Trust the Fscking Read  

Posted by Alex Laforest

Ok. I think I'm getting very near the place where I can do the big laydowns on a regular basis. Might not be quite there yet though, as I sometimes still second-guess my reads, as with this hand. Villain being a 16.1/6.45/1.00 on about 100 hands, his raising a limped pot kinda set some alarms in my head; well, way more bells went on than when that calling station on my left does its thing :P.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.10 BB (8 handed) Poker Stars Converter Tool from (Format: Plain Text)

UTG ($9.85)
UTG+1 ($5.35)
MP1 ($6.85)
MP2 ($9.05)
CO ($4.65)
Hero ($8.80)
SB ($15.25)
BB ($7.15)

Preflop: Hero is Button with Qh, Ah.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $0.10, 1 fold, MP2 raises to $0.5, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.50, 2 folds, UTG+1 folds.

Flop: ($1.25) 3h, 8c, Ac (2 players)
MP2 checks, Hero bets $1, MP2 calls $1.

// That flat call is what set me up I think; as now I'm tending towards some mid pair (JJ, TT) or big connectors which would not have hit (KQ, QJ). He might also have the ladies or cowboys; he does not have the bullets since he'd have re-raised in that spot, imho. Players with a VP$IP of >20% tend to try to make their big hands pay as much as possible, which usually means raising with the nuts and other monsters. In any case, his flat-calling of my 4/5th-of-the-pot-bet gets me thinking I'm in the lead but he simply can't fold his hand... I get completely oblivious to AK...

Turn: ($3.25) 7d (2 players)
MP2 checks, Hero bets $2, MP2 raises to $4, Hero raises to $7.3, MP2 calls $3.30.

//Now this is my mistake, which he induced with that weak check-call on the flop. But now he's sandbagging me?!?!?! Wtf??? And suddenly, it hits me: as I said just a few lines ago: "Players with a VP$IP of >20% tend to try to make their big hands pay as much as possible, which usually means raising with the nuts and other monsters"... And I get that he's most probably on a big slick. Why do I re-raise all-in then? Good question! Because of the quality of the trap he set, which overrode my read; instead of seeing only the newly deployed show of strength, I kept my focus on the last betting round. Not very good lol... I figured I paid to validate the read I didn't trust enough to lay down my top pair... Lesson learned; and I'm starting to agree with Doyle about the lousiness of the Little Slick. Here's the rest :P...

River: ($17.85) 4s (2 players)

Final Pot: $17.85


Side Bet Wrapup  

Posted by Alex Laforest in

Well, it's over. I lost. Actually, I surrendered as Nic offered me to buy out of the bet for 5 bucks, ie half price. The thing is I hadn't much time to close that ~2,000-hand gap before January 17th. Plus, every single day I could play and try to catch up, he'd also most probably be playing at the same time... With one more table, even... I think there's no shame in admitting I'm beat here :). Even though I still feel somewhat cheap and dishonorable for having taken the easy way out; in my book, you take a bet, you see it through... But I guess that's all the same in the grand picture :P...

Final Tally
ncaron = 13,583
AlLaf = 11,660

I must admit it forced me to play a lot in the past 8 weeks, which was the intented effect, really. But I also realized that I have a definite fondness for tourney play, and with that bet going on I couldn't play as many tourney as I would have liked... In any case, playing that amount of hands sure had some great positive effects, such as not being uber excited when waking up with rockets or cowboys... Or realizing my starting hand range was waaaaaaayyyy to wide... Even though I lost a fiver, the whole adventure had a lot of positive value in the end...


Poker, the Last Refuge Of Obsolete Politically Incorrect Cliches  

Posted by Alex Laforest in

Poker is a game of probability. Among other things, of course. This means a 50%+1 shot, be it +1 out of 2, or +1 out of Infinity, is a favorite and should be considered and played with due respect. Obviously, some players, most actually, will never bother to calculate these shots so precisely, but still, poker is a game of probability. Among others. And this 50%+1 shot is the mathematically correct play.

