Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holidays - A Time for Poker Reflection

You still come here? I mean, you still read this page? Thank you, and apologies. I've been a bad poker blogger this year - posting infrequently and promising updates that never come.

Secondly, happy holidays! 'Tis the season to frustrate your family - they want to spend time together and share the holiday spirit, you're taking advantage of friends in town to get a poker game together - and THIS YEAR, you're a favorite to take all of their money. (Yes, that is a picture of the No Limit Texas Dreidel game embedded at left.)

Lately I've been reflecting on my play over the course of the year, and in recent months. Two phenomena have taken place this year. First, I think my understanding of the game has continued to expand. I think about certain aspects more than I previously had, I am thinking about and applying new concepts. I've expanded the number of games that I play regularly just a bit, and it has helped me with the games that I play more frequently (i.e. the number of PLO hands I played this year has improved my No Limit Hold 'em play). Second, and conversely, after having a really strong September and early October, I got cocky, and started to neglect the many things that were contributing to my success. I began trying to outplay my opponents on every hand, trying to win every pot, stopped paying close attention to my opponents and their betting patterns, and finally, berated them (mostly in my head, I hope) for playing badly, when in fact, they were playing ME beautifully. THEY knew what I was doing wrong long before I did. That is a recipe for disaster. After playing my best poker ever, I spent two months playing some of my very worst.

In my last couple of sessions, I have changed my approach to the game, and re-adopted several tenets, which I believe are the key to any poker player's long-term success:

  1. Let the game come to me. Don't try to win every pot, don't try to outplay my opponents on every hand. Look for opportunities to get value on your big hands, and pick up orphaned pots. Having a winning session doesn't mean winning the most pots, it means winning the important pots, and winning them big.

    In my most recent session, I employed a gimmick. I'd been playing so unruly that my opponents never believed me. What's more, when they didn't, it reinforced my behavior - "they don't believe that I'm playing good hands, why shouldn't I see every flop?" Sure, I could get equity on my big hands, however rarely they came (I literally didn't flop a set in hold 'em for 8 weeks), but I had zero bluff equity. I was winning disproportionately large pots with strong hands, but losing tons of medium pots by people calling me down with third pair and the disproportionately large number of suck outs on the turn and river, because they NEVER gave me credit for a good hand.

    The gimmick? I told my opponents I was only betting with the best hand, and that I would show it to them every time I won a pot (by attrition or at showdown). And I did. I showed them, I told them that I knew second pair was good, or that I knew they were on a flush draw. After a couple hours of winning with the best hand, things returned to equilibrium. I was able to get them to fold just enough. By next session, they'll forget that I'm not a maniac 100% of the time, and I'll have to make big hands and kill them with 'em, or look for a new gimmick.

  2. Respect the competition. The players at your table will have varied ability, but if they've played a dozen times previously, and they're back, they have some idea of what they're doing. Apply your energy to learn what they do well, and what mistakes they make. Don't assume you'll win every, or even most, hands against them - and don't try. When you do get involved, exploit their leaks, look for value; you'll come out ahead in the long run.

  3. Observe, study, absorb. Remember your best sessions? Remember how you knew what your opponents held, knew when they were bluffing, knew when you had to lay down a big hand? You were observing their movements, even subconsciously. You were watching how they put their bets in, what types of hands they held, how they reacted to board cards, how they were sitting... you observed everything. It takes practice, and I was out of practice. When you observe on this level, you cannot help but win.
That's it. Three steps to success. Think you can do it? I know you can.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Audacity of Attire - Barack Obama All In Shirt

Get yourself one of these while they last!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Macau Poker Report - Pt. 1

Nine days into our Asian tour, Mrs. Chicago and I landed in Macau, via ferry from Hong Kong. The Hong Kong ferry is quite convenient – about a $10 (US) or less taxi ride from just about anywhere in Hong Kong and a $17 economy class ferry ticket – you can be in Macau in less than an hour.

Macau was a Portuguese colony less than a decade ago, and the influence upon the Chinese administrative region is evident. The local currency is the Pataca (MOP) which has an exchange rate of 103.20 MOP to $100 Hong Kong (HKG). Everyone will accept HKG, and sometimes you’ll even get change in HKG; keep in mind you’re paying a 3% premium on the exchange rate.

We landed in the arrivals hall and had to clear immigration, collect our bags, and clear customs. All were done in a short time, and we headed out to the taxi stand with little fanfare. We directed the driver to take us to the Sofitel, which apparently is not info enough. The beautiful Sofitel hotel came to be just 2 months ago, so most still know it by its former name, Pier 16. Everyone else has never heard of it at all. The accommodations were beautiful, high-end, and accompanied by top class service. One limiting factor is the hotel’s location at the far west end of the Macau peninsula, but the whole region is small and transportation, cheap. Our ride to the hotel, from the eastern coast of the peninsula to the hotel was 40 MOP, or $5 US.

After checking in and grabbing a great lunch at the hotel, we headed out for a quick tour of Macau. We walked through a fairly prominent square and tourist area on our way to the ruins of St. John’s Cathedral. The ruins are worth a visit, as only the façade remains where a large cathedral once stood. The walk to and from the site provided us exposure to the local commerce and throngs of tourists.

Next we hit a few of the casinos, starting with Stanley Ho’s latest incarnation, the Grand Lisboa. There were plenty of games that American’s would be familiar with – Black Jack, Craps, Caribbean Stud Poker, and Roulette (the European, single zero version). There are more Baccarat tables than you can shake a stick at. Then, there are several other games that are unique to the region, or at least this hemisphere. There was a game where three dice are thrown and one can bet on the cumulative roll being high (10 or higher) or low. There are also, of course, bets on specific rolls, etc, like Craps. There was a variation of Roulette with a smaller wheel (I think this is “Boule”). There’s also some crazy game with a silver cup, buttons, and some guessing as to the number of buttons captured (think jelly bean jar guessing).

After heading up a few levels, getting lost, and getting found again, we stumbled on the very smoky poker area. There were about 16 tables in the room, with four in use on this Tuesday afternoon. The area was cordoned off with ropes and a sign that indicated “Players Only”. Apparently they don’t like spectators. This is bad for business, in my mind. First of all, spouses and friends might want to watch, and players might avoid playing and alienating their traveling companion instead of getting in a few hands until their spectating companion get bored. Second, why not encourages newbies to try out the game by letting them get a feel from the rail?

The room manager at least let me in to observe the action at the moment, stack sizes, etc. Much like my experiences playing in Europe, the room favors smaller stacks of higher denomination chips, quite contrary to the North American custom, making it difficult to see how deep some of the players were.

