Nine Outs and a Zero Balance

Musings about two of these: life, poker, and syphillis.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oh Wait, Attatch This

I won't write an extensive post about the internet gambling financial transfer bill that passed a while back in DC. Mainly because I am way too late for this to be news. Secondly, because everyone and their mother has written a post on it. I must say that the addition of gambling legislation is about as related to port security as funding terrorists has to do with smoking a joint, but eh, whatever.

So anyway, the issue has caught some main stream criticism, as I found out when I was reading some articles on Yahoo! Sports yesterday. Good piece by Dan Wetzel, who is a great writer. "The betting fools"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

An Open Letter

Dear Matt,

I realize that you are a busy person, but I am in need of an update and my readers, though few, are dissapointed with the date of the last post. Yes, applying to jobs is an important endeavor giving your fast approaching graduation date, but that is not excuse for neglect!

Remember the three part post on table talk and showing cards? Yes, it is still stuck at Part One. Talk about being blue-balled.

Remember poker? Yes, you can fit in a few hours of sheer money throwing madness into your schedule. Who knows?, it may even take some pressure off.

I am afraid of being cast into the oblivion of blogdom, where a three year old post stares back at the top of the main page. Update me, for the sake of my existing, update me.

With Concern,
Your Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sharing Secrets: Part 1

This is the first article in a three part series aimed at poker strategy more specifically than many of my posts. This series will delve into the issue of sharing your secrets at the table: Showing Your Cardsand Discussing Strategy as related to Table Talk and Table Image.

Its interesting to watch the variety of strategies employed by amatuers and poker pros alike during a session of poker. It is less frequent that you will see a seasoned veteran flashing cards that they are able to muck. Poker is a game of information and many players default to never showing their cards and therefore minimizing the information they give out.

However, poker is also a game of appearences, of representation, of misinformation at times. It seems to follow that dismissing showing muckable hands as always wrong is just not a well thought out decision. It is an easy decision, yes, but it may not be a profit-maximizing one.

Part One - Effects of Showing vs. Mucking

A player must think of the possible effects of their decision to show or muck. Many amateurs hapahazardly show their cards without real intent and therefore just give information to their opponents. Thoughtless card exposure can't lead to positive gains at the table, other than by accident.
    Showing a Bluff
  1. Tilt - In a large pot versus skilled and unskilled players alike, laying down the best hand can put person on tilt faster than most other events. That person may start handing out money by becoming a calling station while fuming from his/her bad decision.
  2. Loosen - Many beginner players will see that you are willing to bluff and will subsequently loosen their calling range for you specifically.
  3. Tighten - Some advanced players may realize that many players show bluffs with the intent on loosening the table to their bets. Some will tighten their calling range in subesequent hands, expecting you to only bet solid hands since you might be trying to bait for looser calls on your made hands.
    Showing a Made Hand
  1. Tighten - Some players may tighten seeing your betting pattern with a made hand. Some beginners will tighten no matter what your betting pattern looked like. Others will tighten only if you exhibit the same pattern.
  2. Loosen - Some more advanced players will be on the look out for you using a similar pattern to set up a bluff and will be more willing to call with mediocre hands.
    Showing Preflop Cards
  1. This move has similar effects to their post-flop analogs, but are diminished because of the stakes preflop. It is less likely to get a future change in play by showing preflop cards. It may be useful in tournaments to establish a tight image necessary for future steals. However, if you make a habit of showing and then suddenly decide not to, it seems clear that you stole in that instance.
The main idea is to realize that by showing your cards you are exposing your betting patterns to the good players at the table and therefore have to take into account how they will react to that information.

Some beginners may do the obvious and fail to notice your betting patterns, it is unwise to attempt to set up these players, they often just won't be thinking enough to fall for it.

Moderately experienced players may be the easiest setup because they attempt to think of the reasons for your action, but often will think exactly how you planned them to.

Solid players are tough to predict. They will probably continue to play fairly similar to before, other than the information they have gleaned about you. A solid player is dangerous to give extra information to at any time.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Music, Sweat, and That Funky Smell

The glory and pageantry that is Austin City Limits was just experience by around 60,000 people from Austin and elsewhere. The event is a can't miss for a music lovers or just have-a-good-time lovers. The weather cooperated with some cooler temps and held off on the rain just enough for a great weekend.

Yes, there is the stench of sweat. Yes, the crowds get annoying at times. And yes, you do get to smell that herb every thirteen seconds. But its all worth it if you love eclectic, great bands packing years worth of music into power packed one-hour sets. Seven stages, three days.

My Lowlights
1) The multitudes of 30-something year old women who are 40 pounds overweight and insist on wearing only a bathing suit top.
2) The smell of wet feet that permeated the event after the morning rainshowers.
3) The band "TV on the Radio" - just not my cup of tea. It was the only set I left just because I couldn't handle being there any longer.

My Highlights
1) Screaming the lyrics that I knew and making up the ones I didn't, while constantly gyrating to great songs.
2) Laying on the Zilker Park grass and staring at the moving clouds during slower low-key artists.
3) Talking to and running into friends while walking from stage to stage.

My Favorite Performances (No Order)
1) Iron and Wine - Great voices, variety of instruments, and musically interesting. Most of the crowd didn't know them at the start (including me) but we were all into it at the end of the set.
2) Muse - WOW. Talk about energy. Guitar riffs and creepy awesome lyrics played to an amped up crowd. Had a 45-minutes Sunday night set and absolutely blew the pants off the attendees.
3) Tom Petty - I grew up listening to him with my pops on road trips. He could have stumbled and mumbled for an hour and I would have loved it. Interrupted by rain for 20 minutes, but played many of the sing-along classic folk rock songs that made him last for 30+ years. What an entertainer.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where's My Cigar?

Went to an Austin home-run poker game Thursday that Scott has been trying to get me to go to for weeks. Very nice, well run game. Delicious meatballs to munch on while attempting to take money from the variety of poker players. Stayed for for the afternoon and left down 200 bucks, but felt good about my play regardless.

Lost a large pot when the fourth spade came on the river and I had to fold to the guy on my left's big bet while holding a straight. I'm decently sure he had top pair Q with Ace of spade kicker. The lost the last of my stack on about 125 dollar pot with all the money in on the turn. He had second pair, I had top, but naturally he got his third ten.

Probably will go back and play some more live sunday, until then I will be watching college football all saturday, concluding with going to the UT/OSU game! Hook 'Em Horns!