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I Bubbled, Dee Scores, 31 October 2005

Played the $500 Omaha 8 today. It was looking like a good day. I had some great hands early. Had to listen to some old farts bitching about my starting hands, but when I'm in late position with no callers yet, I'm going to play a high hand for a raise.

I maintained an above average stack for most of the day. It was right before dinner break that I got dented. A new player joined the table, and I should have known it was trouble when she told me she had never played O8 before today. I look down at AA24 with two diamonds. I raise preflop from the cutoff and she calls from the big blind. The flop comes Jd 3 5. I am looking at a nice board. She bets, I raise, she calls. The turn is a 9, no diamonds. She bets, I call. The river is a J. She bets, I put her on a possible J, but with the AA I decide to pay her off. She shows the brilliant starting hand of KJ86!! The damage was bad. The blinds went up the next hand and left me with no more than one more hand worth of chips. I wasn't able to find a hand, and that was that. Seven hours and 20 minutes, no cash.

The good news is that Dee is looking good on the Stud 8 or better final table. It goes from 5 handed to heads up fairly quick. Dee tries to work a deal with the opponent, and he's not interested. They play a little longer and call a break. On break, they talk a deal again, but it goes nowhere. Dee is still the underdog. After about 20 or so hands heads up, there have been 4 or 5 major ones. Right after break, with Dee turning up the volume while Sanjay offers a rich deal and Dee doesn't hear, the deck turns to Dee. This one hand was the turning point where Dee grew from 90K to 220K and Sanjay goes behind. Sanjay plays to the river, Dee has Aces up and tilts the scale.

Now Sanjay talks a deal. Dee responds "No, let's play it out now." And that he does, he procedes to take all the chips in another 30 minutes. Great job Dee! $43k.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
On my way to WPF, 30 October 2005
Today is the $500 Stud 8, reports from the floor tell me that my buddy Dee is doing well. Hope he can hold out, it's time he hit one.

I should be arriving late and will play tomorrow's $500 Omaha 8.

Happy Halloween! Carolyn, Melissa and I carved pumpkins this week. Tore up my digestive system eating the seeds. Ouch.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Over There - made me wonder..., 28 October 2005
Tonight was the season finale of Over There on FX. I'm sure the series has some historical or technical inaccuracies, but it's a TV show, not a documentary. That said, I thought it was very well done. It shows the life of a squad in Iraq. It doesn't flame liberal anti-war garbage, nor does it spin pro-war for that matter. IMHO, if it makes some viewers salute our troops while being entertained, then it succeeded. Here is the last scene... The squad is sitting around a fire drinking a beer after a long day and a firefight where they lose their lieutenant to friendly fire.

From Sgt. Scream: "The lucky ones live to feel guilty."

Prayer from Pvt. Dim Dumphy: "We solve our problems with violence. That's who we are. It's what we've always been. Not just in this war but in all wars. When we are done we ask each other for forgiveness, understanding, for peace. Let's hope, let's pray I guess. Let's pray that our capacity for forgiveness doesn't wear out before our capacity for tearing each other apart."

Fact: It's 07:23 Bagdag time, Saturday morning. It's 65F right now. Today the forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy this afternoon. High 89F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. The last Iraq Coalition casualty was reported as Capt. Michael J. Mackinnon, 30, of Helena, Mont. who died yesterday. That makes a total of 2,211 coalition casualties to date.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
After plenty of sleep, still not feeling my best, I decided to just play in spurts today. Heads up matches with some rest in between. I love playing mid-level heads up (50s or 100s). I can usually get in an average of 2 per hour, so it works out to a so-so rate, but I love playing heads up so it works. Today I was on a roll, I had won 9 for 9 and none of them lasting more than 20 minutes. The typical opponent was the Steamroller, just raising and reraising. Easy to oppose. So once I figured em out I just waited for a nutty hand.

One guy kept berating me, "How can you call with that!", "You suck!", "You limped with TT!". He was playing standard poker with some testosterone thrown in. I saw lots of flops and wiped is tears with his $100 bill. When are people going to realize that heads up play is not like a full table? I'd much rather have some suited connector than a mediocre Ace any day. I can get away from it easily, and I can get paid off when I hit.