We decided to continue our tour and delay the card playing until later. We hopped in a cab and traveled across the Bay of Pak On, bordering the South China Sea, to the Taipa Island side of Macau, and to the worlds largest casino, The Venetian Macau. The building was immense and housed six or eight separate playing floors, with all of the same games, except many more tables. We walked through two gaming areas and found that about ¼ to 1/3 of the tables were in use. There were a couple of non-smoking gaming areas, which generally consisted of one or two non-smoking tables completely ringed by throngs of gamblers smoking away at the adjacent tables. There was no escaping it. Mrs. Chicago and I grabbed a drink in the Bellini Lounge and rested our feet. Later we explored the high-end Canal Shoppes, which were completely devoid of tourists or customers.

I suggested we should go explore the Grand Waldo casino to see the Pokerstars Poker Room and the supposed “incredible” spa. We exited the west end of the Venetian and walked the city block length walkway out to the road. Glancing across some undeveloped land and a construction site, we could see two or three structures where we supposed the Grand Waldo should be, but all were dark, and none appeared to be completed projects. We bagged the GW and jumped aboard an arriving bus that was headed to the Sands Casino, which was conveniently on the Macau Peninsula side.

After about a twenty minute ride, we arrived at the Sands. This particular hotel and casino had several floors of gaming, as did most, but was somewhat small in gaming floor size (at least as compared to the biggies we had previously visited). The name Sands evokes old Vegas and the erstwhile Las Vegas property that bore its name. I was surprised by the scene, with music and ambience targeted at a much younger audience. We stomped the yard, and then headed over to the neighboring Mandarin Oriental Hotel for dinner.

At the Mandarin we had dinner at a Thai restaurant called Naam. The interior of the restaurant was simple, elegant, and quite attractive. From our table we had a view of the Mandarin pool area, which was also very nice. The service was friendly and attentive. The menu was broad and accessible. The food was disappointingly mediocre. Mrs. Chicago’s dish was seasoned by garlic, always welcomed at our table, but it wasn’t fresh, instead they had used jarred garlic. We didn’t expect that at a restaurant of this caliber. Worse, was my Phad Thai Pak. This dish is made by every chef who has ever claimed to make Thai food. This was one of the poorer iterations I’d experienced. This particular version was “vegetable” and featured carrots, peas, and corn. That was okay with me, except that they had clearly come directly out of a can, and tasted it. Ho, ho, ho Grean Giant faux pas.

After dinner, we headed out on foot, intending to return to the Grand Lisboa poker room...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rebuilding Your Roll

Since Chicago Jason hasn't updated for a bit, and is off traveling with Miss Chicago somewhere in the Pacific, figured I'd write one. So the first month at the Horeshoe was a brilliant one, after 7 visits I was up 12 grand. Playing everything from 2/5 to 5/10/20 mixed Holdem/Omaha. I usually keep my roll around 5 grand, and stay around 1/2, 2/5 games. I would take from my roll anytime I was over 7 grand, and buy stupid new toys or pay off bills. Well after a month of killing it, I took everything but a grand from my roll and applied it to my student loans. Thinking I was running so well, I could keep winning with only a grand behind.
Any who I than ran into the worst poker 10 days of my life, as everyone could have guessed. Starting with two trips chasing quads and straight flush bonuses the Horeshoe promo was offering with Chicago Jason. We all we're playing hands we shouldn't have in 2/5 Omaha, any suited connectors..I mean any, 4-3 of clubs, perfect! It was sick that someone would hit the bonus every 90 minutes. Although I did hit the quads bonus I was still down in play. Third trip I got served at a 5/10 table.. was slow playing a straight and my opponent hit his flush for all the mula I had that day. Finlay the end of my roll, and the beginning of my negative roll (on a buddy's finger for 2 grand) was a Saturday with Mr. Porsche. He settled into a 5/10 table, where I, like a kid high on whip its, I bounced from 5/10 to 2/5 Omaha, blew through the end of my role and 2 grand I borrowed in a matter of less than three hours. It was not pretty, the end of it was me with Pocket Kings 1 right of the button with the 3 left to act. I raise it 120$, folds to the caller under the gun. He asks me if i want action, I don't respond, he says well, you got 300 all day, I'll put you all in, I think about it, and say I doubt he has aces (he was playing ATC as far as i could tell... a bit drunk too) I call, he shows 2, 3 off suit.. and of course flop hits 2, 3. I haven't lost it at the table since back at Fox Woods 8 years ago, but I wanted to punch this guy...I said some stupid shit, and Mr. Porsche and I left. Wasn't really mad at him, just at myself, I had killed my bank roll that's been alive for the better part of the decade... keeping it at 5 grand and enjoying the profit from it.
So that was a month ago, I started my bank roll up again with $200 out of my income and 30 days later up almost to four grand. I've played incredibly smart from hands to game selections. I think that's the most important, game selection. I've stayed away from my usual games LP, Mr. Porshe, Coligate, Ryans and even the Horeshoe somewhat and tried the easier neighborhood games, just until I get back to where I was. In fact I think I want to get to 10gees and sustain it there, so this never happens again. Either way I still have some work to do, but its going well. And if anyone beats me with 2,3 off suit again, I still might punch you. Watch your rolls people, and your stocks ;p

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Banco Casino Prague - Mini Trip Report

After a great day of sightseeing in the gorgeous city that is Prague, and a nice dinner with Mrs. Chicago and her colleagues, I headed to the Banco Casino on Na Příkopě in Prague, Czech Republic.

The casino consists of two small floors, as do many of the so-termed "casinos" in Prague. The first floor is about 20 slot machines, and a staircase up to the second floor. Upstairs there's a registration desk and three sub-divided rooms. One room contains two black jack tables, a couple roulette wheels, two "stud poker" (a house game) tables, and some assorted machines and chairs, etc. The second room is the "player buffet", which consists of a few hot plates of unidentifiable Asian fare, surrounded exclusively by Asian players. The third room features some additional slots, and automated roulette wheel/interface, a bar with room for 4 or 5 bar stools (but no actual stools), a Wheel of Fortune, and three poker tables.

The three tables were in use the prior night when I stopped in during a 1000 Kr ($60) re-buy tournament. This night there was one table in play, a 9-seater, with no open seats and at least 4 smokers smoking at the table. It was a NLHE table with 25Kr/50Kr blinds (~$1.50/$3) and a 2000Kr min and 10,000Kr max buy-in.

