Tag Archives: Poker

A Picture From Back In The Day

I was looking through my pictures on iPhoto and I came across a picture of me 4-tabling $3/$6 ($600 buy-in) on PartyPoker. My stacks on the tables range from $950 to $1640. This is probably as much as I ever had on the poker tables at one time. In total I have just under $5000 on all 4 tables together ($4971 to be precise).

There may have been a time where I had more than this on the tables. When I quit I was playing $5/$10 blinds with a $1000 buyin, but I didn’t play that many hands at $1k and I don’t remember if I ever 4-tabled the $1000 tables.

It’s now almost 5 years since I last played poker seriously and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made and have no regrets about quitting. It would have been nice to win a million dollars playing online poker. Perhaps even make it onto TV or play in the WSOP, but what a waste of some of the best years of my life that would have been. If you want to read a summary of my poker career, see here.

In other news, this blog’s pages views per day have dropped since I last checked them. I did get 45 views on 1 May (no idea why), but in general the blog gets 5 to 15 views a day. (The total number of page views this blog has had over its 5+ year life is about 54k and counting. Not bad for a blog I basically haven’t touched in four and a half years.)

Here’s the picture of me 4-tabling $3/6 (the blinds are $3/$6, max buy-in is $600, the game is No-Limit Holdem, 6 people per table.) I’m the player with a white block over his name. The other players have stats next to their names using the program Poker Tracker (completely legal if you were wondering and it also looks like they’ve improved the program a lot since I last used it):

4-tabling $600NL

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The Secret To Winning At Poker

The secret is as Warren Buffett says (with regards to investing):

I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.

And Mike Caro (from Super System 2, chapter 5 – Tips from Mike Caro University, Tip 14):

Beating strong foes wins much respect and little money. Beating weak foes wins little respect and much money.

And this is why poker is an immoral game. It’s the sharks looking for the fish who they can clean out. The winners are like the pool hustlers who search out players worse than them and take their money without these people realising what they’re getting themselves into or who can’t control their gambling addictions.

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Writing a book on poker

Gus Hansen

Gus Hansen

Lots of the top players have written books on win at poker. The current best selling poker book on Amazon is Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen. For those of you who don’t know who he is, check him up on Wikipedia or the HendonMob. He’s won almost $10 million in tournaments, although he’s only ever won a single WSOP bracelet.

I think he’s also gone bankrupt a couple of times. He’s a very loose player and he’s a favourite on TV. He’s crazy though and he’s the sort of player that goes on big swings.

Why did he write a book revealing how he plays? Doesn’t he know that this totally gives away his game and will probably make him easier to beat? He probably does know this, but thinks he can avoid it by changing his game up. I don’t know if he can.

The reason people write poker books is because they care more about fame than money. I think the main reason poker players play is not for the money but for the respect they get for winning. Being able to say I beat Phil Ivey or I beat 10,000 players to win a WSOP bracelet is better than the money.

If it was only about the money people then people would probably quit when they make a couple of million. But a poker player doesn’t really have much to do with his life so he keeps playing to pass the time. There’s also the adrenalin rush from playing for massive stakes, taking massive risks and outsmarting your opponent.

Which poker books do I recommend?

I don’t recommend playing. It’s a waste of a life, but if you want to play, reading about the game is about the best thing you can do. I recommend:

The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky – probably the best book on poker ever written.

I don’t recommend Super System by Doyle Brunson, but it is a poker classic.

Dan Harrington’s books on tournament poker are also good:

Harrington on Hold ’em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic Play

Harrington on Hold ’em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 2: Endgame

Lastly, I recommend watching the CardRunners videos. Watching GreenPlastic is the single thing that improved my game more than anything else.

Poker is a waste of time, but if you’re going to play, you might as well play properly.

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Joe Cada WSOP 2009 Poker Main Event Champion

Phil Ivey finished in 7th place, Jeff Shulman in 5th and 21-year old Joe Cada wins the Main Event, a WSOP bracelet and $8,546,435.

