Sunday, February 28, 2010

NPP at Matchy’s – Another Great Game Last Night

It was just like old times at Faldo’s except;

> we were playing No Limit, instead of limit – it was the same.

> instead of Dealer’s Choice every hand, the game called had to go an entire lap. But it was still like old times.

> it was not Dealer’s Choice either. The game rotated from Holdem to Omaha to Omaha Hi – Lo – all played No Limit. But it was identical to the old game we used to play.

> the cards were not the used casino decks, brand new Bee Jumbo Face and Bicycle Rider Backs (twss) Faldo used to supply for the game. They were the new, fancy plastic cards used at the casinos. But it was just like the game we used to have at Faldo’s.

> instead of Beerhog and Faldo staying until the natural end of the game, they both 4Putted out the door early. It was a fun night of poker, but Faldo did not have the gas in the tank to hang.

Making the game was Matchy, Thai Food, Faldo, Dennis, Farrell, 7Jokers, Beerhog and Artic1Blast. Thanks for bringing the sack of White Castles, Thia Food. And all kinds of bottled beer was plentiful, but Matchy insisted all night that he wanted it “in the can.” (twhs)

Artic1Blast was killing the table when I ducked out, so I am hoping Matchy will supply details of the game after Faldo “woosied” out the door.

Side note: I’m not holding a game right now. Matchy is a fantastic host and his venue is a great place to have a game. Those kudos aside, I want to throw some things out there for discussion’s sake.

Even though we are all ‘big boys’ – a “no limit” game, by definition – is not a friendly game. There is a reason No Limit was not usually played in home games. Busting people on one turn of a card does not always keep the mood friendly.

Second, as long as it is a poker game of some sort – and not Acey-Duecey, Blackjack, Blind Baseball or Indian Poker – one of the greatest aspects of the ‘home game’ is the non-casino style games called by the dealer, along with the names of them.

I supplied a list of about thirty Dealer Choice games on this blog. I liked about 25 of them. Plus, you can take any of the games and add your own twist to them. Some of the best laughs had at our poker game, is making fun of the inventor AFTER the game he called was a disaster.

I know it slows the game down explaining the rules of the next hand TWELVE times because of side conversations and heavy beer consumption. But looking around the table and rolling eyes and smirking as the dealer explains his creation, I think is part of the fun of a home game. We all play Holdem and Omaha on-line, at the casinos and charities around town. How about we play something kinky at home? (twss)

Just Faldo’s opinion – open for discussion. Matchy, you run a great game and I am looking forward to the next one. Hopefully, I will be there for the duration next time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Faldo Says “Yay” or “Nay” to Common Dealer’s Choice Games – Part X

Trips to Win

A five-card draw game where someone has to start the betting with a pair of Jacks or better, and then you need three of a kind of better to win.

If no one can meet either requirement, the cards are folded and re-dealt. The problem is, if you fold before calling any bet – you are out of the hand completely. There is usually an ante every time there is a deal and no one can make the “pair of Jacks” requirement.

Then, guys with a high pair, or a pair with an ace, will raise as a semi-bluff. This builds a pot if they hit, and makes the rocks fold. That increases the odds that he could win the pot eventually, but makes it harder for the remaining players to hit trips.

Hands can take a long time to finish and pots can build to massive amounts. Players who folded have to sit there and watch the action. Some dealers put ‘legs’ on it, where you have to win twice or even three times to get the pot! It is poker’s equivalent to bingo, unless you are a card sharp that can slowly build a pot and also…..slowly win yourself legs with dirty dealing.

Faldo says “Nay”.

Twin Beds

This is simply a Holdem, Omaha or Omaha Hi-Lo game with an extra board dealt. It spices up the action as you have a double chance of hitting your hand. Odds wise it makes it very difficult to fold pre-flop. With the double beds, just about any holding could be a monster after the flop.

If you progressively build the betting, let’s say in a 1-2-3-4 as the rounds go on, you progressively build a nice pot, while giving player a chance to ditch their hands if they miss BOTH flops (what Faldo does repeatedly).

Triple Beds is also dealt sometimes – mainly for a Holdem deal out, but not always.

Faldo says “Yea”.


A form of Triple Beds, that saves two cards in the deck for being dealt into players hands. The two, three or four cards are dealt to the players face down. Then a board is dealt face down on the table like this:


There is a betting round, and the three cards on the top and bottom rows closest to the middle row are turned up, as is the center card of the diagonal row. A betting round, and then the turn is flipped and then the river. Which card flipped first in the diagonal row is of course optional for the dealer. It doesn’t really matter anyway.

Some play it with only two cards being flipped at a time. Or they play High only with either the center card wild or the two posts of the Z wild. Lots of variations possible.

Faldo says “Yea”.

Hope you enjoyed this ten-part series and feel free to search and reference it before your next home game!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Phil Hellmuth’s Hand of the Week

Hat tip to K9isadog:

“JC Tran is truly a great poker player. In fact, I'd call him a natural-born Texas Hold'em player. He's a two-time WSOP bracelet winner and was the World Poker Tour Season Five Player of the Year.

In my opinion, there just aren't that many Hold'em players of his caliber among the top professionals in the world today. Don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of natural talents in the game today, but many of those specialize in other games, like Seven Card Stud or Pot Limit Omaha. For some reason, Texas Hold'em just doesn't come that easy to those other guys.

So, here's this week's hand.

JC and I were playing in the Premiere League IV playoff tournament in Las Vegas last week. We were facing off against each other in our second heat when this sick hand came up.

With six players remaining and the blinds at $3,000/$6,000, JC limped in with 5s-4s. Two other players folded and I made it $30,000 to go with 10-2 off suit from the small blind.

Let me digress for a moment. It's important to note that there had been some recent playing history between JC and me.

First, I had reraised JC four times with absolutely nothing within the prior twenty minutes and never once showed a single bluff. Second, JC had reraised me only a few minutes earlier. Third, I had raised or reraised eight out of the last ten hands that were dealt. And fourth, JC and I both started this hand with around $300,000 in chips.

Okay, back to the hand.

JC called my raise with his 5s-4s and the flop came Ad-9h-2s. I bet $35,000 and JC called.

The 7h fell on the turn and I bet out $48,000. JC, following through with his bluff, calmly counted out a big raise to $109,000.

