Archive for poker

WSOP Event #41 Day 2

Day 2 didn’t go that great, I never really got anything going and I busted out a couple dozen short of the money. The website said I placed 103, the monitors at the tournament said 94 players remained, the actual placement is not that relevant, except that it was out of the money, but kind of close. I made some marginal plays, but I don’t regret them. When you don’t get cards, you have to start making plays and some times people will call you so you need to get lucky.

The first big pot I got into crippled me. I’d been feeling kind of short for a while, but I wasn’t really super short yet. I had AKJ3 in mid position, so I open raise. The blinds are about 600-1200 and I have about 15k in chip, so I raised to about 4k. The player behind me has a lot of chips and has been playing loose called and we see a flop of Q85. I put my stack in and he thinks for a long while and says things like “I have a bad hand” which makes me think I’m ahead, but probably not by much. He finally calls and turns over A735 for one pair and the same low draw. We make a low, so at least I get half 1/4th back. This leaves me with about 8k in chips.

From there I wait out for a while and then find it folded to me when I’m on the button. I have 4322 so try to make a button steal raise by raising to 4k. The same player calls me and we see a flop of QT7 all black. He checks, I check, and the turn is a suited K, he bets enough to put me all in and I fold. He claims he flopped a big hand and wanted me to bet.

Now with no chips and no hands, I just wait. at my lowest point, I have 3100 chips and the blinds are 600-1200. When it’s my big blind, UTG limps, small blind limps and I have QQ94, so I shove it in. Amazingly, it holds scoops 3 ways so I triple up. I bleed some more and sometime later at 800-1600 with about 4.5k in chips I get A832 and raise UTG all in and double up. But I continue to not get hands for a while longer. Eventually I find AsJs9s3c and I open raise for the pot in mid position with half my stack, big blind pushes all in and I call to see I actually have a pretty good lead on his KJT9, but he hits and I’m done.

Overall, I definitely felt like I had an edge over the field. But I had a pretty long run without cards on Day 2. I got lucky just to last that long on Day 2. Even on day 1 my cards weren’t that great. I think I saw AAxx only twice the whole tournament, and never AA2 or AA3. Overall, other people played a bit too weak passive, especially preflop. Every time that it was 3-bets preflop and there was a showdown, the 3-bettor had AAxx. The structure was nice, I felt like all through Day 1, there were plenty of chips and we could play deep stack poker.

I could’ve attempted to farm into the money, but we were still kinda far from it and I was short stacked the whole day. Also I tend to avoid farming because typical tournament payouts are so top heavy that you really want to get to the final table if at all possible, so I made a conscious decision to loosen up and try and make some steals, it just didn’t work out that well.

So I played some side games while I waited for Dave. There’s a new game they are spreading called Big-O. It’s just like pot limit omaha 8/b except you get five cards instead of four. Because I consider myself a very good plo8 player, I played this for a while. The players at this game are pretty bad, so I made back some money to defray the cost of the tournament.

Overall a good trip. I’m happy with how I played, if not the results.

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WSOP Day 1

I played in the $1500 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or better WSOP today. Event #41. It’s a 3 day event, I survived day 1 with a slightly below average stack. About 170 players remain, 82 places pay, payouts range from $240k for first to $3k for 82nd.

I’m in pretty good shape. Some key hands.

In one of the early rounds, several players limp, so I limp in late position with Ad Kd 5d 4c. We see a flop of Ac 3d 7d. Player right in front of me bets most of the pot, I call, small blind calls. turn is an offsuit K, giving me nut flush draw, open ended straight draw, top two pair, 3rd nut low. Now it’s checked to me, so I bet the pot, and the small blinds raises me and we get all in. He turns over J332 for just a small set and I have a huge number of outs to scoop him, but he dodges them all and takes half.

After the dinner break, I’m getting a bunch of good hands, I run my stack up from 8k to over 14k, then this hand happens. At 200-400 blinds, I have Ac Th 9h 2s and it’s folded to me on the button. I raise the pot to 1400, then the small blind reraises the pot. It’s about 1/3 of my stack. I should probably fold, but I call. The flop is K64, he bets out the pot and I fold. He later claims he had AA2x

Near the end of level 7 I think, several players limp into a hand. I am somewhat short stacked and have KJ63 in the big blind and check. flop is K85, two diamonds and it gets checked around. The turn is an offsuit J and the small blind checks, so I bet the pot with my top two pair. Button calls and small blind calls. The river is an offsuit 2, and now the small blind bets out the pot. I somewhat grudgingly call all in. Happily, the button also calls. small blind has just A3 for nut low and button has AK53 for nut low and two worse pair than me. So I get half of a 3 way all in pot, to bring my stack back up to just under average.

Near the end of level 9, I win a decent sized pot when me and a guy get all in on an K75 board and he has AA29 and I have AA5x but I make trips to scoop.

All in all, I’m playing well, but I’ll probably be loosening up to start to make more progress and accumulate more chips. I definitely feel like I’m in the top 1/3 of the players at my tables.

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Live from Aruba

We’re in Aruba this week because I won a seat at the Aruba Classic. We flew in yesterday on a trip that took more than 12 hours. So far, it has been excellent. The kids were really well behaved on the trip.

