Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vegas Baby-

Started NLH at The New Sahara Poker Room. Got dealt Aces twice in 20 minutes and then Ace King -flopped Full House Ace Ace King. Felted my opponents.These were the cleanest chips I have ever used- 

Came in 14th in a tournament at The Venetian, just shy of The Money beat 220 ppl.

 My takeaway from this trip. First time I have ever waited online to wash my hands. Thank you Corona!


Monday, January 20, 2020

World Poker Tour- Seminole Hard Rock, Florida

Hello, My name is,"I'm all in".
Back In The Day 2008

With 2009 World Series of Poker Champion Joe Cada, at age 21, made him the youngest champion ever.

Pros verses Joes- With Poker Hall of Famer Maria Ho, one of the top ranked poker players in the world.

With The Ambassador Of The World Poker Tour Vince Van Patten

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Hello, My Name is "I'm All In".

The Dopamine Power Diet—In Search of the “All-In” Button

"I' ll take things that I know for $1,000 Alex!NLH has the short-term effect of windfalls of buckets of luck. That generates a roller coaster ride of greed, invincibility and fantasy ---a flood of dopamine that signals to our bodies that something good has happened. It’s not the win, but the suggestion of it that generates pleasure in the brain, rewards anticipation. Now, for the first time, you can actually get inside the black box, when your game crashes with Neuroeconomics--making "emotional" decisions and their economic sigificance. Brain scientists , who with Hotel Anyware's help, will be the writing the new Super System and (behavioral)Theory of Poker.

Chapter One Teaser: AN I for an I , 'See it with your mind's eye.' is so pre Twin Towers 9/11. Reif shows us that our mind is our eye.What we think is what we see, and what we see directs how we act. Not only does the authors make this paradigm clear, but Ed offers concrete and practical ways to change our mind's eye and as a consequence change our actions and the results we get. A miracle is a shift in thinking and shifting our thinking opens new opportunities. the gift of connecting to the field of awareness that exists within each playah. When your LEFT Brain gets good at telling the RIGHT brain what to do--the power of now+new,1+1=infinity...because after all, Poker is situational, and a game of partial information, too random to be left up to chance. The conceit of our Joes— is to see Order in chaos. The anticipation of consequences by Pros, is to pounce on this weakness.

Shift Happens

When your third eye and your turd eye are at one—you start to believe your own sh*
t, hooked on the belief that you are about to make mo’ money. This creates a midbrain mutiny between dopamine and serotonin. Like any addict, when the bad beat comes, you will go into a painful withdrawal. I think therefore I am—might need a re-write- I don’t know so maybe I’m not. It’s all chemical!

Thinking and feeling differently about lose-Whatever is going on in you is chemical. What could your neurons "want"? It's enigmatic, but basically they wants a jolt of serotonin, norepinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine. If you can remember--you are never know how you have been, and maintain a malignent optimism, you can live to play another day. The hard thing about this is that it is so easy to do, because feelings are not true, they're feelings...nothing more than feelings.
Poker= f(dopamine flow); Money= happiness

"Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy chips, which is kinda the same thing" Ed Reif, Wise and Otherwise,2007

Money is a means to an end. When you get money, you shouldn't experience immediate happiness. Brain research shows, however, that people get immediate pleasure and pain from winning and losing money.
Keep Dope alive. Play Poker. Go with the flow. Why do you think they call it DOPE-amine?


Dopamine is a swiss army knife that does a lot of jobs, but the thing Mr. Science notices most is that it regulates reward. When you win a hand of poker, it's a dopamine spike that's responsible for the thrill that follows. Drugs, legal and illegal-mimic the actions of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical which makes us feel elated; crystal meth is so addictive because it releases dopamine. More than that, The brain images of drug addicts who are about to take another hit are indistinguishable from those of poker players who are making money and about to play another showdown hand.

The Power Of Impossible Thinking

Getting what you deserve is boring. Having pocket AA, and raking a small pot, just won’t do it. There has to be risk and ambiguity. Don’t you feel more energized when you’re uncertain of the outcome of a hand. When you do a three barrel bluff, don’t you feel more alive, your heart jumping out of your chest, you sweat, your take that dry mouth swallow. I think that a subconscious desire to return to this state affects my game. I bluff too much because I want to experience the feeling I get at these moments…. when you get him to fold top pair, when a scare card is on the turn..This is poker at its finest: If you can think impossible thoughts, you can do impossible things.

