An evening at Seabrook's Poker Room-

Poker night - Who's gonna win?
Image by Philofoto via Flickr

Last evening, I spent over 4 hours playing $2/4 limit at the poker room at the Seabrook Greyhound racing track. They no longer race dogs, but have Poker with the rake going to charities in NH. There are tourneys, Sit N Go;s and and cash games with Limit Hold ‘Em, Stud and Omaha 8 Limit available to cash game players.

While I tried to play tight and nitty, I was unable to gain any ground and lost my original buy in just under two hours. I ponied up another $60 and played for two more hours, leaving with the second buy in almost intact, $59.

I had fun playing, but of course it is not fun to lose. Hopefully, what I learned about my play and that of my opponents will translate into a winning session next time. It took me a couple of hours to find out that the gentleman to my right would raise all drawing hands that he played, pre-flop, flop, turn and river. It turned out he would bet even if he did not hit his hand. If he was called after his river bet he would muck his hand and say “you got me”.  I probably gave him $30 over the course of the evening before I caught on to what he was doing. By that time, he picked up his chips and left. Hopefully, I will see him again – and if he plays the same way, I will have a better idea of what to do about his actions.

Do you prefer face to face games as opposed to online ones? Do you find it easier to put them on a hand in person? What is your preference?

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Woe is me

058/365: H is for Having a bad day and Hiding ...
Image by dotbenjamin via Flickr

I have been stuck of late and this week I was not feeling up to par. But still, I was looking forward to playing on Full Tilt Poker at the Twitter Poker Tour. Both events are No Limit Hold ‘Em and the entry fee is 5.00 + 1.00. We each get 3,000 chips as it is a double stacked tourney.

While playing reasonably tight at the TPTE, I busted out of the first tourney in forth place, at the bubble. There were only six players in that event. I guess that I was not tight enough.

The second event started at 9pm ET. Again, my goal was to play tight and finish in the money. Once more that somehow translated into 28th place out of 34 entrants.

Sometimes, I guess that planning and executing that plan does not always work out.

I thought that I was focused but somewhere  along the line I made bad decisions or bad things happened to me. I do remember putting in almost all of my chips, thinking my opponent could not beat my pair of jacks. I did not see the possible flush on the board. He hit his flush, King high. Oops.

I guess that even though I was feeling better, I really wasn’t up to playing at my best.

How do you know that you are up to playing in a game or a tourney? Can you tell if you are at full strength and are fully alert? Or do you give yourself more time off to get better?

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Now a New York Times Bestseller ….

How often can a “dad” announce that his son has co-authored a book that became a “NYT Bestseller” in just three days of being officially released?

I really don’t know the actual answer to that but in my case, Chris Brogan’s new book, “Trust Agents” by Chris and Julien Smith has become a best seller in a short period of time.

How did this happen? Was it just circumstance?

No. It was thinking, planning and execution.

Who is the book written for?  It really is written for everyone in all walks of life. It was written for companies and corporations, it was written for social media types, bloggers and twitterers. Even for moms and dads like us.

Chris recently gave an advance copy to his mother, my wife, Diane. Initially, she started reading it out of obligation. That is what good moms and dads do. Then all of a sudden out comes her highlighter and she says, “wow, this is a very good book and I understand most of what he is saying”. She also apologizes to me that she is marking up the book as she reads it.

She has just finished it and now it is my turn to read it and learn from it.

Thanks to all of you out there that helped make this happen.

Down … but not out …

3/365 Blah
Image by mellyjean via Flickr

My current spell of quietness is not the result of nothing to say or talk about, but, rather I am under the weather.

I usually like to blog, mostly about poker, five days a week, every week, when possible.

I have not yet got to the point in my blogging and poker career where I have a backlog of unposted articles ready to go in the event I am not up to writing.

But as I sit here reading other blogs and catching up on my tweets of people that I follow, I thought a word of explanation would be in order as to my absence yesterday and my lateness of posting today.

At this time in my life, I don’t need a note from my mother explaining why my homework was not done. Although it might be nice to be in a time where life was a little simpler?

What do you do when you are “under the weather”? Do you write anyway? Do you have a large stored section of pre-written material just for times like these?

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Poker Hand Nicknames

home made flea trap
Image by ghbrett via Flickr

In the world of poker, certain card combinations have been given names as the result of common usage or the personalities involved with the hand. There are even some superstitions that follow the hands in some cases. Perhaps the oldest is named the “Dead Man’s hand”, which was a pair of aces and eights dealt to Wyatt Earp just before his death. He was shot by his opponent who thought that Wyatt had cheated him. More recently Doyle Brunson has had a hand named after him, the ace queen was called a “Doyle Brunson” right up to the W.S.O.P. of 1976, when the name became associated with a ten deuce combination that won him the W.S.O.P championship which he repeated the next year winning it all again with the same hand, a ten deuce. Other hands that have names are ace king aka “Big Slick”, a pair of jacks are known as “Fish Hooks”, and the name “ducks” refer to a pair of twos or deuces.

