What the fahk is “The Facebook”?

As you can imagine, MH62 is an old bastard. He was supposed to be a contributor to this blog with his vast knowledge of local home games, pub poker, and his unique philosophy on life. However, it is quite obvious that he is an elderly curmudgeon who is clearly set in his ways. He can comment on the blog (with help from me to even sign in), but he can’t be bothered to post. What a d-bag! It’s not like he has anything better to do other than iron and knit in his yenta sewing circles!

Anyway, I read this Onion article a few weeks back, and it amused me because my parents (who are right around 60 years old) act in a similar way. Before the last EMHD event, Shrek and I were teasing MH62 about his horrific Facebook picture (picture not shown to protect the innocent). MH62 got all huffy and started yelling, “I don’t even know how to use THE FACEBOOK!!!” I’m not sure what THE Facebook is, but Facebook is a very popular social networking site used by many people around the world. Congrats! You are officially as technologically retarded as a 60 year old Jewish couple who raised me! Must feel good… What’s that? I hear the oven timer going off. Your souflette is done! Chop chop, Mr. Mom!

Perhaps you had to be there, but if you know MH62, you’re sure to get a kick out of it. While I’m on the topic of things MH62 says, this t-shirt is awesome!


Mr. Prime Time!!!

It turns out that not only is MH62 a poker sensation, he is also an internet sensation. We have video evidence!

EMHD #2, 1/17/09

After missing the first EMHD tournament, I was excited to enter my first event of the series this past Saturday. I was feeling pretty good, wearing my Turkey Nerd t-shirt and Donkey Punch hoodie. I felt ready to play, and we drew a pretty nice field of 24 people. After the rake for the main prize, the tournament paid 4 places with a total pool of $1,900. Pretty nice pot. Overall, newcomer Justin chopped first/second with Fat Tony at a 60/40 rate (Justin had Tony out-chipped 2:1), Jim S finished third, DMT fourth, with My Fair Lady Terri in her Steelers garb on the bubble. In terms of other usual characters: Big John made the final table on an extreme short stack and finished 8th, MH62 placed 13th, Texas Crint 14th, I got 17th, and Shawn exited first (24th place). I do want to note that Tony was a proxy for Klinkerbell, so Klinker now is the only player to earn points at both EMHD events. Overall standings right now:

1. Harry G: 1,320 points
2. Klinkerbell: 1,116 points
3. Justin F.: 1,080 points
4. MH62: 660 points
5. Jim S.: 360 points
6. Julio: 264 points
7. DMT: 240 points

Final Table Analysis: Once Julio went out, it really was a very tight final table. Big John, Fat Tony, DMT, Terri, Jim, and Jocko are tight players to begin with, and Justin wasn’t showing a whole lot of waggle. Joe, who is normally a hyper-aggressive preflop player, stopped playing hands. He complained afterwards that he just had no cards. Against a tight group of players, it is in your best interest to play more aggressive, so I don’t buy that excuse. In my opinion, Joe and Terri went like Broomcorn’s Uncle (ante’d to death). Terri especially did not take advantage of her gigantic chip stack. I know for a fact that she folded UTG with 99 in a 6-handed game because she didn’t want to get reraised. It turned out on that hand that Jocko and Tony clashed head to head, and Fat Tony emerged victorious with trip 8’s, but there’s no reason to not make a play there with a medium or premium pair. If you’re not playing to win, you’re probably not going to. When it got down to 6 players, the blinds eventually caught up to everyone. Even at that point, a “big stack” only had 12-14 BB’s, meaning that blind stealing was important at the right time. I saw way too little aggression from everyone. With the way the tournament was structured, it became a card-catching contest. Terri and Joe let themselves become microstacked. Joe went out with KJ offsuit and got killed by Jim, and Terri was way short stacked with JJ and ran into Dawn’s AA on the bubble.

Now that everyone had cashed, the play loosened up some, but I really saw no raising or reraising from the generally tight group. With the blinds up to 1,000/2,000 and more, it became a card-catching contest. Justin was the beneficiary, hitting AA and getting paid with big pots twice. I do note that Fat Tony really started attacking Jim and Dawn’s BB 4-handed, and that aggression helped him build enough of a stack to stay ahead of the curve. I really would have preferred to see one of the players in the final 6 take a table captain role and really push people around, but no one did. In the end, it became a battle of variance. Tony probably played the strongest of anyone at that table, and Justin had the best luck with hands at the right time. That’s why they were the big winners.