If you had a normal “addiction” to, say, crack or sex-there are group therapies for that-but being addicted to “risk” in the poker culture just makes makes you a gambler. Is that so bad, you are wired to invest? Don't they call that arbitrage on Wall Street? Isn't gambling a fundamental brick in the foundation of economic and investment thinking.

Poker points to gambling. Gambling points to math. Math points to risk. Risk points to investing. Investing points to finance; and finance points to economics, and economics points back to gambling.

Cognitive-Enhancing SMART drugs and Poker--the Next Steroids Scandal

So all this stuff about Steroids and baseball, what about brain boosting drugs and poker! I wrote about holdem’s off the wall player, me and my Big (Mike the) Mouth. Mike is America's first self confessed bipolar poker champ – a former speed addict, currently diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, Mike The Corporation is a black market wheeler-dealer, living in the underground economy of CASH. His street cred is good in Vegas--the money faucet runs on tap. He's bankable. Why, because he's now (legally)medicated (zoloft, depakote and ritalin)!

It's one thing to get a natural "runner's high" from the game; but actually ingesting brain-boosting performance inhancing substances to improve your mental focus, memory, recall and reduce fatigue? Wait a minute, where can I get some of those happy pills? It's all legal! Doping in cash and online poker, what's so ethical about this work ethic?

We are all aware that caffine is not a drug, but a vitamin for the long grueling tournament scene. Yet, we would all fail a WADA/IOC-administered drug test based on drinking as little as three cups! Congress is already hearing testimony about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act. I can see a day when the great poker doping scadal is exposed too!

No worries, they'll be a lot of Doctor's notes, with the ADD boutique diagnoisis, just like getting extra time on your SAT! to "accomodate" your poker (L)earning differences.

Drugs, they're not just for athletes!

And now a PSA: If you're gonna get high, play cards-

"There isn't any question about it -- they made me a much better player," Paul Phillips, 35, who credited the attention deficit drug Adderall and the narcolepsy pill Provigil with helping him earn more than $2.3 million as a poker player. See LATimes article

Mike “The Mouth” Matusow from Stuff Magazine; May, 2006 Life or Meth-
" I began playing at a level I had never played at before. Every time someone played a hand differently than their norm, I sensed it. Every time someone showed a tell, I saw it.” see USA Today article
Mike is Mike, working his mac, a whore with a heart of gold, so no judgments here.

Paul on the other hand, is a GUO, a great unlucky one: in order for Mr Phillips to make a small fortune in poker he needed to have a big one---and Paul is a dotcom gazillionaire to begin with. Too much respect for money makes you a bad poker player-That a makes Phillips a great one: He payed 10K x 26 WPT events-Of course eventually he cashed in some---even a broken clock is right twice. What is it about these faloney's who think they can play poker? Ka-ching.

Read my post on The Godfather of Poker-Doyle did "that thing with the thing bada bing-all-in" to Guy aka Moe Greene:

Doyle Brunson took Cirque du Soleil billionaire Guy Laliberté to clown college on High Stakes Poker---to say it was a circus, would be an insult to the bearded ladies, mimes and interpretive dancers. A moment of silence was in order as Guy was nearly drawing dead.

FREE Roger Clemens...

"As Major League Baseball struggles to rid itself of performance-enhancing drugs, people in a range of other fields are reaching for a variety of prescription pills to enhance what counts most in modern life." It begs the question--why is there no stigma attached to these other pursuits.

A Dose Of Genius-No Brain Is An Island

Poker players drug du jour is Adderall , the active ingredient being dextroamphetamine saccharate. You might recognize the root, amphetamine which is closely related to methamphetamine more commonly known as crystal meth, or speed!

Propanolol is a beta blocker, and epinephrine is a beta agonist. LSAT school test takers, concert musicians are eating them like Gummy Bears to bypass stress and butterflies. Why, to get an edge, a competitive edge. If somebody gave you a designer drug to improve your memory, would you try it? What are neuroethical consequences of brain doping?

The Standard American Diet acronym is S.A.D. --This your brain on french fries! Depressing, huh?


This is your brain on poker..

Know Thy Synaptic Self
Neurons that wire together fire together---Making money and then making money again is our chemical romance; the love drug Dopamine. It produces a “desire to continue”. Congratulations, you are wired to play poker. Happy Valentine’s Day.

What happens in your brain when your expectations are confirmed — or shattered by surprise. It's a steady flow of dopamine that makes the anticipation such a pleasure. Walking the painted line, tolerating low calculated risks, the safe choices,---it is impossible to settle for what everyone else gets---no matter how comfortable that would make you. The extraordinary opportunities lie in the leaps of faith, the uncalculating risks.

