Poker

Me at the WSOP again.

Wow, Is it possible that I haven't blogged since May? So much has happened. Twitter and Facebook. They are to blame.

Well, here is the really short version.

I played in a charity poker tournament that was run by
Poker4Life and I came in first place, winning a seat to the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. I lasted 2 days, and got to play with Greg "FBT" Mueller and Mike "The Mouth" Matasow. I was doing well until my AA got cracked by QQ (all in pre flop) but what can you do.

At least, this time I got a little bit better TV coverage than I did
back in 2006...

So close and yet so far...

Last night I played for 6 hours in an online poker tournament. I came in 57th place out of 954. Unfortunately, only the top 48 got the $12,000 World Series of Poker prize package. Still, I got $650 for my trouble, but if I survived through 9 more people it would have been much nicer.

Oh well. There is always next time.

PokerRoad is rocking the content.

Poker Road is a relatively new website, set up by Joe Sebok, and I have to say that their content is phenomenal. Great podcasts, both audio and video.

If you follow poker at all, it's definitely worth checking out.

Sometimes you are the windshield, and sometimes you are the bug.

This has been a bad week for poker. I don't think I have been playing bad, but I have been on a bad run. Some examples, just from 3 hours today...

With 44 I flop a set on a rainbow board, and someone calls bets on the flop and then the turn to hit runner runner flush.

With 10 10, heads up, I flop a set on a 10, Q, K board. He has A J for a straight.

I raise from the button with KQ suited, and the flop comes QQ2. Someone called my pre flop raise with Q2.

I call a loose aggressive players raise with A2. An A comes on the flop. He bets, I call. Blank on the turn. We both check. The river brings a 2, and puts a 3rd spade on the board. Of course he has a flush.

I can handle bad luck and bad beats, but that's a lot in a very concentrated period. And it's the 2nd time this week. Sad

And, no, this was not online. People all expect those kinds of things online. This happened in a real place, with real cards, and real money.

AC Results

Placed 5th in the $500 tourney for $2300. Didn't cash in the others. After the cash games, just about broke even for the weekend. Was up, maybe $100. But had fun and saw a lot of friends from NYC poker community.

Headed to AC for a weekend of Poker.

Instead of just cash games, I'll be playing in some tournaments too.

$500 on Friday.
$800 on Saturday
$1100 on Sunday (But I won my seat to that one.)

Hopefully, I'll remember to keep the world updated on my Twitter page.

Won a seat in a Satellite...

Went to the Borgata this weekend to play in a super satellite. Cashed in it and won a seat into next weeks "THE ULTIMATE SUPER SATELLITE"

Wish me luck.

A great new poker media site brings back an old friend.

Another favorite poker podcast of mine has been through many different incarnations. It started as The Circuit, and then became PokerWire radio. Now, finally, it is running under it's own steam, rather than on someone else's site.

That's right. Joe Seebok, Gavin Smith and crew are back, broadcasting from the tournament circuit on PokerRoad Radio. These guys are fun and really do a great job of both covering the event and providing great strategic advice. The new site, PokerRoad.com, created by Joe Seebok, also has a lot of other great podcasts including Barry Greenstein's Blog, and also a section of Tips from him.

If you are into poker, definitely check out some of the podcasts from this site.

Thanks to Chris Cosenza of Ante Up

Ante Up is one of my favorite podcasts. I've been listening to it for years. Chris and Scott are funny, entertaining and educational.

Well, this weekend, Chris came up from Tampa to cover the World Poker Tour event at Foxwoods and I got to meet him and play with him at a home game for some of the local listeners. It was a 4 hour drive thanks to NYC traffic, but totally worth it. I had a great time and he said some amazingly nice things about me in his blog.

Thanks to everyone involved. It was terrific.

Shooting at local poker club...

There was a shooting at a local poker club a few weeks ago. The club was being robbed and one of the thieves shot and killed one of the players when they dropped their gun, or so I have heard.

The player, Frank, was a normal guy just playing some poker for fun. If playing this card game was legal, then these clubs could operate in the open with real protection, rather than having to hide from the police where stuff like this can happen.

It's a very sad time.

The Gordon Pair Principle

I am a big fan of Phil Gordon. I think he does a great job of simplifying concepts and calculations to help me make better decisions at the tables.

Got a pocket pair and want to know the chances that someone behind you have a bigger pair? Here's a quick way to figure it out.

The Gordon Pair Principle.

Thanks Phil.

