Friday, August 31, 2007

PPA is a fraud

The PPA is a fraud and anyone who promotes their misrepresentations is just trying to con you. That includes

The PPA claims to be an organization of poker players, but that's simply not true. They're an organization of secret commercial interests who has a list of poker player names which they use as a front.

Individuals can join with no dues. They don't raise money at all from their "members", they raise money from un-named commercial interests and that's who they're going to serve, not you. They serve the money. You're just a name for them to put on a list and wave around in the air.

What does the PPA support? They support the idea that poker is illegal. According to John Pappas, the new head of PPA
Well, to be clear, there's really only one piece of legislation that's specific to poker and games of skill. That is the Wexler bill, and that is the bill that the PPA promised to deliver to its members. As soon as the UIGEA passed in the dark of night last year, we were going to get an exemption. And that's exactly what the Skill Game Protection Act, HR 2610, introduced by Robert Wexler, seeks to do. So that is the only bill that's specific to poker.

The UIGEA only applies to poker if poker on the internet violates US law. No US court has found that to be the case, but PPA supports the argument that internet poker does violate US law.

Why would they do that?

To give their commercial supporters monopoly control over online poker by giving the US government the power to regulate content on the internet. BoDog does not support PPA. FullTilt does. PPA is an organization of commercial interests who don't want their identity known who's goal is to establish monopoly control of internet poker.

But they constantly lie about who they represent. Don't trust the sonsofbitches and don't trust anybody who tries to tell you otherwise.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Matt Maroon

I don't think I've ever meet Matt Maroon, the blogger at The Poker Chronicles, but I think I'd like him if I ever do meet him. Here's his take on Danny Boy and being a good christian.
I havn't read his book,Winning Texas Hold'em: Cash Game Poker Strategies for Players of All Skill Levels, I'll have to get a copy.

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Luck v. Skill

I havn't read The Poker Chronicles in a while and was catching up on it this afternoon. I ran across an old post from back in May about a really stupid idea from David Sklansky, Howard Lederer, and Annie Duke that Freakonomics picked up on and actually seemed to think it was a meaningful idea about poker as a skill game. It's not a meaningful idea at all.

You might notice that Annie had made her blog post promoting the idea as part of her pimping from that scam organization, PPA.

Let me quote Annie's statement of the idea.
But now let's say that we have our two equally matched poker players and I lean into one of them and whisper in their ear that I want them to lose the next match as quickly as possible. The player would be able to do it, and fast. They could easily come up with a strategy that would insure that they lost (for example they could check fold every single flop). Baseball would work the same way. Remember the Chicago Blacksox?

The ability to purposely lose is a very definitive argument that a game is all skill. Notice that if I asked you to purposely lose at a roulette game or Baccarat game (where the house took no edge) you could not do it.

The Poker Chronicles points out how stupid that idea is by pointing out how to structure bets in roulette, craps, and baccaret to ensure a loss. In poker you have to depend on your opponent not taking counter measure if you want to ensure a loss, that's not even true if you want to ensure a loss in table games.

It's idiots like Annie Duke, with the apparant brains of a dead turnip, that are pimping your support of the PPA. Keep that in mind.

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Everybody gets a medal

I guess it's really not hard to be competitive when there's no objective criteria to judge your performance against.

Brian Townsend has a blog entry about his recent performance in a triathlon. He says
I am very proud of my results

He thinks of himself as a competitive kind of guy, right? So that must mean he did pretty well, right? Not so much.
I finished in 4 hours and 6 minutes which is very good for me.

He doesn't say very good. But, "very good for me". What does that mean? does that mean close to the top? No, not that.
Also the top finishers came in under 3 hours
Is it personal best? He doesn't say that, he just says "good for me", which implies he's probably done better. His explanation is
I am very proud of my results as I hadn't really trained for this at all.

But then right after he says that he points out that it's not really true that he didn't train at all.
I run a decent amount and swim occasionally but I really hadn't done any biking in 3-4 months.
So he did train some, just not enough.

