Archive for November, 2013

Hand Nicknames

Whats a poker blog without a “Hand Nicknames” post 😀

Yes, most hands have a name if you didnt already know that.

So Ive just googled hand names and looked at a few other blogs or whatever, and so Im just gonna copy it from 2 or 3 sites and combine them if there are any differences.

AA  Bullets,  American airlines, or Pocket Rockets

KK  Cowboys, King Kong, or Ace Magnets.  Ace Magnets because Ace is the only card you dont wanna see.

QQ  Ladies, Bitches, 4 tits, or Sigfried & Roy.  Unfortunately the nicks for this hand are mostly derogatory.

JJ    Fishhooks, J Birds

TT  Dimes, and Tension, because the chances of getting higher cards on the flop are 70%

99  Popyes, Phil Hellmuth, German Virgin, Barbara Feldon (agent 99)  Phil won the 89 world series with 99

88  Snowmen, Doggie Balls, Little Oldsmobile.  The 88 Olds’ was a model that was smaller than the 98 Oldsmobile

77  Hockey sticks, Mullets, Sunset Strip

66  Cherries, Route 66

55   Speed Limit

44   Magnum, or sailboats.  Do ya feel lucky?  Well do ya, punk?

33   Treys, and Crabs

22  Ducks.

——–

AK  Big Slick, Walking back to Houston, or Anna Kournikova because the hand looks great but never wins 🙂

AQ  Big chick.

AJ  Ajax, Jackass, and Blackjack

AT  Johnny Moss, because apparently he started playing poker at age 10

A9  The Jesus Ferguson Hand, because he beat TJ Cloutier at the 2000 Wsop holding A9 vs AQ

A8  Dead Mans Hand.  Wild Bill Hickock was shot in the back and killed holding this hand with 2 pair, by Jack McCall August 2nd, 1876.

A7  Slapshot, a hockey reference since 7`s are hockey sticks and aces are bullets.

A6  Ray Finkle, 6 considered  the worst kicker because of its inability to make a straight.

A5  High 5

A4  Transvestite.  It looks like AA, but it turns out not to be

A3  Ashtray, or Baskin Robbins.  For their 31 different flavors.

A2  Hunting Season, you have bullets and ducks

KQ  Marriage.  or Divorce if it doesnt hold up.

KJ  Kojak.  KJ offsuit is known as the Bachelors Hand, because it is literally Jack King Off

KT  Katie, for phonetic reasons, and Big Al, a reference to a Wisconsin Poker player named Big Al Emerson

K9   Canine, or Fido

K8  Kate.  Sounds like there should be a placate pun in there somewhere!

K7  Columbia River, famous for its salmon runs, apparently King seven almost sounds like King Salmon

K6  Kicks.  A Pig-Latin thing.

K4  Fork.  Four-K sounds like fork

K3  King Crabs, or Sizzler

K2  Donald Duck or Big Fritz, referring to German poker player Andreas Fritz

QJ   Maverick, pertaining to the TV show theme song `Livin on Jacks and Queens`  or Oedipus Rex, a Greek play referring to an incestuous mother and son

QT  Quint, or Robert Varkonyi, who won the 2002 Wsop by getting a full house with that hand and beating a flush

Q9  Quinine, an anti-malarial drug

Q8  Kuwait.

Q7  One site calls this the computer hand, because calculations make it the average hand

Q6  Another site calls this the Computer Hand.  Or PB+J, Peanutbutter and Jelly, who knows why?

Q5  Granny Mae.  Granny can be a Queen, and May is the fifth month.

Q4  Housework.  Answer to the question “What is a Queen for?”

Q3, Gay Waiter, or San Fransisco Busboy (a queen with a trey)

Q2  Daisy Duck

J9  Scotty Nguyen won the 98 Wsop with this hand when the board came 89988 and induced a call from Kevin Mcbride with the memorable line “You call this one and its all over, baby.”

J8  Jeffrey Dahmer.  Jeffrey Dahmer ate Jack

J7  Jack Daniels.  Old no. 7 Tennessee Whiskey

J5  Motown, Jackson 5.  They released their albums through the record company Motown

J4.  Flat tire.  Answer to the question “Whats a jack for”

J3  JLo, named after the popstar and her famous booty that looks like the number 3

J2  Heckle and Jeckle, twin cartoon Jbirds that appeared on TV in 1943

T9  Countdown, as most countdowns start at ten, nine..

T8  Tetris.

T7  Bowling Hand.  The ten seven split in bowling is famous.

T6  Sweet sixteen.

T5  Woolworth, for their five and dime.  Or merfs, a poker game where tens and fives are wild.

T4  Broderick Crawford, from Hiway Patrol where he used to say Ten-four all the time.

T3  Fast Connection, referring to T3, a fast telecommunications network.

T2, Doyle Brunson.  He won both the 76, and 77 Wsop bracelets holding Ten Two

98  Oldsmobile.  The 98 was bigger than the 88 model.

96  Big Lick

95  Dolly Parton

94  San Fransisco hand, named after the football team the 49ers, which is named after the 1849 gold rush in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, east of San Fran.