We might not realize it, but dopamine is our favorite neurotransmitter. The Sex of Poker reward circuit runs on Dopamine. It makes us pursue whatever we think will be rewarding. Life, liberty and the pursuit of a fast buck. "fits like a glove" with neuroimaging findings of alcoholics, and drug addicts. Let's cast a nice halo around poker, call it Yuppie bulemia, for the three C's: guys with Cash, Condos and Cars.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Selling Your Car For Gas Money

Egonomics 101---Overconfidence, Myopia and Hubris

The power of mind over money is rooted in mental bias . It is our own idiosyncratic way to distort our map of reality. Just as the menu is not the meal, this map is not the territory--because everyone experiences gambling differently. When your reality check bounces---change your map.

FLOUNDERS verses ROUNDERS -The difference in playing with the belief and intention of winning against just being social.

For the poker Balla, nothing is better than when that average Joe Player sits down at a poker table. Why? Because he just sat down with money he INTENDS to lose! There is no more +EV situation, and most tables in a live poker room are filled with players exactly like that. When you treat No Limit Hold em as only a game of chance instead of skill, it is not a law of probability, it's a fact for games with negative expectations: Risk of ruin is 100%.

A Joe plays when he "feels" like it, a Pro, all the time! Call them perpetual shortcuts JOES make when losing poker ASAP; and as any of the PROS will tell you, they don't need cards to win--that's for amateurs. Pro Players specialize in other people's biases! especially that malignant optimistic one that beats its chest and says, "I'm the best player at the table". Hotel Anyware considers himself an average player, except for the fact that he considers himself an average player!

Pros know the 60/40 end of a proposition--- when to hold em and when to fold em--- when you have some competitive advantage over somebody else. And you don't bet, you don't gamble, you don't invest, unless you have some competitive advantage.

Poker is a game of partial information, and when you have a competitive advantage you have to take into account this and, more important, behavioral factors. There is wise.... and there is otherwise:

Behavior Has Consequences

Irrational default modes of playing tend to show up in our game both when we win---the House Money Effect chip overload of playing loose with their money, and when we are getting on tilt with bad beats: That's when emotion and even confidence cloud our judgment and misguide our actions. The Volatility and Variance of NLH rewards patience, a clear mind, and, selective aggression.

American Airlines AA and the Concorde Effect—A True Story at the $100 Buy-In Bicycle Casino- Eating Dessert First.

I’m UTG, deep stacked with four limpers. I raise and get called by all four. I should muck right there but I don't. I’ve got pocket aces. The flop is low ball 3 4 7 rainbow. I bet big-a Dan Harrington "information" bet to see where I am at... and lose three players. The turn is a 5, a possible straight. I bet big again and get re-raised all in. I insta-call. The river is a blank. I flip over AA and Lift Ticket has Pocket 66. for the nuts.

The very next hand I get pocket kings--it was Dijon Vu, the same old mustard--My emotional return on investment however, my EROI, was saying "SEAT OPEN!" and the table could smell it and I got everyone calling, a family pot. I actually wanted to go home broke..and even though I tripped up, I lost to runner, runner, heart flush. I did. That's right,wanting to lose money. And that emotional return was more of a payoff than the financial one--when my black Kings got cracked by suited connectors (hearts, a baby flush!).

Granted, too much respect for money makes you a bad NLH player but I walked away from that session with knowledge: First, that my brain is the "most powerful computer." Second, when on tilt, my brain is the most powerful "broken computer ."

Tilt makes us sub-optimal for evaluating rewards, sizing up risks and calculating probabilities. It's like selling the car for gas money.

I walked away with a less broken computer, less sabotaging behavior, and more insight into the fact that self-delusion is more than possible in poker - it's highly likely!

Behavioral Finance ---The Black Box Flight Recorder has a name for my crash landing -- The Sunk Cost Fallacy --the refusal to get out of a losing position, because you've already written the money off -- resulting in losing even more money.

The British and French governments continued to fund the Concorde project long after it was determined that it was a loser---merely to justify past investment in it, rather than assessing the current rationality of investing.

You have an over pair on the flop and bet big. You get called. On the turn the texture of the board is dangerous. You bet out in the dark---suddenly you are stuck as your opponent straightens out.

We are in fact more sensitive to decreases in our chip count than we are to increases in them.