But he's proud of his results.

I guess that's what it takes in todays world to define a winner. Everybody gets to be a winner. The whole world is the Special Olympics.

This guy provides material as good as my previous favorite sources of material, Danny and David.


Charles Nesson

I just can't help but wonder whether this Charles Nesson guy is just nuts. Maybe not, maybe he's just a fan of payola or something. He's sure making a big play for attention.
Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson will announce an international effort to organize "poker strategic thinking societies" at universities and secondary schools around the world that will use poker as an educational tool to teach everything from basic life skills to war games at military colleges.

Being a teacher at Harvard does not preclude you from being nuts. It's something of a haven for nutcases. So let's don't automatically assume Nesson is sane and rational just becuase he has tenure at a Harvard professional school.

Poker can be an effective tool for teaching. When I used to teach undergrad courses in stat methods I'd often use poker hands as an example for simple problems in counting combinations or simple probabilities. My sister teaches 3rd grade and she tells me that some of her students use their free play period to play poker among themselves (she doesn't teach it to them, they've learned it from watching TV).

But using poker as a central organizing concept for education? I'm not so sure that falls into under the completely sane column. There is some evidence Nesson has a name as something of a gadfly at HLS.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Tony Svanstrom

If anybody knows how to get hold of Tony would you please ask him to contact me.

Thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Skill's don't translate

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sometimes a weakness is more than just a weakness

In a recent blog post, Brian Townsend identifies what he thinks is a major weakness in his game.
I have been thinking a lot about my downswing. I have always followed up great months/times with bad downswings. I attribute this mainly to getting overconfident and lazy about my play. I get bored with poker when I have sucess. I actaully really enjoyed last spring when I moved down to 5k plo because it offered me a new challenge. I wanted to prove to myself that I was a top PLO player. I have had amazing results in PLO since then.

Challenge? No, I don't think so. I don't think it's about challenge. I think it's about the thrill of risk-taking. That's not the same thing as a challenge. A challenge is an intellectual thrill, the thrill of risk-taking is a physical thrill.
I have talked to some of the best young players, who are up to 10 years my senior, and they say they dont play as well anymore because it doesnt hurt to lose. I have noticed this about myself as well. I play amazing poker when the money I lose really hurts if I didn't have it.

Let's just ignore te part where he thinks it's better to learn from the best inexperienced players than to learn from the best. We can write that off to his own inexperience, he'll learn better when he gets some maturity.

But the part about it hurting is important. He needs help and he needs it now.

Have you ever known anyone who engaged in self-mutilation? Cutting themselves, burning themselves with cigarettes?

It's about intentionally creating pain. Not that far removed from making it "hurt to lose". Like every other kind of human behavior, there's a couple of different types of cause for the behavior.

As some of y'all know I have some severe depression in my background. I've had periods of intense internal pain. Just hurting, really, really hurting. Not from some physical cause, but from depression itself. It's a mental pain, but it's a mental pain that's felt physically without a physical pain. Sometimes depression does that to you. Other times depression is about no feeling at all. A nothingness. Numbness. No pain, no nothing.

Either of those kinds of feelings can be alleviated by self-mutilation. I've never engaged in self-mutilation but I can understand the kinds of situations that might make someone think it's a good idea.

That's what I think of when I see someone talking about a need to gamble high enough so that it "hurts when I lose". I think of the need to create a sense of pain to either mask some internal pain that really, really hurts or of the need to create a pain that gives you some kind of re-assurance that you're actually alive.

In either case it's not a good thing for a gambler. Brian needs to think about his risk-taking needs with a much broader personal scope than just his poker game.

Maybe I'm over-reacting. But I don't think so.

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When the thrill is gone

In the first post I made about Brian Townsend's blog I said it was a window into a different world. As I read more and more of it I think that the world he's living in isn't the same world I originally thought it was.

When I wrote that first post I didn't know who the guy was. Since then I've read some of his background
He is 25 and recently completed his degree in electrical engineering from University of California-Santa Barbara.