After about a 30 minute wait, I got a seat and bought in for 4000 Kr. The play was fairly loose-weak. Three or four action players did almost all the raising pre-flop and typically one or more of their counterparts called a raise, in or out of position. I took advantage of the loose play by raising up a couple hands preflop and c-betting with little fight.

I built my stack to about 9,500 when the following hand occurred. I had Ac2c in the small blind and the action limped around to me, I completed and the big blind checked. There were 7 of us and 450 in the pot. The flop came As4c5c - gin! I had top pair, nut flush draw, gutshot straight draw, and a straight flush draw.

I led 250 into the pot to see what action would ensue. I got a fold, a call from a super loose-weak player, a call from a super loose aggressive player, and several folds to the cutoff (also super LAGgy) who popped it to 1250. I decided that I was a favorite against just about any hand head's up, and that the two calls behind me meant virtually nothing. Moreover, they didn't even represent flush draws, meaning that most of my spades could be live. I decided to three-bet, giving me some fold equity and trapping the limpers in between. I didn't really expect the re-raiser to fold what must be a temporarily stronger hand, but it was certainly possible.

I put 4000 on top, effectively demonstrating that I was all-in. It folded back to the raiser who paused and said "I have to go with this". He shoved and I called. He showed 4h5d. Bottom two. Wow! This was best case scenario. I had 17 outs on the turn, and assuming neither of us improved, 20 on the river. I was almost a 3-2 favorite with 25,000 Kr in the pot. Of course, I did not improve, and my opponent raked in a tremendous pot, sure to reak havoc on the rest of the table for hours to come.

After just a couple hours and no strong hands to speak of, I headed out... walking down Na Příkopě and through Wenceslas Square back to my hotel. Perhaps we'll pay the place another visit tonight. Pictures to come...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Poker in Chicago - September Charitable Games

Courtesy of ChicagoJoe ....

Thu 9-4 ... Bolingbrook Chicago Charitable Games
Fri 9-5 .....Woodridge Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 9-6 ......Tinley Park Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 9-6 ......Wood Dale Rockford Charitable Games
Sun 9-7 ......Park Ridge Midwest Poker Live
Tue 9-9 .....Addison Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 9-10 ..Skokie Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 9-11 ....Mt Prospect Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 9-11 ...Tinley Park Chicago Charitable Games
Fri 9-12 .....Bolingbrook Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 9-13 .....Glencoe Michael Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer 4th Annual Casino Night
Sat 9-13 ...Lake Zurick
Rockford Charitable Games
Sun 9-14 .....Park Ridge Midwest Poker Live
Tue 9-16 .....Buffalo Grove Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 9-17 ....River Grove Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 9-18 ....Schiller Park Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 9-19 ......Bolingbrook Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 9-20 .....Burbank Main Event Charity Games
Sat 9-20 .....Hillside Chicago Charitable Games
Tue 9-23 ....Elmhurst Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 9-24 ...Niles Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 9-25 ....Des Plaines Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 9-26 ......Villa Park Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 9-27 ......Villa Park Chicago Charitable Games

Chicago Charitable Games www.chicagocharitablegames.com

Main Event Charity Games www.maineventcharitygames.com

Midwest Poker Live www.midwestcharitablegames.com/

Rockford Chartiable Games www.rockfordcharitablegames.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Flopped a Set, Disconnected Board, Folded on the Flop?!

Last night a few of us headed to the Horseshoe in Hammond for a late night poker session. We had called about an hour + ahead to put our names on the list for a few games. In particular, I was looking to play $2/5 Pot-Limit Omaha, which was very good to me last week, but would play $2/5 No Limit Hold'em or $5/10 if it looked like a good game.

When we arrived at the casino none of our names were on the list! Most rooms have a policy where your name is removed if you don't show for an hour, but several of the lists were over an hour long (!), so I didn't anticipate that being the case here. The brush looked to see if we had been on the list (I presume that's what he was doing), but couldn't find us. He was kind enough to try get us close to whole again by putting us near the top of the list for each of our preferred games. The other fellas got into their games pretty quickly, as there were eight to ten $1/2 tables and a half dozen $2/5 NLHE tables, but I was on the PLO list, where neither of the two tables were moving at all.

I was #3 on the PLO list, so I took a little walk and cam back to the room to find myself #4 on the list - WTF!?! Then I was just grumpy. I glowered at passersby as I hovered from table to table, area to area. Soon I got my name on the $5/10 list as well.

After an hour or so I finally got on the feeder table for the $5/10 NLHE game (feeder, as in it was a must-move game). This was one of the softest No Limit tables I have been at in a long time, at any stakes. It was really incredible - I didn't know for sure that all of the players had actually played before. Unfortunately, when you're at a table of people who will play any pair to the river, you need to bring a hand, and I was short on them. When I moved to the "fixed" table I had slightly more than my original buy-in, around $1000.

After an hour or so at the new table, playing solid, tight poker in position, this hand came up. I was in the small-blind and an old AC/Nashland good-guy, Jimmy, was in the big blind. The under the gun plus one was a pretty solid player who had amassed some chips through patient, solid play. He was not particularly agressive, but played pretty straight, stayed out of trouble, and won a few pots in the time I was at the table. I did not perceive him as someone who would overplay a hand too terribly. He raise to $30, a smallish raise.

Two later position players called, and with $105 in the pot, Jimmy on my left, and a small pocket pair, I called, looking for set value. Jimmy called behind me as I expected. I'll insert the hand replayer here for ease of discussion, and pick up my commentary below.

The flop was gorgeous, 2 4 7 rainbow. The only real draw was a 5-6.

There was $150 in the pot and I could hope for a check-raise without too much risk, but there was also a risk of the flop checking around and me missing value. Additionally, I called from the small blind and could have virtually anything, so an over-pair to the board might call or raise for information/to slow me down. If it checked around and a 3 or 8 came off, or any even a 5 or 6, I'd be in a tougher spot. I wanted to be raised, so I poked with a $70 bet, less than 1/2 pot.

Jimmy folded and the pre-flop raiser raised me to $220. The other players folded it around to me. Something about the raiser displayed a lot of confidence, not projected strength, just a great deal of confidence and anticipation. I actually considered a set of 7s as a reasonable possibility here.

Often I would smooth-call here and re-evaluate on the turn, potentially even looking for a check-raise on the turn. This time, however, I really was starting to wonder if I was even ahead in the hand, and really wanted some more information. I replayed the events in my head, and mentally re-counted my stack, I had about $1170 after my flop bet. I had just enough, I thought, to get the information I needed and still be able to fold for a decent amount of my stack. There was $440 in the pot, and I was facing a $150 raise. I decided that a re-raise to $500 would be a sufficient amount to get some information from his reaction, and still leave myself some options. I made it $500, and had about $750 left.

