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Monday, September 27, 2004
I arrived right around 8pm as directed and was greeted by a few familiar faces. I got to get a look at mini-Otis who has more hair than I do atop his head. I'm not jealous, I shave mine by choice man, by choice!
The consensus of the poker playing attendees was that we'd do a no-limit ring game with .25/.50 blinds and a max $30 buy-in. Sounded great to me, I'd never played a live no-limit ring game and I anticipated loads of fun.
Very eary on, and I mean very early, I became an early big-stack having nearly doubled my buy-in through both getting some hands and a few key bluffs. Readers of UpForPoker may recall this little post:
As per my master plan, I'm dealt the Hammer and raise the blinds to $3 and get a cold call from Otis and another player. The flop is K-high junk with no cards matching my monster. Undeterred, I bet out $5 and Otis goes into the tank for a bit. He mucks as does the other player and I proudly show my Hammer. What did Otis muck? The Hiltons. He said he put me on A,K and folded. A small bit of revenge that I had to blog about. I'm sure he understands.
To his credit, you can't bluff out bad players and Otis, I believe, finished the evening way up. Recall on one of the WSOP episodes when Thunder Keller got bluffed out of his Hiltons by Sousa who held crap. Keller went on to win that tournament, so I offer my kudos to Otis who easily finished the night better than I.
How did I end up fairing? Um, not so good. I had two all-ins go awry, getting beat by the only lady player at the table. The first hand I called Tracy's pre-flop raise w/K,J hearts. The flop was 9,T,J rainbow and she bet out $5. I raised to $10 and she came back all-in for only an additional $3 or $4. She showed her A,Q giving her an outside straight draw. The turn brought another J which removed her K outs. Well the river brought an 8 and I grabbed my wallet for another buy-in.
The second buy-in went to Tracy too as I was all in with A,Q on an A-high flop. TeamScottSmith was also in the hand up until the turn. He ended up folding his A,Q when the board rivered a 3rd heart. Tracy held A,7 hearts and took another decent-sized, BadBlood-filled pot.
My third buy-in was going to be my last. I actually was able to build the stack back to close to $80 but began whittling it away in a series of horrible pre-flop calls. The cards went totally dry and when I was down to my last $25 I hadn't seen a flop in what seemed like an hour and a half. The last hand came for me in the big blind holding Q,2 off suit. The board showed 5,5,Q,5,T and I was put all-in by Otis' brother Jeff. I called and was totally blown away when Jeff showed down K,K. He didn't raise the pot pre-flop as we were only 4-players at that time. It was a great play on his part and I bid my farewell at 2:30AM.
TeamScottSmith was the massive chip leader when I left. I have to commend his play as well as Otis' as Otis didn't allow an early bad beat and my Hammer bluff to get him off his game. Meanwhile, I had a total blast. Losing $90 is no big deal when I had so much fun, it was worth it. It was good to see CJ again too, we didn't tangle too much during the night but it was fun talking poker with him.
I brought my cellphone in anticipation of a call from the Northern Bloggers partying it up, but alas that phone call never came. Perhaps AlCantDial was predisposed with more important things, I can hardly blame him :)
Saturday, September 25, 2004
To celebrate BadBlood's return to limit (albeit just temporarily), I am running a kind-of sort-of contest. In this contest you will see my starting hand, my opponents starting hand and the flop. You must correctly guess the runner-runner cards that were flipped to crush my hand. I think it should be pretty easy.
The prize? I can't offer cash. Well I can, but I'm not going to. I'm kind of a cheap bastard with my poker bankroll. What I will do, however, is send to the winner a custom 15 track CD of their choosing. The following list of mp3's can be used as source material. You need only tell me the 15 you want on the CD and I'll burn it and mail it to you. Free of charge.
For the first contest, you must correctly guess TWO, yes TWO, runner-runner hands. I will of course mention when suits are or are not important.
Hand #1 (Suits NOT important)
BadBlood holds K,K
Opponent holds Q,10
Hand #2 (Suits NOT important)
BadBlood holds K,K
Opponent holds A,J
Good luck. Contest ends October 2nd, midnight.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Did a little two-tabling of $1/$2 limit on Party last night. Like I had mentioned, I purchased Ed Miller's SSHE book and read about the first 60 pages. For whatever reason, after a bit of reading, my poker playing discipline seems to be at its highest. It's almost like I'd be letting down the authors of whatever book I'm reading if I played poorly and against their recommendations.