Doyle Brunson, a member of the MENSA Poker Club says: Great players lay down great hands. In fact, the ability to accept a loss and get away from a great hand is probably the most important (and difficult) skill to learn in poker. It's the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

The ability to take a small loss to avoid a big one is the hallmark of this poker genius.We all start out as geniuses, and then allow our emotions to de-genius us. If you put good players into bad situations they usually turn bad.

Secrets to Beating America's 92 Million Irrational Poker Players

Common sense is not so common, and these common flaws are often consistent, predictable, and can be exploited for profit.

Illusion of control - the tendency for players to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes which they clearly cannot. NLH is 100% luck and 100% chance. An opponent can (suck out) win one hand 100% of the time. NLH is too random to be left up to chance-yet good results will have you rejecting alternative ways to play--Nothing fails like success. Doing things right the first time is an obscenity--If your game isn't broke, don't just break it, break it before the competition does.

Loss aversion - The pain of chips lost generally is much greater than the pleasure of a chips gained. Playars strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains ( Quit early when winning and playing marathon sessions when stuck or chasing---see also sunk cost effects. To win money over the long haul, you’ve got to win big pots. And to win big pots, you can’t be held back by this thinking error. You can't play a safe tight- is -right solid game and expect to win. You can't avoid crisis, you must be in a perpetual one that you create...but selectively picking your spots).

Bias blind spot - The left side of the brain will do the math. But the right side will "tag" it with a story. That story usually doesn't compensate for one’s own cognitive biases.

Choice-supportive bias - It's called "anchoring" remember one’s choices as better than they actually were. (Using the past to predict the future). There is never a certain prescribed way to play a hand, just a way to think about them. I've had racks of chips only to be felted 14 hours later because instead of an attitude of gratitude, I had the Mick Jaggar Tumbling Dice "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing"soundtrack playing.

Endowment effect - When I own something, I will tend to value it more highly. If I have to sell it, I will probably want to ask more than it is really worth. (Not being able to let go of QQ,AA,KK---rookie moves, and over betting the pot) There's the expected result, based on analysis, and the actual result, based on events. Poker is a game of situations---I've learned to thrown away Kings, Queens, and with a four card flush on the board, even two red Aces!

Confirmation bias - The Indians Rain Dance worked because they never stopped dancing! The Jeane Dixon effect-of making a few right predictions, and overlooking the false ones. Searching for information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. The delusions of reference--tells, lucky charms, hunches and coincidences.

Bandwagon effect - Do things because smart money people do or believe the same, like playing Helmeuth starting hands, or walking the painted line of Sklansky's Theory of Poker or Doyle's Super System. Related to groupthink, herd behaviour. That's what I find so cool about my game--being able to fire three barrels with squadush. (Thank you Poker Stars Sit and Go's)

Déformation professionnelle - the tendency to look at things according to the conventions of one’s own T.O.E., time on earth; assuming things that have similar traits are likely to be identical; forgetting any broader point of view. Past experience and feedback loops can make you Hola Lupe.

Disconfirmation bias -. We tend to use the information that is most handy when we make decisions/predictions. The path of least resistence mashed up with thin slicing.

Focusing effect - prediction bias occurring when players place too much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome.

Hyperbolic discounting - the tendency for players to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, the closer to the present both payoffs are.

Impact bias -Our minds are suited for solving problems related to our survival, rather than being optimised for poker decisions. Players overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.

Information bias - Seeking TMI, too much information, even when it cannot affect action. Try playing in the dark, or blind---With less information to be processed and filtered, the brain assigns higher priority to the information that it does receive.

Neglect of probability - the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty. Expected Value and Variance---weighing all the possible outcomes, weighting the more likely outcomes, and coming to a conclusion---play a big part in the decision process. There is therefore, never a certain prescribed way to play a hand, just a way to think about them

Mere exposure effect - the tendency for players to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them. If it's not broke, break it!

Omission bias - The tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).

Outcome bias - the tendency to judge things on their outcome, and not on their process. Over weighing and overeacting to a bad beat-- the most recent information or circumstances.

Planning fallacy - the tendency to underestimate task-completion times. It has taken me ten years to become an overnight Holdem success!

Post-purchase rationalization - the tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was a good value.

Pseudocertainty effect - the tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.

Selective perception - the tendency for expectations to affect perception. (Gamblers Fallacy)

Status quo bias - the tendency for players to like things to stay relatively the same.

Von Restorff effect - Purple Cows and items that “stands out like a sore thumb” have a tendency to be more likely to be remembered than other items.

Zero-risk bias - preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.

