Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Wrong Stuff: Learning Poker by Watching TV is wrriten by Lou Krieger from Card Player Mag.

Here's a bit: "Poker novices usually don't realize that limit poker, played as a cash game with small blinds at a full table, requires a store of patience to wait for good hands, while shorthanded tournament poker - where the blinds get astronomical and too much patience is a terminal disease - requires a lot more risk-taking. It's at the end of the spectrum where the selection-aggression quotient leans heavily toward aggressive play. On TV, any hand with an ace and any pair in hand is raised most of the time. In a full-table low-limit cash game at your neighborhood cardroom, it takes a lot more than that. But those seduced by poker on the tube haven't grasped that point - and won't if watching television is their only means of learning poker."
Ace in the Race is an article written by David Sklansky and appears on Card Player Mag. He talks about having an A-8 offsuit in the small blind against... Phil Ivey in the WSoP!
Nasty People: The Psychology of Poker is an article written by Alan Schoonmaker from Card Player Mag.

Here's a bit: "There are disgusting people everywhere, but they are worse at poker tables. First, people act outrageously because they can get away with it. Far too many cardrooms let people take actions that most businesses would severely punish. If those horror stories happened in a restaurant or store, somebody would get thrown out or even arrested. Second, losing at poker implies that you are not just unlucky, but that you don't play well. Instead of accepting responsibility, some people blame the "idots" and "cheaters" who "caused" their losses. Third, it is much easier to change games in the pits. If someone bothers us in a blackjack or craps game, we can just move. The odds are the same wherever we're playing. If we're in a good poker game but have some rotten people, we probably can't find another game like it. Fourth, they have a huge impact. They slow down the game, change the atmosphere, chase away some weak players, and can often destroy the entire game."
Back to Foxwoods!

I'm planning on driving up to Boston on Tuesday night to see Phish play at the new Fleet Center. Hopefully, on the way up or ont he way back to the city, I plan on stopping off at Foxwoods for a couple of hours of Hold'em. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 29, 2003

"The only thing stranger than a poker player is the person sitting next to him." - Old Poker Adage

Check out the excerpt from the book: Poker Nation written by Andy Bellin. That's where I found the quote!
New Template!

Have you noticed the new look to the Tao of Poker? I decided that this template is more to my liking.
Required Reading

1. From Guppy to Shark is a poker blog by Liquid Swords. I stumbled upon his blog and noticed that I was linked up! Thanks bro!

2. Adding Celebrities Could Fold TV Poker is an article written by John C. Cotey.

3. A New Crowd at the Poker Table is an article written by Demain Bulwa and appears in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's a bit: "A new crowd is saddling up to the table to play an old game of high stakes -- and big mistakes in cardrooms, online and on TV, the lure of poker is pulling in small-time players..."
November Issue of Truckin'

I recently published the newest issue of my literary blogzine Truckin'. Take a peek to see what I've been working on when I haven't been playing poker. I wrote two short stories and added a excerpt from my latest novel: The Blind Kangaroo.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Affleck's Poker Gambling Caused Temporary Split with J.Lo... You gotta love the Hollywood gossip rags.

Here's a bit: "Affleck's recent gambling binge infuriated his fiancee so much, she reportedly ordered him to leave their home. J.Lo only decided to reconcile with the Daredevil hunk after her mum Guadalupe - who pals claim adores the actor - intervened and encouraged her to forgive him... ources close to the couple, allege their romance remains in crisis, because Lopez is struggling to cope with Affleck's "destructive" addictions. One says, "Jennifer was very upset by the celebrity gambling tournament Ben did last month in Las Vegas. "She feels he just gives up one addiction for another and it is destructive behavior. In a strong moment, she told him to move out of her (L.A.) house." But just a week later, Lopez was back with Affleck and planning a poker tournament - thanks to Guadalupe's intervention. An insider adds, "Ben got Guadalupe involved and used the whole, 'Your mother wants to go gamble, too, ' card on her. Jennifer lost her nerve and they are back together again, but it is very tumultuous. Guadalupe loves Ben. She thinks the sun rises and sets on him. Anytime Jennifer has doubts, her mother lets loose on her and tells her Ben is just the best thing that ever happened to her."
Sands Tournament

