Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ask me anything...

As we movie into 2010, I like to try out new features for the site. This year I've set up a textual poker help line. Using a new service called FormSpring you can ask me any question you'd like and I will post answers within a couple hours/days. You can ask personal inquires as well, but I can only guarantee I'll answer those that are poker related.

You always had the ability to ask me something via email, but now the whole community can see the answers.

Ask here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The HellsColdDay Relationship Game

pokerloveA friend of mine and I came up with a way for guys to convey relationship status and satisfaction without having to use terms like “love” and “emotion.” It works by relating a current relationship to a starting hold’em hand. At first, it shows the early satisfaction with the new girlfriend as an analog of the strength of the hand. As the relationship matures, a year into the future let’s say, the game continues by adding a flop to the metaphor. By marriage, a turn. And after years of matrimony, the river.

Example: If a girl enters my friend’s life. He is immediately happy with her, but is unsure about a lasting future, he’d tell me he met a 77. As we know, mid pocket pairs are great starting hands, but with little room for improvement. If the relationship lasts a year, he might tell me he saw a flop of 4 6 9. This would tell me the relationship is going about as well as it did at the begining. Only one overcard lets me know that the risk of them breaking up is still relatively low. The chance at a straight says she could be the one, but it would take a runner-runner, so still not likely. If my friend was thinking about marriage seriously, I would have expected at least another 7 of the flop.

I’ve made some observations on the game. Most first loves start out with immense infatuation, the metaphorical pocket rockets. These immature relationships usually don’t improve on the flop turn or river, and you end up with a weak hand in the end. Sure, there are cases of high school sweatheats living happily ever after, and those cases can be somed up with aces catching trips on the flop and four-of-a-kind of the turn. Unfortually, this is a rare hand. I feel the strongest foundation for a realationship would be seen as a suited A K. A love that blossums into an early flush on the flop and only improves to a royal flush by the river. In other words, true love.

While this game can be used by either sex, it is tailor-made for guys who often poorly express their feelings, especially to other dudes. Give this exercise a whirl and if it doesn’ work out for you...hate the player, not the game.

Note: This is not to be confused with the method of rating the attractivness of the opposite sex by relating them to a blackjack hand. I first heard of this on the television show How I Met Your Mother. For example a hand like 10 A or anything equallying 11 would be ideal, because you’re saying that you’d hit that. It’s less of a relationship game and more of a one-off gag, but funny all the same.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Review :: Cowboys Full

cowboysfullSuper System, Harrington on Hold’em and Poker for Dummies are all text books that would be required reading if your local college offered poker as a subject. (In the case of Poker for Dummies, think community college.) Cowboys Full, on the other hand, is the book you would give a high school grad you are pushing toward said class. I just finished reading Cowboys Full and didn’t learn so much as a good opening hand. If there was a lesson in the book at all, it was a history lesson.

James McManus first wrote of the poker world in his book Positively Fifth Street, an exploration of the Ted Binion murder. It was a book that appealed to both fans of the game and fans of murder mysteries. In contrast, Cowboys Full appeals to a narrower audience and covers a wider subject matter. To like Cowboys Full you have to really like poker. Much of the book reads as a celebration of poker. It covers the European roots of the game and follows it’s evolution through the US revolution, into the wild west with Bill Hiccock, hitches a ride on Mark Twain’s steam boats, and ends with the creation and popularization of the WSOP. If you have been playing as long as I have, I’m sure you’ve picked up some of the game’s history; I’m also sure there is more to learn within.

Overall, I enjoyed the history lesson.

The later third of Cowboys Full is a play by play account of the most high-stakes games in recent history. If you liked The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King you’ll like this part, but if you read The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King you can probably skip much of this part. There are some interesting bits about Asian culture and why the Vietnamese are ideal poker players, but not enough. When it comes to learning about WSOP final tables, television is my preferred medium. Call me when McManus makes Cowboys Full the documentary.

I like both books about poker and studies of poker. Cowboys Full just isn’t my favorite, Ace on the River is. For me, Cowboys Full was just too much poker on parade and would have benefited in editing out a few (dozen) pages.

Have you read the book? Am I wrong? Please let me know your favorite poker in print, I always have room on my shelf.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

HellsColdDay 3: Return of the Rounder

monkeyHappy late Thanksgiving to all my US of A readers! I'm thankful for a great many things this year, not least of all you, the happy shiny poker people. Thanks so much for reading this little blog.

It is because of you guys and gals that I've made it into my third year! Hence the triliogy-esque post title. I still have a thing or two to say, so I'll do my best to keep the posts coming on a regular basis. As always, I do take requests. Feel free to email me or DM me on Twitter (@Grundy) if there is a topic you'd like to explored.

Long-time readers know that I took a leave from on-line poker a while back due to the US government pushing legislation against Internet gambling. I'd like to annouce that my leave was officially a hiatus and not a "quitting." I'm back playing Full Tilt and other game rooms may not be far behind.

This decision was prompted by one of the few wins to our cause as poker players. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is a mute point until this June, which is a substantial postponement. I'd like to thanks the Poker Players Alliance and those working towards the same goals for lobbying for the postponement. You can check out the PPA's press release here. With any luck, we'll get a break in June as well.

Until then, lets live in the present, I'll see you in the card rooms.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brief History of Poker

Sponsored Post: Poker is America's favorite card game, enjoyed by all ages and all people. With a history of nearly seven hundred years, the game is timeless and will continue to entertain for decades. Whether gambling in Panama casinos or playing for coins on the family kitchen table, the tradition of poker playing has outlasted many trends and will continue to flourish.

The foundation of poker, though unknown, is thought to have evolved in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Egypt with the use of playing cards. Sixteenth century Persia dabbled in betting rounds with their ivory and wooden cards, while the Spanish enjoyed their high stakes betting game entitled "Primero".

The development of poker is postulated to have been introduced by the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. The French played a game called "Poque". Other references exist involving the German game of "pochspiel" around the same time period. This game included gambling techniques and bluffing elements, similar to modern day poker.

Poker saw its first introduction to the United States from the French-Canadian settlers who helped to spread the word through Louisiana. From Louisiana, the popularity spread north along the Mississippi River and to every state in America. Poker was popular on the Mississippi river boats and over time replaced the seemingly "fixed" game of three card monte. One of the earliest written references we can find is that of Jonathan Greene in 1834. He referred t o the new amusement as the "Cheating Game", giving poker deep roots and a foundation which caused its fame to spread worldwide.

