Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This is an article written by Phil Gordon from Poker Lab Rat

"Pocket Pairs - Know You Odds

When you hold a pocket-pair preflop, it's nice to know the odds of whether or not someone behind you holds a bigger pair.  This article offers a "quick and dirty" method for making that calculation.

I was playing in a sit and go tournament at Full Tilt a while back with my fiancée looking on. We were down to three-handed, all the stacks were about the same, though I was the short stack. The blinds were very high the average stack was about 12 big blinds. I had 2-2 on the button. I raised all-in and was called by 6-6. I went broke.

"That was a really bad play, Phil. How can you go all-in there?" she said.

I protested vigorously: "Honey, it is well against the odds that either of my opponents will have a higher pocket pair. With only 12 big blinds, I'm either all-in or I fold in this situation. Doing anything else is just crazy, I think. Especially because we're already in the money, and the difference between second and third place isn't very significant."

"Well, I think it's much more likely for them to have a pocket pair. What are the exact odds?" she asked.

I didn't know off the top of my head, which just seemed to give her more ammunition for her argument. It is hard to argue odds when you don't know them. So, I set off to do some math so I could "prove" to her that I was right. In the process, I "discovered" a general mathematical formula that everyone can use when arguing with a significant other.

I'm calling this rule the 'Gordon Pair Principle' (GPP). I've always wanted a theorem named after me, and so here it is. A few years back, I got zero credit for naming the 'Rule of 4 and 2' and I'm a little on tilt about it. Now, I'm not claiming that I discovered the “Rule of 4 and 2,” but I do claim naming it and referring to it in print as such for the first time (see my book 'Poker: The Real Deal').

So, here goes.

The Gordon Pair Principle

Let C = percent chance someone left to act has a bigger pocket pair Let N = number of players left to act Let R = number of higher ranks than your pocket pair (i.e., if you have Q-Q, there are two ranks higher. If you have 8-8, there are six ranks higher)

Quick and dirty odds calcuation for pocket pairs

Some examples:

You have pockets 10s and there are six players left to act. Someone will have a bigger pocket pair about 12 percent of the time.

You have pocket kings under the gun in a 10-handed game. You'll be up against pocket aces (and probably broke) about 4.5 percent of the time.

Now, this formula isn't exact, but it is a damned close approximation. It's definitely close enough to use when arguing with your significant other. Of course, I showed her this calculation after about an hour of work and she still thinks I made a stupid play despite the fact that my 2-2 is the best hand there 88 percent of the time.

Good luck at the tables!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Harrah's Announces World Series Of Poker Europe

The World Series of Poker announced today that poker's most famed tournament institution will expand into Europe this September, with several events hosted across three separate London Clubs International casinos in festivities that will, once the final schedule is released, span eleven days. The London festivities mark the first time that WSOP champions' bracelets, perhaps the most treasured baubles in pokerdom, are awarded outside of Las Vegas.


Here's a snippet from a Poker Lab Rat article that I thought I'd share on here.

You’re a fish if…

…you’re unable or unwilling to ‘work’ your opponents.
Unlike other forms of gambling, poker is not a simple, straightforward game about who has the better cards. Instead, it relies heavily on the skill of reading opponents’ subtle and not-so subtle cues (tells), and acting on them accordingly. Do those trembling hands mean that they’ve got the nuts, or are they simply nervous about making the bet? Was that slow call due to indecision or just a bad Internet connection? How should I proceed with these little snippets of insight? Strong players have learned not only to read between the lines of what people are saying and doing but also how to take advantage of that information to yield the best results.

…you let emotions overwhelm your ability.
The stereotypical poker player is a stone-cold, unrelenting and rigid fixture, seemingly devoid of anything that even remotely resembles emotions. While for many aspiring champions that may be the ideal style on paper, in reality, even the best players are not above expressing themselves when it suits them. Indeed, some world-class players have even made boisterous eruptions a part of their table image (think of serial whiner Mike Matusow, or over the top Poker Brat Phil Helmuth - but sponsors love players that stand out from the crowd early in big tournaments!).

But what separates the pros form the soon-to-be-fish-paste is the ability to explode in one instant and rein in those emotions the next. So it’s OK to recoil at the sting of a bad beat at a critical stage of a tournament. That’s natural and even justifiable. But it becomes a real problem if you let that little sting fester and infect the rest of your play to the point of causing some real damage that you can’t recover from.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

february results

I think I'm calling it a month. I leave for Japan on tuesday, but I'm not at all prepared. So I'll spend most of monday tieing up some loose ends.

The month was OK, but I didn't play close to as many hands as I wanted to. I only played 1/4 weekends, which killed me. Hopefully after my vacation I can come back fresh and ready to grind.