Jack Ten - Good hand or not?

On one of the Poker forums that I follow, someone posted the question "Is Jack Ten a good or bad hand in NL holdem."

Lot's of people love this hand, and the person asking the question sited Amarillo Slim's book saying that it is the best hand.

So, I replied with my own feelings on that hand. Here is what I said...

Jack Ten is one of the best hands, provided that you can fold when you hit it. I mean, if you don't make a straight, then get ready to get out.

Remember these things about Jack Ten

1. Making top pair is not good. No matter which one you pair your kicker is likely out kicked.

2. Making a pair, with a straight draw does not give you pot odds to call any bet. I have seen people call huge bets because they were up and down with a pair. Assume someone else has a set and then count your outs remembering that some of your "outs" give them a boat.

3. If you have 2 pair then someone else either has the straight already, or is drawing to it. Be ready to lay it down if any of the following cards is on the board or hits the board. 7, 8, 9, Q, K, A

3b. Don't count on your boat redraw. You only have 4 outs.

4. If they are suited, a Jack high flush is not invincible. If the flush comes and someone is pushing hard, they might be bluffing, but they might have a suited A-rag.

So, as I said before, you pretty much want to flop a straight with Jack Ten, or maybe see a flop like JJT, but otherwise, let it go.



So, naturally, a few hours later I was playing and I got dealt Jack Ten of spades. The flop was 9 T J rainbow, and I completely ignored my own advice and doubled up the guy who had K Q and flopped the straight. In my own defense, I had recently taken a few hits when I didn't bet enough to stop people from chasing their draws. So, with top 2, I bet aggressively to prevent any draws from calling. My oppenent made a small bet on the flop and then called my pot sized re-raise. Both of which made me think draw, maybe with pair. On the turn, I made another pot sized bet (now for about 200) and this time he went all in for another 20. Obviously, I had to call 20 for 400 pot. In that case I did have odds to chase my boat. I don't think there is any way this could have played out differently. I can't flat call his small bet on the flop, because if he is drawing (which is more likely than his flopping the straight) I can't let him see a card cheaply. And, even if I made a smaller bet on the turn, say half the pot, when he re-raises me all in there are enough hands that I can put him on that I can beat to give me odds to call anyway.

However, I found the irony of this happening the same day that I made my above post particularly amusing.

Bash at the Boathouse

I went to the

Bash at the Boathouse this past weekend and had a terrific time.

AlCantHang did a great job organizing the event and I believe they raised over $12,000 for charity. Woo hoo!

And I even got a picture of me playing with Gavin Smith. Gavin was a lot of fun. A real gentleman and the amount of charity work that he does is an inspiration.



Please. No comments on the picture. Winking

it was also really cool meeting Justin Shronk from the Circuit and all the bloggers that were there too.

Phone March on Capital Hill

U.S. Senate is Seeking to Ban Online Poker - PPA Phone March on Capitol Hill Scheduled for September 12, 2006

Your urgent action is needed! On September 12th, 2006 the Poker Players Alliance is teaming up with many online poker card rooms, poker blogs, and forums to organize a "Phone March" on Capitol Hill.

From 9AM ET until 5:30PM ET on Tuesday, September 12th, we are asking anyone interested in defending poker to call this toll free number - 800-289-1136 - and be patched through to one of your two U.S. Senators in Washington D.C.

When you call the 800 number, you will hear a recording from PPA member Greg "Fossilman" Raymer and then you will be prompted to enter your five digit zip code so you can be directed, free of charge, to your Senator's office.

Once you reach your senator's office, please let them know you support online poker, and make the following key points in your message:

* I am voter in your state
* I strongly oppose any legislation that would prohibit online poker and urge the Senator to vote against such legislation
* Poker is a skill game enjoyed by 70 million Americans
* The Senator should seek to regulate online poker much like the government regulates other forms of gaming, like lotteries
* Prohibitions don't work - Any legislation that tries to ban online poker will only drive those players underground
* Again, I urge the Senator to oppose any attempts to prohibit me from playing the great American game of poker on the Internet

The threat to poker is real. Please forward this information to everyone you know who cares about poker and an American's freedom to use the Internet. We need everyone possible to make their voice heard on September 12th!

Note: The 800 number will only be active between 9AM ET and 5:30PM ET on Tuesday September 12th.

Me at the WSOP on TV.

This week ESPN aired the day of the Main Event that I played in. Now, I never tangled with a celebrity pro, and I didn't last long enough for any real face time, but they did catch me in some of the room shots.