The next forty years marked a rapid boost in intensity. In the Wild West, backroom poker tables exploded in saloons across the country. Legend has it that in August, 1876, a gunman shot Wild Bill while he played poker in the Dakota Territory. On that day, the "dead man's hand" received its title as Wild Bill died with a pair of eights and a pair of aces in his hand.

In the next two centuries, poker multiplied its followers as it progressed into new variations. Five card draw became popular during the American Civil War. The players, both Union and Confederate, enjoyed escaping the battle with a deck of cards. Immediately prior to World War II, seven card stud debuted as a longer version, replacing the popularity of its predecessor. Though fewer people play five card stud, it has recently gained acceptance with the online poker playing crowd.

The star of the show, Texas Hold' em, achieved notoriety in the 1970's with a feature on the Word Series of Poker. The game has dominated poker tables and television competitions ever since. Texas Hold' em is the preeminent version of poker due to the game's thrill and excitement. Though other versions have developed, Texas Hold' em is undefeated for thirty years among casino attendees, online game aficionados, and professional players around the world.

Poker's reputation has not faltered in its nearly nine century history. Its fame will continue to spread with new generations as long as money is won and fun is had. Poker is here to stay and available for enjoyment for centuries to come.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What Poker Can Teach Us

I want to share this article with you, even though I may be late to the game on this one. I have already been emailed this link once and three of the poker enthusiasts I follow on Twitter have also brought it to my attention.

What Poker Can Teach Us -- By James McManus

The article follows a brief history of poker from it’s French origins to it’s current popularity. I especially like how it highlights the game as a metaphor for the American mindset, crossing the Puritan values of our beginnings with the risk-loving cowboy. To top it all off, we get poker anecdotes from two of the most successful Americans alive today: President Obama and Bill Gates. Definitely a great read.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

iPhone App Review: PokerGauge

PokerGaugeToday I’m crossing my love for poker with my love for tech by reviewing the iPhone application PokerGauge. You may remember my past iPhone review for one of the first games available for the device, Apple’s own Texas Hold’em game. Today I have a deeper cut from the app store which is marginally less fun, but a hundred times for useful.

PokerGauge is a mobile odds calculator that I deem the mobile odds calculator. While the marketplace for odds calculators on the App Store in no way rivals the plethora of tip calculators (seriously, who buys those?) PokerGauge isn’t the only one on the scene, just the best.

The screen displays a series of gauges, each representing your hand’s chance of winning against 1, 2, 3...up to 9 opponents. The needle of the gauge represents hand strength, to the left (empty if it were a gas gauge) means poor, to the right (full) means strong. To make things even clearer, the gauge changes color, green for play, red for fold. When you touch a gauge, it opens a detailed view outlining the odds of completing all the various poker hands and, if made, the odds of said hand winning. The app even shows pot equity and can be adjusted for a tight or loose table.

I’m not going to recommend whipping out your iPhone at your local cash game. This would fall somewhere in the range of annoying to outright cheating in the eyes of the host. No doubt it would be a shootable offence in the Old West...mostly for witchcraft as this kind of technology didn’t exist back then. As far as live action goes, I would only drop the touch screeny knowledge when proving that you did indeed make the correct play when calling your friend after the hand is won.

I only warn against the perception of cheating, using PokerGauge is in no way cheating in my book. There is no information within that couldn’t be drawn from a book and a calculator. This app’s value is how easily it places the odds at your fingertips. For live play the best practice is to run some common scenarios before the game and commit the odds to memory. This will only make you a better play in the end.

For online play, go sick. Green means play, red means fold is the mantra for the bots that still swarm the less secure online tables. I would imagine running on that same premise alone could make you profitable, but even better is adding your human experience and intuition to the mix. We all know poker is part math/part psychology...allow PokerGauge to help with the math.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My favorite hand can beat your favorite hand.

What's your favorite pocket pair? I hear this question a lot. More accurately, I here people proclaim their favorite hold'em hole cards without my asking. Why would I ask? What else would it be?

Amazingly they never share my favorite pocket pair, which is an ace followed by another ace. I've heard all the reasons why suited connectors are so great and why people cling to a hand they've had success with in the past. Really though, would you rather have the hand that holds a special place in your heart over pocket rockets? Does anyone believe any other two cards hold up as well?

It has gotten to the point that when I go out to play cards and am dealt AA, I'll hesitate slightly and announce that I have my favorite hand when deciding what to raise. With this simple comment almost everyone rules out pocket rockets!

Would Doyle pass up A-A for 10-2? I think not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

PokerPlasm's "aggresive negotiations" end with the Retrival of hacked Twitter Accounts

Last week the Twitter accounts of myself and HCD frienemy, Pokerplasm, were attacked and seemingly deleted by Estonia-based site "getrealfollowers.com." Due to the unorthodox negotiation techniques of Pokerplasm, the accounts were returned relatively unscathed. For the official comments of the site in question, see an account of the talks here. The following is an artistic interpretation of last week's events.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't Peek

Poker tip of the day: Don't look at your hole cards until you have to. I can't call this a rookie mistake, it is more of a rookie habit.

It is an important habit to kick for two reasons. One: Looking at your hole cards before the action is on you gives the other players at the table more time to read you and more time for you to give your hand away. I don't care if you think you have a great poker face, you shouldn't give away any more information then you have too. Two: Looking at your hole cards early keeps your attention away from where it is most needed--the other players. You should be watching their reactions and noting how they bet while you can, your cards are not going anywhere.

I know it is tempting to see what you have, and you may think you will need more time to decide how to play them. Show some self-control, your cards aren't going anywhere. If you need time, take it. Never rush for the table's sake, just keep in mind that the time you take can be a tell unto itself.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Games to Play when Without a Deck

I try to keep a deck of cards around for when the unexpected game pops up. I have a deck in my car and my most worn jacket. There are occasions when I'm out of gas on a warm day that I am sans deck. For these sad times, I apply my poker-related skills to these surprisingly suitable games.

Rochambeau

Many people are introduced to poker through other games. According to the bios of the WSOP players, such gateway games include backgammon, chess, and other card games like bridge. It is a nature progression in that all of those games include an element of luck and an element of skill. I offer another game into the mix–Rochambeau, AKA Rock Paper Scissors.