Okay, he's some young guy. But that doesn't really explain his money or why he's playing poker. The next part of his bio does though.
Brian has been playing poker professionally since September 2006. He began playing poker in August 2005. Initially playing .25/.50 limit holdem, Brian quickly moved up the limit ranks to the larger limit games before switching to no limit in the beginning of 2006. From there, he moved up from the smallest no limit games to the largest no limit games in the world in under a year.

He's a craps player who keeps letting it ride. That explains a lot.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


They really suck.

I got an invitation to some Bodog blogger tournament series with a $10+1 buyin and some added money. Since they are a major advertiser at I thought I'd play, but I don't have any money in my Bodog account (they pay for the advertising directly, not through my Bodog account). So, for the first time since Neteller went south I set about trying to figure out how to get money onto a poker site.

Bodog doesn't have a lot of options for American players. It's pretty much either NuCharge, some kind of phone card payment system, or eWalletExpress, a more traditional type internet payments system.

I opted for eWalletExpress because with NuCharge if you make a Bodog deposit with them you have to withdraw through them, and that's not the case with eWalletExpress.

Normally I wouldn't like eWalletExpress, they have some pretty high fees on deposits. But they allow a 1-time deposit straight from a bank account with no fee, up to $150 maximum deposit. Since $150 more than covers the buyins for the invitational tournaments I went with it.

First of all I only have one telephone. It's my cell phone that I've had since I lived in Gulfport. I don't have a separate home phone or business phone. But I don't live in Gulfport anymore, I live in Oklahoma. So they wouldn't let me sign up with that phone number.

I contacted their online support, and she suggested I find a different phone number. I guess she meant to make one up with an Oklahoma area code. But I thought that might not be a good idea since there might be a telephone check at the end of the signup.

So I used my old Gulfport address. The address is still there, although the house that was there floated off into the Gulf of Mexico during Katrina. No problem. Sailed right through. And I was right, they do have a telephone verification thing at the end.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing. Making the deposit. They ask what kind of account. I checked off savings account.

Then they want me to input (using a special keypad) all the little micr codes at the bottom of a check. Uh. Savings account. No checks.

But I know the bank routing number and the account number, so I got a check from a different bank and copied the little special codes at the bottom of that check, with my routing number and account number. They rejected it. I found a check from a third bank which had slighly different codes than the ones on the other check, I used that one, it worked.

What a pain in the ass.

It's gets worse. Everybody else validates your account by making a deposit of a few cents and requiring you to tell them the amount of the deposit. These clowns make a withdrawal of few cents and require you to tell them the amount of the withdrawel.

Not just a pain in the ass, a cheap pain in the ass.

I don't like them.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Game Selection

A few years ago somebody made a post on and asked where the best poker players played. I can't find that old thread but Caro responded with something like
The best players play were the best players don't play.

I always liked that answer.

While I'm not sure it helps you avoid really good players, you can often avoid the risk of finding table full of tight players by looking at the rake. Low rake games tend to attract tight players. And tight players tend to avoid games with high rakes.

So, although it might be counter-intuitive in that high rake games present a large hurdle to overcome, the best games are often the games with the worst rakes. Those games tend to attract players who don't care enough about the rake to even think about it.

It was a Bill Rini post about the rake at WSEX that caused me to think about this.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some positive comments in that 5 thread about Gary Carson and his work

Not everybody who posts t 2+2 thinks my work is crap just because Mason says it is.

I gave his book on hold'em a quick read a couple of years ago. I actually thought it was quite good, especially since he wrote pretty extensively about adjusting your play based on table conditions. Probably very few here will agree with me but that's okay too.

As I mentioned previously in this collection of posts, that need to make adjustments according to table conditions, and not adjustments from a base but complete adjustments in the way you think about the game, is what the book is all about.

In that sense, by the way, the book is just as applicable to no limit games as it is to limit games. t least I think it is. I'm slowly putting a new edition which includes no limit ideas on the web.

