Happy Halloween – Thriller, Pranks, and Poker Costumes

October 31, 2008

Jail Bird version of Thriller:

Naan n Curry version:


Poker Costume – Is that Joe Sebok?


Ego and Arrogance

October 29, 2008

Episode 17 of 20 of the WSOP 2008 ME coverage on ESPN illustrates the power of the ego.

Tiffany Michelle is the most glaring example.  Suddenly, after a few good days, and a few two outters, she’s the best poker player on the planet.  Saying stuff like “keep that up, buddy.” after being semi bluffed on turn and folding the best hand which was K hi.  One of the highlights had to have been when she calls the clock on a 12MM pot, when she is sitting there with 50bb’s, oh yeah…and not even in the f.cking hand. Craig Marquis was right to call her out.  Sure she has the ability to call the clock, but really…keep your dumb trap shut while you aren’t involved in the spot.  The players involved in the pot weren’t stalling…they were thinking.  

I understand the pressure these players are under going deep in the biggest tournament in the world, but because you luck boxed your way there you are suddenly ‘fooled by randomness’ and think your the best thing since sliced bread.  Newsflash: THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND HOT CHIPS MICHELLE.

Nam Le is probably one of the best poker players in the world.  One of the things that makes him so dangerous is that he is not afraid to play a short stack.  He has said on several occasions that he tries to enter every day without an ego.  He can make big lay downs because he’s not worried about his ‘image’, he’s concerned with survival, and preserving chips.  Someone playing on pure ego has a greater tendancy to think ‘he’s bluffing me’ or ‘too much money in pot, I have to call.’ – this logic can be a disaster during a tournament, unless you can run hot and steam roll.  

Whether it’s ego, arrogance, or naivete all these traits lend themselves to having too much gamble in marginal spots.  Craig Marquis made an insane all in shove, 10 handed, on the November 9 bubble – perhaps the biggest bubble in history with AQ from sb?  vs a standard open and flat call against two players who have him covered and no real reason to be playing garbage hands.  I don’t think this was ego, it was more likely lack of experience, impatience, and being naive to what making the 9 really means.  Dean Hambrick who was the victim of this play with QQ falling to runner runner four flush, lost half his stack on the play.  Now, another spot where it was either inexperience, tilt, or being naive – he dusts all his chips off shipping allin with AJo with lots of players behind.  He can fold, raise/fold, limp – but shoving guarantees you will get called by nothing less than a flip, most likely dominated.

Next time you are playing and start feeling like you’re the man because you got some chips in front of you try to check your ego, preserve your chips, and see how things work out for you, let the game come to you. 

Tournament poker is sick.  Variance is incredible.  Often late in tourneys players with some major leaks (ego, cocky, naive, or inexperience) leads to highly questionable plays, flipping at every opportunity, becoming overly aggressive raising marginal A/x type hands from early position, etc.  Because of these tendancies you make plays that a ‘wiser’ player might avoid because they are just too marginal…sometimes these plays work out, and you can steam roll your way to the final table or through it (a la jerry yang) so I’m a little conflicted in saying these characteristics are always bad.

I guess it is more about being confident, rather than cocky.  There is a clear distinction in life and in poker in someone who is confident vs. cocky.  You are not entitled to your chips, you are not owed anything, your superior skill does not mandate you win this next hand, or the tournament.

Play it cool.  Keep your confidence to yourself.  And ask yourself “What would Nam do?”

Phelps Final Tables $1500 buyin @ Caesar’s and some thoughts about the Industry.

October 27, 2008

…and the whole poker world gets its panties in a bunch. Word is Caesars gave him a medal for finishing 9th. WTF.

I’m sorry but really is that the only newsworthy story the INDUSTRY can come up with. Let it be known, I’m a Phelps fan, watched intently during the Olympics, but for this now to be the biggest deal in poker kinda makes me hate poker. Well maybe not the game perse but definitely the industry.

I think this issue highlights one of the reasons poker will never ‘jump the shark’ as Scott Huff (pokerroad) always says. There just really isn’t enough newsworthy stuff that happens. A bunch of random dudes make a final table, sometimes is Nam Le cuz he’s good at the short stack (see Bellagio Cup results). Poker is a gambling game. Tournaments are a gamble. The end of tournament, almost regardless of structure, requires you to win hands at showdown. If you don’t pick up those hands, chances are good you don’t win.

Since cash games aren’t a ‘tournament’ and no one tally’s points for winning and losing, it’s hard for people (i.e. fans) to watch and keep track of the best of the best. Professional sports are good, because namely of the major franchises. Hate em or Love em – Yankees, Red Sox, Patriots, Cowboys, Lakers, Tiger Woods, whatever – there are dominant forces in these leagues that fans clamour for.

Poker has some of these titans – Ivey, Hansen, Durrr, Benyamine, and depending on your sphere of influence Hellmuth, or some bevie of internet phenoms (there are a lot). Maybe though, that should be the measure of success – a year long cash game – with results on display – televised (maybe a year later??)

The top 100 or so players could compete – how you determine that I have no idea – maybe just by the required buy – make it $500,000 buyin – to narrow the field down.

Then televise it once a week or a month – and all the pros can come and play every 2 weeks or something in LA or LV…

Okay so this is a tough format, but still its a main reason why poker can’t go mainstream. It’s just too much of a gambling game, with sick variance, and higher variance in tournaments (which are what people watch – because there is a ‘winner’ at the end – a trophy, a celebration, something finite to talk about at the water cooler.)

Sarah Palin Name Generator

October 9, 2008

Good times:


Chopping my lips?

October 1, 2008


Watch Day 3 coverage of the 2008 WSOP ME. One of the funnier things I’ve heard in awhile, when Johnny Chan opens the pot for a standard raise with KK from early position, some monkey over shoves 20bb with 10/8o…weeeeeee.

Then after busting said monkey, Mr. Chan says and I quote “I was chopping my lips.”

How does one go about chopping lips?

I believe the expression he was looking for was ‘licking my chops’.

From the freedictionary.com it means:
to be eager to do something that you think will be satisfying or pleasant. Their team was so much better than ours that when they played us, they were just licking their chops.

Etymology: based on the literal meaning of lick your chops (equals: to lick your lips when thinking of something good to eat)

Grammar lesson done. One.