Sunday, December 30, 2012

A gift from Sal

Last week Venetian poker dealer Sal spent almost as much time blowing his nose into tissues as he did dealing the cards. So it came as no surprise when I contracted a severe cold a couple of days later and was confined to bed. After all, it is the Season of Giving.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New magic show opens at Venetian

I was privileged to witness the Xmas Eve premiere opening of "The Amazing Andrew", a magic show starring the talented Venetian poker dealer Andrew. Here's a preview :

Scene 1 : At 11:30pm I have $50 in front of me and it's only a matter of time before I will be walking out into the cold 35 degree Las Vegas night without a penny.

Scene 2 : Sensing my desperation, Andrew comes to my rescue and deals me As Ad. I can barely contain my excitement when an early position player (EPP) raises to $15. I quickly push my $50 across the betting line and EPP calls.

Scene 3 : EPP has Ah Qs and I am a 93% favorite. I breathe a sigh of relief and for the first time in 6 hours I finally lean back in my chair, ready to enjoy the show.

Scene 4 : With the flourish he is known for, Andrew deals out the dream flop : Tc 6h 6s. I am now 98% certain to double up, which in turn means a warm meal.

Scene 5 : This is when everything turns to shit. The room darkens with the spotlight on the board and Andrew's 2 hands. There is a drum roll and Andrew deals the turn : Jd. I lean forward slightly, inadvertently breaking wind. Not missing a beat, Andrew then delivers the coup de grace when he places the Ks on the river.
Magic. Pure fucking magic. This guy puts Copperfield to shame. And all this without even a sexy magician's assistant.

Final scene : As I exit the room cursing Andrew and his lineage, the curtain falls.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

In good company

While sitting at a 2/5 must-move table at the Venetian yesterday, I noticed Collin Moshman in the 8 seat and Ed Miller in seat 10. I was sent to another table after 5 minutes so I didn't get a chance to witness their play. Still, what are the odds of finding 3 celebrated poker writers on one table?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Simon, Venetian dealer and missing link

One of the functions of this blog is to act as my personal safety valve. Ever since that apelike simian, Simon, set foot in the Venetian, he has dealt me a continuous stream of coolers, bad beats, crappy cards, and missed flops. It is wickedly uncanny and no dealer even comes close. This stuttering baboon has cost me thousands of dollars. Variance, it would seem, has long since been replaced by voodoo.

Tonight was no exception. Well, fuck you Simon and the evolutionary chain you rode in on.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


Last weekend, poker bloggers gathered in Las Vegas for the traditional winter WPBT get-together. I have been attending since the summer of 2005, but circumstances were such that I couldn't make it this time and tweeted my apologies to that effect.

However, I was fortunate enough to meet lightning36 who made the effort to come and see me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Little GTO

There's an interesting thread on 2+2 about whether the top poker pros use game theory as part of their strategy. It appears that some do while others are blessed with an innate ability that acts as a substitute.

Today there are bots employing GTO (game theory optimal) strategies that could beat any human in heads-up limit hold'em (LHE). In the beginning of the thread, no less than Durrrr (Tom Dwan) issued a challenge whereby he was willing to take on any bot in LHE. There were a few takers but as of yet, Durrrr has not agreed.

No limit hold'em (NLHE), with its different betting structure, is a much more complex endeavor when it comes to programming a GTO bot. In fact, the largest game ever solved was checkers (2007), which took a team led by Jonathan Schaeffer nearly 16 years and involved 200 desktop computers. NLHE is more complicated than checkers.

Incidentally, Professor Schaeffer had this to say about solving chess :

"The number of chess positions possible (as calculated in several chess books, a couple of which are chess encyclopedias which probably quote from other sources) is greater than the number of atoms in the universe (assuming that it is 10-15 billion light-years in diameter). So roughly, the complete game tree would not fit on a computer the size of the universe. But, the entire game tree does not have to be on the computer at once. And many positions are not important. Some experts in artificial intelligence think that a very large computer (larger than any in existence, but certainly smaller than a planet) may be able to solve chess by calculating for a few thousand years, maybe for hundreds of years."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Better than a slowroll

I'm sitting in the 5 seat and a local to my right comes back with a visually appealing dish which he starts eating at the table. I ask him what it is and he gruffly replies "What's it look like?"

Hmmm, I have no idea and just say "Sorry for asking."