The Villain asked me to count down my stack, and I informed him of my remaining chip count. He paused only momentarily, and then said "raise". He first pushed out the $500 call, and then an additional tower of chips approximately equal to my remaining stack. I perked up.

What the hell could he have here? I replayed the hand. Solid player makes a small raise in early position and gets 4 callers. Flop comes totally uncoordinated and small-blind bets out with a 1/2 pot bet. When the action is to him, there are still two people left to act behind him. After they fold, the initial bettor puts in a three-bet for almost half of his stack. He is projecting confidence, and hasn't done anything totally out of line. When it gets back to the Villain, he doesn't think too long, and four-bets, putting the small blind all-in.

Could he have an over-pair? I mean, why does he re-raise me twice with such a strong hand? Why not smooth-call either bet and extract on later streets? Perhaps the first re-raise gets out drawers (there can't be more than one), but isolates us. On the other hand, I'm in the small blind, I could have flopped two pair here, and he would be behind with AA -88, would he really four-bet against me? Does he have any confidence that I would lay down a better hand than his?

Could he have a draw? Seems pretty unlikely. I don't see him raising in early position with 5-6 too often, but when he does, he probably folds to my $500 bet with only a straight draw.

Two pair? I just don't see any two-pair hand he could have here. 7-4 would be odd for an early position raise. 4-2 is almost impossible, especially given that I hold two of the twos. Same with 7-2.

What else could he have? 77 made, by far, the most sense. 44 was conceivable, and would be the only reason (other than calculating the cost of a failed bluff, or to be misleading), to ask for my stack size before his bet. If he has 44, he knows I could have 77 as a possibility, but probably wouldn't fold to any anmount of money I'd have on the table here.

At this point I'm almost certain he has an over-set. I can only otherwise imagine that he thinks I have a big pair, slow-played, and he has AA. Given the fact that a) I've demonstrated a fairly solid image here, and wouldn't go broke with TT-JJ, b) I could have the set, any set, and c) I was in the small blind and would be very unlikely to slow play a medium-big pair with four people behind me, and then play so recklessly on the flop, I decide that the chances of this crazy story finding its way into his head is slim.

So... I ask.

"No way. Seriously. I can't believe what a cold deck this is!" I Hollywood. I look him straight in the eye, and he's looking right back at me. "Did you really flop a set of sevens?" I ask him. He immediately blinks exactly one time and then glances away. He cannot look back at me.

I am now 95% certain that I am beat. With my perceived 5% equity in the pot, plus my perceived 5% chance of being ahead, I am not getting 9-to-1 on my money and I fold my hand.

Do you think I made the right decision?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Horseshoe Hammond - We Love the 'Shoe

We love the 'Shoe.

Members, friends, and associates of the Chicago Poker Club have all given the new Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, and specifically the new poker room, two thumbs up. There are at least four active threads on our forum discussing the new room.

The Horseshoe Poker Room pulls together the best elements of card rooms around the country (if not world), but has a decidedly Las Vegas feel. The room I'd most closely compare it to is the Venetian, which if you've read this site, you know is a major compliment coming from me. The size, spacing, colors, and decor are all well done. The open wall dividing the room from the casino floor, and the design of the high limit room in the back, are straight Belaggio. There are elements of the Wynn poker room thrown in for good measure.

With 34 tables, two Pokertek tables, plasma tvs, and table-side service, this is a poker player's dream.

Chicago Joe had this to say:

Tuesday July 29th will go down as the greatest day in history for Chicago Poker Players. The Horseshoe casino is what area poker players have dreamed about for decades.

Walking into the poker room is like taking a magical trip into the top poker rooms of Las Vegas. Looking around the room filled with pictures of the legends. Doyle Brunson, Jack Straus, Stu Unger, Johnny Moss, Bobby Baldwin than as you walk into the high rollers room you see a larger than life picture of Benny Binion sitting at the end of a poker table with his famous shitty grin.

Poker players who are familiar with area local poker rooms will find many familiar faces among the Horseshoe’s staff. I saw many warm welcomes among players and staff through out the day. Instead of just building a poker room the Horseshoe designed this room for the poker player. The Horseshoe is the first Chicago area casino to have nine handed tables for a more comfortable and faster play. This room is truly legendary.

Thanks Horseshoe the dream came true.
Need I say more?

Just about everything in this room was done right. There are a couple of minor complaints, and most of those are being addressed, or will work themselves out in time.

The biggest issue/challenge I've faced is the poor phone reception in the room. Through no fault of the Horseshoe, of course, both T-Mobile and Verizon coverage are virtually non-existent in the room. In true customer-first form, Jeremy and the guys at Horseshoe are strategizing solutions. They've put in trouble tickets with the cell providers and are evaluating hardware that would boost the signal.

Critique two is the felt, which has been screen printed to promote the Horseshoe brand. At first glance, its kind of cool - throwback. The challenge is that the letters are white and the cards get lost in the text. There are two answers - first, the dealers need to learn to place the cards in the correct position, which would put them on the green felt, the second is that the room has already indicated that the next felt, when this felt retires, will not have the large lettering. That's only a matter of time. Its worth noting that the tables on the high limit floor (just a step up from the main poker floor) have yellow letters, and the problem is therefore diminished.

Finally, the chairs. The chairs on the main poker floor look attractive, but are uncomfortable. This is unfortunate as I'm sure they weren't inexpensive. Hopefully these will be phased out over time, as they need to be replaced. That's probably way out on the horizon. It seemed to meet that the chairs on the high-limit poker floor were a bit of an upgrade, though the same style, with a more cushioned, higher seat. Perhaps it was my imagination.

Overall, I give the room a big, fat A. If they're able to address the aforementioned shortcomings, I have no hesitation about giving the room a solid A+. Nice work guys!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Horseshoe Hammond Now Open

According to our man on the ground, Chicago Joe, the new casino (new boat, existing casino presence) opened this afternoon around 2:20 pm, after being rescheduled several times in the last week.

This represents Harrah's newest vessel's soft opening, to be followed by the grand opening in less than two weeks, on August 8, 2008.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Poker in Chicago - August Charitable Games

As always, thanks to Chicago Joe for compiling these dates...