Why RPS? It is perfect in its simplicity. I hate the fact that people use Rock Paper Scissors to decide who rides shotgun or who will be the DD for the night. It reduces the game to the equivalent of drawing straws. It is, in fact, a game of skill. If you know your opponent well enough, it has absolutely no element of luck at all. For my money, Rock Paper Scissors is the best exercise there is in reading your opponent.

To know when the player across from you is sitting on aces or has completed his flush, first know when he will throw scissor. Is he the type of man who would open with rock? Is he capable of following up two papers in a row with yet another paper? It sounds crazy, but the more you can read people in other games, the more successful you will be in poker…and, actually, in life in general.



Liar's Poker

Liar’s poker is also a popular bar game that only requires a dollar bill to play. In the place of cards, the eight-digit serial number on the dollar bill (see above in blue) represents each “hand.” The object is to make the highest bid of a number that does not exceed the combined total held by all the players. The numbers are usually ranked in the following order: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 (10) and 1 (Ace). For example, if the first player bids three 4’s, he is predicting there are at least three 4’s among all the players, including himself. The next player can bid a higher number at that level (three 5’s), any number at a higher level (four 2’s) or challenge. The end of the game is reached when a player makes a bid that is challenged. If the bid is successful, he wins a dollar from each of the other players, but if the bid is unsuccessful, he loses a dollar to each of the other players.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Danger of Marginal Hands

If you have a shelf with a book poker in the inventory, chances are you have a table of good starting hands handy. They usually break down the best hole cards in early, middle and late position. Upon studying it, you will find that a hand like AJ may be acceptable to play when in late position, but not early. If you read on, you will learn how to adjust the starting hands against an aggressive table or when short handed. A table of solid advice.

A lot can go wrong when you play AJ and other marginal hands. Novice players think the worst case senario is missing the flop and losing their pre-flop investment upon folding. It takes experience to learn the real danger can be hitting the flop. In the case of AJ, an ace on the flop can give a false sense of confidence. I’m not saying a bet or even a raise here would be the wrong move, but it is important not to over value your kicker. A Jack is good, but not great when you call in late position. Marginal hands fall victim to slightly better hands all the time. It is these hands, when the kicker matters, that usually earns or costs the most of your stack.

If you bring a knife to a gun fight, assume that the gun is loaded.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Twitter, Now With More Gambling!

On the "it" social network of the day, Twitter, followers are a kind of social currency. And now, thanks to BetYourFollowers.com, we can treat that currency like we do all other currency--by gambling it away.

I recently tested the service, and by God it works! I won three games and gained a total of nine followers. How many did I lose? None. I'm just that good. So if you have been recently unfollowed, take comfort in the fact that I just don't like you anymore.

betyourfollowersThe said game is, by all accounts, lame. You shake your mouse which shakes an image of a gorilla. I would have gone with an image of dice, but what do I know. The fun is in the risk and reward of followers, not the game itself. You can pick which followers you are risking, so there is no need to worry about losing your BFF.

This is a novelty that you might want to play with if you have followers to spare, but until the game is less gorilla oriented and more poker oriented, I'll pass. As soon as I double or nothing on @PokerPlasm that is.

On Twitter? You can follow me @Grundy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can 4 Kids Make 2 Million In 2 Months?

m2mmThe gaming TV network G4 is kicking off a new reality show called 2 Months, 2 Million. The premise? Four math quizzes shack up for two months with the goal of winning two million dollars.

I don’t know much about the cast save for their quotes on the promo site, half of which reference huge losses in the past. I suspect they were picked for the same reason all reality TV personalities are picked–their personalities. These kids may be good at math, but this isn’t as simple as card counting. The dichotomy of an emo with violent tendancies (the usual reality star) and a good poker player don’t jive. If they had Hellmuth and Mike “The Mouth” that’d be something. If you can't tell, I’m not expecting them to live up to the show’s premise any more than “The Bachelor,” but hat’s off to G4 for making a season “prize” that costs them nothing. The Internet and Vegas fish are footing the bill, quite diabolical.

One aspect of the show is a room of the shared house called the “Tilt Room.” Basically, it's a room full of breakable, yet harmless, objects to serve as an outlet to unleash their bad beat rage. I must say, if I don’t make it through the season, I will be interested in watching a YouTube mash-up of these scenes. I’m sure we will all relate.

I’m not one for reality shows, but it’s nice to see a new poker program debuting. Unfortunately, it may be too late. The days of the Celeb Poker Spinoff and 24/7 WPT tourneys on the tube have come and gone. Texas Hold’em has been revived in our pop culture, but it is not nearly the craze it was a few years ago. I feel old. My expectation of M2M is that it will be a generic reality show with a sugary poker coating. I’ll give it a try, but I doubt I’ll make it to episode two.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Review on Littlewoods Poker

Trusted sponsor: If you are looking for somewhere to play online poker and want an alternative to some of the larger, more impersonal poker rooms, consider Littlewoods poker. You won't be sorry. Visit Littlewoods poker today!

Littlewoods Poker also has some of the best customer service around. They have 24/7 telephone and email support, which is pretty much standard practice now, but they also employ a new 24/7 online chat system. With this, you can talk live with a Littlewoods poker customer service representative right through your computer. This is a great way to get answers to your questions in a very quick manner.

Littlewoods Poker's software platform is top notch. It has all the great graphics that the major poker rooms do, but it doesn't have the long load times and the seemingly endless lag that some competitors do. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a game of Texas holdem or Omaha hi and having the software platform freeze or start acting strange. With Littlewoods poker, this is never a problem. Remember that there are always free rolls tournaments to get a seat to the English Poker Open.

Littlewoods poker makes it super easy to deposit and withdraw money. Their streamlined service allows you to make transactions quickly and safely, without having to contact customer service.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Put a Bad Beat on Poker

Long time readers may remember my possibly overly generous urge to contribute to charity as a poker player in a past post. If you pleasure in taking other people's money, as we all do, giving back is a good balance. Think of it as a karmatic offering to the Poker Gods.

Luckily, you don't have to be a chump and give outright. I'm passing along a link from our friends in the Twitter Poker Tour to take part in the Bad Beat on Cancer. (BBoC.)

TPT Charity Event <-- It's clickable!

