Thursday, January 31, 2008

No More Ladies-Only Events

This is kind of interesting.

No more of those "L.I.P.S." events in Cali.

Apparently (no sh*t) the events violated an anti-discrimination law.


So the Cali Gaming Commission has sent a memo to all Cali casinos telling them not to hold those events anymore.

I won't lie, they did have one of those at Hollywood Park one time and I went in there to see what the talent was like.


Here's a link to the story.

Be Careful What You Write Phil

I was reading Phil Helmuth's January 2nd blog, when I read the following: "I haven't been playing as much poker as I usually don't play my best online because the stakes are too small for me to fully focus on. Plus, I'm usually pretty tired when I hop onto UB at night."

To the average reader, there's probably nothing out of the ordinairy here.

But here's the thing: Anyone who reads Phil Helmuth's blog or even sees him in person or reads his interviews knows that he shamelessly endorses all of the companies he is invested in.

This is another case. He wrote a paragraph about playing online poker on Ultimate Bet and mentioned the site at least three times.

But he also stated that the stakes aren't high enough on UB to keep his attention.

Well, that's because all of the high stakes online players are at Full Tilt and Poker Stars.

So essentially what Phil is saying is that if you want to play high stakes poker, UB is not the place for you. However, if you want to play low stakes games that can't even keep his attention, go play at UB, even though they have the same games and even more games at PS and FT.

Nice work, Phil. Ringing endorsement.

Shannon Shorr Back in School

Congratulations to Shannon Shorr, who has decided to put his live poker career on hold and return to school at the University of Alabama, where he is pursuing his BA degree.

Shorr made a strong run at the poker world when he finished 4th at the Aussie Millions ($203k) in January 2006 and went on to finish in the money in several events during the course of the year after dropping out of school.

After two years of professional poker, he has decided to return to Bama and get his degree.

While we always hear about kids leaving college to play poker, seldom do we hear about poker players leaving the tour to get a degree.

It can't be easy leaving the pro poker life of international travel and gambling for a living.

He will be continuing his online play and updating his blog, which he has kept for years and presents the brutally honest up's and down's of the poker life to his readers.

You can check his blog out here.

Here is his cardplayer profile.

Best of luck to Shannon and his pursuit.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recognizing Your Mistakes

From the Full Tilt Pros

At this year's World Series of Poker, there are thousands of players walking the halls of the Rio. Moving through the corridors, you're bound to hear players telling tales of the hands that bounced them from tournaments. Often, the players are upset as they tell the stories of bad beats and lousy luck. The Full Tilt Poker pros also share stories of their more interesting hands. However, among the pros, you're far more likely to hear someone say something like, "I played that really badly."

The best players have the ability to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes - it's one of the qualities that make them so good. John D'Agostino noted, "When you listen to the general public you hear, ‘I got so unlucky.' Generally, all you hear the pros talk about is how they played a hand poorly. We understand we make mistakes and we try to get better from them."

Chris Ferguson noted that humility is vital to winning poker. "To improve, you have to know you're making mistakes," Ferguson said. "There are a lot of hands I don't know how to play. There are a lot of situations I don't know how to handle. If I thought I knew everything, I'd never improve."

How often do the pros make mistakes? D'Agostino says, "[We] make mistakes almost every single hand. They're small mistakes, but maybe I could have gotten paid off a little more on a given hand or avoided a bluff."

Howard Lederer says, "To become a pro or a really good player, you have to become brutally objective about your game. If you aren't, you won't make the changes and improvements you need."

While Lederer believes in the need for tough self-assessment, he notes that there's no need to dwell on past errors. "You have to be honest with yourself and you can't gloss over mistakes," he says, "but there's no need to beat yourself up. You need to learn from the mistakes and make yourself a better player."

Many of the pros refuse to discuss hard-luck hands in detail, knowing that there's little to learn form a stab of bad luck. Recently, after Chris Ferguson busted from a tournament early on, he was asked about the hand that put him on the rail. "Bad beat," was all he said. He didn't feel the need to offer any more detail.

If you avoid talking about luck and concentrate on the hands where there is something to be learned, your game is bound to improve. Emulate the pros by finding the will to say, "Boy, did I mess that one up."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

JJProdigy - The Kid Who Cheated the World

ESPN now features an article by Gary Wise about JJProdigy's first live event, the Aussie Millions and what his past actions mean to the poker world. JJProdigy recently turned 18 and is notorious for multi-accounting and cheating online poker tournaments.

Here's the link.