I paused for a while, considering all my options. I was thinking that there were no draws on the flop so he probably had me beat. I also had a vague feeling that he could have had a hand like J-10, in which case I had him beat, but I couldn't beat any sort of real hand. One more thing, he had another $150,000 remaining in his stack.

My conclusion: I had to either move all-in or fold. I decided to fold.

Believe it or not, I don't really mind the way I played this hand although it could be argued that a more conservative approach would have been better. When I busted out in sixth place and received a mere three points in the league standings, I certainly had to reconsider my super-aggressive play.

I could have easily ramped down my aggression and cruised into at least a fifth place finish but that's not what I decided to do.

I like my $35,000 bet on the flop and I like my $48,000 bet on the turn. The turn bet should have forced JC to fold - it would have worked against 97% of the players in the world, but not JC. I give him a ton of credit for his strong play in this hand. No wonder he's the defending Premiere League Champion.

If I had thought that JC was capable of making such an aggressive raise at the end, perhaps I would have made the super-hero move and shoved all-in over the top which would have forced JC to fold his hand. Now that would have been an amazing personal highlight reel play!

The fact is, either JC or I could have won this hand. It was just a matter of who blinked first -- and this time it was me!” -Phil Hellmuth

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tomservo2 Wins His 1st NPP Tourney of 2010

It got wild and wooly there at the final table. Suck outs galore as time after time the way behind short stack doubled up. But thru it all Tomservo2 played steady and bested twenty-six others to capture top prize.

My reporting is a little weak this week. Truth be told, I had other things to do while playing poker (work reports and such). After I got knocked out, more of the same. Things should be calmer next week.

On to the action:

17 min: Wingsfancurt (27th) took Angiebell10’s place as first out. Angie must have taken this abuse personally, as she was nowhere to be found tonight.

38 min: Derf-63 (26th).
43 min: Theedouble*d (25th).
46 min: Budda627 (24th).
49 min: ThePunk75 (23rd).
50 min: Rennzzo (22nd).
51 min: Akensi (21st)
52 min: Tigertown369 (20th).
55 min: Gdub28 (19th)
57 min: Odds2win777 (18th)

1st break:
Tomservo2 6445
K9isadog 4035
Douge2 3810
Meatsword 3797
BigDaddyTman 3635
Tigercub8189 2340
T3chlady 2285
Funtoon 1880
Mikeniks-Faldo 1745
Biglou93 1533
Kensik 1520
Fourbetbluff 1460
Vanettej 1460
Absea98 1380
Mistermusic5 1325
Pre01 1260
Suetman1 590

62 min: A short-stacked (SS) Suetman1 (17th) goes with (33) and loses the race to Tomservo2 with (AQ), and a [Q] on the river.

73 min: Mistermusic (16th)
76 min: Mikeniks-Faldo (15th) tries to hit a straight or a flush with (KT), but get nipped by Tigercub8189’s (A8).

78 min: BigDaddyTman’s (JJ) gets the double knockout of SS’s Pre01 (14th) (98) and Absea98 (13th) (66).

86 min: Biglou93 (12th)
90 min: K9isadog (11th)
101 min: Funtoon bubbles (10th).

Now some crazy stuff happens. Fun to watch, but I would have rather been a participant obviously (not in the crazy hands however).

107 min: Douge2 got crippled as his (KK) loses to Kensik’s (A5) four board card flush.
108 min: Douge2’s (44) gets him back in the game as a [4] on the flop takes the pot away from BigDaddyTman’s (AA).

110 min: SS Vanettej’s (Jh 8h) also dips into BigDaddyTman’s stack (A6) as the board delivers [JJ].

111 min: In a battle of shorter stacks, Vanettej’s (JJ) gets run down by Douge2’s (AT) with an [A] on the river.

115 min: The “Survivor” magic ends for T3chlady (9th) as BigDaddyTman hits trip 8’s.

118 min: Vanettej (8th) goes with (KJ) but can’t catch Tomservo2 with (As Ts).
120 min: The Break Monster removes Tigercub8189 (7th) as his (AJ) gets run down by Tomservo2’s trip 5’s (A5).

2nd Break:
No stacks. Bathroom break and discussion with the boss about Forrest Gump stopped me from getting them. Sorry everyone. I wish I had this information.

125 min: A SS Douge2 (6th) goes with (97) and a [9] on the flop, but Kensik has (QQ).

136 min: A SS Kensik (5th) has to go with (J2) and loses to Meatsword’s (Tc 9c) and a [9] on the flop.

140 min: Fourbetbluff (4th) has to try and steal as his flush draw misses with (Qc 7c), but Tomservo2 hits his straight and goes nowhere (9h 4h).

141 min: A SS BigDaddyTman (3rd) has to try with (KQ), but cannot catch Tomservo2’s (Ad 3d).

Heads up: Tomservo2 26000 - 14500 Meatsword
145 min: Heads up: Tomservo2 25000 - 15500 Meatsword
150 min: Heads up: Tomservo2 14000 - 26500 Meatsword
155 min: Heads up: Tomservo2 15100 - 25400 Meatsword
160 min: Heads up: Tomservo2 26500 - 14000 Meatsword

Nice battle guys!

164 min: Both see the flop of [5s Tc Ah]. Tomservo2 pot bets and gets called. The turn is [Ts]. A pot bet by Meatsword (2nd) gets called. A river of [5d] gets a pot bet by Meat (AJ) that is raised by Tom (75) and called all-in by Meat.

Congratulations to Tomservo2 on his first win of 2010 and 3rd of his NPP career.

1st – Tomservo2 – 24 points
2nd – Meatsword – 19 points
3rd – BigDaddyTman – 15 pts
4th – Fourbetbluff – 12 pts
5th – Kensik – 9 pts
6th – Douge2 – 7 pts
7th – Tigercub8189 – 5 pts
8th – Vanettej – 4 pts
9th – T3chlady – 3 pts

Every one else earned one (1) point. Standings on the right side of the blog!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NPP’ers Doing Well in the Poker Wars

Of course they are! Battle hardened from Tuesday night and our private games, NPP’ers fear no table.

Bigbrimar finished 2nd in a 360 player tilt.

Pre01 cashed in a 2800 player MTT and took 3rd in a Premier Poker Lounge tourney.