I think of it as a companion to SSHE, which is focused more on a loose passive table. Carson's book is more interested in loose aggressive settings. I'd suggest reading both books with an open mind while actually thinking about poker.

Carson's book has its flaws. It doesn't seem to have much at all on turn and river play. I seem to recall that it has some laughable psychology, especially in the part concerning female players. But it also has its strong points. My favorite chapter in his book is the one on theories of poker.

Well, I think of SSHE more as a companion to CBHEP. Part of that is ego and part is that my book wasn't geared towards one particular game condition.

Many of the details do focus on loose/aggresive games, that's because I thought that was a game condition that few written works addressed and I thought it was the predominate game condition in the typical 20/40 limit game outside of Las Vegas at the time.

I wonder what was laughable about the psychology in the part about female players. Most of that was taken from observations that Abdul's wife had made and that Abdul had discussed on 2+2. Mason didn't agree with the observations, but Mason also didn't understand why Abdul didn't control his wife better.

The chapter on theories of poker is my favorite part of the book also.

More later.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Equity of that K5

I thought I'd look at that button call with the K5s and 6 callers in front of you (with on raise) in some more detail.

Using pokerstove, if the raiser is raising with the top 20% of his hands and the other callers are playing the top 60% of their hands then the K5s has equity of about 13.5%, the callers 13.6% and the raiser 18.5%.

To make a call worthwhile based on pot equity alone the hero would need about 14.3%. But with the added value of the button, at that point you're actually in think about raise territory.

If the kicker was a little better, say a K8s, the hero's equity is about 13.9, the other callers 13.5. Still in the call territory.

What about A5s? It's worth a raise just based on equity. Against that 60%/20% lineup the A5s has 16% equity, the callers 13.2% and the raiser 17.8%. This is an example of a situation where you don't have to think you have the best hand for it to be worth a raise on value alone, you don't need to try to reduce the field to make it worth a raise, in fact you don't want to reduce the field.

How about pair? That's a hand Mason said he'd call with. A 66 is worth a raise here. It's in even better shape (just slighly) than the A5s.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Implied odds with a flush draw in a loose game

Jumping ahead in the discussion about that 2+2 thread about me, a commenter towards the end of the thread says
I believe the references to his book were minor in nature and probably nothing Ed Miller/David didn't know already. Just stuff that was in his book before Ed published his.

That's a perfect example of how people deal with cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when the observed reality doesn't match with your beliefs, in particular when people find themselfs doing things that dont' match with their beleifs.

The dissonance we have here stems from the beleif that 2+2 books are always "correct", a claim that Mason has made over and over since before 2+2 actually published its first book. Miller was still dressing for his prom when my book was being written, so the relevant 2+2 players are the other two authors of Miller's book, David and Mason. Did my book contian anything they didn't know already?

The true beleiver has to claim they did, otherwise there would be dissonance stemming from his beleive in infallibility (is it starting to sound like a religious cult?).

There are a few psycholocial tricks people use to fool themselves into dealing with dissonance. A primary method is simply avoidance of exposure to ideas that cause dissonance. That's the primary function of the heavy handed moderation at work at 2+2 forums.

Anyway, the tactic in my book that was the primary motivation for me writing the book was the idea of value betting a flush draw on the flop. I had made the observation when playing in some double bet on the end limit hold'em games in Victoria, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. When I realized that the idea was also true in loose games that didn't have a double bet on the river I went to the internet to look for some reassuaance about my thoughts. (another way people tend to cope with cognitive dissoanance).

Prior to that most of what I thought about limit hold'em came from reading others, mostly Sklansky. The general beleive, preached by David, was that there were a lot of reasons to raise a flush draw on the flop, but they centered around semi-bluffs and free-card plays, not value. I thought that popular wisdom was wrong and that there were situations where draws could be bet for value.

I knew this was the case in some cases in draw because I'd done a game theory related paper on the subject for a conference in operations research (applied math) when I was a graduate student. But since it required multi-way action in hold'em the mathematics wasn't so straight-forward and I wanted to talk about it.

