Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poker Doesn’t Think, and the cards have no memory.

Once upon a starting hand: When all you have is the hammer, everything is a nail.

The implicit value of 7 deuce-Leading uphill against conventional wisdom.

Under the right circumstances you can play ANY Two Cards---ATC, and expect a positive return, either immediately or down the road.


From Worst To First-The best hole cards you've never played

The book value and herd mentality of 72 offsuit in holdem is squadush. It is the worst hand in NLH.-Yet the Hammer can go from zero to hero. It makes a great raising hand in position. Play them like aces--When everyone misses on the flop, throw in a continuation bet, and you take down the pot. Money certainly has been won from players' mis-reading of the situation, and the 7 deuce first in money guy working magic-or mis-direction-- creating the illusion appearing as real--Now that's playing with no cards.

Starting hands can be created or dissolved with the change in its implicit value, which is determined by the personal perceptions and whim of players and their cards

Playing 72 like aces. Should I? In the case of automatic enrollment, the default decision may be too powerful to ever let 7 2 go. You have tried this a few times and got away with it, scooping a $300 pot in a low NLH game. It could start out, first as a bluff, the 72 trash hand, then catching a full house with it. Sometimes you'll get caught.
Winning like this doesn't make you a good player; neither does losing like this make you a bad one---it just is the cost of doing (monkey) business, and making moves at pots.
Being There-The Greatest Movie You Have Never Seen Peter Sellers' Masterpiece---A How To Own The Zone Poker Play Book
Those who forget the past are doomed to reread it. Remember this one--President Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln and President Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy. Coincidence? How about this one: you need 23 people in one room for there to be a 50% chance of two people having the same birthday. Probability?

The concept I'd like to deal with, then, is the concept of "framing" -- that the way we are presented information determines our reaction to that information. You can have your delusions of reference, but when it comes down to it, poker doesn't think and the cards have no memory. Yet, if you choose to frame it as meaningful coincidence or good luck-What you believe is real, will be real to you in its consequences--the magic of magical thinking

Magical thinking is real--I like to call it beginner's luck---because you just don't know any better. You don't understand possible causes because of your low information diet. TMI, Too Much Information can damage your game. That's why you can bluff good players---they've been there, done that. They have the in-the-trenches- experience and the war stories and bad beats. Check out Brad Booth on High Stakes Poker to see what I mean-an amazing three brick, 300K bluff against Phil Ivey, whose holding pocket Kings, and lays them down.
...all is well - and all will be well - in the garden

Beginner's Luck doesn't so much as remove the heavy lifting of real thinking. It just keeps you lean and trim on this low info diet, where the "how " of your happiness takes on new meaning. In RL (Real Life) WSOP Champ, with The Power Of NeW, Huck Seed has this vibe. No need for filters--You can only recognize what you already know.
It has a way of creating your NOT To Do List. The on demand vibe is about simplicity, and that's scarce, a To Be list. Forest Gump, and Being There's Chauncey Gardiner come to mind. The Bermuda Triangle For Socks-The Dryer-the mythology

When I do my laundry, I mix it all together—that’s called pink laundry. It all doesn’t come out in the wash. More than that, I don't know where my socks sometimes go after I (Think) I put them in the dryer. Did they really disappear? You see that’s the illusion---they never make it to the machine in the first place! When I was a kid, I worked at a resturant, we had a far more important mystery---the missing teaspoon phenomonon.
Missing chips and missing socks---the way we do laundry is the way we do chips. The somewhat "unreal" characteristic of money and poker, leave you with that missing sock conspiracy theory thing, since the most straightforward way of telling you where your money went is that it actually disappeared into thin air; and chips just go to money heaven.
The brain seems to have networks wired to produce magical explanation in almost every cirucmstance. The point at which my child brain withdrew support for belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny is about the same time it got introduced to prayer---and believe me there is a lot more praying going on in casinos and holdem games than churches!

It goes on to this day--what New Yorker didn't think they were responsible for the outcome of last year's Giant's Superbowl victory! In part it’s because we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts-"I want the Giants to win, I want the Giants to win..." Hay, WTF--It worked!

Poker Doesn’t Think, and the cards have no memory.

Once upon a starting hand: When all you have is the hammer, everything is a nail.

The implicit value of 7 deuce-Leading uphill against conventional wisdom.

Under the right circumstances you can play ANY Two Cards---ATC, and expect a positive return, either immediately or down the road.


From Worst To First-The best hole cards you've never played

The book value and herd mentality of 72 offsuit in holdem is squadush. It is the worst hand in NLH.-Yet the Hammer can go from zero to hero. It makes a great raising hand in position. Play them like aces--When everyone misses on the flop, throw in a continuation bet, and you take down the pot. Money certainly has been won from players' mis-reading of the situation, and the 7 deuce first in money guy working magic-or mis-direction-- creating the illusion appearing as real--Now that's playing with no cards.

Starting hands can be created or dissolved with the change in its implicit value, which is determined by the personal perceptions and whim of players and their cards

Playing 72 like aces. Should I? In the case of automatic enrollment, the default decision may be too powerful to ever let 7 2 go. You have tried this a few times and got away with it, scooping a $300 pot in a low NLH game. It could start out, first as a bluff, the 72 trash hand, then catching a full house with it. Sometimes you'll get caught.
Winning like this doesn't make you a good player; neither does losing like this make you a bad one---it just is the cost of doing (monkey) business, and making moves at pots.
Being There-The Greatest Movie You Have Never Seen Peter Sellers' Masterpiece---A How To Own The Zone Poker Play Book
Those who forget the past are doomed to reread it. Remember this one--President Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln and President Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy. Coincidence? How about this one: you need 23 people in one room for there to be a 50% chance of two people having the same birthday. Probability?

