Sunday, March 30, 2008

Think before you Cbet OOP

Bankroll $2280

Despite being away for a week in March I managed to get a good amount of hands in. I played 3000 more than expected. With that in mind I am going to increase my monthly hands to try and play an average of 7000 per month.

I've definately highlighted a small problem making its way back into my game and that is cbetting for the sake of cbetting. This can be costly. A cbet is a profitable move unless it is overused.

for example :- you find AhTh in medium position and put in a 4 bb raise. late position calls. He has been playing a 30/12 style so far, no other reads.

You are out of position. Which board would you NOT cbet ?

1) AcKs5d
2) JsQs4c
3) TsKd9d
4) Jc2h6s
5) 8c8h8d
6) 8h9sTc

This hand made me laugh in the chat box and I just had to show him my cards. There was no hand that he could have had that wouldn't atleast split the pot. His outcome should have been -

call = +$2.27 or +$4.55 or $0
fold = 0
what a donkey !

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Best Seat in the House

We all have our good and bad nights when playing poker. We have our upswings and fistpump the air above us, we have our downturns and hold on for dear life. There are extreme versions of these, one happened to me last night. The right place at the right time in the right position with the right cards.

I was playing 3 tables of $0.25/$0.50 and slowly rebuilding my stack after the recent variance bashing I had received. After about 3 orbits of one of the tables my fishdar (fish-radar) had picked up on a monster sighting. He was sitting to my right with a big stack and overbetting would be and understatement.

I wont post all his hands but trust me when I say that in the 20 hands I had viewed around 15 had some sort of this....

He was regularly betting 40bb into tiny pots.Full concentration was now on this table. If i didnt get this guys money someone else would surely snap it up. He was sitting with a 320bb stack and noone else had more than 40bb to challenge him.

My thought on that hand was firstly I dont mind getting it all in with him with A9s. Versus a random hand I am 2:1 favourite. (pokerstove random vs A9s)There is no need to apply pressure to this guy and an UTG raise may slow him down. Let him open the gates, so I dangled my $.50 out there hoping for hi to take the bait. Bang! MonkeyNuts bets $17. I push all in.Now CO and SB have not shown any strength and I'm happy to win this right now or for him to call and take this to showdown.

Then while he is steaming hot with tilt, while he is cursing his bad luck and figuring why the hell I would push all in with only A9s I get this on the hand straight after.

Monkeytard now pushes all of his $69.46 stack into a $1.25 pot. omfg. check that tilt move again. $1.25 pot. Who is going to call.... erm me. I have QQ and he turns up Q2d for my near 90% dominating hand. I almost pulled a muscle when I fist pumped the air. No running 2's for you buster. No flush suckout sir. I will take your money with pleasure as I enjoy the best seat in this house.

No reload. Move on people, the shows over.

There was another showing next door on another table. Not too much out of the ordinary but here is a result of disguising a flush draw/made flush to induce a bet.

The preflop raise is a little loose but I was creating a looseish image in hope of being paid off. I dont like playing too nitty. The flop is relatively safe so a cbet could probably take it down here. If not I have the nut flush draw. The call suggested a flush draw/set/floating with QJ type of hand. Bingo Bam! Turned the flush. I bet small trying to look like I am putting a feeler bet out and stealing the pot. If he is a bad player he would have not put me on a lfush as i bet out on the flop. Hes probably putting me on a J and thinking im trying to grab the pot away from him. His mistake here was the large bet, a bet of around $12 from him would have found out if i had the flush and he could have laid his hand down. An overbet from him commits him to calling once i push.

So many players at the $0.25/$0.50 level bet size so wrong. Bet sizing is a key concept in pot control and information gathering.

Bankroll is around $2270. Edging closer to the $2500 mark to get me back to the $.50/$1 tables....

Monday, March 24, 2008

15K Hands

Imagine riding a push bike very fast for a long time only to have some monkey poke a stick in your spokes bringing the bike to a sudden halt and send you tumbling. That's my last 3000 hands. I managed to play this over the course of the weekend against some very bad players. I lost around 5 buyins, 1 due to tilt. Here are some of my highlights....