93  Jack Benny.  He claimed to be 39 for years and years.

92  Montana Banana, Twiggy, or Golf Bag

87  RPM  The very first record format was a 10 inch disk that spun 78 revolutions per minute

84  George Orwell, author of the book 1984

83 Raquel Welch, as she still claims to be 38

82.  The second worst starting hand in holdem

76  Union Oil, named after the gas station Union 76

75  Heinz.  A Pennsylvania condiments company which has 57 varieties, the most famous being ketchup.

74  Cambodian Big Slick.  Tragically, 1974 was the year of genocide in Cambodia

73  Hachem.  Joe Hachem won the 2005 world series when he flopped a straight holding 73

72  Beer hand.  The worst starting hand in poker.  You either lose and go get a beer, or if you win, you buy the other guy a beer, or, only a guy full of beers would play this hand.

65  Ken Warren, a poker writer who gave himself the nickname for this hand in one of his books.

54  Jesse James, or Moneymaker who won in 2003 with this hand, and Jesse James was shot with a .45 caliber pistol

52  Quarter, or two bits

43  Waltz, because a Waltz is always in 3/4 meter

42  Lumberman’s hand, because of the common 2 by 4 piece of lumber

32  Mississippi Slick, or Polish Big slick, derogatory, as 23 is the complete opposite of AK or Big Slick.

And there you have it.  Some nicknames and a little bit of history.  It may not help your game but you might be able to out-talk somebody who thinks they know everything there is to know about poker!

There are a few hands that have not been given nicknames yet.   Dibs on 64! I call that shit its one of my favorite suited hands 😀

One hand late.

Do you ever notice funny patterns in the way the cards fall compared to the cards you hold when you cant seem to hit anything?   Does it ring a bell to be dealt JT and you call the hand and see a flop and the flop is like Q63?  Turn is  an 8 and river is 3.  The next hand you fold 86, and the flop comes JTA, 2,T.  You kind of think, hmm..  ?

It wouldve been nice to have JT NOW for THIS hand!
The very next hand you have A9 and see a flop, and its K66.  You remember again, that last hand you had folded 86!  Your hands are showing up in the flop one hand LATE !

The next flop has an Ace in it, and so on.  I dont know how much of a post I can make from this, but its worth noting that this happens to me a lot!  It seems every time I start to get bad hands or streaks where I cant win a game, that this kind of pattern starts to show up.  Not every single time, but quite often!

Well Im on that streak right now.  Havent won a game in about 2 days.  Today the pattern is a bit different.  I call T9off on the button after someone else limps in,  we see a flop.  Nothing even close to T9, it was like A62.   The next hand I folded J8offsuit to someones big raise.  The flop came T94.  It was my T9 from last hand, and, if I called with J8 this time Id have a pretty good draw here.  Again it happened but not for a few hands later, it was with 57suited.  I saw a flop AKQ lol, but the next hand had 46 in it of the same suit I had with 57 last hand.  These hands of mine keep showing up late.  Im not sure how to proceed, part of me wants to say go on and call with a shitty hand after your decent hand fails the last flop, but thats unreasonable to do all the time.   The next thing that comes to mind is try and recognize it early when this sort of thing starts to happen, and see if you can get in there before it goes away again.  Maybe try to identify some sort of pattern, like for instance, when its happened to me recently, I was always in late position.  I may start to call with weak hands after my good hand bricked on the last flop, while I am in late-middle position.    I have to try something because I am missing out on a lot of big pots and big pots are just the thing I need to crawl out of this two day slump!

You know, yesterday, when this all started, I had AA twice in a game with callstations and out of the two times I had it I think I won about 7 big blinds, which were quite small at the time!  Once, I reraised with it, got one caller and he folded on the flop when I bet mid sized.  The next time I saw the flop with two people and it was JTx, I bet decent, as there were two diamonds on board and I had the Ace of diamonds too.  What happens next!  nothing.  tick, tick, tick..

The wind picks up a bit outside.  I can see a car driving by across the field.  Check my phone, I have a care package to open in the game I play “MODERN WAR.”  And I missed a call from a 1-800 number.  WTF!  Whats going on here!!  I look and Ive been disconnected from the table.  ARE you kidding me!  With AA?  Why does this always have to happen when I have a great hand!

From that game on luck was 100 percent against me.  Just can not win.  When youre not getting cards, your still going to get position.  So I try once in a while.  After so long people start to think youre just a donk!  I am not getting anything remotely good, and Im getting blinded-out from folding, so I have to get in some pots in position with less than ideal cards sometimes.  It doesnt help that the people behind me are raising when i am in position most of the time with say, J6off.  But once in a while I make the call with T8 !  Nothing works.  Best hands Ive had were 88 and AToff.  This is like 2 days were talking.  Since I work for a living, sort of, that translates to about 8 sit n go tournaments.

Oh wait, heres one for you.  I remember this from yesterday evening now.  Brutal game.  Cant hit nothing.  Im way short sacked.  Blinds are getting big.  I have to make a move SOON.   Then it goes something like this.  Call, call, call.  My turn – AKoff – All in.   Fold, call, call, call, call.  Flop 33A, 9, 6.  Looks pretty good for me.   Muck, muck, muck, show my AK, next guy shows 53off.  Takes the pot.  L.o.l.