I think I played pretty well, but also had some cards to go along with my luck. +74BB total for about a 2.5 hour session.
I had my share of suckouts. I lost KK to 55 with a rivered 5. Happens. I also lost to a 1-outer. Those are rare. I had A,K and a player holding K,K capped the pre-flop betting. With an A on the flop, he was down to his lone remaining K to beat me. Nailed it on the river. I also lost K,K to A,A once but that is always expected at Party, isn't it?
I was told I sucked and was crazy by the other players on the table after playing the following hand:
I'm holding T,T in EP and pre-flop raise it. It's re-raised by MP and it folds all around back to me. I call. The flop is K,J,x and I bet out. MP simply flat calls, which is odd. The turn is an A and I bet out again. MP flat calls again. I'm now putting him on perhaps a smaller pocket pair, perhaps 9's or 8's. The river is a Q and my broadway straight is the nuts so I bet out again. This time MP raises, I re-raise and MP caps. MP shows Q,Q and the vitriol ensues.
After MP was all said and done, I reminded him that he was only flat-calling me w/Q's with a board showing 2 overcards. Considering I pre-flop raised, you'd think perhaps he would have considered he was beat by either the A or K and laid his hand down. He claimed he "knew" I was full of fecal matter. If that were true, why not raise me post-flop or post-turn? I grant that I got lucky, but based on the betting and board, his play was less than stellar. He claimed I was lucky he had to leave or he'd have a lot of fun taking all my money. Yeah right. I love the "tough" talk of these jokers online. Makes me laugh every time.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
I'll be attending Otis' home game this Saturday night. I anticipate at least some dial-a-shots phoned in from the Northeast blogger convention being held in Philly that same night. Should be real fun. If it isn't, one guy from my normal home game is throwing a 50th birthday party for himself at his subdivisions clubhouse. I may not make it there until real late since I don't think any strippers were hired. Yet another bad decision.
I got decimated in my return to Hold 'em last night at PokerStars. QQ, not good enough. JJ, not quite good enough. Trip 9's on a flop, can't beat a flush draw. Oh well, it happens.
I won $15 playing the South Carolina State Lottery last night. Woo-freaking-hoo. I may look into buying the new poker book making the rounds in the blogger community, Ed Miller's Small Stakes Hold 'em. I have the Lee Jones book, it should be interesting comparing the two. I've kind of lost a bit of interest in the no-limit games for whatever reason and am pondering going back to limit for a while just to mix things up a bit in my brain. Not that shit's not already mixed up in my cranial cavity.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Doyle's chiding of Phil Hellmuth was amusing. I have a theory on Phil that states he is a master marketer. Granted, he's a fine poker player too; but I maintain that much of what we see of Phil is an act, put forth on the viewers to ensure his personality continues to make him additional money. Paul Phillips disagrees with me on this, but you know what? Fuck him. Kidding :)
Raymer's play near the end was a bit suspect. I know it's his style to be aggressive, but either he was on a bit on tilt or just got unlucky when he chose to push. Still, I was rooting for Greg because he's shown nothing but class during the entire WSOP.
I applaud both Annie Duke and Howard Lederer for playing against each other as if they were not brother and sister. When Daniel Negreanu pre-flop raises and Annie puts him all in with a re-raise, we see that Howard has K,K. He goes all in, just as he should. Not only is Howard a great player, he obviously has much respect for the game.
For this next thought, I'm donning my flame-retardant suit. I know a bunch of you really like and are fans of Annie Duke. I'm not so sure I fall within this camp. To me, she's simultaneously somewhat of an arrogant player, yet at the same time plays up the "I'm just a girl schtick." For whatever reason, that rubs me the wrong way. I grant that she's a fine player and have no problem with her being at that table. It's just that some of her personality gets to me. I'm sure she really cares about what I think of her too.
A co-worker brought up an interesting point. Both he and I believe that given this tournament's payout structure, there HAD to be deals made to share the prize money. Who made deals with whom? I have no idea. But it was interesting that Raymer seemingly gave away his chips to Annie on some rather suspect plays. It was also interesting to note that while Annie and Daniel were in a big hand, Raymer rather uncharacteristically chimed in with his "Is this a bad time to ask you for your autograph?" question. Was he trying to throw off Daniel a bit in an effort to help Annie? This is all very much conjecture, but I would not be surprised if there were deals made between any of the players. It's just too much prize money to ignore that possibility.