The concept I'd like to deal with, then, is the concept of "framing" -- that the way we are presented information determines our reaction to that information. You can have your delusions of reference, but when it comes down to it, poker doesn't think and the cards have no memory. Yet, if you choose to frame it as meaningful coincidence or good luck-What you believe is real, will be real to you in its consequences--the magic of magical thinking

Magical thinking is real--I like to call it beginner's luck---because you just don't know any better. You don't understand possible causes because of your low information diet. TMI, Too Much Information can damage your game. That's why you can bluff good players---they've been there, done that. They have the in-the-trenches- experience and the war stories and bad beats. Check out Brad Booth on High Stakes Poker to see what I mean-an amazing three brick, 300K bluff against Phil Ivey, whose holding pocket Kings, and lays them down.
...all is well - and all will be well - in the garden

Beginner's Luck doesn't so much as remove the heavy lifting of real thinking. It just keeps you lean and trim on this low info diet, where the "how " of your happiness takes on new meaning. In RL (Real Life) WSOP Champ, with The Power Of NeW, Huck Seed has this vibe. No need for filters--You can only recognize what you already know.
It has a way of creating your NOT To Do List. The on demand vibe is about simplicity, and that's scarce, a To Be list. Forest Gump, and Being There's Chauncey Gardiner come to mind. The Bermuda Triangle For Socks-The Dryer-the mythology

When I do my laundry, I mix it all together—that’s called pink laundry. It all doesn’t come out in the wash. More than that, I don't know where my socks sometimes go after I (Think) I put them in the dryer. Did they really disappear? You see that’s the illusion---they never make it to the machine in the first place! When I was a kid, I worked at a resturant, we had a far more important mystery---the missing teaspoon phenomonon.
Missing chips and missing socks---the way we do laundry is the way we do chips. The somewhat "unreal" characteristic of money and poker, leave you with that missing sock conspiracy theory thing, since the most straightforward way of telling you where your money went is that it actually disappeared into thin air; and chips just go to money heaven.
The brain seems to have networks wired to produce magical explanation in almost every cirucmstance. The point at which my child brain withdrew support for belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny is about the same time it got introduced to prayer---and believe me there is a lot more praying going on in casinos and holdem games than churches!

It goes on to this day--what New Yorker didn't think they were responsible for the outcome of last year's Giant's Superbowl victory! In part it’s because we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts-"I want the Giants to win, I want the Giants to win..." Hay, WTF--It worked!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poker with out Cards—Bluff Outs




The universal tell in poker is called betting!

No limit holdem is a game of ins and outs, need and speed, aggravation and acceleration.
Counting your outs, the number of cards that will make you a complete hand is something to reconsider, thanks to what I call, the Bluff Outs:additional scare cards that, if they hit, you bet out, and, force your opponent to fold; mentally dealing them the hand .Bluff Outs Poker is about playing 'in the dark': betting that your opponents DON'T have the cards rather than that they do.

Preflop, a pocket pair only has 2 outs to improve, overcards have 6 to draw to the nuts.This is not even taking into account straight and flush draws! That means over cards are at least a 3:1 favorite to improve and win the hand. And with bluff outs, even if you miss, you can bet it like you have it.

It requires a shift in thinking---Instead of "I hope he doesn't bet" or " Come on--- pair the board" or "Club, Club Club" ...that's wasted energy...Say to yourself, "If a club comes on the river, I am betting out like I have it, enough to take your opponent off their hand of top pair, even trips! or " If I hit my set, I am betting the pot". or If I miss with AK, I am making a big cointinuation bet, no matter what"....I've done it. It works.

Betting verses Gambling



Full Catastrophe Poker is not a game of cards played with money—It is a game of money played with cards. It speaks a language called betting, is a slang that rolls up its sleeves, spits in the street, screams strength possibly more than any other and gets the work done. Tells Don’t Tell – People Do with the language of their betting. Poker is a game of partial information and the language of betting "last in" is information dominance.

Bluffing is a big part of NLH since most players miss the flop 33% of the time.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.

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!

You don' t get what you deserve in poker, you get what you negotiate--Bluffing is the quintessential Negotiator. If you are going to be a winning player, you have to include bluffing in your game.
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.

Tells can give you a competitive advatage. HINTS or suggestions are better ways to describe the leaks in opponents (and your) game.-The universal hint in poker is called betting—jamming the pot when you have the best of it, and punishing opponents for their draws.Betting is the language of poker; the more money behind your bet, the louder your voice! This kind of game is The safe sex of poker-without the deceit, the seduction, the bluffing-is like wearing a condom. And you know how that feels.

The sex of poker is bluffing, getting something for nothing-Poker is, after all, anything you can get away with. In the real world, If your wife is cheating on you---you don't want to believe it.(Truth bias). So she bluffs you and gets away with it but then...one day her own Fear of being caught---detection apprehension---will be the non verbal (TELL) communication that speaks to your subconscious and allows you to divorce her! That is, if your left brain gets good at telling your right brain what to do.

Misleading Vividness-Learn The Lines
Bluffing is giving yourself permission to win, even if you do not have the best of it. When you show up to a game, you have to be script driven, and the lines are simple--I am going to win, NOT I should win , NOT I deserve to win. If you can pull off a feeling of acceptance, not even belief, you will have a reasonable amount of success in your bluffs. Be misleading not confusing in your bluffs.

