I love to cook, and the RV bed can't be too comfortable, but parking and travelling around in state parks wouldn't be half bad. Looks like a decent used RV is around $70k , but they only depreciate maybe $5k a year and I can sell it when I'm done. Not sure how bad the expenses are with gas prices and such. Hookups are about $30/day which is $900/month, that's rather a lot. The sat hookup looks like a $2k initial purchase and then $70/month. I'd like to not have to purchase the equipment since this would be temporary. Looks like the total expenses would be comparable to my current expenses, though probably a bit less. Being able to play poker and walk outside to the grand canyon would be pretty priceless though.


12-27-05 [poker] - 2

12-27-05 [poker]

I've been watching "loloTRICKEDu" play the $1000 NL tables. He plays 8 tables at a time, and plays super-aggressive (SAG), which means open raising every pot, raising behind limpers every time, betting continuation every time. The thing that amazes me is just being able to do that on 8 tables!! SAG means you're playing almost every pot, he must have just a ton of shit going on all the time, I can't fathom it. I play 4 tables, but that's only possible because I'm very tight so it's rare that I'm playing on more than one or two tables at a time, mostly it's just fold preflop.

SAG is interesting, you almost don't even look at your hole cards or the flop until after you bet continuation. You raise preflop with any two, you bet continuation with any two. You only have to play if they don't fold to continuation. If they call or raise, then you look at your cards and the board and make a decision of what to do next. I'd like to work on trying to play SAG. SAG is easy to destroy - you just respond by playing super-tight. The SAG player is making a mistake by committing lots of chips to the pot with weak hands, and if you just play good hands then you'll get big pots with them.

12-27-05 [poker] - 1

12-27-05 [poker]

Yesterday I won almost $800 in the cash game, and then blew off $300 with some really dumb moves. Still a good day, but I've got to get the dumb shit under control !!

$100 No Limit Hold'Em
oneight  posts small blind (0.50)
Andy50  posts big blind (1)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ 2h, 2d ] 
conman33333 calls (1)
zongcap folds.
favrerette folds.
JONESED007 calls (1)
SEIZEDDAY calls (1)
chukb calls (1)

	with 22 I limp to try to hit a set

oneight calls (0.50)
Andy50 checks.
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 8s, 2c, 5d ] 

	bingo flop!  I hit the set, and there's also no scary draws to bust me

oneight checks.
Andy50 checks.
conman33333 bets (2)
JONESED007 raises (7) to 7

	interesting - JONESED likes his hand, maybe he has an overpair?

chukb calls (7)

	I just call.  I want to bust JONESED.  There are no draws, so it's safe to let him
	catch a card, maybe he'll make two pair or something like that.

oneight folds.
Andy50 folds.
conman33333 folds.
** Dealing Turn ** :  [ Kc ] 
JONESED007 bets (7)
chukb raises (24) to 24

	Second club hits the board, and he bets small.  Time to raise to build the pot.

JONESED007 calls (17)
** Dealing River ** :  [ 3c ] 
JONESED007 checks.
chukb bets (45)

	Third club hits the board, and he checks.  Looks like he had some sort of decent hand and now he
	wants to show it down cheap.  He didn't backdoor the flush, did he?  I need to bet for value.

JONESED007 raises (147.60) to 147.60
JONESED007 is all-In.

	Fuck, he check-raised all-in on the river.  He could have a higher set now, or the flush, or just
	two pair.

chukb calls (34.85)

	I can't really fold for that little more can I ?

He had the flush, with Ac8c. (top pair 8 on the flop)

I guess I should've pushed this sooner, and then just checked the river with the flush possible.


12-26-05 - 1


I had a lovely Christmas, mostly spent with Dan's family.


12-24-05 [poker] - 1

12-24-05 [poker]

I've lost more money with KK than any other hand. It's not even running into AA that gets me, it's running into sets and flushes and straights after the flop. I just can't seem to get away from a good overpair.

The fishes are out for Christmas. Today I've gotten allin with AA against 82o and J3o. Cracked both times. Fortunately I also cracked aces several times with sets and flushes.

Watched the Tournament of Champions. I thought Hoyt played great. There's some decent poker in it, but I'd say there's maybe 30 minutes of poker play in the 3 hour show, which is pretty pathetic and annoying.


12-23-05 [poker] - 1

12-23-05 [poker]

Nice little profit today despite taking bad beats in some big pots. My new mode of play is to play at one 6-max table, which requires a lot of focus, and leave a few 10-way tables open to set-mine on the side. This mostly works except that the freaking Party Poker app doesn't let you know when your hands are timing out. I've had several very good hands folded because the timer in cash games is really short, and the damn beeping doesn't work unless the party table is the active window (!!).


12-22-05 [poker] - 5

12-22-05 [poker]

I've been thinking about luck in tournaments vs. the cash game. In tournaments, you really need to get lucky preflop - get some good hole cards, some high pairs, some AK's. In the cash game, you really want to get lucky postflop. Preflop luck isn't that great, a high pair doesn't mean much. It's having your flush draw hit, or having his miss, etc. If you're not catching good holes, you just fold and you pay $1 for the blind to see some more. When you have bad luck postflop you lose your stack.

12-22-05 [poker] - 4

12-22-05 [poker]

"set mining" = playing NL (no limit), trying to hit big hands and bust people. Set miners are willing to lose a lot of small pots and blinds, because they'll make it up when they win big pots. The basic play of a set miner is to limp any pocket pair preflop. If you don't hit a set, you fold. (with an overpair, set miners will play pretty strong, but may still fold to aggression). Set miners make their money when they hit a set and someone else hits top pair. Set miners don't mind calling a raise with something like 22 since the raise means that player is more attached to their hand. The ideal situation is someone who has AA, and you hit a 2 for your set and take their whole stack.

To beat set miners : if they show any strength post flop, just fold, they have a monster (note that continuation bets are not showing strength). Raise and take their blinds, they won't defend them. When they limp into a pot, often raise behind, then if they check the flop to you, bet and take the pot. Remember sets are rare (1/7) so most of the time they will just fold the flop and let you take the pot. As long as you can avoid getting busted when they do have a set, you make money against them over time, slowly.

The meta set-miner game : I've been set mining, and notice other set-miners at the table. We generally know who each other is, and we'll make little stabs at each other. We both know that the other won't get involved in a big pot with less that a set, so we wind up betting the flop and raising on "bluffs" (usually we both have some pocket pair, but that's irrelevant because we're really just bluffing representing a set or overpair). A lot of set miners don't get involved in this nonsense, and you can exploit them to win some free little pots, but many set miners do get into this, and you have to watch out for it.

12-22-05 [poker] - 3

12-22-05 [poker]

Yikes. I lost $600 today. About $200 on rotten luck, and $400 on stupid mistakes. That's bad for the old EV. My basic game is pretty profitable, but I blow it all every so often with horrific errors.

Twice today I pulled the dumb move which I often critique - semibluffing when you have no fold equity. This is just a ridiculous dumb thing to do. If they won't fold, don't semibluff, just call if you have pot odds for your draw, and if not, fold! I had two straight+flush draws, one with a pair also, and both missed, (how can that possibly miss!? there's like a bazillion cards that help me!) but it's my fault I overplayed them and pushed too hard.

There's a cool dynamic that happens when a wild LAG (LAG = loose aggressive guy) is dominating a table. Fish swarm around, thinking that this guy is even worse than them. The LAG is playing 100% of pots, raising most of them, but he plays them well. The fish generally give their whole stacks to the LAG. At the same time a few rocks (pros) clamp onto the table and just hang out waiting for big hands to bust the LAG. They generally pick up a bit of money from the LAG, but rarely take his stack if he's good. Basically they're skimming some of the fishes' money that the LAG took.

At the moment I'm still really bad at scalping LAGs. I'm trying to get better at it, but they seem to always put me on tilt and make me play bad against them. This is why they dominate the fish! I think there's very good money to be made by hunting LAGs if you're good at it, and there's also very good money to be made be being a LAG if you can just avoid pots with the good LAG-hunters and isolate on the fishes.

12-22-05 [poker] - 2

12-22-05 [poker]

I wrote earlier about how PL is not really different than NL. That's true when you have deep stacks, but with short stacks PL gets pretty wierd. In the M <= 5 area, in NL holdem you would just be pushing any decent hand, and could get a lot more folds. In PL you can't push, which makes it easier for the BB to call and lets him see a flop. I'm not really sure how this affects late-game strategy, it seems like it would be important in PL sit-n-gos.

12-22-05 [poker] - 1

12-22-05 [poker]

The 2+2 forums have at least taught me one thing - pushing your big hands on the flop is good not just because of the various reasons that slowplaying is usually wrong, but also because frequently scare cards can come that will ruin the hand for you.

Say the flop is like 27T and you have 77 for a set. Your opponent might have JJ-KK and will probably get all-in with you if you push on the flop. If you slowplay and an ace hits, he'll get scared and you won't get any action. Similarly say the flop is all hearts and you have the flush. Someone with top pair or an overpair may get it in with you on the flop, but if a fourth heart comes, you won't get any action.

12-22-05 - 1


Who is Langdon Alger? It's a random name drop in a Simpsons episode . I was thinking it must be an anagram for dad, but I can't see it (I suck at anagrams though). There were various real life Langdon Algers, though none of them seem to be connected. Puzzle.


12-21-05 - 1


My poker helper app is coming along nicely. It's great fun writing code for myself again, not to make a product for customers, but just to make an app for myself. It's why I started coding and what I still love. There's something I want to do - play poker - and I can write some code to make that more efficient, more enjoyable.

I solved the big problem with sending button clicks to Party. The problem was I sent them too fast. Apparently you need to wait about a second after the button comes up before Party will respond to the message. I think that other apps that do this (like "MTH" - Multi Table Helper) don't have this problem because they are brutally slow. MTH seems to be written in C# or something, and no offense, but it's ridiculously bloated and slow for the tiny amount of functionality it has.

