Aug 18
by Don

I am not sure how much more Olympic coverage (read Michael Phelps) I can handle this week.  I have to admit that it has been great to witness history and all but where is the coverage of Usain Bolt? I mean seriously, that guy is just sickening!


So now my thoughts drift but to poker and I love to talk game theory.  Not the high level math that NASA uses to compute implied odds; but playing certain hands in certain spots against certain types of players.


I don’t normally play too many marginal hands; but rather I look at the position I am in first, the action in front of me, and then my cards.  One such situation came up in a tournament that I was in that could have really been something had I just gone with my first instinct.


I have J8 off on the button at about the end of the first hour of play.  The table has been loosening up since the start and there is a min raise from under the gun and 3 other callers when the action is on me.  My first thought is that I should call just because the blinds have decent stacks and haven’t been looking to make moves preflop as of yet.  Plus with all of the callers there would be a lot of coverage so I could just see what happens.  If I don’t flop two pair or better, I can always dump my hand with only putting in 2 bets to this point.


Then I start thinking that I should just fold and save those two bets since I will need all the chips I have if I don’t get a hand before the break because of the blinds going up.  I just fold and sit on my stack.


The flop produces a nice rainbow of J-8-7.  I have that feeling of getting punched in the stomach.  This is not the first time I have gone against one of the pillars of my game, which is the skill of good risk/reward assessment, and have been punished for it. But I take heart in that I would probably not get much from this pot since there wasn’t a huge over card or and draws other than the 10-9.


There is some action on the turn when a J hits, but nothing to write home about.  The pot is fattening up quite nicely at this point, much to my dismay. 


The river brings another 7 and now it’s happy go lucky time.  The board turned and rivered a flush and of course anyone with the case J has a nice boat. 


There are fireworks and a couple of all-ins and sure enough, one guy has a J and the other flush to the A.  Of course the real crime is that I had the ultimate nuts with my Jacks full with the 8 over the 7’s. 


So the lesson is that you should go with your gut if you have sound principles and start prospecting.  Who knows, you may hit some gold!


Aug 11
by Don

The one thing I know about playing poker in a Vegas card room is that it is not as easy as your home game, but not as hard either.  The key is to choosing the right game for you.

More often than not Lori and I primarily play tournaments while in Vegas.  We do this for a number of reasons:

1.   Protects your bank role- Your cash outlay at any one point is the cost of the tournament.  This is great for money management.

2.   Tournament play extends your play- What I mean by that is by the size of the tournament you can probably play 5-6 hours pretty regularly (assuming you are average to above average player).

3.   Tremendous upside- Your potentially winnings far out pace the actual cost to enter the tournament.  For example, a small $50.00 NL Tournament with 60-70 players can net you $1600 to $1800 if you win it all.  Not to mention simply cashing can be rewarding.

4.   Everyone starts at the same place- Someone can’t just sit down and buy in for 5x the amount in tournament play.  This levels the playing field a bit.

5.   Prevents you from spending even more money- If you are having a bad blackjack run.  A nice tournament can save you money because you are not playing the house, you are playing other people.  There is no house edge in tournament play.

Cash games have some advantages too:

1.   No long term time commitments- You can come and go as you please fitting in a 2 hour session is not a big deal.

2.   Table Selection- You can size up your competition before ever posting a blind.  This could be very profitable if done right.

3.   One or two hands makes the session- Get tricky with a set or flop a flush and you just doubled up in real money, and that’s nice.

4.   Choose your limits- There are all sorts of games running at all times at all levels.  You are not forced to play only at a $5/$10 table if that is not your game.  Again, great money management.

Of course there are differences in how you play a tournament game vs. a cash game (which we will talk about later) but generally speaking tournament play provides a great value for your bankroll over all.  And with just about every casino in Vegas having a card room, there is a tournament starting at all times so finding one is never hard.

Aug 6
by Don

The first time Lori and I ever went to Vegas was for a New Year’s.  That was an eye opening experience to say the least.  From that trip until today we have been to Vegas a lot and have learned a lot.  All of the different theories and practices that we talk about now were born from that trip.  Hedge Economics, Money Management, and Day Structuring were some of those theories, but here are some things that we found out for ourselves when we were in Vegas for New Year’s for the first time.


How long should you stay?  We stayed for 6 days and this was too long.  I say this because we did not understand the Vegas effect on time and were up for about 16 to 18 hours a day.  This was brutal on the body.  In fact Lori got bronchitis and cough so much during the trip she cracked a rib.  Course we found this out when we got home and booze wore off.  Crazy.


How much money should you bring? Well, I thought that a good $500.00 a day would be about right.  Thank God Lori brought money too because I had not learned about money management at this point.  I also had not developed the theory of hedge economics and basically went broke at the Black Jack tables.  Lori on the other hand won quite a bit and kept the team a float all the while coughing and cracking ribs because of the bronchitis.  Did I mention she was great?


How many people should you go with?  We went with a small army.  There were 12 people in our group which things way more complicated had it been 4 -6 in the group.  No subset within the group were independent so all events were coordinated with everyone.  Total Nightmare. 


Where should we stay?  We stayed at Harrah’s on the strip which was a nice location.  At the time the north side of the strip didn’t have the Wynn and Palazzo, but there were so many people in Vegas at that time it really wouldn’t have mattered.  The key is to just be on the strip because they close down the street and all the casinos on the strip shoot off amazing fireworks.


All in all it is a great time but be prepared for a lot of people, long lines, crazy wind at night and your extra helping the normal Vegas debauchery. 

Aug 1
by Lori D.

So Donald is forcing me to write about the Ladies Event in this year’s World Series of Poker.  I say forced because I am still pissed.  But since I have to here we go.  The best thing about the tournament was that it was easy to register.  Went to the window plunked down $1000, showed a picture ID, signed a waiver and I got my seat card.  Easy enough.


Playing in the ladies tournament is certainly different then playing in a regular tournament.  The atmosphere is different, the play is different, heck even the table chatter is different.  In this year’s tournament I started off at a table with Clonie, who is a very friendly professional poker player, and 8 other mom’s.  The table chatter was way too friendly for a poker table.  The ladies were pulling pictures of their children out of their purses and sharing with the table.  They were passing their phones around the table showing off their children (which is illegal in tournament play).  It was just strange.  I would much rather sit there with my head phones on and concentrate on the game at hand, but that is just me.


Plus the tournament itself is poorly structured.  You pay $1000 to enter the tournament and only get 2k in chips to play with.  Yes, the blind levels are longer then normal but it still doesn’t give you much ability to make moves.  Even if you try and make a move it doesn’t mean you will be rewarded.  There is far less aggressive play so trapping is hard to do.  Ladies just will not throw away Jack’s or better no matter what the board or preflop action says. 


In fact, my last hand I had KK and she had JJ and even with an A on the board and my aggressive betting after the flop, she would not let go of her JJ and called my all in.  The river brought a J and I was out.  As I am leaving she is apologizing to me saying, “I never throw away a painted pair”.  I just smile and head for the door thinking to myself how in the world could she call me down?


With how people play, blind structure and the number of chips we start with all being crap, I have sworn off this tournament from here on out.  I would rather just play men who think that I can’t and will inevitably dump their chips to me.


I need a JWB and coke!!!