Here's Daniel Negreanu's opinion on JJProdigy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Monte Carlo is on Fire

Not sure if you heard but the Monte Carlo is on fire.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two Of The Best

I consider these two to be two of the best poker players in the world. This is a great hand:

It's Only $360,000

Here's an interesting hand from the Full Tilt tables last night. It must be nice to win a $360k pot. Ivey only lost one buy-in though (100k).

Full Tilt Poker Game #4959259563: Table Ivey Thunderdome - $500/$1000 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 21:05:25 ET - 2008/01/22
Seat 1: Phil Ivey ($315,970.75)
Seat 2: Ziigmund ($183,978.75)
Phil Ivey posts the small blind of $500
Ziigmund posts the big blind of $1,000
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Phil Ivey raises to $3,000
Ziigmund calls $2,000
*** FLOP *** [Th 5d 8h]
Ziigmund checks
Phil Ivey bets $5,000
Ziigmund calls $5,000
*** TURN *** [Th 5d 8h] [5s]
Ziigmund checks
Phil Ivey has 15 seconds left to act
Phil Ivey bets $14,000
Ziigmund calls $14,000
*** RIVER *** [Th 5d 8h 5s] [Qc]
Ziigmund checks
Phil Ivey bets $38,000
Ziigmund has 15 seconds left to act
Ziigmund has requested TIME
Ziigmund raises to $158,000
Phil Ivey has 15 seconds left to act
Phil Ivey has requested TIME
Phil Ivey calls $120,000
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Ziigmund shows [4s Qh Qd 5h] a full house, Queens full of Fives
Phil Ivey mucks
Ziigmund wins the pot ($359,999.50) with a full house, Queens full of Fives
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $360,000 | Rake $0.50
Board: [Th 5d 8h 5s Qc]
Seat 1: Phil Ivey (small blind) mucked
Seat 2: Ziigmund (big blind) collected ($359,999.50)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brandi Hawbaker News

This is all info that I have gathered from the 2+2 forums.

Apparently Brandi Hawbaker has struck again. The notorious poker sleezy seemingly disappeared for the past few months, but come to find out she was at work ruining another man's life.

The victim this time was "Brandon," who works in a Las Vegas casino. To sum up his post, he met Brandi, they became a very volatile couple with her leaving him several times (he would give her upwards of $5k each time to get on her feet), coming back to him when she was broke every time and he accepted her back every time. Shit hit the fan when he finally took a stand and told her it was over. But when he came back to his home that they shared, she had emptied it out and sold everything, which he valued at $40k+.

He filed a police report against Brandi but claims that the LVPD won't do much as it is not a violent crime and because Brandi is now in Los Angeles, apparently living at Commerce Casino (according to Brandon).

Some people think he has brought his story forward to gain name recognition and get attention, but Brandon states that he is trying to warn the next Brandi victim (she has had past run-in's with Mark Newhouse, David Sklansky, and Tom Franklin) and also so that he can get some compensation for what was stolen.

Here is an email conversation between Sklansky and Brandon:

"Personally, I thought it was pretty anti climatic. We were led to believe that there would be shocking new revelations about her. Instead it just uh, basically, repeated what was said here. I'm pretty sure Brandon reached more people by posting here.

Meanwhile I think I should tell you that Brandi herself pretty much told me a lot of the same things Brandon revealed. Didn't particularly shock me at the time. Or cause me not to want to help her. To me it just said she trusted me and that she was trying to turn over a new leaf. It seemed like plus EV to believe her. Then again, I rent my furniture."

Brandon PMed me:

Thanks for making light of the situation. You are not at all the person I thought you were. Im glad you can take such pleasure in a terrible situation such as this. Everything I ever said was truthful and honest. When the next "victim" is revealed, I hope all the traffic it garners fattens your wallet. Very responsible to condone this behavior.

I replied:

"You are too sensitive. Why do you call this a terrible situation? A similar thing happened to me. Twice. The money isn't relevant is it? Or is it terrible because you still worry about Brandi?

If you look at this through other people's eyes you might actually feel better.

PS Did you in fact decide to hold things back? "


"I really dont think I am being too sensitive. Yes EVERYTHING I OWNED WAS EITHER SOLD OR DESTROYED. Because I ended a relationship? Does that seem logical? No the money isnt relevant. Understand, many things were lost that money cant replace. My grandfather who is dying of cancer gave me a purple heart he received for service in World War II. Is that funny? Can I replace that? Regardless of what she ever told you, I treated her with understanding and compassion. I never treated her like a prostitute or a whore. Do I worry about her? Even after all she has done and even more disturbing things being brought to my attention, yes, in some sick way I worry about what lies ahead for her. She has never had the skills or mental capacity to take care of herself, have pride in herself, or understand any other way than to subject herself and her body to abuse. To me that also is terrible and tragic. Nobody has to tell me, I know what the eventual outcome will be. There is no other alternative. Yes, there are MANY things I have held back. I tried for a few days to resolve this privately with her before posting what I did. I will make sure if and when I "reveal" anything that needs to eventually come out, I will do it by way of another medium other than this one."