I now have about 100M of hand histories that I've scraped already. Certainly any time I sit down with a regular, I have detailed stats on them. I've been "set-mining" the full ring tables recently, and it's very useful to know who the loose/wild casual players are and who the other set-miners are. If a set miner reraises you and you have just one pair, fold!


12-20-05 [poker] - 2

12-20-05 [poker]

Played some more of the live heads up challenge with Dustin. I won one and he won one, so he's now ahead 3-2. I have to win the next two in a row to take it (best 4 of 7).

There were a lot of interesting hands. Very early in the first match I doubled up to basically win. It's very good to be known as an aggressive bluffer and catch good hands!! The trick is to bluff just enough so that you are known as a bluffer, so people will try to look you up, but then somehow manage to have the goods when you get "caught".

12-20-05 [poker] - 1

12-20-05 [poker]

FikkiFikki has been very wild/loose/aggressive. I hit top pair K's, but am I ahead?

Seat 5: FikkiFikki ( $92.13)
Seat 6: chukb ( $150.97)
Ylijumala  posts small blind (0.25)
FikkiFikki  posts big blind (0.50)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ Ah, Ks ] 
chukb raises (2) to 2

	standard 4x raise with AK

olalun9 folds.
Ylijumala folds.
FikkiFikki calls (1.50)

	his call in the BB means almost any two cards.

** Dealing Flop ** :  [ Kd, 6d, 6h ] 
FikkiFikki checks.
chukb bets (3)
FikkiFikki raises (10) to 10
FikkiFikki: bluff me

	His raise doesn't mean much, he check-raise bluffs a lot.  His chat is suspicious.

chukb raises (32) to 35
FikkiFikki raises (80.13) to 90.13
FikkiFikki is all-In.
chukb calls (55.13)

The chat is curious, it's sort of an obvious tell that he's got a monster. He's trying to get me to raise or call. On the other hand, what beats me? AA, or 6x only. He certainly can have 6x. What else would he reraise like this with? Perhaps not much, though maybe KQ, KJ, QQ, etc. The problem is I couldn't really tell how he was playing at this moment, he'd changed gears. I think a good rule is that when someone is playing strange and then severely changes gears, it's a good time to just leave the table.

Mmm.. well, apparently FikkiFikki stayed at the table for another few hours and dropped a grand. I guess it was a good play by me there with the AK, and I should've stayed at the table!!


12-18-05 [poker] - 4

12-18-05 [poker]

I've seen quite a few people playing super-agg style and doing it very well. This is sort of like Gus Hansen or Phil Ivey, but these guys have the pedal even further to the metal because the competition is weaker. They open raise almost every pot. They bet almost every flop. Then, beyond that, they play very well. They avoid paying off your monsters. Because of their image they get paid bigtime on their monsters. They attack relentlessly, so it's hard to show down a decent hand with them. It's a very tough style to play against. This style is highly profitable for two reasons : 1. it makes others play badly, and gives them easy action on big hands. They actually hit big hands much more often than normal players, because they're seeing more flops, so their J6o can hit that J66 flop. 2. They win much more than their share of blinds. Especially at a fast 6-max table, just winning one extra blind each revolution is a nice profit.

I've never played this style. In tournaments I play something sort of like that but with more caution. I attack the blinds a lot, I want to make my profit by taking more than my share of the blinds. Then, after the flop I hope to just play well enough to break even. I need to handle your play-backs well enough to not lose money after the flop. In cash games I've never really done this, mainly because my opponents are just way too loose, and I have trouble firing several bullets when I know they'll call multiple streets with junk.

12-18-05 [poker] - 3

12-18-05 [poker]

I guess this is an easy fold if you stop and think it through clearly. $100 NL with $1 BB.

Dealt to chukb [ Tc, Td ] 
chukb raises (4) to 4
tpoker9 calls (4)
Al4As folds.
Big__Nuts folds.
Spencer1968 folds.
LSUMD06 calls (4)
Dreds2c folds.
Balogna folds.
N373061P calls (3)
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 8d, 2h, 5d ] 
N373061P checks.
chukb bets (10)
tpoker9 calls (10)
LSUMD06 folds.
N373061P raises (102.22) to 102.22
N373061P is all-In.
chukb ?

The pot is $92 more to call for a pot of $230. What can he have here? I was thinking he was in the BB with a lot of people preflop, so a lot of diamond hands are possible, as well as 67. I would be surprised to see a higher pair just call preflop, but maybe JJ would do that, and maybe AA would trap like that sometimes. KK and QQ would raise preflop to drive out naked aces, I would think. He could also have any set - 88, 22 or 55. There are 3 of each of the set hands. Let's say there are about 20 hands that are currently beating me on the flop. There are 16 hands that are 67, and maybe 10 suited hands, AK of diamonds down to maybe JTd. If we discount some of the 67's, say there are about 20 hands that are semibluffing on the draw. So, it's roughly equally likely that I'm already beat or against a draw. (99 and A8 are also possible, that would be a dream, but I'll just ignore those for now).

In my head I was thinking - it's roughly 50/50 that he's semibluffing on a draw, ok I call. That's wrong. Even if he's drawing he's still perhaps 40% to win, because with the flush draw he probably has overs to me as well. TT is not very strong because of the problem with overs. So, 50% of the time I'm badly dominated, and 50% I'm only 60% to win!! That's a disaster, overall I'm only 30% to win, and the pot is not nearly giving me those odds.

EV = 230*.3 - 92 = -23 , so should be an easy fold.

12-18-05 [poker] - 2

12-18-05 [poker]

Got raped again today at the NL cash tables. Took a bunch of tough beats, but still managed to come back, and then in the last minute made some collosal errors again. The NL cash game is really giving me trouble because I have this problem of making a HUGE error once every hundred hands or so, in which I lose my whole stack. I would do the same back when I played limit, but it would just mean losing a few bets, which I could make up for with good play in other hands. The problem with NL is I fuck up and I lose all my profits for the day plus my original buy-in. All my profits for the month are gone now and I'm back to my overall buyin. I may have to take a break from NL cash and go back to tournaments to build my bankroll back up. That's ironic because most people do the opposite - make their profit at cash tables and then blow it taking shots in tournaments. I played pretty solid all day and was up about +200, then blammo! big mistake and my stack goes from $300 to $0.

12-18-05 [poker] - 1

12-18-05 [poker]

There is one really nice thing about pot limit - you can just type 999 in the bet size thingy and bet the pot, which is usually about the size I want to bet, which also sort of disguises the hand strength because people think you're not really thinking about betting pot.

12-18-05 - 1


One really annoying thing about doing the poker coding is that there's no community of code sharing. There are lots of poker-helper apps and AI's out there that people have developed, but they mostly guard their code like it's some secret trove of riches. I'm used to the game dev community where so many people are willing to help each other out. There aren't very many code communities where people are so open and helpful, game dev is really special in that way. It's just such a waste of effort for all of us to go through the same development problems and learn to tackle the same issues. You don't make progress that way. All of civilization is based on the fact that through sharing knowledge, we can start where our predecesors left off and go beyond them, rather than starting from scratch and just recreating their acheivements.

Part of the problem is that some of the code is semi-illegal if it interfaces with a poker host site. So that scares people about sharing it publicly.


12-17-05 [poker] - 2

12-17-05 [poker]

Blech. Another big mistake in the cash game. After playing well for an hour and making some solid money, I got some cock-assed idea in my head and blew it all away. I was telling Dustin the other night, almost every hand I get some crazy idea in my head about making a ridiculous fancy move. When I'm playing well, it's basically because I'm telling that instinct to shut the fuck up, and then making a rational decision. At the moment I'm still a losing NL cash player. I can make decent money in tournaments and lose it in cash. To be a pro though I need to learn the cash game, so I'm going to try to stick with it.

Ugh. A few hours later, same thing. Playing solid for a while, built up a nice profit, make a huge donkey move and blew off my whole stack + profit into a bigger stack. Somebody people punch me in the face the next time I do this.

12-17-05 [poker] - 1

12-17-05 [poker]

Barry Greenstein's book "Ace on the River" should be subtitled "Barry makes money on the poker book craze". All the recommendations from other players on the back should be "You should definitely buy this book, we say that because we want you to buy our book too".

12-17-05 - 2


"Pringle-Coated Sea Bass on Day-Old Wonder Bread Tuscan Salad" . My god, I can only hope that this is (hated, horrible) hipster irony.

12-17-05 - 1


Football coaches are such morons. They don't correctly evaluate the EV of their decisions and do risk/reward analysis. Many people have discussed the issue of going for it on 4th down. Another is the case where you have something like a 2nd and short. Most coaches in this situation call a play to get the 1st down, like an inside run or short pass. That's a huge mistake. In this situation you should pass probably 75% of the time, with the first look being a long route, with a check-down to a short one. It's a great time to run a risky play, because if you fail you still have 3rd and short (and even 4th and short).


12-16-05 [poker] - 4

12-16-05 [poker]

And now ... (drumroll) ... the stupid hand where I blow my winnings for the night :

Seat 1: chukb ( $101.70)
Seat 4: rdsxfn39 ( $64.85)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ 4s, Qs ] 
chukb calls (1)

	limp Q4s !?  That's a pretty poor way to start.  $0.9 mistake.

rdsxfn39 raises (2.50) to 3
DollyBeGood folds.
chukb calls (2)

	This call isn't horrible, I'm getting decent odds to see if the flop has spades.  $0.1 mistake

** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 4c, 7c, 2s ] 
rdsxfn39 bets (3)
chukb raises (6) to 6

	His bet could just be continuation with two high cards.  I have a pair of 4s which could well be good.
	My first mistake is this min raise.  That's too cute, I should have raised to 9 or more.  $1 mistake

rdsxfn39 raises (12) to 15
chukb calls (9)

	He reraises.  This is the key error in the hand, every other decision is a small mistake, this is a
	big mistake.  $8 mistake !!