Online Analysis to Date

I have been playing a decent amount of online poker using Full Tilt. My goal is to turn a $100 bankroll investment into $1000 by December. I started off pretty strong, raking in $100 in my first month playing 5/10 cent NLHE 2 and 3 tables at a time. I was playing a more tight-solid game at that point, targeting weak players, keeping pots small, playing pots for value. However, I was having trouble playing against hyper-aggressive players for whatever reason. I would get impatient and would call all-ins with just flush draws or a weak A. It was a dumb strategy, and I started to backslide. Stupidly, instead of just shifting my strategy or table selecting better, I decided to switch and play Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) at the 5/10 cent levels. This was disastrous to my bankroll. I went from a + $80 month my first month to below my initial $100 in bankroll.

Looking back, I was playing pretty much every double-suited hands, big pairs, and suited and connecting hands. While I may have overvalued some of my hands preflop, I was also not accounting for the type of game I would encounter. It is essentially impossible to bluff at this level. Since the variance can be so high, pretty much everyone plays every pot, and you need the stone nuts to even bet. Even when you have the best hand, things swing back and forth. I flopped quads over quads twice and won big pots, only to flop a full house the next pot and lose to quads. At a max $10 buy-in per table, you basically have enough in your stack to play 1 monster pot, so you’re very variance dependent. I like to semibluff my draws (the only way to play PLO), but against 4-5 other players, it is very tough to know where you’re at from street to street.

After getting cracked for pretty much all of my profits that I ground out in Hold Em, I gave up and realized that I really didn’t have the roll right now to play cash the way I want to play. I had been playing some Sit N Go’s (SNG), with pretty solid results (expected profit of $3.50 per 6 max SNG). I decided to rebuild my roll by multitabling $5 6 max SNG’s exclusively. In the past 2 weeks, I’m earning about $2 profit per match. I know that I am significantly better than my competition, so I use that advantage, plus I am being much more aggressive preflop early in tournaments. I set an aggressive image early and tend to get my big hands paid off. For instance, last night I called a raised with 10-7 suited, flopped 2 pair against JJ and doubled up. The very next hand, I picked up QQ and pumped it up again, and got reraised all-in by K-10 (hand of death). I instacalled and busted the guy. All of a sudden, I’m sitting with $5k in chips with 4 players left, and I can afford to sit back and pick spots. In general, I peg the table within the first 7-10 hands, and I pick on the ones who I can pick on, and value bet the heck out of every pot. I also play the short stack well, so even if I have to fold on a scary board, I’m still in every tournament. I’ve gone from 300 chips early to winning the thing by not getting desperate.

At the same time, one big adjustment that I’ve made here (that I almost never do live) is flat calling preflop or checking the BB with AK, particularly if I’ve been playing loose and aggressive. When I hit, I tend to bet out against the aggressor and tend to get met with a reraise, so I get my chips in. Even if the flop is super scary, I just get away from it with a limp. Not overplaying AK has a very high EV for me, particularly with the image that I’ve set.

Overall, I’m back up about $25 over my initial buy ($125 total). It has been a better month with me playing smarter, playing fewer tables, and quitting whenever I feel I’m not playing my best. I’m happy with the result playing the SNG’s, but I want to get my roll up to $200 total, so I can start playing some 5/10 cent NLHE to really build my roll.

Turkey Nerd History, Part I

o In an effort to edumacate all of you honkeys, crackers, and other assorted racial epithets, I asked around to the Lunch Money Game crew for their version of how the venerable term ‘Turkey Nerd’ came into existence. The first respondent is Big John, who offered this historical gem:

The TurkeyNerd was born in the ‘Lunch Money’ game. One of the

regulars, The Blind Master River King (BMRK), has a loose style of play that generates huge swings during his sessions.* Generally good natured about the hand’s outcome, should he lose the pot, whoever drags the chips to their stack will be derided with such strong language as “you Turkey!” or “Nerd!” thrown in as a bit of a change up.

In the BMRK’s absence at one session, he was imitated by the losers of pots. EMG has the best voice imitation, but we all do our best. And as the words came out they were eventually put together. I was card dead that night, losing most of the pots I played, and being very easy to entertain, I spent most of that session either repeating the new compound word or laughing at it in my head. Who holds claim to saying it first ? I think it was me, but it belongs to this group of degenerates now.

There is no real reason that the 4 of diamonds and 7 of clubs is the official TurkeyNerd hand … when I made the graphic it seemed only right to grab a raggedy starting hand that met the criteria of being

Either a Made Hand … or a Draw.

* Loose is not the right word, but it’s the closest word in the Poker lexicon that I know of. Playing against the BMRK is very similar to playing a human slot machine. He’s impossible to read, because he’ll refuse to look and won’t know his cards at least 1/2 the time. And if you’re not betting the nuts, you’re bound to have 2nd best.

Hand Histories (I need a straw from all that sucking out…)

As I mentioned before, I was a bit of a suckout king last night. I hit 3-outers in 3 large hands against better A’s, plus my lovely 5-2 rivered straight. See below for some of the highlights. Critique and discussion is welcome!

