I am right there – sitting right near you.

Sitting in a chair that both his mom and grand...

Sitting in a chair that both his mom and grandma sat in (Photo credit: rustytanton)

In my previous discussions about my adventures as a poker room dealer for The Poker Room NH in Hampton Falls, NH I mentioned that I am a “work in progress”. I need to deal more and to practice more in order to become the best that I can become.

There are at least 42 steps that must be followed out for every hand of poker that is played. This includes shuffling the deck, cutting the deck, making sure that blinds and antes, if any, are collected prior to dealing out the cards. Then each player is dealt one card at a time, starting with the small blind (the small bet) and ending back at the dealer button, until they each have two cards.

In the early stages of a tournment, there might be as many as three actual players and seven “dead stacks” to deal to at my table. Once every player or dead stack receives their two cards, I must collect back those cards that do not have a live player sitting in front of them and place these cards into the “muck” or stack of non-playable cards face down, beside me. While I’m doing this, I must call the action as it progresses around the table, indicating who is calling, who is raising, who is folding, etc.

I must make sure that the correct total of chips are in the pot and that each player that has change coming back if they did not have the exact amount available when they either called, bet, or raised and were called.

Every step is an opportunity for a mistake to occur and when I first started out, I easily made a mistake in almost every round of play or so it seemed to me. My worst mistake to make was to sweep away players cards that were active but too close to my reach when I was folding the other cards belonging to the dead stacks (chips with no players sitting at the table).

Now when I have a fairly empty table with less than 5 players, I warn them ahead of time to protect their cards or I  might toss them into the muck.

My supervisor recently said to me “you’re improving, Brogan … I am getting less complaints about you”.  I actually took that as a compliment as it is true that our poker players are very vocal in their opinions.

At a recent tournament, I had one player lean over towards a younger female player and tell her to be careful, that the dealer (me)  is  not very good.  I am not sure if  he thought I had ears but I smiled towards him and told the young lady that indeed I am not perfect but we have a whole table of players that will help to ensure that I do everything correctly.

The complaining player busted out of the tournament within 15 minutes of play but I did not warn the young lady that he was a bad player.

Etiquette you know.

Enhanced by Zemanta

When free poker is not completely free …

Last Sunday evening, Diane and I do what we always do for an evening of free poker. We drive to Manchester NH to the City Sports Grille located on 216 Maple Street.

We play free bar poker sponsored by City Sports and run by TavernTainmenT. This weekly event draws more than 45+ serious people to play No Limit HoldEm tournaments. There are two sessions, the first starting at 5 pm and the second around 7:30 pm, depending on if the first session has completed.

Player experience runs from total newbies to extremely skilled. Usually someone volunteers to deal at each table. There are usually five and sometimes six tables filled with poker players, young and old, male and female. For the most part, the tables are cordial and fun (at least at my table, where I am dealing; fun people come to my table even though the seating is random).

The only costs that the players have are those for buying drinks, snacks and meals from the City Sports Grille. It is a win win for the bar and for TavernTainmenT.

That being said, the costs at the City Sports Grille are not extremely expensive. Except last Sunday night. For me personally.

I forgot to charge my cell phone and before the evening was out, my phone shut off due to the battery running down. I placed my dead phone in my back pocket and forgot about it. Later, while in the restroom, I some how managed to drop my phone into a body of water (Don’t ask!).

Needless to say, the phone did not survive. Luckily, I had insurance so the total cost to me to replace it, was $90 plus my annual premiums of $96 a year. This is the second time that I used it this year, so I am ahead. If I had to pay for the phone itself, out of pocket would be about $600, so the insurance is a good thing. I now have to be extremely careful as I have used up my entire benefit for the year.

—- Note: This post also appears on MompopPow.com

Not really playing within my bankroll

Several stacks of silver dollar pancakes

Image via Wikipedia

Ok. So I am playing short stacked.

I have about $150 on Full Tilt Poker, an affiliate.

Playing the .02/.05 No Limit Cash games gives me about 30 buy-ins, which is a far cry from the 100 buy-ins I should have.