** Dealing Turn ** :  [ 5s ] 
rdsxfn39 bets (36)

	He's short-stacked, he's basically bet his whole stack here, he only has $10 more.  I have a pair +
	flush draw.  He has $46 in his stack and the pot is already $36.  I think this is again a fold, because
	he might have a set, and if he has a set I only have the flush draw, not the pair+flush draw outs for
	two pair or trips.

chukb raises to 46

	I go ahead and put him in.  Fold is correct, but this is actually a pretty small mistake.  I need
	35% odds to play, and I have 32%, so I'm losing 3%, about $1.  Actually a better move is just to call,
	and then I can fold for the last $10 on the river if I don't improve.  $11 mistake

rdsxfn39 calls

Of course I was beat. I'm such a fucking donkey sometimes. I'll play tight/weak sometimes and fold when I'm in much better situations that this (like having a big draw on the flop, when pushing would be much better), and then my brain farts and I play a dumb pot like a loose maniac with no fold equity. Ugh. It's so frustrating. I play little edges all night to build a win, then blow it in a big stupid move.

12-16-05 [poker] - 3

12-16-05 [poker]

Fucking unreal. The timer just folded my AA in a $800 pot. There's like no fucking warning that you're about to be folded, it beeps once and then you're gone. FUCK!

Oh well, I may have been behind in the pot anyway. Today I tried to go fish hunting. I've got a bunch of really bad players in my buddy list, I'd search for them and go sit at their table, and play until they were busted. I made a hundred bucks doing this. It wasn't more because - A) they were usually already short stacked by the time I got into their table, and B) often other people would take their stack. I'd like to say I was avoiding pots with other people, but I didn't really do that. Anyway, I spotted one of the fish playing up at a NL $400 table. I don't usually play $400, but I decided to go up there to try to bust him. It was a tough table, lots of stealing preflop and I got into some nasty battles with people who would bluff & re-raise bluff. The fish got busted but I didn't get any piece of it, and by then I was down a hundred. Then I got the above mentioned horrible AA hand. After putting in a ton of chips I was thinking and suddenly my cards were in the muck. Well, that was about enough for me.

12-16-05 [poker] - 2

12-16-05 [poker]

My best play of the day (so far) :

Seat 1: chukb ( $105.45)
Seat 3: IhateFish10 ( $91.71)
Seat 5: I1956 ( $20.55)
jotto13  posts small blind (0.50)
IhateFish10  posts big blind (1)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ Ah, 5s ] 
galactical folds.
I1956 calls (1)
chukb raises (4) to 4

	I raise with A5o , this is very loose, but the whole point of this hand is that I1956 is a super-loose
	nutjob.  He limps any two, so A5 looks to be good.  I'm mainly raising to isolate, I want the rest to
	fold, and he calls any raise.

jotto13 folds.
IhateFish10 calls (3)
I1956 calls (3)

	Damn, the big blind called too.

** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 9h, 8c, 7d ] 
IhateFish10 checks.
I1956 checks.
chukb bets (6)

	Standard continuation bet on the flop.

IhateFish10 calls (6)

	The big blind calls.

I1956 raises (16.55) to 16.55
I1956 is all-In.

	I1956 is on a short stack and raises all-in.  I knew that he just loved to check-raise flops when he had
	nothing.  When he had something, he'd usually lead out on the flop.  This is almost certainly no pair.
	Maybe he has a better ace high, but I'm well favored against him.

chukb raises (21.10) to 27.10

	My problem is IhateFish10 is still in the hand.  He can easily have a draw and it's only $10 more to him,
	which is an automatic call.  However, if I raise, it will look like we're both strong and he'll be gone.

IhateFish10 folds.
** Dealing Turn ** :  [ Th ] 
** Dealing River ** :  [ 4c ]

Turns out I was right, he had no pair. Unfortunately, he had a J so that T on the turn filled his gutshot. Also, IhateFish10 has a 7 on the flop, so he was ahead. A5 is a little weaker than I'd really like to have in this situation, I would've been much happier having a T as insurance, but sometimes you have to work with the situation you're given. I knew I1956 was going to donate the rest of his stack in the next few hands and I wanted to make sure it went to me.

12-16-05 [poker] - 1

12-16-05 [poker]

Last night I think I made a good fold, let's see if it actually was. The board was 456 with two clubs. I had 42 with the 2 of clubs (I'd limped the SB). Dustin was in the BB. I had a pair, so I bet. Dustin made a big raise. Now, Dustin either has a better pair or some kind of draw, possibly a very good draw, like a flush draw + overcards, or a straight draw + overs with one club, things like that. His raise was roughly pot, so I'm getting 2:1 to see another card, though almost any card that comes off is a scare card so it will be hard to play out of position. Because of that I'm really in a push or fold situation. The problem is if I push he can call with his good draws, which are actually a favorite. Now that I look back at it I see it was an easy fold, even if we put a 10% chance in that he had just overs and no pair or draws, it's still a clear fold.


12-15-05 [poker] - 7

12-15-05 [poker]

Great night at the live game; played another game in the head's up match with Dustin - won. Played five-handed - 1st place. Played four handed - 1st place. Dustin wants me to point out that I only won that last one because I hit a two outer. It was a semibluff! Actually, I guess I got mighty good cards, I hit a lot of big hands and got paid because I've become known as a bully & bluffer.

12-15-05 [poker] - 6

12-15-05 [poker]

My WSOP training plan :
  • Play a lot of NL cash. This will improve my game in the big-stack small-blind scenarios, which I'm currently weak at.

  • Play a lot of SNG's. This is good practice for the final table. As I've mentioned before, playing a multi-table is foolish unless your final-table skills are top notch.

  • Play more in real casinos. I want to play a bunch of the Sunday tournament at Chumash. I need to get over the jitters I get when playing with real people and chips.

  • Keep reading and studying. Read & post on 2+2. Go back through all my poker books again.

  • Play some higher limit MTT's online. The higher buy-ins should provide tougher competition and be better practice, more like a wsop event.

  • In general, play more. I'm currently only playing about 4 hours a day, I could get that up to 8.

12-15-05 [poker] - 5

12-15-05 [poker]

In NLHE with deep stacks, it's far better to have 88 than AK. There are two small pot scenarios - if there's no ace or king on the board, the 88 probably wins a small pot, if an ace or king falls, the AK probably wins a small pot. The big pot scenarios are when an 8 and also an A or K comes, or when the AK makes something big (like a flush with AKs or a straight). The key here is that a flop like Kx8 is far more likely than a board like QJTx8. The chance of one of these miracle flops (Kx8 or Ax8) for the 88 is about 3%. The really great thing is that you're basically free-rolling to hit that, because the rest of the time your wins and losses roughly balance out.

12-15-05 [poker] - 4

12-15-05 [poker]

Sit-n-gos are good practice, but they're hard to make money at. The people that I've heard of making good money at them play the 100+9 level usually, and play 4 or 6 at a time (!!). Today I played a bunch. My places look pretty good : 4th, 2nd, 7th, 2nd, 4th, 2nd, 4th. Net profit : $34. There are two nasty things in those stats though - three bubbles (!!) - and three second places, I lost all three heads up finales. In the first one I got totally outplayed by a guy who changed gears brilliantly. He had been super tight all match, and as soon as the heads up started he was st In the last two I think I played better but got unlucky, lost my races and ran into monsters.

I played 30+3 seriously for the first time today. There's a big difference from 20+2 to 30+3. The guys at the $22 level are still mostly nutty fishes, at $33 the majority of the field are tight. Not all of them are good, there are a lot of weak/tight rocks there, but it totally changes your steal and fold equity - suddenly a hand like KT raised preflop is a bluff/steal, not a value bet (!!). There's a lot more preflop folding, and the show downs are much better hands. I flopped a set against a guy with AK who hit his ace, and he didn't go broke to me, which is unheard of at the lower levels.

12-15-05 [poker] - 3

12-15-05 [poker]

I fucking hate AQ. What am I supposed to do in this hand ?

Blinds 15/30
Dealt to chukb [ Qc, As ] 
(folds to Pooh)
PoohtheBear raises (90) to 90

	standard 3x raise in late pos.  He's pretty tight, so this is surely a pair or high cards,
	but could just be something like JTs

chukb calls (90)
(rest fold)
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 4d, 3s, 2c ] 
PoohtheBear bets (180)

	The pot is 225, so that's almost pot size.  Either he has a PP or his high cards whiffed.

chukb folds.

	225 is about 1/3 of my remaining stack, so I can't just call.  I have to fold or push.

I hate this whole line. Preflop, I'm most likely racing or ahead (I could also be dominated, but that's less likely).

12-15-05 [poker] - 2

12-15-05 [poker]

This is the worst player that GoldBullion has found so far :
name     hands   plays %    won total   won per hand 
xxxx     74      100%       -268.73     -3.63
(name hidden). Over 74 hands seen, this player has been in every single one of them !! An average return of -$3.6 dollars per hand played!

12-15-05 [poker] - 1

12-15-05 [poker]

The "Party Poker Strategy Guide" has some ok stuff, especially for beginners. I really like these hand history movies - it's always grounding to see how good players play.

Poker Stove is pretty cool, but then you knew that, right? Hey Stove guy, you should add the thing to show the percentage chance of making various hands. I still like the console interface of my simulator, but his is blazing fast and it has some nice things, like taking ranges of hands, ala "AK-AT".

12-15-05 - 5


The Simpsons halloween special where Homer goes into 3d land is pretty rotten, and the CG is just so hillariously bad, it literally looks like a sample scene from Maya, with people using the built-in fx and such. Anyhoo, Homer sees a street sign with the 3 axes - and Y is up! He mentions Stephen Hawking and they have a Y up coordinate system! That's a travesty, a sham, and a mockery !