"You made a much better case in this message to me than you did on your posts or your radio show. You have permission to post our exchange tonight in its entirety. Here or elsewhere."

"If you care to, feel free. People already consider my motives for speaking out as being bitter and self serving."

Interesting? Much.

Friday, January 18, 2008

22 Remaining in Aussie Millions


Play at the Aussie Millions AUD $10,000 main event stopped today with 22 players remaining. Players will reconvene Saturday to play down to the final table, which will take place Sunday.

Players still in contention include Erik Seidel (752,000), Max Pescatori (1.082 million), and Robert Akery (940,000). The chip leader is Antonio Casale, with more than 1.5 million in chips.

The main event had 780 entries and the winner of this event receives AUD $1.65 million. The players return at 12:30 p.m. local time Saturday and will play down to the final six.

The second day of the AUD $5,000 heads-up tournament also was completed today. Out of the 32 players who started today, only four remain standing. Tomorrow, Jeff Garza will face David Sonelin and Alexey Popov will play Xuan Nguyen. On the other side of the bracket, which was decided yesterday, Lee Nelson plays Roy Winston and Masaaki Kagawa faces Mike McDonald. One of these players will end up with the AUD $100,000 top prize tomorrow.

McDonald is coming off his first live victory at the Aussie Millions. He won the AUD $33,950 for winning the AUD $1,000 event that was played on the PokerPro tables this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Aussie Millions Day 1b

Phil Ivey was another big stack for much of Day 1b, taking out two players in one big hand when he caught quads on the turn against a flopped straight. Ivey finished Day 1b with the chip lead, as the top ten chip stacks looked like this at the end of the day:

Phil Ivey – 163,300
Dominic Sinagra – 151,300
Jeff Lisandro – 138,400
Max Pescatori – 137,600
Travis Brown – 129,500
Stefan Jedlicka – 123,500
Joe Hachem – 111,400
Jason Brown – 105,600
Eric Sclavos – 103,000
Robert Akery – 101,900

Small Stakes Home Game Gets Busted

Reported by "Loose Passive" at 2p2:

Twenty poker players at a home in San Mateo County's Eichler Highlands had their weekly tournament interrupted Saturday afternoon by police breaking up an illegal gambling operation under surveillance for several months, authorities said.
Two people - Cutberto Cardenas of San Mateo and Patricia Kathleen McCoy of Burlingame -were arrested as part of the mid-afternoon raid on the home, located in the 1600 block of Lexington Avenue, according to a report from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.

A team of deputy sheriffs and agents with the California Department of Justice used a search warrant to enter the house and seize three poker tables, playing chips, playing cards and $1,300 in cash as evidence of an illegal gambling operation, according to the report.

The Sheriff's Department began watching the home three months ago after several neighbors complained about weekly parking problems and people going in and out of the house. A background check on the house's residents led officers to a Web site advertising weekly poker games. The Web site was used to lure "unwitting" participants to the tournaments, which required a $25 to $55 buy-in with an extra $5 "refreshment" fee, according to the report.

A 13-year-old who was in the home at the time of search warrant was taken into custody by San Mateo County Child Protective Services.

Cardenas was charged with fraudulently obtaining money under false pretenses and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. McCoy was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according the report. Both were later released on bail.
A financial investigation continues.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Phil Ivey From the $100k Aussie Buy-In Event

Yeah, the buy-in was $100 THOUSAND. Wow. Howard Lederer took 1st for $1.5 million, entries were in the low 20's.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jigga Loses $500k In A Cash Game?

From is reporting that Jay-Z lost more than 500k in a high stakes poker game in Las Vegas.

A source at the game told the website: "It was supposed to be a friendly game with everyone betting only [a few hundred dollars] a hand ... Jay Z was down only about [a thousand dollars] when he raised [another player] $500,000. It was a bold move for Jay Z - unfortunately his pair of queens didn't beat [the other player's] flush." The source added, "There were professionals at the table, he really should have known better than that."

Fast Lane With Doyle Brunson

From 2p2er ChexWithRaisins:

My wife's boss, Mike, took a trip to vegas to play some of the WSOP last year. He rents one of those old people motor scooters ("Rascals" or whatever they're called) and pulls up next to Doyle who was driving around the Casino on his own Rascal. Mike makes "aggressive" swerves at Doyle and makes like he's wanting to race, and to Mike's surprise, Doyle gets this determined "I accept your challenge" look and the both race down the hallway at a full 3 miles per hour.