Even Davethedog got to a final table, finishing 2nd in a game of solitaire. Ooops – sorry – it was a 9-player SNG.

Thai Food, although not playing currently on PokerStars with us, is beating up the Rush Poker ring No Limit tables on Full Tilt.

Faldo had no cashes this week out of four MTT’s played. I’ll just have to take it out on all of you on Tuesday!

Speaking of Tuesday – Suetman1 has closed the gap on K9isadog, who still holds a commanding lead. But, as they say, it ain’t over til it’s over. With five weeks left, there are still 120 1st place points left to grab, and nobody has that many points yet.

For those of you from the public school system like me – don’t worry about the math. This means anyone can still win it.

PS: Please email me with your tourney and game results. Monday is NPP League review day. I need something to review.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Douge2’s Humor Corner – XXXI

What’s in a Name?

A good looking man walked into an agent's office in Hollywood and said "I want to be a movie star." Tall, handsome and with experience on Broadway, he had the right credentials. The agent asked,

"What's your name?"

The guy said, "My name is Penis van Lesbian."

The agent said, "Sir, I hate to tell you, but in order to get into Hollywood , you are going to have to change your name."

"I will NOT change my name! The van Lesbian name is centuries old, I will not disrespect my grandfather by changing my name. Not ever."

The agent said, "Sir, I have worked in Hollywood for years.... you will NEVER go far in Hollywood with a name like Penis van Lesbian! I'm telling you, you will HAVE TO change your name or I will not be able to represent you."

"So be it! I guess we will not do business together" the guy said and he left the agent's office.

FIVE YEARS LATER..... The agent opens an envelope sent to his office. Inside the envelope is a letter and a check for $50,000. The agent is awe-struck, who would possibly send him $50,000? He reads the letter enclosed...

"Dear Sir,
Five years ago, I came into your office wanting to become an actor in Hollywood , you told me I needed to change my name.. Determined to make it with my God-given birth name, I refused. You told me I would never make it in Hollywood with a name like Penis van Lesbian. After I left your office, I thought about what you said. I decided you were right. I had to change my name. I had too much pride to return to your office, so I signed with another agent. I would never have made it without changing my name, so the enclosed check is a token of my appreciation. "

Thank you for your advice.
Dick van Dyke

Presidential Material

John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens), called "pullets", and eight or ten roosters whose job it was to fertilize the eggs.

Farmer John kept records, and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot
and was replaced. That took an awful lot ofhis time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them on to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so that farmer John could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and
fill out an efficiency report just by listening to the bells.

The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, and a very fine specimen he was. But one particular morning John noticed that old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all. John went to investigate. The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets,
hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. But, to farmer John's amazement, Butch held his bell between his beak so it wouldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job, then sneak off to the next one.

John was so proud of Butch that he entered him in the Renfrew county fair, where Butch became an overnight sensation amongst the judges. The result...the judges not only awarded Butch the No-Bell Piece Prize but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise
as well.

Clearly Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on the planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Community Card Review - I

Faldo’s thoughts on a Sunday Morning:

The list of the twenty worst American cities came out this week by the liberal media.
1. Cleveland, OH
2. Stockton, CA
3. Memphis, TN
4. Detroit, MI
5. Flint, MI
6. Miami, Fl
7. St. Louis, MO
8. Buffalo, NY
9. Canton, OH
10. Chicago, Il
11. Modesto, CA
12. Akron, OH
13. Kansas City, MO
14. Rockford, Il
15. Toledo, OH
16. New York, NY
17. Sacramento, CA
18. Youngstown, OH
19. Gary, IN
20. Philadelphia, PA

Poker requires careful analysis. Want to analyze this hand? Is there any continuity in this flop of cites – like, I don’t know – let’s say:
A. Strong union cites
B. Democrat controlled political landscape
C. Democrat governors
D. Corrupt public officials
E. High Taxes (A Democrat favorite fruit)

I see three of a kind and a pair – which equals a full house of misery and losses. Why do citizens keep voting for this hand?

Anybody following Detroit city politics lately? Actually, the attempted clean up of same?

Kwami Granholm-Kilpatrick (D)is living like a king in Texas. He is claiming he doesn’t have the bling to make payments on his $1 million fine he was charged as a plea bargain to get out of jail. Keep in mind, his actions cost the dead broke city $10 million for his trail alone.

His blatant parole violation, got him a reduced payment schedule and more time to come up the funds. No garnishing of wages, no seizure of property and no time back in the pokey.

Do you think we could get similar treatment in this situation?

Sam Riddle (D) is on trial for extortion, bribery demanding and perjury, while a member of the Monica Conyers (D) staff. Monica already pled guilty with a plea deal as the ring leader. Her front man pled not guilty and went to trial on seven counts.

He was found guilty on all seven counts be eleven of the twelve jurors. The lone hold out was an American who happens to be of African American descent. It is reported she refused to participate in deliberations, never defended her position on the case and routinely called her fellow jurors ‘racists’.

The trial was declared a mistrial, and the citizens of the city and state will have to spend money all over again for another trial. Did I mention that Sam Riddle is also an American who happens to be of African American descent?

The racism door is swinging the other way now - with a vengeance. Could this type of thing get it swinging back the other way?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Faldo Wins a PokerStars 90 player SNG

Well, you can officially call it – on a roll. Since it was Friday night and the time was Beer-thirty, it was time for some poker. Since I was exhausted from work and knew I would not make it into the wee hours of the morning, I had to dodge the MTT’s and head for the large field SNG’s.

Again, figuring fatigue might play a roll, I opted for the good size SNG (90 player). And I entered four of them as fast as PokerStars could fill them – which was fast.

As I wrote earlier, there is absolutely no better way to take out the variance in tourney poker than with volume. I figure that with these four tourneys, cashing in one would be possible – and that would be fine on the bankroll.

I went out of the first one in 20th position, when my (AK) refused to believe on a flop of [AQQ] that the small blind had a (Q).

The next one, I went out in 8th (bubble boy). I had to push with (KQ) and didn’t hit anything.

The next one was a 6th place finish. This may have been the only bad beat I suffered all evening. My trip 7’s got run down by a runner – runner straight. The big stack called my big bet on the flop and my all-in on the turn – then hit the four outer to take me out.

But at least I was guaranteed profit for the evening, as this cash put me on the green side of the ledger. On top of that, I was sitting in 2nd of seven left in the last one.