12-15-05 - 4


When the VTEC kicks in and my Prelude jumps forward and engine starts screaming, it feels fast. It's not fast, I know, but it feels fast - various things contribute to that, but a lot of it is because before the VTEC kicks in, it's much slower. It's the change in acceleration that's really noticable. I always tried to convince people of this when I was in games - if you make the character and all his vehicles super fast all the time, he doesn't feel fast, if all his weapons are super powerful, none of them feels really powerful. It's the deltas that really have a big impact.

12-15-05 - 3


Why doesn't anyone use units in coding? That is, you don't code the units in, but the units are stored in the data members. The way most people do it, the units are implied are hard-wired. eg. people will code things like "float g = 9.8;" and it's just implicit that g is in meters per second squared. Why not actually store data with units? Yeah, it bloats the data a bit, but it could be stripped for storage. Storing units would eliminate any unit conversion errors, and also provide a very valuable check to all your maths. eg. when you try to multiply meters by mass and store it as a time, you did something wrong. I would think that at least people like NASA would do this for security, but apparently they don't (and they lost a spacecraft because of it). I guess this will probably never catch on in games. (there's a similar argument for having separate classes for "Point", "Vector" and "CoVector" , which is again something that will probably never catch on in games, the benefit is too small for the cost).

12-15-05 - 2


The 2005 Colts are one of the best teams in football. The only black mark on them is their defense is not really that good. I think perhaps the 1988-89 SF 49ers is the best team ever, because of that balance; everyone remembers Montana & Rice, but few remember that their rushing offense was in the top 5 in the league, their defense was top 5 in all categories, etc. The recent champs have all been pretty poor. I absolutely love the Patriots, but the great thing about them is they're not actually super-talented, and just manage to win through hard work and good coaching.

12-15-05 - 1


"Making money" at poker is a weird thing in an economic sense. You're doing a profession, providing a service. That service is to play with fishes and trounce them. Apparently they value that service highly and are willing to pay for it. In a sense I suppose it's just like being a masseuse or any other entertainment service provider - people are willing to pay you a high hourly rate for your services, in this case playing poker with them.


12-14-05 [poker] - 5

12-14-05 [poker]

The 10-man cash tables are nice because you can sit around and wait for big hands and pay less in blinds. That's the slow wait-for-monster game. The 6-man tables are nice because you can isolate with the real crazy fishes much more easily. When you do that, hands like top pair can be double-up hands, whereas at the 10-man game you're waiting for sets and flushes and such.

When you have a good run at the NL cash tables, it feels like your hourly rate could just be insanely high. You stop thinking in terms of "N big blinds per hour" and start thinking of "N buy-ins per hour" !! Of course that's not sustainable. It will be matched by the days when you get your money in with the best of it over and over and lose a fortune.

12-14-05 [poker] - 4

12-14-05 [poker]

So, I figured out how to play the super-aggs who raise all the time preflop. The first crucial thing is to stay tight. The next thing is to play only hands where you have position on them unless you have a monster. They're going to be raising almost every pot, you can choose which ones to get involved with. When you do get involved in position, you want to reraise them to isolate them, and also for value since your cards are almost certainly better. Assuming they call and you see a flop, now you just have to play good poker like you would against anyone. A good no-pair like AK or AQ is probably worth showing down if you can. Almost any pair could be good at that point, but remember pot size goals - show down a small pot with bottom pair, build a big pot with top pair. The crucial thing is the preflop play though, after that it's more normal poker, with hand values sort of like a battle of the blinds.

12-14-05 [poker] - 3

12-14-05 [poker]

I finally made some good money at the cash tables today, and promptly went and lost money in SNG's (sit-n-gos). I wasn't focused and played pretty badly. I need something like a breathalizer for PartyPoker that tests if I'm focused and won't let me play if I'm not. This of course is another advantage of cash games - you can sit down, and as soon as you realize you're not playing your best, you stand up and leave. In tournaments, you buy in and then you're stuck. At most of these I felt like I could see straight into everyone's soul, and still played badly.

I found some good poker blogs : 21 outs and aprock . Both are high stakes online players. Reading these guys and doubleas is encouraging in a few ways - 1) They all still tilt and blow off tons of money playing badly, 2) they don't seem to be doing anything particularly amazing in their play, they struggle with the same situations I do (though they also play some hands with great sophistication) and 3) They make most of their money playing against really bad players. That's one of the amazing things, even at the $40/$80 levels, there are ridiculously poor players who will donate to your bankroll. At all levels, playing against the good players is a bad idea, you make your money from the donkeys.

One interesting thing I've noticed in my own stats is that I'm playing big pots far too often. A "big pot" in GoldBullion is any pot of 10 BB or more, or any pot you're all in. 10% of the pots I play are "big". Compare that to around 30% for the really LAG (loose aggressive) guys and around 1% for the really tight solid guys. I need to get that down below 5% ; basically it means I'm gambling too much with a lot of chips in marginal situations.

12-14-05 [poker] - 2

12-14-05 [poker]

This is a wicked tricky hand.
Total number of players : 8
Seat 1: chukb (1095)
Seat 2: clevelandohd (485)
Seat 4: flyersfan_75 (1530)
Seat 5: DonaldW (1465)
Seat 6: KCL96 (1760)
Seat 7: markshark333 (820)
Seat 9: urbeatagain (935)
Seat 10: redtails (720)
urbeatagain  posts small blind (15)
redtails  posts big blind (30)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ Kc, Kd ] 
chukb raises (90) to 90

	KK utg, I raise it 3x

clevelandohd calls (90)
flyersfan_75 folds.
DonaldW folds.
KCL96 folds.
markshark333 folds.
urbeatagain calls (75)
redtails calls (60)
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 5h, Ad, Qh ] 

	Three callers and an ace on the flop, fuck!

urbeatagain checks.
redtails checks.
chukb checks.
clevelandohd checks.
** Dealing Turn ** :  [ Ah ] 
urbeatagain bets (300)
redtails folds.
chukb calls (300)

	This is funny.  He checked the flop, and now leads out pot size.  That's funny.
	It seems to me if he had something great he wouldn't bet so big, does he want a fold?
	He also may just be defending against the heart draw, maybe he has an ace and wants to
	take it down.

clevelandohd folds.
** Dealing River ** :  [ Jh ] 
urbeatagain bets (545)
urbeatagain is all-In.

	A fourth heart hits and he leads all-in !?  Very strange.

chukb folds.

I really think there was a good chance I was ahead on the turn. He could have something like KQ or QJ with a heart. He could even have something like TT. After the flop checked through, he may assume no one has an ace. When the fourth heart comes on the river and he leads all in, I have to think I'm behind. He wouldn't do that unless he has at least a flush, I don't think. He must have a flush or a house at that point, so I have to fold.

Maybe I should have bet the flop just to test if there was an ace out there. On the turn maybe I should just fold.

12-14-05 [poker] - 1

12-14-05 [poker]

For me playing No Limit or Pot Limit is pretty irrelevant. I almost never bet over the pot in NL, and any time I do I can just bet pot and I'm not losing any value. People talk about pot limit as being more complex where you have to build the pot, blah blah blah, I think that's a load of crap. You have to do the samething in No Limit, since most of the bets are based on the pot size. For example, if you have a really good drawing hand, you want to start betting it early to build the pot in case it hits. That's just as true in NL as it is in PL. Also, if you have a good hand and suspect he's on a good draw, you frequently need to check-raise, or bet and reraise in order to put enough pressure on him to make him fold. Again that's just as true in NL as it is in PL. Of course in NL you could just lead out well over the pot, but that's almost always a mistake, because it 1) defines your hand too much, and 2) gets you stuck for a lot of chips when you're beat.

The only disadvantage of playing Pot Limit is that it removes a potential huge mistake from your opponents, which is the all in bluff. At the NL cash tables you see it pretty often that someone will push allin on the river, way over the pot size, on a pure bluff. That's a great +EV situation for good players, so by playing pot limit that's removed and that sucks.


12-13-05 [poker] - 3

12-13-05 [poker]

Any Party players who want to help out, send me your hand histories. They will feed the GoldBullion monster.

In other poker news, I've decided I'm going to play the WSOP next year. At the moment I don't think I'll play the main event, more likely one of the $1000 NL events in the series. I don't like the idea of putting up $10k when it's almost certainly returning $0, and I also don't like the idea of spending a lot of time and money in satellites to win an entry, and then have that return $0. I'd like an event with 1000 people or less. In the mean time, I need to get a lot better. I'm still making a lot of mistakes. I think my theory is very strong and my basic game is good, but I make mistakes in the heat of the moment.

12-13-05 [poker] - 2

12-13-05 [poker]

Having something like a decent top pair against a flush draw in NL cash is a horrible spot to be in. Most NL cash players will call huge bets on the flop with their flush draw based on the concept of implied odds. I think this is pretty poor play, but it's very common. The problem you have with top pair is now the pot is getting very big, and you may have to bet it solid the whole way. If you ever check or slow down, it makes it easy for them to raise you big and then it's hard to call with just a decent top pair.

I've now run into my second super-agg player online. These guys raise any two cards preflop, but then play well after the flop. This strategy works because it makes people play badly with you after the flop. That is, you lose money playing this way preflop, it's a bad preflop style, but if people get thrown off by this and think you're a total donkey and then pay you off postflop, it can be very profitable. In particular, it gets you big action when you have a good hand. Drew and I try to do a small version of this, which is just always betting heavy continuation. Betting lots of continuation means you win some pots with bluffs, and it also means you get paid off well when you actually hit big hands. You just have to be careful not to pay off when you're beat.

