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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 08-12-2013, 06:31 AM   #26
Dubnjoy000
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Thx for the book reviews! I have just ordered King of a Small World and Broke. Also, I have just started a blog 2 weeks ago, if you want to check it out :

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/92...eyond-1357166/
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:40 AM   #27
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Thx for the book reviews! I have just ordered King of a Small World and Broke. Also, I have just started a blog 2 weeks ago, if you want to check it out :

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/92...eyond-1357166/
Thanks, more coming soon! Your blog is really cool...playing and living in Alaska has to be a fantastic/unique experience.

Missoula-->Yellowstone-->Jackson Hole--> Boulder-->Dodge City-->Winstar-->Houston--> Baton Rouge--> Nola-->???

I've been on the road and plan to post some memorable hands from the 4 or so poker sessions that I played. In the meantime here's a pic of lovely Missoula, MT, where my brother lives.

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Old 08-20-2013, 02:01 PM   #28
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

After leaving Missoula, I drove through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. The pic below is of Jackson Lake with the Tetons in the background.




Next up were the Rocky Mountains



and then the plains of Kansas and Oklahoma, where I stopped at Winstar for the first time. My overall impression was pretty positive, although I get semitilted by the 200max buyin cap. I ran into two pretty tough spots in which I'm not sure whether fold > call. As always, feedback appreciated.

In the first hand, I raise a few limps with AQo on the button with 300$. The BB, a young TAGish player with a stack, makes it 25 to go and the first limper, and older man who had been limp/calling a bit (he never raised) flats the raise. I'm always behind here but can't fold for 13 to win 75, so I make the call and we see an AJT flop. The action checks to me and I think that I'm in a way ahead/way behind spot, so I check.

Turn 2, completing the rainbow, and the kid bets 20 and gets flatted. I call as well and we see the 7c river (135$). Kid checks, old man quickly fires 55, I fold. Weird spot because he's not valuebetting worse but he hadn't been out of line at all. I suppose that he can make this bet with two pair.

Second hand was similar in that I got into a spot where I don't expect to see a bluff but it's hard for villain to have value hands. I'm in the big blind with AT and it limps around to me, I check and five of us get to the AQ2 and I lead out for 10$. An older guy who had been limping 50% and raising 50% makes it 25 to go, so my read was that he was more aggro preflop than the previous villain. With 300$ effective and no dynamic, I don't like 3betting this flop. I call the raise.

Turn 5, I check he bets 40 into 60, I call. River brings a final board of AQ257 ($140), I check he instabets 100. Similar spot as before in that I have a bluffcatcher but I don't expect villain to bluff. At the same time, what value hands does he have? A2 or 22 are the only hands that make sense since he would raise with AQ/QQ. I folded again.

I played a bit in Baton Rouge and Nola and will post a few hands from those sessions soon.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:26 AM   #29
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Fairness, Poker, Calvinball





"My life is most like Calvinball where I make up all the rules all the time, and it’s awesome all the time." ---Aesah

Need to preserve this post. The following is from Aesah's goals thread, which is a must-read: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...postcount=1901





“Life isn’t fair” is almost always used as a complaint. Life isn’t fair, but why are we complaining? We are on the lucky side of unfairness- “we” meaning anyone reading this given that means we’re literate and have internet access. Whether we’re born into wealth, or born with the work ethic and intelligence to achieve it for ourselves, here we are.

One of my friends recently said that life is like a boxing match. It constantly throw punches at you, sometimes knock you down, but always gives you the chance to get back up. Glamorous, but I’ve never felt like life has ever tried to beat me down- perhaps the guy who was supposed to be fighting me didn’t show up. Instead, the best sports analogy for my life might be NASCAR. Living as fast as I can yet somehow it’s still uneventful, and so far I’ve only accomplished going in circles and ending up exactly where I started. But I’d rather just say NASCAR isn’t a real sport and my life is most like Calvinball where I make up all the rules all the time, and it’s awesome all the time.


the ideal that mankind strives to achieve

My next attempt to travel down a road that won’t lead me in circles will take me to Tampa, Florida. I asked my friends who have been there for advice, and all of them said the same thing: “Florida is horrible, don’t go.” Only one, perhaps the one whose opinion I valued the most, told me something different. He said “Florida is horrible…”

“But you should see it for yourself.”


apparently this happens often enough that there's actually a hotline for it

Poker has given me lots of freedom. I’m really grateful that I can set my own hours and be capable of packing up and moving across the country on a day’s notice. One interesting thing about making my own hours is the concept of overtime. Traditionally, overtime is additional, unwanted work that is compensated by perhaps a 100% increase in hourly pay. However in poker, the increase can be much higher. So far I’ve never chosen a poker game over a real life obligation, and there’s only been one instance ever where I’ve ever regretted it- when I kept plans to meet my ex (girlfriend at the time) at Kickin’ Crab. While the most I’ve ever paid for a dinner bill was $600 at Nobu, the meal at Kickin’ Crab cost me over 5 figures in expected value that will haunt me forever. And honestly a big part of the reason I regret it is because it was on my mind the whole night and I wasn’t able to give her the attention she deserved. Lesson learned.

Everyone has their different wants and needs. This is extremely evident in poker which brings together incredibly diverse crowds. There’s a doctor who loses millions at the tables but he just wants to fit in with the sharks, so I bull**** with him about how bad everyone else plays. There’s a guy who owns steel factories and just wants to be the center of attention, so I keep the conversation topic about him. There’s a kid from a family is wealthier than I can even imagine who just loves to get into verbal sparring matches with other players about anything he can possibly start a fight about, so I argue him but not so well as to ever win the argument (which I totally could, for the record).


even animals play poker. true story

One of my friends is a pro who constantly reminds everyone how good he is. If someone mentions that it’s raining, he might casually slip in a comment that it was raining on the day he won his World Series of Poker bracelet. At first I just assumed he just thought really highly of himself. However, after my work involved sitting around a table for hours every day with the same cast of characters, I’ve really learned to understand people much better than I’ve ever been able to in the past. Now it’s obvious to me that this guy doesn’t brag because his self-esteem is high, but because his self-esteem is low. He needs reassurance that he’s a good player. Because he’s not a recreational player I don’t have to do everything he says, but he’s a really nice guy so I do my best to scratch his back and assure him that he’s a good player. Probably even better than he thinks he is, but amusingly enough, not nearly as good as he says he is.