Shortly thereafter, he moves to the 2 seat, and about an hour later he is all-in against the 9 seat who calls. Shithead shows a set of 8's while the 9 seat tables 64 for a straight. Shithead gets up and leans forward as he has trouble discerning the winning hand at the opposite end of the table.

"Is that a straight?" he asks.

"What's it look like?" I chime in without missing a beat.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A chimp and a chair

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

After 495 days...

Full Tilt Poker officially reopened for real money play today at 12:00PM GMT (4:00AM PT). As was to be expected, there were some teething problems (cashier functionality, inability to login etc.), but this didn't prevent FTP from regaining number 2 spot with over 40,000 players online after a few hours.

As the countdown proceeded and with 15 minutes to go before FTP went live, one particular poster on 2+2 couldn't contain himself :

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Full Tilt is ready to go

With worldwide re-launch slated for November 6, USA players will at least be able to enjoy the best poker software for play money only. I just downloaded and logged into Full Tilt, and found that Rush Poker is almost as addictive with play money.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reviewing the Reviewer

Andrew "Foucault" Brokos, professional poker player, coach, and book reviewer, writes a very interesting article titled "Stop Worrying About Draws" in Card Player magazine (October 17, 2012), the gist of which is that just because there is a potential flush or straight draw on the flop, the likelihood of someone actually having such a draw is not as high as it would appear.

He shows how for different flops the number of possible combinations of potential draws are relatively small compared to the total number of actual possible combinations.

In doing so, however, he slips up a couple of times with his calculations.

"There are six times as many ways to be dealt 9-8 offsuit as 9-8 suited, though admittedly many players will fold the former to a raise."

This is clearly wrong. There are 16 combinations of any 2 different ranks, 4 of which are suited. So there are 3 times as many ways to be dealt 9-8 offsuit as 9-8 suited.

A little further on, Brokos states :

"Two-card straight draws are almost always less likely than two-card flush draws because they require two cards of a particular rank. Whereas any two of eleven remaining hearts (110 combinations) produce a nine-out flush draw on a Th 7h 2c flop, a player must hold one of four eights and one of four nines (16 combinations) to have an eight-out straight draw."

Once again he errs. There are 55 combinations, not 110. Nevertheless, his conclusion is still valid :

"Thus protecting your hand from straight draws is generally less important than protecting from flush draws."

All in all, a thought-provoking article.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Poker Hall of Shame X

At the Venetian, Myrna deals me AcKc and I end up in a pot with 2 other players. The flop comes

9s 9c Tc

It is checked around and the turn is


But wait a minute! The imbecile who is first to act claims that he never checked. Myrna then calls the floor and explains that she didn't know he had a hand. Floor rules that the next (river) card will be the turn card and that the 4c will be shuffled back in the deck and a new river card will be selected. What happened to "significant action" having taken place?

Also note that the imbecile is in Seat 10, I am in Seat 1 and the last to act (LTA) is in Seat 2. So it's not as if I acted out of turn. I only checked when Myrna turned and pointed to me. Needless to say, Seat 1 rarely can see what Seat 10 is doing and relies heavily on the dealer for prompting.

New turn is 6h.

Imbecile checks, I check, LTA checks.

New river is 4d.

Check, check, check.

Both players table KTo and split the pot. Myrna sees my AcKc, sighs and apologizes to me. I say nothing.

Myrna was not paying attention and cost me money. A good dealer should know that there were 3 players in the hand. Had this occurred in Bobby's Room, it could have meant instant dismissal. I am not as critical of the floor decision as I am unfamiliar with the exact criteria for applying "significant action".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beware of the hidden gutshot

I raise with AKs in late position and the big blind is the only caller. We see a flop of

A K 3 (rainbow)

Bingo! Pretty safe flop for me so let's slowplay this and not chase away our quarry.

BB checks as do I.

Turn is a harmless 2.

BB checks again so it's time to start trying to extract something from this hand.

I bet and get checkraised. WTF?! The bastard is surely making a play. Apart from a set, I don't see any other threat so I push.

BB insta-calls, river is a useless 8, and I am shown 54s for the wheel.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The House of Pain

It was rare to see so many grizzled veterans sitting at the poker table with their mouths agape, yet this is what happened at the Bellagio the other night.

Normal raised pot preflop with 2 protagonists, followed by a rainbow flop of K 7 3.