Ok, so this kid and I have sparred for a bit and I get 87s. The blinds were 25-50, I limp. He popped it by one blind (I know..why?). His normal raise was 3x, so I put him on "any Ace" or a pair. I call. The flop came 8 3 2, with one to my suit. He bets 100. I read this as an additional blind..a nothing bet, a test bet. At this point I've either mis-read him and been trapped by a monster or I am clearly ahead. I raise to 300. This is where he could have walked away, but instead he flat calls. Turn is a 7 unmatched. He bets 300, I flat call. The river is an Ace. He pushes. Did I get caught by an A3 or A8? or slow played by AA? I tank for a second. I realize his style would have been to bet big if he hit the flop, and not to have the restraint to play AA that way, so I call. He berates me. I simply type "gg" and register for another one.

I finally lost a match, and interestingly enough, the guy lives just 2 miles from here. :) How dare he impact my positive variance!

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Spam and a Twinkie, 27 October 2005
Played Nashua's $135 tonight. Out with 2 tables left. Then I played a $50 sng, took first with no chop (sweet). Followed by 3 $100 heads up matches. I took 2 of the 3, so all in all, it was a +EV night. I should have packed it up and gone to bed so I could play the opening day of Foxwoods'WPF, but I decided to go play an all nighter NL game. It wreaked havoc on my digestive system so I slept in and passed on the tourney.

Nicknames. I love how people get nicknames. My buddy "Fossilman", this kid last night named "Twinkie" (look at his pic, twinkie fits, doesn't it? LOL). Well, while I was trying to fall asleep this morning, I was watching WSOP episodes. I have a nickname for Norman Chad..."Spam". It just fits. Just like email spam, everything he says is an unwanted interruption. His commentary about TJ, "He's a specialist in pig latin crossword puzzles." Garbage. Is there anything out of his mouth that intelligently adds to the coverage of poker? I am sick of hearing his bad jokes and about his ex-wife. ESPN could improve their ratings 10% by simply replacing him.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Private Game Security (Followup to shooting), 26 October 2005
In followup to the Shooting that took place a couple weeks ago...my buddy is ok. The bullet did more damage to his manhood than his livelihood ;)

As a followup though, I've done some thinking about ideas on how to make private games more secure so that things like this are discouraged, or at least safely survived.

First - to be as safe as possible, if you have a choice, play at a casino, pay the rake and stay secure...but if you have to play private games, these thoughts might be useful (feedback welcome):

- Be careful who you invite
- Have others vouch for a new player, don't just accept them
- Lock the premises, and do not open the door unless you know who is entering
- As an option to cash, have players buy-in by transferring the host online (poker site money or neteller money)
- Have trustworthy players buy in or settle up with checks
- Let others know that cash isn't kept at the game
- Instruct players that if anything like this were to happen not to fight back. Cooperate and hand over the money (this advice came from the detectives that investigated the event).
- Instruct players NOT to call 911 until the gunmen leave (this could result in a hostage situation if the police show up when the gunmen are still there).
- Instruct players NOT to brag about or talk about the game, where it's played, the stakes, or anything of that nature that would be helpful to a thief
- If cash is present, keep a fake bank in the open with 25% of the real bank value in it. Keep the rest hidden. Give up the small bank and claim that's it.

I'm sure there is more, but this is just a first cut.

Good luck to all, and be safe!

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Dual Monitors = 8 Tables, 25 October 2005
If you are a serious online player and haven't already experienced dual monitors, you don't know what you're missing. I've got two 21" monitors going and can easily watch 8 tables at one time. I usually don't, I stick to 4 tabling, but I find it usefull to watch friend's tables, final tables, or just do other work (browsing, email, chat, etc.)