Check it out, pledge, Digg, tweet, play. It's for the children...and adults. Love poker. Hate Cancer. PSA over!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Poker Theory

bballI have developed a theory. It probably won’t increase your profits, but it might help you understand the game...or at least show insight as to how I understand the game. Let me know if you agree.

Theory: The experience of a highly skilled poker player is equivalent to the experience of a moderately skilled player of any given sport.

Say I’m good, not great, at basketball. I go to make my shot and it may or may not go in the hoop. Conversely, if I was Kobe, I would almost certainly score. The less skilled I am, the more I rely on luck to cover my inconsistency. If I was Kobe--nay, better than Kobe--I would never need luck. The whole of my career would be nothing but net.

I’m saying poker is the same, only it hits a wall. If I am a bad card player, I require ample luck to make up for it. If I am moderate, I need less luck. If I possess flawless poker ability, I still require some luck to win any given hand.

My theory compares experiences, not performance. This is completely independent from the skill of your opponent.

Sorry if this post seems a little stream of consious and poorly worded. I haven’t really fleshed this out. So what do you think? Is luck as used in sports at all like the luck used in poker? Is it downshifted? Am I crazy?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Poker Petition

Turns out Obama isn't the happy shiny poker person we hoped he'd be. Let him know...not with one voice, but all our voices.

Take ten seconds to sign the Poker Petition.

Fight for your right to shuffle up and deal!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Club Titan at TitanPoker.com

Trusted Sponsor: A lot of poker sites lay claim to the best VIP Club online. Who’s going to admit otherwise?

Imagine: “At XXX Poker, we say we’re going to give you free stuff, but unless you live to 105 and play every day until you’re dead, you’ll never see a dime.” The truth hurts, eh?

However, TitanPoker.com has upped the rewards program ante substantially with its refurbished VIP and loyal player programs.

The new Club Titan lets players redeem points earned from game play for more than baby buy-in tournaments and thin bonuses. Instead, point value increases exponentially as players collect them.

titan-poker_calculatorTranslation: more bonus, merchandise, freeroll and tournament access. For example, the difference between the value of 10,000 & 20,000 points is more than double (if you don’t get that math, I’ve got a Friday night poker game I’d like to invite you to).

And speaking of newbies, Titan’s online poker rules section is pretty good, too. Unlike learning to play from your chain-smoking, whiskey-sipping grandma whose slurred speech made it hard to understand the difference between a royal flush and a total lush (was that just my grandma?), Titan’s game strategy articles and flash Texas Hold’em tutorial are easy to follow.

Check it out or don’t. I’m off now. Got a game at XXX Poker, where I’m just 125,000,000 points shy of a free tee shirt. Until next time…

Monday, June 1, 2009

When you gotta go, you gotta fold.

It's been a long time since I've done a post on bladder control...okay, I've never done a post on bladder control. This has been a pee-free blog, however, this is all about to change.

Considering the fact that gamblers like their beer the the fact that on-line gamers digest a lot of caffeine, it is safe to assume that on-line poker players drink their fair share of liquids. This leads us to our problem. I understand many on-line tournaments factor in a break or two, that doesn't always cover our needs--which begs the question: when is the best time to run to the potty.

I'll keep this post short with an easy answer for once: take a restroom break just before the blinds hit you.

You don't want to go during your blinds, that is just throwing your money away. Bad starting hands may turn into something special if no one raises you out. You need to keep the big blind special on the menu. You also don't want to leave the table immediately after your blinds because then you are missing your position advantage. I always hold it until a hand or so away from my blind. So if you see me squirming and yet decide to play the hand, I've probably got a monster.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Will Scotty Nguyen really quit?

Pokerlistings got the inside scoop on this, if Scotty don't make more than
$4 million at the 2009 WSOP he's gonna quit poker for good, really?

Seems hard to believe, but if you want to follow
the tournaments ahead you can check it out here,
www.pokerlistings.com/live-tournaments/wsop


Scotty Nguyen Quitting Poker? from PokerListings.com

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Contact Your Congressman & (Their Staff) Contacts You!

Georgia's Congressman recently replied to my e-mail sent via the Poker Player's Alliance (see last post.) I give credit for at least stating his/his party's/his staff's reasoning for standing with the UIGEA.
Dear Mr. Murphy:

Thank you for contacting me with your support for a skill game exemption to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. I appreciate hearing from you, although I regret that we do not agree on this particular issue.

Since 2006, numerous legislative measures have been introduced that would exempt certain games, predominantly determined by a player's skill, from those prohibited by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. I have not supported these measures in the past, and I am not inclined to support similar measures introduced in the 111th Congress.

I have a number of concerns regarding Internet gambling and its potentially negative impact on families. Those who support the legislation claim that it includes protections against underage gambling. I, however, share the concern of many of my colleagues that Internet gambling is far too accessible to children. Some have pointed out that a teenager could easily get the family credit card, log on to the family computer, and loose thousands of dollars online, all before their parents get home from work. American families simply cannot afford these types of situations especially in our current economic situation.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of further assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to call on me.

Sincerely,

John Linder
Member of Congress

Your kid steals your credit card and gamblies it all away? Gimme a break. The problem here is that YOUR KID STEALS YOUR CREDIT CARD! How does the kids method of spending your money make any difference? Personally, I would have taken my class to go see the new Star Trek, but that's just me. Howsabout we hide said credit card or teach our kids how to behave and not rely on the freakin' government. It's a baseless arguement.

Besides, your kid is much more likely to opt for easier illegal web activity such as porn.

I'll clean up this rebuttal a bit and write back to Mr. Linder. I'll keep you posted.

Poker needs a Wafer!

Ever go to a wine tasting? The process goes something like this: A gulp worth of Wine Brand A is inhaled, swished, tasted, and (depending on your gentleman to alcoholic ratio) either spit or swallowed. Repeat for Wine Brand B. Don't worry, this isn't the beginnings of Grundy's Wino Blog, this is a metaphor in the making.

Before moving on to the next label, a palette cleanser is used to neutralize the taste of the previous. It is a fresh start. The flavor of the Merlot from the vineyards of Nowheresville, Oklahoma should not carry over to the aged French wines that you can't afford. The need to get that "bad taste" out of your metaphorical mouth comes up in poker as well. A vanilla wafer will do you no good here, but that doesn't mean we can't find our own palette cleanser.