I watched several hours (out of six total) of the Sands Tournament on FOX Sports yesterday. That tourney happened this past weekend with nearly almost 200 entries. You can visit: Sands Results to see who won what. FOXSports cut & spliced the event fairly quickly. Howard Lederer was one of the announcers. They showed Ben and J.Lo (one of the only celebs who forked over the 10K buy in) and it apeared that Ben got bounced early. There is a difference between the coverage on ESPN, Travel Channel, and now Fox Sport's coverage of poker. I liked the new added feature of "heart monitors" but it seemed that they only used that gimmick once or twice. They didn't have a graphic that showed the flop, so at times, it was easy to forget what cards fell. TJ Cloutier made it to the final table and finished in fifth place. Phil Hellmuth was rowdy at times, and gregarious at others. He gave one kid a ton of shit for calling a pre-flop raise with 4-7 off suit. Hellmuth held an Ace (?) and the kid flopped a 4. When Hellmuth folded, the kid showed him his cards and Hellmuth was fuming! The next hand, he pushed the action and both he and the kid both had A-K and split the pot. He was bounced early. Olga Varkoyni, the wife of 2002 WSoP winner Robert Varkoyni, made it to day 2 and was featured at the TV table.

Ironically, on ESPN, they aired the 2003 World Series of Poker at the same time!! I didn't watch too much football because of the entensive amount of poker on TV.

If you want, you can visit: Day 2 Recap and read the final table profiles.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Poker Portal

Arjen from Poker Portal wrote me: "Hi, I have added a link to Tao of Poker in the 'Poker Blogs/Journals' category on Poker Portal. A link back would be very much appreciated."

Dear Arjen, you gotta it, buddy. The site looks great. All the links you wanted about poker are on his site. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Showdown at the Sands

Action from Atlantic City will be televised on FOX Sports on Thanksgiving Day starting at 12:30 pm thru 6:30 pm, with the Final Table action starting at 5:30 pm. FOX Sports will re-air the early rounds at 8pm. Check your local listings for more info.
Celebrity Poker Showdown

The Celebrity Poker Showdown was hosted at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and appears on Bravo next Tuesday, December 2. Check your local listings for more details. Visit the site for a list of players and the TV Schedule for Celebrity Poker Showdown... there are plenty of reruns, so that means you'll have more than one chance to catch the epidoses.

Here's what the Bravo site says: "Celebrity Poker Showdown will feature five celebrities competing against each other for a piece of the $250,000 prize pool in a game of No Limit Texas Hold'em poker for the charity of their choice. Each week a new crop of stars will take to the table to challenge their peers. The winners from the first five games will go on to compete in the championship in sixth episode finale."
Ben & J. Lo in AC!

I read in the NY Daily News that Jen & Ben were seen at the Sands Casino in Atlantic City this past weekend for a poker tournament. I also found out that the event will be televised this Thanksgiving (Nov. 27th) on Fox Sports (check local listings for specifics) at 8pm thru Midnight. Should be interesting.

Of course Ben will appear on Celebrity Poker Showdown or whatever hokey name Bravo chose for its title.
Hold'em Grows in Popularity...

I recently read this post on RGP from Howard Lederer: "I noticed a trend at Foxwoods. I looked at the tournament results. On the top of each sheet they listed the total number of entries for last year's event and then for the same event this year. On average, a non hold 'em event grew about 10%, the limit hold 'ems grew about 80%, and the NL hold 'ems grew a whopping 250%!"
Foxwoods World Poker Finals Results

It might be over, but check out: $10 K World Poker Finals Results.

Here are the Top 3:
1 Hoyt Corkins ($1.08 Million)
2 Mohammed Iarahams ($560K)
3 Phil Hellmuth ($280K)

Friday, November 21, 2003

World Poker Tour Review

Guiness & Poker blogged this link: The World Poker Tour: The Best Show on TV!