My buddy just installed his. I'm sure he's gonna try to 8-table to get his hourly rate up. I'll report on his outcome. He's lucky, his pc is not in the same room as his TV, so he may be able to focus on it.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Last night in Nashua, I was playing the $60 + one optional $60 rebuy. It was almost the third hour and I had a respectible T9k in front of me. Blinds were 150-300 and I am in early position with ATx. Have I mentioned that I hate AT? Instead of ditching it, limping it, or making a good bet, I simply double the blinds. Everyone folds except the big blind, a friend of mine, who calls with 95x. I bet the hoping to take it, he calls and then takes it with a pair of 9s. When I make a comment to him about playing 95x, he goes on to tell me me he made a correct call. Was it?

using the actual hands and twodimes.net, his odds are 2.9-1:

cards win %win lose %lose tie %tie EV
9c 5h 578387 33.78 1127731 65.86 6186 0.36 0.340
Ts Ad 1127731 65.86 578387 33.78 6186 0.36 0.660

So, it seems that he is getting correct pot odds to call, right? He should be 2-1 to make winning 33% of the time correct. That said, if he puts me on a range of hands that are raising hands, say mid-pairs, big connectors, suited cards, big hands, etc., then his 95x only has 29.2% equity. That makes his call slightly negative EV:

using pokerstove:
equity (%) win (%) tie (%)
Hand 1: 29.2826 % 28.89% 00.40% { 9c5h }
Hand 2: 70.7174 % 70.32% 00.40% { Raising Hands }

I know Danny, you'll start telling me about "implied odds" and all that crap. Still a marginal call. You got lucky. lol Sometimes it is right to ditch those trash cards in the blinds.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Behavioral Economics & Finance in Poker, 24 October 2005
Working on a consulting project this week, I stumbled on a paper by Hersh Shefrin, who has written extensively on the subject of Behavioral Finance. He sumarizes that there are three aspects (in general) to the topic. I started wondering about its implications in a poker environment. I haven't found anyone that has written on it yet, so I'll keep thinking and digging:

Heuristics: People often make decisions based on approximate rules of thumb, not strictly rational analyses. See also cognitive biases and bounded rationality.
Framing: The way a problem or decision is presented to the decision maker will affect their action.
Market inefficiencies: Attempts to explain observed market outcomes which are contrary to rational expectations and market efficiency. These include mispricings, non-rational decision making, and return anomalies.

My immediate thoughts are that the average player would be categorized as one using a Heuristics strategy, an advanced player would be one employing both Heuristics and Framing, which leaves Market inefficiencies. The word "inefficiencies" triggers thoughts of "exploitative" strategies. So I would consider players that employ game theory to be categorized as using Market inefficiencies in their economic model called a poker table. Thoughts?

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Blogger Freeroll, 23 October 2005
Just got knocked out of the Pokerstars Blogger Championship. Great job to Stars! The prize pool was well worth playing - a $12k package to the WPT-PCA, flat screen TVs, iPods, etc.

I was more impressed with the weak field. I was actually shocked that people that love the game this much were so sloppy with their play. I got cut in half late in the tourney by a weak Ace out of position catching against my QQ. I raised him good, but it didn't matter. He was driven to play and write about his glorious skills in his blog. That said, I wanted a field like that. I never complain about weak opponents or bad beats. Bring em on!

Again, thanks to Pokerstars...they continue to be one of the best sites going.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
ARGer, Gavin Smith 3rd in Fiesta al Lago, 22 October 2005
Fellow ARGer Gavin Smith went for his 2nd WPT title this week at the 4th Fiesta al Lago. After an impressive showing with some great plays, Gavin was damaged in a pot with Mihn Ly.
The chip count before the hand was

1. Dan Harrington - T3.0m (seat 3)
2. Gavin Smith - T2.8m (seat 5)
3. Minh Ly - T2.4m (seat 2)

Gavin Smith has the button with As7s. He raised to T600k and Ly moves all in from the small blind for his T2.4m holding K8x. Gavin goes into the tank for a minute. Gavin doesn't know he is a 62% favorite preflop, but after a bit he makes the call.