I will continue to try growing my bankroll one session at a time.

I do not expect to win every session I play but I do hope to win more than I lose.

Playing Rush Poker on FTP gives me the opportunity to play more hands.

The reason for this is that when I fold my hand, I am immediately taken to a new table and dealt a new hand. Very amazing stuff.

And if I play better than my opponets overall, I should show a profit.

As of this morning I have gone from 31 buy-ins or $155 to just over 34 buy-ins or $171.

Are you tracking your goals or progress? How are you doing?

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Diamond ended up costing me a third of my buy-in!

Four Suits
Image by qthomasbower via Flickr

I was playing No Limit Hold ‘Em at Full Rush Poker. I bought into a low level table where the blinds were .05/.10 and my buy-in was $5.00. The table play was a little wild. There was one high stacked player with over $20.00 so he must have been hitting good hands as the maximum buy-in is $10.00.

When ever I enter a table cold, not having observed it, I like to wait until I am the big blind to play. While waiting, I noticed a lot of raises and re-rasises from the large stack opponent. He would get a few callers, hit his flop and rake in more money. Some of the other players had stack sizes of less than $2.00 and in some cases, less than $1.00.

I realized right then if I was going to stay at the table I needed to wait for either AA, KK or perhaps AK before playing as it appeared that an all-in moment could occur any time.  I wanted to have a hand to battle with.

On one hand, I caught AK and I was in early position. The under-the-gun player folded as did the next player. I raised by betting a pot size bet of .70c. There were five callers including the large stack and the big blind. The flop was 3 5 6 rainbow, no matching suits.

Everyone checked and the turn card was a 10. No help to me either. The big blind checked, I checked, the next player bet .70c. The large stack player folded. The big blind raised, going all in for his remaining $1.83.

My hand was poised over the mouse, waiting to click the “fold” button, when it happened.  Out of nowhere came a Diamond flying over the back of the couch, and hit my shoulder. I immediately hit the mouse button  but now it was positioned over the call button. The other player folded and I watched the river card bring me no help.

I lost over a third of my stack when Diamond, one of our pair of young kittens, leaped over the couch and hit my shoulder in an attempt to get into my lap to cuddle. Both he and his brother, Spade, vie for the top position on my lap, each one trying to move the other away in order to claim me for their sole possession.

So now the cat is out of the bag. Most of the time I play online, sitting on the couch in front of the large screen TV. I have my notebook hooked up to it and enjoy watching the action on a 47 inch screen. These kittens are quite a challenge while I play online poker. They enjoy stepping on the keyboard, batting the mouse or watching the screen while the cards are being dealt.

Do you ever play online poker with distractions? How does that effect your game? Have your distractions caused you to play in a less than optimal way?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Can't we all just get along?

apparently the "quiet zone" is not a...
Image by marymuses via Flickr

I play a lot of cash and sit and go’s and tourneys and I am seeing a trend that is starting to get quite annoying and downright disrespectful. That is the practice of criticizing the playing of other player’s. It is starting to affect other people not directly involved in the hands in question. Some of these people were regular players at games that I frequent.

Now I am not seeing some of these players at any of the games that I frequent. I am sure that I can attribute their unwillingness to play in a hostile atmosphere. And this is a shame as it spoils it for all of us who love the game of poker.

There is no need to call a person that stays in a hand for a two outer a donk or any other name for that matter. We need all types of players to fill up the table in order for the rest of us to play.  We don’t need to make somone feel uncomfortable in order to make our bad luck be their fault.

I am sorry to say that I may have been part of this problem because I did not say anything or do anything to stop it. It is one thing to have some friendly banter, it is another to belittle someone else. I vow from now on to try and change what is going on at the tables. Perhaps  I can do that using a gentle reminder that we have a game going or let us watch the banter. Let’s tone it down. Perhaps I will have to DM someone in order to voice my concerns. Whatever it takes.