As the result of playing in the “Twitter Poker Tour”, we have come up with a new name for a pair of queens. According to most poker circles a pair of queens are referred to as “Ladies” But for players of the TPT (Twitter Poker Tour” they were originally called “fleapids” in honor of Paul Ellis’s twitter name, “@fleapid” (this was later changed to @CoolWhipFlea). He would get pocket queens and would eventually go all-in with that hand only to lose. In fact it seemed that he would lose almost 99% of the time whenever he got a pair of pocket queens. He eventually changed the name from “fleapids” to “#fleapowder”. Now, whenever we see that hand being played almost all of us will type on the chat window “#fleapowder” if that hand loses. We might even say that we folded #fleapowder and most of the group will know just what we are talking about.

Do you have names for your special card combinations? Are you superstitious about getting certain combinations of cards? Are you even superstitious at all?

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Poker thoughts made while in a rut…

One of this days....I'll fly away!!
Image by pierre pouliquin via Flickr

Last week was not a good week for playing poker, either in the cash games or at the #TPT tourneys. In fact, even a “home” Sit N Go played in the Boston area was a bust for me. Hopefully this does not entirely sound like “whaaa whaaa whaaa”.  When I play poker, I like to have an expectation of winning and when I don’t, I try to analyze why I am losing and see if I can correct it.

Right now I am starting to run out of ideas. I have read some of the best books available about the subject of poker; all the do’s and don’ts, all the correct strategies, all the ways to maximize your wins and minimize your losses. None of that information seems to be working at the moment.

There have been times in the last few months where everything started working for me. I would play almost any hand dealt brilliantly and would extract a win out of a losing situation. This was true of both small MTT’s (multi-table tourneys),  Sit N Go’s, and Limit Cash games online. But of late, nothing I do is effective. In fact, my biggest problem now is that I no longer have a style of play. I have been playing either very tight or very loose or somewhere in between.

I am still struggling with finding out what game I should play? How I should play it? At what level should I play it? And what style of player I should be? This is a case of finding myself and knowing myself.

Do you ever have times in your poker career where things are not clicking and you are not clicking? How do you work yourself out of that rut? What actions do you take to change things around?

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Random poker thoughts … after a couple of home games

poker game
Image by scmtngirl via Flickr

I got the chance last night to play No Limit Hold – tourney style at the Boston Social Media Poker Tour held in Watertown, MA and hosted by Kevin. He tries to run the event monthly, but it is hard to get people in the summer to commit to a Thursday night poker game.
I was the first arrival at his home last night. He said that 15 people had responded in the affirmative but that one had backed out. About 35 minutes later we started the “single table tourney” with six players. Due to the low turn out it was decided that the top two players would split the entry fees 60/40.

I have been card dead of  late, meaning that I am not getting many reasonable playing hands such as pocket pairs and last night was no exception. In the first tourney I was able to hit a flush with me holding the 6 8 suited to take down a good pot . For the rest of the session I was having to fold all but “Ace any” as I like to call them and hope for an Ace on the flop. For the most part the table was not overly aggressive, with the most betting occurring after the flop. Our host Kevin, was perhaps the most aggressive, always raising when ever he got his “favorite hand”. We were never able to find out what that was as most of us folded after his raise. Maybe next time we will find out?

I was able to hold on in the first tourney and finish third, the bubble, meaning that I just missed a chance to win money.  Because we had only six people in the first event and finished earlier that expected, we decided to play one more game. Two more people decided to drop out, leaving only four to play. Prior to playing, we decided that this would be a winner take all event. I did a little better this time and finished second, again just one spot away from winning a payout.

In both events, I was basically blinded off, meaning that I would be putting in the amount for the small blind or the big blind and would be forced to give those up when raised.  The reason I would fold was due to the poor cards I held. When ever I tired to re-raise and get the opponent to fold, it would not happen and I would lose more chips. I think that what I take back from this event was that I was not aggressive enough at spots when I could have taken the blinds. There were too many hands that were checked down and I would lose to a low pair that my opponent made at the river. Any reasonable bet made would have caused them to fold, so it turned out.

Have you ever had sessions where your hands were just not good enough to play except for a bluff and you knew that there was a good chance that your bluff would be called? Did you realize that your lack of aggression might have cost you chips? Or was your opponent more aggressive than you were and you were not able to adjust to their play?

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If a picture is worth a 1,000 words – how much is an avatar worth?