So Im not sure tonight.  I wanna play.  Ive already lost 2 games tonight.  3rd place was my best finish since yesterday, just out of the money :p  I was hoping to start writing and just maybe I would write out my own solution naturally, but I still feel stuck.  I will try that calling with shitty hands in late position after a good hand, somewhat..  and I will look for the pattern when my previous hands end up on the next hands flops, and see if I can fit a couple of stray calls in somewhere.

Mostly I just want my game back 😡

Ok, I just got first place.  I didnt have to employ the emergency scenarios I talked about above.  The game had a few good players in it, and I got a few nice hands.  Maybe the storm has passed?  Its nice to have decent players for a change, appropriate folding and pot odds considerations by opponents make it a bit easier than blind calls by lucky chasers when Im less than 100% on the ball.

But Im going to keep these ideas in mind for next time because when these evil streaks hit me, theres not a lot that seems to have worked for me other than sticking to my guns and playing fundamental percentage poker until it prevails, and sometimes that just takes too long!

: )

Follow Up..

Im going to devote an entire post to this.

Ask anyone who wins at poker about “going with a feeling” and Im quite sure they’ll say “when you have a feeling, trust your instincts.  If you have a read on someone, or theres a tingle in your heart that tells you the king will fall on the river, then go for it.  But its important to recognize a genuine tingle, because if it works a few times you may find yourself inventing feelings inside that personally justify certain calls.   If you feel a spark that the river will be the 4 of hearts every 5 hands, chances are they have become feigned superstitious delusions.    A feeling like that shouldnt occur very often at all unless you have some clairvoyance tendencies.  You know about straight draws, there is the open ender where you have 56 and the flop is 47Q, you can pickup a straight from a card added to either end of your draw, the 3 or the 8.  Then there is a gutshot draw, where you have 56 and the flop is 239.  You need a 4 and a 4 only.  Thats why they call it a gutshot because you have to have a real gut instinct to continue putting money into the pot to draw a 4.

Now, Id like to Quote a few things.  Somebody once asked me “Is it bluffing if I really think my K8 off is going to win a particular hand? If I just got “the feeling”, you know?  It could be semi bluffing.  You could factor in implied odds.  If the flop is 562, you could try a bet here.  You would be bluffing yes, but if an 8 comes or even a king, you would have a real decent hidden hand. It reminds me of Dan Harringtons book. He describes a situation where a player asks a pro about a poker hand.   The thing about asking how to play a particular hand, if your going to ask about it, you must be prepared to have all the background information about the hand.  This is from Dan Harringtons “Harrington on Holdem Vol 1”

Beginner: Can I ask you a question about a hand?

Pro: sure, go ahead.

Beginner:  Ok, thanks.  So Im holding king queen suited, see.  And theres this one call in front of me..

Pro:  What position are you in?

Beginner: Oh I dont know, I guess maybe I was 5th to act.

Pro:  What position was the first caller in?

Beginner: I guess he was second.  No wait, he was right under the gun.  No, maybe he was second, yeah, something like that.

Pro: How many chips did you have?

Beginner:  Gee, a lot, maybe 4, $5000, right in there!

Pro: What were the blinds?

Beginner: Oh not that much, maybe 50/100.  100/200  something like that, but anyways, I called right, and this guy behind me raises, and everyone else folded around to me and I didnt know what to do.

Pro: How many chips did he have?

Beginner: You mean the guy who raised me?  oh I dont know, who can remember all this stuff!  I want to talk about the hand!

To the beginner the hand was his cards, and what happened before and after his turn.   To a pro, the hand was an entire situation with different elements that must be factored in to be able to make the decisions.

And he is very right.  A9suited is very strong when everyone has folded to you so far, and you are on the button.  However, at a 6 man table, first to act after the cards are dealt, 3 out of 5 times I will fold this.  The reason being that so many people are left to act.  If you raise, the people that call you will be the people with AJ and 99.  Playing ace 9 suited early means only one thing :  hope for a flush.   or a 9 i guess.   But you hit that ace and its likely you will lose a lot of money to a better kicker.   But if youre on the button and everyone’s folded to you, the only people left in the hand are small blind and big blind, and you have position on both of them.  Thats an easy raise.

Unless of course its a very tight game, meaning the people are folding lots and not entering pots, and playing tight and not bluffing, combined with your previous hands that everyone saw which held up and were good hands, then I would open a raise with A9 suited because chances are everyone will fold.

King eight offsuit is a different story.  There are only a few situations where I will be in a hand with K8off.

1) you are on the big blind, everyone calls to you, you check, with K8off.

2)you are in the small blind, one or two limpers, you call the small blind because of good pot odds, the big blind checks.

3)You have won a few huge hands and the people fear you.  your on the button and the players in the blinds are weak.  you make a nice raise with K8off.

4)you are playing heads up against a tight player, and you are playing loose aggressive, and your the dealer with K8off

5) a bluff attempt at a squeeze play to minimize the field when you have a giant stack of chips.