With this binary/manichean dichotomy of sort, poker is truly the stage of o so many of the oldest, nowadays politically incorrect cliches. And most are definitely legitimate, in the whole 50%+1 shot perspective. Example : Women are weaker: is there older, stupider cliche than this one??? Yet, many players, including your own (though, only sometimes... Hey, not gonna bash myself that muc; this is my blog after all! LOL), still perceive women as weaker players, not fearing their raises and re-raises as much of, say, the silent geek quietly ploting away his take on world domination while folding 95% of the time... And well, most of the time, it's true.

Having recently set my PokerStars client to display people's avatars, I must admit paying closer attention to both their icon and nickname, sometimes picking up some kind of useful information yes, based on those lamest stereotypes ever. Such as: family people (family ring to their nick or a family picture of some sort) will play tight-passive more times than none (notice the flamboyant return of the whole '50%+1' hypothesis ;-)), while, in a very twisted reverse-psychology not unlike the one a baseball pitcher must master, people with obvious shark, wolves, any predatory symbols, will most probably fold faster than the father of 3 whose basically just having a good time while being yes a tad chauvinistic... Furthermore, I tend to fear (yeah, I still fear some players around a table, and I am deeply convinced it's normal and quite healthy to actually acknowledge it; poker players are so dishonest with themselves :P...) the people with explicit 'I suck' symbolism, such as the typical donkey or fish pics. Especially when said donk-fishy plays less than 20% of the pot :P... And this brings us back full circle to: Poker is a game of probability. Among other things.


Yearly Recap Part 1  

Posted by Alex Laforest in ,

Well, since it's late on January 1st and I'm too lazy/tired to start a summary of my first year playing poker, here's at least my poker graph for the year :P.


So It's New Year's Day...  

Posted by Alex Laforest in ,

With this New Year's Day, cashing out from my most profitable session ever, after having been to the floor twice in December, I come to reflect on not only the last month, but also the whole last year as this latest Holiday Season reaches its end.

My first year flirting with this beautifully cruel mistress that is poker. My first year dabbing at the weird, geeky, often smelly, often whiny, always entertaining community around this poker game that one can hardly ever quit (part of the year's lessons are, I guess, the 2 times I almost went cold turkey, once because of/for a girl, once cause I sucked :P... I suppose some people do quit, but I'd be very very curious to know the real stats about that one ;-)). My first year, babbling the jargon and slang and finding out the proper terminology, so much like an infant opening up to its own consciousness... My first year figuring out odds, pot as well as implied and the famous infamous, and often underestimated tilt odds, falling victim to each many many times already... My first year understanding why maths have a statistical branch and praising karma for those lame-ass stats classes I was forced to take in college... My first year since a long while discovering a new interest, eventually overshadowing the Old Mistress Cinema, even... My first year finding some hobby in serious contention of being a... passion, actually... My first year (re)realizing there's always a place to challenge one's own self... My first year finding myself back again...

So, in order to keep with the light of the day, here's a quick list of poker resolutions (well, more objectives, but hey :P) for 2008:

  • Play at least 50,000 hands of online poker
  • Play way more live, and find a personal comfort zone
  • Settle at NL10, then NL25 and NL50 by the end of the year
  • Develop a proficiency for another game (Razz, Stud or Omaha)
  • Start dabbing at split games
  • Win a tournament
  • Pull a major stone-cold bluff
  • Hustle some poor schlob in a pub or hustle myself a date :P
  • Visit every Montreal poker room
  • Take a week-end trip to Atlantic City
  • Run a tight blog :P
  • Keep the mailing list/discussion group alive
  • Stay aggressive, uncompromising and unapologetic at the tables, while remaining affable, lighthearted and zen
  • Create myself a slick avatar
  • Create a Poker course
  • Keep taking bad beats with the reverence and awe of a devout
  • Write my Poker & Self-Enlightenment piece
And on that note, Happy New Year!!!!!!



And now for something...

... completely different...

For all the media and art buffs out there, here's what I'm tripping on lately, besides poker... Comments and/or suggestions welcomed ;-).

  • Alias (Bendis!) (Graphic Novel)

  • Last Worthy Movie
    Milk (Gus Van Sant)

    And while we're at it, other personal stuff includes (contains French ramblings :P):
  • My Trials With Photography
  • Mise en Abyme (Movie Blog)