The numbers.....

Cash Games:
$200NL - 62k hands for $1,987
$400NL - 1k hands for $96
$600NL - 8 hands for $66 :)
$200PL - 3k hands for $113
$400PL - 30 hands for ($208)

Totals: 65,911 hands for $2,056.10 [$19.72/hr]

HeadUP: $256
SNGs: $44
MTTs: ($303)

Totals: 48 tournies for ($2.90) [roi% of (.16)]


Stars bonuses: $4500
Casino bonus : $291

Total: $4791

February Net profit:


So I guess I can't be upset with these numbers. I made more than I did in january, and played about half as much (104hrs in Feb. vs. 187hrs in Jan.). Still though, I really feel my hourly rate should be close to twice what it is.

Year to date:

I'll be back in a week.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Daily Hand Quiz

This is a pretty cool site that offers a new poker quiz everyday: DailyHandQuiz.com

"DHQ offers a new poker quiz every weekday. Vote for a play to see our answer and praise or knock us in the comments."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Edit: youtube is working, but I had to cut the video in two parts. This is me playing a $35 SNG:



I realize I started a few thoughts and didnt finish them, but I'm easily distracted.
Anyhow, I don't play a tonne of headsup, and am by no means an expert. I'm still new to it and learning, but I enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In a publicity stunt last week, PokerBandits.ca faked its own shutdown - supposedly at the behest of U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials. The site has some info about a technique to get around the US poker site ban.

How to Bypass the US poker site ban:


Another Online Poker Closure - Doyle's Room Succumbs To UIGEA

Another blow was dealt to the online poker world late on Monday night as the Doyle Brunson Poker Network, the home of the very popular Doyle's Room (among other sites), decided to close its doors to American players.

"U. S. online poker players are not permitted to sign up for real money play or deposit funds into existing accounts. Commencing March 1, 2007, all U. S. players
on DoyleRoom.com will be blocked and…will be able to access
only the withdrawals page."

An e-mail was sent to all players affected by the shutdown, with a rather interesting proposition given to the American customers. Doyle's Room players will be able to transfer their accounts to Full Tilt, with all action points accrued going along as well.

Just saw a hand history from one of the sickest hands I've ever seen online:

Also, I recorded myself playing a head up sit n' go tourny. I'm just working on gettin it up on youtube and I'll post it tommorow or somehting for you all to check out.

This dude is hilarious:

He's got a bunch of videos, and they get progressively better. Here's his youtube profile:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not much in the way of updates. I havn't made any progress since I last checked in, except that I've logged about 28k hands of breakeven poker. Well, I'm actually down a buyin, but whatever -- it's been a frustrating weekend. I can't wait for my vacation to Japan next month.

OH, I wanted to say -- I found out one of the things I need to work on to improve my game. I need to get better at winning huge pots where I'm like an 80%+ favourite. I really suck at that.

Monthly graph :


WHatever, my 3rd $1500 pokerstars bonus should be cleared in the next few days, which will put me over 10k for the year. I'm behind where I want to be, but still hopeful that things will turn around.

Monday, February 19, 2007

lol - I hope for his sake he's joking. An example of why poker is profitable:

Saturday, February 17, 2007

By far, my favourite poker show on right now is High stakes poker on GSN. This is one of the biggest pots ever, as far as I know. Close to $600,000 of REAL money in the middle here. Check it out then read some of my comments below.

So sick. I'd like to think if I were Daniel, I could've gotten away from that hand. There are only 3 hands that are check/raising that river, and all of them beat him.
I actually had a hand sort of similar to this occur last month... I'll run you through my thought process.

A pretty regular player in my game raises to $6 preflop from an early positon. I've played a lot with him, and know he's got a good hand to be rasing so early. He gets one caller, and I call on the button with 55. Very standard, and I'm looking to hit another 5 to extract some money.

*** FLOP *** [5c Ah 2h]

Bingo. Exactly what I'm looking for. He is first to act and checks, which right away signals to me that something is wrong. He would usually bet this flop and try to represent an ace. So, he is either scared of that ace, or has hit a huge flop and has three aces. Because of the two hearts on the board, I would think that three aces would bet here and make a flush draw pay, so I make the assumption that he has JJ, QQ or KK. In order to not scare him away, I check also. You might wonder why I didnt bet to protect against the heart draw, and its because he obviously doesnt have it. If he raised with AK, or AQ, he cant have two hearts because the ace of hearts is on the flop. SO i'm safe to check behind here, and hope that he bets his KK or QQ on the turn.