Down 85000 to 50000 heads up, I managed to get the victory as my (A9) held on against (A3).

Less than 100 player tourneys don’t make my Internet Tourney win list, but it was still gratifying. Of course I am still smiling from the Tuesday night win.

FYI – It took a little over four hours for this 90 person tourney. A 45-player tourney takes three hours. That is why NPP has a 64 player limit. Usually two-thirds the players make it on any given night, which would put us at around a 30 to 40 player field. So to get to the final table on Tuesdays, plan on three hours – but a fun three hours.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Faldo Offers Up Some Advice – Yeah, It Could Be Used for Poker

1. I had a boss that was a complete jerk 99% of the time. One day he started acting like we were best buddies and I was the most important person on his team. Why?

A cute coed that didn’t even notice I was in the class with her, all of a sudden acts like I am Brad Pitt. Why?

A customer that made my career a living hell for three months, all of a sudden is as agreeable as a $20 hooker you gave $100 to. Why?

When a person does something that is completely different than his usual personality or traits – ask yourself – WHY?

2. You’ve seen them or read about them. Guys that win a bundle or lose a half bundle – and their expression and method of play never change. Some guys you barely notice at all, but when they get up to leave, they always seem to have a half to a full rack more chips than they sat down with.

Which is correct? Both – or neither one. We are all different and there are many ways to play poker. Granite rock or super aggressive – and every degree in between. Some people never change – some people change gears with the ease of a Formula One driver.

There is no magic bullet to success in poker, which is why our game is so fascinating with only 52 tickets for the ballgame.

Pick your style and game - and if you are good at it – you will win.

3. I was grilling hamburgers on my deck. I was flipping onto a plate to take to the table when I over – pitched one and onto the deck it fell. I let it lay there until after dinner. When I went to put the grill away, I picked up the fallen burger and tossed it towards the trees on the side of my yard. I figured some critters could use the food.

I was right. My neighbor’s dog was let out for his evening business – and found that hamburger. Well good for him.

But I noticed over time, that the first thing that dog does EVERY time he is let out of the house, is make a bee line for that same tree. He probably forgot why he runs to that tree and doesn’t even know why he still does.

Did you ever do something crazy at a poker game – either a hand or an entire evening’s play – and score a big win? Do you always start out that way or – worse yet – revert to it if the cards are not cooperating?

Pay attention to rote habits you have and decide whether or not they help you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Faldo Says “Yay” or “Nay” to Common Dealer’s Choice Games – Part IX

[I considered making yesterday's article to be the last EVER written on NPP - due to the great beauty, artistry and Pulizer Prize writing and content. But the NPP Tournament Committee threatened me with revoking my VIP parking and pass at our secret meeting location. And Tiffany was going to insist the bounceers put my chair facing the Men's room, rather than the stage. Ok, ok - I'll write another article.]

There are other poker games besides what is dealt in casinos and tournaments. The casino games are there because of their speed and simplicity in dealing. More hands equal more rake for the house.

But there are some fun, entertaining and challenging poker games you can deal in a home game, which make you have to think outside “the flop” sometimes.

The description of the following games in this series is Faldo’s opinion only. Other may like my take on a game and some will not. That’s fine. It’s all good. Here we go:

Spit in the Ocean

The game is played just like 5-card Draw, except instead of getting five cards – you only get four. But one card is thrown in the center of the table. That card is in your hand and is wild – and all like it are wild. Then – you have a drawing round. Four of a kind is a good hand in this game, but not a lock.

This game can also be played Hi-Lo – either wild for hi and normal for low – or just an eighth card used by everyone. You can even use the “exchange” (buy) option where a player plays a fee to replace any one of his cards for a new one.

This game is surprisingly entertaining. Faldo says “Yea.”

Stormy Weather

The dealer gives each player four cards, face down. A window of three cards is placed in the center. Betting round. Players then draw up to three cards to their hands. Betting round. Then one of the window cards is turned over. Betting round, then the next, betting round and then the last card and a final betting round.

The game can be played Hi – Lo. The game can also be shortened by flipping two cards and then one – or flopping all three. Dealer decides prior to dealing. The player then makes his hand out of his four cards and only one in the window.

Dry windows where you get no help at all, is common. The action is ‘stormy’ with many a victory or heartbreak arriving on the river. Faldo says “Yea.”


Starts off dealt as a 7-card stud, with two cards dealt down and one card dealt up, with 3’s being WILD. Betting round. Now the dealing is like 6-card stud. A good game if you get a table of 7 or more that still want to play stud with a wild card.

Wild cards are an action starter – or an action killer. It depends on the group. It is up to you as the dealer to figure out which it is and whether or not you want more action or not.

Faldo says “Yea.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Faldo Wins His 1st NPP Tourney of 2010

This field is just too tough to wade thru every week. So I am savoring this one. I’d like to thank all the ‘little people’ who had a role in helping me attain this honor.

I said I’d like to thank them. But I can’t. I did it all myself!

We had thirty players in this one. And NPP would like to welcome three new players to the family; Angiebell10, CSB33 and Tigertown369. It is great to have you all here.

Suetman1 made yet another final table as she gradually closes the gap between her and an absent K9isadog for the 1st Quarter lead.

On to the action:

4 min: Angiebell10 (30th) gets the standard NPP greeting for new players. Don’t worry Angie. We get friendlier AFTER your rookie night.

13 min: Well, maybe we don’t, as one of our veterans, Tomservo2 (29th) sees his (AA) lost to Tigertown369’s quad deuces!

18 min: Douge2 (28th) with (KK) loses to trip nine’s on the river! Ouch!
22 min: Merhibka (27th).
24 min: No repeat for Vanettej (26th).
42 min: Midway2933 (25th).
45 min: Wingsfancurt (24th).
46 min: CSB33 (23rd).
47 min: ThePunk75 (22nd).
49 min: Akensi (21st).
50 min: Derf-63 (20th).

1st break:
Theedouble*d 4650
Gdub28 4240
LittleRedElf 3480
Fourbetbluff 3415
Suetman1 3085
Mistermusic5 3055
Pingsticks 2655
Nicklittle 2620
Bubba627 2593
Meatsword 2410
Absea98 2165
Kensik 1947
Mikeniks-Faldo 1900
Biglou93 1580
Tigertown369 1400
Rennzzo 1295
BigDaddyTman 1095
Pre01 865
Tigercub8189 550

The little stacks revolted on the tyranny of the upper class tonight. Even if they didn’t final table, many of the small stacks at the first break held on for quite a while!