Postflop action was bet, raise, re-raise, all-in, call.

The board then ran out to (K 7 3) T J.

Following protocol, the called all-in sheepishly tabled AQ for the nut straight, while the other guy just stared in disbelief, throwing his AK faceup into the muck.

As the dealer was pushing the huge pot and before we all recovered, the young nerdy gentleman sitting next to me had already keyed in the hand into his smartphone app and whispered, "Geez, AK was 98.1% favorite on the flop!"

Yeah, that's sure to give me some comfort next time I get sucked out on when only a 93% favorite.

Friday, September 28, 2012

We chose this path

I have no one to blame for the sick feeling I have in the pit of my stomach but myself. The greasy sack of shit in the 2 seat who called my huge all-in raise with an open ender despite the terrible odds, and the prick of a dealer with a shaved head who so conveniently conjured up the requisite suckout card, are simply nausea-inducing lowlifes that come with the territory, and shouldn't really affect me. Yet every so often there is a perfect confluence of circumstances whereby my well-entrenched embracement of variance seems to vanish. Like at the Aria now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poker Hall of Shame IX

On Sunday I played for 6 hours at the MGM Grand poker room, not by any means a long session for me. They have a cheap, primitive, non-swivel, non-adjustable chair, the designers of which deserve to be publicly flogged. Today my buttock muscles were sore for the first time in the 10 years that I've been playing poker in Las Vegas. I'm walking around like I've shat myself.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Howard Lederer breaks his silence

The Lederer Files, a video interview Howard Lederer did with PokerNews, was released this week. The 7-part series can be seen on YouTube.

Throughout this whole saga, my policy has been to refrain from any serious commentary that could jeopardize the prospects of the players getting repaid, and I continue to keep the Full Tilt ad on my blog to this day. Anything I had to add was usually of a lighthearted nature. In keeping with this practice, I present some choice snippets from the Lederer Files :

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Big Thank You!

Without going into exact details (though it does involve a rather nasty bad beat), I dove headfirst into the Grand Canal at the Venetian late last night. I would like to personally thank Greg, the quick thinking and courageous young gentleman who jumped in and saved me from almost certain drowning.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Career update

Unfortunately, Big Six Wheel dealer training is proceeding at a very slow pace, much like the motion of the wheel itself. I have no problem with the physical aspects of actually spinning the wheel, nor with the payout calculations. However, I don't see why we have to master such advanced topics as angular velocity, acceleration and kinetic energy, and effects of friction, some of which require solving third-order nonlinear partial differential equations.

Colon hydrotherapy is starting to look good again.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Seven Deuce

Late night session at the Aria and someone suggested we introduce seven deuce to liven things up. Basically, this means that anyone winning with 72, either at showdown or through bluffing, gets paid an agreed-upon sum (in our case $10) by each other player.

The motion was unanimously adopted and naturally the dynamic of the game changed. There were several big pots where players holding 72 risked large amounts of money just to be able to table their bluff and reap the additional $80 reward. I wasn't so bold but did manage to win the $80 when I called a button raise with 72 in the BB, and took the small pot down on the turn.

Here is an example of a well-executed 72 bluff :

Sometimes, however, things get out of control :

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pass the Sugar

The Aria dealer notices that Seat 6 and Seat 7 are having a conversation in a foreign language even though they are not in a hand.

"English only at the table please," requests the dealer.

I crack up laughing, having already identified the "foreigners" as Australians as soon as they had sat down.

"We were speaking in English," responds one of the Aussies.

The dealer, a native-born American, still looks puzzled and, amid bursts of laughter, I assure him that it was indeed English.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ex Libris Subliminalis

I have heard good things about these 2 books:

Quantum Poker by Derric Haynie and

Playing the Player by Ed Miller

and will soon be adding them to my collection. I find it best to wait for the second edition, which usually has fewer errors and typos than the first, not to mention the inevitable price reduction.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The debasement of poker terminology

"That's not a knife, THAT'S a knife!"

-- Crocodile Dundee

The other day I was on the giving end of a bad beat when I decided that my AKo was good enough to get involved in a preflop raising war between 2 other LAG's. We ended up all-in 3-handed with the following holdings (and preflop equity) :

LAG #1 : As Ah (93.1%)

LAG #2 : Ad Kc (3.6%)

Myself : Ac Ks (3.2%)

Much to the dismay of everyone present, I took down the huge pot with a club flush. THAT is a bad beat.

