Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gugh

Ok, it's amazing what two brilliant people can come up with over beers on a Wednesday night.

DumbBlogger1: We should do an April Fool's joke.
DumbBlogger2: Yeah we should.
DumbBlogger1: Wouldn't it be brilliant if we did it two days early? Nobody would suspect anything.
DumbBlogger2: That's fucking brilliant.

See how we think? I know what you're thinking. Brilliant doesn't describe it. You're wrong. It was brilliant.

In all seriousness, we both love Otis like a brother. I'm not sure he could say or do anything to change that either.

And how 'bout that Dick Fuckin' Tracy of a sleuth Chilly? He scours the intarweb for comments and lays down a completely rational explanation as to why this was a joke. Nothing gets past you, man. Nothin! :)

Down For Poker

(Note from Blood:  G-Rob has decided to take up residence here and be a regular contributor to this blog rather than his former location.  This is his first post.)

RADIOACTIVE MAN (and fallout boy)

I hope you've noticed my absence at Up for Poker.  I doubt many of you true poker players actually read the site, but "Otis" has grown a pretty devoted following among the semi-literate and sedated.  CJ has readers because he shares the site.  More than a year ago, close to two really, I joined them in a silly poker blog that wasn't unlike this one.  In fact, that's how I met BadBlood, though poker blogs in G-Vegas.  Now I've joined his site.

I love poker.  I started playing after my frisbee golf buddies talked it up for years.  After some brief initial sucess, it went from part -time hobby to full-time obsession.  Hopefully a few of Blood's readers followed the jouney with me.  Actually, Blood was pivotol in my development.  We started playing weekly, then bi-weekly, then several times a week.  My style is a perfect foil for his conservative but aggressive play.  

Meanwhile, Otis became a problem.  

"Otis" and I were good friends, at least I always thought we were.  Really we were drinking buddies thrown together by a common workplace and hobbies.   Our different personalities were bound to clash.  Last Friday was the last straw.

Blood and "Otis" had been feuding for months.  It started on our last blogger trip to Vegas.  Blood had a pretty rough time, a few bad beats and, to be honest, he didn't play his best.  When he explained that to Otis, Otis replied, "A lot of people who are good at their home game get a reality check here.  It happens to a lot of people."

I'll give him this, that's GENERALLY true.  But anyone who reads this site regularly, and anyone who's played with Blood online, knows he's an outstanding player.  Worse, telling someone in the middle of a tough run that, essentially, they're losing because they suck and they're too arrogant to admit it...is a dick thing to do.  Especially when it's patently false.

They've been at each other's throats for weeks now, refusing to play at the same homegames.  It's been wierd for me, being friends with both, until I realized "Otis" wasn't my friend either.

FRIDAY

Friday was "TheMark's" birthday.  He hosted a $33 (his age) NLHE touney to "mark" the occasion.  I got there late for the cash game and both Blood and "Otis" played.  When I walked in, about midnight, they were drunk as hell and at each other's throats.  "Otis" accused Blood of peeking at other players cards and Blood asked Otis to "step outside" 3 times.  Otis, being a pussy, refused.  I know Otis didn't really think Blood was cheating.  Nobody who knows EITHER player would believe it.  But we were playing with a dozen new players and some of them DID.  It was surreal.

I tried to calm things down which, if you know me, isn't really my stlye.  Both people have been friends of mine, however, and I wanted it to blow over.

It didn't.  After the tourney (Otis chopped for 2nd place) Otis joined the rest of us in the $100NL cash game.  That's when he started in on me.  Really it was the same shit he's been digging on Blood but more personal with me.  He called me a "hack ass writer" for my contributions to "UpforPoker" and said my play was "laughable".

I'd be the first to admit I'm not that good, but the shit talk went too far.  Mostly because he obviously MEANT IT.

Then he started the fat jokes.

Then the wife jokes.

Then, he insulted my kids.

I threw the first punch, and the last.  As I said, "Otis" is a pussy.

He stayed at the game and Blood and I left.  It was kinda sad really because we were playing with Blood's chips, forcing everyone to cash out.  The other players, unaware of the fighting, gave Blood shit for "taking his chips and going home" but we couldn't stand another minute.

I love poker but I hate that shit.