Other than that, theres no reason to be in a hand with K8off.  If you have K8off on the big blind, and someone raises you, its probably a good fold.  Again, depends on the player who raised and his history in the game, but its 9 times out of 10 a fold.  If youre on the button witth K8off, and someone raises behind you, and someone calls that raise and now its your turn, still a fold.   I would fold K8, I would fold K9, I would fold KT.  Most times.   Chances are, you dont have the best hand.

In Doyle Brunsons book “Supersytem” He mentions one of his rules.  If he wins a hand, he plays the next hand no matter what.  Even if its 72.  His reasoning is “runs” or “streaks”   A big key in his poker game is getting on winning streaks and running with the momentum.  And winning one hand is always the potential beginning of a 5 hand winning streak, and how can you accomplish that if you fold the next hand?  So I guess thats an exemption for K8 if you like to adopt that kind of reasoning.

But go with your gut.  One of the biggest challenges I have ever faced in poker has been the feeling I get when I get caught making a bad play.  Nothing chokes my confidence more than when I am sitting at a table trying to earn the respect of the other players so I can steal from them and hammer them down when its time. and I get caught and my cards go face up and everyone can see what a horrible stupid move i made.  

That feeling of shame is heavy.  Im trying my hardest to get through these games and I have earned a lot of respect along the way, and sometimes I struggle and sometimes I have my chips in with the worst hand, but I guarantee you that most peoples notes on me are to be careful, and good player etc.   Ive sat with the sharks and proven myself, Ive earned respect of players way better than me, and players who have tonnes of profit.  And for the longest time I recoiled in shame when I had a showdown with somebody who validated my shitty play. Id have A4offsuit and they raised me and I raised them back and they called.  The flop came A8Q, I bet they called, the turn was a 6, I bet huge, they called, the river was another ace I bet big, they raise me all in and I call, they have AK and the kicker kicks me out of the game. 

Back in the older days  I liked to call lots of hands from the big blind, because one of the first pieces of poker advice I ever read was “Defend your blinds!  Its a great piece of advice that I still follow, but within reason.   And many times I would call big raises from the blind with hands like 59.  Id hit a 5 on the flop and it would be reason enough to stay in the hand.   by the time the river came there would be aces and kings all over the board, and he is still betting to me.  Pot odds are good and I might even win the hand by the looks of it because he bets small on the river.  There have been times in my life in situations like this where I just thought to myself, wow, you stayed in the hand with 95 this whole time and now look how many of your chips are in the middle.  And I would fold to a small bet because it occurred to me the guff I would receive  in the chat box if I won or even lost and had to show my hand, because I knew it was a fishy call to make, and I knew I was trying to suckout hands and I knew that this would not earn me respect or make me a better player, so there were lots of times I folded to save myself the embarrassment of being such a fish. 

In my early years I got laughed at a few times for certain calls.  Id post questions on forums and people would say son, do yourself a favor and put down the cards.  I hear checkers is pretty fun.  Or snakes and ladders! 

And these were good poker players with profits and skills and I wanted to be in that position.  So I learned what I did, and now I am here with the ability to make something happen, and I am trying, and I am trying to share it.  So now, there is discipline and I stick to certain styles and I have a criteria of what hands to play and which not to at any certain point.   I dont put myself in embarrassing situations where I can be humiliated because of horrible calls.

You know? Like if someone raises you and you have 22, and you raise them back, and they raise you again.  The flop comes 488 and you go all in, they call and show KK.  That would be a horrible play in most situations, and Id probably laugh a bit myself if I was the guy with KK there.  Now a days thats a fold, or a flat call if you know no one else will have a chance to raise it higher. 

These days I am happy with most hands I raise with, even if its 64suited or J9suited.   And if I raise with 38 every once in a while, the difference is if I get reraised, I fold.  If I get called I play the hand accordingly, and if I win to somebody who had QQ but didnt reraise me then, well its their bad!   There is something else we should talk about from Dan Harringtons book.   Its also fitting here since were talking about playing bad hands at certain times.  

Most good poker players have read, or been told to read Harrington on Holdem, by Dan Harrington.  The part where he talks about baseball and tennis, and describes the hero pitcher, in the last inning, winds up for the fastball and Boom, strike one.  The batter prepares for the second pitch and its a fastball straight down the center, Pow strike two.   Now the batter is ready and hes gonna crank it, the pitcher winds up and sends it down the center.  But the timing is off, the batter blunders a swing but its too early, the fastball was a curve ball!  strike 3.   He goes on to say Youll make your easiest money when you make plays that are opposite your normal style.  I spent a lot of time thinking about that and its very true.  The analogies were good too.  Everyone expects the fastball, and you throw em a curveball.  Well when your at the table and these people Know you dont slowplay kings, you can pull in some giant pots doing something you arent known for doing.   `He cant have kings! no way!  he wouldnt slowplay kings! My raise range in position typically is anything from AA to 9Tsuited to 46suited.   People I play against can  expect me to have atleast suited cards or connectors like 89offsuit or two facecards.  The other day I raised with 23offsuit, in position, and when the flop came K23, I bet like I always do, I was raised, and I reraised.  By the time he was all in with KQsuited, I had shown my 2 pair and I caught another 3 on the river for the full boat.   Yes that could have went bad for me, but online poker is so fast, you have to get it while you got it, theres not always time to wait for better hands.  But I won the hand, and it threw the entire table off since I had been showing down excellent hands up until then.   So I took advantage of this and started raising a lot after that, with better hands than 23 obviously, and now they each knew that to enter a pot with me was going to be a tricky thing to overcome.  Needless to say I won the tourney.