I have to admit that was the most entertaining tournament I've watched in a long time.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
So when I looked up at the fellow co-worker, I noticed that he had one of his fingers buried knuckle deep inside his nose. He was concentrating so hard on this excavation attempt that he didn't yet see me coming the other way. This was by no means a minor dig. This was a Schwarzenegger-in-Total-Recall-Removing-The-Tracking-Implant-Effort.
At this point, I gave away a free out and continued to let my co-worker draw to a hand. I looked down pretending I hadn't yet seen him go spelunking up his nasal cavity. I gave him ample time to sense my presence and withdraw. After what I thought was a reasonable time, I looked up again to see that he had finished his job, and greeted him with a friendly "Hello."
Had this been at the poker table, I would have pushed him all-in by greeting him with "Hey Paul, pick me a winner!"
Monday, September 20, 2004
However, it would be silly to enter a new battle without the proper ammunition.
How many of us either own or have read Doyle Brunson's Super System? I'm guessing most of us have. Well, have you looked at the other sections that aren't Hold 'em related? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Super System does have a section on 7-card stud split featuring strategy tips from David Slansky. I believe Slansky needs no introduction.
In a nutshell, he recommends not playing any hands that aren't capable of scooping (i.e. winning both halves) of the pot. He notes that there are not many high hands that can also win the low hand by virtue of acquiring more cards, but that is not the case with low hands.
A great low hand can develop into a high hand by filling up a straight or flush. It is these hands where profits are made. Slansky points out that if 3 players are in a hand that will eventually be split, your dollar is only earning a potential 50% rate of return. However, if you go on to scoop the entire pot, it's earning a 200% rate of return - that's 4 times as large for us math wizards out there.
Because these type of hands would be somewhat uncommon, I logged into a full table rather than a short-handed one so that the antes wouldn't eat into my buy-in too quickly.
By following the above general strategy, I made 66 BB in a couple of hours. This result was greatly helped by one hand in particular where I had 2,3,4,5,6 for a made low and high. I took down a $72 pot with 2 other players calling and re-raising my raises the whole way. I got the wheel (A,2,3,4,5) two other times for decent sized pots too. You will be amazed at the chasers at these tables. There were a couple of people who just never seemed to fold.
Don't worry though, there will be suckouts going on at this game too. You'll get your A,2,4,5 suited in the first 4 cards, then get hit with K,J,Q bricks and have to fold. Slansky says there's not much you can do there. He also claims that by following his strategy, you'll have a 7 or 8:1 chance of coming away with a winning session. That's purty damn nice odds if you ask me.
So I may just try this for a bit, and let my Hold 'em cells regenerate.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
I had been playing on the tight side, but chose these hands to open it up a bit. I called modest pre-flop raises and the flops came thusly:
Schwing. I actually ended up splitting the pot at Pokerstars when a rivered T gave someone holding A,8 suited his straight too.
Teh Intarweb is obviously rigged!
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
We first saw when Men the Master left visibly upset at having his all-in bet with A,A get called by someone on a flush draw holding K,Q hearts.
Then we saw Annie Duke upset when someone with AQ called her all-in bluff when she herself only had KQ.
Twice we saw Josh Arieh wonder aloud at how someone could call his big raises with hands he considered to be substandard, Henry D's A,J and David Williams' 5,5.
What's going on?
Well, for one, new players are entering the game and they have a whole new outlook on how to play. Some of these veterans of NLHE are going to be forced to change up their game and add the possibility of being called to their decision analysis.
I believe that these veteran pros are making these bets so they can safely eliminate a subset of hands from their analysis. If their bets are called, they are then mistakenly eliminating certain hands their opponent could be holding which could cause them to lose the hand.
In the example of the 5,5 David Williams had, when a 5 flopped on the board, Arieh probably thought there was no way he could have been holding that hand and bet accordingly. Then when Williams showed 5,5, Arieh walked back to the rail wondering how someone could call his T500,000 bet with that.
Well, it appears that from now on, players are going to have to account for the fact that many people are willing to call down bigger bets with lesser quality hands. If the pros don't adjust to this, they are going to potentially lose a bit more often as some of these hands hit the flop.