Use position, psychology and bluffing to tip the scales. One thing for sure-POSITION makes every bluff easier. What is your RRR, your risk reward ratio? What are the CP's, calling patterns of your opponents? What are their BP's, betting patterns? The bluffing quest is in these questions.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression on any given hand. Commit to a hand, and the prosperous termination of desired events--scooping up the pot. Bluffing really means I am against something but appear to be for it. Creating a false impression, disguising the "truth" is easier said than done. Overcompensating in either direction usually occurs---that's a bad bluff. Manipulating how confident you appear, a person who is bluffing will almost always overcompensate 100%, to convince or convey.

In one yEAR and out the other...May 28, 2008:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Losing Holdem ASAP-Karaoke Poker

The possibility of sudden significant change in your game.

The Secret is about the law of attraction and results—the secret of poker is the complete opposite!

The way to get better is to think about process not results—focus on better decision making and ignoring short term results. This is extremely hard to do because neurons that wire together fire together--- that's the sex of poker ---Having fun. In fact, it's not about winning or losing any one hand, but excelling and having an "experience"
There's a wonderful phrase in Gladwell's Blink--"the power of thin slicing"--which says that as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience. That's what I mean about the difference between having fun and "having an experience"---pure house games like black jack and slots, verses poker. NLH is not just a "sport", it's a concussion. The difference between lightning and a lightning bug.


Hello, My Name is--"I'm All In"-when bad things happen to good decisions.

Bad playing (Making the right mistake) can get "rewarded" 100% of the time on ANY one hand.This kind of poker---PUSH and PRAY-- is not a user friendly game, rather a user illusionaryone because : "Lucky" players will always have worse cards then you, and will draw out, even if there is one card in the deck they need, and they may very well get it.
Getting your money in good, only to get sucked out is a fact of NLH. Chips are overhead, bad beats the cost of doing business against random reDONKulous decisions.
For these types of absolute novice, everything is even money. The idea is to defeat that concept, making, for instance, balanced decisions---correlating the size of the pot to the strength of your hand.
Nevertheless, when you treat No Limit Holdem as a game of chance instead of skill, it is not a law of probability, it's a fact for games with the "F" fun factor-- you may have great expectations , but you will get negative ones. Risk of ruin is 100%! That's the difference between gambling and betting.

Losing holdem ASAP is about that default lottery- Ka-ching- DONKey mentality of wish fulfillment.It is a portable magic---you rent but never own. Take it to your game and you will leave through the revolving door of poker on the old gambling world of luck's PUSH, verses the New wor(l)d order of NLH's PULL. It's rolling the DICE verses Inviting CHOICE.


Teach Yourself Poker in 10 Years ---Why is everybody in such a rush!


Learn to play poker like the Pros….and go broke. If you play like Gus (Hansen), you will..TVEPP TV Educated Poker Players-see:The MoneyMaker Effect.


It's closing time for the karaoke crowd, the old dogs of kitsch. Who actually cares that you can belt out,after three martini's , the loudest My Way: AK all in pre flop is still drawing hand! --It's still the S.O.S. Same ole ___ bland copies of the original AKA Doyle's by/buy-the-book, Super System; or Sklansky's Theory Of Poker --Don’t bring math to the game, bring strategy.




NLH is too random to be left up to chance. NLH is senseless, common sense and it’s not so common. It’s crazy delicious! The fixed is replaced by an obsession with the here and now, The Power Of New. It's less about how do I play 3 3 in early position and more about how should I think about it. There is no there there! in the distilled experience of the veterans.



Old wine in a new bottle is when you play ABC "I bought the book" holdem. "Money runs counterclockwise...You always lose money from the guy on your left and win chips from the guy on your right" or " Seat 9 only value bets here and only bluffs there."



The quest is not in these Either/or questions:---Am I gonna win this hand or lose it? Is my hand better or worse than my opponents single hand? Will I play it as a stealing hand or a hitting hand? Either/OR even in terms of thinking Pre/Post flop. .This duality of up and down, playing optimally verses exploitively -- There is no right and wrong, good and bad. odds and even. Zero Sum Minus Some, is too pedestrian, too run-of-the-mill. It's more than mixing it up and shifting gears---the mess is the message.

You can't predict the flop, but you can invent it--Plan around commitment.



It’s hard to think probability. Info is Lost In Translation when we simplify yet the simpliest concepts in NLH are the most powerful. There are no best starting hands, only situations. Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. Think of it as a continuum, "AND". An infinite number of third options. This concept needs to be in your game.



Doing two things at the same time that apparently negate each other. NLH is 100% skill and 100% luck. The language of "and" is the language of NLH. The language of "and" is the language of passive and active, optimystical and materialistic, hard and soft. There’s a yang for every yin. It’s Fuzzy logic, and everything is a matter of degree and the player is fuzzy wuzzy to the nth degree. Get a clear, sharp view of the fuzzy.



E= MC2 Equity= More Chips Squared.


Equity—think in terms of what is my hypothetical share in this pot, not just “Am I ahead or behind”.


Commitment- Plan around it. Where is your equity coming from: Making the best hand by hitting or stealing it post flop.—to win the pot, but every hand has the potential for both. Most battles are won before they are fought. Consider the range of hands as well as the playah's temperament.


NLH revolves around the threat of an all in bet. It should be considered around ever decision. This may come at you. Play differently in big pots...Isolate hands that have a high showdown value, and overlimp in hands that have a positive and implied odds to invite more people into the pot. If practice makes perfect, and nobody's perfect, then why practice? There is absolutely no substitute in NLH than for a genuine lack of preparation.