64 min: BigDaddyTman (19th) and Tigercub8189 (18th) are not two of them as LittleRedElf rivers a straight on them.

68 min: Tigertown369 (17th) with (AQ), thinks he might have something with a flop of [K6Q], but Meatsword has (KQ).

73 min: Rennzzo (16th) thinks his (KQ) will double up against LittleRedElf’s (QJ), but a [J] lands on the flop. The Elf’s magic is starting to kick in.

78 min: A short-stacked (SS) Kensik (15th) sees his (A2) get nipped by Fourbetfluff’s (A3).

93 min: The battle raged for a while, until a SS Meatsword (14th) with (KQ) cannot win the coin flip against Suetman1’s (88).

99 min: Biglou93 (13th) fought the great fight, but ran into Absea98’s (QQ).
100 min: Absea98 does his best LRE impression as his (77) out-lasts Mistermusic5’s (12th) (Ah Jh).

103 min: A tough night for the break chip leader Theedouble*d (11th). First he runs into Mikeniks-Faldo’s straight flush. Then he has to try and survive an AIPF (Jd Td) against LittleRedElf (AJ). Uh…

105 min: Fourbetbluff bubbles (10th).
110 min: Pingsticks (9th) (J4) pairs the flop [Q84] and decides to push Nicklittle (AJ) off the pot. He doesn’t go and when the turn and river is [8Q], Ping has fatal kicker problems!

2nd Break:
Mikeniks-Faldo 10565
Suetman1 9007
Nicklittle 6270
LittleRedElf 5600
Budda627 3943
Pre01 3935
Absea98 3900
Gdub28 1780

132 min: Nicklittle (8th) goes with (99) and Gdub28 calls with (AQ) and pairs.
144 min: Suetman1 (7th) has to go with (55), and Mikeniks-Faldo – who had failed on three straight attempts to knock people out with the best hand – decides to try to knock someone out with a weak hand (KJ). He does when a [J] flops.

148 min: A SS Absea98 (6th) goes with (A9), but cannot catch Gdub28’s (AK).
151 min: LittleRedElf (5th), who got some nub early with lesser hands, sees his (AQ) lose to Budda627’s (KJ) as Budda runner-runnered a straight. Ouch!

150 min: Pre01 (4th) has to go with (KT) and a flop of [AT3], but Gdub28 has (AT).
160 min: A SS Budda627 (3rd) has to try with (Q9), but cannot catch Mikeniks-Faldo’s (88).

Heads up: Gdub28 26800 - 18200 Mikeniks-Faldo

163 min: Gdub28 goes with (KQ) but Faldo is holding (AJ) and it holds up. This reverses the lead on the stacks.

164 min: Gdub28 (2nd) has to go with (A3) but Faldo is holding (QQ) and it holds up.

Congratulations to Gdub28 on a nice run.

1st – Mikeniks-Faldo – 24 points
2nd – Gdub28 – 19 points
3rd – Budda627 – 15 pts
4th – Pre01 – 12 pts
5th – LittleRedElf – 9 pts
6th – Absea98 – 7 pts
7th – Suetman1 – 5 pts
8th – Nicklittle – 4 pts
9th – Pingsticks – 3 pts

Every one else earned one (1) point! Standings on the right side of the blog!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nik’s Poker Palace Blog to Get “Franklined”

Franklin Planner that is.

Readers may have noticed a few missed days of articles lately. My new employment and schedule is leaving little time to muse about poker and come up with a Pulitzer Prize winning article.

I don’t even have time sometimes to swipe an article from somewhere else. Then you end up having to read a piece of crap – like this one I wrote to take up space.

My solution to these types of issues is to get very anal (twhs). What I mean is, when things are not happening as I need them to, I will plan, structure and time everything down to the finest details. That is the way things happen when they are supposed to.

I have to admit, I have a busy and full life. So time is valuable and I have to plan and schedule almost everything I do. Not included in the analysis are the unscheduled and unplanned drinking binges with Beerhog, Wingsfancurt and Bigbrimar at BWW.

Even the wife has to make an appointment - Friday night and Monday night – for the best four minutes of her week, of course, unless, an unplanned drinking session happens as described in the paragraph above this one. If that happens, she gets a rain check for the make-up game.

And no, I don’t know how many hundred of rain checks she has in her possession at this moment.

Anyway, here is the Outline of Content for NPP. Faldo needs structure and rigid confinement (twss).

Monday – Douge2’s Humor Corner
Tuesday – NPP League News
Wednesday – NPP League Tourney Results
Thursday – Poker Games – Home, Charity, Casino
Friday – Poker Advice or Story
Saturday – Poker Strategy or Analysis of Hands
Sunday – Commentary – On Events, People, News of the Week

Of course things may get moved around sometimes, but at least I know what I am supposed to be doing. Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated. Ignored, but appreciated.

Just kidding. Advice needed. Articles will usually be published in the evening now, since my morning just starts way too early for blogging. I'm lucky if I can find the coffee maker.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faldo Finishes 5th in PokerStars 180 SNG

Valentines Day. My 29th wedding anniversary also. I got married on Valentine’s Day because I can buy two cards but only one present. This has saved me a ton of ‘buy ins’ over the years.

So, on this special morning; she got her present, her two cards and permission to shop the rest of the day – all day. Then her mother gets to be over for dinner or I take them out.

My present was I got to play poker this morning. What a deal for me.

I was in five – count them – 5 tourneys at once.

The first elimination was early in an Ultimate Bet 1 – table SNG. With (77) in the BB and calling a small blind small raise with two other callers, we see the flop [887]. The SB bets, I call, the middle guy raises all-in, the button folds and the SB moves all-in. I call confident that I will triple up and have control of this SNG. They both turn over hands with an (8) in it. But when the turn AND river is [55], I am out of there!

Nice way to start the morning.

Full Tilt decides to torture me as I am in two MTT’s with them. I have to move with (A9) and a [A95] on the flop. After a long think, the big stack calls me with (77). A [6] on the turn to worry me and a [7] on the river to kill me.