Here's a bit: "The second reason poker is so captivating, and will continue to spread in popularity, is the element of luck, and the elusiveness of the qualities that make greats great. When you look at the pros, even when you see them play, it's easy to think that you could beat them. Few of them are of genius-level intelligence. They aren't psychic. They just have some mix of guile, heart, intelligence, patience, the ability to read people and skill at the game--all of which combine and allow long term success. What's more, thanks to the element of luck and the fact that poker is a game of limited information, a skilled amateur can beat the pros on any given night. Playing a chess pro is pointless. Your have no chance. If you sit down across from Phil Ivey, however, you might start with ace/ace. You might put all your chips in and he might see cowboys (pair of kings) and call you. You'd probably win and neither o you would really have made a mistake. It happens a lot. That's why sitting at most final tables on World Poker Tour, is some schmuck like you or me who caught the right cards and made the most of them. This is an element that no other high-stakes professional competition has. You'll never see your neighbor in the Super Bowl (especially if he plays for the Bears). You might, however, see that same neighbor playing for a million bucks or so at one of the major poker tournaments...

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Providence & Foxwoods... a Sunday Roadtrip

I woke up a late and drove from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Providence, Rhode Island for Jodd's bris. He's the newborn son of my buddy Senor. I had never been to a bris before (I was raised Catholic). It was strange. You can read all about it on my regular blog.

Back to poker... Foxwoods was buzzing. Sunday night was the off-day of the big tournament: The World Poker Finals. It started on Thursday and the final table was slated for Monday night (last night... and Phil Helmuth lost to an unklnown, who pocketed $1 Million in prize money). Anyway, I suspected that some big players might be in the poker room. As soon I sat down at a $2-4 Hold'em table (there was no wait), the players there were all talking about Chris Moneymaker... the 2003 WSoP champion ($2.5 Million winner). He sat just two table away, playing Pot Limit Hold'em. One of the young ladies at my table kept saying, "He's so small! He looked so big on TV!" Just like everyone else, we all saw Moneymaker on ESPN's extensive coverage of the 2003 World Series of Poker (which was played in May, but aired all summer on ESPN & ESPN2).

One of the last times I played at Foxwoods, everyone was buzzing because Ben Affleck played Pot Limit and was giving free money away to players who didn't have enough cash for the buy-in, just so he could get a high stakes game. I did not have enough cash to sit in with Moneymaker. If I did, I probably would have lost it all, but I would have walked away with a great story: "I got to play with a champion..."

Anyway, how did I play? Not so good. I dropped $190 in 8 hours. I was up $100 in the first hour and it was all downhill from there. Why? As always, I played too many hands and on a couple big pots I lost on a few bad beats (all three on the friggin' river).

But I had some good hands. In the first ten minutes after I sat down, I found myself on the button. I decided that I would aggressive play my position all night, and weakly play my blinds. Anyway, I found a 10-9 off suit on the button... definitely playable. Of course, the flop comes out 10-10-9. Holy shit... I flopped a fucking full house!! There were 5 other people in on the hand. No one raised and I smooth-called. I didn't want to raise to knock people out, nor to give away my hand. On the turn, two people stayed in and I raised to $8. They both called and on the river I raised to $8. I got re-raised and one guy dropped. I re-raised the guy and he called. I turned over my full house 10s over 9s and his straight was not good enough to win. A young woman nearby said, "I can't believe you didn't jump out of your seat after the flop!" She was watching me the entire time and I carefully diguised my hand. I tried to play it cool and it worked. It was one of the best plays I ever made in low limit in the short time I'd been playing in a casinos, and unfortunately, it was my only good play all night.

A few hands later, I flopped a flush. And I found myself up $100. After that I caught a run of bad cards, and I ran into heads-up pots with people on rushes. I lost every A-K I was dealt all night. I lost Q-Q and J-J to people who pulled a small & medium flushes on the river.

Later in the night I saw Oklahoma Johnny... he's a legend in the poker world. He started the Senior Tour and was hosting the Senior's tourney at Foxwoods. He sat down with a young woman (whom I thought was his granddaughter... but it was his daughter). He was her coach and he didn't play. She wore a fuzzy hat and explained that she "was from Las Vegas and was not used to the cold weather in Connecticut." I sensed that she was prepping to hustle us, so I avoided going heads up with her in any hand. I read some of Oklahoma Johhny's book (which I didn't tell her, nor him). I knew that he preached that you should muck your first fifty hands when you sit down at a game... even if you get a good hand. His theory is that you get used to your surroundings, and get to see what type of players you are playing against. After an hour, and looking at his daughter's stack, I realized that she was doing exactly what he wrote about. She didn't play too many hands. Perhaps I should have listened to what he wrote about in his book.