A NLH session is one long conversation run by C students, and Cash is their report card. NLH is like high school with money. This is a world beyond the classroom besides getting the correct answer. The important thing, nevertheless, is not to be in the know, but to be in the Power of NEW . The glass ain’t half empty, it ain’t half full, the glass is not big enough.


What everyone knows about poker is not worth knowing. Challenge the Myths of One-Liner NLH Formulas-Think long think wrong. Dump it or pump it. Suited and booted. Tight is right. All in to Win. No set, no bet. Go big or go home. Raise more than call and fold more than raise.

I wrote The Power Of Paradoxical Thinking in High Stakes Poker This draws water from that wellspring-- Procrastinate now! Infinite patience does brings immediate results to your game. When was the last time you said "I think I'll go to the casino and fold 80% of my hands!"

In Poker the future is already here. It’s just not yet evenly distributed yet. You see, Poker is really a game of mistakes. The rules of Americon Poker are designed to achieve an important balance: an unskilled player(usually the guy with the three c’s condo, cash and cars) must be able to win just enough hands to keep him at the table losing his money. The Americon just look for opportunities, not guarantees. He is ready to make the right mistakes.

Come sideways at an issue instead of head on -It's Not the Big that Eat the Small...It's the Fast that Eat the Slow . Slowplaying fast...

Don’t ca-cheng unless you ca-ch’i--Physical energy capacity is measured in terms of quantity---low to high; and emotional capacity in quality ---negative to positive.. It’s energy, not time, that's your street cred, your table image.


Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of NLH. You can be motivated to play holdem that's good. You can be inspired to play holdem, that's great. Good, however, is the enemy of great.


Remember what Michael said in Godfather 1, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"---Stay motivated, but recognize those moments of inspiration.


Everyone is a genius, it’s just that some of us are too stupid to realize it. It is easy to get de-geniused rapidly with a attitude of " I just want to have fun". Walking into a game because you "feel" lucky is like walking into a sports bar because you "feel" athletic.


Denial just ain’t a river in Vegas. If you want to plug some of the leaks in your game, as Einstein said, "You can't alter a condition with the same mind set that created it in the first place" ---The power of NEW is the power of thinking without thinking, and knowing without knowing.



You don't get a second chance to make a first impression--Logic should yield to instinct. Rebuys are just rearranging the deck chairs of the titanic. The iceberg image, unless you realize something else is keeping the guy afloat who just took all your money , you are destined to become a human hangover, obscene and heard scareaming "I'm king of the world! The Emperor's new t-shirt says" But they were suited"...Check please.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bad Beats are Overhead;Chips, The Cost of Doing Business As Usual


Are You Experienced?
Probability and People=Poker P+P=P
Limit is about value betting and NLH is about trapping.You spell limit poker t.i.m.e. You can't spell anything in NLH! You gotta do the math---the heavy lifting of pot odds, implied odds, counting your outs.



In No Limit Holdem, things don't even out with time, they even out with the number of hands you play. Sometimes nothing can be a good hand. See my Post on Zero Gravity Thinking.


Holdem is a game of high cards, and kickers, In Limit Holdem, the number of players increases, so big cards must be played most of the time. NLH is like chess; Limit, like checkers: so don't play it like cheese! Find the holes and leaks in your limit game, and plug them up.



Hand selection is very important since almost all the time you are going to a showdown---the one with the best hand usually wins; and bluffing is a rather hard thing to pull off, since it only costs one small bet for Deputy Barney Fife to "keep you honest". Nevertheless,You can bet or raise with ATC, any two cards, but your call MUST have a positive matamatical expectation. Calling for value must outweigh the risks you are taking.


INS and OUTS


For the beginner, everything is even money, when you don't know any better. Replacing that with true odds is the goal. There is one goal and many pathways. There is the psycho path way, playing like a Kramer maniac.---the push and pray NLH way, hoping to hit the flop big. There is the rocky road, playing a tight-is-right, the Jerry game of counting your outs---the number of unseen cards that will give you the best hand---the NUTS!


There is wise and there is otherwise. Generally speaking if the FLOP gives you 10 or more outs---go all the way to the river, regardless of the number of opponents in the pot.

If your draws have less than 9 outs 2 handed, that will yield you a negative result more often than not.

A Multi-handed raised pot with six or more outs =profit.


LET THERE BE FLOP- Getting in touch with your inner George Costanza


If a guy has 20k behind him, and you are first to act and bet 6K. He is really betting 20K if he calls your 6K.(the implied turn and river bets) You bet 6K. he bets 20K That is the threat of NLH, the all-in threat. PUT THE COMMITMENT ON HIM.



The Poker Free Lunch



I can read minds. I know what players are thinking after they miss the flop--"Don't bet" Don't bet" They want a free card. I know both sides because I am both sides.



What is deeply personal in poker is universal. If I am capable of thinking it, so are my opponents. That's feeling the fear and doing it anyway---like The Opposite Episode in Seinfeld. "If I raise everyone will think I have an ACE. So you get 72 and raise with squadush. After all, you don't get a second chance to make a FALSE impression. You may win the pot outright, or take it away on the turn if there hand doesn't improve.


Your attitude will determine your altitude in NLH.


We are born broke, and we die broke, everything in the middle is fluctuation.
"Getting broke" and "Going Broke" are two different things. Getting broke is when you place burns down and you become houseless, you, the franchise can still go out and buy or build another house. Going broke is setting yourself on fire---you are homeless, a lifestyle of disenfranchisement. Have an attitude of gratitude because pokewr is 100% skil and 100% luck



SHIFT Happens

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.

