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Everything Has A Limit

Poker, economics, and personal crises, a three-for-one deal

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Details finally came through...

Congratulations on winning a package for the Monte Carlo EPT Grand Final
poker tournament. This No Limit Texas Hold’Em poker tournament will take
place at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort Hotel, Monte Carlo, Monaco
from April 28th – May 3rd 2009.

Your winner’s package includes:

* €10,000 + €600 buy-in to the EPT Monte Carlo tournament
* Seven nights accommodation for two at a five star Hotel, arriving on
27th April and checking out on 4th May.
* $1,000 credited to your PokerStars account for travel costs, you are
responsible for making your own travel arrangements

All players who enter the EPT are required to sign a television waiver
form in advance of the tournament. Players who do not sign this form will
not be allowed to take part.

People who know me will appreciate the sad irony of at least one part of this post!

No spending money, then, although, unless the flights are already absolutely packed, I should get some back on the airfare.

The €10,600 entry is worth just over $14,000. Add to that the prize money already paid and the package won't be far light of the $18k promised. Seven Nights at the MC doesn't come cheap.

TV waiver is no problem; neither is pimping for Stars. I'd have promblems about wearing the logos of some of the poker companies, but Stars isn't one of them.


I was waiting for a phone call yesterday evening at home; i thought I had arranged for it to be at 5.30. Anyhoo, I'd had a nap, and when I got up again it was too near to 5.30 to start playing, or indeed to do anything. So I relaxed on the sofa and read the papers from the weekend. I then realized that this was the first time that I had relaxed and done not really anything for absolutely ages. In addition, I got the arranged time wrong, so the call did not come until 6.30, so I actually had my feet up for a whole hour. Bliss.


No live poker practice yet. This is not good. Easter's coming up, so I must make the most of that opportunity. What are the tourneys available? Does anyone know?


I'm in a kind of strange mood these past few days -- one that's hard to describe. Eckhart Tolle is still useful here, and I'm getting quite good at "banishing despair". But the resultant mood is not happiness (or Tolle's claimed "bliss"); it's more of an absence of despair, without a good mood coming in to replace it. This is the strangest kind of feeling, one of detachment or observation. Sadness without the emotional baggage? No, not really. I think it's more of a "ahh, yes, I have managed not to be in a state of mind where I shouldn't be, but I haven't got to a state of mind where I should be. So I'm in a half-way house that can best be defined by "absence".


A hand last night from memory:

Blinds $1 - $2

HERO: HiJack: $200
VILLAIN(Donkey?): $187


Passed round to Hero, raises to $6.

Villain calls

Small Blind folds
Big Blind folds.

Flop As Ad 8s

Hero Bets $12
Villain raises to $24


I know nothing of Villain, but this raise at $200 BI could be a wide range.

Full House? Possible, but unlikely. First because he's unlikely to have A8, and secondly because he's more likely to cold-call if he does have it. Let's say 2%

Bad Ace? The most probable. This is the classic "let's see where I am and try to get to showdown cheaply..." raise. Likelihood: 40%

Good Ace? Nearly as likely, but I'd expect a cold call more often with this kind of hand at $200 BI. And there was no reraise pre-flop. Likelihood: 35%

Flush draw? Possible. But many flush draws fold in this kind of situation, simply because you are never drawing to the nuts. In addition, the players who do go for flushes in this kind of situation tend to be callers rather than raisers. Plus, there are only nine spades left in the pack! 15%

A pair of 8s? Possible. Cold call is bad here because this kind of full house is more vulnerable than many people think. But, many people with 88 would cold-call here. 8%

Do I fold, call, or reraise?

I'm actually planning a kind of reverse float here, unless the flush card hits. I call the raise and I intend to bet the pot (or a fraction more) if a brick card comes. That can scare off bad aces where the player is good enough to raise the flop. I'm not really happy about any line here (one of the perils when opponent has a wide range), but I think that this is the least negative EV.

Turn brings 4 of spades, completing my flush.

There's $63 in the pot and effective stack of $152.

