Raise or Fold:  Learning (From) Poker

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little Swing Back

I've now made 4 return visits to the Crime Scene Game, and booked 4 winning sessions. This is a pleasant change of affairs for me. My last session was a monster, and more than made up for the rather unfortunate series of bust-outs in higher-buy-in tournaments of late. I flopped a couple of huge hands, made a couple of sensible laydowns, and used my Miss Tighty image to take a few pots I had no right to. I played well, and I ran better than average. What's more, I didn't get coolered or bad-beated once, which was refreshing.

On the negative side of the equation: someone stole my phone, with all my data in a freely accessible state, and Apple's wipe mechanism didn't work in a timely-enough manner. I spent most of today on the phone with ATT and Apple getting my old phone up and running, and then the REST of the day changing passwords everywhere I could think of.

I hope to god the evildoers just jailbreak it and wipe it clean. Needless to say it's been a stressful and highly unpleasant experience.

Word to the wise: PUT A PASSWORD ON YOUR PHONE RIGHT NOW. (Yes, it's a tad inconvenient. But what I've been through in the last 24 hours is a whole lot more inconvenient.) And if you have an iPhone, DO NOT SUSPEND SERVICE ON YOUR ACCOUNT UNTIL YOUR WIPE COMMAND GOES THROUGH OR YOU ARE PRETTY SURE IT IS NEVER GOING TO. (I didn't do that, and the net effect is that the wipe command went through all right, but to my newly reinstated original iPhone, which resulted in a marathon support call to fix.

Apple/ATT want $400 to replace my 3GS. That ain't happening. I'll limp along with my OG iPhone until either Apple comes out with a newer model that I find irresistible or until next December, when I once again become eligible for the lower (i.e. within reason) pricing.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

BBV Cardgrrl Style

Beat: Blogger stopped updating my site.
Brag: I figured out how to fix it!
Variance: All six readers rejoice.

Beat: I left my phone charger cable at home.
Brag: There's an iPod dock in my hotel room!
Variance: I can now bore everyone with the details of my tournament without worrying about running down my phone battery.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Future of Poker

Ante Up, Human!

Limit is easier to model mathematically than no-limit. But there are already bots that play pretty decent no-limit hold'em. Which is one reason why I prefer to sit in a casino and look my (human) opponents in the face.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Home Internet Connection Hosed

You cannot imagine the number of ways this is messing up my life. So far, no help from tech support. It has already cost me money.

TILT doesn't even begin to cover it. I am so frustrated I am ready to rip someone's lungs out and eat them raw.


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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 41: Today Is A Good Day To Die

Learning how to tolerate the risks that come with poker rewards is essential to a strong game. The idea is: scared money is dead money. ("Dead money" is a term of art, referring to players so weak that their money is sure to get snatched up by others.)

How much risk must you be willing to tolerate? In no-limit hold'em you must be willing to put your entire stack at risk. Everything you have on the table.

Here's what Ed Miller had to say today on the subject:
To win serious money at no limit you have to use your stack as a weapon, and that means being 100% willing to lose it at any moment. I really can’t stress this point enough as it’s extremely important. When I play live, I always play stakes where I can lose stack after stack and just shrug it off, replacing it as needed. That allows me to be more aggressive than the players who are nursing their stacks, and basically it allows me to rob them blind, $20 or $25 at a time.

If you don’t have enough money to replace stack after stack at the stakes you’re playing, move down. If you’re already playing the smallest game in the room, buy-in for less. If you’re playing the smallest game in the room and you can’t buy-in for less because the minimum buy-in is $40 and you have less than, say, $400 to play with… unfortunately, you’re kind of pretty much underrolled to play no-limit. You can play, but expect not to play that well because you’ll be too worried about what you can lose to play as aggressively as you should.
Look at the numbers he mentions. He wants you to sit at the table with 10 times your intended buy-in in your pocket. I literally know no-one who does that. I certainly don't, at least not yet. But I do have a deep enough bankroll behind me that I can tolerate losing session after losing session, if I must. And most of all, his post is about attitude, about the well-calibrated level of aggression which maximizes your risk/reward ratio.

I think this explains why the new crop of good young players that came up playing exclusively on the internet are both so aggressive and so fearless. They learned to play in an environment where there was always another game, night or day, and where they could move up and down in stakes easily and painlessly. The internet is a zero-opportunity-cost environment that pays off the appropriate levels of aggression much more quickly (online "long run" is much shorter in time than brick-and-mortar) than in a casino or a home game. Combine that with running good for the first year of your career (and the pre-UIGEA fishpool), a youngster's inherent lack of appreciation for the real-life value of money, and a skilled online player becomes an absolute Juggernaut Beast of Death.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 19: Wherein I Do Not Totally Suck

After what has been something of a bloody massacre in recent days, I was relieved to have a decent showing at the third installment of my A League's WSOP subscription-series tournament. I finished fourth, which got me my buy-in back and a little bit more. Considering that I was utterly card dead for the last three hours of my participation (after flopping quads in my first hand of the game!), I am content with the result. More important than the money, however, were the points I earned. The top five points earners from the 12 games in the series will each get a share of the subscription fee pool. The idea is that we will use it to go play in the WSOP next summer.

I also played about an hours' worth of short-handed cash, and nearly tripled up. It didn't quite compensate for last Friday's meltdown, but at least I felt less utterly incompetent.

In other news: I finally bit the bullet and bought a new laptop, a MacBook Air which is as light and sweet a little piece of kit as you could want (and the packaging was beyond gorgeous, made me want to go back into design it was so perfect). I am thrilled at the prospect of being untethered from my desktop both for writing and for playing online. From here on out you can find me enjoying the wireless experience at some local coffeeshop, giggling giddily with my newfound computing freedom.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Posting from my iPhone because my home DSL is down.

Won my A League tournament tonight again, finally. Maybe this will mark an end to a long string of bad outcomes despite good play. God willing.

It's an unpleasant sensation to be cut off from the online poker world. I hope the hapless tech support dude I spoke to (heavy Russian accent, nice chuckle) will actually report the problem up the hierarchy at Verizon.

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