As I'm sure you know by now, a bad beat can spiral into a vicious cycle of consecutive bad sessions. Like I said in the past, no one is immune to the tilt. Some deal with it better than others, some internalize, but all ask "why me?" When I reach my bad luck limit, my game goes slowly out the window. This leads to more money lost which leads to an increase in speed of said game going out the window. Exponents are involved, I don't know the exact formula.

Ah, those were the days, and by "the" I mean expensive. Things have changed now. I never fall prey to the cycle anymore because I cleanse my poker palette. I go focus on a video game, watch a movie, play with my cats, or talk to a friend. I recommend something non-stressful, so I wouldn't jump into doing paperwork or you might go into detail about how much you hate donkeys in a client's e-mail. Also, if your game is on-line, take your break away from the computer. Remove yourself from the scene of the crime completely. There isn't a set amount of time you need to relax, just long enough that your loss is lost from you mind.

Obviously, if you are in a tournament, you need to push forward until the finale. In the process, you may regain your footing. The best cure for a bad beat is to get lucky on someone else, or so I hear. However, if you never recover, don't jump into the next tourney available to avenge your financial demise. A clean palette is a profitable palette.

Checking down an all-in...peacefully

Texas Hold'em Tournament Scenario: One or more players have moved all-in while two or more players still have chips. Additional community cards to come.

This is one of the few scenarios I play the same way every time. I check it down...unless, of course, I end up with the nuts. This play maximizes the chances for the all-in(s) to lose, which gets you closer to the money. This is the correct play. It is how I recommend you play.

What I find interesting is how other players react to a breach in this well-known strategy. I have heard more people break into condescending lectures of how to play, or not-play in this case, that can domino into a full-on tirade the likes of which I thought only Christian Bale was capable. Not cool.

I try not to stand in the way of bad play when I stand a chance at profiting from it. Beyond alerting the few of you who might not have known the above strategy, my tip of the day is this: Size up your opponent in times like this. If someone you perceive as a good player bets into you and over all-ins, take him at his word and fold. He likely knows the strategy and has a monster that he wants to maximize. If you perceive the opponent as inexperienced, play as you normally would and adjust for the all-ins by sticking with reasonable draws.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Write Your Representatives in Under a Minute!

Online poker legality has a new hope: the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act--but it needs your help.

Writing to the people that matter is an awesome way to start. The Poker Player's Alliance have a dead simple way to show your support for the bill. All you have to do is type your name and contact info. There is an option to personalize the letter, but the PPA wrote out a very clear and to the point endorsement already. Here is the link:

Save on-line poker!

To learn more about the bill, check this news clip:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grundy's Wanderlust

For those new to the blog, here are a couple other places you can find my articles:

Friendly Fire

The Secret Life of Pocket Pairs

And for more Grundy insight, check out two interviews done on yours truely:

On PokerPlasm

On PokerTweet

Hope you like, and may the cards be with you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Popular Online Poker Variants

Sponsored Post: Most online casinos have games and online poker games that they may specialize in. Be it seven-card stud, Omaha Hold ‘em, or maybe a World Poker Tour online poker game. Some of the most popular online poker games these days are some variant of a World Poker Tour, emphasizing on tournaments and competitions on the internet.

Texas Hold ‘em card games are very popular in regards to online casinos and online poker. This is because of the competition aspect, and because the player is no longer playing against the house, but against other players. The odds of winning are lowered with more competitors, but the stakes are much higher – you don’t have to win that many hands to be doing very good.

And just because an online poker game is popular, doesn’t mean you have to play it. If you don’t like it, or you’re not good at it – then play something else, like blackjack or any other game you feel more comfortable with. You’ll do infinitely better at a game you like, rather than a game suggested to you, that you hate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HCD Poker Programing Note

No, I'm not actually posting any real content today, silly readers. Although I do have a couple updates for you:

New commenting system is in place and tested: DISQUS!

You can now reply to individual comments, log on with your Facebook creds and share your commenting history with other sites using DISQUS. Examples of other sites using DISQUS? Well, I added it to my other blogs! (plug plug) Combatic.com and my personal site, SGMurphy.com

The system has been tested and retested...but if your comments disappear into the great beyond, please contact me.



HCD business cards!

If you see me in person, ask for one. If you lose to me in person, I'll give you one and tell you to become a better player by visiting my site....mostly because I'm a blowhard.

You can make verbal comments to me using something called a phone with Google Voice by either calling the number on above card or using the Google Voice widget on the sidebar. (scroll down, yeah, there it is!)

There it is. More posts coming soon. New HCD logo to be voted on. Huzzah!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

US Casinos Need to get Behind On-line Gambling

It seems clear to me that the US government could throw a little water on the debt inferno that is our economy by legalizing poker and taxing the hell out of it. I'm all for it. The drawbacks of a high vice tax is a small price to pay to get my favorite game (and income source) back into the fold.

It may too late for it to be that easy. The US government has already forced very profitable companies like Poker Stars offshore. I can see the powers that be not wanting their people sending all their funds overseas.

I think US based casinos need to step up in their lobbying for on-line gambling. If Harrah's On-line offered a Poker Stars-like software based in America, the government may be more likely to pass along legislation allowing it. The US doesn't need to export it's citizens recreational money right now, I get it. We just need to all get on the same page.

So, this plea is for you, brick-and-mortar US-based casinos: fight for your own on-line ventures. If you do it right, you can do more than compete with the Full Tilt's of the world and get this country on track to freedom that has been denied us.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Serenity Now

Whether you are religious or not, there are undeniabe good things to come from faith. I believe Reinhold Niebuher's Serenity Prayer is one of them.

Now I'm going to apply said prayer to poker, which may be blasphamous...but probably no more blasphamous then my previous posts about the "Poker Gods." If I don't post again by this time next week, assume I was struck down--probably by lighting.
Grant me the serenity to accept the hands I cannot win; the courage to play the hands I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

This is a mantra of mine that I now pass to you. Let me break it down: not every hand is winable (i.e. you can't bluff someone off the nuts.) The sooner we can accept this the sooner we can fold and move on. The courage this "prayer" speaks of is the ability to the bet when when you know you should. This is obvious, yet exteremely hard at times. When you have missed your draw but have put your opponent on a fairly weak hand, to risk a large sum or your hard earned money on a stone cold bluff takes bravery. If you have the wisdom to know when your rival will fold and at what price, the course of action should be clear.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Thoughts your Tips

I recently tweeted that I thought it was a good idea to weave in some books on general psychology amongst the Super Systems of the world. At the time I was reading Brain Rules, by John Medina. It was a decent read, but more to do with the biology of how the brain works than how the mind thinks--which is what I was really going for.

