From the Cheap Seats

Thursday, September 2

It must be the Republicans...

I had an abysmal night. I was I played for about 2.5 hours and ended down 16BB. For about the first hour or so, my cards were as bad as the night I ended up having. When I did get decent cards, I played poorly and went down pretty fast. This was some of the same play I posted about earlier. I was extending any bluffs way to far and limping in when I should have known I was behind. (probably did know in the back of my mind if I had thought about it) Anyway, this play cost me a good bit when I finally realized that I was playing like an idiot and started paying attention. This is the single weakest point in my game at this point.

A couple of interesting hands came up. The first of these was a mistake followed by a questionable call though I think I played it right (after my first mistake).

The hand went as follows converted:

Preflop: I am in MP with Kc, Js.
UTG raises
, 2 folds, I call, 3 folds, SB 3-bets, 1 fold, UTG calls, I call.

Flop: (10 SB) 7d, Ks, Kd (3 players)
SB bets
, UTG folds, I call.

Turn: (6 BB) 6h (2 players)
SB bets
, I raise, SB calls.

River: (10 BB) 5d (2 players)
SB checks, I bet, SB calls.
Main Pot: 12 BB, between SB and Danny. > Pot won by Danny (12 BB).

Results in white below:
SB shows Ad Ac (two pair, aces and kings).
Danny shows Kc Js (three of a kind, kings).
Outcome: I win 12 BB.

The way I see it my first preflop call was a mistake. With a raise from UTG I should have folded, as he was playing fairly tight (though I hadn't been paying too much attention to him at this point). The mistake was a stupid one in that my touchpad registered a premature click over the call button. At the time though, it wasn't a big deal KJo, while not being a great hand to play in a raised preflop, is not horrible. Then comes the reraise from the SB. Here is where I am not sure of the play. At this point, I am thinking I am probably behind but I have already committed 2SB into the pot. The raise got a call from UTG so we now have 9SB in the pot. At this point, I have to assume the SB has a top notch hand so assuming it is AA I am a 6 to 1 underdog. At this point, knowing that the preflop won't be capped, I can throw away my 2SB or I can toss in 1 more and check out the flop. At some level, I need to discount my mistake call as a sunk cost but I am not sure that it implies that I should not call the reraise. In the end, I decided to make the call and see what the poker gods had in store for the flop. After the flop, I think I played the hand well. A raise at the flop would probably have gotten a call from the SB followed by check-bet-call on both the turn and the river. Thus, I think that call and the raise on the turn were about right.

After that the play went without many interesting hands. I started getting some better cards and was able to claw back some of my losses though I still ended down for the night. My stats for the night proved interesting. Before this I had generally seen my winnings increase as I was in LP. Last night, I seemed to do my best (or at least get the best cards) in MP. Haven't been able to extract enough to detail (or enough hands) to determine if that was just where I got the cards or if it had to do with my play. Or maybe the bad karma from the RNC being caused me to have a bad night. Right...

As always, thanks for stopping by (if anyone is actually stopping by).

Wednesday, September 1

Poker Tracker, Play Money, and the RNC

It's been a very slow few days for me on the poker front. I haven't been able to play all week. Hopefully, I will be able to get some time in tonight.

In the meantime, I have been fooling around with Poker Tracker to see what it offers out of the box and what I can build around it to enhance its statistics. I built a couple of reports and charts off of it using Access/Excel. This is pretty useful and helps summarize a lot of the data in there. While doing this, I started discussing the stats with a fellow player and actuary. The data in PT seems to be somewhat skewed in that you get information on very specific types of hands. Let's take two examples that we discussed. The first is a player who always raises AA and 27o. (yeah, yeah, just go with it for now) In this case, he is not very likely to make it to the showdown with 27o since he will either fold his bluff in light of callers/raisers or the bluff works and everyone folds to him. On the other hand, AA would make it to a showdown much more. In PT we would see that he always raises AA but that he rarely, if ever, raises with 27o even though he routinely does. Thus, you are really only seeing a distorted set of hands. This becomes even more evident when you think about why you would see someone's cards at the showdown. Basically, you are seeing the cards of those people who think they won and those who called because the pot was big enough. Ignoring the second case, as that can be screened based on the size of the pot, you are essentially seeing the cards of bad players since they are more likely to be in the showdown, not knowing that they are beat.