Monday, June 10, 2019


Holdem is too random to be left up to chance.
You would rather be skillful than lucky anyway--Sure anyone any ONE TIME gets lucky 100% of the time. The law of large numbers says that you will win the lottery. Ask yourself this question before sitting down to play poker: Lucky or skillfull?

"Whether my decision is good or bad depends on how I make it, not on the outcome."
The Secret is about the law of attraction and results—the secret of poker is the complete opposite! And opposites attract!
The way to get better is to think about process not results—focus on better decision making and ignoring short term results.

Analysis Is Paralysis

Poker Bloggers are the sharpshooters that come down from the hill after the battle to shoot the wounded, in this case, the dead. I'll give it my best shot.

There is never a certain prescribed way to play a hand, just a way to think about them. There's the expected result, based on analysis, and the actual result, based on events. For Instance:

David Sklansky's Fundamental Theory of Poker is a theory which is not about poker. Instead it is a theory about the results of poker. In other words, you cannot use the Fundamental Theorem of Poker to solve any actual poker problems. It’s good for finding out whether I was lucky enough or not to be holding any two cards against an opponent. That theory is outlined early in his book:

"Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain; and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain; and every time they play their hands the same way they would have played if they could see all your cards, you lose." [17-18]

POKER: It is not about winning or losing, rather excelling: Because of the huge amount of luck associated with NLH, We often face uncertainty in making decisions, we can, therefore, make a good decision and get a bad outcome. (Bad beats are had more often by GOOD players than bad. Afterall, you are "getting your money in good"...only to get that suckout miracle card ruin your nut flush to a staight flush etc.) Good decisions in poker, therefore, will not guarantee good outcomes, but on average, consistently better decisions lead to consistently better outcomes.

"Good decisions are made one step at a time." Preflop, flop, turn, river.

Rock.Paper.Scissors. It's not just for kids anymore. Part coin flip, part drawing straws, RPS is not just some novelty way to gamble but a poker strategy to bet:


Rock: wins against scissors, loses to paper and stalemates against itself.
Paper wins against Rock, loses to scissors and stalemates against itself.
Scissors wins against paper, loses to rock and stalemates against itself.


You can't immediately win by calling; you can by betting, or raising! Furthermore, you need a stronger hand to call than to bet or raise. betting or raising allows the possibility of winning the pot immediately by forcing decisions on the other opponents, who may very well fold, with slim holdings....and never cold call a preflop raise with easily dominated off suit hands.

The Equity of Folding in a Tournament-Folding is the invisable way to winThe best way to win more is to fold more! Hand selection is really something to consider; so is position. Playing too many starting hands is the How Not to Do It way..When it is raised in front of you-Your mantra should be "I'm looking for a way to fold this AJ offsuit.

Knowledge isn't power---applied knowledge is. Luck isn't power either, but applied luck is the most powerful element in NLH: here's what I mean; Focus on decisions not consequences. Luck has consequences. Focus on decisions, not luck. What you think of me is none of my business, and what luck thinks of me at any particular time, is none of my business. Luck Positive (Winning) and Luck Negative (gad beats) are OVERHEAD; Chips, the cost of doing business!

Think about good decisions, not results. It's about the process not pots won---the chips will come. Do what you love and the money will follow--have a love affair with making sound decisions based on partial information. It is, after all, about excelling, not winning or losing a particular hand.
Make probability based decisions--How many outs do you have? What are the immediate odds-pre flop, flop, turn and river? What are the long shot odds for you and your opponent, once you put him on a range of hands? The universal tell in poker is called betting!

Poker without cards---bluffing. It simply has to be part of your game--- this Misleading Vividness. But remember: BIG POTS for BIG CARDS: The really powerful starting hands---High card value, suitedness and connectedness---have multiple ways to win.

"Cards are there for bad players" is not always the case. Neither is:" NLH is about playing the person more than the cards"

IN NLH there are 4 opportunities to bluff, 1 pre and 3 post flop.

LOOSE players are looking for reasons to CALL; TIGHT, to FOLD.

The more your bluffs matters, the harder they are to pull off because they are, after all, bluffs. It is, however, impossible to defend against a solid bluffing strategy. Reality is perception, and appearance reality. When you don' have good cards, however, somebody else probably does.

You aren't a bad poker player if you get caught bluffing sometimes or most of the time. You only have to win a fraction of the time to net a profit. Sklansky's (game)Theory of poker points out that you cannot play optimally unless you include bluffing into your game.
Every bet or raise can be a bluff, and you can beat a bluff with a mediocre hand. The only way to compensate for the bluffs of your opponents is to bluff them back!