Well luck was with Mike that day, because he managed to edge Doyle by the end of the corridor. He turns to Doyle and nods and Doyle cracks a smile and mutters "man I never win a race."

Patrik Antonius's Top Fives

This is from a 2p2 post:

In the newest Finnish version of Poker Magazine Patrik Antonius is asked who he thinks are the TOP5 players in Fixed/No Limit Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha and in Live Tournaments and his answer was:

Fixed Limit HoldEm:
- Matt "Hoss TBF" Hawrilenko
- Bryce "Freedom25" Paradis
- Phil Ivey
- David Benyamine

No Limit HoldEm:
- Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro
- Brian "sbrugby" Townsend
- Phil "OmgClayAiken" Galfond
- Chris "Genius28" Lee
- Phil Ivey

Pot Limit Omaha:
- Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies
- David Benyamine
- Jani "KOBYTABout" Vilmunen
- Marcus "Jumper17" Golser

Live tournaments:
- Phil Hellmuth
- Phil Ivey
- David Pham
- JC Tran
- Michael Mizrachi.

Drunk Cash Game At The Aussie Millions

"Gavin Smith is kinda like AlCantHang in the fact that he's a walking party. He's always having a good time no matter where he goes. He was among the many FullTilt pros who arrived in Melbourne earlier today. Some of the pros headed down to the poker room to check out the action. I had spotted Jen Harman and Marco Traniello wandering around, along with Nordberg, Toto Leonidas, and Clonie Gowen (who was also shitfaced and wandered up to Gobboboy to tell him that she though Howard Lederer was an asshole for calling him a freak and a weirdo)."

Read the full blog here

Bluffing in Pot Limit Omaha - Brandon Adams

Bluffing can be one of the most profitable plays in poker. However, its success is often blunted by the fact that it's also one of the most misunderstood and over-used plays in the game.

In Omaha, players may find even more reasons to bluff - and to get themselves into trouble - than they do in Hold 'em because four starting cards can lead to huge draws and present almost irresistible opportunities to try and steal pots from opponents. The key to bluffing successfully in this game comes from knowing when to make the play and who to make it against.

One of the best bluffing opportunities in Omaha comes on paired boards, but to pull this off, you have to know what kinds of paired boards to look for. Let's say you're involved in a hand with two other players. You're in late position and have called a pre-flop raise only to completely miss on a flop of K-K-8 rainbow. The flop is checked around to you, and you consider bluffing to see if you can steal the pot. My advice - don't do it.

If your opponents are experienced and knowledgeable players who generally play premium starting hands, one of them probably connected with the board and is likely slow-playing a monster. Bluffing here gives him a chance to come over the top or just flat call and let you keep throwing chips into his made hand.

Now, let's take the same scenario and change the flop to something like 3-3-7 rainbow. Bluffing on this board makes much more sense because it's likely that opponents who are playing strong starting hands failed to connect on this board. Experienced players may read your bet here as being credible because you could have very easily called a pre-flop raise with a small hand and hit the board hard.

If you happen to connect with trips or a full house on a board like 3-3-7, you should bet your monster in hope of getting called by someone with a worse hand or to induce a bluff re-steal into your made hand. Conversely, you should be wary about betting this kind of board if you have a mediocre hand like T-T-9-9, as your bet will give your opponent the chance to play perfectly against you; he'll call or raise when ahead, fold when behind, and occasionally bluff you with a worse hand. My advice is to check this type of hand and reassess on the turn.

As a rule of thumb in Omaha (and in Hold 'em, for that matter), I find that low and messy flops are easier to bluff at than bigger boards because most players are looking to play more premium hands that are more likely to connect with higher cards. Sure, you may get called by over-pairs or big draws on occasion, but you'll also win the hand often enough to make this play worthwhile.

While paired boards provide some of the best bluffing opportunities, flush boards can also offer some interesting opportunities. For example, let's say you're just holding the Ah and the flop comes with three other hearts. You can't make your heart flush to win the pot outright, but you can still steal it away from an opponent who has a lower flush since they'll be wary about betting or calling into the possible nuts.

This play takes some courage as you may have to bet each street in order to win the pot, but it can also be very profitable against solid opponents because it's unlikely that they'll call on the river if you've represented the Ace-high flush throughout the entire hand. Be careful about betting your naked Ace too often though as seasoned opponents will eventually read your bluffs and counter-play by calling more often. Of course, this also means that you'll likely get paid off when you make the same kind of bets and really are holding the nut flush.