12-13-05 [poker] - 1

12-13-05 [poker]

There's a fucking horrible thing that happens with the rake, where it's a huge disadvantage to get allin and split the pot. If you both have the nuts and get allin, a huge rake will be taken because the pot is huge, and you'll both lose money on the hand. Because of this there's some motivation to check it down when you're pretty sure you're splitting. I hate this because you will find donkeys who get it in with the 2nd nuts when it's obvious you have the nuts, so for them you do want to push.


12-12-05 [poker] - 3

12-12-05 [poker]

I was reading this book about Baccarat, which was funny because the author clearly despised Baccarat, thought it was just a stupid game of luck for people who want to gamble without thinking, and pay a high rake at that. Anyhoo, he mentioned a funny thing about casino profits. Some casino owner was talking about how he makes his money. He said that when the house wins hands, that's not actually profit. They might take down $10,000 when the house wins, but that's just a loan that the clients are paying into escrow. That comes back out again when someone else beats the house. The house gets its profit when the client wins a hand, because it doesn't pay out the full $10,000 - a win only pays out 95% of that, and the 5% take on that is profit for the house.

This same principle applies in poker. When you hit a house and he hits a flush, you might win a huge pot - $1000 perhaps. But that wasn't really profit. That just goes into your bankroll escrow and waits for the time when you have the flush and he has the house. In fact, your profit comes when he hits the house - because you don't pay him off a full $1000. Maybe you get away only paying him $500 when you have the flush, now you just made a profit of $500.

12-12-05 [poker] - 2

12-12-05 [poker]

Getting allin in a tournament (near the money or in the money) is almost always -EV, even with very good hands where you're a 70/30 or 80/20 favorite (!!). However, that doesn't mean pushing in is -EV. There are two factors : 1) the fold equity if they don't call, which you love, and 2) just folding may be an even worse EV move. That is, the fold itself is of course 0 EV in terms of chips, but the strategy of folding and not getting in may overall be very -EV because the blinds will come around and consume you. You see this most obviously when you're under the gun with a hand like AT, and assume if you push you'll get called - pushing and getting called here is almost certainly -EV even if you're way ahead, such as a call from K2. On the other hand if you fold, next hand you're in the BB which in itself is a bad -EV thing.

12-12-05 [poker] - 1

12-12-05 [poker]

I played some $100 NL last night and lost money as usual. I found a really juicy table, captained by the loose heavy pusher "CantAManRoll". He was open raising almost every single pot, and frequently bluffing after that. The problem was he was actually a pretty smart, tough, aggressive player. He wasn't easy to trap with good hands, so if you just try to wait for a monster, he'd probably dodge paying you off big. On the other hand, he was also hard to bluff, because he'd call with draws and things like very weak top pairs. It was 6-handed with blinds .50 and $1, so you can't just sit back forever and try to catch monsters. He would take the blinds far too often with raises to $4 or $5.

I frequently ran into tough spots; I'd wait for a nice hand like an AQ or AK, he'd raise and I'd call or reraise. Often he'd just fold there if I reraised, sometimes he'd call with a hand like 97s. Then I'd totally whiff the flop. A hand like AK only hits a flop about 1/3 of the time, so 2/3 of the time you whiff. Now what? He's essentially on random cards, you have no idea if you hit the flop or not. If you check, he'll bet either way. If you bet, he may call with a pair or just a draw. You may have to bet big all three streets to get him out.

The next problem is that he's frequently playing flush draws and straight draws, but he'll also bluff flushes and straights, and he'll call big with the draws. Say you call his preflop raise with KQ, the flop comes with a K and two diamonds. You lead out over pot size. He calls. The turn comes another diamond. What do you do? Probably you're good, but he may have just hit the flush. It's also possible he could raise here bluffing the flushing, especially if you check or bet small in a way that looks scared.

What's the right way to play this guy? It's sort of like he's in the big-blind of a $4 blind game, since he's putting in those chips with almost any two. So, you need to play like that. Wait for good cards, and then reraise to $12 or $16. When you whiff the flop play just like you would - bet continuation in some cases, check or fold in some cases. Most of all, don't get caught up "slumming" with him, don't start getting attached to bottom pairs and things like that. He will play big pots with bottom pair - you won't.

12-12-05 - 2


Ok, this is kind of morbid, but I still get email from my old rugby team, and they just sent out news about a recent tournament which is somewhat humorously unsurprised by the bad news - "Saturday, December 10, 2005, was a great day for rugby and I want to thank all of you who attended. [...] Unfortunately, there were three significant traumas during the day. [...]"

12-12-05 - 1


New Orleans is already gone. It cannot be rebuilt. Somehow through the years New Orleans had resisted the homogenization of the American city, the tearing down and rebuilding, the sprawling suburbs and urban decay. Now, even if it's rebuilt it will not be New Orleans any more, it will be Generic American City Clone #27, with New Orleans themed TGI-Friday's.


12-11-05 - 1


There're too many hand shakes. It's horrible when you're going up to someone, "hey! how's it going", and you go to do some hand thing and you're doing different ones and your hands just get messed up and then there's this awkwardness and you both want to pretend you're not there. There needs to be some kind of telegraphing to let each other know what type of hand thing you're going in for, like a square dance caller.


12-10-05 - 2


Up for Poker seems like a decent poker blog. It's hard to find poker blogs by people who actually play decently and also write well. DoubleAs is good but he doesn't write much. Of course I'm the best, but I can only read my own stuff like five or six times before it gets boring. I like to read it in funny accents and pretend some foreign guy wrote it.

12-10-05 - 1


Saturday morning business update :

Gazprom could be a very good long term energy investment. It's the Russian natural gas company, and has the largest energy reserves of any publicly traded company in the world. It also may not be so ridiculously highly valued as the major western energy companies. The big question mark of course is Russia's continued corruption and government interference. Will Putin and his cabal allow Gazprom to operate as an independent company, or will they seize assets and profits? Most stocks in Russia are traded with a risk discount, and if the government ever reforms they'll all go up. I think reform is inevitable, but it may take a while, since Putin's successor will certainly be one of cronies, and their power structure may last a while.

What about media and cable companies? Many changes are afoot, between DVR's, direct content download, and recent moves by cities to create free wireless networks. The short answer is that not very much will change. A few companies may gain or lose profitability, but there won't be a vast shake-up of the system. For one thing, replacing advertising with payment will never happen. Advertisers pay far more to be seen than people are willing to pay for programming. So, downloadable media or whatever will still be primarily supported by advertisers (without advertisers, you'd have to pay something around $1 per view of a half hour show). Also, there's some talk of the death of TV. That's nonsense. TV sets may head towards being more like general purpose "monitors" than simple TV's, but that's been happening for a long time. Will the middle man (cable companies, TV networks) disappear? Will users get content directly from content creators? Perhaps a bit, but really the role of the middle man will just change. It's true the middle man may get weaker. The role of the middle man will still be packaging and distributing content, and combining it with advertising. Each content creator won't want to do all that on their own. Now, perhaps the biggest threat to cable companies is the growing movement towards free broadband access in many urban areas. If that becomes widespread, it undermines the real strength of cable companies, which is owning the broadband pipe.


12-09-05 - 4


How can we be spending so much time and effort on slightly extending the lives of the very old with terminal diseases, when millions of people die around the world for lack of very simple cheap care. Things like insectide and mosquito nets for Malaria, or condoms to prevent AIDs, vaccinations for infants, etc. instead we spend the entire GNP of Somalia on keeping an 80 year old with leukemia alive slightly longer in less pain.

12-09-05 - 3


"Syriana" is a very good movie. For those who don't know much about the Middle East it will be very confusing, and the broken-up way the narrative is constructed, with lots of characters who aren't clearly introduced, does not help. Still, it's compelling, beautiful, it feels real and important. And the ending completely wraps up all the sub-plots in a way that doesn't feel trite or an after thought. This seems to be a rarity in Hollywood these days - an actual satisfying conclusion, not just ending in the middle of an ongoing story, but a sense of closure which brings us back into the real world where we know these thigns are still going on.

It occured to me that part of the problem with the CIA in this post-9/11 era is that the CIA has never really been very good at sniffing out and preventing attacks against Americans. The thing the CIA is really good at is meddling in foreign governments - backing candidates we like, subverting or assasinating those we don't, supporting or creating coups, things like that. It's a much more offensive weapon than a defensive shield.

When I was younger I dreamt of being a CIA agent, I think it would be very exciting and stimulating. The big drawback is that I think the CIA is one of the most evil groups of people in the world, responsible for creating chaos and horror in many countries, and I can't just do missions without thinking about why.

12-09-05 - 2


Reggie Bush is amazing, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he doesn't amount to much in the NFL. Yeah, maybe he'll be great in the NFL, one of those fast shifty all-purpose backs, ala L.T. or Priest Holmes or Marshal Faulk, but maybe not. For one thing, all that speed and evading tackles and changing direction works great in college, but NFL defenses are a lot faster and tackle a lot better and play their zones; when you turn around and run backwards to get away from a guy, that often was a big gain for Reggie in college, but that shit turns into big losses in the NFL. Reggie is very small, and it's unclear if he can handle the pounding and hard inside running. The best NFL running backs are the guys who run with power downhill and who can make that one quick cut. Now, Reggie as a wide receiver and punt returner, ala Daunte Hall, could be a useful weapon.

12-09-05 - 1


I think all this poker playing is doing something strange to me. I feel like the guy in "Pi". The game is getting into me and tearing at the fabric of normal humanity. Aside from my aforementioned bizzare head itching and bleeding, I'm breaking out, my face is all puffy, I'm breathing really oddly, doing these little snorts, and now I'm developing facial ticks. You know Alan Cunningham, the poker pro, he's got these crazy facing twitches? I'm doing that.


12-08-05 [poker] - 3

12-08-05 [poker]

Another lesson from the real-money EV calculator. This is a single table where the payout is for the top three, like 50,30,20.