SO?

Here I am.

I'm the new addition at "BadBlood (and G-Rob) on poker."  It's long overdue.

I hope those of you who read this site will welcome me.  I hope the people who read me there will follow.

And...FUCK OTIS.





Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Up A Notch

I mulled it over for about 5 minutes and thought “WTF?” and hopped right into two-tabling the $200NL game on Stars.

Some thoughts:

The play was not discernibly different than the $100 game, which really wasn’t too surprising.  Of course the sample size is idiotically small to make any sort of real judgment, but any time I jump up in stakes my first instinct tells me I’m wandering into a den of sharks.  However, this first testing of the waters didn’t give me any indication that I was.

Two-tabling was perhaps a mistake.  With each jump in limits, player profiling becomes more and more important.  Sure, you can get away with simple ABC stuff and most likely drag in a profit; but the probability of encountering solid players who counter that style successfully increases with the rising limits.  So you do need to be able to mix things up in a deceptive manner.

Being a donkey hurts twice as much.  I had AK in LP and played it very straightforwardly.  A player in the blinds who called my pre-flop raise, led out post flop on an AJx board.  My tactical plan was to raise that lead out such that if he came over the top of my raise, I could lay the hand down to a suspected two-pair or set.  So when I raised and he came over the top……I called.  Donkey move.  A set of Jacks took down the pot and I regretted making the call.  Not because I lost money, but because I played the hand with every intention of getting away from it if my opponent indicated that I was beat.  My opponent told me in the most glaringly obvious way, and I ignored my initial read.  Donkey.

On my other table, I had AA cracked all-in pre-flop.  On Stars, since the hands aren’t flipped right away, I never know what to hope for on the flop in these cases.  When the board was played out and read 9-high, I was confident that my Aces were good against QQ, KK, or even JJ.  Wrong.  Pocket 9’s doubled up then hit-and-ran.

After an hour, I was down, but not out.  I watched House with the Mrs. as per our agreement.  Sadly, I’ve grown to like the show.  “You’re risking a patient’s life!!”

Where was I?  Oh yeah, so after the show was over and everyone was tucked nicely away in bed, I resumed my attack on the $200 game.

But this time, I took it one table at a time.  I paid better attention to the play styles of the various players and was able to bust someone else who couldn’t get away from TPTK when my flopped OESD hit on the turn.

That table soon broke and I wandered to another one, encountering an overly aggressive player who loved to call many a pre-flop raise and then betting ragged flops very forcefully.  I’m not ashamed to say I sucked out on him with a straight vs. his flopped two pair.  What’s funny to me is when aggressive players hit their hand and then bet soft.  They don’t realize that they’ll get paid off based on their table image and this time unfortunately for him, my hand got there.

So after one measly night and two hours of playtime, I took the first step into moving up a level – even without “beating” the $100 game.  The confidence is a minor notch higher thanks to not getting obliterated.  I do know that I could get my ass handed to me at any new level, but I hope to continue to play smart and focused.

Thanks again to all the replies from yesterday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'll Keep Digging

One of the main reasons I keep this poker blog is because I like to look back at old entries to analyze my own thought patterns and hopefully see some progress in my game.  It’s difficult to be objective when you’re analyzing the previous “you” playing poker; but nonetheless, I feel it’s important to do so.

In looking back over the two years, there is one aspect of my poker play that stands out:  the stakes have slowly, but steadily increased.

****

I may be stretching things, but I liken the fear of losing in poker to some form of mental anxiety.  Look back at your own play over the years.  Put yourself back in your own shoes from a year ago and think about the stakes at which you used to play.  When I do that, and then think about losing at those stakes, there is no fear, no anxiety.  Over time, humans adapt to adverse mental conditions by desensitization.

Desensitization or graduated exposure therapy is what allows us to eventually move up in stakes and play the game the same successful way.  But it certainly isn’t easy.  At least for me, it takes time to overcome the natural tendency to fear losing such that my play is unaffected.  Different people require different periods of time in order to overcome the jump; and I believe that it’s mainly due to their mental capacity for re-training themselves.