Jasmine fell in love with Aladdin, not Prince Ali- definitively proving that being yourself > showing off

Putting this down on paper has made me realize that despite all the time and effort I’ve spent evaluating other people’s motives, I don’t know what my own are. Perhaps it really is as simple as I just want life to be awesome all the time, or perhaps the truth hurts too much to be honest with myself.

In general I’m pretty horrible at self-evaluation. I have another friend who talks about this girl that he’s been friends with since high school and keeps in touch with on a weekly basis. A year ago I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but now that my people-reading skills have improved drastically, it’s clear as a sunny day- unlike the day my other friend won his WSOP bracelet- that he is in love* with this girl. He doesn’t let on that he knows, and maybe he hasn’t been able to admit it to himself, but I know he knows. Anyway, I’m always wondering if there’s anything like that about myself that I’ve never realized but other people think are obvious.

*I feel like most people are deathly afraid to use the word “love”. For good reason, because it’s scary to most other people. This is sad to me. Most people view love as something that should be reserved and given out cautiously. I disagree. Love is something incredible that costs nothing to give but is everything to receive. The world needs more of it.

I’m deathly afraid of a different aspect of love. I’ve been really blessed in the past and I’m afraid this has set unreasonably high standards for me. One of my friends is happily married with children, but he mentioned that there was one girl that he wishes didn’t get away. A girl that he thinks might be a better fit than his current wife. My biggest fear is ending up like him, or rather not even being able to end up like him since I would refuse to settle for less than I’ve had. Never mind the fact that I’m single and basically the kid sitting in the bleachers saying I wouldn’t play for any team other than the Lakers while he’s the guy playing for the Clippers and living the dream (no offense Clippers fans).

I feel like as far as relationships go, my standards have been set so high that I can’t even come close to them myself. Perhaps this isn’t fair. In fact, I know it isn’t fair that one of my greatest fears in life is only a result of how lucky I’ve been in life to know love and have freedom. But, as my friends like to say, life isn’t fair.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:58 AM   #30
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Two bits of interesting news--one an article, the other a current event:

Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker machines



“Ordinarily, you figure out weaknesses in your opponent and find ways to exploit those weaknesses. But because our program needs to be stable, it can’t do that. So instead it does everything it can to prevent itself from being exploited. The theory behind it is almost paranoid.” ---Fredrik Dahl

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/ma....html?hp&_r=1&

Has anyone played on these machines?
How long before a no-limit variant is created?

What implications do these machines have for online poker?
Many 2+2ers and others are pessimistic about the future of online poker for precisely this reason. I can remember reading that, pre-Black Friday, pokerbots existed that could beat the midstakes NL games. In five or ten years, who knows how much the existing programs could be improved


John Mccain's Poker Distraction



The Daily Show did a piece on McCain's slip-up during a Congress meeting, where he was caught sneaking in a few poker hands: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/enter...s-poker/69072/
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:38 AM   #31
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
Two bits of interesting news--one an article, the other a current event:

Texas Hold ‘Em Heads Up Poker machines



“Ordinarily, you figure out weaknesses in your opponent and find ways to exploit those weaknesses. But because our program needs to be stable, it can’t do that. So instead it does everything it can to prevent itself from being exploited. The theory behind it is almost paranoid.” ---Fredrik Dahl

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/ma....html?hp&_r=1&

Has anyone played on these machines?
How long before a no-limit variant is created?

What implications do these machines have for online poker?
Many 2+2ers and others are pessimistic about the future of online poker for precisely this reason. I can remember reading that, pre-Black Friday, pokerbots existed that could beat the midstakes NL games. In five or ten years, who knows how much the existing programs could be improved.
I started a thread about this article in NVG, which has had some interesting responses. The machines have, as the Times reports, been around since 2010 and operating in Vegas casinos, producing some older threads of interest as well.

(There's also been a short thread on the McCain incident. The general consensus was that it was play money site.)
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:25 AM   #32
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Thx bob, that was a great article

Russellin, can you post the link to your thread?
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:24 PM   #33
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29...story-1369797/
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:47 PM   #34
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

On getting Owned

Three hands, all similar in that I have a strong hand that, given villain's betting pattern, turns into a bluff catcher by the turn or river. Another similarity is that, in all three, I get





I already posted on the first hand above. It's important because it created some metagame between me and the villain in the second hand, Destin, so I repost it here:

A regular in the room whom I'd heard of but never played with--he's a middle-aged asian guy I'll call MegaDonk--sat down with $500 and immediately started spewing. The distinctive thing about Mega was his jovial attitude; the guy might win or lose a thousand dollar pot, but he won and lost with an irrepressible cheeriness that's impossible to fake. The guy truly loved to gamble.

His main foil was a young asian reg who ran over the table with well-timed aggression and supreme rungood. The kid (I'll call him Destin, after his hat) was an online transplant who had clearly worked out the kinks of his live game and was crushing. I had played with him once before--he was the same guy who won a 2K pot vs. aces with top two on a K8x board--and he had a very good grasp of game flow, villain dynamics, and relative hand strength. Plus he had history with Mega, with served Destin well after
he checkraised a KTT board to about 125$ vs a cbet and a call. Mega called the flop raise, called again on a 7turn, and shoved in his last 200$ on a 5. "I call," said Destin, showing QT. "Did you river me?" "Noooo," said Mega cheerfully, flipping 33, "but I try to make you think that!"