Another area where this skew tends to play a role is around raises in multiway vs shorthanded pots. Let's take a player who raises a good draw in a multiway pot preflop but chooses to fold in a shorthanded pot. In this case, PT will show that this player always raises a given hand. In reality though, he only raises the pot if he is going to get a big enough pot by the end.

Ultimately that leaves PT to be effective only in looking at starting hands in isolation and tracking one's own play against various attributes. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think that PT is a waste of time. Rather, I think one needs to think about the data its providing before blindly following it to change your play. At the very least, it's a good system for players to easily track winnings/losses.

On an unrelated note, last night I was teaching my girlfriend how to play hold em. After going through the basics, she launched up PStars and started playing on the play money Limit holdem tables. After watching her play like 2 hands, I was annoyed and I wasn't even the one playing. I mean seriously what's the point in playing that. I realize it drums up business and gets people interested but these sites should look at hosting these on a different server or something. I mean why waste bandwidth on these games and detract from the connection of those playing for real. In the end, she came to the same conclusion I did and will be depositing some real cash to learn the game at some very low limit tables. Hopefully, she won't become bait and will pick up the game quickly. We shall see.

For those of you in NYC, check out this site. Very offensive but parts are pretty funny. It has been pretty crazy in the city the last few days. It's very odd to see them using city buses to arrest everyone. 1100 arrested last night. Crazy!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Drop me a comment if you have a different take on PT. Thanks to Matt for his input on the thoughts above.

Tuesday, August 31

A new favorite

Iggy posted a bunch of new bloggers today and I gotta say Damning the River definitely takes the cake. This guy's has some great posts with deeper analysis than I have seen recently. Anyway, check out what he has to say.

how can I tell what's attributable to a bad swing and what's attributable to bad play? The former makes me think, I'll get em next time, so just keep going ahead. The latter makes me think, because there is no right time to sit down if you are not a good enough player. The right answer is some of each. Keep going ahead, but practice more - keep thinking. Don't use luck as an excuse to play beyond your means, but don't use bad play as a reason to play scared or doubt yourself completely.
--Derek Slater

Monday, August 30

Homegames and Protests

Not too much poker this weekend as I tried to take advantage of the good weather. So I spent Saturday out on a boat enjoying the sun. Sunday I spent a good portion of my day watching the protests around the Republican National Convention in the city. Some pretty crazy stuff going on down there. I have never seen so many cops. At least I know I won’t be getting a speeding ticket this week.

Anyway, I did get to play some poker last night in a home game though unfortunately not in the Monty Memorial (congrats to Iggy, sounds like it was a pretty good time). It was a great night for me there. I was up 32BB! This was probably my best performance in this game (not sure since I didn’t start tracking it until recently, doh). I tried to play a little more aggressively than I have been in the past. That seemed to pay off, though we will see after a few more attempts with it.

One interesting hand to note, our third hand featured 2 players going all in at the river (mind you this was a limit game) with a couple of boats. The winner doubled up with Jack full of Aces (AJo) to the losers Tens full of Jacks (TT). There was a straight and a flush possibility on the board so it was a pretty crazy hand to see go all in at a limit game.

Most of my winnings were on fairly average sized pots. None very interesting to report. All in all, as expected, it looks like the aggressive play paid off especially short handed (5-6 players). Hopefully next time I will join you guys at the next blogger tournament.
On a completely separate note, does anyone know of a forum where people share hand histories to come up with a larger dataset? I would think this exists somewhere though I am not sure since I would think a lot of people would want some anonymity.