Avatar choice
Image by Pieter Musterd via Flickr

LatelyI have been playing Limit Hold ‘Em cash games at DoylesRoom. In previous posts I have commented on the fact that I would see the same player act differently on different days and at different times of the day.  I thought originally that the person was sharing the user name with others because the way the player acted from day to day seemed so different from session to session.  Some of my poker friends have suggested that this person was not playing at their best during some of those sessions and that it might still be the same person. I guess that is possible as I am not always focused and consistent at the tables.

But during my last session, I noticed something entirely different. There was a player that would buy-in at a small level, lose his money and leave the table. The player would come back to the table a few minutes later but would have a totally different avatar. One time it would be a hooded player, like Phil Laak, the next time it would be an old cowboy or a large bosomy young female or a geeky young kid or an older librarian type lady with her hair in a bun. However, the player’s actions were practically the same. He would buy in at a small amount, $5.00, play almost every hand, and lose the money and leave, only to reappear as someone else with another $5.00. This happened at least four times over the course of a few hours and thankfully he provided me with some of his chips.

I can only guess why the person was doing this. Was he looking for the magic avatar that would allow him to win every hand? Was he trying to fool people into thinking he was someone else? Was he just doing this to have a good time? Did he just want people to notice him?

Next time, I might ask him “what gives with the costume changes?

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Pay now for rewards later – hmmm?

Set of 52 Anglo-American style playing cards
Image via Wikipedia

Last night I played at the Limit Hold ‘Em cash table on line at DoylesRoom. The highest game available, with a full table of 9 players, was in the .50/1.00 limits so I reserved a seat and waited until one was available.

My usual mode of play is a bit “Nitty” at these tables on this site. This is because most of the players will play any two suited cards, any two cards if they hold an Ace, suited or otherwise. I have found that there are some whose requirements are that one card be a face card or high: Ace, King, Queen, Jack; the second card did not have to match or be a high card or even in the same suit. There are some I suspect that even play their favorite starting cards.  I have seen at least a couple of players show 7 2 suited or unsuited to win a hand in spite of the fact that most of the cards that were flopped, turned or rivered where higher than either the pair of twos or pair of sevens they ended up with.

In the course of play last night, I ran into a couple of aggressive players, one to my immediate right which helped me and one about three players to my left which did not help. The player to my right would come into almost every pot with a raise before the flop. But he might fold almost immediately after the flop if he was raised. From this action, I was able to guess that he was raising with drawing hands  and was raising pre-flop to build up the pot in case he hit. But because he folded, I was never sure just what type of hands he was raising with. The same thing was true of the player on my left about three seats away. He also would raise before entering a pot. But he would never fold and would keep betting until the river if his opponents had not already folded.

So last night I decided I was going to look them up. In poker, this means that I was going to call their bets right down to the river and see the flop. I did this only if there was no re-raising going on. I did this once for each player. Over all, I think it helped as I found that their opening requirements were quite liberal. They might open with suited connector, like AK, KQ, QJ, J10 or just two suited cards or just an Ace and a high card. Did this help me win from them? Not really. After I figured out what they were doing, people were starting to leave the table and I did not have the opportunity to use the information I had learned by calling their bet and losing the pot just to see their cards. Before leaving the table, the player to my right won over $20 from the others including myself. The player to the left lost about $10,  and I ended up losing $13 for the night overall.

Do you ever wonder what a player had for cards that caused everyone who played against them to fold and not see a showdown? Were you ever tempted to call that last bet just to see what they had, even though you knew you were probably beaten? If you have done this, how have your results been?

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A day off from poker …

Gone fishing
Image by pyrator via Flickr

Yesterday I took a day off from poker. That means that I did not play poker either online or at a poker room.

I had planned to work on mowing the lawn or cleaning out the garage. But it was too hot and humid to do any of these things.

While I did not play poker, I did blog about poker, tweet about poker, read blogs about poker and I did think about poker.

Yesterday I  got involved in “The Big Push” which is an effort by my son, Chris Brogan, to sell at least 768 copies of a book that he co-authored, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust.

To that effort, my wife Diane and I thought of five additional people that we could give a copy of the book to and we purchased five from Amazon.com We also retweeted his post and some of his tweets. Using some tweet search engines, we were able to follow most of the activity involved around @chrisbrogan using this link to IceRocket.Com. While we were limited to seeing only 1,000 of the last tweets, at that point in time, that was enough.  The majority of the tweets were supportive of his efforts and some even contained links to pictures showing a person holding up a copy of the book they purchased. Some even went so far as to write a blog about Chris and Julien and their efforts to assist people in Social Media. They said it is time to show Chris and Julien that their  efforts are appreciated by ordering a book at any of the locations listed on this post.

Two of the blogs that we read yesterday were from Jon Swanson and Amy Fitch.  These postings were a nice finish to a non-poker-playing day.

What do you do on your day off from poker? Do you still read and think about the game? do you get involved in other family activities? Does that help you to re-energize?

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