Always remember how youre perceived by the table.  If you have folded 17 hands in a row and now youve just made a raise for 5 times the big blind, its likely you wont get more than one caller IF that.   If your in every single hand betting and calling and chasing, your probably not gonna be able to bluff anyone very easily.  Use your “table image” in your favor.  If you appear tight and dont play a lot of hands, you will be able to steal a few pots because they think you have a good hand this time.  If you are playing fast and aggressive, its going to pay off when you have AA and your playing your typical big bet game. 

And always remember, half of the people you know are below average 😉

Statistically

Bluffing

If youre anything like me, bluffing is a big part of your game. 2 common problems people have in poker are A) bluffing too much, and B) not bluffing enough.

Its true, you may think its admirable to get through your poker career honest and clean without ever having to perfect your ability to “get away” with a few dishonest representations, but the honest truth here is that until you can master bluffing, your potential is finite. There is a line in the sand of poker, and I am afraid that those of us who neglect the art of bluffing, will forever be behind it.

The key is quality. Hear this? All things in life that I can think of, can be measured by quality vs quantity. In this case (like most cases) quality is superior. Bluff too much, and you become exposed. Debunked. Predictable. Avoid bluffing at all times and you become the very same. Youve all met the lady who never bluffs? You remember, horse shoe up her ass the whole time, every pot she entered, she won. Every time she bet, she was called, and had the best hand, even if the best hand required her to have 83. Well I assure you those games with her were luck, and if you followed her around and watched her play 10 more games you would witness her lose a whole bunch. And next time you play her you know that she doesnt bluff so you can always predict your odds accurately when facing her in a hand. And that makes her very beatable.

Whether you bluff too much, or dont bluff enough, its important to keep it in check, and be aware of where you sit in relations to your bluff attempts. Quality is key. So is timing. How many people are in the hand? Obviously it becomes more difficult to bluff 4 people than it is to bluff one or 2. Have you been caught bluffing yet? If youre one of those lizards that bluff every hand you play and show a crappy hand when everyone folds, chances are people are going to start calling your bets. If you get caught bluffing, probably wait a few minutes or win a couple of good hands before you attempt to pull off a slick bluff again. Then again, its some peoples strategy to get caught bluffing intentionally, including myself, so that it buys me a few heavy calls when I do have the bomb.

And second of all, you have to really know what a good bluff is. Its pretty evident that some people think they can bluff every hand and steal pots that arent bet into, each time its their turn. Some people think that they can go all in over and over on the flop or the turn and people will keep folding. Those really arent good bluffs, those are fate-tempters, and it’s those people who are feeding online poker with brand new money. They might get called and get lucky with j9off, but in the long run, that shit doesnt work, stupid.

A good bluff requires vigilance, and I speak at a table with about 2-4 people in the hand. You can pull off a bluff every 2 hands risking half your stack for the wee blinds, or you can pull off a nice bluff every 11 hands for a fat pot. I like to limp in from small blind or call a small raise before the flop with decent cards, and when the flop comes 427, ill wait about 6 seconds and bet about 1/2 or 3/4 the pot. Ya I might get reraised if someone has something, but usually the case is that their full of shit. And so ill get a caller and since i am first to act again, I bet bigger. Basically saying hey, I have one of these cards or an over pair, you really want to keep chasing your AToffsuit? I win a lot of hands this way.

Another good bluff is the suited flop. the flop comes 3 clubs. Somebody bets, you raise. Then they check next round, and you bet again. The river is not a club, and you can bet here too. Im sure this doesnt work at higher levels, but it works at the levels I play at, and the home games.  The odds of getting a 4th card of the same suit are pretty slim.  especially if you have one of those suits in your hand.   The number of people that invest lots of money hoping for that 4th suited card, is phenomenal.     Its my favorite thing in the world to flop a flush, and bet like….  twice the pot, and watch as 2 or 3 people call or even raise.  

Lets look at this visually.  There are thirteen cards per suit.  “Per suit,” lol.  I am in pursuit of one face-card per suit!   Nevermind..

Ok, there are 13 spades.  There are 3 on the flop, which leaves 10 left.  You have one, so theres 9 left.  52 cards in a deck.  52 cards – 9 spades = 43 cards left that you cant see.  your other card is not a spade so it can be discounted, so 42 cards have a possiblity of falling.   9 of them are spades. 

this represents spades :                    *********  

this represents all other cards :        *********************************

If you have the ace, and the bets are small and the pot odds are good, then yes, call!  but if I bet twice the pot and you have the ace or the king or even the queen, look at those asterisks and think about it again.  

And, lets look at the pot visually.

Here is the pot before the flop :  ******

Here is my bet after the flop :      ************

Making the pot :                              ******************

now it costs you :                           ************

to potentially win :                          ******************

Its costing you almost the entire price of the pot to win the pot, with odds so poorly against you as shown in my first asterisk drawing.  SURE it will happen once in a while, but can you afford once in a while?   Thats like trading 5 dollars worth of gasoline for a coupon worth 4 dollars in gas, that is only valid in a different city, every second Sunday! 