Picking the right boards and situations is just one part of successfully bluffing in Omaha and in other games. Equally important is picking the right players to bluff against. If you're in a hand with a calling station who's unlikely to ever lay down a hand, your chances of bluffing them off a pot are pretty slim. On the other hand, if you're facing a solid opponent who may reasonably believe he's behind in a hand, your bluff is much more likely earn you some valuable chips.

Bluffing is an important part of any player's arsenal and keeping these thoughts in mind the next time you sit down for a game of PLO can help you out-gun the competition.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

When Passive Pays - By Chris "Jesus" Ferguson

There's no question that aggressive poker is winning poker. If the world's top players have only one thing in common, it's that they take control of the hands they play with bets and raises. Usually, among the world's poker elite, calling is the least attractive option.

For this tip, however, I thought I'd talk about a couple of instances when playing passively - just checking and calling bets - may be the preferred option.

Top Pair, Favorable Board

Say I'm in the early stages of a tournament and I have an ample stack. I find Ace-Jack in middle position and raise to three times the big blind. A player in late position, who I know to be solid but fairly aggressive, calls my raise, and everyone else folds. The flop comes As-4d-8h. I've got top-pair, with a decent kicker.

First, I want to think about the hands my opponent might hold. It's likely he called my raise with an Ace or a pocket pair, maybe in the range of 66-99. He may have also called with two high cards like KQ, KJ or QJ.

In this situation, I'm likely very far ahead or hopelessly behind if my opponent hit a set or has a bigger Ace. If he's got an Ace with a worse kicker, he's drawing to only three outs. If he's got a pocket pair like 77, he has only two outs. With just two face cards, he's almost drawing dead. And on this board (As-4d-8h), I don't need to be especially worried about straight or flush draws. Because of this, I don't mind giving my opponent a free card.

If I bet my top pair and my opponent holds a pocket pair, he's likely to fold, and I'll have failed to get any additional value out of my hand. If I check, however, I give this player the chance to bluff or bet his lesser Ace, and I can then call.

Ideally, I want to get one decent-sized bet in over the course of this hand and by checking, I prevent my opponent from giving me more action than my hand can handle.

Say the turn is 3c. The situation hasn't changed much. I'm still either way ahead or very far behind. I can check again, and allow my opponent to bluff.

On most river cards, if we have checked the hand down, I will generally bet. If we've put one bet in, I'll probably check-call, and if we've put in two, I'll likely check and fold. Playing the hand in this manner provides three advantages. It allows me to get good value out of a strong hand, and it also keeps me from losing more than I need to against a hand that has mine beat without too much risk. Additionally, playing this way gives my opponent the opportunity to bluff, which is the only way to get any money out of him if he holds a hand like QJ.

Decent Hand, Scary Board

Here's another early tournament situation where my opponents and I have relatively deep stacks. Say I'm holding pocket 8s in middle position and a player has raised pre-flop from early position. I call the raise and a player in late position calls as well. The three of us see a flop of Jd-Jc-4s.

There's a decent chance that my 8s are good, but I want to proceed cautiously, as either of the other players in the hand could hold a Jack.

Say that all three of us check this flop. I really haven't learned too much, because someone could be slow playing trip Jacks.

The turn comes 6h. This doesn't look like it would have helped anyone's hand, but the pre-flop raiser bets from early position. This is a spot where I'd likely just call. There are a couple of advantages to just calling in this situation. First, it doesn't over-commit me to the pot. If the player in late position raises, I can muck having lost a minimum number of chips. Secondly, the call is going to look very scary to my opponents. They might be thinking that I'm the one slow playing trip Jacks. So, even if the early position player holds a higher pocket pair, he's likely to check on the river no matter what card hits. At that point, I can show down my 8s and see if they are in fact the best hand.

The problem with this play relative to the last one is that I am probably giving my opponent six outs to catch up and beat my hand if he has two over-cards, as opposed to two or three outs in the previous example.

I don't play passively often, but under the right circumstances, just calling bets can provide good value while minimizing risk.

Friday, January 4, 2008

How's this for a Black Jack Table?

Opening night of the 40/40 club, why not get a little black jack game going?

Here are the players:

Here are the bets being placed:

Player A: $200
Player B: $500
Player C: $2,000
Player D: $25,000

The question you have to answer is, who is betting what?

Yeah, it's a rich game when A.I. is the cheap guy on the table. Bron was at $500/hand, Jay was betting $2k a hand on his opening night and Ivey was betting $25k a hand. Ridiculous.