The board comes Kh 10h 3h 9s 5h. Gavin is dammaged and Ly is now chip leader. Harrington knocked him out the very next hand when Gavin was holding a Doyle Brunson. Not a bad week though, he netted $327,610. Great job Gavin!
The photo is when he won WPT Mirage in May 2005.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Do the Clergy play Poker?, 20 October 2005
I'm glad the Nashua poker room is no longer located on Daniel Webster highway. Back in the 19th century, an author by the name of Steven Vincent Benet wrote a story (that later became a play and then a movie) called The Devil and Daniel Webster. It was about a New Hampshire farmer plagued by misfortune. When his bad luck becomes unbearable after his plowshare shatters on a rock that he could swear was not there the day before, and his plow horse starts coughing sickly, the farmer loses it and vows that for 2 cents, hed sell his soul to the devil. Sure enough, he suddenly spies two pennies on the ground, and Satan appears. They do a deal and the beleaguered farmer sells his soul in exchange for prosperity.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
In doubt? Jam!, 19 October 2005
I've used pokerstove for a while now to calculate equity on ranges of hands. Great software written by prock. Anyway, I had never noticed this on the pokerstove site before, but there is a great discussion of Jam or Fold in headsup situations that is credited to Michael Lerner. It's quite interesting. Take the time to go through the discussion page. It basically confirms what most heads up players already know...agression wins.

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Turning Stone and Greenbeans, 14 October 2005

Last day. Good to see some of my Foxwoods buddies here today: Hamdy, Fabio and crew...

Hosed in the tourney, but what a great cash day. There was this goober eminem-wannabe from some local farm town playing the $100 max buy in table. He was surrounded by a posse (I swear to you). They were all over him. Telling him how brilliant he was, etc. He considered his all-ins with second pair to be his best plays. Once I figured him out, I followed him to 3 tables, and about 6 buy-ins. One of the dealers turned to me and wispered "Your ATM?". It made the hat I found the previous night seem profound "Got Fish?"

Then, Buxx and Aaron and I decide to play some ghetto poker at the 1-3 Holdem. Can you believe I took the game for 10BB per hour! It was a ball. Especially when Buxx offered to buy this old timer's trucker looking hat. The gentleman was a greenbean farmer, which was stated on his hat. Buxx offered him $20. He said no and just tossed him the hat. The dealer, never missing a beat, replied "I'll take the $20", so Buxx tossed it in the toke box. LOL

I then ended the night by facing chubby loud local again. Soft game. He let me limp with As3s on the button, and I flopped a wheel and flush draw. Long story short, I said "thank you!" and told him I hope to see him at foxwoods in two weeks.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Turning Stone Part Deux, 13 October 2005
What a great place. Reminds me of the original old casion at Foxwoods. Small and comfy. The rooms are actually similar to the Pequot rooms. The tourneys are run flawlessly, and without computer registration (hard to believe). I bit the dust today in level 5 with a preflop raise from the cutoff holding 77. The big blind called. The flop hits 7 8 3 with two suits. He checks, not wanting to be outdrawn, I want to bet. Any reasonable bet puts 60% of my stack in the pot. I figured if I did that, I was committed with a set. However, if I push now and he doesn't call, I may be leaving money on the table. I decide to make a less-than-reasonable bet, hoping he will reraise me. He does. I call all-in. He shows 88. Can't read set over set. C'est La Vis.

The cash games are decent. I got my feet wet in the largest NL game they had, a $1-2 $100 max table. Nothing of significance there except my toying with a chubby loud local in a tight red shirt when I rivered him after he turned a weak gutshot. LOL.

After chowing in the buffet, with Adam and Aaron, I find $5-5 NL table opened up. I sit down with $500, and chubby loud guy is captain of the table. I start a winning session, he eventually tells me "I'm gonna clean you out boy." I walked away around 10pm with $1400. Since TS doesn't serve Alchohol, Buxx and I decided to go find a local market. It seems the casino has a policy to just ignore folks that bring their own as long as it is in a container. While we were out, I found a $9 hat in the Fishing section. It is follows the "got milk?" message that says "got fish?" -- I couldn't resist! I wore it the rest of the trip.