I got beat badly on pocket Kings and that cost me over $40. I kept raising everytime I bet and the kid next to me kept calling. I knew he was on a draw. He eneded up catching a full house on the river. And yes, I was wicked pissed. I took Brad Singer's advice... "if you lose on an extremely bad beat, get up and walk away." It was 4am and I played for over eight hours. I watched some of Moneymaker's game before I ate a slice of cheesecake. I left Foxwoods around 4:30am and drove back into the city to return the rental car.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Moneymaker at Foxwoods

I saw the World Series of Poker Champion, Chris Moneymaker, at Foxwoods Casino earlier this morning. When I left around 4:30 am, Moneymaker was playing Pot Limit Hold'em just two tables away. I heard Phil Helmuth was playing blackjack nearby.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

313 Players at the World Poker Finals Main Event

I just read on that 313 entries put up $10k buy-in at Foxwoods for the WPF main event! Wow, that's over $3 Million in prize money. I think the winner will take home at least $1 Million!
Seating: One Of The Easiest Paths To Poker Profit is an article written by Mike Caro and appears on Check it out... Mike Caro tells us how position is extremely important.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Poker Blogs

I came across this blog: Poker Blogs: An exercise in drinking Guinness and flopping the nuts on Party Poker. It's run by a guy named Ignatius. I dunno how he found the Tao of Poker but he linked me up to his site. Thanks, bro!! I just did the same. His site is very comprehensive. I've been reading it this past week. Good stuff for sure. Make sure you add that to your daily reading.

Good Reads... from Card Player Mag

Real Poker: Strategy and Tactics is written by Roy Cooke

All About Poker from the Coach is written by Bob Ciaffone

Low-Limit Hold’em: Give Up Those Blinds is written by Lee H. Jones
World Poker Finals at Foxwoods begins tomorrow!!! I tried to win a seat at a few satellies (Act I and Act IIs) but I didn't make the cut. Next year, I hope!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Back to Foxwoods!

I will be hitting Foxwoods on Sunday. My buddy Senor had his first kid, Jodd, last Sunday. The Bris (my first bris!) is on Sunday morning in Providence and I plan on playing some Hold'em on my drive back to NYC. Perhaps, I'll play a few hands with Senor, his brother Jay, and whoever wants to gamble during the low moments of the party in Sunday! At any rate, I'm playing poker and I'm pumped.

Jay Sheer told me he made it to the final table at a satellite tournament on and won a seat at a different one. Congrats!!!

Back to Vegas!!

I'm going to Las Vegas in mid December for a few days with my brother. We wanted to gamble on pro football 9make up some money we lost at the Mandalay Bay in March for the NCAA tourney), but I'll definitely play some Hold'em at the Excalibur and the Mirage. My brother has not played in a casino before, so he's slightly nervous. He's played on the computer, in home games, and online. I'm sure he'll do well. He's picked up Omaha very quickly and likes that game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More Poker Blogs!

Sorry about the lack of blogs... I had been super busy writing. Since late August, I wrote two novels: Sweet Nothing and The Blind Kangaroo. There is a minor poker scene in The Blind Kangaroo. I will post an excerpt soon. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Congrats to Sarah!

Sarah Engel, in her first trip to play poker at the Miccosukee Casino in South Florida, got an amazing hand. Jerry told me that his wife nailed a Straight Flush (the best possible hand) in a 7-Card Stud game! The odds on that are astronomical! I have never gotten a straight flush in 31 plus years on Earth (and 14 years of poker playing)! I once got a straight flush on a video game that I practice on a lot, but aside from that, what Sarah accomplished is truly a great feat! Good job! She won a free room for one night's stay and a free dinner at the Miccosukee! I'm pumped. I can't wait until the end of the year to visit Jerry & Sarah & Phish and play Texas Hold'em at the casino. Hooooo!