I posted something about it to That post got zero responses. So I posted something about it to Although I'd played IRC poker on the internet before that, I'd never posted to one of the forums before.

Mason responded basically telling me that I was an idiot and that since he had never heard of me it couldn't be possible that I knew what I was talking about.

From that a book was born.

I eventuall found a half-dozen people on rgp with similar thoughts and after refining my thinking in dicussions with them, managed to turn the idea into a book.

What did Mason think about playing draws for value before my book was published? It hadn't occured to him. The idea that he already was familiar with the idea is laughable.

In a thread from 1998, Bob Morgan posed the question

20/40 HE - loose game, six callers in front with one raise. I know the pot is going to have at least six-way action. I'm on the button witk K5s. Should I call or fold?

For those who have read my book you'll realize that not only should you call, if the hand was just slightly better (like K6s) you should probably raise. Mason made a comment in that thread that shows his ignorance of the idea of raising flush draws for value.

Re: The semi-pros are 50-50 on this one!
Posted by: (
Posted on: Saturday, 7 February 1998, at 3:08 a.m.

I almost always throw this hand away. The problem with calling is that your implied odds are not as good as they seem. In a typical $20-$40 hold 'em game you will have to pay to make a flush assuming that two of your suit come. On the other hand I would play any pair in this spot.

With at least 7 people seeing a flop for two bets it's not going to be a stretch to think that you'll get 3 callers on a flop bet if you flop a flush draw. In that case Mason is just wrong to think you'll have to pay to draw to the flush. You'll profit from just drawing to the flush (in terms of EV).

The whole idea of a draw being better than a "made hand" is one that Mason just couldn't process. He's since figured it out (I think) but he fought the idea very hard for a long time.

David also didn't understand the concept at the time, but he did more quickly understand it once it was pointed out to him.

I'll get back into sequence in my repsonces next time.

I'm getting a lot of milage out of the thread. Good for me. Keep reading, keep responding. Tell me what you think. If you don't agree with me I'm sure I'll tell you you're wrong, but tell me anyway.

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A thread with over 60 pages of posts

There's a thread on 5 about Vanessa Rousso with over 60 pages of posts, including a couple of posts from her, and nobody mentions Duke. But law school is mentioned and an undergraduate course in game theory is mentioned a couple of times.

Aggresive calls is a major theme of the thread.

She is so funny.


A 5 response that gets it all wrong

Moving on in that twoplustwo thread on Gary Carson we get to a response that pretty much gets every detail wrong.
His online persona is somewhat nasty. Whether or not that is reflective of his real life character, I don't know. He certainly considers himself an iconoclast. Since 2+2 are the icons, he sees himself in opposition to all things 2+2.

Part of the reason he isn't visible here is that he insisted all of his old posts be removed after some nastiness with Mason. So being an outsider is at least partly his choice. However, he seems to be up to date on the goings-on on 2+2, so his consciousness lingers here.

If and when he contributes something notable and new, I'm sure there will be discussion here. If it's in book form, it will appear on this forum. [Calling random internet forum posters names and rehashing old arguments don't count.]

Do I have a nasty online persona? I don't think so. Somewhat intolerant of some things, but I think nasty is a stretch. At least one person disagrees with me about that, maybe more than I think do, but I don't think it's accurate to think many people think I have a nasty online persona.

I know the next part is wrong. I don't think of myself as an iconoclast at all. Hell, I don't even know what that means, but I just looked it up.

A person who attacks settled beliefs. I don't think that's entirely accurate, although many have called me that. I have more respect for widely held beleifs than might be apparent to some. I just tend to think that many widely held ideas don't have the wide application that it's often assumed they do.

There are some widely held beliefs that I do attack. But not just because they're widely held, but because they are based on really stupid premises. An example of that is the idea that JT is a better hand than KT or AK is a better hand to have than AA because they are "easy" to get away from.