Im losing my patience writing cause Im taking some bad beats while I play and write. You should see this game. blinds are 50/100, and people are raising to 700 and getting 4 callers out of position. more-so than not. So far I have lost with QQ to A4off, and AKsuited to Q9suited. And I am crippled.

Its unreal, I raise 3xbb with AKsuited, the dealer calls, everyone else CALLS. the flop comes JTx, one spade.  Since everyone is ok with putting there chips in the middle, Im on a real aggressive swing with good hands.  They check I bet pretty big. everyone folds except the button. OK, I think, she has a Jack or a Ten. Gotta keep betting here just me and her, and hope for my card. The turn comes its a blank, I wait a while and bet very big as to be representing QQ or KK. She calls of course, so the jig is up.  I need a Q or an Ace to continue happily.  and the river comes its a king. Great. Couldnt have been an ace or queen! so I wait a few minutes I have top pair and now I am hoping she has jack or ten x, but there are other possibilities now. no way she chased a draw THAT far THAT expensive!  I already know I played this hand way too hard and I have a lot invested.  But simple awareness of that fact under-weighs my aggression in this situation, and I convince myself I have no choice but to bet again. 

So I bet about half the pot and she raises me all in. I know I am beat but I call because fuck you, thats why, she has Q9 like I said. Not the best lesson in bluffing!   Chased the open ender for half her stack early-mid tourney. Thats just a joke to me. Chasing half your stack is equivalent to betting half your stack one hand, and half your stack the next hand. if you lose, thats it, half your stack gone. chasing one of two cards. You cant overlook pot odds.  So many people do.  The call is right for her if I bet small enough to give her good pot odds, but I bet large and her pot odds were like 1.5:1, meaning it will cost her 10 apples to MAYBE win 15 apples.  but whatever, Im over it. Its just amazing to me that people take such risk with their money. I did too, I recognize that, with nothing but a draw.  But its always better to be the bettor 🙂 I just made that up.  Remember to quote me! 

They should invent a game played online where you deposit, and play against people rolling dice. They can go all in and if the dice is a one, they win, if its a 2,3,4,5, or 6, they lose. Because thats whats happening here with cards, people are folding appropriately for minutes and minutes, then they pick a hand to play and the slightest draw they call their whole stack off hoping to roll that “one”

Ive even upped my stakes like I said I would, and fuck man, the first few games were decent, I got first place once and second place once, but I just lost 2 in a row to noobs chasing shit right to the last card. like fuck off!

anyways, bluffing, LOL. I am so good at ranting I just get carried away..

I dont know, I was on to something when I started writing this yesterday, but today im not sure where to continue. My biggest point was bluffing too much. So many people do it, and really, you have to find opportunities for good bluffs. instead of 6 bluffs in 10 hands, try one good bluff in 8 hands.

Sometimes, you have to call the last bet too when you know your beat, just to save the image you are representing. Say you were on a semi-bluff betting into a Ks 9s Th flop. You had Q9 one spade. You bet, they call, the turn comes 7h. You bet again, they call. The river comes Adiamonds. You wait a bit and check. They bet small like 1/3 pot, or min bet even. If you make that call, people wont catch on to you that you bet so aggressively on draws. The guy will show his cards and you will get to muck yours, making it look like you had a hand the whole time, and got rivered or something. If you fold, people will think you bet like that on flush draws and straight draws, and theyll make sure you dont get away with that kind of stuff.  If you call for the purpose of mucking, it will buy you points because when you enter a hand, you HAVE a hand, and youll not be pushed off it, even after a river bet!  It makes people think twice.

Sometimes it takes a lot of sand to keep running with a bluff. You raise 57hearts on the button. Two callers. Flop comes 4Q8, one heart. You make a continuation bet here hoping for a 6 of course, or a low heart. The guy with the ace calls, the guy with the 8 calls. The turn is another Q. Do you bet? I do because in most cases the first call was a statement saying “I cant be pushed off hands this easy” and they stick around one more card hoping for an ace or whatever. A lot of people might check here allowing the guy with the 8 to think his hand is best, who will then likely bet and you are faced with the decision to call. Which, hoping for a 6 is usually a bad call. So you bet instead, bigger, and put the decision making on the other people. The ace guy folds, the guy with the 8 thinks for a while and calls. Now the river comes and its a 5. no flush, no straight. But you have a pair of fives.

You may check and so will the guy with the 8, allowing him to win, unless he thinks youve been chasing a draw the whole time and missed, and he may bet.  But from your initial bet you represented at least top pair. If you bet again here, high enough, they just might believe that you had the Q the whole time, and fold his 8. It takes courage. If i didnt hit that 5, I may not bet as often in that situation on the river, but since I hit it, I have another reason to bet. And by now I have lots of money invested in this pot. Its not the best idea to put so much money into a pot with 57hearts and bet it home with nothing, but if your on an aggressive run then this is a typical play. You make the big bet and say “how do you like your 8’s, Billy?” He folds and you take a huge pot.

