Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Latest | Greatest Merger

Here's the deal:

I'm merging the latest.greatest to one blog, which will be

I'm pretty sure this is a win-win idea. The links to all the personal blogs will still exist, but the poker news, sports stuff, music stuff, tail reports and kicks and shit will all go into one blog which should have 5-15 posts per day, including the daily dunk and daily video.

If you have this blog bookmarked, please change your bookmark to


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chris Ferguson: Running Bad Part II

In my last tip I wrote about running bad and the effect it can have on your mental state. Now I’m living it. If you’ve been following my $0 to $10K Challenge, you know it took me about nine months to turn $0 into $100 and another nine months to turn that $100 into $10,000. Even though I hit my goal, I decided to keep playing and rapidly built up to $28,000. Three months later I was down to $9K.

Obviously, I was on a very bad losing streak, but it wasn’t due to bad beats. I just kept getting my money in bad; every time I had Queens, my opponent would have Aces - every time I had AQ, they would have AK. That’s just how it goes sometimes, but getting your money in badly doesn’t always mean that you’ve done something wrong.

For example, if my opponent gets all his money in pre-flop when he’s got Kings and I’ve got Aces, does that mean he’s a bad player because he got his money in poorly? Or that I’m a great poker player because I got my money in well? Obviously the answer is no – if our roles were reversed I’d be the one going broke. We both played the hand correctly; the fact that he was behind doesn’t mean that he played it wrong. He was simply unlucky to get dealt Kings when I was dealt Aces.

Focusing too much on getting your money in good can actually be a part of playing badly overall. I hear a lot of people complain, “I always get my money in good, but I keep losing… I can’t believe it!” Most of these players just don’t remember the times they’ve gotten lucky with the worst hand. But some people actually do get their money in well a majority of the time. It may be hard to believe, but these people are experiencing the right percentage of hands they’re going to lose – it’s just that these losses result in the players getting knocked out of tournaments because they are playing too tight.

Suppose I’m playing heads up and I’m only going to go all-in with Aces, Kings or Queens. My opponent is pushing me around by raising every single hand and moving in on me with any two cards. Finally, I get a pair of Aces and he moves in again. Even if I win the hand, just think about all the chips he’s taken away from me while I was waiting for my high pocket pair.

If I’ve lost 1,000 chips to him before I put my last 1,000 in the pot - even though I have my money in good - I’m only going to win 1,000 chips back. So, I’m actually employing a poor strategy by waiting for hands that don’t come around often enough because even if I win this hand, I’m only going to break even - and there’s no guarantee that I’m going to win. Plus, the chips my opponent is putting into the pot have been accumulated from all the folding I’ve been doing, so he’s now freerolling even though he’s behind in the hand.

Great players are going to get their money in bad once in awhile, especially if they’re playing against someone who’s playing way too tight. However, they’re actually going to make money over the long run because of all the small pots they win when their opponents are unwilling to challenge their raises without a strong hand. What this means is that if you try too hard to get your money in good all of the time, you’re susceptible to being bluffed and are going to lose more often over a long period of time.

Losing stings, especially when it seems like you’re getting your chips in badly with every hand you play. Still, if you keep your calm and avoid going on tilt, it’s possible to weather a rough patch without making drastic changes to your game. Keep your focus on playing well. Even if you do find yourself “getting your money in bad” from time to time, you’ll end up a winner in the long run.

Source: Full Tilt

Friday, February 29, 2008

Phil Ivey Wins L.A. Poker Classic

One Phil is considered by his peers to be the best poker tournament player in the world. The other Phil is the SELF PROCLAIMED best NL Texas Hold 'Em player in the world. Yet neither of them has ever won a World Poker Tour title. Check that. Neither of them had ever won a WPT title. That was, until a Mr. Phil Ivey out lasted not only, the poker brat, Phil Hellmuth, but a field consisting of some of the top professional poker players in the world. Achieving not only his first WPT title, but a cool 1.6 million dollar payday.

The annual Los Angeles Poker Classic, held at the Commerece Casino, draws some of the biggest names in the game, and this year was no exception. But as the field began to dwindle down and the final table was set, all eyes were on the Phils. And they didn’t disappoint.

The televised final table (6 players) action began with Phil Ivey as chip leader with 4.1 million in chips but he took an early hit, as Charles Moore moved all in on the very first hand for 1.5 million and after thinking it over for 5 minutes, Ivey made a questionable call with Ad 5c as he found himself dominated by Moore’s As Kh.

Ivey couldn’t improve and he now found himself with 30% less chips with only one hand into the action.

Meanwhile, the other Phil wasn’t faring much better early on as his stack was crippled when he moved all in on a board of Jd 6h 3d Kh with Jh 8c and Nam Le made the insta-call with Kc 3c good for two pair and a nice double up, while leaving Phil Hellmuth with less than 1 million in chips.