Matt Matros, a player with a strong math background who I highly respect, talks about his WSOP experiences in Card Player (August 8, 2012). He recounts a hand where his KK was all-in preflop against AKo and an ace came on the river. This is a 70:30 situation and on a bad beat scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 5. Yet he refers to it as a "huge beat" and a "vicious beat". Later on he describes losing a preflop all-in with his A9o vs. QJo as a "bad beat". This is a 57:43 scenario, sometimes loosely referred to as a coinflip, hardly a bad beat.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Wendeen the teaser

US players with account balances on Full Tilt have been given more food for thought as to the prospects of seeing 100% of their funds with this teasing tweet by industry insider Wendeen Eolis. In her last tweet on this very subject, she spoke of a "cloudy forecast".

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Schadenfreude and Planet Hollywood revisited

For reasons best left unsaid, I found myself playing poker for the first time in many years at Planet Hollywood on Friday night. I don't particularly like the "room" as it is just a roped off open area surrounded by drunk screaming girls and a generous oversupply of loud music. Communication between players and dealer is done through shouting and, when necessary, with sign language.

Tonight, 24 hours after the event, as I was reading grrouchie's blog I happenstanced upon a link to another blog and after some reading realized that I had actually played with this blogger on Friday night, although I didn't know it at the time. It was no other than Stump, a very amiable young fellow who was seated to my right. I have added his link to my blog list and suggest you take a look.

One lowlight was when I managed to get a straight flush which is normally rewarded by a $200 high hand bonus, provided there is at least $10 in the pot. I was heads-up with a young imbecile who, despite my obvious prompting and hinting, refused to call my $5 bet (which I would have gladly returned to him plus some) to bring the pot over $10, thus denying me the $200 bonus. I let him know my feelings in no uncertain terms, but as it so often happens with the mentally challenged, he couldn't comprehend what had just occurred and refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing or mistake on his part.

A couple of hands later, this very same cretin lost his $200 stack when his turned nut flush was rivered by a boat. As he sat there stunned, I vocally made it known that I was very pleased at the result by shouting "very, very nice hand" at least 4 times to the victor, standing up and applauding while doing so. Fuckstick then slowly left the table accompanied by some subtle, albeit crude, farewell parting shots from yours truly.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PokerStars settles with DOJ and acquires FTP

After many months of rumors, today (Tuesday, July 31, 2012) the online poker community finally received the official news it had been eagerly anticipating. PokerStars issued the following press release :

PokerStars today announced that the Company has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Southern District of New York. As part of the settlement agreement, PokerStars has also acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker, and has committed to the full reimbursement of Full Tilt Poker customers outside the United States.

The total amount to be paid by PokerStars is USD$547 million which will be payable over a period of three years. The money paid to the US Government will in part be used to reimburse former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States, through a remission process to be administered by the Department of Justice. PokerStars repaid all amounts owing to its own U.S. customers shortly after it closed its U.S. operations.

PokerStars will also make available in a segregated bank account, all outstanding balances owing to all non-U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker (an amount totalling USD$184 million), with no restrictions on withdrawals, within 90 days of completing this transaction. PokerStars has remained open for non-U.S. players, with all its licenses in good standing, without interruptions.

Under the agreement with the Department of Justice, PokerStars does not admit to any wrongdoing. Furthermore, the agreement explicitly permits PokerStars to apply to relevant U.S. gaming authorities, under both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, to offer real money online poker when State or Federal governments introduce a framework to regulate such activity.

PokerStars plans to re-launch Full Tilt Poker in most markets as a separate brand, following the appointment of a new, independent management team. Full Tilt Poker’s operations will continue to be run from Dublin, but regulatory oversight will be transferred to the Isle of Man. Further details of these plans will be announced shortly.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Intra-hand equity-mood swings

I have AhQs and call a young guy's pre-flop all-in. He tables Ac5d, making me the 72% favorite. Stoic discipline prevents me from showing any signs of elation. He appears disappointed.

Flop : As 7h 5c

The bastard outflops me and his 2 pair now makes him the 73% favorite. Stoic discipline prevents me from showing any signs of dejection. He appears ecstatic.

Turn : 7s

Bingo! His 2 pair is counterfeited and I catapult into the lead as the 87.5% favorite. Stoic discipline prevents me from showing any signs of euphoria. He appears crestfallen.