The other FT tourney is a 180 SNG also. Down to 20 players – me middle low in chips and paying 18 spots - I have (Ah Jh) in the SB. An early player two from the blind with a medium large stack makes the standard 3x raise. All fold to me and I decide to float it, hoping to hit an [A] to beat what I think is (JJ) or (QQ).

The flop is [AJ4]. Bingo! I check and see him shove it all in there. This move did not bother me in the least. He has (KK) or (QQ) my gut tells me. I call and see he is holding (AA)!

I punched myself in the gut. Nice read Stevie Wonder.

Over on PokerStars I fared better. Ran deep in a 4000 player tourney to triple my money, and I made the final table in PS 180 tourney mentioned in the title block.

The big hand in the MTSNG tourney was calling an all-in from the button when a big stack near bubble time raised it huge enough to put me all-in if I call. The pot was already good size as five players had called my raise with (TT) after they had limped in.

I read him for a straight draw with a board of [753]. He has (66) or (44) I tell myself after the flop. Everyone folded to me and I called. He did indeed hold (44).

I told my gut he still owed me, but nice attempt to make up.

The next hand was even more nub when a short-stack moved in and I called with (Kh Qh) and he only was holding (KT). These two hands moved me from 18th to 7th of twenty, and earning me the final table.

I collected 5 times my entries for my efforts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Faldo Says “Yay” or “Nay” to Common Dealer’s Choice Games – Part XIII

There are other poker games besides what is dealt in casinos and tournaments. The casino games are there because of their speed and simplicity in dealing. More hands equal more rake for the house.

But there are some fun, entertaining and challenging poker games you can deal in a home game, which make you have to think outside “the flop” sometimes.

The description of the following games in this series is Faldo’s opinion only. Other may like my take on a game and some will not. That’s fine. It’s all good. Here we go:

Shifting Sands

I like this game, but it doesn’t like me! The sand has shifted under my feet more times than my opponent’s feet. Here is how you play it:

It is Five-Card Stud, but the card down is wild. Every card from third street thru fifth street is dealt down, and the player rolls the card he wants.

Big hint when playing this game – a pair to start is NOT the lock it appears to me. Trust me.

Faldo says “Yea”.


It is Five-card Draw, with this twist: Each player is dealt three cards face down - then, a betting round. Another card is given face down with another betting round. The fifth card is given and another betting round. Then the draw round – with the final betting round after that.

The game can be played high – low also. Faldo says “Yea”.

Six-Card Stud

Faldo says “Yea” if you have that many player at the table where Seven Stud could make you run out of cards. The game will play closer to Five Card Stud than Seven Card Stud.

Southern Cross

Dealer decides how many cards players get face down. A 9-card or 5-card window is put out there. The dealer decides how many cards are turned up in each round – which decides how many betting rounds there are. The middle card is turned over last for the nast round of betting. The game can be played high – low and usually is.

Faldo says “Yea”.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random Questions Answered by Faldo – Part V

What is underneath your bed?

Shoes. My wife has plastic shoe box containers holding dozens of shoes in separate compartments. Yes, the entire area under the bed. Yes, THAT many shoes and that is not even all of them. All the closets are full too. What is it with women and shoes?

What is your biggest pet peeve at the poker table?

Slow rolling. Faldo always tables his cards if not last to act – and may be first even if in position if holding the nuts. Ungracious winners come in second.

Do you prefer cash games or tourneys, and internet/live play?

Multi-table tourneys on the internet and second is private cash games. Third is the casino ring games and fourth is home tourneys. A distant 5th is internet ring play.

If you could download one poker player’s brain, who would it be?

That’s easy. Daniel Negreanu. Next pick would be Eric Siedel.

What is your favorite dish at a Mexican restaurant?

Chicken enchiladas, beans and rice dinner.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“My Way” by Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley

What is your favorite food?

Steak, then chicken wings, then ribs.

Where do you stand politically?

I believe in our Constitution and the restricted government and guaranteed rights declared in it – which one national party pretends to be in favor of, while the one in power now flat out is trying to destroy it. Politically, I stand next to my guns, rights and property. Deep down I think most people already have decided whether to fight and die or live in chains. They just pretend they have not.

Besides what you do for a living or playing poker for a living, what would you have liked to do for a living?

I think I would have been a fine judge. I know what is right, wrong and legal - and could still decide what is right.

What is the highest stakes you ever played for?

$10 – 20 ring in a private game and $20-40 ring in a casino. And I think my nose bled when I did it. I’m not a high roller.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vanettej Wins His 1st NPP Tourney!

Vanettej held off a hard-charging Fourbetbluff and twenty-five other players to win NPP’s tourney #6 of the year.

Suetman1 had another final table as she gradually makes it the resemblance of a race for the first seat in the NPP Finals. K9isadog …finally was kept from a final table for the first time this year. Nice run Dog!

Sorry for the delay in setting up the tourney. I rushed home from Toronto to get it done. My new employment has me ....I guess, losing my memory. I thought I had posted it, but had not. Hat tip to all who emailed, Bigbrimar…and to Bigbrimar who called to tell me I had screwed up!

There is nothing like sitting in traffic behind someone going 10 mph just because there is snow on the ground and you have to get somewhere. I have a stress test scheduled soon, but I think I just had it.

It did not seem to hurt the turnout, so thanks for your patience everyone! We also welcomed back Merhibka to the league.

As I mentioned, I was out of town on business and had a ton of emails to answer, so tournament reporting is spotty. My employer has decided to wait five weeks before getting me email access…or a computer to do my job. Not that it slowed the workload mind you.

Obama Motors took five weeks to deliver a ‘non-working or set up’ computer to an employee. But I’m sure they can handle the nation’s healthcare flawlessly.

On to the action:

14 min: Rennzzo (27th)
34 min: A short stacked (SS) Tomservo2 (26th) (99) (16%) and Mistermusic5 (25th) (KK) (66%) go with great hands, but Suetman1 (JJ) (17%) is trapped in too and hits a full house for the double knockout!

40 min: Derf-63 (24th).
47 min: A SS LittleRedElf (23rd) has to go with (QJ) but runs into Meatsword’s (AQ).

48 min: T3chlady (22nd).
56 min: Birdy333 (21st).
57 min: BigDaddyTman (20th) has his (JT) with a [J] on the flop, run into Meatsword’s (KK).