What do you do to promote a friendly game? How do you  promote a postive attitude at the table? Or do you just stop playing there?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

We all Donk sometimes – at least I did

Queen of spades.
Image via Wikipedia

Last night was the final game of Season 3 for the Twitter Poker Tour – Euopean edition which started at 2pm ET or 7pm BST hosted by the Twitter Poker Tour and played onFullTilt poker.

There were 13 entrants for the final game. After the first hour of play, I had gained the lead and after two hours there were just five of us left with me still having the lead. I was the under the gun player and was dealt Qs 9s and opened with a raise of 800 chips. The blinds were 200/400 with an ante of 40 at the time. I got one caller heads up. The flop was 9h Qh Js.  I put in a C-bet of 800. After a couple of seconds my opponent shoved all in for the remaining 5,080 chips. I thought about it few a few seconds, which as you will see, was an error, and I called.  I turned over my Q9 and my opponent turned over KK.  This should have been an easy fold. Pre-flop, I did not have a made hand but just a draw.  I had only hit top pair and did not consider what my opponent could possibly have such as AA, AK, KK, KQ, QQ, etc.

There really was no reason for me to jeopardize any of my chips or my lead with just a drawing hand. Donk. Donk. Donk.  What was I thinking? Not, of course. But wait … the turn was an eight … I was saved … two pair … wow … I could just coast to my fifth TPTE win .. WooT.

But the river did not forget my Donk call and a King hit giving my opponent trip kings and about 7,000 of my chips moved away from my stack to my opponents. From that point on, I made a series of bad moves designed to give away the rest of my chips. I was not patient enough to recover and regain the lead. I finished in fifth place.

When ever I make bad decisions like these, I usually beat myself up for about 24 hours or so. But, I can go on to the next game and not let it effect my play. After busting out, I joined in two H.O.R.S.E sit and go’s and placed second in one and next to last in the other. Currently I am not a good H.O.R.S.E player and need the practice.

Have you ever donked in a tourney? Did you ever make a move that did not have a positive? Did you go on mini-tilt afterward? How do you handle making bad decision?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

A guest post – from comments made by Jack – updated 5/20/09

A picture of a texas hold'em poker table, with...
Image via Wikipedia

This post has been updated with additional comments from Jack – See below:

On May 13th, I wrote a post titled, “How not to play pocket Aces and why do I hear chips clinking when I am not in a hand?” which was about how I played, or rather, misplayed a pair of pocket Aces.

Today I received a comment that was terrific and to the point and so well written that I wanted to share these comments with you.

The comments were written by Jack, a friend of Paul Ellis aka @CoolWhipFlea, whose blog, Pablos Place, is one I read often and is on my blogroll

Here are Jack’s comments, Thank you Jack.


I think maybe the problem with this hand was the min raise preflop. You’re pretty much giving the BB the easiest call of his life at the start of a SnG when the blinds are small. Even with the call I think you could have escaped the hand (hypothetically…). Consider that the pot when the flop came was only 135 chips (60+60+15SB)…. then the villain shoved in 345 chips, a suspiciously large overbet. I think maybe you could have folded there because the pot size, bet size ratio was so off and suspicious.

Basically though, the small raise preflop against the big blind ruins any reads you can have post flop because realistically he can call the additional 30 chips with almost any two cards. Because his range is so wide he could have just as easily had AQ, KQ, KK, TT, JJ, A8 (all hands that hit the flop well, but you beat with AA) and your call could have been correct on the flop. But again, you have no idea because your raise was so small.

I think the most straight forward way to play your hand would be a 3-4XBB raise when it was folded to you, so instead of a raise to 60, a raise to 90 or 120. Why?

1) Because if you get callers, you’re getting more value out of your hand (bigger pot size). 3-4xBB is small enough that people will still call you with worse hands, but large enough that it allows you to begin building a big pot that you can win (as opposed to a small pot.)

2) You narrow their range. On a 68Q board after a standard (really 3-4BB is pretty bread and butter online) raise the only logical hands that will have you beat on the flop are 66, 88, and QQ. The only 2pair you’ll be seeing is MAYBE Q8s or something but in most cases you can eliminate 2 pairs completely because Q6 is so weak and Q8s is really a bad call preflop IMO. He would be forced to fold his 68o and the suckout would have never occurred. If he is a bad player he still might have called, but you can rest easy knowing you got your money in good and you played the hand correctly.