With 4 limpers to me on the button I raised A3 to 20 and get three limp/calls, Mega included. While I often limp behind with this hand, the table was extremely deep; at the time, I was the short stack with $600 effective. My goal here is to raise speculative hands like suited connectors or pairs so that I can get paid when I hit. The flop comes A53 (90$), I cbet 60$ and Mega calls. Turn 7(210$), I bet $125, he tanks and shoves for 490$ total.

The turn shove surprised me, since Mega had been choosing to bluff-shove rivers after chasing and failing to hit his draws. I go into the tank. He can have all combos of 24 and 46, he can have a better two pair, I tell myself. Would he shove air here? Is he that crazy? After a few minutes I fold for two reasons: (1) he hadn't shoved the turn as a bluff, and his line is very strong; and (2) I had nitted my way around the table for the most part, even leading Destin to comment on my "tight image," which would make Mega less likely to go after me. Both reasons, it turned out, were less relevant than Mega's maniacal tendencies: he flipped J5 and raked the pot.


Hand Two involved Destin, the good reg from the hand above. In this session, maybe a week or so after the hand above, we sat together for the fourth time. Once again Destin ran his stack up with well-timed aggression and good hand-reading skills. He value-bet thinly in a number of spots and had a clear sense of where he stood in most hands. The best thing about his game, in my opinion, is how he's able to manipulate his image. He looks loose and spazzy--he's young, asian, has a big pile of chips--but, whenever the pot got big, he had either a big hand or, at worst, a strong draw. I also noticed that he isoraised with both monsters and speculative hands--mid pairs, suited connectors, and, once, with K8off.

Secondly, he had commented on my tight image vs. Mega and saw my (wrong) laydown above. He either respected my game (he asked me how long I had been playing pro, lol) or he wanted me to think that he respected my game--a definite possibility because, as I noted, Destin was very good at crafting how others perceived him.

With this info in mind, I watched as Destin isoraised to 17 vs. a limper. I looked down at AKoff with 500$ effective and decide to flat here because (1) I underrep/disguise my hand, (2) I keep the pot small against the best player at the table.

Limper calls, Flop K9T rainbow (55$), he bets 40 I call. Turn 4, completing the rainbow, he fires 75 into 135. River A he bets 175 and I'm sad. Does he ever valuebet worse? Does he bluff? I tank for a bit and call, he flips 99.

Hand Three

New table, new night. I've been playing pretty snug and built up my stack with a bit of patience and rungood. with QJ on the button I bump it up to 17 vs. two limpers. BB and both limpers call and we see a 962 flop. Checks to me I bet 50 into 80 and UTG flats pretty quickly. He was a middle-aged black guy who had tripled up with a strong hand and had shown no tendency to get out of line. Turn K and he pretty quickly fires 95. I call, river blank he bombs 200 pretty quickly again. I'm pretty sure he's polarized in this spot--that is, he's got the nuts or a bluff. I doubt that he bombs turn and river with Jhi flush or worse. At the same time, he hadn't gotten out of line and seemed comfortable. I fold, he flashes 87o and I lose

Which is the worst of these hands? Which one is the least bad? Anyone make the same play?

These hands taught me a few things/reiterated some important stuff.

Game > metagame. Sure, I can rationalize that this guy is abusing my weak-tight image or that he's using the river as a scare card. But the fact remains that he raised pre and bombed three streets. A good reg is rarely taking this line as a bluff and I need to fold.

The spazz factor Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and call--especially against live donks. Yes, I get shown the nuts sometimes in hand three. But I also get shown bluffs enough to call, I think.


Be ready. One hand can make or break a session, as these three hands did. If I get each decision right I make money, obviously, but I also play longer and with more confidence--and probably win even more. As it turned out, I was demoralized and stopped playing shortly after each hand (which is good that I didn't chase losses but obv not ideal).
This is (alas) the last batch of hands from the summer. My posts will shift more to the book reviews/interesting links for a while.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:52 AM   #35
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
On getting Owned

Three hands, all similar in that I have a strong hand that, given villain's betting pattern, turns into a bluff catcher by the turn or river. Another similarity is that, in all three, I get





I already posted on the first hand above. It's important because it created some metagame between me and the villain in the second hand, Destin, so I repost it here:

A regular in the room whom I'd heard of but never played with--he's a middle-aged asian guy I'll call MegaDonk--sat down with $500 and immediately started spewing. The distinctive thing about Mega was his jovial attitude; the guy might win or lose a thousand dollar pot, but he won and lost with an irrepressible cheeriness that's impossible to fake. The guy truly loved to gamble.

His main foil was a young asian reg who ran over the table with well-timed aggression and supreme rungood. The kid (I'll call him Destin, after his hat) was an online transplant who had clearly worked out the kinks of his live game and was crushing. I had played with him once before--he was the same guy who won a 2K pot vs. aces with top two on a K8x board--and he had a very good grasp of game flow, villain dynamics, and relative hand strength. Plus he had history with Mega, with served Destin well after
he checkraised a KTT board to about 125$ vs a cbet and a call. Mega called the flop raise, called again on a 7turn, and shoved in his last 200$ on a 5. "I call," said Destin, showing QT. "Did you river me?" "Noooo," said Mega cheerfully, flipping 33, "but I try to make you think that!"


With 4 limpers to me on the button I raised A3 to 20 and get three limp/calls, Mega included. While I often limp behind with this hand, the table was extremely deep; at the time, I was the short stack with $600 effective. My goal here is to raise speculative hands like suited connectors or pairs so that I can get paid when I hit. The flop comes A53 (90$), I cbet 60$ and Mega calls. Turn 7(210$), I bet $125, he tanks and shoves for 490$ total.

