Life and Jelly

July 25, 2008

Poker is cool.  Being able to play poker to pay bills is also cool.  Unfortunately, there are some consequences to this profession.  I’ve mentioned before about the ‘opportunity cost’ of playing poker.  Most poker players think along the lines of the time spent NOT playing poker, is “X”bb/100 or $X/hr down the drain.  This is a perfectly accurate and logical thought, but it can dangerous for the bigger things in life.

If you can make 500k playing poker this year, well a: your probably not reading this and b: I’m not really talking to you.  But if you are grinding the micro stakes, looking to build your roll, and come up through the ranks…listen up.

Playing poker for a living can often be like chasing a ghost.  You have wins here and there, you study, you practice, you talk about hands with friends, you watch videos on Cardrunners.  At the end of a successful year, lets say you are up $15k.   Read the rest of this entry »


July 23, 2008

Make interesting word groupings out of content you already produce by going to Wordle. Kinda neat to see what the heck you are babbling about digitally. Use any RSS/ATOM type feed.

Here’s a screenshot of this blog:

Poker After Dark – The internet whiz kid edition

July 22, 2008

I just watched the first episode of Poker After Dark featuring Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Huck Seed, Tom Dwan, Brian Townsend, and Andrew Robl.

Interesting Observations/Opinions:
-Johnny Chan cautiously plays JJ utg. Limped, ckd behind Durrr on 7/7/4 board, flat called Durrr on turn, flat called river. He’s made this play on tv a bunch, folding AA on pair boards to strength, ck calling KK’s and AA’s OOP. He doesn’t want to go busto with these hands, and keeps the pot as small as possible when out of position and during early levels of tournies.

– Internet Connection – on a lot of the hands, the 3 ‘internet’ kids generally looked around, mostly toward each other, seeking approval or reaction on the hand that just went down. Probably a carry over from the instant message habit – always looking for other thoughts on a particular hand. Most of the expressions were ‘Did you just see that?’ or ‘What kind of line was that?’

– KQ suited in position – K/4/3 board, Dwan preflop raiser, ck raised flop 3x ish, Robl called in position, 8 turn, Dwan bet again, Robl lost in the hand, calls again. Dwan value shoves on river J, hoping to get a call from AK or KJ…Robl folds the KQ, loses half his stack – Dwan shows a 3, and “looks like he’s gonna puke” so says Ali-wood Nejad. Eh, marginal spot from Robl. But it’s easier to say when you can look at all the hole cards.

– Old guard v. New Youth – interesting dynamic, and it generally seems as the older players are looking to play cautiously hoping the young ‘reckless’ players make big mistakes on later streets. I’m not sure this is the best strategy against a guy like Dwan – who is looking to play flop, turn, river as well. But I guess it depends on who the favorite is on the flop…and that depends on position most of the time. Young players are tough to play against because they haven’t gotten comfortable with money/fame/status type stuff yet. Dwan recently said in an interview that given 3/1 odds he would risk 1/2 his bankroll on that gamble. Logic being: if the shot doesn’t work, he can always grind back the 1/2 he lost, with minimal risk of going busto. You need gamble in you – or else you become predictable.

Wanna Bet – When good ideas go bad

July 22, 2008

Two prop bet shows I like:
‘Prop bet’ w/ Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok – a little archived web series on They had a few funny, generally drunken, degenerate activities. It was raw, poor quality, but real and entertaining. Now the duo are on to other things, namely Pokerroad.

‘I Bet You’ w/ Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak on Mojo – a more professionally produced series, most of the time entertaining. Sometimes gets a little scripted and feels like even Antonio and Phil don’t care – but they are good characters to be sure.

Now a big network, searching for an idea – wants to tap into gambling… launches Wanna Bet? Which is a show that has been aired in several international countries (and logic would assume has had success in those markets) Starring some C-list celebrities, playing with ‘pretend money’ for charity. The charity bit is commendable, but the show sucks. They are betting on whether or not random joes can perform a certain act under a given set of conditions. The first act of the show premiere – hulahooping a 50lbs semi truck tire for 45 seconds. 3 of the 4 judges correctly ascertained this guy wouldn’t be able to do it. The funny part is the betting. The 1 guy that got it wrong bet like 1/2 his pretend stack. 2 of the others bet 10% of their stack (probably a reasonable sum for the strategy), and the final guy bet 0.5% of his stack…boring.