****

In order to actually overcome this type of poker-based anxiety, you do eventually have to make that jump; you can’t just magically ignore the impact of playing at the higher limits.  Successful reconditioning requires some form of progressive exposure.  For me, this type of exposure was repeated attempts at moving up in limits, each time feeling less and less effected by the swings.

Just like the person with an irrational fear of snakes or spiders can manage their fears through the desensitization processes, so too can poker players overcome the same irrationality driven by playing at increased levels.

****

With that said, I have a question.  Part of the process in moving up requires at least some form of self-confidence that you can beat the game at the new level.  To do this, you obviously must be able to beat the game at your current level.  But what defines “beating the game?”

I ask in the context of NL cash games, because I’m sure the answer is different for tournaments and limit cash games.  If your comfort level dictates you have 20 buy-ins in your bankroll, then moving up when your bankroll has doubled may be one answer.  But what if your bankroll is inflated by recent success in other games, like a MTT win or running hot at PLO8?

Late last year, I moved up from the $50NL game to the $100NL game.  Granted, it took several attempts to desensitize myself to the inherently larger swings, but what drove my jump in limits was “beating the game” for roughly 50 buy-ins.  So far this year at the $100NL game, I took an early beating and dropped about 10 buy-ins; but have since made that back.  But with the bankroll where it is now, I theoretically have more than enough to jump to the $200NL game.

But I’m just not confident yet that I’m beating the $100 game.  Which is why I’ll stay where I’m at for now until I gain that confidence.  Feel free to reply with your thoughts on what constitutes your definition of beating the game and what gives you the impetus to finally make a move upwards in limits.

Monday, March 27, 2006

All In Good Fun

Thanks again to the railbirders (Derek, Pauly, bdiddie, Gracie, etc.) and for BiggieShake for setting these up. Mucho tired-o.

  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Four One One

Couple of things:

Tonight, PotY tourney organized, setup, and made to flourish thanks to biggieFries.

Later this summer, the WPBT Summer Classic, organized, setup, and made to flourish thanks to LSUHaterNumber1.

I'm still waiting to get the results via email, but theMark's 33rd annual donkfest tourney was held on Friday night. Once I get the standings, I'll update the G-Vegas PotY stuff too.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sweet Deal

So some bloggers have found themselves with invites to the Playboy Mansion.  That is some seriously good stuff.  Who said bloggers are gay?  Maybe it was blogs are gay.  I don’t know.

As a fun exercise, I asked mrsBlood what her response would be if I found myself in the fortunate situation of being able to go.  

“Hmm…,” she said, “I guess I’d say ‘yes’ because I’d hate to be that wife who said no.  But I wouldn’t like it.  All those girls would be rubbing themselves all over you.”

I responded, “You’d have nothing to worry about.  Trust me.  I have no money.  There will be NBA players there, Snoop Dogg, and so many other people with mega-millions that I’d be lucky to be served a drink.”

****

Were I to attend, I can imagine a conversation among Playmates that would go something like this:

Playmate #1:  “Hey, see that bald guy over there flexing to nobody in particular?  I hear he’ll give you a ride in his ’97 Saturn.”

Playmate #2:  “Really?  Do you know if it’s an SL1 or SL2?”

Playmate #1:  “Not sure, but does it matter?”

Playmate #2:  “No, good point.  What do you think it would take?  A quickie in the grotto?  A hummer?”

Playmate #1:  “I hear you only need to walk close by and inadvertently brush up against him with one of your breasts.”

****

Have a blast guys.  Those of us whose weekend entertainment will be taking their kids to soccer games want plenty of pictures and stories.  Mainly pictures.

Monday, March 20, 2006

WPBT WSOP Satellite

Some interesting observations from last nights WPBT WSOP satellite tournament:

During the first hour or so at my first table, I was fortunate enough to have that poker experience that can only be described as great timing.  The combination of good cards against ones that are slightly worse and aggressive play against hands that had missed the flop let me take an early chip lead.  Because I was showing down the hands that had hit, my table image was that of a card rack.  This was true, but not as much as the table believed.

A few minutes after the first break, I got moved to another table, with the next biggest stack directly to my left.  It was rumored that Claire Daines was change100, all I know is that Katheryn Brewster owned my T101 model.