This last one shows to me I was tilted. There is no way I would ever think of doing this unless I was really pi$$ed off at the time.

UTG raises to $5 (alarm bells should be gonig off but the tilt monkeys have disabled them) He has been playing solid so repping a big pair or AKs/AKo

2 callers make a nice pot but AJo oop is bad. Im only hoping for a KQT board or AJx. Highly unlikely, I think a fold is due here.

Top pair top kicker (TPTK) he pushes all in for a huge overbet. I should have folded. I guessed my mind was sucked in thinking that this was a mid pair 88/99/TT that didnt want a call. So I called. Bad Play!

The other hands above were just bad luck. Im ot sure if I could have played them any differently at the time. Maybe I need to bet turns a little heavier but I am giving incorrect odds to chase draws but when they hit I feel i'm committed to the pot.

Apart from those beauties I have been battered around the virtual felt. The usual bad beat story of missing every flop, cbets being raised and big hands getting no action.

But, that's poker and Ive been here many times before. Step back, remove tilt, analyse, continue.

I need to really get my game perfected to play the 60/11 40/20 50/15 monkeys that sit at these tables. I should be winning some good $ here.

Graph and overall stats

Bankroll $2120 (High was around $2650)

I will be playing a mix of $0.25/$0.50 and $.50/$1 until i hit $2500 again. Onwards and upwards......

Howard Lederer - Is Poker a Game of Skill

Howard Lederer has produced this as a different angle in approaching the problem in proving to the courts that poker is predominantly a game of skill. A long read but worth it.

Is Poker a Game of Skill?

By Howard Lederer

1. Introduction
For years poker players have tried to craft a proof that poker is a game of skill. We knew “deep down inside” that poker is a game of skill, but unless we could make a compelling argument that was simple to understand and could stand up to legal scrutiny, we would be doomed to suffering the same legal status of sports betting and games of chance.
The legal test in most states is simple but ambiguous. A game is considered to be a skill game if skill predominates over chance in determining the outcome of the game. Before we can apply this test to poker we must define a number of terms as they relate specifically to poker. These terms are: skill, chance, outcome, predominance, and game (what constitutes a game of poker?).
The central line of reasoning I will use to prove that poker is a game of skill, will allow for the narrowest definitions of these terms; definitions that, in the past, have seemingly doomed those on the skill side of the argument to try to overcome impossible obstacles.

2. Outcomes and Games
Those that have argued that poker is a game whose outcomes are predominantly determined by chance have always held that the outcome of a poker hand is simply who wins the hand. Since, the cards often do determine the winner of a poker hand this is their best definition of the term. I strongly disagree with this definition as “outcome” is really a synonym for “result”. The result of a hand is clearly who won the hand, how much was won by the winner and how much was lost by all the losers of the hand.
If poker were a game where the result of the hand was simply who won the hand, then the players who win the highest percentage of hands they are dealt in, would be the biggest winners. Actually, quite the opposite is true. The better a player becomes at the game, the more selective that player becomes in the hands to play. Winning poker players tend to play fewer hands, but they win a greater percentage of hands where they make a significant investment. They also win bigger pots when they win a hand, because they are skillful in their betting.
But, poker players must be prepared to win this potential legal case even if a judge were to rule that the outcome of a poker hand was simply who won the hand. And my main argument here will accept that the outcome of a poker hand is defined as who wins the hand.
The definition of a “game” of poker has been another point of important contention. Poker players have always argued that poker players are measured over months, years and careers. If we allow for enough of an interval, say a year, truly great players are almost certain to win. Moderate advantages over short periods of time repeated night after night, will add up to an unbeatable edge. One must remember that casinos tend to have only a 1 to 2% advantage on each bet made on their gambling floors, yet over the course of weeks and months their positive revenues are guaranteed, allowing them to build multi-billion dollar hotels to attract more customers.
People on the chance side of the argument have argued that the interval should only be one hand. I again think this is unfair and does not account for the way the game is played. Baseball is not played over the course of one pitch or one at-bat. Golf is not played over one swing or one hole. Likewise, poker is almost always played for at least an hour and usually for a few hours. However, for the main part of my argument I will accept that skill in poker can be proven over the course of one hand. In fact, the line of reasoning will not gain much by looking over a longer period of time.