The turn shove surprised me, since Mega had been choosing to bluff-shove rivers after chasing and failing to hit his draws. I go into the tank. He can have all combos of 24 and 46, he can have a better two pair, I tell myself. Would he shove air here? Is he that crazy? After a few minutes I fold for two reasons: (1) he hadn't shoved the turn as a bluff, and his line is very strong; and (2) I had nitted my way around the table for the most part, even leading Destin to comment on my "tight image," which would make Mega less likely to go after me. Both reasons, it turned out, were less relevant than Mega's maniacal tendencies: he flipped J5 and raked the pot.


Hand Two involved Destin, the good reg from the hand above. In this session, maybe a week or so after the hand above, we sat together for the fourth time. Once again Destin ran his stack up with well-timed aggression and good hand-reading skills. He value-bet thinly in a number of spots and had a clear sense of where he stood in most hands. The best thing about his game, in my opinion, is how he's able to manipulate his image. He looks loose and spazzy--he's young, asian, has a big pile of chips--but, whenever the pot got big, he had either a big hand or, at worst, a strong draw. I also noticed that he isoraised with both monsters and speculative hands--mid pairs, suited connectors, and, once, with K8off.

Secondly, he had commented on my tight image vs. Mega and saw my (wrong) laydown above. He either respected my game (he asked me how long I had been playing pro, lol) or he wanted me to think that he respected my game--a definite possibility because, as I noted, Destin was very good at crafting how others perceived him.

With this info in mind, I watched as Destin isoraised to 17 vs. a limper. I looked down at AKoff with 500$ effective and decide to flat here because (1) I underrep/disguise my hand, (2) I keep the pot small against the best player at the table.

Limper calls, Flop K9T rainbow (55$), he bets 40 I call. Turn 4, completing the rainbow, he fires 75 into 135. River A he bets 175 and I'm sad. Does he ever valuebet worse? Does he bluff? I tank for a bit and call, he flips 99.

Hand Three

New table, new night. I've been playing pretty snug and built up my stack with a bit of patience and rungood. with QJ on the button I bump it up to 17 vs. two limpers. BB and both limpers call and we see a 962 flop. Checks to me I bet 50 into 80 and UTG flats pretty quickly. He was a middle-aged black guy who had tripled up with a strong hand and had shown no tendency to get out of line. Turn K and he pretty quickly fires 95. I call, river blank he bombs 200 pretty quickly again. I'm pretty sure he's polarized in this spot--that is, he's got the nuts or a bluff. I doubt that he bombs turn and river with Jhi flush or worse. At the same time, he hadn't gotten out of line and seemed comfortable. I fold, he flashes 87o and I lose

Which is the worst of these hands? Which one is the least bad? Anyone make the same play?

These hands taught me a few things/reiterated some important stuff.

Game > metagame. Sure, I can rationalize that this guy is abusing my weak-tight image or that he's using the river as a scare card. But the fact remains that he raised pre and bombed three streets. A good reg is rarely taking this line as a bluff and I need to fold.

The spazz factor Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and call--especially against live donks. Yes, I get shown the nuts sometimes in hand three. But I also get shown bluffs enough to call, I think.


Be ready. One hand can make or break a session, as these three hands did. If I get each decision right I make money, obviously, but I also play longer and with more confidence--and probably win even more. As it turned out, I was demoralized and stopped playing shortly after each hand (which is good that I didn't chase losses but obv not ideal).
This is (alas) the last batch of hands from the summer. My posts will shift more to the book reviews/interesting links for a while.
assuming I'm not missing something, your fold in hand 3 is simply awful. Pot has 570 and you fold for 200 with the 2nd nuts? Uhhhhhhhhh...........
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #36
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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assuming I'm not missing something, your fold in hand 3 is simply awful. Pot has 570 and you fold for 200 with the 2nd nuts? Uhhhhhhhhh...........
I don't disagree. But, depending on the villain, snapcalling a river bet just because you have second nuts is not a good idea. Based on the villain's sizing and betting line (c/c, lead, lead), I don't think he bets a hand like 54 here. Which means that, in effect, QJhh is no different than top pair. My hand is a bluffcatcher.

(the following is me trying to work through the hand from a combos perspective)

There are 7 combinations of suited Ax hands that he can have: A2, A3, A4, A5,A7, A8 , AT

Since villain is 1/2potting the river, I'm getting 3 to 1 and must be good 25% of the time, so villain must bluff or valueown himself with 2.5 combinations.

Does he bluff this often? Does he occasionally spazz and "value bet" a Thi flush? I think so
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:37 AM   #37
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

I would of called there almost 100% of the time. If villain has a polarized range - as you supposed he did - then there is more combos of bluffs in his range then nuts combo. Also, I can see 2 pairs, sets or weaker bluffs donking twice for pot control (as opposed to CR turn) that are still in his value range.

I do like to play an OE in similar fashion than villain did, meaning on a 2 flush flop, I include the flush outs as possible fold equity if the third flush card shows up. It changes a previous -EV scenario (the 8 outs of the OE) into a +EV one (15 outs with the added 7 flush outs). Especially playing a draw OOP, he had to become creative with his hand. Although, I despise playing draws OOP, but that is far from the subject at hand...

edit : let me rephrase the first part : I think villain has more often bluffs/weaker value hands than the stone cold nuts in this spot, and way more often than the 25% needed.

Last edited by Dubnjoy000; 09-26-2013 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:23 PM   #38
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post
I would of called there almost 100% of the time. If villain has a polarized range - as you supposed he did - then there is more combos of bluffs in his range then nuts combo. Also, I can see 2 pairs, sets or weaker bluffs donking twice for pot control (as opposed to CR turn) that are still in his value range.
I'm skeptical that villain would take this line with a weaker hand than a flush--and even a small flush is questionable. Something that Bart Hansen said in his podcasts always sticks with me when talking about betsizing in live games: villains don't take potsize into account when they size their pots. So, even though 200 into 400ish is a "small" bet compared to the potsize, it represents to the villain a very strong hand (or a bluff).