Perhaps those of us who play online frequently are used to this behavior and have had time to adjust. Personally, I'm never surprised anymore when the 3rd suited card hits the board on the river and someone makes their flush holding 2,7 suited. In fact, I saw it last night beat K,K in a no-limit ring game. Is this bad play? Perhaps, but there are more and more players who are playing these hands so you better account for it somehow in your play.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
The scene is set at a $10 SNG. Only 4 players left, your hero shares the chip lead with another player at roughly T2900. Player 3 has roughly T1500 and player 4 is in tough shape with T700. The blinds? They are 200/400.
The conservative, nay, smart poker player would rightfully think that a placement in the money could be obtained by simply playing without risking your tournament life on draws and bad cards.
Such is not the case as our hero is dealt K,Q diamonds. The other chip leader has earned his place at the top by being extremeley aggressive. So when he raises the pot to T600 for the 4th straight time, my hand warrants a call.
The flop is A,x,x with two diamonds. "Aha!" I exclaim. I think I've caught him this time. My thoughts are validated as pre-flop-raiser checks the flop. Over excuberance sets in and all my chips head towards the middle.
Call? How can he call?
Oh. He has A,A.
A diamond does not show up and our hero is bounced from the tourney in 4th place. The echoes of "hahahahahaha" are left behind in the chatbox by the player with T700 left.
I click the close-window "x" at the top right and ponder my idiocy. Such a fine line I think to myself, a fine line.
Fast forward two years and the Pats beat a surprising Panthers team in somewhat similar fashion.
Then last night's Monday Night Football game rolls around and I get to hear this drivel pouring from Madden's mouth: "Whoever had the ball last was going to win the Superbowl last year. If the Panthers got the ball back, they would have won because the Patriots couldn't stop them."
You know what Madden? You're a fucking moron. Pay some goddamn respect to the world champs. They deserved the win. Don't go trashing a 17-2 team and claim that the whimsical fancies of the football gods gave them a victory when they were the superior team through and through.
Witness the first week of this year's NFL season. Granted the Patriots might end up not making the playoff this year, but they did manage to beat another very good Colts team. Carolina? Well, they lost their HOME OPENER to a talented, but by no means dominating, Green Bay Packers.
I don't believe Carolina will be as good a team as they were last year, I don't think they improved that much on either side of the ball. So go away, Mr. Madden. Perhaps you'd like to clean up some horseshit with Jake Delhomme next time you're in town. Or perhaps not, there's certainly enough crap coming out your mouth already.
Monday, September 13, 2004
The secret is simple. Patience and discipline. But who didn't already know that? The question I had to answer was how can I improve my patience and discipline at these tables? In the past, it had been multi-tabling a SNG with a ring game. Playing at two tables had the effect of making it easier for me to wait for higher quality starting hands. But I've decide to take a break from Party Poker NL ring games. Why? I'm not willing, at this point, to ride the high variance of these games. It's borderline crazy. I've won big and I've lost big at these tables and frankly I'm a bit tired of oscillating my bankroll around a very slowly increasing average.
I'd have to find something to replace that component of my discipline-inducing multi-tabling. (Is that too many dashes in a sentence? Probably.) So I signed up at PokerStars. The contrast in styles is quite noticable.
Granted, I haven't logged very many hours at PokerStars yet, so to make any judgements at this point may be a bit premature. For one thing, I've noticed that there aren't any NL short-handed tables, i.e. 6-max, and that their tables sit a max of 9. This alone may be enough to contribute to the disparity in playing styles.
Regardless, I'm going to give PokerStars' ring games a try for a while. After 5 short sessions, I'm actually profitable there. Couple that with my SNG's at Party and I'm having a good time recouping the bankroll from some bad beats and bad play. Yes, I admit to playing piss-poor over the last couple weeks. Who else would brag about hitting quads with the hammer?
So if you're on Stars, look me up. I'll also still be SNG-ing it on Party as MaudieB can attest to. I got a surprise "Woo-hoo" from her after a recent SNG victory there. Always a welcome rail bird she is. Hopefully she got my bounty CD and is playing it non-stop.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Table Table 14413 (6 max) (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 3: Cttoboston ( $89.65 )
Seat 5: Bandoff ( $109.65 )
Seat 1: badblood44 ( $147.2 )
Seat 6: damo78 ( $188.4 )
Seat 8: Roundr34 ( $94.15 )
Seat 10: cbs007 ( $65 )
damo78 posts small blind [$1].
Roundr34 posts big blind [$2].
cbs007 posts big blind [$2].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to badblood44 [ 7c 7s ]
badblood44 calls [$2].