Fri 8-1 ..........West Chicago
................... Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-2
..........Bolingbrook ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-3
.......... Willowbrook ..................Chicago Charitable Games
Mon 8-4
.......... Niles ..............................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue 8-5
.......... Skokie ............................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-6
.......... Rolling Meadows ..........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-7
.......... Schiller Park ................Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-8
.......... Villa Park ......................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-9
.......... Wauconda ....................Rockford Charitable Games
Sun 8-10
..........Chicago .......................Chicago Charitable Games
Mon 8-11
..........DesPlaines ..................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue 8-12
..........Streamwood ................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-13
..........Rolling Meadows ........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-14
..........Mt Prospect .................Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-14
..........Tinley Park ..................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-16
..........West Chicago ................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-17
..........Willowbrook .................Chicago Charitable Games
Tue 8-19
..........Addison ........................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-20
..........Rolling Meadows .........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-21
..........Buffalo Grove ...............Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-22
..........Tinley Park ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat 8-23
..........Hillside ..........................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-24
..........Downers Grove ..............Chicago Charitable Games
Tue 8-26
..........Schiller Park .................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed 8-27
..........Rolling Meadows ..........Rockford Charitable Games
Thu 8-28
..........DesPlaines ....................Rockford Charitable Games
Fri 8-29
..........Homer Glen ....................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun 8-31
..........Naperville .....................Chicago Charitable Games

All Charity Poker www.allcharitypoker.com

Chicago Charitable Games www.chicagocharitablegames.com

Illinois Chartiable Games www.icgapokerevents.com

Midwest Poker Live www.midwestcharitablegames.com/

Rockford Chartiable Games www.rockfordcharitablegames.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ace of Draws

I guess I owe Wil an ice cream cone.

He had a pretty solid session on Thursday night - playing well and catching very well. After the game we made a quick run to Baskin-Robbins, and he was nice enough to buy me a cone. I did not run well that night.

Sunday was a different story. I feel that I played very well, as well as I have in awhile. I had a strong handle on the game, and felt my read was pinpoint in its accuracy. I also found either the cards or the opportunities to make some money, and those cards and opportunities are not always there.

Wil was also playing a little faster and looser than he typically does, probably riding the wave of his Thursday night success.

I played a hand head's up against Wil that he did not enjoy. I'm not going to say I played it perfectly, by any stretch, but I did enjoy the thought process and gamesmanship that went into it.

I was in middle position, in a 1/2 NLHE ring game with 8 or 9 at the table, and raised it to $11 with Ah4h. If memory serves, I opened the pot, though there may have been one limper. Occasionally I'll fold this hand here, and much of the time at this table I'll limp. I was feeling particularly frisky, and thought I was playing well after the flop. So I raised.

The action folded to Wil in the small blind; he paused and then raised to $30 total. The blinds (and limper?) folded to me. I considered the situation and called. Wil's range is fairly tight here, at least for him, but he knows my range is really broad, so he sought to put pressure on me, define my hand, and isolate. His range is probably 1/2 of my opening range in this position. I put him on any pocket pair 7s or better, and Ace-King, Ace Queen (or even AT suited or bigger). He doesn't like that he's in the small blind here, but if he can isolate, he's feeling comfortable enough to make this three-bet with good middle pairs, in my opinion.

The flop comes 855 with two hearts, giving me a four-flush. My Ace would also be good against most of his range. With about $65 in the pot, Wil makes a continuation be of $50. To me, this doesn't narrow his range much. He might elect to check with a big pair, inducing me to bet, or he might bet right out. With Jacks or smaller, and with a big Ace, I think he makes this bet most of the time, hoping to take down the pot, or cause me to make a bad call.

I consider my options here. There's about $115 in the pot and Wil has about $220 left, if memory serves.

I can call here with my flush draw and hope to hit on the turn. I'm getting just better than 2-to-1 on my money, and I'm about 4-to-1 to catch my flush card. If I do hit my flush, I can get paid a bit on a later street, but Wil may not pay me much more unless he has JJ - KK with one heart. This may or may not be a profitable decision, and puts no pressure on my opponent.

I can also fold. I played what amounts to a garbage hand and my opponent has shown a lot of strength by re-raising in the small blind and then leading into me for 75-80% of the pot. I'm am undoubtedly behind, and potentially only my flush draw is good.

I can raise on a semi-bluff. When I evaluate this option, I need to consider how much fold equity I have. What can I hold that Wil would be concerned about? Having a 5 in my hand for flopped trips is possible, given the way I play, but not that likely. Wil may write off losing to flopped trips with a 5 as "the cost of doing business". Of course, in this particular case I had a 4 in my hand, so it is obviously within my range. I could have a pocket pair of 8s, giving me a flopped boat. He isn't expecting a monster. In this case I probably would call behind most of the time, though a small raise is probably my best option. If Wil has an over pair I put him to a really tough decision with a small raise. He has to think about it, at least. I could have an overpair to his pocket pair, if he has one. It is entirely conceivable that I'd smooth call his re-raise pre-flop with KK or AA. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. And he knows it. Finally, if he does have an A-X hand, he probably has to fold to any raise of mine. Even 66 in my hand would put him in bad shape.

I elect to raise on a semi-bluff. I figure to have 9 flush outs (he could have a flopped boat) and possibly 3 Ace outs. As we discussed, if he holds just a big Ace, he probably has to fold to my raise. This creates a terrific dynamic for me in that he'll fold in occasions where I'm dominated (i.e. he has a bigger Ace) and he'll call/shove in situations where my Ace is live, which gives me 14 full outs (barring a full house). With 14 outs against an overpair, I am a 2-to-3 underdog (including 88 in his range), with enough money in the pot to justify getting it all in. Factor in my fold equity, and I think this is a strong decision.

The amount of my raise may not be as interesting a question as you think. Wil just put in a $50 bet, and there's $65 in there on the flop. The amount of my call will make the pot $165 and Wil has just over $200 remaining. He knows that if he just calls a small raise on the flop that he will face a big decision on the turn. If he has a very strong read on me, however, he can actually just call a small raise from me and make a big bet into a safe turn card. Because of that, I am well served by making a fairly significant re-raise, from $110 on top of his bet, up to an all-in bet.

I do not perform this thorough of an analysis, and decide that a small re-raise will actually make him think harder and put me on a stronger hand. I re-raise him to $110, or just $60 on top of his initial $50. My rationale is that I'm forcing him to make a decision for all of his chips even though I've just made a small raise. This is a bad analysis on my part as he could actually afford to call the flop and fold the turn if a heart came (if he thought that helped me).