It seems to me that good ideas get lost in big companies most of the time. Perhaps it is because of the decision by committee stuff that is talked about throughout business books/magazines/blogs. No one wants to really stick their neck out, so they seek approval. That way the whole committee is accountable, keeping your middle management, producer, marketing, whatever job safe. It also leads to watered down, boring, bland ideas most of the time.

Maybe we are all just a bunch of:

The Future of Gambling?

July 22, 2008

I just received a press release regarding a wireless ‘bet-work’ that the Venetian is beta testing:

While spending every second of your Vegas vacation gambling sounds terrific, everyone knows a room-service club sandwich can properly be enjoyed only in your room. Take your crippling addiction mobile, with the eDeck, now test-running at the Venetian.

After five years of development and regulatory approval, LV-based Cantor Gaming’s unleashed a wi-fi’d PSP-like device that lets you play for real money on-the-go, free from obnoxious fellow players and dealers so deep in your head you can’t even get your drink order right. Just set up an account with an attendant, log in with your player’s card/PIN, roam around and get your game on; later, assuming you don’t accidentally send your winnings to voicemail, press a cashout button to retrieve your e-lucre from the cashier. Current fun includes blackjack, baccarat, slots, video poker, and roulette (American or European); future offerings will include live-action poker, sportsbook parlays, and proprietary games like the one Cantor’s creating based on characters from Heavy Metal magazine — so instead of losing money to a shifty guy in a bow tie, you can lose it to a busty space valkyrie.

During the prelim trial, the eDeck’ll only work in the Venetian’s high-stakes slots lounge, but assuming all goes well, you’ll soon be able to use it throughout the hotel: at the pool, in the club, and in your room — where, feasting and betting, you’ll utter that fateful line, “This club sandwich will pay for itself”.

For poker players, who already sit in the cafe in the Venetian and play online poker on their laptops, this will not be very useful. However, the casual (and sometimes not so casual) gamblers, who don’t bring their laptops on vacation, will probably dig this convenience. I think it takes a bit of the fun out of actually gambling in Vegas, the chips, the free drinks, the smoke, the dealers – and certainly introduces the ‘digital tilt’ factor to people who will have to learn the hard way it is much easier to click away a $1000 than actually bet it on the tables.

Everyone should be like Jack

July 21, 2008

Running Bad – Get yourself out of da funk in 3 easy steps

July 20, 2008

This post will be kinda quick, but really useful I think (hope).

If you are currently amidst a downswing, or have been losing for a few consecutive months and feel really frustrated by the game try the following 3 step recovery plan:

Step 1: Take a break. It’s important to come back to the game with a refreshed spirit. How long? The length of a break depends on where your head is at, but generally speaking, around a week is going to get the job done. In this week, it is important to not think about poker. This may be tough, as your used to scouring the forums, reading the blogs, watching the videos…cut yourself off for a few days at the very least. After a few days, if you want to start watching a video or two, or lurking in the forums fine. But no playing!

Step 2: Drop down a level, or two: When you come back to the game, play at a level that you really could care less about losing a buyin or three. You are just pushing the reset button here….this is important, especially for your confidence. So you normally play .25/.5? Who cares if you play a few sessions at .05/.1…check your ego. This is about getting off running bad.

Step 3: Play much tighter out of position and from the blinds, and much more aggressive in position especially button and cutoff. Position is not much of a secret these days, but I’ve found that when a lot of people are running bad some terrible habits creep in. There game starts to average out. You are looking to win bigger pots, one way they try and do that is loosen up your preflop calling ranges out of position a bit…and combined with that, you start playing a little too conservative in position, not c-betting like you normally would, or not 3betting aggressively enough.

If you are playing deeper stacks (200bb+) then you can start trying to lower variance in some spots, where you might be inclined to protect your hand (vs flush/str8 draws) by reshoving on the flop. It’s ok to give free, or cheaper, turn/river cards sometimes – to prevent the monkeys from shoving…always remember a skilled player will make better decisions on all streets vs. a weaker player. If you only have one street to make a decision you lose much of your edge – leaving it up to the poker gods you curse so much.

GL – I hope you get out of your funk soon.