Cttoboston calls [$2].
Bandoff raises [$10].
badblood44 calls [$8].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 8h, 7d, Td ]
Bandoff is all-In.
badblood44 calls [$99.65].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 5d ]
** Dealing River ** [ 4c ]
badblood44 shows [ 7c, 7s ] three of a kind, sevens.
Bandoff doesn't show [ 8s, Qc ] a pair of eights.
badblood44 wins $224.30 from the main pot with three of a kind, sevens.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
As are many other bloggers, I too am participating in a Fantasy Football League. I've been the stat-keeper for this league for about 10 years now, and during this time have gone by the moniker of StatKing. We'll statistics and probability can prove useful in poker too and that's where this post comes in.
The question: Is there something up w/Party Poker and Q,8 showing up on the flop more often than it should?
As Pauly mentioned in his blog, the other night it did seem that Q,8 was showing up every 5th hand or so. In order to determine if it was showing up with abnormal frequency, we'll have to do some calculations. Basically, how often does a flop of Q,8,x show up? The answer should go something like this:
There are 6 combinations of flops where there is only 1 Q and 1 8. They are:
Each of the above flops is equally as probable as the next, so we only have to calculate the probability of one of those flops occurring, then multiply that by 6.
So, the probability of the first combination is the quantity: (4/52)*(4/51)*(44/50) = .0053092 or just over 0.5%. Multiply that by 6 and you get .0318552 or about 3.2%. So a flop of Q,8, rag should show up about once every 31 hands or so.
I then grabbed my latest 100 hand history from Party Poker and did a little string searching. The PokerProfessor should be able to appreciate this command:
grep -i flop hand_history.txt wc -l
My bash shell returned 92, so there were 92 flops seen in that 100 hand history file I downloaded. The next command was to determine how many of those flops had a Q and 8 in them.
grep -i flop hand_history.txt grep Q grep 8
The result returned 6 flops that matched that query. However, one of them was Q,8,8 so I discarded that. Out of 92 hands, 5 had that "magical" Q,8,x flop or 5.43% of the time.
Is that extraordinary? You can't really answer that question without knowing the variance associated with that event occuring. In statistics, events that either occur or don't, with no in-between, fall into what's known as the binomial distribution. The variance of that distribution is calculated with the following formula:
Variance = n*p*(1-p) where n is the number of trials and p is the probability of success.
The standard deviation is simply the square-root of the variance, so the standard deviation of the success of that flop is (92*.0318552*(1-.0318552))^0.5 or 1.6844.
In the 92 trials, the expected number of flops that should show Q,8,x is n*p or 92*.0318552, 2.93.
To summarize, I should have seen a flop like that about 3 times, when in fact I saw it 5 times. However, my limited sample size shows that it occurred at a rate only 1.2 standard deviations greater than that average, which is hardly that abnormal. Therefore, I cannot conclude that anything is "up" with the flops at Party Poker.
To truly be sure, I'd need several thousand sample sizes, but I'm convinced that wouldn't tell me anything is out of the ordinary anyway, so I'll end my analysis here. Hope you had fun :)
Thursday, September 02, 2004
The final turnout was 26, our biggest ever. Luckily we had someone bring an extra set of chips to accommodate the higher attendance. Our tourneys are structured based on a T100 starting stack. The blinds last for 50 minutes followed by a 10 minute break. The blinds start at 1/2, 2/4, 5/10, 10/20, 25/50, 50/100, etc., etc. This seems to work out pretty well as you can get a decent amount of hands within the first two hours and play pretty tight if you need to. Also, during the final stages of the tournament, it's not necessarily a crap shoot with the blinds being too big. For example in this tournament, when it was down to the final two, the chip stacks were roughly 1900/700 with the blinds at 50/100.
Rather than go into an in depth report, I'll just go over a couple of crucial hands that defined my tournament experience.
Coming off my night of quads on Party Poker, I didn't expect to see them in the live tournament. But I was wrong. Getting dealt T,T with a T on the flop would have been good enough. Being in late position and having someone bet into me is a golden situation. When the case T hit the river, I felt I could comfortably raise :) The question was how much. The bet to me was T10 (we're still in the 1/2 blind stage) and I raise to T30. The bettor calls and shows me his Q to match the Q on the board. I flip up my quads and he's slightly embarrassed he bet into my dominating hand.