River : 7d

We split the pot and prepare for the next round.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Full Tilt PokerStars Deal Done?

Unconfirmed report from Wendeen Eolis that negotiations between PokerStars and DOJ are complete :

Breaking News: The ups and downs and glitches in negotiations between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice with respect to Full Tilt Poker have come to an end.

Without giving away the identity of a consistently impeccable resource, it is now safe to say announcements for public dissemination are in the works. At this point I am ready to go out on a limb; FTP customers will see their monies well in time for Christmas shopping.

Poker Player Newspaper's print edition goes to press before I can provide further details, rest assured the story is a thriller that will be told.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

WSOP leaves town

No need to phone in and put my name on the list. Vegas poker rooms are empty shells of their former selves. WSOP and Deep Stack flotsam, the source of many weeks of pre-flop all-ins, shameful calls, and exhausted chip runners, are now but a distant memory.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

How much is that? WTF !?!?!

2/5 at the V. I pick up KdTd on the button and limp in with 2 earlier callers, to be joined by the SB and BB. 5-way unraised action with genial Joseph about to deal the flop and yours truly on the button; what could possibly go wrong?

The flop is Kh Jd 9d giving me top pair and the second nut flush draw, not to mention straight flush and gutshot straight draws.

It's checked around to me and I bet $20. Everyone folds except BB, a local regular who calls and has me covered.

The turn is 6d, giving me the 2nd nut flush. BB checks, I make it $45, BB calls.

The river brings a harmless 5s. BB checks again and I go all-in with my remaining $150.

BB looks at the chips I have just pushed across the line, and then asks Joseph, "How much is that?" As he counts out his chips, I am already mentally stacking the chips in the pot that are soon to be pushed my way.

As soon as BB calls and even before he slides his chips over the line, I immediately expose my hand, not wishing to prolong his agony any further. He looks at my cards and then turns over Ad3d, the nut flush.

I decide not to say anything at the table, get up and leave. 20 minutes later I catch up with BB, who is on a break away from the table. I shake his hand and say, "Nice hand. But when I'm all-in and you've got the nuts, why do you ask How much is that ?"

"I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I shouldn't have," he replied and repeated it again. I know this regular and accepted his apology.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My friend wants me to cash him out

I have never played a tournament at the WSOP because I don't play tournaments. And despite reports of juicy cash games, I have resisted the temptation to play any at the Rio. I have always felt that the Wild West atmosphere where thousands of unknowns, with a good sprinkling of vagabonds and ne'er-do-wells among them, are wandering around would not be a safe place to leave my chips unattended during a break. No casino is responsible for chips left on the table, but a regular at the Venetian or Bellagio would be better protected by the dealer, his fellow players, and the superior security and surveillance than that afforded by the transient crowd and staff, and carnival atmosphere at the WSOP.

So it came as no surprise when I read about the case of some guy making off with $20,000 in unattended chips from a cash game table at the Rio on Monday (25th June). "My friend wants me to cash him out," he claimed as he started racking up the chips.

They took reports from everyone but said that ultimately the player was responsible for his own money.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Playing to the crowd

A situation which I'm always looking out for is when a player is approached by a friend who will inquire as to how he is doing. After being updated, the friend will typically hang around for a few hands, standing behind the player who lets him peek at his hole cards.

When this occurs, I have noticed that this particular player may be prone to making some bold multi-barreling bluffs just to impress his friend. I have doubled up on several occasions in this type of scenario.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Liquidity provider

Facebook keeps on falling and is now 26.81. Luckily I didn't average down when I was tempted to. However, the shit has hit the fan, judging by this email from my broker :


Your account is $2,470 in arrears. The check that you forwarded has been returned unpaid.

Please make arrangements for payment of $2,470.



If I sell now, I'll owe the broker about $600. I might as well hang on and owe him 4 times as much.

So, here is my emailed response :


This is highly embarrassing and I apologize for the misunderstanding. I cannot for the life of me imagine why my bank didn't honor the check.

I shall resolve this matter with the urgency it deserves.



Hopefully that should hold them off for a few weeks. From a longer term perspective, I would be grateful if someone could stake me in one of the juicy cash games that are now being held all over town. It's either that or providing $5 handjobs behind the old bus station.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Averaging down

I should have realized that something was fishy when my broker accepted my theoretical $2,470 in G-Bucks and issued me 65 Facebook shares at 38. As mentioned in the comments to my last post, I was expecting to offload them at around 50 for a quick profit. Needless to say, they only briefly hit 45 and have been going down ever since, closing at 28.84 today.