Seat 1: champoy888 (765)
Seat 3: chukb (2620)
Seat 6: CamaroMike89 (2660)
Seat 8: RASHT222 (1955)
chukb  posts small blind (100)
CamaroMike89  posts big blind (200)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [ Jd, Ac ] 
RASHT222 folds.
champoy888 folds.
chukb raises (500) to 600

	I make a standard 3x raise with AJ

CamaroMike89 raises (2460) to 2660
CamaroMike89 is all-In.

	He goes allin ott.

What do I do? Let's ignore cases where I'm dominated or dominating, eg. ignore AQ, AK, and also AT, A9. We'll just assume that he's on a lower pair. He's 55/45 to win the hand with a lower pair. In terms of chip EV, it's a clear call, I'm getting great odds to race. Should I call? Absolutely not.

If I fold, my real money EV is still $26. If I call and win, my EV only goes to $42 - much less than double. I only win 45% of the time, so by calling my EV goes from $26 to $19 !! A huge minus EV move!!

I folded, correctly as it turns out. Of course, I wound up bubbling in 4th place when I got QQ and pushed and was called by A3 (!!??!!). On the plus side, I played this tournament almost perfectly. I took a horrible beat on the first hand (2 outer) and got short stacked, but fought back patiently and managed to get tied for big stack there near the end.

Oddly enough, QQ on the bubble is not even that great of a hand. If you knew you would be called by hands like A3, you could consider folding QQ. The only thing that makes it +EV is how often you're called by lower pairs. Generally in the Party Poker tournaments everyone is playing way too many big pots near the end, so you gain a lot of value by just sitting back and hoping others knock each other out.

12-08-05 [poker] - 2

12-08-05 [poker]

Hands like this keep burning me -

checkmate555  posts small blind (10)
whatswhat  posts big blind (15)
** Dealing down cards **
(folds to late position)
Deucey30 calls (15)
bolddsp folds.
chukb calls (15)
Dealt to chukb [ 7s, Js ] 

	I'm on the button, I'll limp J7s with tiny blinds

checkmate555 calls (5)
whatswhat checks.
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ Kc, 7c, Kd ] 
checkmate555 checks.
whatswhat checks.
Deucey30 checks.
chukb bets (45)

	I have the pair of 7s.  There's two clubs on the board.

checkmate555 folds.
whatswhat folds.
Deucey30 raises (90) to 90

	Deucey checked and now min raises.  That's funny.  Flush draw?

chukb calls (45)
** Dealing Turn ** :  [ 8s ] 
Deucey30 bets (275)

	He leads out huge on the turn, over pot size.  WTF does he have?

chukb calls (275)

	I can't put him on a King - if I was on the flush draw, he let me have a free card on the flop basically,
	and now he's betting over pot size where I would fold, a king wouldn't do that, would it?

** Dealing River ** :  [ 5h ] 
Deucey30 checks.
chukb checks.

Of course you know he had a king. I just don't know how to read people when they're betting so weird. With a king, the check-raise on the flop is reasonable, but it needs to be a lot more to charge the flush draw, and then on the turn a bet of about half the pot would be reasonable, to charge the draw but try to get callers from the 7.

I ran into a similar thing earlier. The flop came with a 3-flush. We both checked. Turn was the same suit, so now 4 hearts on the board. I had the nut flush. We both checked again. The river paired the board. Now I no longer have the nuts, but for me to be beat it means he must have had two pair or a set and checked it with the flush draw so obvious !? Would someone with two pair or a set really give me free cards to hit my flush? Well, of course the answer is yes, he flopped a set and checked it and let me hit the flush.

12-08-05 [poker] - 1

12-08-05 [poker]

Played a bit on PokerStars for the first time today. Oh my god, how can anyone play on that interface? There's so much flashing and beeping and horrible lag - I literally felt sick, almost like having an epileptic fit. It was sort of like a cross between watching someone else play Quake on crazy wide FOV (nauseating) and watching a Pokemon episode (seizure inducing). I never thought I was particularly prone to that stuff but I found myself having to look away from the screen (!!). I guess I won't be playing PokerStars anymore! It's a shame because they offer some nice things that Party doesn't have - heads up tournaments, the "deep stack" events, etc.

Took a couple of 1st places on Party today. It felt good to finally get back on track winning. On the other hand, I did get pretty lucky, so I can't say my play is fixed.

12-08-05 - 2


It occurs to me that a stock craze is an awful lot like a pyramid scheme. Guy A buys a stock because it's going up, not because of any particular value in it. It's going up, because Guy B will see it going up and buy it. Guy B knows it will keep going up and be profitable for him because Guy C will buy it. This keeps going as long as there are more people to jump on the bandwagon and buy the stock, just like a pyramid scheme. Eventually you run out of patsies that will keep buying it just because it's going up, and suddenly it all crashes down. People at the "top" of the pyramid who cashed out early make big bucks, and the losers are the "bottom" level of the pyramid who were last to buy in.

12-08-05 - 1


Geometry Wars for the Xbox 360 Live Arcade looks pretty rocking. I loved Mutant Storm but it was crippled by the fact that it was for the PC, and there aren't many people with dual-analog controllers on the PC, which you absolutely need for these Robotron-like shooters. Dave Moore and I really wanted to make a game like this, but we figured the economics were impossible - on the PC there just aren't enough dual analog gamers, and on consoles the entry point is way too expensive. I suppose Live Arcade sort of solves some of this, but it still seems difficult to recoup dev costs. I suspect some of the cost of Geometry Wars was subsidized by MS who want content for Live Arcade.


12-07-05 [poker] - 2

12-07-05 [poker]

Hmm.. I'm trying to figure out if I made a mistake on this hand, if I could've played it better.

Blinds (15/30)
** Dealing down cards **
Ethomas33 folds.
maddog7478 calls [30].
mattf74 folds.
Babooyah calls [30].
Dealt to chukb [  9s 9c ]
chukb raises [150].

	I make a solid 5x raise with 99, I want everyone out.

BIGCAT1818 folds.
ibetuiwin folds.
socalalexz folds.
maddog7478 calls [120].
Babooyah calls [120].

	These guys limped and called.  I don't have a real good read on them, but I have a feeling they'd
	do that with hands like 55 and A9.  Probably they don't have anything really good because they've
	been open raising a lot with good hands.

** Dealing Flop ** [ 7h, Tc, 8h ]
maddog7478 checks.
Babooyah bets [200].

	What in the world can he have?  I think an overpair is almost impossible.  And if he flopped like a
	set of 7's, wouldn't he check to me?  I think a 9 is possible, as are hands like A8 or AT.  KT seems
	unlikely.  9T and TJ are both possible, but it's a lot to call preflop with that.

chukb raises [700].

	I have a real good hand, a pair + flush draw.  He could have a ten, then I'm in trouble.  Otherwise, he
	has a lower pair, maybe even two overs.  He might also have the heart draw with two overs.  I want to
	charge those hands.  This raise size is a bit lame, I'm pot committing myself, so I may as well just go allin.

maddog7478 folds.
Babooyah is all-In  [815]
chukb calls [315].

	Well, I must be beat but now I have to call.  If he just has a ten I'm 38% to win.

He had TJ, which is one of the worst hands I could see since it kills a 9 as an out and makes me only 28% to win. I don't know quite what went wrong here. I don't have a good read on Babooyah which certainly would have made it easier. I suppose when he bets he must have a pretty good hand since I raised big preflop, he must know I'm strong. In fact, his play with TJ is mighty bold, I represented a big pair the whole way, and I'd been playing tight (99 is the weakest hand I'd played big), he may have thought he was on a gutshot semibluff !? Though, if he had like a low pair or an A8 or A9 or something like that he could have played the same way. He may have put me on AK or some nonsense like that and thought any pair was good.

12-07-05 [poker] - 1

12-07-05 [poker]

This hand is not that dramatic, but it's very interesting for illustration because it's actually two good players who are playing based on previous patterns that have been set up. If you just saw this hand without knowing how we'd been playing, you wouldn't understand what was actually going on.

Seat 4: chukb (1780)
Seat 5: BLUEEYEZ (335)
BLUEEYEZ  posts small blind (15)
Barche  posts big blind (30)
** Dealing down cards **
(folds to me on the button)
Dealt to chukb [ 9h, Ts ] 
chukb calls (30)

	I limp 9T on the button.  I would often steal here, but Barche is a nutty loose fish, so
	I just play value against him.  I want to flop something big and bust him.

BLUEEYEZ calls (15)

	BLUEEYEZ is a good semipro player, perhaps a bit predictable and passive.

Barche checks.
** Dealing Flop ** :  [ 4s, 8d, Jh ] 
BLUEEYEZ bets (30)

	BLUEEYEZ min bets the flop.  That's a very weak bet, which I've seen him do in the past
	with hands like a 4 or 8 in this situation.  He'll often fold it to a raise.  In fact,
	he has QJ, which is a very good hand, and he's min betting because he's set that up as
	a trap and he wants to get raised.

Barche folds.
chukb raises (130) to 130

	I have the open ended str8 draw and BLUEEYEZ has just min bet.  This is an ideal semi-bluff
	spot for me.  I don't automatically semibluff here, but his bet says to me he has a small
	piece of it and will fold.  I also know he's on a short enough stack that I can't be pushed
	off my draw.  In deep stack scenarios I might be more inclined to take the cheap card to hit
	my draw.  Also, if Barche were in the hand I'd be more inclined to just call since he could
	bluff allin later when the straight card hits.

BLUEEYEZ raises (275) to 305
BLUEEYEZ is all-In.

	He reraises allin.  I know he must have the jack.

chukb calls (175)

	I'm getting great pot odds for an 8-outer, so I call.

I'm attacking a pattern I've seen from him, and he's using the fact that I know he plays that way to set me up. Of course, maybe I'm giving him too much credit, but that's what I would have been doing in his spot.