I believe Wil evaluated it the same way I did in the heat of the moment and re-raised all-in for his last $200+. With $445 or more in the pot, I only had to call $160 more, I was getting almost 3 to 1. I also "knew" that Wil didn't have an Ace in his hand, and thus figured to be a 3-to-2 favorite over my holding. Getting great odds to draw, I called his bet. [Wil could have held AA here, for certain. Two things caused me to diminish this likelihood. First, I had an Ace, meaning there were only three combinations of AA left in the deck. Second, I had a feeling that he did not. Sometimes I have a feeling about something, or sometimes my opponent may have a baby tell that gives away a little something, and I go with it. These feelings are rare, but frighteningly accurate.]

The turn was a blank and the river was the A of diamonds. Wil said, "well, you called my shove, so you must be good".

I declared "umm... Aces and Fives?" His eyes shot daggers, and he mucked his cards as I opened my Ah 4h and sheepishly raked in the pot. I attribute my sheepishness more to Wil's reaction than my plan, in retrospect. I occasionally feel sheepish or guilty when I suck out, but if I have the odds to do so, I wouldn't have it any other way (would I rather not hit?)

I didn't have to risk all of that money with a bad Ace, even a suited one, pre-flop, but I like all of my decisions even in hindsight. If I could change one thing, it would be the size of my raise on the turn; it should have been bigger. As it turns out, it didn't affect the hand. Wil probably reraises on the turn either way.

What did Wil have? Based on the information on all streets, I'm going to guess QQ. It could have been KK and JJ is a possibility, but with TT or smaller, I believe he would have a hard time shoving on the turn.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Freakin' Hilarious

I don't know where this came from, other than Phishguy on Two Plus Two - I cannot take any credit for it. However, it is freakin' hilarious, I wanted his (or the creator's, whomever that may be) hard work to be seen by as many people as possible.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back from the Rio - WSOP 2008

Our five day adventure came to a close with a thud, as our plane clumsily bumped down at Chicago's Midway airport on Monday night. Although the WSOP tourneys didn't go as planned, the trip was an entertaining and satisfying affair, once again.

Started at the beginning... We landed in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. The night air, just steps from McCarran International, made it clear that this trip wouldn't be replete with outdoor time. It was 7:45pm, and it felt like it was still 102 degrees. It may have been 101.

We checked in at Caesars, and walked over to Chinois for dinner.

Thursday was the first event, #36, and I learned 30 minutes before that I'd be sitting in the "Buzios area". For those of you unaware, Buzios is the seafood restaurant at the Rio, and the Buzios area constitutes 16 poker tables in the hallway right out front of the restaurant, and a 10 minute walk from the Amazon ballroom. No worries, I'd never make it to the Amazon ballroom.

Just 48 minutes after the cards were in the air, I was packing my stuff and heading for the Harrah's shuttle to Caesars. Yes. 48 minutes... (that's $31.25/minute, as Wil points out).

The structure was the same as last year; a $1500 buy-in gets you 3000 chips. Blinds start at 25-50 and double every hour for the first three rounds. By 30 minutes in I had picked up AQ three times, netting me approximately -1970 chips. I raised three times, missed my flop all three, continuation bet two of the three, and was informed all three times that I had been out flopped (or perhaps I was behind to start with on one or more occasions). In this structure, you cannot afford to raise three pots and lose three pots in the first hour.

I locked down my last 1030 chips for not more than 12-14 minutes when I found AK on the button. A middle position raiser, who'd voluntarily put money in the pot at least a third of the hands, raise yet again, to about 250 after an early player limped. Knowing that he had a very broad range, and that I shouldn't be worse than a coin-flip, I re-raised for my last 1030 chips. He thought for about 2 seconds, maybe a couple seconds less than that, and shipped it in with 77 (granted it was about 25% of his stack, not 100% like me). The flop didn't help me, but he appreciated a third 7 to make him a flopped set. The turn was no help, so I was drawing dead on the river when a King kicked sand in my face.

Friday morning some of the Chicago boys came into town and we played some cash games. Jeremy registered and unregistered for a tournament at Caesars (way to read the fine print!) and we headed over to the Venetian. After a little play at the $2/5 No Limit Hold 'em tables, all three of us moved to a Pot Limit Omaha game that varied between $2/5 and $5/5 blinds, depending on who you asked and who was dealing. The amusing thing about this is that a $2/5 game is capped at a $1000 buy-in, while a $5/5 game is uncapped. This becomes pertinent later.

The game started 6-handed and slowly filled in until we had a list of about 6 players waiting to join us. I went on a sick run of good cards and well-executed bluffs, and more than quadrupled my initial buy-in (until the last hand of the session). At some point we noticed that they were filming a television show in the salon adjacent to our table. As we sat there, the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Gabe Thayler, Phil Ivey, Bob Bright, and Phil Laak walked by in and out of the salon.
I looked over my shoulder and noticed that Phil was headed our way. "We've got a seat open", I yelled in his general direction. "Yep, that's what I'm coming for," he retorted. Great. I was already 'that guy'.

Holy shizzle... was he really going to sit at our table. Plop, he took seat 3. "What are we playing?" the 'bomber asks. "5-5 PLO" comes the reply. "Awesome", says he.

"What's the cap?"


"Nice", he plops a bag of $30,000 in the table. In that bag, a key. The home for that key, his Venetian box. The contents of that Venetian box, "oh, the other $100k", he informed us.

He stuck around for about 45 minutes. Jeremy was away when he sat, and being that he was in the 4 seat, I couldn't wait for his return. As I saw Jeremy emerged from the main poker room I was giddy with anticipation.

He returned to his seat, not noticing our new tablemate. His eyes worked their way up from the rail, to his chips, to the felt, to the chips in the 3 seat. "Whoa!" he managed oh so tactfully His eyes worked their way up to the chip owner, "Oh", he nodded as if the presence of poker royalty explained the bag of rubies and sapphires before him.

The play itself, with Phil at the table, was nothing special. He played uber tight, losing a few calls and maybe taking down a pot. He later informed me that he lost $12. Well played sir.

... anyway... a few people have given me shit for taking so long to post the update... life's little gems have surfaced, and I've been otherwise occupied in recent weeks. Here I am posting my incomplete synopsis for the sake of an update. I will try to provide the rest of the trip report as times allows...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WSOP 2008 - The Adventure Begins

Mrs. Chicago and I are headed to the airport in about 5 hours, and will be in Las Vegas (Baby) through Monday afternoon. To say I'm looking forward to my little piece of World Series action this year would be an understatement.

I feeling good about my game, I'm running well, and I'm hoping to make it deep in an event for the second year in a row.

I plan to play Event #36 on Thursday and Event #39 on Saturday. Both are $1500 NLHE events, which means the starting chip stack is only T$3000. There isn't much room for mistakes early, but if I can accumulate a few chips, I'll be off and running.