Hero?: Since I put an ace of some sort as the most likely holding, I have to bet here, preferably an amount that will get as much of opponent's cash in as possible. Sometimes simple is best. I bet the pot.

Villain raises $91 all-in.

Hero calls.

Total pot of $374 before rake.

Disagreements with analysis?


Party Gaming has signed a deal with the US under which it will pay $105m in fines. Both Party and Sporting Bet's share prices were boosted as a result. It may also herald a return to US business for these two, albeit under much tighter regulation. I think that the new administration has seen that the current situation is rather silly, and it might as well try to get some tax bucks out of the companies rather than implement the Wire Act (has any company actually been prosecuted under the UIGEA?).

Personally, I'm following the money. The most value is curently in Europe and in the near future it will be in Asia.


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And the result was?

Am I being a bit dim here or did you forget to publish the result of this hand?

Or is this deliberate policy to get the comments in before revealing the outcome of the hand?

I'd figure him for a pair of 8s myself, judging by his first bet ($6), but what do I know? I am terrible at cash games.

Johnny H.

Re: And the result was?

Deliberately concealed result because that makes analysis by others less likely to be "tainted". It's realkly just a question of allocating probabilities to ranges.


There's a program of cheap tournaments at Big Slick, somewhere in Purley:


I believe I'm a technically member, although I've never actually been. Were you to be interested in the Sunday one (or possibly the Saturday) then I might be able to negotiate a pass...

Hal emailed me this list, although they seem to have bigger ones the following week. There's a hundred pound rebuy at the, er, Sportsman at the weekend, which might actually be value. Otherwise I might have a look to see what's on at the Vic. Purley is an absolute DOG to get to.


I check-call flop as (a) I don't want to bet and be raised off my draw (b) he may check behind and let me catch for free (c) an ace might check so I don't give up the possibility to represent one on a later street. As played then getting it in seems standard. I would guess most likely holdings on the flop were a pair, an ace, or an eight.


I don't like checking here because it gives up the possiblity of making a better hand than mine fold. In mathematical terms, the difference between check and then call and bet and then raise is that opponent is in the latter case making his bet into a bigger pot. Philosophically I think that I am looking to win the pot, with possibly having the best hand as a back-up, while check-calling (check-checking) is about catching the best hand and getting opponent to call you. I've never done well with that style, but I can think of several 888 players with 16/2 of 18/3 percentages who follow exactly that route, and win.

Opponent actually turned over King-Nine of spades, which surprised me slightly, since I really didn't expect that line. But, thinking again, it wasn't that different from my line. His raise might get a better hand (pocket pair) to fold and he has the flush as back-up. Its flaw is that if I've got AK I'm thwacking it in and raising him off his draw. The difference between him and me here is that if I check, he can still act before the turn card comes. If he calls, that closes the action. But, to be honest, I think I would fold K9 of spades here.

It did occur to me before I called him on the river that he might well also have a flush. Indeed if I've got a weak flush here (Tx or less) I probably fold. But I've done the numbers on flush v flush and it appears to work out that the second-nuts is plus EV, while the third-nuts is marginally worth playing, only worth a fold against Rocketty McRock of Rockville.


No air?

I promise I haven't looked to see if you've posted the results of the hand yet. My first thought was why haven't you put a decent proportion of complete misses? There seem to be two camps in this situation - people who'd probably never min-raise bluff and people who are addicted to it, and a paired board is the ideal type to encourage them.


Mainly because I typed it at work in a bit of a rush. I think that i missed pocket pairs as well!

Total air raises tend to come on flops like 883 rainbow Hands (for example) like 887 double-suited aren't usually used for air raises, because opponent can call with a draw and luckbox into a winning hand even if it doesn't complete the draw.


Re: No air?

Ah okay well you seem to be giving the opponent more credit than I thought he deserved. Left to my own devices I would have assumed a min-reraiser not to be thinking too deeply about the board texture.

If you're putting him on a bad ace a lot of the time and have an image that makes it worth trying to get him to lay it down, I much prefer putting in another raise on the flop instead of potting the turn because you're OOP. In position I prefer your play (if you were check-raised).


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