My current read is Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a book on the quick decisions our subconscious makes and how we come to them. It actually opens with a study in gambling, but I feel some of the following studies can be better applied to poker. The book as a whole gives more credit to the initial "feeling" that your opponent is bluffing. I may go into it deeper in a future post.

This book led me to another tip. Next time you are playing a home game, set up a camcorder to record yourself. Not your opponents, not your hole cards, just you. You will need to leave it on long enough so that you forget it's on and play hands that range from a monster to a stone-cold bluff. Just like in football, you can review the game film and find your weaknesses. Does your body language give anything away? I haven't tried this yet, but i imagine that it would be the best way to nail down and fix your own tells.

Lastly, I'd like to comment on a comment from my previous post. "Lucky Straights" disagrees with poker being a game involving chance. She is looking at macro-poker, and while it is true that the level of your skill is shown in the long-haul, we can't forget about the game-by-game. You need to understand that if you completely outplay your opponent, that doesn't mean you win the hand, it likely means that you only have a 10% to 30% better chance of winning the hand. Chance matters in micro-poker and if you can't come to terms with that you will either be on tilt regularly or correct your play incorrectly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Errors in thinking = Errors at the ATM

Human beings (us) are the smartest creatures on the planet, I don’t care what you dolphin lover’s have to say. We have logic. (good for poker) We have reasoning. (good for poker) We have emotion. (ummm…)

Unfortunately our rational minds are often trumped by our emotions/wishful thinking/drunken state. Which leads us to the topic of today’s post: logical fallacies and how they can be applied to poker and gambling.

The Gambler’s Fallacy: This was an obvious choice to start off my list. It comes into play when you believe that your chances of winning increase with each consecutive loss. We want this to be true, but it isn’t. A coin that has landed on heads twenty times is a rarity, but it doesn’t make the chances of tails coming up next anymore than 50/50. Past occurrences can never change something with a fixed probability. In other words, throw out your roulette strategy.

Illusion of Control: This is a BIG one! It is overestimating the role of skill and underestimating the role of chance in a given game. I have known many players that attribute their wins to skill and their losses to bad luck. This is a very egotistical move of which even the TV players are guilty…I suppose that the fact they are on TV is what inflated their ego. Poker is, in part, a game of chance. You can only blame yourself and your opponent for a loss, and you can only adjust for yourself.

Going along with the illusion of control is hindsight bias. This is evaluating a decision as good or bad depending on whether it led to a win or a loss. Example: I made the right move in chasing the straight, it came! You may have been way behind for the bet that was asked of you, and if you were, it was a bad decision regardless of outcome.

Availability Error: This is the tendency to focus on the good, unusual, or easily remembered experiences, while forgetting the bad, common, or less available ones. Players often feel they are ahead in a hand because they want to be. Most the bad beats you hear people complain about probably weren’t as bad as they make it out. Hearing that someone has won the lottery sticks in our mind more than hearing that someone has lost…and lost…and lost. The draw to the long shot comes to mind. The overvaluing of high gain, low probability wagers and the undervaluing low gain, high probability wagers is a bad idea just on the fact that your profit will be less due to the high percentage rake on the one-time gain. Think of the taxes on lotto winnings for a macro example.

Mis-atribution of cause: If you have played poker as long as I have, you may have seen some unusual occurrences. The same guy dealt rockets two or three times in a row. Monster hands going up against each other. Someone going on a ten hand winning streak complete with showdowns. These are unlikely events that may make you cry foul, but then again, eventually these things just happen.

I get by with a little help from my facts...
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx
http://www.math.byu.edu/~jarvis/gambling.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacies

Monday, March 16, 2009

Linkfarms are for Lovers

There are a lot of poker blogs out there that detail the author's progress in establishing and growing a bankroll. I see these as more for the benefit of the author then the public, and while there may be some insight to gleam from the jouney blogs of the net, I just don't have the time to find it. I like the real meat! The juice! The content! I have found a network of blogs that spew card articles (cardicles?) like so much ash from a degenerate volcano. It's about time I spread the word and the love for a couple recent inspirations of mine.

The Grandslam Poker Source

Author KC, also known as Gobbs of Twitter and CardsChat, has been churning out awesome poker articles for some time now. Recently his site has featured book reviews and an emphasis on home games. KC has even been featured as a guest writer on this very site!

Dad's Poker Blog

Steve Brogan is a relatively new entry to my subscription list, which makes his body of work that much more impressive. The "Dad" in question is father to social media guy Chris Brogan. If you need some proof of his poker prowess, how about this: he is a two time Twitter Poker Tour winner!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Declaration of Infowar

Poker is infowar. What you know of your opponent is your weapon against what he knows about you.

This information should be processed as raw data. For example: I watch an opponent play a low pocket pair aggressive preflop, follow with a continuation bet, then fold to a raise. I process this information as part of a pattern to be attributed to this particular player. The first time I watch this play out, I can't assume that next time he will follow a similar hand with a continuation bet, but I at least know that he is capable of it. If I do see this hand play out the same way, it reinforces the pattern.

The specifics of the hand can get in the way. In this scenario, there is little need to remember whether the pocket pair was 3 3 or 5 5; it was simply a pocket pair. When the information gained is tied to a hand in which you took part, specifics can get you in trouble.

If, for instance, you bet into a player while holding top pair and said player raises all-in on a draw and you call, the information gained from this exchange ends here. You learned that this particular opponent plays aggressive with draws and likes to semi-bluff. Whether the hand ends with your pair holding or his draw catching should not be part of the equation. If indeed this does turn into a bad beat, you may unintentionally taint the information. It is no longer data. It is personal information. It is emotional information.

To be better in poker you need to actively train your mind to remember odds, actions and tells. To be the best in poker you need to also train your mind to forget your feelings. There is no crying in poker, no sweet revenge. In the words of Michael Corleone, "this isn't personal, strictly business."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why US players should care about the state of on-line poker

The law is not on your side. I doubt that the authorities are going hunt you down for a few harmless sit-n-goes, but you never know. I've been pulled over for diving suspiciously under the speed limit before and subjected to a car search, so all bets are off if you ask me.