Now, I know what you are thinking. What a narcissist he must be to have gone over the broadcast with a fine tooth comb to find these shots. But, I swear, I was actually watching it in the background while I played online and I happened to glance at the TV at exactly the right moments.

And yes, it's really me. For the first 2, I can tell by the placement, the shirt and the hat. In the "closeup" it's the watch that gives it away. Happy


Thursday is a great night for Poker.

Tonight I played in 2 tournaments on Full Tilt Poker that both started at 9pm.

1. The Ante Up Invitational ($5 + $.50), which is for listeners of the phenomenal poker podcast Ante Up.

2. The Gavin Charity Satellite ($0 + $25) all proceeds go to charity and the winner gets to play in a charity tournament hosted by Gavin Smith at the Bash at the Boathouse.

I managed to come in 2nd in the one where 2nd paid something and first in the one where first was the only place that mattered. Definitely a good night for poker. Happy

It was a lot of fun. Because both of the tournaments were made up of specific communities it was better chat than your average tournament, Of course I didn't chat much because I needed to concentrate on getting hit by the deck. I must have had AA six or seven times over the course of the evening. I think I played fairly well too. I did, at one point, get all my money in with the worst hand and then got lucky to hit it, but who hasn't? I had plenty of bad beats myself, so I'll take the good ones when they happen. Happy

And I guess, as long as I am talking poker, I did win a double shootout on PokerStars yesterday. Just a small $11 buy in with the first prize being a seat in the Sunday Million Dollar Guarantee Tournament.

Now, I just have to switch my strategy so instead of winning the $5 and $10 tournaments, and losing the $200 ones, I lose the little ones and win the big ones.

Well, maybe soon. Happy



Took out a pro!

Last night I played in Full Tilt's $200,000 tourney. I didn't win, but I did manage to bust one of the Full Tilt pros. Keith Sexton. I didn't realize it, but there was a $200 bounty on him, so I am getting a nice little bonus, and a t-shirt for it.

Big or small. Every win is a good one.

My first "big" cash on Full Tilt Poker.

Just took second in a $24+2 tournament on Full Tilt Poker. About $2400. Was 1 bad beat away from the $4000 first, but I'll certainly take 2nd for my $26 investment.

My decision to stick to tournaments when online definitely seems like the right one. I am almost caught up to my losses from the ring games. For now, while I'll play cash games live, online is tournaments and tournaments alone.

One interesting observation. I am cashing somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the time. That is pretty good, but it can definitely be frustrating the other 80 to 90 percent of the time. I can see why they say poker is a tough way to make an easy living. Definitely keeping it in the hobby stage.

For now. Happy

Big moneyless poker win.

I didn't play any online poker the whole time I was in Vegas. Was doing the live thing, after all. Well, yesterday I started playing online again. Played in 3 big tournaments. The PokerStars Sunday Million and the Full Tilt 200k guarantee were the big money ones. I didn't cash in those. But I also played in PokerStars Moneymaker Millionaire freeroll. Out of over 9500 players, only the top 50 won a ticket to the next level event. I was one of those.

Heh, if I had made top 50 in any of the other tourney's it would have been a nice money win. So, my timing is just a little off, but I'll keep trying.

Home again...

Got back from Vegas on Saturday night. I didn't get to play in that Thursday event. It was sold out. So I just played at the cash games. had a lot of fun, and came home with more money than I left with. Can't ask more than that. Looking forward to trying again next year.

WSOP - The Main Event

I was in, and I was out. I lasted until 10pm on the first day. Sure, I would rather have lasted until I was rich beyond my wildest dreams, but I'll have to settle for having had a good time.

I slept well and went over to the PokerStars breakfast at the Rio. I was a little nervous, but not much. Made my way to my seat.

Here was my first dealer.


Here was my starting chip stack.


And here is the guy who knocked me out.


No hard feelings. I had been doing pretty well, but ran into 1 hand that crippled me. I had 6 8 in the big blind and the pot was unraised. The flop came K 6 2. I decided to take a stab at it with bottom pair. Got 1 call from a very aggressive player. If he had anything good, he'd have raised preflop. The turn was Jack. I decided to try once more. I bet, and he called. I was done. But then the river came and it was an 8 giving me 2 pair. I checked, he bet, and I called thinking he had a K. He did, but his J with it gave him a better 2 pair than I had. Sad

That put me on life support with about 5000 chips when the blinds were 100/200. I survived that way about 4 hours, looking for a way to double up. Stealing just enough pots to stay steady. Finally, in the end, I made a move against a loose aggressive player who made a button raise into my small blind. I had A J of spades, and he called my all in with A K of diamonds. The flop gave me 2 spades, but those were the last ones, and that was all she wrote. The fat lady had sung.