3. Chance and Skill
The question at hand is whether “chance” or “skill” predominates in determining the outcomes of poker hands. We must clearly define these two terms before we can gather any evidence to settle the question. There has been little controversy in the definition of chance in poker. Both sides of the argument seem to agree on this one. The chance elements that contribute to the outcome of a poker hand are simply the cards and how they are dealt. The cards introduce a chance element into the game and sometimes the dealing of the cards will clearly determine the winner of a hand. Sometimes when a hand is over two or more players will then compare their cards, which were randomly dealt, to determine who wins the hand.
Skill has been a bit more difficult to define in poker. For years, poker players have made a fundamental mistake. They have confused skill with advantage. We know that certain poker players apply the skill of the game better than others. This leads to an advantage, which leads to profit over reasonable periods of time. But, how does one’s edge determine the outcome of a poker hand? It is hard to say, and as long as we make this error, will be doomed to losing this argument in court.
Skill is not about one’s advantage or even a player’s skillful play. It should simply be defined as the elements of the game that can be applied skillfully. The skill elements in poker are the actions that are completely in the control of the players; the bets, calls and folds. Every time a player acts in a hand, they must either check, bet, call or fold. There is no chance element that forces a player to take any of these actions. A player reads the actions of his opponents (the skill elements) and the cards (the chance elements) and then tries to apply skill to making his own action (another skill element).
It might help to look at skill in another game to understand this concept better. When a golfer hits his drive 50 yards into the water, his skill (or lack of skill) did that. There is chance in golf (imperfections on the green and gusts of wind), but this particular swing was all about a lack of skill leading to a bad result. The skill elements in golf are the elements that are completely in the control of the players; swings, club selection, aim. Skill elements don’t have to be applied skillfully to be skill elements. They simply must be the part of any game to which the players try to apply their skill. It would be absurd to say that Tiger Woods is playing a skill game, but a duffer playing at the country club is not. Tiger Woods is simply better at applying the skill elements of the game than the duffer.
Likewise, we have professionals in poker who apply skill extremely well and casual amateurs who don’t. But they are playing the same skill game and apply the same skill elements in an effort to play skillfully. What the law asks is do the elements of skill or the elements of chance predominate in determining the outcomes of poker hands? With these definitions of skill and chance, I think we can actually answer that question.

4. Predominance
But first, I would like to address the legal definition of predominance. I have heard said may times that predominance is not clearly defined, in a legal sense. I find this nonsensical. If we are testing the predominance of two things and one of those things is determined to be 60% and the other 40% of an outcome, then it makes no sense to say that the thing that is 40% is predominant over the thing that is 60%. Therefore, as long we can prove that skill is 51% over chance in determining the outcomes of poker hands, we should satisfy the legal test of predominance.

5. Luck Hold ‘Em
To make my argument clear, I would like invent a new, bastardized version of hold ‘em. This game we will call Luck Hold ‘Em. I would like to make it clear that this is not a legitimate version of poker, as all forms of poker have betting and folding as integral parts of the game. Luck Hold ‘Em, is played very much like the casino came Baccarat. Nine players sit down at the table and bet an equal amount. Once the betting is complete, the dealer will deal each player a two card hold ‘em hand. It doesn’t matter whether these cards are dealt up or down as there will be no skill element applied to determining the winner. The dealer will then produce the flop of 3 community cards, followed by the 4th up card and the final (5th) community card. The dealer, will then, look at all nine hands and determine, using standard poker hand rankings, who wins the pot.
Clearly, this is a game of pure chance. The only thing that determines the outcome is the cards. And there can be no skill elements applied to influencing either the cards or the outcomes they produce. Within the game of Luck Hold ‘Em, the winner of each hand, can be referred to as the “Luckiest Hand”. I will use this term later in this document when looking at regular poker outcomes. It will refer to the hand that would have if we were playing Luck Hold ‘Em.