Its important to get that first bit of information, like when he called the original bet, instead of raising. Yeah its possible he had a Q the whole time too, or something else like 66! But since you ballsed up and fired three times its that action that makes him think his hand is not the best here, and with no reraises and hesitations, its pretty likely he did not have the Q, or a higher pair. But of course there will be times when you run into a reraise here and hell have had Q8 the whole time 😛  Thats why I like to bet mid-low bets mostly, it saves me from losing 2 tonnes of chips when I am getting schooled, it entices people to reraise me big when I have a monster and they have no clue, it offers good pot odds to people who want to make bad decisions, and its a cheap way to “ask questions” and possibly take down the pot then and there with minimum risk.

But if the turn card was not a second Q, the hand would be a little different. If it was an ace or a king, I would not be so anxious to bet here, as its likely those cards would help someone. If it was a 2 or a 3, its pretty neutral, you may still get ace high callers and the guy with the 8 may still think he has the best hand. If it was a ten or a jack, its a good idea not to proceed any further as now there are bigger straights on board. and if it was a 7 8 or 9, same deal. You already suspected one player had an 8. And anyone can be hoping for those middle cards to complete a straight too!

Of course this is a fictional hand, and everything depends on everything, right! but its a formula and if you broke it down into some kind of algebra problem, the same patterns would show up and yield the same results over time. Its not easy to understand and Im not even sure if Im explaining my thoughts accurately, but hopefully it makes a bit of sense.

Ive been aggressive lately, not very conservative, and its paying off. Im reading a few books again for the third time! Ive upped my stakes, and something occurred to me. Normally, Il up my stakes, and win one or two games, and then I will lose a few and go down in my bankroll. Its at this point where I LOWER my stakes again, because the losses and the bankroll thing are chipping at my confidence, so lowering my stakes after that was always my safe-bet play. Then I would win the lower stakes a few more times and be back where I started. Breaking even.

Well, something different happened yeterday. I upped my stakes, and lost a couple of games, and my confidence was affected. Normally I would lower my stakes and make a comeback, but this time, I remained at the higher stakes. And when I won, it paid off well and I found myself a lot higher in bankroll than I imagined. SO ive been sticking with the higher stakes and won a few and lost a few but I am still ahead.

Lets say you play 3 dollar games mostly, and one day you up your stakes to 6 dollars. Well when you win a 3 dollar tourney, you get about 12, and when you win a 6 dollar tourney you get about 24.
If you have 100 dollars in your bankroll, and you join a 6 dollar and lose, you go down to 94 dollars. If you lose again you go down to 88 dollars. At this point your confidence starts to worry and your bankroll is flashing amber, trying to alert you to proceed with caution, or stop. So you would go down to 3 dollar games and win 12, which brings you back up to 97. Well, instead, if your doing everything right and just getting bad beats, stay at 6 dollars and if you win youll go to 106$.

It may look like your losing cash rapidly when you play these stakes, but if your on top of your game, you will win money rapidlier!

Once again, Ive strayed from “bluffing” 🙂 But whatever. Its my blog Ill do what I want! 😉 Youve all learned not to judge a post by its title already anyways. Ive had a hankering to write and its nice to have something to do while I fold hands! But seriously, assess your bluffing skills, they may need attention. Tone it down a bit, or crank it up a bit, whatever the case. Unless you are consistently winning and your game is in harmony with the universe, then you need to make a few adjustments, and bluff honing is not a bad place to start.

Taking Shots

No, this isnt about jagger-bombs or sex on the beach, or even straight tequila.

          You know, unless youre the best, you should have something higher to aim for. To sit comfortably at your own level of poker and do alright, is less than sitting at richer games and breaking even. Always have to climb. Sit at levels youre comfortable with and in a matter of time, like everything else, you upgrade. Move on up. And as long as you play poker, keep moving if your success allows it.

It may be odd to hear that from me ’cause Im a low stakes player, but if this isnt the first post youve read on my blog here, then likely you know Im striving and passionate about it. Im writing these entries and it may sound like Im casually grinding the junior league but in reality Im out there man, Im taking shots, Im running when I have momentum and Im paying for mistakes, and bad luck when it comes around. Secretly my mission was to get the results first and come back here with a great story of success and move on up accordingly.

I log these low stakes stories, but dont get me wrong, Im out there trying to get new stories like journalist in Iraq, taking shots and dodging bullets. And you have to. Especially from low stakes. Move up. Dont lose all your money and reload and play for higher stakes. Get good, beat the low stakes. Be able to afford to move up. Keep moving. Like a fucking poker nomad. I sure as hell cant sit around happy winning at low stakes, I need to move up I feel like a corpse grinding out the dead end games like a dead end job with a steady low income.  Like zombie poker and the donk apocalypse!

pokerscan

Youve read my earlier post about how I got real drunk and took a shot and lost a few hundred dollars in heads up and woke up with zero.

Well, Im still taking shots. Im not getting hammered-drunk this time but I do have a few beers. And Im not playing 100 dollar games anymore! And the truth is I should be here today writing about my success and doubling up my bankroll! Instead is this. I remember it clear as it would be yesterday.

It was 30 dollars heads up. And it was more like 4 weeks ago. I sat down and I started typing to this guy.