It is a poor workman who blames his tools--I don't have a big enough bankroll--A BR is your toolbox. Don't sell your tools. Poker happens in the mind--but it is played with money. I got $1,000 bucks worth of chips and $100,000 worth of courage.



Folding-the invisable way to win.


The 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.

LOOSE playing---you are looking for reasons to call; TIGHT, to fold---choose your posion.

CHIPS, they comes from weakness: exploit opponent weakness to play ATC, any two cards, who come here to gamble mentality.


CP, calling pattern, BP, betting patterns. Pay attention to these hints. Sit to the LEFT of loose players. When you have a monster let lefty bet out. Players who just sit down are easier to bluff and less likely to play weak hands.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feel athletic, go to a sports bar; feel lucky, a casino

Poker Pros Chris Farrell and Ed Reif
Moneymaker Effect? What effect did it have on you?


Calling poker a sport is like calling bald a hair color. Yet this male pattern madness--- an 800 lb gorilla known as Texas No Limit Hold em (a.k.a. NLH)--- has replaced baseball not only as the national pastime, but also America’s bellybutton.
The real deal is that gambling is an addiction, and the Addictionary- is spelt with the letters WSOP, WPT, GSN and ESPN. The mess is the message---winjuries--- a cool revenue stream for the networks and promoters, OME, out of money experiences for everyone else connected to the "sport". Why? because NLH, no limit holdem is 100% skill and 100% luck, and luck lends but never gives.
ESPN’s WSOP (World Series of Poker) High Stakes Poker on GSN and the Travel Channel’s WPT (World Poker Tour) have done for poker what Jamba smoothies did for high fiber diets---it reinvented the often indigestible into an energizing and delicious (peak) experience that can no longer be ignored. This game has juice!
There's one guy to thank-Chris Moneymaker, and one event, the hockey strike!

The Hockey Strike was a negative sum event- NEGATIVE-SUM GAMES are games in which both sides lose. This represents the height of irrationality to positive-sum players, but it proves a surprisingly durable choice of game-players. Pull the grenade and blow us both up.
Smashmouth Poker is a less deadly version of combat, and therefore a good way to practice for it if you are out to have a good time and fully expect to lose all your money that you brought to the table that night.

While the Zambonis' sat idle, the strike created new programming slots for ESPN's niche "sports" like Poker-and fueled the Moneymaker Effect: and you know how that affected all our games---more AQ verses small pockets(races), more bad beats and suckouts by DONKS winning, not by what they knew, but what was absent from their game---like fear, experience and regret.Broke Back Poker-A Guaranteed income for life.Without the right game, however, the right people don't show up.

Raising with good hands, pairs. Calling with draws and throwing away junk. Yea, I wanna play with these guys because Karaoke Poker can solve any problem for which a solution is known to exist . Many still sing the patience, tight-is-right ABC by the book style of play--that's an even money scenerio-- You don’t play to break even, you play to break backs.
When weak players stay in the game, they use luck and because of the nature of NLH, can win buckets of money in the short run. Just remember they are only borrowing the chips from you.Feeling lucky and going into a casino is like feeling athletic and going to a sports bar---You can depend on the rabbit's foot for luck, but it didn't help the rabbit.

Whne playing people who feel lucky---Assume the worst, believe no one, and make your move when you are certain you have the stone cold nuts or at least, great odds. If you get drawn out on the river by this kind of player, be assured he will go broke chasing to the river the next few hands he plays. All players are equally good, it's their play that is bad: A little past playing good is playing badly. You beat bad players and bluff good ones. Bads call too often and rarely fold. The longer you have been playing, the "smarter" you get. Experience rich and technique poor players-smart players---are easier to bluff, because of this fact. They are usually paying attention to the action.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting My Baht Outta Macau and Back To Bangkok

Spending Your Derelict You(th) at the Poker table-The Helium Report

It's been a real crazy week playing my own version of The Asian Poker Tour---Macau is where it's at. What happEND in Vegas now happens in Macau.



Poker is not a form of gambling---but Macau gambling is a form of poker; and the Chinese are just getting to know holdem and took huge gambles that rarely, but eventually, payed off---But anyone who gambles in poker can get lucky on one hand 100% of the time.

Sex And The Gambling Man In Macau-Denial is a river one outter.


A little past playing good is playing badly. I couldn't help myself. It was like potato chips---I couldn't just eat one....I eventually ended up like all the other JOES, played ATC, any two cards...but was hitting flops and winning not just pots but chips. I call that Card Lust.

My malignant optimism got to me when I switched games and went to Blackjack. afterall, In Blackjack, there is always a correct decision, a perfect strategy right?
The glass wasn't half full, it wasn't big or fast enough. I started drinking the koolaid---the cult of the amateur--- Chinese players were drinking gallons.

They played 53 a Bacarat hand like Aces and got lucky. I got dealt black jack hands 73 off suit, I figured I'd move over to Black Jack if these cards were running "good"...and they did!(Magical Thinking)

The Fish Out Of Water

NLH poker is a western game and new to most Chinese, they play it like a house game....and for a few hours I switched to Black John (Jack and I were on a first name basis) I did it---and got away with it because the poker police were eating donuts.


My brain is the most powerful computer, on tilt, My brain is the most powerful broken computer.