Like Otis was with me, I too was wary of getting into a pot with him. Having position on Otis this hand was they key to winning it. He pre-flop raised 2xBB and I flat called holding 9,9. Otis bet nearly immediately after seeing his hole cards, which was slightly different than how he'd bet before when he held AA earlier. I took it as him holding a medium hand, perhaps A,K or A,Q. The end board showed J,J,T,x,J and I was pretty sure I was holding a winner if indeed I had put him on the correct hand. He bet after the river and I could only call. He showed me 8,8 and I took a medium sized pot from him. Not soon after, Otis busted with his Q,Q vs. A,K story he's already blogged about.
After we got down to 16 players, I won a huge pot at the time calling down someone's river bluff. I was holding A,9 of spades and limped into the pot. The flop showed K,Q,x - two spades. I called another min bet and the turn brought another Q. This time, it was checks all around, which had me thinking nobody was holding a Q. The players in the pot with me weren't of a high enough caliber to slow play trips. So I got to see the free river which was an A. I thought my hand was good enough for at least a split pot here, but still chose to check to the late position bettor. He bet T100 after the betting was T20 the whole time. I smelled bluff. I called and he immediately said "I didn't want to hear that." He showed down K,x for a worse two-pair than I. This pot brought me to the chip lead at the table and I was in great position.
Fast-forward to the final table of 8 and I have about T450, above average but only 3rd overall. It was at this time that I decide to bump up the aggression and unfortunately, I didn't work out so well.
I limp in with A,2 clubs but someone in later position min-raises it and I call. The flop is A,K,x with only 1 club. I decide to bet out for information into the raiser to see what he's holding, hopefully something like K,Q or even J,J. I bet out T50 and am raised to T100. Muck. Chip stack down to T350.
I pre-flop raise to T50 holding 7,7 and get 1 caller, the button. The flop is A,A,x and I decide to see where I stand here too by betting another T50. All-in. Muck. Chip stack down to T250.
I get dealt 7,7 again and call the short stack's all-in bet of T50. One other player also calls. The flop is J,6,5 with two spades. I like my hand here. I decide to go for a check raise with the other player for a side pot but he too checks. Unfortunately for me, the turn is a 7.....of spades. I check, the other player goes all-in for T150 and I call, leaving me with only T50. The original player who was all-in showed A,K spades, a nice hand. The other player showed Q,x of spades, a garbage hand that happened to beat me at the moment. I was praying for the board to pair. If it did, I'd eliminate 2 players and have a monster chip stack with 5 players left.
The board did not pair and not soon after I busted in 7th. Another tournament, another near-bubble finish. Sweet. On the good side, it was a lot of fun and I was glad I could host a tournament for other poker groups in the area to play in. I look forward to playing with these players again, they are both decent poker players and most importantly good people.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
"What are you listening to nowadays? Anything new and exciting an old school metal fan should pick up?"
I'll take this as two separate questions independently. For the first question, here are some of the albums I've purchased in the last 3 to 4 months or so:
In Flames - Soundtrack to Your Escape
Children of Bodom - Hatecrew Deathroll
Killswitch Engage - The End of Heartache
Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake
Unearth - Oncoming Storm
Flaw - Endangered Species
A couple of comments regarding these selections: The In Flames disc was a bit disappointing to me. Being a die-hard fan, this one sadly falls short of my expectations. Granted there are a few decent songs here, but as a whole, it's subpar for them. The Children of Bodom disc was surprisingly good, even if they do have someone playing keyboards in the band. Killswitch Engage - more on that further down. Lamb of God - I'm still going through my first listen and so far it's extremely impressive. Following up on their As the Palaces Burn cd, they've outdone themselves with this effort. Unearth - also still going through my first listen, but like it so far. Flaw - sorry, but this was horrible. It's not "real" metal, per se, but I bought it because their Through the Eyes cd from two years ago was so good. Oh well, it was cheap at least.
Now, back to Killswitch Engage. This is the answer to Al's second question. I would whole-heartedly recommend buying this disc. Today. It is solid from beginning to end. I feel that this one would appeal most to some of the old-school metal fans who got their wings listening to Master of Puppets, Among the Living, and Peace Sells, But Who's Buying.
The vocals are more accessible to those not accustomed to the raw, growling-type style of some of the most extreme bands of today. And the guitar work is very riff-oriented with outstanding production quality.
So that's it in a nutshell. Go out and buy Killswitch Engage's "The End of Heartache" today!