Without the benefit of my table image, my raises were many times trumped with bigger re-raises preflop.  On some occasions, I simply had to let the hands go.  This new table was stacked with talent.  As such, my stack dipped and rose (mainly dipped) and I found my way from chip leader to middle of the pack as the 3rd hour wore on.

There was one memorable hand I had where I made a “move” and got lucky that my read was correct.  In MP, I raised 3x with pocket 9’s.  In LP, doubleAs re-raised me to T2000, about a 3x raise of my raise.  With T1400 needed to call, and my stack relatively big, I took some time and eventually decided to just call.  The flop came AQx.  Here’s where my thought process takes me:  There is over 5k in chips in the pot and if I check, doubleAs surely bets and I have to fold.  So I eliminate that option immediately.  Then I decide what hands he’d re-raise preflop with and assign the range of JJ,QQ,KK, and AA.  With the Ace and Queen on the flop, the odds of him flopping a set were less than the odds of him holding the other two big pairs.  If that was the case, than the Ace on the flop is surely a scare card.  I raised pre-flop too, so there’s every reason to believe that doubleAs will put me on an Ace.  So my only course of action that can win me the pot is to put him all in.  Which is what I did.  It turned out that my read was correct as he mentioned in the chat that his KK was now no good.  I showed my hand for posterity’s sake and my stack rose back over the T10,000 mark.

But that was the high point of the tourney for me.  My raising hands were just not as strong as they were earlier and I had to muck several pre-flop raises to re-raises.  Like I said, this was one tough table.  I was finally crippled by fellow G-Vegasite Otis when I made a standard raise with AQo from the button.  Otis pushed from one of the blinds and I called figuring he wasn’t super strong and that he was putting me on a positional raise.  He flipped up pocket 3’s and I did not improve.

Subsequently short-stacked, I pushed with my first Ace and got called by Derek with a bigger Ace.  He hit his kicker on the flop to end my evening in 22nd place.

Like I mentioned, timing is everything.  My table image, my cards, and the player composition at my first table allowed my style of play to build a stack.  The same style of play at the second table bombed out unceremoniously.  I had no table image, my cards were weaker, and the players, dare I say it, may have been playing a stronger game than those at my first.  No disrespect intended to any of the guys at my first table, that’s just how it seemed to me last night.

Congratulations to Gracie.  Although I was never at her table, there’s no doubt she played a strong game to win this thing.  And also, congratulations to StB who after two WPBT tournaments sits atop the leader board with a commanding lead.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Suckitude

I won a decent amount of money last night at a live game hosted by the venerable Frank the Tank.  The sad part is, I don’t think I played very well.

****

It’s one of poker’s age old questions, would you rather win the most money or be the best player?  Obviously being the best means you would be a winning player, but you’d certainly be laying down hands that offered suck out potential because you knew the odds were against you.

Last night, I wasn’t laying down those hands.  And the river was kind.

****

Drawing out is part of the game, and I’ve had my share of hands where I was the victim.  One thing I hope I manage to do is not berate the other player who caught his card to beat me.  Most times, I think I’m successful.  But during the times when I’m not, when I’m not able to suppress the post-hand analysis of the “proper” play, I at least offer my opponent a smile and a “nice hand.”  And then I move on.  Because that’s poker.

****

Last night, half the players were from the Game That Shall Not Be Named.  You know the one, the one with…..wait…..here it comes…..THE RAKE.  Of the five players, four were rather straightforward players.  If they had a hand they’d bet it.  Only one would be what I’d consider “crafty,” and I managed to stay out of many big pots with him.

During one hand with a straightforward player, I called a small raise out of position with J9o.  That was mistake number one.  The flop came QJx and I check call a bet.  Mistake number two.  The turn is a rag and again, I check call a bet.  Three for three.  The river comes and TripJax’s me up.

Then I get to ask my favorite question:  “How much do you have left?”

****

Granted, I played the hand horribly.  I know that.  But when nearly the entire crew from the GTSNBN gets on my shit for sucking out, then I have a problem.  It was almost like I ran over their puppy.  Everyone had to remind me what a horrible suckout it was.  I didn’t bring up the fact that had the guy pushed on the turn, I would have folded.  I didn’t bring up the fact that nearly everyone who came, bought into the game short and had next to zero folding equity against my stack at the time.  I simply told them I was a horrible player and that they should be able to win their money back relatively soon.