Aruba is a nice touristy town. Hot and humid of course. The beaches are clean and not too crowded. Prices are high, but English and USD are pretty much everywhere. There’s a lot of American restaurant chains, McDonalds, Wendy’s, TGIF, Tony Roma’s, Sbarros, Hooters. We ate at one of the the hotel’s restaurants having a decent prime rib buffet dinner.

Ultimate Bet and the Radisson have really gone all out. UB has a pretty big staff on hand and they reserved the whole hotel. The UB branding is everywhere. We got a nice bag of schwag which includes a decent bag, 2 shirts, a deck of UB cards, a silkscreened wrap. In addition to that bag, I got a second pretty nice shoulder bag because I’m a VIP online.

The tournament starts on Monday at noon(local time is EST), but I don’t play until noon on Tuesday, because the whole family is here I won’t be playing cards much until Tuesday. I’ll try to get an hour or two of poker in after they go to sleep. I played a bit last night. At the end of the night I overheard them at the 5/10 plo table next to me explaining to a player that he had to play exactly two cards. Obviously I was in the wrong game. Results for last night: 2 hours at 2/5 cash nlhe +$50.

I’ll try to twitter results too when the tournament starts.

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Going to Aruba

I’m going to be headed to Aruba in late September. I won a poker tournament online at Ultimate Bet which will give me an entry to a $5,000+500 buyin event and $3,000 in travel money. I have been playing a lot of poker this year, so as a reward Ultimate Bet gave me a free seat to a poker tournament for this morning.

Tournament 1 was a satellite which if I placed in the top 20%, I’d get a seat into another tournament. About 1/3 of the people didn’t show up for that tournament, so getting to the top %20 wasn’t that hard. That won me a seat into another satellite.

Tournament 2 was another no limit hold’em satellite with a prize of 50 $8500 packages, so anyone placing in the top 50 gets to go to Aruba. I played a very good tournament, didn’t get great cards, but picked my spots and all my hands held up and I did get some good cards when I needed them. It was a bit nerve racking near the end, because I was very close to the bubble. I played some of the tightest poker of my life, including folding AK to no bet, AK to one raise, QQ to a raise, reraise preflop. I’d never do some of those things if the payout structure was more like a standard tournament, but with the “all places pay the same” there’s no need to try to accumulate chips beyond what you need to make the money, so you can play super conservative.

I’m excited to go. This will actually be my second time. About 5 years ago I had a similar experience, won a seat and went to aruba. I didn’t get anywhere then, but it was still fun.

This year they are guaranteeing $4,000,000 in total prize pool and $1m to first place. So that means they are expecting at least 800 players at a $5,000 buyin. Wish me luck in September.

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Been Busy

I’ve been busy lately. I bought and finished BioShock already. Now I’m playing Team Fortress 2 which is excellent. If you haven’t seen the videos of it check them out, they are funny and I love the graphics style. They also kept a lot of the things that made the original Team Fortress so fun.

I’m also playing quite a bit of poker. The new house is pretty close to Garden City Casino and I feel like I can win at any except the very biggest game there which is a 40/80 limit game. My favorite games are the 20/40 limit and the 5-200 spread limit. The spread limit game is odd for non-regulars. It’s a $3 small blind, $5 big blind, and any raise can be a maximum of $200. So there are pots of $600 regularly. One bad thing about it is that the maximum buyin is $200, so if you bet $20 and get a couple callers then you might have just 1 more bet or 1 raise before you’re all in. That takes away some of the postflop fun and a player who hasn’t won a pot feels short stacked. I can see the value of a max buyin game, but I wish they’d raise the max buyin to $400.

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Amusing night of poker

Last night a few of us went to Lucky Chances for a night of poker. It was the first time I’d been there in about a year. I was a pleasantly surprised to learn that they have very few limit games anymore. I know that people only want to play no limit nowadays, but previously they’d been pretty resistant to running so many no limit games(I hear that limit games are much more profitable for the house). But last night, they had many 2-3-5 spread limit and 1-1-2 spread limit tables. The spread limit means that it’s not technically no-limit, but you can only bet between the minimum and $200. I still haven’t exactly figured out why there’s a $200 cap, but at least at the San Jose card rooms, there was a city imposed limit that the bet size could not exceed $200. The last time I was there, I remember having to wait more than 2 hours to get into the small spread limit game and it was so annoying that we had given up and just played 6/12.

I sit down at a 1-1-2 game and buy in for the max of $200 and I don’t to do a lot for about a half hour. Later I switch to the table where my friends are at and my first hand I get aces and I bust a short stack for about $60. Things continue for a while and I continue to get good cards and I start to build a reasonable size stack. We amused ourselves by trying to bet prime numbers

Later on in the night we see Adam Morrison walk through the tables. Earlier in the night, he and the Charlotte Bobcats were soundly defeated by the Golden State Warriors and I guess he figured he’d use some of his down time and come in to play some cards. After my friends left, I switched over to Adam’s table because he was playing 1-1-2 as well. It didn’t take long to realize that he wasn’t playing very well. In the 2-3 hours I played with him, he rebought 5 or 6 times for $100. It seems like he has the capability and understanding to play reasonably, but it’s kind of chump change for a guy whose NBA contract pays $3mil/year. So it’s not a huge surprise that he doesn’t play like the money means something to him. He made a number of bad preflop calls, quite a few questionable chases and showed a couple bluffs and generally didn’t play well.