  • Early in the session, I picked up AsJc in the BB. Pinata raised it up in early position to $3, and there were 2 callers. I thought about reraising, but I opted to flat call, with the plan of possibly betting or check-raising the flop depending on “texture”. The flop came out A-J-7, rainbow, so I had top 2 pair. I checked, hoping that someone (namely Pinata) had AK, AQ, A-10, or A-7, so I could get it all in as a favorite. My main worry was 77 because it was less likely he spiked the case J or the case A. He bet $12 (pot bet), making the pot about $24, and I had about $35 behind me. I thought for a second, thinking about flat-calling. If I flat-called, I’d have $20-25 behind me, and the pot would be $36, meaning that if a “scare” card came on the turn, I wouldn’t have enough to push him off it. I thought about pushing, and he told me I’d get called. I decided he had AK or AQ and pushed. He had AK. Blanks on the turn/river, and I raked a nice $75-80 pot.
  • We saw quads last night, though not the easily concealed kind. Essentially, Dooley had raised in early position on every street with a board of A-9-x. The turn and river were both 9’s. The pot was around $25, and he bet $10. Pinata reraised all in for about $18 more. Dooley went into the tank and said out loud, “I think you have the 9 for quads…” For some reason, he ended up flipping a coin (literally) to decide whether to call with his A (aces full of 9’s). He called, and Pinata dragged a nice pot.
  • About 25 mins later, I got AJ again in middle position. MH6-2, an aggressive player, raised to $3. Wanting to isolate and maybe take down a $4 pot, I reraised to $11. It folded back around to him, and he stared me down. The longer he stared me down, the better I felt that I had the best hand. He is capable of making that raise with suited connectors, KQ, KJ, etc. He is also capable of having a big pair, but I didn’t get that sense. I felt like he was really trying to read me and decide if pushing ($14.75 more) would win the pot or if he was ahead. He did push, and I thought heavily about calling. The pot was $22.75 + his $14.75 for a total of $37.50. I had about 3:1 to call. If I had a better A, I was 3:1 to win. If he had an underpair, I was about 48% to win. If he had a bigger A, I was 1:3 to lose. Given those possibilities, I decided to call. He had AQ, and I caught a J on the river to stack him. Sucky suckout, and I hate doing it to people, but I’ll take the money.
  • Around 10:15, I got Q-3 of hearts on the button. It was limped around, so I called the 50 cents more with 5 people in the pot. The flop was 4-3-3, 2 diamonds. It was checked around to me, so I checked trying to trap. The turn was a 5 of spades, putting a 3 card straight and 2 flush draws on the board. I felt like maybe I could have the best hand, but I definitely feared a diamond draw or a made straight with 6-7. The pot was only $2.50, but it was raised in early position, and MH6-2 reraised to $6. I put him on a 4-7 or a flush draw, so I flat called. The original raiser folded, making the pot $16.50. The river was a blank. MH bet $10, and I called, hoping my set was good. He had the 6-7 for a nice $36.50 pot.
  • I caught on Pinata again for a $35 pot with A-9. Caught 2 pair on the flop and check-called, then bet the turn, and rivered a full house and value bet it at $13. He called with AJ (I think), and I showed the boat.
  • My favorite hand that I played last night was when I had 5-2 of diamonds in mid/late position. There was an UTG raise to $2 (a “mini-raise”), and MH6-2 called. There was one other late position caller, making the starting pot about $8.75. The flop came out K-4-3, with 1 diamond, giving me the up and down straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. The original raiser led out for $6. MH6-2 folded (turned out to be 8’s), and I opted to flat call heads up and in position. The turn was the 8 of diamonds, pissing off MH, but I added a flush draw to my straight. For some reason, the bet was pretty tiny ($8). I felt like he had a big K or maybe a garbage 2 pair, and he was value betting me. I didn’t put him on a flush draw because he led out in early position. I felt if I hit any of my 15 outs (9 diamonds, 3 6’s + 3 A’s), I would get paid. I flat called the $8, making the pot $36. The river was a black A, so no flush, but the nut straight (and very nicely concealed). He bet out $12, and I sat and thought about how much I could raise and get paid. I decided on an $18 reraise ($30 total). If he had a set or a big 2 pair, he’d maybe reraise, and I could get all my money in. If he had a smaller 2 pair or maybe KQ, I would get a call. He had K-4 (2 pair) and called. I dragged a $96 pot.
  • Sick value check from Pinata against MH6-2. There was a 3-5 on the board, and MH made a comment when calling a $20 bet that he was looking to catch his draw. There were no flushes on the board. A 2 came on the river. MH checked, and Pinata immediately checked behind with 2-pair, stating that MH’s 4-6 was good with a straight. Awesome read.