For the sake of argument, lets say the cops never actively go after your Internet gambling. If you advance in your poker career and start making more money, that cash flow could be traced. If you do well enough, you will be forced into deceiving the IRS in order to keep the illusion of lawfulness. The police may not actively investigate you, but the IRS will.

That is a concern of the of the high rollers, so let's say that doesn't affect you yet. How about this scenario: The site in which your money is invested may accidentally or maliciously lose your data. This doesn't have to happen at the PokerStars level, all the in betweens (GatorPay, Netellter, ect.) have fallible systems as well. As you are outside the law, there is no one you can turn to for fair play. Where is the Better Business Bureau when you need it? What are you going to do? Sue? You are technically a criminal.

I'm not being over dramatic, this has happened to me. As I've said before, I don't want you to quit playing on-line poker. I consider it a health protest to keep playing. My goal is merely to spread awareness of why it is important to usher Obama's "change" to our level.

Instruction as to how shall follow. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Winning Loser

The sad truth is, bad things happen to good poker players. It isn't a time to question your faith, but with every loss, it is a good time to question your play. Below is a spectrum of short-stack all-in scenarios against a small field, listed from worst mistake to "couldn't be helped."

Moving all-in only to find you are drawing dead. If this happens to you, there is no getting aound fault on your part. You misread your opponent. There are cases when you have second to nuts and are up against a very unlikely nuts, but chances are you were just nuts to think you were ahead.

Moving all-in with bottom pair. You probably thought your opponent was bluffing, but since this is a loosing scenario he probably wasn't. Misread again. Even if you read correctly and moved in on the flop, your opponent is likely to have plenty of outs to put your life at risk.

Moving all-in in a race situation. Most likely this means a pocket pair (88) against two overcards (AK) pre-flop. This move should be avoided when you are high on the hog, however the low stack needs to take a shot at doubling up. If your opponent does indeed show a race situation, it could go either way. You shouldn't feel blessed or robbed.

Moving all-in with a high flush draw on the flop. Why would I consider this a move to feel better about than the race? Well, you can't be sure you are betting into a race. If your opponent has a good poker face, you could be moving in against pocket rockets. When you have A 9 of clubs and two clubs hit the flop, you can be sure your draw can beat anything your opponent currently has (unless the board paired.) Also, I'm assuming there is a significant amount already in the pot from pre-flop betting that you want to protect/steal. While your odds of winning are under 50%, the odds are a known quantity. With a little math you will know for certain if you made the right choice.

Moving all-in with an over-pair or top pair post-flop. You are likely ahead even though your relatively small all-in may get a caller on a good draw. If your opponent out draws you, take comfort in knowing the hand was played well.

Moving all-in with the current nuts. Whether this is preflop (AA), on the flop or on the turn, you know you are ahead. The only thing to worry about is your rival's small number of outs or possibly a runner runner. If you lose here not only did you not make a mistake, but it is likely your opponent did. Remember this and take his or her money next time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I've been PokerTweeted!

My friend and fellow poker blogger recently interviewed me for his site PokerTweet. If you don't already get enough here, you can learn more about me if you follow this link.

Also worth checking out, my interview in the PokerPlasm archives which can be found here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grundy and the Last Crusade

I'm quitting poker.

Not really, but I am redirecting my efforts. For the past few years, I've been slowly drifting towards on-line exclusivity. The draw is clear. I have a busy schedule and the siren sound of a "sit-n-go" quickie is the time-suck I can afford. More than that, as supplemental income, I can't afford not...but I must. The love of the game originated in face-to-face "rounding" and it is that origin I plan to reclaim.

I'm temporarily benching myself from the digital game. The duration of my self-imposed exile depends on how soon I accomplish this little crusade I've been hinting.

On-line poker is currently (debatably) illegal for US players due to a bit of pork barrel legislation passed under the Bush Admistration. I resolve to do everything in my power to help many notable professionals in over turning said law. Whether or not you are a fan of Obama, having democrats in office makes this particular right's return much more likely. The Poker Player's Alliance sited Obama as the second most likely candidate to help overturn the bill. Second only to Ron Paul.

So what does this mean to you?

HellsColdDay.com will continue with its regular posts on general poker topics, but will also introduce a new post category to follow my mission. I'm going to miss playing cards with my long-distance readers, but hopefully my hiatus will be a short one. I wish I could make an exception for the likes of the Twitter Poker Tour, but I plan on putting myself out there for the cause and it is important to be on the up-and-up. Besides, the return to on-line play will be a driving factor in getting things done. Please feel free to help by posting related articles and ideas in the comments. Talk to you soon.

--Grundy

Friday, January 23, 2009

Battle of the Sexists Follow-up

Everyone can relax, I won.

A few follow-ups to my recently hyped up heads-up match.

The war is over.

And so is the trash talk! Not only that, I will appease my feminist readership (both of you) by revising my stance of woman poker players. I'm a fan. It's nice to have a break in testosterone at the table and your presence does usually increase my profit margin. Please note that I said usually. I recognize that the majority of under experienced women players who are following their man's lead into the gambling world give serious women players a bad name. The stereotype lies with them. Mrs. Goodson is in that second group, a serious (and good) poker player.

I still hold true that the average man is better prepared to excel at games of risk and math than the average woman. It is how we are wired. I'll be happy to debate this in the comments, but otherwise I will say no more of this. I'll leave that to @DickManly.

Limit Poker

There was one problem with the match. It was limit poker. Both myself and Mrs.. Goodson were expecting no limit. Personally, I have never played limit hold'em, but that doesn't mean I am unfamiliar with the game. Goodson admitted to more experience with limit, but I was fully prepared to accept a defeat sans shannanogans. I consider myself a quick study.

The experience did confirm my suspicions about limit. I liken it to bracket drag racing. Bracket drag racing allows two cars with differing top speeds to compete by setting a speed cap. A car exceeding the top speed is disqualified. It puts limiting rules on the cars for a specific reason--to equalize the racers. Limit hold'em puts limiting rules on the players for every grade schoolers' favorite reason--just because. Mrs. Goodson and I didn't need equalizing. I'm all for poker variants, but I can only see limit as a device for casinos to maximize rake. To each their own, but it's just not for me.