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post

I do like to play an OE in similar fashion than villain did, meaning on a 2 flush flop, I include the flush outs as possible fold equity if the third flush card shows up. It changes a previous -EV scenario (the 8 outs of the OE) into a +EV one (15 outs with the added 7 flush outs). Especially playing a draw OOP, he had to become creative with his hand. Although, I despise playing draws OOP, but that is far from the subject at hand...
Great point, and this is especially effective vs. villains who can actually fold a hand. Say you have AA in the scenario above--do you call here? It's a tough spot.

It's possible that the villain in the hand above was thinking the same way, since he flipped 87o for a missed openender but he led out on the flush card, recognizing that it was scary.

FWIW his actual hand shows that this has to be a call, since he limped and called a big raise pre with 87 (16 combos), and that alone would prob account for the 2.5 or so times that he needs to bluff. It also shows how important paying attention is during a hand--esp a hand you're not involved in!--b/c some villains will never limp/call a hand like this or throw in 300+ on a bluff, and others will
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:19 PM   #39
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Hi bob, let me come back to this hand in question - if I may -, cause I spent quite some time analysing it on the greyhound bus when I could not find some sleep.

Primo : since this was a hand played live, you are in a way better position than Odysseus or I to understand the table dynamics, the patterns and playing style of villain and of your own table image. So it is easier for you to put this specific opponent on a precise range, which you did by saying he is polarized in this spot (turned out that he did seem polarized, although I am not so convinced, because he could of just had the buttom of his range in a spot where his range is wide, but not polarized... But it still seems like you were right most of the time...).

Secondo : In hindsight, after knowing the results of the hand, I like
your raise in position preflop with a hand that plays very well postflop ; I do not like at all his limp-call OOP with a drawing hand (like I stated in my previous post, I rarely put myself in a postion to play draws OOP unless I 3bet and take the initiative away from the original raiser).

Flop : On a dry flop of 962 double suited, I like your bet, but would of made it slightly smaller, in order to give myself more room and a cheaper price to tripple-barrel bluff (if needed) with the 2 overs and flush draw and backdoor straight out, or simply pot control and check back turn in order to get a free card in position. I do not mind his call, although a case should be made for a CR and to fire turn and river (but you failed to mention the starting stack sizes, so I do not know if this option is even considerable, and am not a big fan - again - of bloating a pot OOP with a drawing hand), or a CR and check on the turn. But again, I prefer a simple call.

Turn : as played on flop, I like his turn lead, his sizing is good, giving himself a good price for fold equity. I like your call, since you want him to fire again on river with his air hands or inferior holdings.

River : I do not like his river bet, for I do not think many people will call turn to fold river unless they are holding the dry nutted Ah (or other draws). Also, I will explain more in the next section why I do not like his bet here. And like previously stated, I do not like your fold here, would of prefered a call, but even more a raise (depending on stacks).

Tertio : Now I would like to look at this hand played with the incomplete information that you were facing playing the hand, not knowing what villain had and trying to put him on a range.

Preflop : I can picture many players would limp in with say small to mid-low pocket pairs (so a possible set in this hand with 22 or 66 and sometimes 99) and suited hands like K9s or 96s (so 2 pair hands in this scenario) or suited connectors in hearts (given him a flush), or connectors (given him a straight draw).


Flop : When you bet flop here with your overs and draws, he can easily put you on an overpair - which you mentioned yourself - on such a low board and given your tight image, while his range remains VERY WIDE and undefined.

Turn : When he leads turn, I believe most of his range consists of value hands (any 2 pair + hand) some semi-bluffs and your rare pure bluffs (air). I would estimate that you are ahead of 95% of this range. Especially if he thinks that you will check back an overpair to the 9, he will most likely fire with his value range for value/protection, and to balance but also to get fold equity, he will fire with his semi-bluffing range (this is at least how I would of played the hand in his shoes...).

River : Now things become more tricky. You put him on a polarized range here, but if I was him (which I am not and do not know anything about this villains game, but indulge me for a minute...) if I fire again, 95% of y range consists of 2 pair+hands and about 5% with my miss draws and pure air. My range here would be mainly a mid value range... Let me explain.

Often I find myself in a spot where I am not sure if I am value betting river or bluffing... It becomes this fine line, this blurry spot (if you do not reach this fine line, it is because you do not value bet thinly enough). Sure, I can quite
often define what is the buttom of my value range and against who to use it (usually against tough opponents or if my image is very bluffy), but sometimes I will tripple barrel with say second pair, and on the third barrel, I am unsure about firing or checking, having reached that fine line in question where value betting and bluffing become fuzzy, almost indistinct... I usually fire in this spot. Especially early in a session and in order to create metagame. Why? Well, it makes me very hard to play against. And most of the time, the whole table will scratch their head. And that is a reaction I like, for they will have in mind : "he can have anything", which gives me the initiative to play around with my bluffing range or value range and exploit the opponent at hand ; I start to control the game.

To come back to the hand in question, I think that on this river, that fine line is actually kind of wide and includes 2 pair hands and possibly sets. He bets only 50% on river, so it does not polarize his range like an overbet would, but makes things a little blurry... He gives himself 33% for his bluffs to work, but I do not think that they work that often and I would almost never bluff here. He gives you 3 to 1 on your call, which might make you look him up with 1 pair hands... So that fine line is definitely present, making the hand interesting and hard to read. So if I am sitting in your spot, I raise river (again, depending on stack sizes, but anywhere from 3.2x to 4x, so 640-800$) in order to polarize my range to high flushes or missed draws like the dry Ah or missed OE (70% value- 30% bluffs).

Well, like I previously said, I wasn't there to observe table dynamics, but just wanted to offer my perspective on the hand. And as far as raising the river, I fairly often raise-bluff rivers, so would have to do so with this hand as well to keep my range balanced but mainly to get value, because I get looked up somewhat lightly.