He would eventually be eliminated a few hands later as his short stack all in move with Ad 9s was ineffective against Moore’s Ah Qd. The board ran out for the poker brat and he was eliminated in 6th place earning himself $229,820.

Any poker player will tell you that to win a tournament, you have to get lucky a few times. And even a poker genius like Phil Ivey needs the help of lady luck once in a while. After Scott Montgomery was eliminated in 5th place, Phil Ivey and Nam Le found themselves all in, with Ivey’s pocket threes seemingly crushed by Le’s pocket aces. Things weren’t looking much better after a flop of 10s 6s 2d, but the turn brought the miracle 3d for Ivey giving him a set that held up on the river.

Only five hands later Ivey eliminated Moore when his two pair held up against an open ended straight draw.

And just like that, Phil found himself heads up for his first WPT title, and with a commanding chip lead of 10.82 million to Quinn Do’s 2.48 million.

Ivey's reputation as one of the most feared heads up players in the world was only more so proven as he made quick work of Do. Just two hands into heads up play, Ivey made a 700,000 bet on a flop of As 8s 6s. Do made the call, leaving himself with only 1.02 million in chips behind and when the Ac paired the board on the turn, Ivey put Do all in for his remaining chips. Four minutes later, Do made the call, only to realize he was drawing dead with his 9h 8h against Phil Ivey’s aces full of eights.

The win gave Phil Ivey his first WPT title, $1,596,100 and a $25,000 entry in to the WPT Championship. It also propelled Ivey’s career tournament winnings to just over $8.7 million dollars.

Congratulations to Phil Ivey, from the Crooked Straight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Phil Ivey Hold Chip Lead in LA Poker Classic

Down to 18 players, Phil Ivey holds a slight chip lead heading into what looks like it will be the final day of this WPT event. Other notables are Jennifer Tilly, Phil Helmuth, and Nam Le.

1 Phil Ivey 1,543,00

2 Blair Hinkle 1,541,000

3 Phil Hellmuth Jr. 1,399,000

4 Nam Le 1,254,000

5 Michael Carson 1,029,000

6 Michael Watson 987,000

7 Charles Moore 921,000

8 WeiKai Chang 751,000

9 Quinn Do 695,000

10 Matt Brady 497,000

11 Jennifer Tilly 417,000

12 Jeffrey Schwimmer 413,000

13 Theo Tran 410,000

14 Scott Montgomery 386,000

15 Peter De Best 291,000

16 David Singer 285,000

17 Brian Taylor 228,000

18 Yury Parad 214,000

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bursting the Bubble - Peter Feldman

One of the keys to becoming a successful Sit & Go player is learning to master bubble play. The last thing anybody wants is to be the Bubble Boy, which means you need to get the most out of every hand you play during this critical stage. If you make solid moves from good positions and manage your chip stack wisely, you’ll find yourself in the money before you know it.

Let’s say that you’re short-stacked with just five or six big blinds. How you play your hand in this situation depends less on your cards and more on your position and the size of the other short stacks at the table. For example, you’re in the small blind and the hand is folded around to you. If the big blind doesn’t have you covered by very much, it’s time to jam. This play makes it really hard for him to call because he’s risking his tournament in a very tenuous spot. You put him in a position where he’s the one who has to call you, and that’s a big advantage.

Now let’s change things up a little. Say you’re sitting on about eight big bets on the button and the chip leader is in the big blind. If the action is folded to you in this situation, you can be much more selective about the hands you play. You still have plenty of chips to work with before the blinds come back around, which means you can afford to try and pick your spots. Personally, I’d fold hands worse than Q-10 here, but I’d probably play KJ, KQ, any Ace, and all pocket pairs.

If you’re sitting on just four or five big blinds in this same situation, you’ll have to open up your game a little and play more hands. You’ve got to take some chances here and get your chips in, even if you may be no better than 50-50. Waiting isn’t an option because the blinds will eat you alive if you let them.

If you’re playing a medium-size stack, you have more room to play, but still have to be careful about when – and from where – you put your chips in the middle. Making a standard 3x or 4x raise with 15 or 16 blinds can still be risky because there’s a good chance a bigger stack will re-raise and try to force you all-in before the flop. You really can’t afford to make that call without a premium hand like Aces or Kings.

You definitely don’t want to call with something like AK or AQ because you’re just a coin-flip against any pair and are dominated by pocket Aces or Kings. Folding here is a smarter move, especially if there’s a short stack left to play behind you who is likely to call with a much wider range of hands and give you a better shot of making the money.

Of course, nothing is more comforting than having the big stack when you’re sitting on the bubble. As the chip leader, you can practice selective aggression and apply pressure to the smaller stacks. You especially want to focus on the players in second and third place, as they aren’t going to want to put their chips at unnecessary risk.