1st break:
Meatsword 5115
Phil1976224 4765
Fourbetbluff 3895
Suetman1 3265
Pre01 3195
Theedouble*d 2555
Absea98 2335
Kensik 2048
K9isadog 1960
Douche_Splat 1875
ThePunk75 1760
Vanettej 1660
Bigbrimar 1522
Mikeniks-Faldo 1230
Merhibka 830
Tigercub8189 815
Odds2win777 725
Akensi 510
Biglou93 440

61 min: Mikeniks-Faldo (19th) tries to get back into the tourney with (55), but loses the coin flip to Suetman1 with (AK) and an [A] on the flop.

63 min: K9isadog’s (18th) streak of final tables is ended by Absea98 with his trip 4’s.
65 min: Tigercub8189 (17th).
67 min: Merhibka (16th).
70 min: Biglou93 (15th).
75 min: Akensi (14th).
78 min: ThePunk75 (13th) has to try with (66), but Suetman1 is holding (KK).
82 min: Odds2win777 (12th) goes with (22), but cannot catch Theedouble*d’s (77).
83 min: Phil1976224 (11th) bluffs with (T6) but runs into Vanettej’s (AK). This was the kick-start Van needed I guess.

87 min: Bigbrimar bubbles (10th) with (AJ) against Kensik (AT) as a ten hits the river.

90 min: Vanettej continues his moves as he dents Theedouble*d’s stack. Van raises standard and DD calls. The flop is [Jh Jd Ks]. A go broke board for sure.

Van check-raises DD and gets called. The turn is the [3s]. The exact same check-raise scenario is repeated!

The river brings an [8d]. Vanettej bets enough to be pot committed and after some thought, DD lays it down. Ok, what did you two have?

91 min: Absea98 (9th) goes with (JJ), but Vanettej is holding (QQ)!
101 min: Meatsword (8th) goes with (77) but Douche_Splat is holding (QQ).
110 min: A SS Kensik (7th) has to go with (94), but can’t catch Suetman1’s (A6).
117 min: A SS Pre01 (6th) goes with (AT), but cannot catch Douche_Splat’s (QQ).
119 min: Theedouble*d (5th) goes with (44) but loses the coin flip to Fourbetbluff’s (AK) when an [A] flopped. AK won all the coin flips tonight it seemed.

2nd Break:
Douche_Splat 13730
Vanettej 12865
Fourbetbluff 8585
Suetman1 5320

150 min: Douche_Splat’s internet went out at this point. This slowed the hands down to a crawl. This is a tough break for all concerned, and another minor but irritating bad break for Faldo. I had not even had time to unpack. There is no way I was going to have the time to post this tourney tonight now.

A now a SS Suetman1 (4th) has to go with (KQ), but Vanettej has (AA).

155 min: Douche_Splat (3rd) finally blinds out.

Heads up: Fourbetbluff 24000 - 16500 Vanettej
160 min: About the same chips.

164 min: Now the shorter stack Fourbetbluff (2nd) goes with (A9) but Vanettej is holding (QQ)!

Congratulations to Vanettej on his 1st NPP win and welcome to the Walk of Fame. He is the 50th player to be placed on that walk.

1st – Vanettej – 24 points
2nd – Fourbetbluff – 19 points
3rd – Douche_Splat – 15 pts
4th – Suetman1 – 12 pts
5th – Theedouble*d – 9 pts
6th – Pre01 – 7 pts
7th – Kensik – 5 pts
8th – Meatsword – 4 pts
9th – Absea98 – 3 pts

Every one else earned one (1) point! Standings on the right side of the blog!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Douge2”s Humor Corner – XXXI

The government, the media and the powerful, being consistent with the way they have granted awards, praise, hero-worship and accolades; have decided to save the time and award the Master’s Green Jacket to the first and only person who demanded it – rather than won it in the tournament.

And, there will be a new law passed by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, which will order that next year, the Augusta National Golf Tournament will be played to win “the Green Pants.”

I smell ‘back to back’ victories possible here.

You Deposit – You Can't Return

A man in his 40's bought a new BMW and was out on the interstate for a nice evening drive. The top was down, the breeze was blowing through what was left of his hair, and he decided to open her up. As the needle jumped up to 80 mph, he suddenly saw flashing red and blue lights behind him. "There's no way they can catch a BMW," he thought to himself and opened her up further. The needle hit 90, 100.... then the reality of the situation hit him. "What the heck am I doing?" he thought and pulled over.

The cop came up to him, took his license without a word, and examined it and the car. "It's been a long day, this is the end of my shift, and it's Friday the 13th. I don't feel like more paperwork, so if you can give me an excuse for your driving that I haven't heard before, you can go." The guy thinks for a second and says, "Last week my wife ran off with a cop. I was afraid you were trying to give her back." "Have a nice weekend," said the officer.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

LittleRedElf Arrives at Three Final Tables, and Faldo Two!

Sorry for the two days in a row without an article. Just too busy until Saturday when I wasted that playing poker! I think you can forgive me for the Saturday thing.

Ladies and Gentlemen – volume, volume, volume was the key, with significant shrinkage (twss) - and some timely sets flopping never hurt either.

I have always been a fan (junkie) of the multi-table tournaments (MTT’s) with thousands of entrants. I like to hunker in to the war mentality – battle of the fittest and all of that. And I plan on still playing in those, but they will no longer be my main diet.

My work schedule makes mega-tourneys a little tough to play in. No time at night - besides, I’m exhausted - and to burn the entire weekend playing in the volume of MTT’s required to hit a cash window, would earn me full doghouse status. It’s already cold on the road. I don’t need it to be freezing at home, if you catch my drift.

Ring play - on-line – is a total grind for me, both limit and no limit. People flow in and out and tables break up. I’ll be trying to play on three tables at once, but one table is down from nine to three players in like 30 seconds, one table has one player with a killer-slow connection, and the other table I am getting smoked by players who seem like pros. So during my ring play, I have to spend half my time searching for soft tables that stay together for longer than ten minutes. Like I said, it’s a grind.

As my distain for variance seems to be growing, the spaces between cashes in those mega events, and the ups and downs of internet ring play is draining – mentally – much more than bankroll wise.