Well, I hope this makes sense and that I did make stuff blurry myself!

Last edited by Dubnjoy000; 09-26-2013 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:41 AM   #40
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

thanks for the analysis, Dubn. A lot of good stuff here, and I want to briefly respond to a few points.

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post

since this was a hand played live, you are in a way better position than Odysseus or I to understand the table dynamics, the patterns and playing style of villain and of your own table image.
This hand's a good reason why paying attention to villain tendencies is so important. I had limited info on villain--he busted once after buying in for a hundred, tripled up after making a hand, and hadn't gotten out of line--and struck me as a guy who was trying to make hands and get paid. So I resorted to my blanket assumption about players at these stakes: aggression and big bets = big hand.

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post

I do not mind his call, although a case should be made for a CR and to fire turn and river (but you failed to mention the starting stack sizes, so I do not know if this option is even considerable, and am not a big fan - again - of bloating a pot OOP with a drawing hand), or a CR and check on the turn.
Stacks were about 400 effective at the start of the hand (villain covered), so about 200bbs.

From villain's perspective, A C/R is pretty damn risky, since he's basically trying to get me off an overpair. Not a good prospect in LLNL!

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post

Turn : When he leads turn, I believe most of his range consists of value hands (any 2 pair + hand) some semi-bluffs and your rare pure bluffs (air). I would estimate that you are ahead of 95% of this range. Especially if he thinks that you will check back an overpair to the 9, he will most likely fire with his value range for value/protection, and to balance but also to get fold equity, he will fire with his semi-bluffing range (this is at least how I would of played the hand in his shoes...).
I think you're projecting your own ranges onto villain here.

Your excellent discussion about merging your bluffing/value range shows just how hard it can be to play against. But--and this is a key point--99% of villains don't play this way. --at least in the games I'm familiar with. Very few villains are potting the turn with bottom two or semibluffing with a bare A. People play way more passively, in my experience.

This doesn't mean they should be playing this way, just that they are. And they lose a lot of value as a result.

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Originally Posted by Dubnjoy000 View Post

So if I am sitting in your spot, I raise river (again, depending on stack sizes, but anywhere from 3.2x to 4x, so 640-800$) in order to polarize my range to high flushes or missed draws like the dry Ah or missed OE (70% value- 30% bluffs).
Raising river (assuming deeper stacks) seems suicidal for the reasons stated above. His value range snapcalls, his bluffing range snapfolds. It looks like I assume villain's range is more polarized than you, and these assumptions obviously affect our river decision. Interesting how so many decisions can come down to player tendencies. After reading your blog about the games up in Alaska, it seems like you play in some crazy games up there--and that you encourage some of the action with your aggressive play!
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:07 PM   #41
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

"Gooseberries" and Poker, Part One

There ought to be behind the door of every happy, contented man some one standing with a hammer continually reminding him with a tap that there are unhappy people; that however happy he may be, life will show him her laws sooner or later, trouble will come for him—disease, poverty, and no one will see or hear, just as now he neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer; the happy man lives at his ease, and trivial daily cares faintly agitate him like the wind in the aspen-tree—and all goes well.


These words are spoken by Ivan, a character in Anton Chekhov’s 1898 story “Gooseberries.” In the story Ivan and his friend visit Alehin, a landowner who lives in the country. At night, after they’ve gone for a swim and cleaned up, they retire to the upstairs parlor where a beautiful peasant-girl, Pelagea, serves them food and a cool drink. Ivan tells the story of his brother Nikolay, a man who suffocates under the weight of his bureaucratic job and the drudgery of urban life. Over time, Nikolay devotes his life to a single purpose: buying a rural estate where he can sit, relax, watch the country, and eat gooseberries. Yes—sweet, juicy gooseberries!



Nikolay pinches every penny, marries an ugly woman who has a lot of money, and eventually buys a three-hundred acre estate with a house, servants’ quarters, an orchard, and a river. He orders twenty gooseberry bushes straight away. When Ivan comes to visit, he reflects on the changes in his brother:

“In the evening, when we were drinking tea, the cook put on the table a plateful of gooseberries. They were not bought, but his own gooseberries, gathered for the first time since the bushes were planted. Nikolay Ivanovitch laughed and looked for a minute in silence at the gooseberries, with tears in his eyes; he could not speak for excitement. Then he put one gooseberry in his mouth, looked at me with the triumph of a child who has at last received his favourite toy, and said:
“ 'How delicious!' ’”
“And he ate them greedily, continually repeating, ‘Ah, how delicious! Do taste them!’”
They were sour and unripe, but, as Pushkin says:
“‘Dearer to us the falsehood that exalts
Than hosts of baser truth.’”

Ivan sees in his brother a man who achieves his dream, who attains his object in life, who’s satisfied with his life and with himself. But he also sees a man who’s deeply deceived. The gooseberries, after all, are “sour and unripe,” and his shoddy, rundown estate is squeezed between two factories. Despite his illusions to the contrary, Nikolay’s estate is far from being an idyll of the Russian countryside.

His brother’s happiness makes Ivan sad. Nikolay’s indifference to his servants, his cruelty to his wife, and his willful ignorance all prompt Ivan’s reflection on the state of society in general—the oppression of the weak by the strong, rampant poverty and disease, overcrowding, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying. All too often these terrible injustices remain hidden, silent, and invisible behind happy images of family celebrations and dinner parties, of couples walking their dogs, of tranquil city streets at night. What we need, according to Ivan, is a hammer tap-tap-tapping outside our door as a reminder of the injustice in the world.

***

Deep and I came up together in the 5/10 game. He came to town a with 10k liferoll. Admittingly, had that first week gone awry he would've been right back in Huntsville, broke and searching for a 9 to 5. Instead, he's a World Series of Poker champion, master of his own schedule...