That's just stupid. It's stupid when Mason says it and it's stupid when Doyle says it.

Easy is not better. Good situations are often difficult to exploit while bad situations are easy to get away from. That does not mean you're better off to just avoid all good situations.

Does that make me an iconoclast? Is so, then I guess I am one.

Now, 2+2 are the icons? What the hell? Somebody's insane. 2+2 has never been an icon. It's always been a niche publisher who published specialty books that mainstream publishers didn't want to bother with. That's not an icon. Hell, back when I used to post on 2+2 it wasn't even that, it was a vanity press for self-publishing work that mainstream publishers didn't want to fool with.

The poker boom hit 2+2 hard, and they've done very well as a result. We've all done well, them more than most of us. But icon? That just trivializes the concept of icon.

At one time I think David Sklansky might have been considered an icon in the poker world. But I think that time has passed. 2+2? Never.

Then the claim that I insisted all my old posts be deleted after some nastiness with Mason.

Not at all. Mason had deleted post I made that answered some criticisms of ideas of mine and so I simply quit posting on 2+2. No nastiness. I wasn't 86'd, I just stopped posting. I didn't make an issue out of no longer posting, I'm not sure most people even knew I wasn't posting any longer. In that time Mason emailed me offereing to make it worth my while financially to post on 2+2 if I'd promise to "be nice to him". By then I'd decided he was nuts and I declined the offer, one which I understood to be an open offer until ....

Steve Badger had some kind of pissing match with Mason. I don't know what it was about, I never cared much one way or another. But Badger was yelling that he wanted his posts removed from the archive because he owned the copyright.

I wasn't sure if Badger had a legit claim to the archival rights. But, I knew I had a special circumstance that gave me an ironclad claim to the archival rights to my own posts, so I decided to intervene on the side of Steve Badger. Mostly I was just being a troll.

The orginal webmaster at 2+2 was Jessica Vecchione. At one point she made a post about the possibiity of publishing a "best of 2+2" column in Poker Digest.

I emailed her and told her she did not have print rights to any of my posts. And that I would only agree to archival rights to my posts if they made all archives of al my posts available to me. She agreed to that.

Later, when Mason deleted some of my posts that agreement was violated. Which technically meant that as soon as Mason deleted one of my posts he lost the archival rights to all the others.

So I pointed that out, and threatened to sue for copyright violation if Mason continued to archive my work without permission. It was my thought at the time that all Mason had to do was ask for permission and I'd give it to him under the same conditions Jessica and I had previously agreed to. But Mason didn't want to do that, so he had Chuck Weinstock remove my posts. He didn't delete them, he just removed them from the database and kept them. I asked him if he'd send me the posts and Chuck refused. Another violation of the agreement I'd made with 2+2 originally.

Pretty much anybody who associates with Mason becomes a weasel eventually, even Chuck.

But, uDevil is right that my being an outsider at 2+2 is my choice. I just decided not to fool with them and stopped posting.

I never demanded that Mason remove my posts from the archives, just that he not do so in violation of copyright. He needed to ask for permission, something Mason just couldn't make himself do.

As for the end of the comment "If and when he contributes something notable and new, I'm sure there will be discussion here. If it's in book form, it will appear on this forum. ".

Since my hold'em book was notable and new when it was published, and there was very little discussion about it on 2+2, I'd kind of doubt that there will be a lot of discussion about any future book length works of mine.

Once you're on Mason's enemies list you stay there.


More responses in that 5 thread

I'm a little disappointed that nobody has had anything to say about my comments on the responses in that thread about me at 2+2.

Maybe it's because some people think I have a habit of engaging in personal attacks of anyone who disagrees with me. Do I do that? I think probably not nearly as often as some seem to think.

But let's move on down the line in that Five thread anyway. The next comment says

I haven't read his books but I know he wanted to expand a chapter about strategy into a new book. He points out that TOP is about tactics, not strategy. This is true. Poker strategy doesn't get written about much, it's the stuff that successful players work out for themselves and don't post on forums (or write in books, which tend to be less advanced than forums), although I suppose the SPR stuff from PNL is getting there.