I will be updating my Twitter feed as time allows, so check back here (right column) for frequent updates.

P.S. Sincere condolences to the friends and family of a strong member of the Chicago Poker community who passed last night. A young man, a genuinely good guy, and a fantastic rounder was taken from us all too early. Hopefully he'll remind us to find joy in every day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This Guy Really Gives Me the Creeps (aka Dwan vs Clay Head's Up)

I'm not sure what to say, exactly. Odd over-confidence based on conquering a single skill with major deficiencies in other obvious skill sets... inexplicably poor social skills.What? This is two different guys?

Anybody else rubbed the wrong way?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Horseshoe Hammond Expansion Complete 8/8/08

The hotly anticipated expansion of Horseshoe Hammond will be complete on August 8 (as in 8/8/08), complete with the Midwest's largest poker room.

The new room will house 34 traditional tables and 2 Pokertek electronic tables.

The Horseshoe will also be hosting the 2009 season's first WSOP Circuit Event, planned for some time around the end of October (2008). You may remember Jeremy Smith from the Majestic Star, he is now one of the shift managers at the new Horseshoe. He has made himself available to answer questions about the new room on our forum at Chicago Poker Club Forums. Welcome, and thank you Jeremy! Check back here and at the forums for updates.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chicago Poker Open - Don't Forget to Pre-Register!

The event is this Friday, and pre-registration will save you $25-50, depending on the event.

Please go here to pre-register.

The blind structure has been improved from last year, and I think you'll find it more player friendly than most (or all) other charity events!

Round Time
Level 1 25 - 50 20
Level 2 50 - 100 20
Level 3 75 - 150 20
First Break (Add On Period) 15
Level 4 100 - 200 20
Level 5 150 - 300 20
Level 6 200 - 400 20
Second Break (Color Up) 15
Level 7 300 - 600 20
Level 8 400 - 800 20
Level 9 500 - 1000 20
Level 10 1000 - 2000 20
Third Break (Color Up) 15
Level 11 1500 - 3000 20
Level 12 2500 - 5000 20
Level 13 5000 - 10000 20
Level 14 10000 - 20000 20

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Big Oops at theTable

There was a new face at my usual Thursday night game this week at "the LP". After a half an hour, we realized that we knew one another from the internets and chatted a bit about some of the things that I've previously written here, and about some of the Podcasts we listen to. We both have hacked iPhones on T-Mobile, which is funny in a what-a-coincidence kind of way, and we visually compared Podcast lists.

Kmon, as he's known online, posted a nice recap of his experience at the game and made reference to an "oops" of mine. I appreciate his politeness at not posting the details, but I don't mind, and it was pretty hilarious at the time. I've written here (and particularly in my personal session notes) about the dangers of playing tired, and it has impacted me tremendously in recent months, and in particular in the lowest stakes games. I don't play particularly big, but when I play in a bigger game the cash does a better job of keeping me focused. When I play $1/$2 on Thursdays with the usual crowd, I treat it more like a social event and often make big mistakes. This one was funny.

I actually don't remember the details of the hand specifically (another bad sign), but Scotty and I saw a flop head's up, and I was in position. Scotty and I have become good friends away from the LP, and we always have goofy hands the way you might with your demented (I was going to use a non-PC word here, but I don't think it's required) little brother. Scotty is the demented brother. :)

I thought he had a semi-strong hand, and he had raised pre-flop. I think he bet the flop and I called with two big cards. He checked the turn dark, which he really only does when he's soft-playing someone, and I thought he might have a middle pair or two big cards bigger than mine (or even dominating mine). Either way, neither of us had a monster and neither of us seemed to want to fight for it. It wasn't a "way ahead or way behind" situation, but rather the opposite.

I decided that my hand had some showdown value and I didn't want to get check raised, so I just checked behind and exposed my cards. The problem was... we were at the turn. Not the river.

Oh yeah, I was at the top of my game. Here's the kicker - Scotty laughs hysterically and then bets $10 and turns his hand over! As it turns out, I'm behind, but have two live cards, or 6 outs. The pot was laying me the odds to call, so I did, knowing that there would be effectively no action since we knew exactly where we stood. The river didn't help me, he bet $1 and I folded.

Then, Kmon says, "you know you didn't need to call that turn bet." And I'm sitting there like the moron I am trying to determine if I've miscalculated the pot odds. I give him a quizzical expression and he reminds me that Scotty had already checked dark on the turn.

Apparently no one in the room was paying the slightest bit of attention as everyone else realized the truth of Kmon's words. He checked, I check, I opened my hand, he bet, I called.

That $10 goes on my IRS return as "Idiot Tax".

Saturday, June 07, 2008

What I Had. What He Had.

This is the second part of What Did I Have? What Did He Have? - so you should read that post first.

Did you figure it out? Remember, my decisions were based on seeing his action pre-flop and his check-raise on the flop. I didn't know he was going to call my re-raise, but if I did, I wouldn't have put him on... Pocket Sixes. Sixes?

He quickly called pre-flop when I made a big raise from late position. I did not have a loose or aggressive image when I raised (as far as I could tell, and based on my actions).

So, what could he beat with 66 after I re-raised his bet on the flop with only $160 left? He was getting 4-to-1 on his money, but if he was behind there was only a 9% chance he would catch one of the two remaining sixes to overcome the deficit. The pot would need to lay him more than twice that, nearly 11-1 if he was behind.

Unfortunately my opponent didn't make the same analysis I did, and decided to call. He actually made a good call (in terms of pot equity) - I held only Ace of clubs, 9 of clubs for two over cards to the board.

So, how bad was my play? With only $160 for him to call, and $640 in the pot, he was getting 4-to-1 on the call, but with only 9% to win. So, what if he thought I could be bluffing? If I could bluff here 12% of the time and he would improve to sixes-full 9% of the time (ignoring the chances of me improving if I had what I supposed to), then he would believe that he'd be good, or improve to best, 21% of the time, and 4-to-1 would be good enough... right?


If he was correct, and he was, there was still two cards to come, and I had two overcards (he had to assume I didn't have undercards if his sixes were winning.) With two overcards to his sixes, I'm actually 31% to improve (with 6 cards to make a pair, and two streets to make a running flush). If he does make the call and is ahead of me, he'd still lose almost a third of the time!

In this particular case, the board went blank, blank, and the dealer pushed my opponent the pot.
If he thought I could bluff 12% of the time (my arbitrary number), then I would win the hand a third of the time when I was, and he would only have about 17% equity in the hand. With those numbers, the pot would need to lay him almost 6-to-1 for him to make a good call.