...The line between fortune and forgotten is so fragile in poker that the what if's have legitimate cases and the why me's deserve a shadow of guilt on their road to the top. One card here or one pot there and I could still be in the corner that my immaturity backed me into.


--Matt Moore (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...postcount=3838)

For anyone who doesn't know Matt Moore's story, you need to: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/10...-tl-dr-659480/.

In a nutshell, Matt has "made it." He built his roll up from scratch and now plays in the biggest games in Vegas. He has what many players want: financial stability and unfettered freedom. "Master of his own schedule," writes another poster: "This is what poker means to me... I don't care about being rich, or any of the superficial things involved, I just want to be on my own schedule, and do what I please. Life is not meant to be spent working 5 days a week, and spending your 7th day worrying about the next day." http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...postcount=3845. On the one hand, Matt's story is a great inspiration.


And yet, as Matt writes in a candid post on his blog, the fickle nature of poker can raise a lot of "what if" questions. Questions about fairness, chance, and justice. Many of us enjoy good health, a supportive family, and stable jobs. We’re able to spend some of our days winning (and losing) at a card game. Some of you may even play this game for a living and, like Matt, have a lot of success. Sometimes, as we rake a pot and our opponent doesn’t, we might reflect on the misfortune—hell, the injustice—of it all. What did I do to deserve what all these other people can't find? Why me?

In a way, poker is the “hammer” that taps on our hearts and minds, reminding us about those who haven't run well in either cards or in life. The images are all there, hiding in plain sight: The woman handing a tipless ticket to the valet on her way out the door, the look of defeat drooping with the skin of her face. The regular who shows up every night, Sunday to Sunday without hesitation, without fail, huddled in a cardroom corner telling a bad beat story. The three-second pause of uncertainty, of feigned concern, that the dealer gives to a player who's just been felted. Will he reload? (yes, he will). The lifeless looks, the sluggish exists, the suffering that hides beneath mascara and makeup, cowboy hats and cheap tans.


**

More soon, in part two.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:58 PM   #42
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Nicely done. Love the Chekhov quotation.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:44 AM   #43
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Very solid post, enjoyed every word, the quote as well as the reference to Matt Moore!
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Old 09-29-2013, 03:05 AM   #44
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Very well written, looking forward to part 2.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:45 PM   #45
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

“Gooseberries” and Poker, part two

What’s the proper response to the misfortune and the unhappiness of others? How should we live? Should we devote our winnings, a la Barry Greenstein, to charity? Should we stop playing poker altogether? While we’re at it, we could also sell our possessions to follow Ivey (oops...to follow Christ, I mean ).






Ivan presents a pretty clear-cut answer. After he finishes with the story, he implores the two listeners, Burkin and Alehin, to live a good life:

Don’t be calm and contented, don’t let yourself be put to sleep! While you are young, strong, confident, be not weary in well-doing! There is no happiness, and there ought not to be; but if there is a meaning and an object in life, that meaning and object is not our happiness, but something greater and more rational. Do good!

How does Ivan’s story feel to you? Are you convinced? If you read this exhortation and feel annoyed or uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Ivan’s story comes off as preachy, moralistic. Plus it doesn’t sound too fun. Who among us wants to live without happiness?

It's the narrator's response to Ivan, I think, that shows why Chekhov is regarded as a master of the short story and an enigmatic man himself: Chekhov lets his character, Ivan, speak without endorsing what he’s saying. By highlighting the listeners’ responses to Ivan, Chekhov implicitly enframes and critiques Ivan's narrative. Ivan’s story, the narrator tells us, “had not satisfied either Burkin or Alehin...it was dreary to listen to the story of the poor clerk who ate gooseberries.” They’re both vaguely disappointed, as if the story has worked on them in some mysterious but irrelevant way.

If the moral of Ivan’s story is somehow unsatisfying, what about the moral of Chekhov’s story? Is there a moral? If not, what stands in its place? Well, there’s the beauty of the telling, of the thing-in-itself. After Ivan tells his story in the comfort of Alehin’s parlor, “the fact that lovely Pelagea was moving noiselessly about was better than any story.” The stunning servant-girl, Pelagea, never speaks in the story. She’s simply there, she exists—and that’s enough.

***


"It all started a week ago at the tail end of a 25/50nl game. The Saudi Prince had finished playing at his typical 3am, as four of us either too buried or too caffeinated to sleep carried on the action. An hour later I'd stood up from the 7 seat, prepared to call it a night. From the 2, I heard a mumbled "You might want to sit back down" as Len Ashby's eyes drifted from mine to the distance over my left shoulder. "Hey sir how you doing, long time no see" I heard from the seasoned pro.

There was no response, just a friendly headnod as I turned around to see the mystery guest. Mr Macau, as I've come to know him, speaks no English. He'll point when he wants your attention and grab the dealer's yellow button when it's time to put you all in. The main boss from last summers post entitled "Sunday Funday" he has rightfully earned a reputation for playing any 2 preflop and running 100k swings in a manner of hours.

From that night forward there was no sleeping at night. Mr. Macau was still on China time, which meant I, too, was now on China time

Each night I'd awake between 7 and 9pm and head into Bellagio. Around 10 the 25/50 game would get going around the Prince. The Prince is good action, don't get wrong, but it was the King I was here to see. When 3am rolled around the Prince would say good night and the rest of us would continue playing, patiently waiting. Sometimes the King would show up at 4, other times not until 8.

Not everybody stayed; People have families and obligations after all. The rest of us would gamble and laugh and caffeinate our ways through the hysterical hours of the early morning, waiting for our shot at fortune.

My battles with the King started off one-sided. In my first crack at him I cold 4bet the btn with the AQ and a 6k pot-sized bet remaining. He called and then check called it off on a J33 with one . I was drawing dead to JJ.