A Lesson in Poker for the Haters

Mrs. Goodson has a following that managed to draw enough support to make some forsake their own gender. I could never do that. Now that the war is over I include myself in the @panndyra fan base. Notice, her blog has moved from the Enemies of HellsColdDay to the Friends list. However, all is not quiet on the haters front. The Goodson support group has made their comments on the nature of my win. I openly admit that I was not ahead until the river, and the last of our chips were committed on the turn. I hear the word on the street for such an abomination is a "suck-out."

Until recently I had a challenge issued on my site stating that I (a) must accept any challenge, and (b) promote whatever the winner wanted if I lost. I have never promoted anything I didn't choose myself. Sooo...for no lack of challengers, I've never lost. I've played heads-up no limit hold'em about a dozen times live as well. I have lost twice, but both were part of "best two out of three" contests, so I could argue that I never lost live either. And guess what, a good percentage of my wins were suck outs.

I'm not that lucky. Whenever you have a significant chip advantage over your opponent, it is a good idea to put them all-in when possible. My heads-up strategy? Make attempts to win the game. It sounds unorthodox, I know. I suspect that I'm behind when to the short stack calls or raises, but as long as I have a significant chance at a draw I stay the course. If I lose, I'm confident in my ability to regain my lead, and if I win, game over. Neither of my recent heads-up games (against @panndyra and against @rawrstar) ever had all my chips at risk, all I'm saying is that there is a reason for that.
In poker and in life, winning doesn't make you popular, it makes you richer.

Programming note:

About that challenge, there is a very good reason why it has been taken off the table. No, it's not because I'm afraid of blemishing my perfect record. It will all be explained in my next post where I will make an announcement that will somewhat change the focus of my play and this site. There's a bit of a crusade in my future...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Battle of the Sexists

Where's Don King when I need him? Ah well, here is goes...

In one corner, we have Panndyra, the Goddess of Chaos herself. Formerly known as DCGoodson, she is currently contributor a TourneyBlog as well as the defamatorium that drew first sexist blood. Coming in at an unknown weight (I didn't ask, but as a woman she would have lied anyway) she represents female kind everywhere in her attempt to prove that indeed, the ladies can play cards.

And in the other corner, yours truly, the Grund Man! I am driven by the forefathers of my forefathers to defend the simple, universal fact that men have superior cognitive abilities, powers of deduction, mathematical prowess, and all around skillz needed to play the game we know as poker. I would go on to name all the other facets of society in which men exceed, but I simply don't have to time to accept the flood of challenges that would, no doubt, materialize from every Sarah, Lisa, and Jane out there.

The Battle of the Sexists is here. This Thursday the 22nd of January at 8:30, immediately prior to the Twitter Poker Tour. Results will be posted here the following day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HellsColdDay Presents: The 6 Trials of Poker Trial 1: Playing Blind.

In Greek Mythology, the demigod Hercules endured 12 labors as penance for killing his wife, kids and otherwise not succeeding as a "family man." These tests of strength and endurance made him a more fit "hero" in future stories. Likewise, I present to you the first in a series of exercises that will help build yourself into a hero of poker. I'll assume that you haven't killed any family members (yet), so I'll knock the labors down to six.

Remember the scene in Rounders when Matt Damon's character happens upon his professor's card game and deduces each player's hand? He states that in a game like this, "I wouldn't even need to look at my cards." This is your first trial—to play blind.

How to set up your test for success (or at least not a bankroll-shaking failure):

Play a home game among opponents you have experience. Make sure that your skill level is on par with theirs or above. After all, you are giving them quite a handicap. Begin play as usual to get into your "poker zone" and let the other players think this is a normal game. After a couple deals around the table, stop looking at your hole cards.

When playing blind the most important thing to remember is to maintain the illusion that you know your cards' value. If your opponents notice that you aren't looking, well...you'll have to start looking. I usually turn up the corner of my hole cards slightly with my hand covering the value and glance down. Your opponents will never know the difference.

You will quickly find that there are some advantages to playing the unknown. Suddenly, there is no reason to worry whether or not you are being read. The stress of maintaining a perfect poker face falls down the priority list. In fact, if you come across a player who verbally works out what he thinks you hold, it can be quite humorous.

The power of this exercise is that it takes out certain aspects of play so that you can focus on reading—reading the cards, reading the players, reading everything. Think of the blind man who develops a more acute sense of hearing. Working out your odds of improving is irrelevant, so you can more easily delve into the mind of your enemy.

I'll leave you with a couple tips to help you on your way.

  1. Confidence is everything. If you don't have it at first, you will after the first pot you take blind.

  2. You are bluffing, but you aren't bluffing the strength of your hand, you are bluffing the weakness of your opponents'.

  3. Just because the only way you can win is by getting others to fold doesn't mean you should never fold yourself. If your opponent acts as you know he does with the strongest hand, fold. In the purest sense of the game, you should fold blind, but if you want to check your cards for the unlikely nuts, go ahead.

  4. When blind, the best early position pre-flop strategy is folding. So if you don't want to waste these hands there is an option of playing quasi-blind. Pre-flop, check your cards when you are either first or second to act and play the top five starting hands when applicable. Stay blind for all other scenarios.

  5. Use the force, Luke.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The State of Pokernomics

"In these troubled times" is a phrase being tossed around a lot these days. Many companies are tightening their belts. They are dow--I mean "right-sizing" their head-count and cutting back on benefits. I remember waiting for Google stocks to split into shares I could afford. They never did split, but the price sure went down. And that's Google, a profitable company. Many major companies that are unprofitable have bankruptcy on their mind.

How's your stock doing? I'm not talking about your portfolio, I'm asking about your profitability at the poker table. Playing cards isn't unlike playing the stock market. You make decisions to the best of your ability that either pay off or not based on your choices after going through the Chance Machine. Like stocks, poker is gambling. Similarly, you are not unlike a business. If you keep good books, you should know whether or not you should stay in the game. Does today's environment affect you as a poker player?

I imagine the pond is running a little short on fish. I haven't experienced this directly, but I haven't looked for live games in a while. On-line...well lets just say it is a very big pond.

I'm trying to gleam some perspective here. I know I have readers from Vegas, are less tourists making the pilgrimage to the strip? I'd hate to see the rounders cannibalize each other. What about my visitors from the UK? Are you guys looking better economically than us Yanks? I need your help in the comments. What is the state of pokernomics?