****

Last night taught me what it was like to be on the other end of the verbal barbs.  I guess I expected better from people that run their own weekly game (*cough* with RAKE *cough*) to handle losing a little bit better.  But the suckouts were OK with me – I’ll think of it as getting some of my rake back.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tri-Clops by Proxy

Warning:  Zero Poker Content

I would imagine a bunch of those who read this blog read Tri-Clops.  Their current topic is about baseball and steroids and whether the artificial onslaught of homeruns saved the game.

I offer my opinion:

What other sport is as tied to numbers and statistics as baseball?  I’d wager none.  I can simply quote numbers, and to many of you, even non-baseball fans, you’ll know what I mean.

61
.406
714 and 755
1918 (well, that used to matter)

I could go on with more obscure ones that baseball purists would surely know, but I don’t have to.  In a baseball season, each team plays 162 games.  Many players have over 700 plate appearances and some pitchers throw over 2000 pitches.  Why does that matter?  Because those are enough samples to make baseball statistics meaningful.

Sure other sports have statistics, but none so hallowed as those in baseball.  Much of baseball’s charm is watching a player over the course of any one season or over the course of his career chase an existing record.

And now, thanks to artificially enhanced physical abilities, much of baseball’s charm is gone.

I’ll admit, during the great homerun chase of 1998; I was enthralled, just like the rest of the nation.  So in the short-term, I’d wager that the increase in power production numbers brought more fans to the game (just like the juiced ball of 1987 did.)  But only because records were being broken and because those records meant something.

Players like Canseco, Caminiti, Palmiero, Bonds, Sosa and McGwire have tarnished players of yesteryear whose accomplishments on a fair playing field look pale in comparison.  Players of my youth like Jim Rice who I watched every day during the summer months are only just now being given second looks for their accomplishments.

The game can survive, but it’s forever tarnished.  Right around this time of year, I used to eagerly anticipate Opening Day.  But now, there’s something missing.  And the eight-year old still inside me is saddened that the game he used to love is no more.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Moving Down

Regarding the stakes discussion of the previous post – I came to a small realization.  Playing smaller stakes than what you’re accustomed to can teach some valuable lessons.

During a smaller stakes live game, I was more willing to make moves that were solid poker plays by putting chips at risk without regard to the fear of losing them.  Many times you’ll be in a pot where the only way you can win is to bet at it – firing that extra round, so to speak.

When I’ve been in a game where the stakes are more meaningful, I’ve found that I’ve been a little more reluctant to make those plays, even though they are proper and sound.

How often have you found that by moving up in limits, you’re playing too tight?  How often have you found that moving down makes you play too loosely?  Well, if your game could stand to improve in either direction, perhaps a foray into different stakes can help you plug another hole in your game.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Home Game Musings

I headed off to the G-Vegas big game last night.  Before we started, a conversation took place on how to increase attendance on Monday night’s premier $2/$5 game.  Some regular players felt that the NLO8 game had caused some people to shy away from the game due to its inherently high variance and luck factor.  The discussion got interesting because it brought up some of the pitfalls of maintaining a long-term viable home game.

I mentioned to the group how the game I normally set up just migrated from .25/.50 NLHE to .50/1.00 NLHE (each with 100xBB max buy-ins) and that we had most likely lost some of the player base due to the increase.  I hazarded a guess that besides G-Rob, Otis and myself, perhaps only one or two other regulars might be tempted to play in this game.  Consideration was made to the possibility of turning the game into a $1/$2 $200 buy-in strictly hold ‘em game.  I was in favor of that option, because from my perspective, I get the most enjoyment out of being able to use strategy and tactics, not just waiting for the nuts in O8 and pushing.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the stakes need to matter.  There’s no going back.  TheRick mentioned he just couldn’t play in the $100 buy-in game because he wouldn’t take it seriously.  That same haphazard attitude had caused TheMark to donk off many of his chips after building a formidable stack in many of our $50 buy-in games.

Finding a happy medium ground will be difficult.  As is expected, each player plays for different reasons and each player will improve at different rates.  What this means is that as the game changes, some players will simply stop playing because the game no longer satisfies their needs.