Consider the fact that QQ would likely 3bet you preflop and you can narrow his range even further by thinking “Ok, if he had QQ he would have likely reraised me preflop, and since he didn’t chances are he doesn’t have QQ.”
Anyways, compare the two ways you could have played the hand and I think it becomes obvious which one is better.

If you raise what you did (min raise) then the hand goes.

You: raise to 60
Villain: “Ok, 68 isn’t a great hand, but if I hit the flop, I’ll probably stack him if he has a good hand. If I don’t, it’s an easy fold and I still have a ton of chips. Because it’s only 30 more into a 95 chip pot, I’ll call”
Villain: “Wow 2 pair! I probably won’t make much money on this hand because the pot is small, but if he has a good overpair, I bet I can overbet the pot and get called light, maybe even reraised! I’ll raise to 345 and pray for a call”
You: ??? Well I guess I have to hope he doesn’t have QQ, All in.
Villain gets paid

The same hand if you raised to 4XBB
You: raise to 120
Villain: 68o? I have to call 90 more chips into a 165 chip pot? That’s a big chunk of my stack.. if the flop doesn’t hit, and it probably won’t, then I’m just throwing away chips by calling. I guess I’ll have to fold.
Villain folds

OR (unlikely)

You: Raise to 120
Villain: I am a fish. 86o is such a good hand. Call
Flop: 86Q
Villain: Yay my fish call worked! Bet 345
You: Well his range of hands that beat me is pretty much 88,66, maybe if he’s loose Q8s. But wouldn’t he try and slowplay a set like most people do at these stakes? KK, QQ, and maybe JJ would have probably reraised me preflop. I beat AQ, KQ, QTs, JQ, 87s…. all hands that he could easily have. Hmm… and it’s an overbet to the pot…. maybe this guy is just a fish with random cards?

And then you make whatever decision you want based off that. Personally, if I was in your spot after raising 4xBB and he called, I would probably stack off with AA after his 345 raise. There are so many hands you beat in his calling range, that 9 out of 10 times you’ll be making the correct choice. Which means that over time you’ll be making the +EV choice. Add to the fact that I think he folds 68o almost all the time to a 4xBB raise, the fact that he will hit a flop like that (one that beats you) less that 17% of the time, and you can stack off with AA almost everytime on that kind of board and your profit level will fly up.

You won’t have to blame the hand on yourself or feel bad about it. It’s just a fish getting lucky, and you’re ready to go to the next SnG.

This is just my analysis of the hand, but I think many other players would agree with the logic. I think minraising is never good preflop (unless you are trying to induce some kind of tilt shove from your opponent) and you should focus on making 3-4xBB your standard raise everytime. It’s big enough to allow you to build a pot and fold out the crappiest hands, but small enough that you can get away from the hand if put into a marginal spot.

I am Paul’s friend Jack by the way. I was just bored and reading your blog (which I found through his blog) and thought this post was interesting enough to post a big essay of my thoughts. Hahah. Good to meet you and I hope something I said was useful or interesting. GL at the tables —-

Jack made additional comments which somehow did not show up – I have added them here.

To extend my specific advice about this hand to a more general poker theory, so you can apply it in other places, is this.

The hand was hard to play because you were too cautious. By not wanting to get into a bad situation preflop, you put yourself into an awful awful situation post flop (I am basing this off your previous blog about letting go of aces preflop in some tournaments.) Often when playing poker, being selectively aggressive will make choices on later streets much more clean cut.

Suckouts happen, but if you are playing with a proper bankroll and solid overall play they shouldn’t matter. You’re aggressive play will profit on the long run, with patience and proper discretion. Aggression will always help you narrow ranges and make good choices. I feel like playing more passively just puts poker players into such marginal spots…

I know this is just my opinion, but the more concepts you have in your head while playing, the better your going to play. Even if you don’t want to follow my advice, I think it’s good to consider when playing a hand.