6. Rules Used to Determine Poker Outcomes
In regular poker, there are two basic ways to win a hand of poker. The first is to be the last player left in the hand. If at any time during a hand, all the players, but one, have folded their cards, the pot will be awarded to the one remaining player. The other way a player can win is by having the best hand of the remaining players once the betting is complete and all the cards have been dealt. This is called winning at showdown and only happens if two or more players are still in at the conclusion of the hand. Please note, that in Luck Hold ‘Em, since there can be no folding, a player only wins a hand by having the best cards, of the nine remaining players, during the showdown portion of the pot.

7. No Showdown
Let’s first look at hands that are determined without a showdown. Our data shows that overall, approximately 60% (actual numbers will be generated) of all online poker hands played for real-money end because all the players, except for the winner, folded their cards. The pot is then awarded to that player for one reason and one reason only; the skill elements as applied by the players in the hand led to an outcome where only one player stayed in thus producing a winner. Each player who lost the hand decided to apply the skill element of folding to eliminate themselves from the hand. And, the winner decided to apply the skill elements of calling and betting to influence his opponents to fold their cards, which resulted in the pot being awarded to him. At no time were cards compared to determine a winner.
Can the cards influence the betting? Certainly. But, it is the bets themselves that actually determine the outcome of a hand that does result in a showdown. A lot of factors lead different players to do different things in the same situation. A player’s experience, mood, reading ability, his cards, and his stack size are just some of the many factors that can influence betting. But, since an opponent’s cards are not shown during the betting, all a player is really doing is trying to interpret an opponent’s bets to figure out what that player has. That betting can be influenced by what he actually has, or he could be bluffing. The fact remains that if a player is still in a hand, he can choose what action to take. And any of those actions could either lead to winning or losing the hand. To say that a certain card hitting the flop caused a player to either call or fold is complete hearsay. That the player still had complete control over his betting. There is no random element that makes a player bet or fold. But it is those bets and folds that usually lead to a clear winner with no cards being shown.
The beauty of the game is any hand can win under the right circumstances. This is a clear distinction from gambling games like sports betting and casino games. The outcome of those games is almost always a definitive result produced by a final score or the conclusion of a random chance event. The winner is determined by who correctly predicted the right outcome.
In poker, the skill elements of the betting and folding usually determine the winner. And by looking at the data, we find that over 60% of the time the cards are never consulted to determine the winner.

8. Showdown
Some might argue that if a hand is completed with two or more players left in the hand, then the chance elements are predominant in determining the winner of the hand. I disagree and I think the evidence will clearly show that this is not true. In the game of hold ‘em, it is easy to look back on a completed hand that went to showdown and see who would have won if everyone had stayed in to the end. This player was defined in section 5 as having the “Luckiest Hand” in Luck Hold ‘Em. It is easy to see who would win a showdown hand if the chance elements were to determine the winner of the hand. But we find that the “Luckiest Hand” only wins approximately 30% (data to be derived) of time when there is a showdown.
If the player in seat 2 was destined to win a particular pot if he had stayed in, but the player in seat 8 won the pot, there is only one explanation. Player 2 applied the skill element of folding to take himself out of contention for the hand. We don’t have to then get into the messy details of trying to figure out if player 2 played well to fold. It does not matter. When asking the question which elements predominated in determining the winner of the hand it seems quite obvious that if player 2 had not folded he would have won, and since he did not win, his fold was the predominant factor in determining that player 8 did win the pot.
Looking at the data we come to the simple conclusion that the betting and folding in a poker hand has a massive impact on who wins the hand. And, the cards seldom have the final say in the matter. In fact, less than 15% of the time (actual data to be provided), does a hand finish with two or more players left in the pot and then that pot goes to the player who would have won the hand if everyone had stayed in.