Because the shorter stacks are going to try to double up through you, you need to be careful about making loose calls just because you think you can afford them. For example, let’s say the small stack raises 5x the big blind from the button and the small blind folds. You’re in the big blind and it’s only four more bets for you to call, which means your odds are slightly less than 2-1. While calling here may in fact be the right decision, it’s not automatic as far as I’m concerned.

I recommend taking a few seconds to really think through the situation, even if you’re holding a pretty strong hand like A-8 or up, KQ, KJ, or any pocket pair. Think about your opponent and how he’s been playing. If he raises every time he’s in that spot, widen your calling range. But if he’s a particularly good Sit & Go player or playing tight, he may not play many hands and you shouldn’t call as frequently.

More often than not when I’m the big stack in this situation, I’m not just flat calling here. Instead, I’m moving all-in. This is particularly effective because it puts all of the other players at the table to a tough decision. Again, the players in second and third aren’t likely to get involved without huge hands, which lets me isolate the smaller stack.

In the end, winning a SNG is about using whatever edge you’ve got. When you’re down to the final four, take advantage of position and play your stack aggressively. Know when to back off and when to go for it. You’ll still be at the table – and in the money – when the bubble bursts.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Funny Story From Commerce

Posted by Dank Stax at 2+2:

"So I had just busted out of the 1500$ event LAPC and was playing 5/10 NL and eating some kung pao chicken at Commerce Casino in LA.

Two asian guys (I don't know either of them- we will just call them asian #1 and #2) had played a pot and were making borderline ******* comments to each other after the hand and being really sarcastic with each other. They kept calling each other down etc. and had an obvious rivalry at the table.

About an hour later Asian #2 gets into a pretty big hand with some other random guy who has been donating to the table for a good 45 minutes. The board is A877x and asian #2 checks the river and the other guy bets 300. After debating for a while....asian #2 shows A8 and ASKS the dealer "I'm unsure about this rule - if I call and he has AK, I still win with a higher 2 pair, right?" The dealer stays silent and seat 1 says 'yeah obviously'. Asian #2 makes the call but loses the hand to a flush. Someone in seat 9 then says 'Come on man you can't ask for advice during the hand that is ridiculous - you are lucky you weren't in the pot with me or I'd be pissed'. Asian #2 says "Chill out man we are keeping it friendly I was just confirming the rule - I lost the hand anyways".

Then Asian #1 insta defends seat 9 and is like "he is right - seriously you cant be talking about that **** during the hand ... how can you not know what hands beat what? Just play on your own"

Asian #2 - "shut the **** up man stay out of it you weren't in the hand - just shut the **** up"

Asian #1 - "**** you - then do something about it"

Asian #2 - *Picks up a chip and hucks it as hard as he can at asian #1's face"

They both stand up and asain #1 RUNS around the table and jacks asian #2 in the forehead and breaks his hand on his face. He got a clean shot to the head but punched him with his ring/pinky finger and his hand was 100% broken. They fought for 2-3 minutes throwing blows/knocking over a floorman/chips everywhere/yelling in broken english.

Eventually like 10 commerce security guards came and escorted them out - it was the sickest thing I have witnessed at a poker table - the floor guy claimed it was the worst fight ever at commerce."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jonas "Nebuchad" Danielsson, an Anti Semite? Hardly...

Over the weekend, Daniel Negreanu had a chance to host the Scandinavian Poker Awards and as he presented online poker pro Jonas "Nebuchad" Danielsson with the award for Online Player of the Year, Daniel asked what seemed like a simple enough question. Where did the name "Nebuchad" come from?

Well, what Daniel received was less than a simple answer. Jonas Danielsson explained that he got the name from the ship in his favorite movie The Matrix, but that it had been brought to his attention that Nebuchad was also the name of a Babylonian King who was the first King to deal with the "Jew Problem."

Exactly what Jonas Danielsson meant to say was open for debate across various online poker forums within a few hours of the video showing up online. But not many people took it as a serious anti semitic remark, and rather, either a bad choice in grammar or a an ill attempt of a joke.

Props to Daniel Negreanu, who handled the situation in a superb manner and turned something that might have gotten ugly, into a light hearted situation. He later made a statment in a post on the 2+2 forums explaining exactly what happened.

"When he went up on stage he was visibly nervous in a big way. I threw him a softball question about his screen name, of course, never expecting Hitler and Jews to be involved with the answer!My reaction was to try and defuse the situation quickly, thus I took the mic from him. It seemed clear to me that is was just a bad choice in grammar, but because he was so nervous I was worried about what he may say next. I felt like if he tried to explain himself at that moment he would have a tough time doing under the circumstances and might likely stick his foot in his mouth. I wanted to let him off the hook and move on.I'm very happy with the way I handled the situation and most people agreed that I handled it well.I felt bad for the kid, because it was obvious to me that he has no problem with Jews, and that he was explaining a story and used a poor choice of words. He is a good kid."