Saturday, March 26, 2005

Origin of Species

You've probably read natedogg's humorous "evolution of a 2+2er". Ray Zee wrote an essay on the steps to becoming a world class player. The generally accepted equivalent in the trading world is the "38 Steps to Becoming a Successful Trader". There are parallels between the two vocations as can be seen by comparing their respective "how to succeed" literature.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have a tree to swing to.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Another Limerick

She had a condo both swanky and spacious,
And a libido considered voracious,
Yet when I inquired,
As to why she was tired,
She yelled "Fuck off! I'm reading Ignatious!"

Hmmmmm..... now let's see, what rhymes with Pauly?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Rape of 912

So, dear readers, at this stage of my poker career (soup kitchen), I have elected to concentrate on live (brick & mortar) games to the exclusion of the more convenient online variety. Why, you ask?

Flashback to Sunday September 12, 2004, 7:37pm. I logged in to my online poker site, which shall remain nameless, and decided to forego my usual $200 NLHE game and for the first time try my hand two-tabling $15-$30 HE. I quit playing 57 minutes later, down $997, but the result was not important. What did strike me, however, was the eerie combination of transience and looseness, coupled with well-rehearsed moves and timely folds. It was as if I were watching a directed screenplay albeit as one of the actors. Players were constantly raising and reraising before the flop, and, if the script demanded, thereafter. Players were leaving the table, players were entering and players were re-entering. Players were folding, sometimes awkwardly, but mostly very skillfully. Getting a read on anyone, or any group, was well-nigh impossible. It reminded me of the first time I got fleeced by a three-card monte crew on a London street as a young traveller.

Disclaimer: Your mileage may vary.


A besotted young wench with long braids,
Limped in with the King Queen of spades,
Upon flopping a royal,
She put on a Doyle,
And cleaned up despite the tirades.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hello, World!

I think it only fair, dear readers (the plural form is presumptuous, I know), that after nearly 3 months of being exposed to my worthless drivel, I at least make an attempt to formally introduce myself. Before doing so, however, let me assure you that I feel very comfortable with the cloak of anonymity afforded to an internet blogger, and will therefore reveal only the bare minimum. As time progresses, I am sure I will inadvertently leak out further details.

Having dispensed with the formalities, I hereby launch into what should have been the first post of this blog. Or at the very least, the second. I have a strong quantitative background and took an interest in gambling from a young age, starting with sportsbetting and progressing to blackjack, poker and trading. I have lived for at least one year (and in some cases substantially more) in 6 major cities on four different continents of our wonderful planet, the last and current one being Las Vegas. I like dogs but have a cat. And I will express my inner thoughts in parenthesized red; my style, for those that remember, is loosely based on Kevin Nealon's Saturday Night Live character "Mr Subliminal".

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Specialist vs. Generalist

For most of my life, when faced with a choice between specializing or generalizing, I have tended to choose the latter, be it in my studies, choice of profession or extracurricular activities. I would rather be very good in A, B, C and D than excel in only E.

This was the case till I stumbled upon poker. Initially I started studying hold'em and 7 card stud simultaneously, reading the usual 2+2 books, with the intention of adding Omaha and other variations later on. This ambitious plan quickly fell on its face after a few losing live sessions playing both hold'em and stud, when I realized that I knew nothing about both games. Since then, I have made a conscious decision to specialize in any aspect of poker that I undertake. Let me clarify the last statement. By specialize I mean "try to master one out of many choices", try being the operative word. I have hardly mastered any aspect of poker, but I have consciously decided to choose hold'em as my game, no limit as opposed to limit structure, live (b&m) as opposed to online play, and cash (ring) games as opposed to satellites/tournaments. My decision in each was made after trying the alternatives and selecting what I felt was best suited to my personal traits.

I have chosen "specialization" because I don't believe I can succeed any other way, not because it is the preferred way. Truth be told, I am envious of those who can effortlessly switch from ring game to tournament or from hold'em to Omaha - after all, variety is the spice of life and I'm really a generalist at heart.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Monday, Monday

Today, Monday March 7, 2005, goes down in history as the day that poker blogfather Iggy honored me with a mention in his blog. Thanks, Iggy! His blog is unrivalled and a must read for anyone interested in the poker world.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

When in doubt, simulate

I've spent my fair share of hours simulating and have found it a reliable tool when conventional analytical methods are too complicated or infeasible. Generally, I write my own software but am not averse to using custom built solutions when they're available. A fine example of the latter is Wilson's Turbo Texas Hold'em which enables a wide range of analyses based on a set of player profiles, general playing styles and other parameters. All the standard disclaimers apply when using the results from this or any other program. Something which is often overlooked is that these programs use a pseudo random number generator, which by their very nature tend to be cyclical i.e. they repeat after a certain deterministic sequence. All this means is that there is no point in running a 1 billion hand simulation, when 1 million hands will probably, and paradoxically, be more accurate.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


the big cheese is complaining that people are not updating their blogs on a more regular basis. I dedicate this entry to him. His grievance is justified. I have a list of bookmarked blogs which I obsessively go through at least twice a day. I have intentionally made the list large enough to avoid that disappointing feeling of emptiness when one finds nothing new to read.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Put this in your blog and smoke it

The need to express one's self in writing springs from a maladjustment of life, or from an inner conflict which the adolescent or the grown man cannot resolve in action.

- Emile Herzog (1885-1967) from The Art of Writing