Thankfully, many of G-Vegas veterans have taken steps to host more often.  The Axeman in fact, hosted a small tourney on Saturday night featuring the debut of his new table.  Shep (8-ball) Tiltstein is also rumored to be building a table once he recovers from the bird-flu.  And when you host, you get to set the stakes.  Granted, we may never again have the 16-player home game of years past, but we should be able to have games every now and then where most everyone can find stakes and skill-levels that suit them.

And if I can, I’ll probably try to play in most of them.  Because the bottom line is this:  The G-Vegas poker crew is good people.

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness

The month of March is a killer.  Both mini’s have birthdays and both are playing sports which require two practices per week and then one additional day for the actual games.  Three years ago, I traveled back North to visit friends.  They had two daughters in the 8-10 year old range and when we visited them, they were busy every single night of the week.  Back then, I swore I’d never let my life get that busy.  I was wrong.

As such, playing the game of poker gets more and more demanding.  The time I can devote to it dwindles even as my fervor for the game grows.  There are usually two or three live games around here per week and it’s getting tougher and tougher to play in all of them.  In fact, this past Friday, I had to tell TheMark that I couldn’t make it to the game he was trying to set up.  I had to go buy a new bike for miniBlood for his birthday.  Priorities.

So I have been playing less in the past few weeks.  And perhaps that’s a good thing.  Because I track every session, I can research my tendencies pretty well.  In the past 18 days that I’ve played, I’ve posted winning days on 16 of them.  It’s a decent win rate that’s allowed me to grow the roll.  My live roll has finally grown back to more than what I had prior to the December Vegas debacle.  Of course, when you experience a bloom in the cash funds, you begin to think of bigger and better things.  That was the source of my posts last week on tourney buy-ins as a percentage of your bankroll.

But I’m not really in a position to make any major dedication to any particular goals right now.  I just don’t have the time.  Perhaps having less time is forcing me to use the time I do have more efficiently.

So that’s where I’m at.  Nowhere in particular.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My Answer

Thanks to everyone who left a comment in the previous post.  The reason I was asking was, as with each spring the past three years, I’ve thought about directly buying into one of the minor WSOP events this summer.  The last two years would have required nearly my entire bankroll.  Not so this year.  However, I’d still have to commit probably 25-30% of it and I’m not totally comfortable with doing that just yet.

I’ll reassess things in a few months, but more than likely, I’ll play it conservative and play some satellites instead.  One thing is for sure; I’m a patient and stubborn guy.  If things progress in the next two years as they have the previous two years, then a direct buy-in will fall within that 5-10% bankroll target.  I can wait.

When I was in Tunica back in January, I chopped a satellite to the $1000 event that CJ, Otis and Iggy played in.  My first thoughts upon receiving the $500 lammer was sell that thing.  (PS:  Thanks again to the Ig-master for purchasing it, the guy’s solid.)  I needed the cash.  Not even for a split second did I think of entering another SNG to try to win my way into the preliminary event.  I guess I’m still a bit risk-averse.  Knowing what a dent a four-figure buy-in would put into my bankroll would probably affect my play, and that’s why I chose to forego the event.

It’s funny how your perspective changes.  In theory, I could start buying into the big Sunday tournaments and stay within my bankroll management guidelines.  But there’s just something about the potential for a big score that’s made even sweeter by earning it through a satellite entry.

Strangely, there’s some part of me that just can’t come to terms with asking for backers either.  If I ever get the chance to enter a significant tournament, I’d like to say I got there myself.  This is certainly no reflection on those who choose such an option; it’s just some personal choice I’ve made.  It quite possibly could be a reflection of my own perceived lack of skills, but mainly it’s borne out of the feelings that I’d let more than just myself down by not placing in the money.

Anway, thanks again for the responses; I’ll see you all on the satellite circuit.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Q&A

Here’s a question I pose to anyone who wants to answer:

What percentage of your working bankroll would you be willing to risk to play in one single freeze out NLHE tournament?  And why?  Don’t forget the why.

Thanks.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Donk-a-Cross

G-Vegas, the undisputed hotbed of home poker games, is always innovating and inventing new ways to relieve the unwashed masses of their cash.  Sure you have “normal” poker being played on most nights, NL hold ‘em, Omaha, Stud8, and even Razz.  But when it comes to inventing games to play, G-Vegas has no equal.