Live Cash Session, 1/14/09

Played last night at the “Lunch Money Game”. Some of the usual crowd was there: Fat Tony (the host), Guido, Pinata, MH6-2. We were missing Captain Insane-O (AKA Shrek), Texas Crint, Big John, and the Blind Master River King from the usual crew. I went into the game deciding to be more aggressive and to raise in position and attack the raisers, specifically the more aggressive players like MH, Pinata, and Guido. I played about 50% of my hands and really didn’t lay down any solid starting hands without a raise and a reraise in front of me. Overall, I think I played well, though I didn’t have many premium hands. The best pocket pair I saw all night was 8’s, but it was on a misdeal. I didn’t have AK or AQ, either. I suppose the poker gods repaid my “bad luck” in that regard with some lucky catches. I turned that luck into a $74 profit.

Overall, I think I played well. I don’t think I missed any big betting opportunities, and I used my image of somewhat tight, but tricky to steal some pots. People tend to give me credit for a hand when I bet or check-raise, so I try to mix that stuff up. However, I also vary my play from hand to hand based on how I think people are perceiving me. So, if I think people think I’m playing too fast, and I pick up a big hand, I’ll raise hoping to get reraised or called. Likewise, if I think people consider me very tight, I’ll raise preflop and continuation bet with 4-2. I like to think that I am capable of making moves at any time based on the situation, but I want to get more aggressive in my cash game because I sometimes get too little action on my big hands. If I play a little more aggressive, I think I can win more over the long term while not putting my money in the middle when I know I’m flat beat. I have to trust my reads and not be scared to lose $10 here and there. Last night was Phase I of my plan to play better and more aggressively in 2009, and the results are solid, albeit thanks to some luck. Some hand histories will follow.

I am definitely looking forward to EMHD 2 on Saturday. I think last night was a nice session for me, and I think that I can use my tournament strategy knowledge + basic reading ability and turn it into some cash (and points towards the prize).

EMHD Event #2: Saturday, 1/17/09

Part of the reason behind his site was to discuss and post updates on the EMHD, which is a project that my co-author, MH62 put together in collaboration with myself and several other home game compadres. EMHD = Either a Made Hand or a Draw, based around another story that my counterpart will post sometime in the future.

Essentially, this is a tournament league where a group of us plays a series of medium stakes buy-in tournements ($100 or so), and we track results and points based on finish and knockouts, etc. Each tournament will rake a sum off the top to be put in the final prize pool. At the end of the seven events, the leading point getter receives enough to fund roundtrip airfare to Vegas, enough for 2-3 night’s hotel, and $1500 for a buy-in to a World Series of Poker event.

This will be my personal first event of the Series, but I am looking forward to it. I hope to be back with a critique of my play, some hand histories of large hands that I witnessed, and some final results for you all.

Yet another reason why I’m a sick bastard…

I am a huge Eagles fan and have been since birth. My mom held me in her lap watching the Eagles get crushed in Super Bowl XV, and I came of age as a fan during the great Eagles defenses of 1989-1992 with Randle Cunningham as a homeless man’s Donovan McNabb. Anyway, no sooner did the Eagles defeat the Giants, then I was on Stubhub, eBay, and Kayak looking for game and plan tickets to get to Phoenix for the NFC Championship.

I estimated my total costs at $942 ($220 for a game ticket, $500 airfare, splitting hotel and car + food = another $222). I actually went through on a spreadsheet and figured out where I’d get the money from, what credit cards I’d use, and how long it would take to pay it off if I lived the same way. Turns out that with interest, the trip would cost me about $1,500, and I wouldn’t be able to afford a new TV for 3 months and couldn’t go on vacation until October.

After that, I did another spreadsheet with a cost/benefit analysis and actually estimated my utility from going on the trip (if they won) vs. going on the trip if they lost and assigned weighted averages based on probability of winning. I compared that to the baseline of more financial flexibility, the new TV sooner, and a vacation this summer, and I determined that I would be happier watching the game at Rhino Bar with all the other Iggles fans, and just call it a day.

Sure, I could have come to this decision with simple math or basic logic, but apparently, in depth statistical and “economic” analysis was needed. OY!

2 Donkeys, 1 Blog…

If you are reading this blog, CONGRATULATIONS! You have officially bottomed out and can now start on your road to recovery…

This blog is a commentary on our collective experiences living life, playing poker (from free donkey tournaments at local bars to low stakes home games to online play), disturbing social trends, college and pro sports, television shows, and funny stories that we have to share. If you’re looking to improve your poker game, you almost certainly have come to the wrong place. However, if you’re looking for enjoyable stories about one-liners at the poker table, “big” hand analysis, busting chops, and some other non-poker anecdotes, you have also come to the wrong place…

Sit back, relax, and enjoy! It’s not like you have work to do or anything…