9. If Outcome Includes Pot Size
Though I feel I have proven that the skill elements predominate over the chance elements in determining who wins the pot, the task will become even easier and clearer if we can convince a judge that the outcome of a hand includes the size of the pot. As covered earlier, the betting and folding are the skill elements in the game. These elements are solely responsible for determining the size of the pot. Even if the cards determine that a certain player wins the pot, it will be his application of the skill elements that will determine how many players stay in and how much he charges them. There are no chance elements that force a player to bet in poker.
Therefore we can conclude that the pot size is 100% determined by skill. Remember, I am not saying that every pot is determined by skillful play. I am only saying that players, in an attempt to apply the skill of the game (the betting and folding), are completely responsible for how big the pot gets. Chance plays no part in this aspect of a hand’s results.
I feel confident we can prevail in convincing a judge that the pot size is an important part of a hand outcome. But even if we should fail on this point, we still have a winning argument.

10. Does It Matter?
We have seen that the skill elements of the game predominate in determining the outcomes of poker hands, but can a player use those skill elements to actually win over the long run? Empirical evidence abounds to support that this is true. Poker is an endlessly fascinating game, where real learning is taking place every time someone sits down to play. Though the choice of whether to call, bet or fold seems pretty simple, doing it correctly 4 or 5 times a hand is not easy.
There are a number of studies that show that making the correct decision in poker will lead insurmountable edges over time (attach them to this document). Poker is not a game where the better player wins every hand or every night. But, the better player wins almost every month and will certainly win every year. It takes patience, guts, psychology and a keen understanding of math to succeed at the game.
Poker is a true meritocracy. Young and old, male and female, white and black, they all have an equal chance to win. The player does not have to try to overcome an unbeatable house edge to win from a huge publicly traded corporation as when they play casino games. We all know that almost never happens.
Instead all they have to do is use their skill better than the players they are playing against. What could be fairer?

11. Conclusion
Whether poker is a skill game or not is a question every poker player has known the answer to for many years. How to win the argument in court has confounded the poker community for just as long. But by changing our angle of attack, we should be able to present the kind record before a judge that will prevail. We no longer are trying to show that a player’s edge will predominate over luck in a poker hand. This actually might be impossible to prove. Instead, we have defined skill as it should be defined; the elements in the game of poker that are completely in the control of the player. And we have gone on to further prove that since the players are attempting to apply these elements skillfully (whether skillful or not), these elements end up being predominant over chance in determining the outcomes of poker hands.

This argument has been constructed by applying endless conversations I have had with a large number of poker players, academics and lawyers over the last year. It is also the result of reading the online posts of a number of very deep thinking contributors to the argument on the website In particular both David Sklansky and the poster “Skallagrim” were the first people to write about some of the most important lines of reasoning that appear in this document. If poker is to eventually prevail in this argument, the game will be deeply in their debt.

Link if anyone needs - its the third article, scroll down.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Skill or Luck..

The ongoing battle. Is poker a game of skill or luck ? The truth is, as most readers will know is that it is a game with an element of both luck and skill. Its the skill difference over a long period of time that makes winning players. Ok im stating the obvious but this question is key. I am confident that this question will be answered in the near future. After some digging around the internet I came across an interesting study on this subject. scroll down to 'Poker is a Skill' pdf document.

If it was proved beyond reasonable doubt does this mean the legalisation would happen in the States ? Does this mean that the UK would declassify Poker as gambling and we would have to pay tax on winnings ? IT was judged in the UK last year that poker was deemed gambling. If this is declassified then expect a lot more clubs to appear. I may even leave banking and open up one myself.

I havent played much in since the weekend and im keen to get back on the poker horse. I had an hour last night but the games at AP didnt look that appealing. Only a few tables running and no obvious fishes so I switched over to Full Tilt and tried something I've not tried before.