I saw guys call down with Ace high and win! You can't spell manslaughter without laughter--I was hysterical laughing as these guys put me on tilt; eating what they killed was so money.
I abandoned my small ball poker style and Get Rich Slowly attitude--because when you lose it quickly you want to get it back quickly...that's what separates the Joes from the Pros---being able to put the brakes on.
As Mickey Mantle said in his 1985 autobiography you keep aiming for the fences, you're bound to strike out a lot ." Small ball poker avoids the MIS (move in specialists) and let them have their hands. Black Jack, however, is a war of attrition. I passed the test and failed the class---Back to gambling school! Time to re-read my post on The Great Poker Lobotomy: Nothing is the hardest to do in Poker.

The Impatience of Patience kicked in. The House Money "Effect"


There was Mr. Right and Mr. Right NOW---Mr. Ed Reif very robustly wanted instant gratification right now, and wanted to be patient in the future.

Instead of inspiring caution, when I risked money, my brains' typical response to this uncertainty was to sharply reduce the importance of the future in my decision-making, an effect I know in Behavioral Finance as hyperbolic discounting.
School psychologists call this ADD, the boutique white male diagnosis of "Poor Executive Function!" Nevertheless: You can always tell a poker player, but you can't tell them much---about holdem being a game of position, about holdem being a game of (selective) aggression, about folding 60% of your starting hands, the invisible way to win.

Furthermore, I broke my rule of playing other games: Because risk of ruin is 100% sure over time with House Games like Black Jack.

Although I had a few disciplined BlackJack hit and runs up 11,000 at one time, putting chips on my front money deposit account at the Wynn, I gave "their" money back which was actually---The House Money Effect getting to me--- with chip overload of playing loose with their money--actually it is ALL my money once won!

The Sex of Macau Poker Reward Circuit Runs on Dopamine

Forget about the degeneracy that surrounds Macau poker---the addiction, drug and alcohol use, depression, and sleep deprivation. After all, Few things are harder to put up with than a good example--- If it wasn't for pimps, prostitutes, and hustlers there wouldn't be No Limit Poker as we know it today. What went on in Vegas now goes on in Macau...and in three months, they'll be a poker room in Cambodia!


Let There Be Flop-The Rise and Fall of John Delorean

There were a few crews--Finnish, Australian and American, plus the Rouge Traders, a Swede in particular, named Leo, who stayed at Augusters Backpack lodge like most grinders---just a bed to sleep, so you could play more poker!



Leo and I hung out a while--He was a great strong player who got paid off on 70% of his hands.
Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oy Oy Oy---The Aussies were beasts--Poker rewards aggression and they were the 800 lb gorillas. I had to leave--- couldn't take all the Steve Irwin accents of "Heaps" of annoyance and "Cheers Mate" after taking down pots uncontested.

The Finns set me up at The Star Galaxy, probably the nicest poker room, right up there with The Wynn---
I have the button, and raise with Pocket Jacks. I get re-raised by the small blind and re-raised by a guy in middle position. I call...and the flop is AA Rag. He checks I bet they both Call. I Say Go to Helsinki and shove all in on the turn and get a call from Pocket 99 Nines! and I hit it and quit it, doubling up to $4000, and leaving. They were speaking Finnish during the hand!!! MY new found Finn friend Mike was laughing but I didn't find it funny. I never sat with them again.


Kept hearing stories about the legendary Sauna 18. After this Turkish Guy known as FY, pushed with AQ at The Grand Lisboa, I called with AK, and he sucked out...and said, "I'm going to Sauna 18" the way John DeLorean said "I'm going to Disneyland." as I remembered those fabulous 80's. They don't pay those chicks for the sex---they pay them to leave!

I had another crack at him at the Wynn, with top pair, and he hit his draw! and again he took chips from me again after telling me about Girl Number 245 in the fish bowl. Happy Thanksgiving Turkey! Glad I could finance your 60 minute "relationship". "Are you going back there to Sauna-Lounge 18? " I asked, but could care less. "You bet", he said. FY eventually gave all of his chips to an Indian guy, a local, who played Smashmouth Poker.

I had to re-frame the losses with Lift Ticket FY: It's not success or failure only outcomes. It's not about winning or losing, but excelling and making good decisions in spite of the outcome.. I know I had this Turkey beat pre flop with the Ak, and the draw, well that's poker.

The Kung Fu Book of Caine Says Be careful When you bluff bad players who only look at their cards and don't read the board.

Don't call us we'll call you

Poker without cards---bluffing didn't work that well---There were too many calling stations.
The cards are just there to confuse the bad players, the Helen Keller’s. It’s not what you look at that matters but what you see. You don’t need cards to win. You need cards to lose. Yet the Chinese only play their hand--they don't read the texture of the board. In this case,I needed cards to lose, firing three bullets into a pot and getting called with Ace high, and me with Air.

Money Is Poker's Report Card--Online University--Poker Stars, the Harvard of Holdem

I decided to stop playing bingo and see more flops: Most Macau players, after all are experience rich and technique poor. They most likely are gambling not betting---so I switched gears and saw more flop. Things don't even out over time, they even out with the number of hands you see.
Last year I did online course work at Full Tilt and PokerStars, I was 60,000 chips short of graduating before I dropped out of the online poker scene to be a cash game specialist.

I made some dough this week in Macau---but spent it on the cost of doing business---chips and the overhead---hotel food and that stupid house game called BlackJack., waiting for my table to open up at The Wynn!

Saying, "It's only a game" is the lesser known, I don't have a dream speech. Yet the aim of NLH is not just winning, but progress. Inspiration increases (to excel) when the left brain gets good at telling the right brain what to do--Ok brain, listen up--stick to poker! They call it Blackjack because the word f_ck was taken.