I have no regrets. I think I played fairly well, and I had fun. There is one more WSOP tournament while I am here on Thursday. A 1000 buy in event. Maybe I'll try to win a seat to that one too. As long as I am here. Otherwise, there is always next year. But now, I am going to sleep.

Friday T-minus 3 days

I don't start until Monday, but I went to the Rio to see the first first day begin. It was crazy exciting. James Garner, who is playing in the event for the first time kicked it off.


I also got to see Wil Wheaton, who has been blogging the series for PokerStars. If you don't read his blog, you should.



And then there was this guy.


Joe Hachem, the current world champ is a class act. He was signing autographs for hours and never had anything but a smile and a nice word for the people who came to see him. Not bad for someone who won over $7 Million just one year ago.

Arrival in Vegas T-minus 4 days.

I made it to Vegas. No problems. I went to check into the hotel and they had a special counter for PokerStars folks. I was on their list, so it looks like this is real.

After checking into the hotel, I headed over to the Rio to check in for the event.


They have an expo going on there. A bunch of booths representing many sites and tons of poker products. And lot's of cute booth babes. Much better than Macword Expo on that account.




Now for the really cool part...



I am playing in the 4th first day which is Monday. Did I explain that? They have so many players this year that they split em into 4 groups of about 2000. Group A plays Friday. Group B on Saturday. Etc. Each "first" day the groups play down until there are 800 people. Then the Groups A and B meet on Tuesday, and Groups C&D meet on Wednesday. Both "second days" they play down to 700 people. Everyone had Thursday off and Friday the whole remaining field continues.

Update. They have even more people than expected. They have "alternates" waiting for people to bust out so that that can take their seat. I have heard that means the first day plays down to 900 instead of 800. It's madness.

See some cool people like Kenna James



And Ron Jeremy???

Loren at the World Series of Poker FAQ

Several friends have been asking me about my entry to the World Series of Poker, and I have realized that not everyone is the poker freak that I am, so I thought I would post the answers to some of the questions I have received.

Will you be on TV? When?


Sort of. ESPN will be covering the Main Event. It will be aired in a few months. Of course there are expected to be 8000 people playing, so the only way I'll get air time is if I am playing at the same table as some famous pro, or if I last a while. I prefer option 2. While I look forward to meeting all the pro's, I don't want to face em early in the tournament. ESPN will air the edited version of it all in a few months, but the final table will be broadcast live on PayPerView on August 10.

You won a seat. Do you still have to bring money to play with, or do they give you money to play with?


This is a tournament. For the $10,000 entry fee I get 10,000 chips that have no cash value. I keep playing until I have run out of chips, or won them all. The prize money is then given out based on how long I last.

How much can you win?

I think the top 10% get paid. Here is the payout structure from 2005. First place got $7,500,000 and that was with 5600 players. This year they are expecting at about 8000, so, it could be as much as 10 Million. And, of course, it could be no money at all. But either way, I'm gonna have a great week in vegas.

How did you win your seat?

I played in an online tournament on Pokerstars.com. This was what they call a double shootout, which means that there were 81 people playing at 9 tables. Each table played like a single table tournament, down to 1 player. Then, the remaining 9 played another single table tournament down to 1. That was me. Entry fee was $160. Prize package was $12,000.

So you play online?


Yes

For real money?


Yes

Aren't you worried about that?


No. I play on well known/reputable sites, and I only play with money I have set aside for poker. Not my savings, nor my mortgage payments.

Do you play live too?


Yes. I play at a few of the clubs in Manhattan, and occasionally make my way to a casino.

Are you any good?


I think that I am better than average. Most poker players lose money. A small percentage wins. I am pretty much break even, which puts me ahead of the curve. And I am still learning. I tend to do better at cash games live. Online I try to stick to tournaments.

Did you say clubs in Manhattan? Is that legal?


The New York District Attorney has been quoted in the papers after one such club was raided as saying that they were just there for the people running the clubs, and that the players were not doing anything wrong and therefore had nothing to worry about. I have been at a few of these clubs during such a raids and it was fine. The police took all the money, but left the players alone. I hated losing my money to the police, but I could just as easily have lost it playing and this is a better story. I think we should take a lesson from LA, where they recognize Poker as a game of skill and make it legal.