12-07-05 [code] - 1

12-07-05 [code]

So, my whole coding life I've done this thing where in order to ensure my file IO is not corrupted, for each write operation, I'll open the file, write a bit, then close the file. This ensures the write is actually flushed out to the OS, which is nice if your app crashes or is terminated. I've always done this with my debug log file, because if you get a crash you want to make sure the log is fully up to date, not just up to the last time it was flushed.

There are two problem with this : 1) it's very slow, it's a big perf hit for sure, and 2) I think it fragments my drive pretty severely.

Now, fflush() is not a safe answer (though I saw just the other day, I think there is a function you can call to change it so that fflush actually does to a hard flush), but maybe there's some windows file IO thing that can ensure good writes without incurring such a bad perf & frag hit.

12-07-05 - 2


The new version of "The Producers" is a pretty bizarre thing. It's the movie version of the musical version of the movie. The only funny thing related to The Producers that I've ever seen was the running joke of it on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was pretty hillarious and very meta.

12-07-05 - 1


I'm sort of sick of ranting about Windows, but this morning I'm again sickened by it. Aside from windows being a horrible cruft of shit piled on top of shit, the whole design of the OS is just so wrong and rotten. MS seems to think of the whole computer as one big tangle with the OS. They want to put your data under c:\windows, for god's sakes. The registry is such a cock-assed wrong-headed way of doing system config and app linkage.

The computer should be divided into three distinct regions : the OS, the apps, and the data. Contrary to MS's nonsense, this division is crucial to system stability and security, because it preserves the integrity of the OS and the user freedom to choose their apps.

The OS should be firewalled and untouchable by apps. The OS itself can then be upgraded or re-installed without affecting the apps at all. The OS should be configured by config files which are separate and in the protected user data space. The OS also facilitates the linkage of apps, eg. this app provides this service to this app (such as file extension plugs), and again that linkage is in a small separate data space. This is separate from critical system things like driver config, system config, and each app's own internal config.

Each app should be sandboxed. Eg. it installs all its own stuff in its own dir. Necessary linkage goes through the aforementioned file. Apps never get to install stuff into the OS space, but users can redirect OS functionality to apps as desired.


12-06-05 [poker] - 1

12-06-05 [poker]

Wow, lost another $200 today. I made one 5th place, but other than that no cashes. It seems like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. When I get QQ, I get allin and someone has AA. When I get KK, I get allin, someone has TT and sucks out making their set. When I bluff, they have it, when I have it they don't call, or do call and suck out. People keep making horrible horrible calls when I bet my good hands and sucking out on me. At the same time, my monster draws keep missing. Three times today I had straight flush draws on the flop and all three missed. There's like some voodoo curse on my poker game.

One of the things that continues to put me horrifically on tilt is when people make ridiculous move and get lucky and then try to justify it. When I made the 5th place today, I had a decent stack. I pushed allin on the flop with top pair, my stack was roughly pot size. The big stack called with middle pair and hit a runner-runner flush to knock me out. Afterward he said "had to call, I had pot odds". Arrrg ! Charles smash !!

I've noted this before I think, but I think one of my problems with my bankroll is that when I'm winning, I tend to stop playing, because I get a high from a win and want to go run around and do stuff. When I'm losing, I keep playing because I want to get a win so I can quit on an up-note. That means I actually play a lot more on the days that I'm losing, which is the opposite of the ideal. Now obviously I don't believe in luck being sticky or anything, I don't believe you can have an "unlucky day", but it is true that when you're running bad and getting unlucky, you play worse, because you remember how you got sucked out on, you don't want to gamble, or you push too much, etc. plus it's true that if other people see you losing a lot, they'll attack you more and be more willing to play pots with you. All these factors do make it so that winning & losing really does come in streaks, and when you're losing sometimes you just need to quit for a while and try to come back later.

I think I've certainly had some bad luck, but I've also made some big mistakes. In a few of these, if I didn't make the one big mistake at the end I would have cashed, which on the whole would've made me +EV for the past few days instead of a big negative. I just keep acting without thinking the situation through carefully, and I can't seem to stop it.

I've been trying to channel the spirit of Chris Ferguson - for every decision, stop and rethink it through, take your time. It may seem like an obvious move, but just slow down, run through the whole thing again, think about the hand, the stacks, the timing, okay, now make your move. If I could just make myself do this, my game would improve dramatically.

I am still mostly playing really great. The problem is you can play great for hours and build a nice stack, then one horrible play and you blow the whole thing. I've played with Drew a few times lately, and no offense intended to Drew, but it's really shown me how my game has progressed. A year ago when Drew left, he and I were roughly on the same level in poker. He was more aggressive and clever with the bluffs, I had the edge in maths, but overall comparable. Now I can see just another level of play; Drew's still a really good player, but he's not thinking about all these other things - stack management, how much to gamble when, the blinds pressure, how to adjust for what type of opponent, etc. etc. Of course Drew's still much better than me at the cash NL game because of his intuitive knack for bluffing.

12-06-05 - 1


We got "Six Feet Under" in NetFlix at many people's recommendation. See, we've been going through withdrawal from the lack of Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, since we don't have HBO and have seen all the Curb DVD's, so we're looking for something to tide us over until the new season is out. Anyhoo, I thought "Six" was a big waste of time. The setting is vaguely interesting, but it's basically a soap opera with a few thin laughs here and there. It felt a lot like "Party of Five" or something of that ilk and caliber. Yes, the production values are very high, but that doesn't make up for annoying characters and repetetiveness. I feel the same way about most of the so-called better shows on TV these days, like "West Wing" for example - the milieu is interesting and sophisticated, but the stories and characters are the same old melodramatic soap opera shit.


12-05-05 [poker] - 3

12-05-05 [poker]

Six tournaments today, not one cash in any of them. Oddly, I feel like it's the most solid overall day of poker I've ever played. I think I played well almost all day. I made one definite mistake (the aforementioned head-in-ass scenario), and a few little mistakes here and there, but almost all solid good play. So I'm down $200 on the day. Not good for the hourly rate!!

12-05-05 [poker] - 2

12-05-05 [poker]

God damn, I made another stupid move. I'm getting stuck on hands and not reevaluating correctly. I need to get my head out of my ass (it smells bad in there).

A good thing about tournaments is that they're very technical and require awareness of M-theory, stack sizes, payouts, etc. which many people will get wrong. That's +EV for those who consider those things. The bad thing about tournaments is that you can't just play against fish. That is, the fish are usually weeded out early and give their stacks to the better players, so when you get down to the final few, it's usually the better players. Ideally for max profit in poker you always want to be playing against the absolute fishes.

12-05-05 [poker] - 1

12-05-05 [poker]

Poker quiz for you, let's see if you've learned anything from the recent discussion. This is a 3-table $30, the payout is $270,225,180,135,90. Ten players left. I get TT, what should I do and why. Consider the stack sizes.

Seat 2 is the button
Blinds (100/200)
Total number of players : 10 
Seat 1: chukb ( $1443 )
Seat 2: FlipJames ( $2487 )
Seat 3: rustyhanson ( $6236 )
Seat 8: E_Normus ( $4879 )
Seat 4: havic333 ( $1400 )
Seat 5: CountyLiner ( $725 )
Seat 6: Lack2311 ( $1375 )
Seat 7: Desertbugsy ( $1280 )
Seat 9: Karuna ( $2980 )
Seat 10: Sweetness224 ( $7195 )
** Dealing down cards **
CountyLiner is all-In  [725]
Lack2311 folds.
Desertbugsy folds.
E_Normus folds.
Karuna is all-In  [2980]
Sweetness224 folds.
Dealt to chukb [  Td Ts ]

I'll give you a hint - your real money EV before this hand started was $55.

12-05-05 - 5


Yesterday the UPS guy showed up with a CD I orderd at Amazon (My Morning Jacket). Now, my house is all glass, the walk way comes right up to big wall-size windows where you can see into the whole house. It was late, maybe 6 PM, and Dan and I were fucking on the couch; the UPS guy walked up and knocked on the door and left the package. Fortunately he didn't wait for me to walk over and sign for it !!

12-05-05 - 4


I just got my Tojiro blade from Japanese Chef's Knife - shipped from Japan, it arrived in five days (!!). It's a beautiful knife, well balanced, comfortable in the hand, and just incredibly sharp. Japanese blades are not intended for heavy work - cutting bone or metal or whatnot - but are razor sharp, perfect for fine work on meat & vegetables. I used it for the first time today, and it was a joy. It can slice onions and not give you tears at all because the cut is so clean. They've got a 10% sale on, go buy something. Just reading the web site is a joy - the craftsmanship and care is evident, the pride in fine worksmanship.

12-05-05 - 3


"NFL Live" is going off the air !? Fuck! It's the best show on ESPN. Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the football highlights, brilliant!

I know they want to set the schedule in advance and all, but too often the Monday night game is a piece of shit. They should set the schedule, but put all the games on Sunday. Then, each week, the game where the two teams with the best record meet Monday night, which an exception where one team can't appear within 4 weeks, or something like that. Too often the best game winds up being some random game on Sunday that isn't shown nationally.

12-05-05 - 2


Here's a google challenge for ya : find the website of the band "Piano".

The winner is Colm Mac Donnchadha, but he cheated by knowing of the band in advance.

12-05-05 - 1


For some reason my dandruff has been ridiculously bad the last few days. My skull has been itching, and I've flayed it with my fingernails, so that now it's slowly oozing blood and forming scabs which clump the hair. Of course then the scabs itch and I'm compelled to scrape them off.


12-04-05 [poker] - 1

12-04-05 [poker]

Fuck, I made it down to 4-handed again in a two-tabler and made another disastrous mistake. These are dumb moves that if I could just clear my mind and make a judgement, I would know the right move, they're easy decisions. I just get caught up in the action and act fast without thinking and it fucks me. Maybe I should try a Ferguson-like ritual. Each time I have a decision, stop and take my time, every time, whether I think I need to or not.