Sat down at the game again, its a $500 max buy-in. Lost a couple small hands, and then from the big blind I peak at AA. UTG raises to $15, two callers, and then $80 from chubby loud guy. He moved it in so fast and strong, I sensed mediocrity. I made it $200, he called immediately. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was this guy's ego, but before the dealer showed the flop I went all in blind for another $190. He calls immediately again (or so it seemed). He may have seen the flop, which had 2 ragedy diamonds. I toss over my AA, he holds his cards tight. I'm playing with a $1 chip to toke the dealer, when the river pops a third diamond. He then takes a good 4 seconds to slow roll me. I toss the last chip in the air, and he accuses me of "throwing" it at him. Damn, I can't wait to meet this guy again someday.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Turning Stone, 12 October 2005
Heading to Turning Stone today for the East Coast Poker Championship. Have to drive alone. Hopefully, my podcasts are loaded. I think it is a 300 mile trek. Buddies buxx and hitman are there already. Aaron (hitman) won his 1k entry already. They said they would call up a cot for the room. Adam (Buxx) says the side games are merely "ok". Well, I bit the bullet already. Heading for the truck.

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Blogger Tourney - kewl, 08 October 2005

I need to register for the Pokerstars online blogger championship. Great idea Stars!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 3492002

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Police : Robbers knew Dracut bar was closed, had poker game, 06 October 2005
By JACK MINCH, Lowell Sun Staff

DRACUT -- A trio of men who allegedly robbed Shooter's Sports Bar early Tuesday and shot a man, had to know the bar was closed and also had to know beforehand there was a private poker game being played inside, police said.

Michael Breault, of Dracut, was shot during the robbery. He was released from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston yesterday, according to a spokeswoman.

He's doing well, said detective Sgt. David Chartrand. He was very lucky, shot in the thigh area, with the femoral artery it certainly could have been fatal, take a few inches here or there.

The bar at 615 Nashua Road is owned by Ronnie Breault, who was not available for comment yesterday. His relationship to Michael Breault is not clear.

Three masked men allegedly broke into the private game during the early morning on Tuesday.

The club is closed on Mondays, but about 10 people were inside playing poker. A female employee heard noises outside the back door, Chartrand said.

We don't have any indication they were asking for entry or demanding entry, but she heard voices and opened the door to see who was out there and had quite a discovery after that, he said.

The men, dressed in black hooded sweatshirts, pushed past the employee. Two of them had bandanas on their faces and a third wore a ski mask. The woman called police at 12:47 a.m. and the shot that wounded Breault was fired shortly afterward, Chartrand said. Investigators recovered a shell casing from the scene but did not release its size. The trio might have escaped in a dark colored Honda or Acura. Police yesterday could not say how much money was taken.

Police are asking anyone with information about the robbery or the car call (978) 957-2123.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Today is my dad's 65'th birthday. He still doesn't like my poker lifestyle, but is impressed when I tell him what it can generate.

If you like interesting anecdotes about some famous players, check out Barry Greenstein's player analysis page. Be sure to have your speakers on and click on the "Reason for this song choice" link for each player. Interesting that Barry decided to put this kind of thought into each player.

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Terrible Bad Beat (keep reading), 04 October 2005
After a great weekend at Fargo, although not showing well in any event other
than making the final two tables with my partner Peter Caldes, I took a day
to rest and then decided to play my regular Monday night No Limit private
game. This game is held at a friend of mine's bar. He's closed on Monday
nights so it is perfect for a private game. All the refreshments we need
and plenty of big screen TVs to watch Monday Night Football.

I was up a substantial amount (8 x my initial buy in), having a decent night
hitting my draws and shutting down those that tried, until about midnight
when the doors broke down and three masked intruders stormed in, two with
automatic pistols and one with an MP5 sub machine gun. It all happened so
fast, but in the end they ended up with the money, my buddy ended up with a
bullet in his leg (he's doing fine today). They knew exactly who had the
bank money in their pocket which tells us it was most likely someone we've
played with before. That's particularly disturbing.

All night with the detectives, and I'm still a bit shook up. It makes the
90 minute ride and paying for TIME or a % for RAKE at Foxwoods worth every

Just thought I would share the story for those of you that play private
games -- especially in the Boston area. Warn the hosts that this happened.
Be cautious who gets invited to your games, and increase your security a
bit. Me...I think I might stay online and at legit casinos for a while.

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