Some of you may remember the donk-tastic G-Rob invention known as Py-nizzle.  There is another equally challenging game that we’ve affectionately called Donk-a-Cross.

In my forthcoming tome on poker strategy “Mediocre System,” I’ll layout the optimal strategy for the game; in the meantime, this post will simply document the rules.  G-Rob will be penning the Py-nizzle chapter for those who may be curious.

All players are dealt 4 cards.  There are 5 community cards placed face down in the form of a cross.  The betting is a single limit, for this example, let’s assume $3.  A maximum match figure is also required.  We’ll get to that later, but again for this instance, let’s use $30.

To start, one community card (not the center) is flipped up and the first round of betting commences.  The object of the game is to form your best 5-card poker hand using your 4 hole cards and any row of 3 community cards formed by the cross.  We play hi/lo, 8 or better.

The betting in each round begins with the “heavy” - the last person to initiate a round of betting or the last person to raise.  After each betting round, an additional card is flipped, saving the center card for last.

When the four perimeter cards are exposed, it’s decision time.  If you call a bet on the last round, see the middle card flipped, and lose – you have to match the pot.  The cap on the match is the aforementioned $30 as defined by the dealer.  If nobody bets the final round and it’s checked around, we do an “in or out” declare via chip-in-hand.  The game ends when there are no losers required to match the pot.

It was Donk-a-cross that salvaged my game last night.  Again, you will have to wait until “Mediocre System” hits the shelves for the optimal strategy to be published.  In the meantime, best of luck.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mish and Mash

Dr. Pauly has some information about another charity tournament going on this evening.  Head on over there for details if you feel you can contribute by playing.

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I transferred some cash to mrsBlood’s Pokerstars account so she could play against Da Champ along with some of our female blogging superstars.  She had fun while she played, eventually busting out when she lost a kicker battle with AT.  I was downstairs breaking in the new chips with an impromptu home game.

Because it was an off-night, and it was on short notice, we only had 7 players.  Nothing too much interesting to report, except that the new chips seemed to go over pretty well.  I chipped up early by felting Otis with my KK vs his TT.  After that, it was all down hill.  I lost a huge pot to the Rankster when I couldn’t force him off his spade flush draw on the turn.  In fact, he raised me on the draw and by the time the river came, I was committed.  Rebuy!

Losing that pot put me off my game a bit and rather than make good lay downs like I did last week, I made horrible calls.  I couldn’t throw away my Jacks on a K-high flop, nor could I throw away pocket Tens on a similar board.  Rebuy!

I chipped up a bit, at one point flopping two-pair and runner-runnering quads.  I didn’t get paid, but showed it down anyway.  Then, as the game was winding down, I emulated the Rankster in my best impersonation after he had already busted out and left the scene.  I flopped the nut flush draw with A8 of hearts, but the board was paired.  G-Rob raised the flop big, forcing TheMark out of the action.  I re-raised all-in, even though I knew I was behind.  Obviously, a bit of a gamble.  Sadly, for G-Rob, I hit, he didn’t boat up on the river and I won a pot large enough to put me in the black for the evening.

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Speaking of family members with poker accounts, miniBlood is officially on Empire poker’s play money tournament scene.  He’ll be celebrating his 6th birthday in a couple of weeks, so I thought I’d share some choice quotes from Woodland Elementary’s kindergarten poker prodigy.

Scene 1:
In middle position, miniBlood pops the blinds 6x with A2 clubs, not necessarily a strong hand.  I ask him, “What are you doing?”

“That’s my thing.  I raise to get people to fold.  That’s what I do.”

He would subsequently flop a two (bottom pair), call someone who check-raised him all-in and win the pot.  The two’s held up.

Scene 2:
MiniBlood walks into the master bedroom and laments, “Daddy, I just lost a tournament.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“Some guy, he had trip Queens….”

“What did you have?”

“The hammer.”

Scene 3:
It’s Tuesday night’s chip challenge and I’ve got a small edge on miniBlood.  Prior to me dealing the cards, he puts all his chips into the middle of the table.

“I’m all in blind.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006