ALSO, I know you probably don’t play shorthanded, but when you are thinking about the game, watch this video.


Honestly, I think it’s going to help your decision making and help you understand other people’s decision making in the future.

http://www.donkeytest.com/school.html. That page has 5 training videos that help out quite a bit imo. Even if you don’t like them, they are interesting to think about. GL! Sorry for leaving two comments, I just really needed to comment fully on the topic.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How not to play pocket Aces and why do I hear chips clinking when I am not in a hand?

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Image by Don Nunn via Flickr

During the last seven days or so I have been playing the micro limits while trying to build a bankroll from $10 to $250 as part of a challenge – see my previous post, “Update on the race to $250 and other thoughts” for more details.

Yesteday I shared my thoughts about not going all in just because you might have the best hand. You should also consider your stack size versus your opponents and if you want to gamble your entire tournament on just one hand early in the event.

Well, I was put to the task on the first hand of a “Sit N Go”. I was dealt a pair of Aces, the best possible starting hand.  I decided to play this hand in a reasonable and straight forward manner. I was the fifth person after the big blind. Four people folded behind me. I raised to 60, or twice the big blind. The big blind called my raise and the small blind folded and we saw the flop.

The flop was 8h 6h Qc – the big blind raised to 345 and I thought for a few seconds and decided “unless he has pocket Queens, I am good here”. I shoved all in and he called.

I turned over my AA while he turned over his 6s 8d.  He had two pair to my one pair. I was crushed.  The turn card was a Jh and the river card was a 5h. His two pair beat my pocket Aces and I was out just like that, in a matter of minutes. I did exactly what I said I should not do!

Did I listen to my own advice? No. I guess not. I should have done as I said – lol (laugh out loud).

During the evening I got involved in another Sit N Go and while playing I could hear the chips hitting the table as bets were made. I finished that tourney in first place and yet I could still hear the chips hitting the table. What was going on? I started to go through all of the programs that I had running at the same time.

Geek that I am, I usually have about 8 to 10 browser windows opened with at least 5 to 12 tabs opened along with Excel, Word, Notepad, Wordpad, Tweetdeck and whatever else I can think of to do at the same time. (No wonder my computer slows down from time to time!).

I found the culprit. I had an online table opened to PokerHost, an online poker site. Not only was it open, but there I was “sitting out” at a table, playing in a tourney. I had not even realized that I was registered to play and yet there I was putting in my blinds and folding when it came my turn to play.

I really did not want to play, but I changed my status to active and decided I would go all-in to get rid of my chips. But just to be fair, I would only do so with hands that contained high cards, tens or better such as J 10 or KQ, etc.

I ended up playing over 20 minutes as I kept winning hands and getting more chips. I was in the top five out of 290 at one point. But I really was not prepared to play so I kept going all-in until my chips were gone. Thanks for the freeroll but please do not auto register me into all of them.

Have you ever had this happen to you? You were registered in an event but did not know it? Has your computer done things behind your back that you were not aware of? Were you in the “twilight zone” but did not know it?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Proper rest is another tool in the poker player tool kit. Tiredness is a drawback.

Belgium, Louvain-la-neuve: Piles of tiredness
Image by kool_skatkat via Flickr

Last night was the third event of Season Three at the Twitter Poker Tour. A Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit Tourney was played starting at 9 pm EST. Due to prior commitments to our home based business, Brogan-Arts.Com, I was also unable to play in Event 3 of the TPT Europe Tourney held at 7:00 PM BST or 2 pm EST.  By the time my wife and I got home we were both exhausted. When we go to exhibit our wares, we also bring our jewelry cases, lighting, tables, table clothes, miscellaneous supplies, gift boxes, gift bags, adding machine, charge card machine, just to mention a few items. It usually takes about three trips from our mini-van to bring everything in. We are usually at an Arts and Crafts location for about 4 to 6 hours, standing up and talking with our customers and prospects about 25% of the time. Then when the day is done, we reverse the process and pack everything up and repack it in the mini-van for our trip back home.

