Friday, November 23, 2007

Barbara Gallamore

Barbara died recently. The funeral is Saturday, in Long Beach.

Monday, November 19, 2007

More nonsense from PPA paid spokesperson

Look, I'm all for legalization of gambling. I'm for legalization of all kinds of stuff, gambling, drugs, prostitution, home brewing whiskey, having chickens in the yard, just all kinds of things. But when you use nonsense to argue on behalf of your favorite illegal activity then you're just spouting nonsense. seems to think Annie Duke is making a compelling argument when he quotes her as saying
"Having the right to continue to pursue my profession, wherever I might choose to pursue it, is very important to me from both a financial standpoint but also from the broader perspective of freedom, personal responsibility and civil liberties."

Huh? That's compelling?

She choose a profession, playing poker in public raked games, that was illegal in most states when she made the choice. Now she argues that her freedom is being restricted? That's not compelling, that's nonsense. Why not chose burglary, or prostitution, or canning pickles without allowing government oversight?

I'm all for legalizing poker. But please don't give that kind of nonsense and call it logical argument.

Laws and logic

Bill Rini attempts to make an argument against anti-gambling laws.
Groups like Focus on the Family are good at shaping these sorts of issues to fit their needs and the poker playing community needs to do so as well. Instead of framing this as an issue of being able to play poker we need to show how hypocritical laws actually put lives in danger. The shooting death of a mathematician and former professor while playing a simple game of poker should be branded a failure of the law the same way the rise of organized crime was blamed on prohibition. Because the legal system then has only one of two choices; they can either crack down on both the rooms and the players (which is politically uncomfortable) or look at making changes that protect poker players by adopting the law to allow it.

Nice sentiments, but he's wrong.

Attempts at logical argument only works on people who already agree with you. And it's really not as logical as the one making the argument thinks.

Laws against poker do make things more dangerous for gamblers. But laws against pretty much anything makes things more dangerous for those who do those things. That's just not a reason to not make the thing in question illegal.

Walking away from the table

Ed Brayton links to a youtube clip of an old Poker After Dark show where Hellmuth throws a temper tantrum.

I was waiting for someone to ask the floor to rule Hellmuth's hand dead because he got up from the table when it was his turn to act. Nobody did though. I guess because Annie really wanted the boy to call.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

PPA and a softball interview

Lou Krieger interviews some PPA slimeball. Somehow I doubt that Lou asked him where the PPA gets their funding.


I think I'm an idiot

I saw this post about knowing when to quit and thought I'd write something about my own experience at playing really badly yesterday.

I've had two car engines blow up this year so I guess you could say I've been having some transportation problems. As a consequence I really haven't been playing this much poker. But bought a new car* a couple of days ago and was thinking about driving down to Shawnee, Jim Hankins has been touting it up some and I think he's got pretty good judgement about game selection.

But I recently changed my psychiatric meds and there's always some risk that such a change will affect my judgement in a negative way without my realizing it. So I thought I'd give myself a little test in judgement by playing some online PLO8. I failed the test.

I bought into a 1c/2c short-handed PLO8 game with $1 (there's no reason to spend a lot of money on testing). Three handed. First hand I get 66xy in the big blind, button limps, SB completes, I check.

Flop is 46Q all spades. Maybe that's a good flop, maybe it's not. I don't like it much. SB checks, I check, button bets 6c, SB calls, I call.

I'm planning on folding to a bet on the turn if I don't fill up. If not then I'm drawing for half the pot (hoping the bad guys miss that low draw). I'm just not liking the situation much.

Turn is a 4. Now I'm full. But I'm not even sure I like this now that I think about it. It's not like I have the nuts or anything. SB checks, I check, button bets 6c.

I read that little bet as either queens full, quad 4's, or a nut flush making a feeler.

The small blind makes it 12c. I read that as likely a nut flush with an A23 low draw, or something like that (it turns out that I was right about that part).

Now what should I do? The answer is fold, one of these guys pretty likely has my 6's full beat. What do I actually do? I call. Because I'm an idiot.

Then button raises enough to put me all in. Small blind calls. What do I do? Well we've already established that I'm an idiot. So that pretty much leaves me no option. I have to call to maintain my idiot status.

River is a little card, the queens full on the button splits with the nut low on the small blind and then the ultimate proof of my mental state -- I rebuy.

At least I didn't drive to Shawnee after that. When you make the kind of bad call I made the next step isn't to rebuy. It's to take a nap. Which is what I did after I lost my rebuy.

*Well, it has 140,000 miles on it and it's a van, but new car is a good approximate description. It's at least in better shape than the Toyota pickup in my carport with the blown engine. My yard is about as redneck as you can get without actually having a trailer house in it.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Half a million dollar buy in on high stakes poker

Random Shuffle has a post about the new buy-in and blind structure for the game on the weekly TV show, High Stakes Poker. They've increased the buy-in from $100,000 to $500,000.

I don't know why they did that but it's a pretty good bet that Doyle Brunson is the reason, not anything thought up by the producers. If there's one thing Doyle has shown himself to be good at over the years it's being able to build an ultra-high stakes poker game. He knows the players he wants in the game and he knows how to structure the game to attract those players.

I don't think the changes are about television. I think they're about Doyle.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Why more people should read my hold'em book

I ran across this post on 2+2
When talking about playing speculative hands, I often read about needed a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands such as K3s or 67s. However, I've don't recall anything specifically mathematical about such hands.

As an example, early in 180 player SNG I had K3 in the small blind. Blinds were 15/30. One caller, and it's to me with 75 in the pot.

One the one hand, there is only one limper to play a speculative hand. One the other hand, I'm getting 5:1 (75:15) to call.

Is this a call?

He only got one response who said he shouldn't call. I'm not sure how you can actually answer the question since the poster doesn't tell us whether it's a limit or no limit game. Most sit-n-goes are no limit, but his obsession with current pot odds suggests he's talking about a limit sit-n-go.

Calling might be okay in a no limit game because of implied odds, but he doesn't tell us anything about stack sizes so we can't really be sure about that either.

All in all I think folding is probably the best idea but a call might not be so bad.

But that's not the reason I'm posting.

I'm posting this because of his statement
I often read about needed a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands such as K3s or 67s. However, I've don't recall anything specifically mathematical about such hands.

I don't know what that means. A statement that you need a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands like XYs is a specific mathematical statement.

So if he's seen the statement that you need 4-6 callers to play 67s or 5-9 callers to play K3s then he's seen specific mathematical statements about how many limpers/callers you need to profitably play those hands.

That's, by the way, what I say about those hands in my hold'em book (p138-144).

The overlap is related to how badly you estimate your opponents play after the flop. Of course these estimates are also based on your being in a limit game, on having late position, and on the number of callers/limpers being typical for the lineup. That last dependency is on a distinction between 6 tight limpers and 6 loose limpers. In a game where most flops are seen by 2-3 people a situation with 6 limpers is very different from that of 6 limpers in a game where 6-7 limpers is the norm.

In a game that's generally tight and passive the K3s (or even something as strong as K9s) is pretty much worthless after 6 limpers. But in a game that's generally loose and aggressive a K3s might be worth a shot.

That might not look mathematical to you, but it's still a mathematical statement. Just because it doesn't use mathematical notation, or doesn't result in a close form statement using mathematical notation does not mean it's not a mathematical statement.

I'll use this as a plug for the blog Math and Poker which often talks about mathematical concepts without using a lot of mathematical notation. X=2 isn't really a mathematical statement (unless X is defined) but "I have two apples" is mathematical.