I don't know what SPR and PNL is. 2+2 types seem to be big on acronyms that don't mean anything to the rest of us.

But as for the rest of that comment, I didn't have a chapter about strategy in the hold'em book. I did have a chapter about poker theory that discussed things such as models, strategy, and tactics, and pointed out that they weren't the same thing as theory.

When I sold my hold'em book originally I had a short hypo-manic period where I did drafts of propasels for about 10 other poker books. One of them was a book on poker theory. I never did much with the idea, although I did pitch it to Caro when he announced he was starting up a publishing arm at his Mike Caro University. He wasn't interested and at the time I thought it was too specialied to interest a main-stream publisher. Maybe I'll start up my own publishing company some day and do that book. Maybe not.

I do have a chapter on strategic thinking in my upcoming book on no-limit poker. Strategic thinking is pretty much the theme of that book.

That's enough for now. More on that thread later. The next comment in that thread is pretty good in that it's a very good example of the kind of thinking common among regular posters at 2+2.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Some responses in that 5 thread

Here's the first three threads of that 2+2 thread about me I mentioned earlier.

We let his body of work speak for itself.

What an illuminating response, and one that ironically exceeds my expectations for this forum.

1st - dont be a jerk, you will get better responses when you dont lash out at people who volenteer their opinion even if you don't think its worthy.

2nd - Gary Carson doesnt matter anymore, his work has been eclipsed, there are far batter things to discuss now than his books. Yes there was a time when there was bad blood, but it doesn't matter anymore because his body of work has become marginalized by the books that have come out by both 2+2 and non-2+2 publishing companies since his works were originally released.

Its interesting to note that 2+2 gave Gary credit in the footnotes of Small Stakes Hold'em numerous times even though Mason was not a huge fan of his overall work.

I don't know what those 1st two responses mean. The first one is some kind of sarcasm, but I don't really get it because it's accurate, it's what the original question is. The question is why does 2+2 leave my body of work to speak for itself?

But point 2 of the 3rd is partly accurate, partly not. It's probably true that there are far better things to discuss on 2+2 than my work. I'm not so sure he got the reasons for that right though.

There are two parts to the general theme of my hold'em book that have not been eclipsed by subsequent work or by events. That's my general idea that there is no baseline theory of poker which should be modified to exploit situations, there's a collection of independent, unrelated theories that should be cherry-picked from. The other is the idea of making observations about table conditions as the guide to cherry-pick from those different theories.

Before my book, and to some extent subsequently, the idea of exploitation has been that you start with a baseline equilibrium (often called optimal but not actually optimal) and modify to exploit specific opponent mistakes.

That approach works under some game conditions. But under general game conditions it doesn't work, it can make you exploitable by other players at the table. By responding to the table conditions rather than to specific opponent mistakes you aren't exploitable.

I maintained that general theme in my casino poker book, although I didn't really expand on it.

That part of my work hasn't been marginalized at all, not by subsequent works and not by events such as the near death of limit hold'em.

Nobody really discusses it because it's hard. At least that's why I think nobody really discusses it. It's part of the reason I haven't followed through with the ideas myself. There are other reasons that I haven't that I'll talk about later, when I get to some of the later responses in the thread.

I think the last statement about Mason not really being a fan of my work is funny.

In an old 2+2 thread that later became Chapter 27 Playing a Draw in my book, Mason said that anybody that paid any attention to anything I was saying would quickly go broke. That was before he decided that it was a good idea to put his name as an author of Miller's book was a good idea.

His willingness to list himself as an author on that work just tells the world how intellectually dishonest Mason and family actually is. None of them have a lick of intellectual honesty.

I'll get back to this later.

Anybody have any comments on that thread? Or comments on my comments about the thread?


A five thread about Gary Carson

There's a two plus two thread about me that's somewhat interesting. At least interesting to me, I'm not sure it's interesting to anybody else.