Fortunately my broker is probably still buried in IPO paperwork and hasn't noticed the crudely photoshopped check I sent him, which honestly enough does clearly state that it is drawn on the Bank of G-Bucks.

Even though I have a $595 hole to fill in, I'm thinking of averaging down and purchasing another 65 at these levels. You see, I just remembered that I have some more funds at the Bank of Sklansky.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My roll < $38

The losing sessions continue. Everyone's running into the bottom of my range.

Despite my penury and destitution, I have calculated that I am up $2,470 G-Bucks for the year and will be providing my broker with an audited spreadsheet to this effect, hopefully persuading him to allocate me 65 Facebook shares in tomorrow's IPO.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grim reminder

Each time I walk through, I can't help but notice that there's another tournament series at the Bellagio. I've sworn off tournaments ever since that fat cunt Joanne eliminated me deep in a $1,000 event at the 2005 Festa al Lago, when I was a 98% favorite on the flop.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Palms opens poker room and sports book

As part of a series of upgrades, a new poker room and sports book opened at the Palms today. Cantor Gaming will operate the hybrid sports book-poker room, the first of its kind in Las Vegas.

"A poker player folds eight or nine hands out of ten," Cantor Gaming CEO Lee Amaitis said. "They can watch the other players, but it gets boring. This way, they can bet on a game."

... and eventually join me at the shelter where it gets even more boring.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hack away

Now that the forums at 2p2 are down owing to the recent hacking, I have had some time to delve into the archives. Fascinating stuff which shows how things have changed since 1997. Some quotes :

"On a related note the fear of flopping a small set when someone flops a bigger set is totally unfounded. I can't even remember the last time this happened to me."

-- Mason Malmuth, 18 August, 1997.

"I would be very surprised if the pot limit game in Oceanside has any problems. This is a major poker room and the game goes on a regular basis. However, with this being said my advice is to concentrate on limit play. That is where poker's future is anyway."

-- Mason Malmuth, 22 September, 1997.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

GBT fails in bid, PokerStars to buy FTP

Announcement from GBT :

Groupe Bernard Tapie regrets to announce that, after seven months of intensive work, our efforts to obtain final approval of the United States Department of Justice of the agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker have ended without success.

From 2p2 :

PokerStars has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to buy FTP. The things I heard:

* All players will be refunded 100%
* Both sites back online
* Both sites have promotions
* Employees remain in both places

Expect more news today.

Breaking news, still developing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Six Card Poker

Late one night on my way out of the Venetian, I stumbled upon a new table game, Six Card Poker. No-one was playing at the time so the dealer briefly explained the rules. Apparently it's a Shuffle Master variant of Caribbean Stud and has been open for about one month. Dealer and players each get 6 cards, with the players getting to see 3 of the dealer's cards before having to make any decisions. There is an ante bet (plus 2 other types) and the aim is make the best 5-card hand.

I searched the WizardofOdds site for any info but couldn't find anything. I'd be interested in knowing optimal basic strategy and the house edge. I could dedicate hours of analysis and simulations as an intellectual exercise, but am too preoccupied at the moment.

Addendum, May 4, 2012

The game has finally been analyzed here. If one wishes to indulge in negative expectation activity, then the low house edge (1.27%) makes it an attractive alternative to the other poker carnival games.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Exactly one year since Black Friday, and nearly six years since Bill Frist, Jon Kyl, Jim Leach, and Robert Goodlatte inducted themselves into the dregs of society with the sneaky passing of the UIGEA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crunch time

Since dropping out of colon hydrotherapy school, I'm on the lookout for a new career path. Unfortunately I have a limited education and possess very few social skills. On the plus side, I have no criminal record that I'm aware of, and cannot afford to use any of the popular recreational drugs.

I may try dealing school.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Social climbing

Yesterday I experienced one of those rare dream sessions where I happened to be on the right side of variance. Top pair medium kicker holding up, a gutshot on the river. I was beside myself as I made my way to the cashier, clutching a stack of reds in each hand. And I have small hands.