I flew out of Macau this morning and am back in Bangkok. I had some of the most magnificent luck in Macau ---QUAD nines twice in a night.

First, with pocket nines hitting the flop hard with Quads, later that same evening (actually 1am) morning ---NEXT, at a high stakes 25/50 table on my second hand.... I had $3000 behind me (short stacked) I am in position last to act. It's a family pot (everyone is in) for a bump of 150. the flop is Queen 9 9, and I am last to act with K9.

The raiser wants to pick up the dead money with the scare cards 9 9 (It usually works), so he throws in a $2000. everyone folds, I hesitate and call. on the turn it's a nine-- He has to figure I don't have a nine because there are only four in the deck! So he throws in a $5000 chip---I only have 1000 left! I say I call--I have the absoulute cold stone nuts! The best possible hand. He mucks (probably a Queen full house).
Americon-Can't Put Chinese Players On TILT

Press 1 for English! Couldn't push any buttons with my banter---Nobody understood me!


For the beginner, everything is even money, when you don't know any better. Replacing that with true odds is the goalmost of these guys are learning the game. Keeping the ick in Dick, the c#nt in country-- I played the ugly Americon poker player , speaking English loudly and slowly to get my ideas across---
Betting eventually had to do my talking. It's a slang that spit in the street, rolled up its sleeves and said "Let's Get To Work!" I got action...and the bad beats were amazing--- I had Kings cracked five or six times with random donks bluffing off their chips and hitting cards on the turn and river. It was hard to read most players because if they didn't know what they were doing, I didn't either.

Bad Beats Happen-we retrofit a narrative to tell ourselves that we should have seen it coming because we ourselves could not have been that stupid. And yet, we are no better prepared for the next one.

No Limit Hold ‘em or NLH is designed to have a high luck factor that can quite easily lead to a sort of pathological optimism. It’s a fast, easy to understand game that pulls down huge bucketfuls of short-term luck. In fact, playing because you are “feeling lucky” is (almost) the right way to play.

Going for broke, however, is more poetic than calculating the odds. And crunching numbers. We really don't have any Poker enemies. It's just that some of our best friends are trying to kill us. I had this Aussie Guy Hudson shove over the top of my raise with my pocket Aces verses his Ace 6 and hit trip 6's on the flop--He racked me on that one.

Neurons that wire together fire together---Making money and then making money again is our chemical romance. It produces a “desire to continue”. We are all wired to "invest". Being Digital. It’s not about atoms or how little people behave, it’s about the juice, The Card Lust, where people and bits of information meet.
Poker is a game of situations, like milk, with an expiration date stamped right on the carton. There are no perfect strategies. Poker history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme! I had AK verses A5 with an ace on the flop, and the guy with the dry aces raises, and I re raise all in to prevent his draw and he calls! This is the kind of attitude here---I don't give a F$ck--He even said I know you have AK but I call....He had three outs! and he hit. yet this is precisely the kind of player you want at the table.

They say the Indian Rain dance works because the Indians never stop dancing. Therefore, I was bound to run into good hands---because I never stopped playing poker!

Here's the Wealth/Helium Report:


Don't go broke in an un-raised pot---

In addition to the above, I had QUAD Aces--I limped with a dry Ace A4, and the flop comes AA6. First position bets out a pot sized bet of $150 to steal the small pot. I Smooth call, everyone else gets out. The turn is another Ace--that makes Quads for me, and again he bets out, this time $200. I smooth call. The river is a deuce. Obviously he has a 6, and this time he makes a huge bet og $1000. I am short stacked and go all in-He has me covered,a nd I show him the bad news.

Another cool lightning- in - a -bottle moment---

I get seated at a full table of nine. They make an extra 10th seat...so I am the tenth person. I muck my first big blind.

The second hand I get 6 8 off suit and limp in. I flop the nut straight and check in first position. Everyone, and I mean everyone calls this guys 100, as do I, the turn is a 3, so the board shows3457. I am sure someone has a six now, because the betting gets crazy.

Again, in first position I check, and then seat 2 bets out his straight to the 6 with $200. This time the rest of the table gets the message except one guy, who calls, as do I. The river is a 2, with no flushes out ther the board reads 23457. I have the nuts and give them the bad news---"I'm all in", but they both call me.


And I get paid off...And this is the lesson I learned in Macau, against Chinese players---They will call you and pay you off every time, consequently bluff outs don't usually work. I had a guy call my bluff, with a flush, and a straight on the board, and he won with Ace high! He called my all in! and I was stacked. Bluff Outs--Additional "outs" you might have if the player reads the board and sees scare cards dididn';t work.

Bob, I got a bad feeling on this one, all right? Ship It Anyway.


When I first arrived , wheels down, I was up so much, it was ridiculous. I hit everything. No kidding. My first hand I get dealt pocket sevens, and get re-raised by AK. I go all-in, and it's an ace and a race. I win. The next hand, I get Ace King, but I am in early position and call.

The Button raises to $150. I call instead of going berserk---although the button begged me" Go all-in again". You got to be willing to die in order to live in NLH (No Limit Poker).
Even though most of the players didn't speak a bit of English, I quote from Platoon" Bob, I got a bad feeling on this one, all right?" I don't know if this guy has ever seen Platoon, at least not an un-pirated knock off version.