The thread's pretty much run its course and I thought I'd make a series of posts here commenting on some of the posts in that thread. Many of them are interesting, some because they actually show some insight, some because they show some extreme ignorance.

I'm a regular, but not frequent, reader of two plus two. Since the Skalansky forum was killed off I pretty much just go once or twice a month to look at the Books forum and see if anybody is talking about any of my stuff. While I'm their I usually look at the Poker Theory forum and the Probability forum.

Anyway, this thread starts off with
I never hear any mention of his name or his book on this site. Is there a reason for this? He has interesting and insightful information on his website, and there are even references to his The Complete Book of Hold 'Em Poker in SSHE, although he is sharply critical of both Malmuth and Sklansky at times. Is this perhaps why I don't hear his name pop up?

Any thoughts?

A pretty much straight forward question. I don't have much to say about it. More on the thread later. My tournament just started.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Upstream, Downstream

An editor would help. Here's the title and the lede for an article at 2+2 internet magazine.
Value Flows Downstream

Everything proceeds backwards from the river.

Let's see. If you start at the river and go backwards you're going towards the headwaters. That's upstream, not downstream.

I didn't read the rest of the article. I think it's more productive to just point and laugh.

Mason is just wrong when he thinks he doesn't need an editor.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Just in case ..

Just in case you weren't sure where Vanessa Rousso went to school.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

When they don't care about money

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's nice to be noticed

I like it when people mention things I've said. Internet Poker Pro makes an observation about something I said a long time ago.
The most ridiculous assumption is that poker success has an underlying set of traits or characteristics that would transfer to business success. Now for some real world players this may be true. Some of the skills and meta-game understandings that folk that understand Gary Caron’s old RPG aphorism of “being in the entertainment business” may be of some use en route to the Board Room. But being able to 8 table for 12 hours without going on tilt or insane? Profitable, yes. Transferable, no. Business will always be about people and how you handle them and unfortunately those fleshy, carbon-based things will always a key component. And saying “lol, u suck” may not be the best way to engage with them on the path to wealth and success.


Porn is a sport

It's official. Porn is a sport.

Internet Poker Pro weighs in on ESPN poker coverage.
Amusingly, one of those WSOP inbreeds, who is so irrelevant that I can't bother to even google who it was, basically justified that the WSOP was a sport because people watched it and there was a lot of prize money. So if they paid guys to wank on TV that would be a sport? (Ok, they do, its called porn, and is the true purpose of the internet and the reason why playing poker one handed is so essential.) This is the kind of powerful logical thinking that got the US and its 53rd state into Iraqistan I guess.


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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Brain Townsend's Blog

Brian Townsend is some sort of high-rolling player on Full-Tilt who's been playing the "Big Game" at the Bellagio during the WSOP.

I don't know much about the guy, and just started reading his blog a few weeks ago. It's certainly interesting.

Million dollar swings (recently 3 million), having $150,000 in your online account is "playing short money". It's a window into a different world.

If you read his blog regularly I think it's also a peak into how a gambler with a lot of money is a very different kind of person than the typical rich person.

I don't think Warren Buffet would react to losing a few hundred thousand dollars in the same way Brian Townsend does. I think that's because he looks at money from a totally different perspective.

If Brian Townsend left a million dollars on the table he'd shrug it off, saying, I've got a 100 million, I've got plenty more where that came from. He thinks in terms of how meaningful that money is to his bankroll, how meaningful it is to him personally.

A really rich person, like Warren Buffet, tends to think of money in terms of what it can do. Not in terms of whether or not he needs it. That's a very different viewpoint and it causes very different types of money-related behaviors.

When you see gamblers talk about how competitive they are I don't think they think of competitiveness in terms of accomplishments. Not in terms of actually doing something, but more in terms of what it gets them. The difference might be subtle, but I don't think it's a small difference. I think it's pretty big.

Here's an RSS feed for the last 10 blog entries at Brian Townsend's Blog

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