I eight tabled the $20 Turbo Sng's. This is not a great deal as such. I read of people regularly 20 tabling but as a personal milestone this is good for me. The great thing about it is that I felt fully in control. I had 4 tables on each screen with no overlap. I ended up with 2 x 1st, 1 x 3rd and the rest 5th's and 8th's. This netted me a $55 profit. I had a few bad beats AKs v AQo, TT vs 99 and I wasnt too impressed with the level of play. Purely robot poker. Automatic decisions. No real thinking needed. I think i might try these now and then as a break from cash games or if i cannot find anything juicy going.

Easter weekend coming up. I aim to get around 2k-3k hands played on AP. I really want to see where I can take this bankroll....

Next update, graphs etc after 1000+ more hands...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ship it..

How many times have you heard the line 'Ship it' at the tables.

I had position on this guy last night but could not win a hand. He was playing 40/20/3 over 60 hands or so. The game went like this.
He bet, I folded.. 'ship it'
He bet, I raised, he called. I miss flop completely, he bets I fold.. 'ship it'
He bet, I call. I miss flop, he bets I fold.. 'ship it'

Every time he won a hand vs me he would type 'Ship it' in the chat. It was a little frustrating but I was determined not to tilt. I couldnt even flop middle pair and didnt want to reraise him with air just yet. My table image was turning tight passive which is not my usual game.

Then just like that I get given some tools to lay a trap out.

$0.5/$1 No Limit Holdem
5 players
Converted at

UTG ($50.40)
CO ($61.55)
BTN ($192.95)
Hero ($101.75)
BB ($69.70)

Pre-flop: ($1.5, 5 players) Hero is SB

1 fold, CO calls $1, BTN raises to $4, Hero calls $3.5, 1 fold, CO calls $3

Flop: ($13, 3 players)
Hero bets $7, CO goes all-in $57.55, BTN raises to $115.1, Hero goes all-in $90.75

Turn: ($283.4, 3 players)

River: ($283.4, 3 players)
BTN shows:
Hero shows:
CO shows:

BTN wins $17.35 ( lost -$101.75 )
Hero wins $262.55 ( won +$160.8 )
CO lost -$61.55

Its not the best position to be in here. After a huge overbet all in from the CO who was playing a loosish passive game 30/10 and a reraise all in from ship it boy, Im left with an all in call with bottom set. I put this hand up on the 2p2 forums and the feedback was that calling was the right move. The board is draw heavy, clubs straights and overpairs could be making this move as well as 77 or 55.


Board: 5c 3h 7c
equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 35.807% 35.66% 00.15% 322 1.33 { 3c3s }
Hand 1: 25.508% 25.36% 00.15% 229 1.33 { AcKc }
Hand 2: 38.686% 38.54% 00.15% 348 1.33 { 6s4d }

Board: 5c 3h 7c
equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 74.091% 73.64% 00.45% 729 4.50 { 3c3s }
Hand 1: 25.909% 25.45% 00.45% 252 4.50 { AcKc }

So im 35.8% of winning $184.65 ($61.55 x 3)
and 74% of winning $77.9 ($262.55 - $184.65)

35.8% x 184.65 = $66.10
74% x $77.9 = $57.6
Average winnings from this situation = $66.1+$57.6 = $123.7

im calling $90.75 to win $123.7, net profit of $32.95 profit if i call.

Now i dont usually break the math down to these levels so I would like to know if that is correct or not.

I couldnt resist the chat box. Unfortunately i never screenshotted it but it went like this.

ryverrat: erm....
ryverrat: ship
ryverrat: it.

I slept well last night

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Japan is tight passive.

Tokyo rocks! I had never been to Japan before and I recommend it to anyone. The office is situated in a Rappongi which is the late night part of town. There are bars and clubs everywhere, even the restaurants are open until 5am. Nothing beats Sushi at 8am. They party hard, they get drunk, scream out bad 'engrish' karaoke, fall asleep at the bar yet there is not one sign of any trouble. They seem to avoid all confrontation. The Japanese have so much respect for each other. Everything is met with a nod of the head, a slight bow or a full bow where their head almost touches their knees. The lower they go, the more respect they are showing.