AND I did have a bad feeling ...that is, until the flop hit me hard with Ace King, but there were two clubs...This time I said to the guy I check. He threw in $200. I went all-in. Since he saw me shove all in with Pocket Sevens, he really couldn't put me on a hand, so he called and flipped pocket Queens. I won....and then Hit and ran. Hit it and Quit it. Tripled up and hit the road over to the Wynn to make a deposit...
Then I sat down at the Wynn, a 10-20 game, and my first hand in the big blind --I turn a wheel with ACE Five and felt this American Bryan, who quit school to play poker. he looks like John McEnroe, with the head band and the wild hair.
I called a raise out of position and I know the way he plays--he will make a continuation bet no matter what---The flop comes 23Jack Rainbow , and I have Ace 5 suited. he makes it 300 and I smooth call with four outs! and the miracle four comes on the turn and I check. He bets, I go all in-he insta calls, with Pocket Aces. he's still drawing live to a split pot if a five comes, but it doesn't and I double up---back to the Grand Lisboa after that.

We are born broke, and we die broke, everything in the middle is fluctuation.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Urban Monk On The Hong Kong Express

The Kowloon Report -Vintage Chaos 2/27/2009

Where's all that Feng shui in Sardine land's "concrete forest" ?

Greetings from the user-friendly universe of Bangkok, to the most densley populated piece of real estate on the planet; at least according to The Guinness World Records, three blocks from the Mong Kok subway station 旺角, Hong Kong.

Caffine Central,Bean and Nothingness

At some point, inevitably, the "off-the hook-off-the-chain"- extraordinary becomes the ordinary. The steady diet of fast food, the 24 hour news cycle aka the CNN effect of knowing everything, the napsterization of cutting out the middleman, the tivoization of on demand time-shifted-content. Here comes everywhere again---this time in Chinglish.
So it was with Bangkok; and so it is with Hong Kongness. Giant escalator take me "up" to get a cup of coffee from my favorite drug dealer, Starbucks. Coffee is the new tea in China. The Starbucks Effect--Everwhere and Forever has its gravitational pull even on the locals---exerting almost cosmic influence on their lives.

I really enjoy being inside a Hong Kong Starbucks, especially after managing to dodge food poisoning from all that street vendor padi thai food on Khao San Road. Drinking coffee from that paper coffee cup, there's nothing better to remind me of where I was, and where I'm going.

I consume, therefore I am

I get to show that "I voted" for Starbucks again, just like all those Obama stickers on Hybrid Prius' in la-la- land Los Angeles---overkill. I'm a long nose, a round eye in the Far East. So I'm not Chinese, huh?"

It's not about the coffee; it's about the lifestyle. The Urban Monk attitude, no strings attached, living in this world but not of this world, telecommuting at location neutral, Hotel @nyware from a wi fi hot spot. I am back to that place that I have never been before.
Hong Kong- From Nation to Notion

I sit in one of their epiphany chairs to self-reflect, write about Hotel @nyware , and give in to a mood swing here or there. Besides it takes the edge off all these cars driving on the left side of the road, not to mention the impecably dressed generation text, especially in knock-off/ kitsch ready wear, and lots of folks in knock out uniforms. It's all just part of the landscape, full of magical rides patiently waiting for my wits to test drive---a business class ticket to cool, with complimentary mojo on take off.
Macau certainly prepares you to pay way too much dough for very little. I wasn't disappointed... The Grand Lisboa suite, howvever was over-the-top. Hey, you put Portuguese in my Chinese. You put Chinese in my Portuguese. A little bit of both and not enough of each.

In Kowloon, however, I low keyed it---Stayed at The Champion Guest House, By the MTR--it's not called the subway here; it's the MTR, by the Jordan Stop--- for $500 Dollars...wow I actually know the value of those chips I have been splashing the pot with. I got a shoe box room with AC and a 1/2 bath.
That black action ($100) chip can buy me two meals. Starbucks is $40 Bucks.

Man, as I have said before--too much respect for money makes you a bad NLH player...so I guess I'm a bad player today---because I actually can buy things with this monopoly money besides chips at The Wynn and The Grand Lisboa.


The map is not the territory, the statue not the saint, but the menu is the meal; when the meals are in Chinglish. Reputed to be the Culinary Capital of Asia,Meet Your Meat with these Hong Kong Signature Dishes...as they get Lost in Translation.


We serve dead shrimp on vegetables with a smile
Pork with fresh garbage
Dreaded veal cutlet with potatoes in cream




Monday, February 16, 2009

Winning at The Wynn in Macau-The Wealth Report

There's No Limit Like No Limit! in Money Heaven

Aircrafts (Metal) and Yachts are not the latest fad in Macau---Texas Hold'em is. China’s version of the Forbes list — the country now has 106 billionaires, second only to the U.S---were out throwing away their money on the house games this weekend, but poker is catching on.


There are some sick pots being taken down. Tonight, the Slumdog Chinese Millionaires of Hong Kong are playing deep stack poker 3 Mill. HK Behind them, a credit to conspicuous consumption and a What the F*ck attitude of the global financial crisis--- with a 7 Million Hong Kong Dollar pot just an hour ago, before I broke for the Hotel.

I'm staying across the street at the Grand Lisboa--the epitome of bling.In it's hey day, it was the greatest hotel Macau had to offer. Inspired by the lotus – Macau’s national flower, check out this photo, where I played a real Sunday night loose game and was up $600.

My hourly rate was $100 US an Hour.

Today I went to the Wynn, and played a $10 $20 no limit loose game and had a bluff fest. Got caught a few times, but I'm going back there now---It's Midnight!

I got a Wynn Poker Hat from the Floorman, and a great rate on a room., 1,750 HK Dollars. They usually charge -4, oo0. Might stay there tomorrow.




Friday, February 13, 2009