12-03-05 [poker] - 1

12-03-05 [poker]

Rotten day of poker. Played a bunch of $30 tournaments and only did well in one of them. Never got anything going. People were playing so bad, but I never had the cards to punish them. I made two big mistakes, which sucks. The worst was in the one tournament I got deep in. I got down to 4-handed in a two-table tournament, and managed to get the big stack. I then made a crucial error, trying to catch a bluff with a weak hand, really stupid. All last night I was thinking about the way your tournament EV critically depends on how well you play the final table, and even the last few places. If you can play great early and make the final table, but then play badly at the final table - you're a terrible tournament player, since so much of the money is in the top few places. Just cashing is a really bad result, you need to place high. If everything was equal, but I could dominate at the final table, that would make me way way +EV.

It's just a critical error to make a mistake late. Say you buy in for $30 and make a huge mistake early - you lose $30. If you get to the final few and make a big mistake there, you're losing $100 or more in value. That's disastrous. It's wrong to think that it doesn't hurt because you already made some value, you need every bit of EV you can get to balance the variance over time.

Another funny thing happened today. There was a bot in one of the tournaments. His name is "JIMBO860". Oddly, he was in one of my $30 no limit tournaments, and he was obviously a *LIMIT* bot. He would always bet & raise the minimum, and made a lot of plays that were obvious limit plays. It looked like he might be playing by the Wilson TTH rules or something like that. Needless to say, he eventually got crushed, because he had no concept of call size and called off his whole stack with a pair of aces. I don't understand why the bot developer would play his limit bot in a no limit tournament. Perhaps it was a mistake in his automatic table seating algorithm.

I got called by some nutty shit today. One BB called my allin with 23o !? One called with 78. I guess I just have to play super tight at the end. This is quite the opposite of Harrington/etc. style play, and it goes against my instincts.

12-03-05 - 2


It's weird when you have albums where one song is like so fucking great, and the rest of it is kind of "meh". If you could do that for one song, why not the rest? It's true that one song often has some super-producer or co-writers who helped out, but couldn't they help the rest?

12-03-05 - 1


The NYT last week had some more moronic articles about how Bridge and Chess are more valuable than poker and should have a resurgence, bla bla bla, written by lovers of those games. They go on about how women are becoming more common in Chess, more kids play bridge, how televised coverage could make those games more interesting, with dynamic players and color commentary. Do they really still not understand? Poker is a uniquely sexy and appealing game for many reasons. See my old article here - The Texas Hold'em Craze . Perhaps the most important difference to a game like Bridge or Poker is the variance, which gives every shlub poor player the dream of winning the big one. We'll see Monopoly or Backgammon become popular before Bridge or Chess. Backgammon is actually a very interesting game which is a big gambling game in Europe, but it's still missing a lot of factors - the outlaw history, the ease of understanding what's going on, the bluffing, the hidden psychological component, etc. it's a much more mathematical gambling game.


12-02-05 [poker] - 5

12-02-05 [poker]

One thing you have to remember about end-game situations and the way pros play - it's all about who you're playing against. I'm mostly playing with donkeys, so I just need to play very tight in end-game scenarios. In terms of pure value, gambling and risking elimination is very very bad for your expectation. Against good players, they will all be playing very tight and trying not to risk elimination. If you know that, then you can use it by attacking them in big pots. I've never been in a game with good enough players where opening up like that is +EV. Note that I'm not talking about stealing small pots, of course you do that, I'm talking about reraising allin on a bluff, things like that. Good players who don't want to gamble will fold to avoid racing, even when they're pretty sure they have the best hand.

12-02-05 [poker] - 4

12-02-05 [poker]

I'm learning a lot from this real money equity stuff. Here's another interesting one, the same 3-table structure.

Seat 2: JPN42 ( $4988 )
Seat 4: chukb ( $4248 )
Seat 5: lalalaloser ( $20764 )
Blinds (750/1500)

	end of the game, JPN and I are both fucked, M around 2

** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [  Jh Qs ]
lalalaloser folds.
JPN42 is all-In  [4238]
chukb is all-In  [2748]

	I figure QJ is a pretty good hand, I may be ahead and if not, I'm not far behind.
	Almost half my stack is in the BB already, so I fold.

Before the hand started, my equity was $208, but now I post the BB. If I fold, my equity goes down to $198. If I call and lose, I get $180 (3rd place). If I call and win, my equity goes up to $234.46.

So, what chance of winning do I need for calling to be break even ?

198 = P * 234.5 + (1-P) * 180 = 180 + 54.5 * P
P = 33%
So, clearly I have to call, but also, I hate this situation - just by being in the big blind here I lost several dollars of value.

Unfortunately, this only came up because I made a disastrous error on an earlier hand. I pushed with KJ when I had the big stack, which was an unnecessary risk, since any ace-high is beating me.

12-02-05 [poker] - 3

12-02-05 [poker]

One of the rotten things that can happen in tournaments is that one guy's bad play can really hurt your value. Today I was in a 3-tabler and we got near the bubble, 7 players to go. I was way the big stack, but one other guy ("lalalaloser") was pretty close in the 2nd stack. Everyone else was much shorter, in danger of going out on the bubble. Now, the best +EV play for me and lala would be to avoid each other, and attack all the short stacks who are trying to just fold their way into the money. Instead, lala went to war with me. Whenever I'd make steal raises to attack the short stacks, he'd frequently reraise big. This sucks for me, I had to change gears and switch to just playing very good hands, but it's also very bad for him. His play is -EV for both of us, and the people who gain the +EV are all the other short stacks, who profit from the chance that we'll knock each other out. He was reraising my limps and steals with hands like A3, which is reckless and foolish, but also terrible for me, because it forces me to stop stealing and to also gamble with him and risk racing, which I really don't want to do.

Anyhoo, I wound up making 3rd place, which made up for all the bad beats today. I was only able to make it there with a few key suckouts. It just reminds me of the variance and randomness in poker. It's incredibly unlikely that you can make it through a tournament without any suckouts. You're either going to suck out on them (and hopefully) or get sucked out on (and probably lose). As I've pointed out many times before, if you only get into 80/20 confrontations, it's only 50/50 that the favorite hand wins 3 out of 3 races. I played three tournaments today, the first two I took rotten beats and didn't cash, in the 3rd I gave some rotten beats and cashed.

12-02-05 [poker] - 2

12-02-05 [poker]

I've given up a lot of pots recently where I was ahead because of an overcaller. Basically it goes like this - someone bets pretty big at the pot. I think they may be bluffing. I have a decent, but not great hand. Someone between the better and me calls the bet ! I fold, thinking the caller must at least have something good. I know it's possible the caller can have a draw and the first guy can be bluffing, but it seems unlikely. Well, it sure seems to have come up a lot recently. It's really hard for me to get in the head of people who play badly/illogically.

12-02-05 [poker] - 1

12-02-05 [poker]

Another tricky hand late that I'll analyze for real money EV. This is another 3-table $30, the top 5 places pay $270,225,180,135,90. Ten players left and I'm a medium to short stack, about half average.

Seat 1: agreen2194 ( $2305 )
Seat 2: perry998 ( $1355 )
Seat 3: jshooter05 ( $5965 )
Seat 4: ankleband ( $2215 )
Seat 5: chukb ( $1780 )
Seat 6: jpk1928 ( $3460 )
Seat 7: Mikarriva ( $6450 )
Seat 8: ChrisAllen1 ( $1630 )
Seat 9: kustak ( $2880 )
Seat 10: platte77 ( $1960 )
Blinds (75/150)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to chukb [  Jh As ]
perry998 folds.
jshooter05 raises [600].

	jshooter05 has been open raising a very wide range of hands, like TJ or Q9

ankleband folds.
chukb is all-In  [1780]

	I've been waiting for a decent hand, here AJ, to catch jshooter05, this is my first chance.
	I push.

jpk1928 is all-In  [3460]

	Fuck! Someone behind has a hand!

Mikarriva folds.
ChrisAllen1 folds.
kustak folds.
platte77 folds.
agreen2194 folds.
jshooter05 folds.

jpk had KK and I lost, out 10th. If I were just against jshooter, I'm sure this is +EV, the question is, how does the presence of the live people behind change it? Was this just bad luck, or should I be more aware of the danger of live people behind picking up a hand?

People behind will roughly play the top 5% of hands, that's 99 or AQ or better. Against those hands I'm roughly 25% to win. There are 6 others behind, so the chance all fold is 0.95^6 = 74% . I'll assume only one plays, and if they do, jshooter05 will fold.

If they do all fold, I'll assume jshooter05 folds 50% of the time. The 50% of the time he calls, he's a slight favorite on average (I know he calls here with hands like AT and KQ, which I'm beating, as well as hands like 88 which are 50/50), we'll say he's 55% to win over all.

So, let's compute EV. If I just fold I have 1780 chips, and my real money expectation is $62. Just in terms of chips first :

0.26 * ( 0.25 * (1780*2 + 825) ) + 0.74 * ( 0.50 * (1780 + 825) + 0.50 * 0.45 * (1780*2 + 825) ) = 1979

That's a nice +EV in chips even counting the live people behind. How about in real money ?

0.065 of the time I have 4385 chips (from jpk), for $126
0.37 of the time they all fold, and I have 2605 chips, for $85
0.165 of the time I have 4385 chips (from jshooter), for $123
0.40 of the time I get zero

The result is $60 real money expectation. Definitely negative! If there were no one behind, this would still be positive, but the combined factors of the risk of people behind, plus the risk of going out and losing the tournament equity of survival makes this a bad gamble.

This is also interesting because you can see how better players make their value in tournaments. It's little by little, hand by hand. At the start of each tournament everyone's real money expectation is the same - $30 in this case. Each hand you're faced with decisions that might take your value to $29 or $31.

old rants