Here are final results:

#1.  Joseph Cada $8,546,435.00
#2.  Darvin Moon $5,182,601.00
#3.  Antoine  Saout $3,479,485.00
#4.  Eric Buchman $2,502,787.00
#5.  Jeff Shulman $1,953,395.00
#6.  Steven Begleiter $1,587,133.00
#7.  Phil Ivey $1,404,002.00
#8.  Kevin Schaffel $1,300,228.00
#9.  James Akenhead $1,263,602.00

The total prize pool for the event was $61,043,600 and there were 6,494 entrants.

Ivey and Shulman were the big names at the table. Ivey is accepted by all to be the poker player in the world and may even be the best of all time. Ivey won 2 WSOP bracelets this year and has won a total of 7 in his life.

While many in the Penn and Teller Theater were rooting for Phil Ivey to take the Main Event title, the acclaimed pro does have something to hold onto from his 2009 run. With the seventh place prize of $1,404,014 and his other two bracelet wins, the man considered by many to be the finest poker player in the world increased his lifetime tournament earnings to $12,236,714. This leaves the Full Tilt Poker pro only slightly over $190,000 behind fellow top professional and PokerStars sponsored player Daniel Negreanu for the most money earned in a career.

Finally, the WSOP crossed an important threshold. With the $174,013,315 in prize pools paid out to winners this year, the WSOP crossed the $1 billion mark in prize pools in its history. In the past four years, there has been approximately $685 million in prize pools generated; in the years from 1970 to 2005, only $354 million was generated. The grand total of prize pools in the history of the WSOP now stands at $1,041,266,592.

Here are some of the big hands of the final table:

This is Ivey being eliminated:

The crowd was on their feet. Seasoned pros with millions in prop bets on the line crossed their fingers and looked heavenward. Phil Ivey was all-in with {A-Clubs}{K-Spades} against Moon’s {A-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}, a nearly 3-1 favorite to double up. Hold. One time. Please.

“Good hand,” Moon said, looking at Ivey.

“Good hand? Good hand he said!” Ivey laughed. “Well it’s better than mine,” he said, biting into an apple.

As we all know now, the flop was a disaster for the seven-time bracelet winner, coming down {Q-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{6-Spades}.

“How do they put a f***ing queen right in the window,” Mike Matusow muttered, as he and Howard Lederer looked on.

Ivey, however, calmly took another bite of his apple as he waited for the turn and river to seal his elimination, still chewing as he shook hands around the table and made his exit.

In the front row, Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy (one of Joe Cada’s backers) couldn’t hide his ear-to-ear grin as he mentally counted up the tens of thousands more he just won with his horse taking a bigger lead in the race.

Ivey making a bad fold with his pockets Jacks:

On the last hand before the dinner break, Ivey opened from under the gun, then folded to Saout’s three-bet after a long stay in the tank. We were “wamboozled” to discover that Ivey folded {J-Spades}{J-Spades} in that spot while Saout held {7-Hearts}{7-Spades}.

A good bluff by Cada on Moon:

Hand 53 saw Cada make a river raise on a board of {9-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{A-Diamonds}{4-Spades}, Moon looking him up with {A-Clubs}{10-Diamonds} for aces up. As it turned out, Cada was bluffing with nothing more than a small busted flush draw, the {3-Clubs}{6-Clubs} in his hand.

A terrible bad beat for Saout by chamipon Cada:

Everyone had barely recovered from Buchman’s fourth-place elimination, when Cada stuffed his 40 remaining big blinds in the middle, four-bet shoving with pocket deuces, only to run into Saout’s pocket queens. It looked like curtains for Cada, who had already escaped elimination so many times, but there was still plenty of run-good left in the 21-year-old Michigander. The {2-Diamonds} hit the flop, and the room exploded as Cada leapt into the embrace of his yellow-shirted fans while Saout’s cheering section looked ready to burst into tears.