On the way home, we stopped to visit with some of our former neighbors in the town we lived in before moving to New Hampshire. We stayed and chatted for a couple of hours and then took off for home, stopping at a couple of stores on the way home to pick up some groceries.

By the time Diane and I had put everything away, eaten supper, and were starting to relax, it was about 7:30 pm EST. I had twitter up on my phone, clearing the 250 messages that I had accumulated during the day as I had forgotten my cell at home that morning.  I noticed quite a few #TPT messages after I had caught up to the 6 pm messages and thought that it would be fun to play in the #TPT, but then I realized just how tired I felt.

I had pulled up FullTilt on my notebook while sitting on the couch and opened up the tourney registration screen for the #TPT event. I watched as the registration numbers to the tourney increased from 17 to 32. I noticed that @coolwhipflea had not yet made it home to register and wondered if he would make late registration in time to play. According to his tweets, he really did want to play that night.

I struggled with my desire to play, but really thought over why I had decided to start playing in the #TPTE in the first place instead of the #TPT. I had made the switch because an evening playing at the #TPT was very exhausting, especially if I made it to the final table and the final thee. I am a person who really needs about eight hours of sleep in order to function properly. I have read that many of the top pros will tell you not to play if you are overtired. This is when you can make your worst mistakes as your judgment will be clouded. It is possible that you will not even recognize that you are having a problem until it is way too late to recover from your mistakes. From what I have read of many of the top poker pros, they will tell you that proper rest and exercise is the best tools you can have to help you in tourneys.

Are you well rested before you play a tourney? Does sleep enter into your pre-tourney plans? Have you ever played while extremely tired and realized later that you could have played better had you been more alert? What are your thoughts about getting enough sleep?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No Patience – leads to a bad finish!

Image by bananeman via Flickr

Last night I finished 24th out of 25 players in the TPT: Tilt Event #11, sponsored by the TwitterPokerTour. After having two first place finishes in my previous two tourney events, this was not a good showing. This happened with my poker backer right beside me to watch my lack of patience and judgment. Good thing she is my partner for life. Diane was very supportive but probably still wondered what had happened to my previous patient playing style.

I ended up seeing just 26 hands last night. I did not wait for premium hands. My first hand was an AQ of clubs in the cutoff position and I raised an unraised pot to 90 or three times the big blind and everyone folded.

My next hands which were folded prior to taking action again were: 46 o, 4J o, 87 o, 48 s, 63 s, 72 o until I was dealt my next AQ suited.  I was on the button and called a raise of 90 and saw the flop of 9 8 7 of hearts. Not exactly helpful. I called one small bet of 30 to see the turn which was a K of clubs. I folded to a bet 450. Not even sure why I wanted to see one more card with a possible flush already out there, but I did.

My next series of hands were: Q5 s, 74 s, J4 o, J6 o, Q9 s, 67 s, 68 s, 35 o, 6T o, Q6 o, K4 o, Q6 o, 3 6 o before catching Ac Qd off suit while being in the big blind. The flop was 7 8 T of diamonds giving me a four flush Q high. I lead off with 160 and was called. A Js came off at the turn giving me both a flush and a straight draw. I bet 480 at the turn and was called. The river was a 10 making a pair of tens on the board. I checked, my opponent checked. I showed my AQ giving me a pair of 10’s and my opponent showed 96 of clubs giving him a straight Jack high for the pot. This left me with 620 in chips or enough for about 10 more rounds of play.

My next few hands were: 47 o, 35 s, 76 s, before catching a pair of 5’s. I called the blinds, and one opponent raised all-in and I called. He turned over AJ off suit to my pocket 5’s and the race was on. The flop was 4 4 A, giving him the lead. I needed a 5 to win. The turn was a 10 of clubs, no help to me. The river was a three of hearts and I was finished in 24th place about 18 minutes after the tourney had started.

AQ hands have always been problematical, and many pro players will tell you they should be folded due to all the trouble they cause you. Of course, some of these same players also call with these and lose big pots just as I did.

Have you every played AQ and wished you had not? Do you have hands you try to avoid playing regardless of position?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]