“IM TAKING A SHOT”
he babbled something about right on good luck, he was drunk at 9am because his work shift ended at 6am. But he wished me luck and played horribly. I dont remember all the hands of course except for the important one. I had about 75 percent of the chips at one point but he climbed back. It boiled down to me having QQ. I had a couple thousand more chips than him and I limped in. He liked to raise when I limped in. And he did. I reraised him and he went all in. Just what I wanted. It felt like my big 30 dollar win it felt like success. He shows KToffsuit. You can guess the rest of the hand. Caught the king on the turn and I was left with a couple thousand. What a disappointment. That was supposed to be mine. After playing him for about 15 minutes his big all in move turns out to be with KToffsuit. I just so happen to have QQ and he sucks out a three outer for the pot. My next hand was tilt and I went all in last couple thousand but I had JQoff and he won with 67 or something. Unreal. I played a couple more games that night, for lower stakes heads up, and lost a few more times.

Now the difference here is this: This time around I have been doing great, dominating the low stakes games. I was up 50 dollars in a week, so I could afford to take my 30 dollar shot. And in the morning, I wasnt at zero, I was only about 40 dollars down, which was actually 10 dollars up compared to 2 weeks ago. So in retrospect, he got lucky, I outplayed him, and took my shot and lost. I could beat him, I could beat that game, and everyone who plays me knows it. And if I could afford to play 30$ sit n go’s every day, Id have a lot more money and some better stories. So that is my goal.

The next morning I Didnt take it very hard, I told myself he was a lucky douche and my time will come. Brushed it off and about a week later I was back winning and climbing and building a bigger bankroll.

Now a few days ago, I decided to take another shot. 20 dollar heads up was my choice. I felt confident and I could afford it and a couple of 20 dollar victories would bring my stats up to where I would like them to be. So I sat down.

This douche. Didnt chat to him but he was a straight clown. I could tell after 6 hands I was gonna school this kid. It felt great. Im taking his chips, hes bluffing too much, and calling with shit cards.

When it boils down, I have KK on the button, raise about 3.5 xbb,and he calls. The flop was 96Q. He bet small and I just didnt want to piss around this was it, ALL IN. He fucking calls and turns over J6offsuit. Bottom pair of a shitty hand. The turn comes, SIX, the river comes, JACK. Im out.

Unreal. What the fuck just happened. I look and hes sitting in the same spot, so I join a new game with him. Taking his chips again, hes learned nothing and playing like a pinball machine with 6 balls and flashing lights blaring with horrendous noise.

I have 77. Flop comes 466. I BET. He calls. turn comes 3. I bet, he goes all in. Hmmmm

I think and ponder a fold, but no way, I have him beat and I need this. I was not pot committed but this was my pot. I call and he shows A9off. River comes, ACE. Im crippled.

I was forced all in not long later and my hand was 58suited or something and I couldnt even catch a break against his 23, I think he ended up with three deuces and I was out.

3 fucking bad beats the last three times I took a shot and tried to play significantly above my normal buyins. I shouldve won all those games and didnt win one because of stupid plays buy dumb opponents that got lucky on the turn or river.

Can it get any more discouraging? KK vs J6 I wanted to cry when he hit another 6 on the turn. It was slow motion when I saw it the 6 just appeared so casually like it was there the whole time. If it could speak it would say “what, what you looking at, you knew I was gonna be here.” With some unshaven grin that only the number 6 could pull off and some sort of homeless brooklyn accent.

You cant help but get mad. 26 months ago I would have ripped my mouse off its line and put my hand through my keyboard like a block of ice from karate kid 2. Now I just swear. “Fuck, motherfucker! what the fuck? Are you kidding me? Jack 6? shit! You fucking, motherfuck, unbelievable, jesus christ.

Im not religeous so its ok to say jesus christ. God is one thing but all that jesus stuff come on, its been debunked.

I wanted to keep playing but I turned it off instead and let him get away. Once again I was down and frustrated and confused. I can beat these assholes. I can beat that game. If i could afford it I could sit at 30 dollar tables and win enough to profit. I know it. For me to do that I would have to have about 7 or 800 dollars in my bankroll. Thats about 25 buy ins and Im sure I can win a fair amount of those.

But Im trying. I went to bed angry the other night and woke up bitter. Kind of a nothing-to-lose mentality with a shoulder chip and a committed heart. I played about twice my buy in. I was down and I needed to get back up or lose it all and take a break.

Started out with heads up. I won. Played the same guy. I won. sat down at a little lower buy in heads up. I won. Played another, I won.

Sat down at a 6 seater about twice my normal buy in. I won. Another 6 seater about 1.5x my regular buy in. I won. Heads up again for twice my buy in. I won.

At this point I wanted to shut it off and do something else for a bit, but I was killing. Already made back my losses. One day later, like it never happened. I finally lost a 6 seater and shut it off.

The shots i took didnt pay off, but both times I closed it before i lost too much, and days later its like I lost nothing at all. Like they were free chances to make a better profit, and I outplayed each person each time, but they got lucky each time and sucked out from behind. What can you do. Things are ok and a few more days like that day and I will take another shot. Going to try and move up a little tougher. Push my way up there. I belong up there. And thats where I am aimed.

Stay tuned.

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