Ivey also had a tonne of sidebets on him winning the event. He’d have taken home an extra 5 or 6 million dollars from fellow poker pros had he won the event.

With still a monstrous field of roughly 2,500 players remaining in this year’s main event, Bloch offered Ivey 99:1 odds that he wouldn’t win the tournament.

“He took $20,000 from his pocket and he threw it to Andy,” Elezra said. That spur-of-the-moment decision could cost Bloch nearly $2 million.

Before the buzz had even begun to subside from the poker community becoming aware of the Bloch bet, Tom “durrrr” Dwan reportedly admitted that he would have to give Ivey $1 million as well if he were to become world champion.

Poker is a waste of time and ruins the lives of many.

WSOP Main Event, ESPN: Top 10 Moments of the Final Table

Phil Ivey May Make Up to $6 Million in WSOP Side Bets

WSOP 2009 Main Event Results

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Poker tip and important lesson for life – subjugation of the ego

Beating strong foes wins much respect and little money. Beating weak foes wins little respect and much money.

This is a quote from Super System 2 from chapter 5 – Tips from Mike Caro University (Tip 14).

Poker theory says you don’t have to be a good poker player to make money. You just have to be better than your opponents and you’ll win in the long run. You can be a mediocre player but if you’re playing against terrible players, you’ll make a profit in the long run. (The truth of the matter is however that it doesn’t matter what Poker Theory says, G-d decides who wins and who loses.)

This lesson can teach us about life. It teaches us subjugation of the ego.

We see another example of this in Batman The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent claims he’s the real Batman and the police arrest him. Batman just stands watching silently. Rachel Dawes asks Alfred Pennyworth why the real Batman (Bruce Wayne) didn’t hand himself in and is letting Harvey be arrested? Alfred responds:

Perhaps both Bruce and Mr.Dent believe that Batman stands for something more important than a terrorist’s whims, Miss Dawes, even if everyone hates him for it. That’s the sacrifice he’s making- to not be a hero. To be something more.

The same idea comes up in Schindler’s List:

Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.

Amon Goeth: You think that’s power?

Oskar Schindler: That’s what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he’s brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he’s going to die. And the Emperor… pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.

Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.

Oskar Schindler: That’s power, Amon. That is power.

This is also the idea in the first Mishna of the fourth chapter of Ethics of the Fathers:

Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations. As is stated (Proverbs 16:32), “Better one who is slow to anger than one with might, one who rules his spirit than the captor of a city.”

This idea is also mentioned in the Talmud. A man comes to a fork in the road and both roads will take you home just as quickly. the first road has improperly dressed women bathing on the side of the road, whereas the second road is deserted. Do you take the first road and not look or the second road and give the test?
The Talmud says you take the second road. The ego wants to take the first road and not look so it can say look what I achieved. Life isn’t about being dramatic. Take the second road.

People would get along much better if they could put their egos to the side more often. There would be fewer arguments if people could just admit they’re wrong sometimes.

Consider this message deeply.

PS – This lesson will also help poker players that bluff way too much and call way too much. Stop trying to be a hero. Fold.

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Peter Eastgate wins $9.15 million in WSOP 2008 Main Event

I’ve never heard of the guy before. Hope he spends his money well.

If you sign up to any poker sites through my blog I will donate all the proceeds to charity.

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Life update

I haven’t played poker for money for a few months now, but whenever I hear about people winning a lot of money playing poker I get jealous. I know two people that have won a lot and have even appeared on TV. Both are in the year above and I used to play with them. One of them won a $250,000 event, has won a lot online and drives an £80,000 Audi R8.

I’ve realized over the last few months that I enjoyed the respect people gave me for being a big winner, more than the money I was actually making. Both were attractive, but I think I valued the respect more. Yes… I’m a funny guy, most people would enjoy the money a lot more, but not me.

I can understand a bit better now why celebrities are so desperate to stay popular and for people to know who they are. Maybe not… they’re not interested in respect. They just want to be popular.

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