As it turns out, I'd actually need to be bluffing about 20% of the time for him to have a decent call on the flop. Am I actually crazy enough to bluff here, with only $160 behind, 1 out of every 5 times....?? Well... maybe...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What Did I Have? What Did He Have?

I got in a nice long session at Majestic Star yesterday. Around 10 PM I finally got a seat at the $2/5 No Limit Hold 'em Table - a "must move" table. Everyone bought in a little short, between $250-450 (most hovering around $400) at a $500 max. table. I bought in close to full, I brought about $500 over from my $1/2 table. I was surprised at the number of short-buys.

After about 90 minutes or so, the action had been fast and furious at my table, and many of the stacks had increased by 50% or more from big pots and frequent rebuys.

There were two limpers to me, hence $17 in the pot, and I raised to $30, which was fairly standard. I hadn't played many hands, had been whittled down to about $370, and had a stronger than average hand. The kind of hand I'm happy to play for a raise in position if I can get one or two opponents to see a flop with me.

The aggressive button folded and the small blind smooth-called fairly quickly. He hadn't played too many hands, and I perceived him to be fairly solid for this game. Not a big thinker, but capable of thinking on multiple levels. He played more-or-less by the math. At least, that was my perception. I took note of his smooth call - it surprised me. From out of position, facing a fairly large, but reasonable, pre-flop raise I wouldn't expect to see him make a quick call with a suited-connector or suited-Ace type hand. With a big pair, I very much expected a raise, or at least a few seconds of contemplating a raise. In my mind, his most likely holdings were a middle pair or AQ suited or AK.

Both other limpers called. Because there was $70 in the pot and then $95 in the pot for each of them, facing a $25 call, with $5 committed, I couldn't narrow their range too much at this point.

There was $120 in the pot, and we saw a flop. It came down 882, and if memory serves, a rainbow (three different suits).

All three players checked to me. I had represented a big hand pre-flop with my raise, and I decided to make a bet in an effort to take down a big pot. If I got resistance from either of the two limpers, I could put them on a suited connector with an 8, and fold. I bet $80.

The small blind really surprised me. He took a full minute to decide what to do. Then, he raised to $180, $100 on top of my bet. Both limpers instantly folded an it was back to me.

The pot now had $380 in it, and I had $260 left - that would be $160 after a $100 call. I didn't call. I considered what my opponent had. I went back to my pre-flop suspicions. I did not think he could play two big cards this way. He smooth-called my raise, and if he had AK or AQ, he did so hoping to catch on me, not looking to get all his money in without a pair. My initial read of a middle pair was making sense - 55 through 99 was most likely. With only two 8s left in the deck the odds of pocket 8s were slim. Also, with flopped quads, would he really put so much pressure on me this early? Wouldn't this particular player be likely to slow-play?

I put him on 55, 66, 77, or 99. Certainly 22 was conceivable for the flopped full house. I believed that he called a big bet too quickly pre-flop for 22 also, and I had put a lot of confidence in my read this night, and was correct much more often than not.

With a middle pair, I reasoned, perhaps he hoped I had two big cards and his two pair was good. His $100 re-raise was an expensive test, but perhaps he read me for weak? Also, I only had $160 more than his raise. If I came back over the top, I had to have him beat, right? My raise wasn't big enough to intimidate a pretty strong hand, so if I re-raised, I'd have to be expecting a call from anything TT or better... didn't I? But, it was also a big enough bet for him to be happy to save $160 once I indicated to him that he was beat with my re-raise.

I decided that he couldn't possibly call a re-raise with the range of hands that he could have. I had paused 30-40 seconds considering all of this information, careful not to give away too much non-verbal information, and I stated "I'm all in" and pushed my chips forward.

As I mentioned, there was $380 in the pot, and I pushed in my last $260, making it a $640 pot, and $160 for him to call. He was getting exactly 4-1 on his money, but was there a 20% chance that he was good with his likely range of holdings? Remember, this was all on the flop, and there were two cards yet to come.

He said, "okay, I guess you win", but put his chips in as he said it. In other words, I call but you must have me beat.

What did he have?

What did I hold?

What cards would you have played the way he played, given the progression of action?

Answers coming soon.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Poker in Chicago - June 2008 Charitable Events

Thank you again Joe, for your tireless contributions.

Sun.....6/1.......Tinley Park...................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun.....6/1.......Flossmoor.....................SouthStar Services
Mon....6/2........Elmhurst.......................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue.....6/3.......Elmhurst.......................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed....6/4.......Des Plaines..................Rockford Charitable Games
Thu.....6/5.......Niles..............................Rockford Charitable Games
Sat.....6/7.......Tivoli..............................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat.....6/7........Lemont..........................All Charity Poker
Sun.....6/8.......Darien..........................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun.....6/8.......Willowbrook.................Illinois Charitable Games
Mon....6/9........Buffalo Grove..............Rockford Charitable Games
Tue.....6/10......Mt Prospect.................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed....6/11.....Chicago........................Gateway Green: GREEN TIE BALL - new!
Wed....6/11......Skokie.........................Rockford Charitable Games
Thu.....6/12......River Grove................Rockford Charitable Games
Fri......6/13.......Chicago.......................Chicago Poker Open
Fri......6/13.......Tinley Park.................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat.....6/14......Tivoli............................Chicago Charitable Games
Mon....6/16......Addison.......................Rockford Charitable Games
Tue.....6/17......Skokie.........................Rockford Charitable Games
Wed....6/18.....Streamwood...............Rockford Charitable Games
Thu.....6/19......Artington Heights.......Rockford Charitable Games
Fri.......6/20......Woodridge..................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat.....6/21......Hickory Hills...............Chicago Charitable Games
Sun.....6/22......Naperville..................Chicago Charitable Games
Sun.....6/22......Park Ridge..................Chicago Poker Live
Fri......6/27......Tinley Park..................Chicago Charitable Games
Sat.....6/28......West Chicago.............Chicago Charitable Games
Sat.....6/28......Joliet..............................Road Dawg Softball

All Charity Poker www.allcharitypoker.com

Chicago Charitable Games www.chicagocharitablegames.com

Chicago Gateway Green http://gatewaygreen.org

Chicago Poker Open http://chicagopokeropen.com

Illinois Chartiable Games www.icgapokerevents.com

Midwest Poker Live www.midwestcharitablegames.com/

Rockford Chartiable Games www.rockfordcharitablegames.com