Later that session he put on the 200 double straddle and I opened 99 to 700. He called as did one other as it came 667. I bet 1500 and only the King called. on a 4o turn I bet again, this time 3,200. He called once more as we got to the river, an offsuit K. After another check, I bet out 5800. Snap Call. My 99 was no match to K8.

Two days into his stay and I was stuck 30k.

Still patiently I showed up everyday, prepared to pretty much go broke trying my luck against a guy playing 80% of hands and opening most to $700 at 10/20.

In our next battle he opened to 500 and i made it 1600 with AQ. The flop fell down AQ4 and now I had a real chance to get some money back when he check called my 2k bet. I was playing 20k and he had me covered. The turn was a Q. Against this guy I wanted to give him a reason to turn gutters into bluffs so I bet only 2800, all of my remaining small chips, leaving me 3 flags behind. He thought for an uncharacteristically long time and called the bet. The river was the worst card in the deck, another A.

Jesus Christ, I thought, cursing out my luck. I assumed my boat had turned into a chop when he led the river for 10k; Still I went through the protocol of raising my final 5k.

No snap call. I looked up from the felt and the King wore a smile as he slowly waved his head back and forth. The type of head nod from somebody who'd been caught. Seconds later he picked his cards up and tossed them faced down into the muck.

With the help of position, well timed cards, and hours and hours of play, I turned a bad start to the year into a decent sized winner. But there was still more poker to be played.

On the King's last day I once again had a seat directly to his left. He was in the 9 and I was in 1. By this time we were joking together through hand gestures and his interpreter. I figured he liked me; He certainly liked gambling with me.

But on this particular day, I didn't know if I wanted to gamble with the King. He ran a 30k stack up all the way to 160k in no more then three dealers. One by one he picked off everybody at the table. "If this keeps up the biggest game in this place will be 2/5 by the end of the week," I joked to Chris on my left. Just like the Andy Beal trips from years ago, the King had the power to put a major dent in the LV high stakes scene.

But there was no running. If you were at the table, he'd find you.

In a straddled pot he raised it up to 1300 in the sb. I looked down at the KQ and instead of 3betting his unusually large sizing I chose to call. The flop brought gin, K23. The King wouldn't be deterred, though, as he fired 2600. I called the bet leaving myself around 14.5k behind. The turn was a 4, way better for his range then mine, and he demonstrated that by throwing 3 5k flags into the middle. I've never called off 300bbs with one pair faster in my life.

With my heart beating through my shirt, the river card couldn't come quick enough.

5.

All doubts of not being good had disappeared….or so I thought. While reaching for my cards, I heard a chinese screech from the other side of the dealer, "Haaaiiiiiiaaaa".

Oh helllllllll noooo.

All of a sudden the beat was back up and running, as I waited for him to chuck down his cards. The 6 was first. The T next.

I counted the biggest pot of my life as the King slowly redistributed the remaining cash back to the community. 90k later, he rose, and with a smile and a wave was gone, just as mysterious as he'd arrived."

--Matt Moore (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...postcount=3091)

**

Poker, as people love to point out, can be seen a microcosm for our society as a whole—not society as it should be, but society as it is. But as we read Matt's gripping story about his battle with "The King," it feels unjust to turn poker into a metaphor for this or that—the American work ethic, the tension between fate and chance, the merits or failures of capitalism. Turning poker into a discussion about "something else" takes away from its power. Maybe the best thing about the game is the raw experience—the thrill of each hand enjoyed in the moment. Seeing the T peel on the river. Poker as a kind of beauty.

Of course, the didactic and the aesthetic don’t have to be at odds. Ideally, literature (and poker) will be instructive and enjoyable. The cool thing about “Gooseberries,” as I see it, is that it contains a moral imperative (Ivan's position) and also remains skeptical about that very imperative (Chekhov's position).

Just as Matt will take a break from overflushing The King to reflect on his relationship to poker--on justice and the "why me?" question--so too does Chekhov remain preoccupied with ethics, albeit in a subtle way. The final lines of the story, which focus on Burkin rather than Ivan, show this subtlety at work. Unimpressed with his friend's story, Burkin readies himself for bed. But as he climbs underneath the clean linen that Pelagea prepared, Burkin can’t sleep. Something bothers him. It's not exactly the tap-tap-tapping of a hammer, but another gentle, relentless sound outside the window:

His pipe lying on the table smelt strongly of stale tobacco, and Burkin could not sleep for a long while, and kept wondering where the oppressive smell came from.

The rain was pattering on the window-panes all night.





**

Thanks for the comments, guys. Chekhov is def worth reading if you have the time. "The Lady with the Dog" is another good short one.

Next up will be a book review of Shut up and Deal.
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:42 AM   #46
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

this is awesome thanks for writing i really enjoyed reading it
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:50 AM   #47
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

+1
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:03 AM   #48
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Who are the best online heads-up holdem players in the world? Dolk "WCGRider"
Polks gives us his list (and, yes, he ranks himself first): http://www.bluffeurope.com/PokerMaga...nline_157.aspx

NVG Discussion here: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29...ayers-1380583/
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:31 AM   #49
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Following!
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:07 AM   #50
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Re: The Poker Project (playing and writing about poker in the U.S.)

Poker frustrates our innate sense of justice. People – maybe Americans especially? – like to see a clear correlation between skill, hard work, and success. It doesn’t always happen that way in poker, and even the best sometimes doubt themselves. I can understand the desire to have some objective, external assurance that you really are one of the best. I just don’t think such a thing is possible, and it surprises me to see players who surely know better acting as though these rankings were anything more than an extremely rough approximation whose primary objective is to serve the agendas of media organizations and tournament organizers, not to settle the unsettleable argument about who is really the best.

From Andrew Brokos's blog, where he discusses why the "Player of the Year" title doesn't matter : http://www.thinkingpoker.net/2013/10...r-i-dont-care/
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