What to you place your chances at?


50-50. Either I win, or I don't. Happy

I won a seat in the World Series of Poker!!!!!!

Last night I played in a double shootout tournament. The format is 81 people at 9 tables. Each table plays down to 1 player and then each of those 9 goes on to the final table. For $160 entry fee, first place was a $12,0000 package to the main event of the World Series of Poker.

And I did it!!! I had been playing pretty exclusively online for the past few weeks trying to win a seat, and this was my last chance. Literally. This tournament started at about 11 and the final table didn't start until about 12:30.
PokerStars was ending these satellites at midnight, so this was it.

I was pretty confident that I was the best player at the final table, but luck is a factor, and I was the short stack when we got down to 3, but I stayed calm, kept breathing, and didn't do anything stupid. And the next thing I knew it was over and I was the winner.

I went in to wake Karen up. It was about 2 in the morning, but how could I not? You should have seen her pop out of bed when I said "I'm going to Vegas!" Happy

Ok. Now I gotta actually make my travel arrangements. Wish me luck!!!

Yet another nice tournament finish...

I played in that same 180 person tournament again tonight.

Well, I played in it twice. Missed the money the first time, but came in second place for $720 the second time.

That's first or second place 3 out of the 4 times I played in it. I gotta say, I'm feelin' pretty good.

Another online Tournament win.

A few weeks ago, I blogged that I won a 180 person $20 tournament on PokerStars. Took $1080 for first place.

That was the first time I played in that particular tournament.

Last night I played in it again, and won again. It was crazy. I was destined to win this one. I got crazy lucky. Cracked Aces twice, had Aces, Kings and Queens a number of times. And most of the time they held up. But the time of the final table I had half the chips in play. Eventually, another player took some from me and we traded 1st place back and forth, but in the end, my A5 beat his A4 when a 5 came on the river to prevent a chop.

Man winning feels good. Happy

I am headed to Venice until July 10th.

Don't know what kind of internet access I'll have there. Look at my Venice Blog page for any updates and pictures.

First place in a poker tournament... Woo Hoo...

Last night I took first place in a 180 person SNG on PokerStars.
Cost: $22.
First place money: $1080

Winning is fun.

Poker with the pros...

Yesterday, I played in a charity poker tournament for Fence Magazine.

It was a lot of fun, for a good cause, and I got to meet and chat with Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, and some cool literary types like Myla Goldberg.

I didn't end up at the same table as the pros, but I did get to chat with them and listen to some of the poker advice they were giving. Even in just 30 minutes of talking to a crowd of complete newbies, they were clearly excellent teachers.

The reason I first started playing on Full Tilt Poker was to try to win a ticked to Howard Lederer & Annie Duke's Fantasy Poker Camp. Well, now my interest in that is renewed. It would definitely be a worthwhile experience.

Like playing poker online? Let your senator know...

Thanks to the Poker Players Alliance for encouraging everyone to contact their senator's. I just got off the phone with Senator Clinton's office to say "I am a constituent. I like playing poker, both live and on the internet, and I think it should be legal." However you feel, on any issue, make your voice heard.

Poker tip for playing multiple tables at once online.

I heard this tip on a podcast. Don't remember which one. Maybe Ante Up.

I play on an Macintosh Laptop and even with a resolution of 1440x900 I can't see 2 entire tables at one time. I have to have each table overlap the other.

Using Mac OS X's Expose feature is a great workaround. Hitting F10 shrinks everything down and displays every window for the current application clearly. I can then watch all the games at the same time, and click into the one that requires my attention.

As a test, I opened 4 games on Full Tilt. Here are 2 screen shots. The first is the normal view. The second is the reduced screen from Expose that I watch. (NOTE. The screens are clear as a bell. The screenshots are a little less so, because of JPG compression.)

Click on the images to see the full sized screens.





I placed 3rd out of 1502 in an online tournament.

This Pokerroom.com tournament was a "Lucky Dollar". That means it was only a $1 entry fee, and it was a turbo, where the blind levels increased every 3 minutes. That pretty much makes it a free-for-all where you just have to get lucky. Still, luck or not, I think 3rd place is a pretty good place to be.

Got a Royal Flush the other day.

Online, playing on Full Tilt Poker. Unfortunately, so did everyone else. Chopped pot...Royal Flush Screen Shot