Its easy to see why Poker will probably never become popular here. As i said the typical Japanese person has been brought up avoiding confrontations. They dont like to gamble, I dont believe there are any casinos in Tokyo. Its all about tradition, working hard, control and respect.

If Japan were a poker player I believe they would play very few hands. They would fold to any aggression.

In poker terms Japan is tight passive.

But I love this place...

I have not much to say on the poker news. I have been playing on an old account at FTP. I have taken these past 2 weeks to play Omaha High. I bought a great book on Omaha High and have started to put that into practice. Jeff Hwang is the author and this book shows me an insight to the game that I just wasnt thinking about. Its easy to say 'all four cards should work together' but its another thing to show how to look for 13 card wraps, redraws to the nuts and freerolling. This book is the Harrington on Holdem bible of Omaha Hi. Get it and get in on the game while its still full of bad players.... ahem like me.

Being on a laptop without my pokertracker/pahud 2 screen setup I decided to play a few tournaments alongside my Omaha Hi games. I had a nice little result in one of the low buyins..

2nd place for $354. Its not the money that makes me smile its getting to the final table and playing well. I could not fault my game last night which is unusual as my tournament game has sucked ass recently. I recently read Hoyazo's blog about his run in the 50-50 tournaments and he quotes

"So much of mtt's is about mental state. Being mentally prepared to actually wait for the good cards and the playable situations. Being emotionally able to recover quickly from the inevitable bad beats you will take over a several-hour affair. Being in the right mental state to make the 8th laydown over 2 hours when you've repeatedly been caught stealing. It is a delicate balance of playing consistently within these correct states of mind, combined with a fair amount of luck just to really spice things up, that it takes to make a deep run in a big mtt like these 5050 tournaments are every night."

This to me really tripped a switch in my head. My cash game has been about loosening up, raising KQo early, reraising with 33 in position etc, making moves that in a low buy in multi table tournament (MTT) just doesnt work over the long run early in tournaments. Being mentally prepared for the good cards is so true. Be patient let the situations come to you early and loosen up as you go deeper. Keep an eye on your M and dont let yourself drop down to a low stack. Steal a few times, spot the aggressive players and trap them good. Patience is key.

Im back to my cash games at AP next week. My 5,000 hands per month is two weeks behind now so will get cracking on that. My bankroll on AP is as it was 2 posts below, just short of $2500. Looking in the distance now at my next benchmark $4000.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

UB Cheating pt.3

Ultimate Bet have finally responded to the online community.

Montreal, Canada (March 6, 2008) – UltimateBet (UB), one of the ten largest online poker cardrooms, today issued the following interim statement with respect to allegations of unfair play on its site.

“On January 12, 2008, UltimateBet was alerted to allegations that a player with the online handle “NioNio” exhibited abnormally high winning statistics and was accused of having an unfair advantage during play. These allegations were made both directly to UltimateBet by concerned players and the KGC, and indirectly through several web forums. The allegations also included reports of suspicious activity concerning the deletion of the NioNio account and other accounts that may have been related to this scheme.

“We immediately launched an extensive inquiry involving an independent third-party expert to review hundreds of thousands of hand histories, all of which were promptly locked down and made available to this expert. The initial findings of our third-party expert confirm that the NioNio account’s winning statistics were indeed abnormal, and we have expanded the investigation to look into whether an unfair advantage existed, how such a scheme might have been perpetrated, and whether additional accounts beyond those of NioNio were involved.“

UltimateBet is in regular communications and contact with its regulatory authority, The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC), and will continue to cooperate fully with that body.“

UltimateBet is determined to complete a full and thorough investigation. We pride ourselves on providing a safe, secure playing environment for our customers. The investigation has proven to be extremely complex and, therefore, has been more extensive and taken much longer than initially expected. We continue to aggressively pursue the matter and will communicate the findings of our full investigation to our regulatory authority and to our customer base as soon as practicable.”