*** TURN *** [5c Ah 2h] [2s]

Beautiful card for me. I now have a full house. He checks to me, and I can't check any longer. I need to put some money in this pot. I bet a very weak $8 into an $18 pot. This is meant to look weak, and also get him to call with KK or QQ because the price is good. But then he does somethign that surpirses me. He puts in a minimum raise. He raises to $16. Now what is he doing? One of two things -- 1) picking up on my weakness and trying to take the pot away from me, OR 2) he has a better full house or possibly quad 2's (unlikely as I dont think he would raise this hand preflop from that position). I just call the bet wearily.

*** RIVER *** [5c Ah 2h 2s] [8d]

This is a meanigless card. If I was winning on the turn, I am still winning now. And my friend pulls a Gus, and checks the river to me. I assume I must have the best hand. He must have KK or QQ, or maybe a very strangely played hand with an ace in it. The pot is about $40, so I bet $30, hoping to get a call. Well, I got more than that. He raises me again. This time to $100. Now I have all the pieces to this puzzle and can put it together. The only hands that checkraise me here are AA, 22 or 88. All have me beat. I have a history witht his opponent -- he knows I'm in korea, and he's korean. We've talked before. So I got into the chat box and tried to elicit some info. Chat went somehting like this after he rasied:

the_main said, "AA?"
LM said, "yea"
the_main said, "will ushow?"
the_main said, "FOR KOREA?"
(he wouldnt answer, but I was sure)
the_main: folds
LM: shows [As Ac] (a full house, Aces full of Deuces)
the_main said, "nh"
LM said, "for Korea"

So basically, I was right, and saved myself a tonne of money where a lot of people go broke. And, oh yeah, I'm better than daniel negreanu.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A lot of people have asked how I can earn as much as I do with these bonuses. A lot of people are just baffled as to how I'm getting this 'free' money. Its actually really simple, and once you understand WHY a site gives bonuses, you'd be less skeptical.

As poker has boomed in popularity in the last couple years, smart players have learned how lucrative bonus whoring can be. Playing full time, you can easily earn 75,000USD just in bonuses. That's the beauty of it. If you are a breakeven player (dont win anything, but dont lose), you still end up making a huge amount of money. Now, if you're good, you can add all that extra profit to your income as gravy. Sites are happy to oblige because even BonusWhores (people who play strictly for bonuses) usually generate enough rake to make a card room at least break-even on a bonus, while they still get the chance of permanently retaining that player.

Some of the best to get started with:

AbsolutePoker.com (easily the best):
Sign-Up Bonus
100% up to $750

96 reloads, valued at $39,770

Sign-Up Bonus
100% up to $50

6 reloads, valued at $710

Full Tilt
Sign-Up Bonus
100% up to $600

5 reloads, valued at $1,700

Give bonus-whoring a try.

Are you a donkey?

Think you're a good NL hold'em player? Take this test and post your results in the comments -- should be interesting to see some results.
(set aside about 20mins, its a timed test)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Technorati Profile

Not a tonne of progress since my last post. I'm definitely not working hard enough. I've only played 27k hands this month, whereas I had played 56k in the first two weeks of January. I'm enjoying myself a lot though, so it's a good balance I suppose.

I'm gonna work my ass off this week b/c I'm leaving for Japan on the 27th for a week long vacation. I have to, have to, have to hit 100k hands this month, which is like 5k/day until end of month.

On to the numbers --

By the end of tommorow, I should have $3300 in bonuses earned. These things are really saving me. For those interested in how I'm earning so much, it's just because I play so much. It's essentially just Pokerstars giving me back a percenatge of the fee I pay them to play there.

To put it in presepctive, so far in 2007 I've paid $9300 in rake (fees) to pokerstars, and theyve given me back ~6k so far. I get a high precentage back because I'm such a high volume player. It's just a loyalty program thing, but I love it.

Anyhow, add the $3300 to the $1215 I've earned in cash games and I'm sitting at ~$4.5k at mid month.

In other news, I've added a co-author/admin to my site. It's a good friend of mine, Miron, so if you notice any changes around here in the coming days, its all him.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New layout, plz enjoy.

First week of february has been OK. +$800 in cash games, +$1750 in bonuses. So yeah, like $2500. I'd really like to hit $10k this month. Fingers crossed.

I played some live poker at one of the casinos here and forgot how much fun it was. Oh, and more importantly, how bad all the other players are. I was destroying the game 3-handed and then caught some rough beats. I made one bad call vs. my friend in a $750ish pot and lost, which was pretty much all my profit gone. Whatever, I was hammered.

I only left the casino up $10, but I got to drink and eat for free. Plus, my friend paid for cab rides (obv) so it was all good. I think I should try to make it out to that casino more often, because there is a lot of moniez to be had.

Lastly, there is apparently some korean poker tour thing going on soon. I'm gonna look into and then probably win the whole thing outright.