I didn’t play that great either, there was quite a bit of money flowing around the table and because I wasn’t getting good cards at Adam’s table, I played a bit looser than I normally do so I bled faster than I would like. It was the kind of game where preflop pots are big and to take down a pot, you need to bet the pot twice after the flop to get people to fold. So I was trying to see some flops for cheap and flop a big hand.

I ended the night +67 which wasn’t very impressive considering the action. I also missed another prop bet with the guys and that sucks because I’ve missed one at every poker outing we’ve had since we instituted them.

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Extra action

At our regular poker game we decide to introduce a new way for some extra action with some extra proposition(prop) bets. If you hit a flop which contains only cards, you get $1 from each player at the table. For instance if you have 456, a 456 or a 554 board pays you. This is just something new and amusing we added. We’ll see if it lasts. There’s no skill in it at all other than remembering to notice it. But it does add a bit of spice to a game that we’ve gotten a bit to complacent with.

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Yesterday was the semi-annual YACHT poker tournament. I haven’t been playing much lately, but I always try and go because its a good time. As usual it’s a $40 buyin, but it’s ballooned to an event with over 90 players.

This year I spent most of my time bleeding off money in the main tournament, culminating in an unimpressive finish somewhere in the middle rounds. The side game I sat down in was a mixed dealer’s choice game pot limit game of .25/.50 antes. My side game performance was largely similar to my tournament performance, except for about 4 hands of courchevel where I made back all the money I lost. So overall it was good.

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Habu poker

The new poker game I had dreamed up was well received. I conceived of the game quite a while ago, but I’d never bothered to try to convince other people to try and play it until this weekend and I was pleased with how it did. We must have played at least 6-8 hours of it with few complaints. Dave and Mike agreed that it should be called Habu, a shortened form of my nickname Habuchan(which itself has a bit of a story behind it but I’ll leave that for a later date). The game is called “Habu”, but may also be called “Habu in the Hole”. It can be summarized simply as:

Hold’em Hi/Lo 8 or better, but instead of a community river card, each player gets an individual hole card(you can play all 3 hole cards).

It is best played pot limit, but limit is also fine. There were a few reasons I conjured up this unusual game, among them:

I feel like the domination effect is too strong in Hold’em, so I wanted to make bad aces playable.
I enjoy the interesting decisions in Omaha 8 when you are faced with a pot sized bet on the river to call for half the pot.
Unlike Omaha, you are not frequently required to get all in on a flop with a big hand against a big draw on a near coin flip, but like Omaha you usually still have outs to improve if you do.

The game has some good unanticipated side effects. Two wheel cards become strong betting hands like they do in o8. Correct turn play is I think more important because the chance of someone outdrawing you on the last card is much greater in Habu. Someone can turn over a completely disguised hand(like trips in the hole to make quads or a 3 flush with a low to scoop), but it doesn’t happen so frequently that you feel helpless against it.

Other fun bits: Getting beat on the last card is no longer called getting rivered, it’s called getting Habuchan’ed. You can play a variant with 7th street being exposed instead of being in the hole, this is currently called Exposed Habu, but we’re open to other naming suggestions. This game has the property that someone’s 7th street can lead to a ridiculously scary board. For instance on a board of KK49, if someone catches a K then everyone else bricks they just sorta look sad and fold. We are pretty sure that Exposed Habu made the game less interesting so Habu in the hole is the standard but YMMV.

So try out Habu at your next home game and tell me how it goes. I’ll attempt to get a game going at Yacht-10 if I can get off of the waiting list and into the tournament. I expect this invention to make me millions.

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What kind of poker bot do you want to play against?

I was talking with my friend Sam yesterday. He works on the AI for DD Poker. He had some interesting things to say. He says their main competitor is Poker Academy, because both DD Poker and Poker Academy are designed to make you play better. (There are a bunch of “Entertainment” type of poker programs which have fancy graphics and sound, but generally terrible computer play.) He had some interesting things to say. His analysis of the Poker Academy stuff was that it played a better mathematically correct game, but there were some flaws. Fundamentally, Poker Academy doesn’t teach you to play better against people, only mathematically correct bots. DD Poker on the other hand has options that mimic real life play, like going on tilt after a bad beat and a tendency to chase draws. Of course if you are very bad, both DD Poker and Poker Academy will help your game. But DD Poker is designed to help you play better NLHE tournaments against real players.
Another thing that Sam was proud of about DD Poker is that it gives better reasoning behind the advice it gives to players. While Poker Academy can tell you to call, bet or fold, DD Poker can go one step beyond and tell you what factors it is using make its decision. Sam’s philosophy was that he would rather have even bad decisions with the logic behind them rather than just the raw advice. Because poker is so situational there is rarely an absolutely right answer. This lets the player reject advice when the situation warrants it.

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