Two hours later I was walking out of Wal-Mart, at long last the proud owner of a pot to piss in.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Limping with aces

lightning36 has a good post about limping with aces. I agree with him that there are definitely situations that warrant such a move.

I only play live cash games and I don't subscribe to any predefined set of rules, such as only limping a certain percentage of the time. On the extremely rare occasions that I actually do get dealt AA (last AA sighting was in the summer of '08), my aim is to maximize my expected profit (EV) from the hand. This will be dependent on, inter alia, my position with respect to both the button and other players, relative stack sizes, my image, game flow, meta game considerations, and other players' strengths and weaknesses.

So in some cases, maximizing EV will be equivalent to getting in as much money into the pre-flop pot as possible, though I'd prefer a lid on the number of opponents. Depending on the circumstances, this may entail either limping or raising. In other cases, maximizing EV may be more post-flop oriented, such as trying to trap another big stack, and, once again, limping or raising will be situation-dependent.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

My new friend

As I inch towards total insolvency, I am really hoping for a speedy resolution to the FTP saga. 15% unemployment in Las Vegas certainly doesn't help either. Ever the optimist, I decided to adopt a dog from a local shelter last week. She's a great companion - here we are downtown :

Friday, March 02, 2012


The rollercoaster ride continues. It wasn't long ago (February 2) that legal and gaming industry consultant Wendeen Eolis thought the Group Bernard Tapie (GBT) - Full Tilt Poker (FTP) deal was in peril. This morning, after speaking to GBT counsel Behn Dayanim, she expressed renewed optimism.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Birthday

The boys at the shelter threw me a surprise birthday party on Saturday. It was a catered affair held at the McDonalds on Fremont and Eastern. Afterwards, we caught the Deuce to Bellagio where we managed to pool together a $200 buy-in by cashing in some welfare checks, to the dismay of the well-coutured lady at the cage.

I then sat in on a $2-$5 table where, after 4 hours of tight play, I slowly built it up to $225. I wanted to quit and take a profit but the boys were adamant that I continue. The very next hand I looked down at what I thought were pocket aces, but in fact turned out to be the visually similar pocket fours. I have not had my eyes or spectacles checked for at least 5 years and it has occasionally caused me problems. Anyway, I went all-in pre-flop against someone fortunate enough to really have pocket aces.

6 sphincters collectively puckered up as the dealer laid out the flop :

4 4 A

I leaned forward, with my nose virtually touching the cards, to make sure it wasn't A A 4 and the rest is history. After redistributing everyone's original stake, it was unanimously decided that the $250 profit would be used for a vision test and new spectacles for yours truly. The dentist will have to wait.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Which reminds me

I've been putting off a visit to the dentist for 8 years now. Each time I manage to scrape up the necessary $150 copayment, I lose it in a big pot going in as a 70:30 favorite.

The horse above is Black Caviar, an Australian Thoroughbred champion sprinter.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Poker Hall of Shame VIII

If you want attitude and unwarranted haughtiness, you need look no further than Yan, poker dealer at the Venetian. Her table talk makes it patently obvious that she hasn't attended any internal customer relations courses. Judging by other players' reactions, she continues to inflict further brand damage when playing after her shift.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shortest poker books ever written

There's a thread on 2p2 titled "Shortest poker books ever written". Here are some of the better ones :

I Can't See My Cards Over These by J. Tilly

Playing Trip Deuces by Peter Eastgate

Putting Opponents on Tilt: Aggressive Table Talk for Champions by Erik Seidel

Home Security Systems by Jonathan Duhamel

Balancing Poker and Family Life by Sam Grizzle

Enjoying Salads by Greg Raymer

Bankroll Management by Archie Karas

Every Hand Revealed - 3 Handed at the Final Table by Ben Lamb

A Pro's Guide to Chip Handling and Advanced Chip Tricks by Martin Staszko

Things I Love about Northern Europe by Phil Hellmuth

Reading Physical Tells by Hal Lubarsky

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Internship my arse

Spotted this ad in craigslist about an online poker magazine wanting some naive intern to "research and write" 5 articles a month for no pay. Have these people no shame?

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Even I am fallible

For the record, I misplayed a hand post-flop yesterday.

I am SB with AQ of spades, the flop is A J 3 rainbow with one spade. I bet and button calls.

The turn is a 6 of spades. I bet half pot and the button raises to 4 times my bet. I call.

The river is a brick, I check, button bets and I fold.