I would like to say that this is a predictable response. The bad thing about this is that it has taken 2 months of investigation to admit that there is something 'abnormal' in NioNio's stats. The forum posters at 2p2 worked this out in a week. I understand the need to make precise statements that contain true not speculation but 2 months response time has not helped their cause.

On the positive side I feel that they will not less this slip under carpet. By addressing this they have the whole poker community watching. The posts containing the allegations at 2p2 has finally been made a 'sticky' post for everyone to see when they browse the forums. There is no getting away from this issue now.

What I think will be the outcome -
-UB agrees there was cheating through this account
-They will not admit how NioNio cheated but that they will say they have done enough to ensure this will not happen again.
-They will pay back a large sum of money to players but will not get fined directly.
-Cheaters/Superusers will continue but they will become better at covering their tracks and dampening their stats to hide any abnormalities.

This business needs regulation so badly. This business needs serious punishement for both cheaters and the companys that allow this to happen. How the hell did UB not notice this in the first place ? They should have programs that continuously look out for abnormal statistics. NioNio's numbers were almost off the chart of abnormal. Security is not take as seriously as we think, and until that time we are playing in a minefield with our money.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bankroll heating up...

Start date : Jan 14th
Start Bankroll: $500
Current Bankroll: $2494
Number of hands: 12,634

Running well at the moment. Variance is at a norm and the fish are abundant.

10k hands at $0.25/$0.50 at 14.17 bb/100 (note this is not ptbb/100)
21/12.8/2.7 ($vpip/pfr/af) <--- if anyone needs an explanation please ask.

So my first chapter is complete. I have put the hands in at the starting level and have plumped up the bankroll to be comfortable in moving up. $0.50/$1 shouldn't be too tough. I used to play at this level and higher so I feel I am aware of the adjustments I will need to make. I know that this is where you start to see more of the regulars and semi-pros, guys that make a decent ish income from playing online. With that said there are still a large amount of donkeys plodding around the virtual felt. I played the following hand late last night. I think I played this a bit spewy. My notes on this player were that he chases draws to pot sized bets.

$0.5/$1 No Limit Holdem
6 players
Converted at


Hero ($98.00)
UTG+1 ($149.87)
CO ($34.40)
BTN ($107.70)
SB ($150.60)
BB ($263.81)

Pre-flop: ($1.5, 6 players) Hero is UTG

Hero raises to $4, 3 folds, SB calls $3.5, 1 fold

Flop: ($9, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $6, SB calls $6

Turn: ($21, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $15, SB calls $15

River: ($51, 2 players)
SB bets $15, Hero goes all-in $73, SB folds

Final Pot: $81
Hero shows:

Hero wins $135.5 ( won +$37.5 )
SB lost -$40.00

Now my thoughts on this hand. Villain calls out of position an UTG raiser. I think Medium to low pocket pair or a drawy type broadway hand if hes really bad. The flop comes up dangerous but I can easily rep AK here. With a flush draw on the board I wouldnt give a free card if i held AK. I bet out, maybe a little small. $6 into a $9, I think this should be a $7 bet. SB calls. This should set of warning bells. I would have slowed right down if there were no straight or flush draws but this is in his range. Obv a K or a 9 and im dead in the water. The turn is a harmless 6. I dont think he would have called my flop bet with 66. he checks so I continue my chosen AK rep path. The call did worry me a little. Another non board changing card hits 4c. All draws have missed. He leads out for $15 into a $51......

Now call it poker sense, call it being in the zone, call it spewtard lucky fish ridiculous -EV play but it just seemed weak. It left me with enough stack to have some fold equity which was the only way I was going to win this hand. He could have a K, he could have a 9 he could have missed all his draws. He was out of positiong playing like he was drawing. So I pushed and he folded.

Spewy ?? Comments ?

I am leaving for Tokyo today so will not be able to play on AP. I have set up a new account on FT with some rakeback so will play a little on there. AP bankroll on hold. FT fish get ready to be eaten....