Enter the Multi-table Sit-and-Go (MTSNG) tourneys. On PokerStars, not only do they fill up in just a couple minutes, but I can get my tourney fix for the time I have available to play. My tables auto-fill, cashes come more often and I can select my ‘locked in’ variance level.

Armed with this new plan, Faldo entered two MTT’s (I had the time and permission yesterday morning) and two MTSNG’s. I crashed and burned in the MTT’s fairly fast, middles one MTSNG and sort of bubbled in the last one.

That afternoon (finished up work reports and paid the bills); I had time to play before the UFC fights I was sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings to watch. Again, I could adjust the size of the tourney to the amount of time I had. A MTT could last past closing.

I ended up entering six more MTSNG’s prior to the fights starting – getting in one as I busted out of another - but never playing in more than four at one time.

Tourney #6 (180 players) was a 2nd place finish and tourney #10 (180 players) was a 6th place finish! This returned a 9 times return on entry fees spent! I’ll take it.

Two things jumped out at me as to why I cashed. Ok three, I got some cards at the right time. But no one does well in a tourney without that happening. One is that the tables of the MTSNG's hold together longer, enabling you to get a read on players. Big MTT's sometimes you move continuously.

The other is, playing that much volume got me in "the poker zone". I got to that happy place to where - even though I didn't stop myself - mistakes I made I knew were mistakes before I made them. But most the time I did stop myself - and almost all of my reads were spot on.

The UFC fights are now closer to staring so it was time for some one-table SNG action. Entered three of those and doubled my entry fees with a 2nd and 3rd place finish.

I might be on to something here, and wanted to share it with you. But not needing any advice from Faldo is LittleRedElf, who continues to be a force. I think it is the NPP hat he wears.

Yes, we are all getting crushed by the K9isadog juggernaut in the league, but LRE is still carrying the NPP banner to victories.

LRE won the same 30 player 7-card Stud tourney twice in six days! He also finished 4th in a Limit Holdem tourney out of 365 players!

NPP – home of the champions. Pure and simple.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Faldo’s Annual Top Thirty Most Powerful in Poker

Bluff Magazine put out their top 20 list. Nik’s Poker Palace has it’s own list. If you don’t know why someone made the list, ‘google’them.

I think you know why Faldo made it.

No, not because of my good looks either.

1. Nik Faldo
2. PokerStars
3. Full Tilt Poker
4. Boother36
5. John Pappas
6. Daniel Negreanu
7. Howard Lederer
8. LittleRedElf
9. Doyle Brunson
10. Ty Stewart
11. Barry Shulman
12. UMichPoker
13. Phil Ivey
14. Phil Hellmuth
15. Matt Savage
16. Fourbetbluff
17. Joe Cada
18. Annie Duke
19. Jeff Lisandro
20. Tony G
21. Mori Eskandani
22. Matchy
23. Lance Bradley
24. Brian Balsbaugh
25. Vanessa Rousso
26. Mitch Garber
27. Mike Sexton
28. Jennifer Harman
29. Greg Raymer
30. Davethedog

I tried like heck. I really did. I told the NPP Tournament Committee – and Tiffany, at the secret meeting place of NPP – not to vote for Faldo for the list. It shocked Tiffany so bad, she almost fell of the stage – I mean the library chair.

Yeah, that’s right. It was a library chair.

After all, with Faldo in the race, the outcome was in no doubt.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Suetman1 Wins Her 1st NPP Tournament

Suetman1 becomes the 5th woman to win an NPP tourney, beating 25 other players. Congratulations on that and welcome to the hall of fame, Claudia.

As great as that is, the story of this league is K9isadog. A 2nd place finish again for five straight final table appearances in FIVE tourneys this year! This is a great accomplishment and against very tough fields also.

We welcomed back Fusciardi to the league tonight also. We gave him the famous NPP ‘welcome back’ treatment also. That seems to be how we roll here at NPP.

Again, being out of town for work, keeping full records is just too tough. So here is the abbreviated

On to the action:

3 min: Gdub28 (26th)
13 min: Meatsword (25th).
24 min: Kensik (24th).
40 min: Wingsfancurt (23rd).
42 min: Tigercub8189 (22nd).
45 min: Midway2933 (21st).
46 min: Fusciardi (20th).
51 min: A short-stacked (SS) T3chlady (19th) had her (KJ) run into Biglou93’s (JJ).
53 min: Fourbetbluff (18th).
56 min: Theedouble*d (17th).

1st break:
Derf-63 5335
Mistermusic5 5255
Absea98 3780
Biglou93 2805
Budda627 2620
Birdy333 2440
Pingsticks 2435
K9isadog 2382
BigDaddyTman 2055
LittleRedElf 1920
Akensi 1815
Bigbrimar 1630
Jenski6 1510
Suetman1 1180
Mikeniks-Faldo 920
ThePunk75 918

Don’t worry. I know the fear these players have for Faldo. A very short stack is no problem for Faldo (twss).

61 min: A SS ThePunk75(16th) has to try with (AJ) and runs into Akensi’s (AQ).
62 min: A SS Mikeniks-Faldo (15th) goes with (Jh Th) in the small blind and runs into Absea98 in the big blind with (Ah Qh). Ok, maybe size is important.

67 min: Jenski6 (14th) is out in the same spot as last week as her SS (67) can’t catch Mistermusic5’s (99).

89 min: A SS BigDaddyTman (13th) has to try with (K9), but Suetman1 is holding (TT).

91 min: A SS Birdy333 (12th) is double-teamed by Suetman1 and Mistermusic5. The music played on, holding (JJ).

92 min: Derf-63 (11th) is out here, but I was writing up the Birdy333 exit and missed it.

99 min: LittleRedElf (10th) had better watch out! He is starting to copy Faldo’s moves and bubble all the time. His (AJ) cannot catch Absea98’s (AK).

101 min: Akensi (9th) goes with (AT) and a flop of [3T9], but Budda627 has to play his (J8) in this spot and does hit his straight on the river!

104 min: A SS Biglou93 (8th) goes with (A7) and is called by Mistermusic5 in the BB holding (J6). A [J] hits the flop.

Second break already. The play is scary good in this league. 2nd Break:

Budda627 10221
Suetman1 7350
Mistermusic5 7345
Pingsticks 5527
K9isadog 3682
Bigbrimar 3195
Absea98 1680

124 min: Bigbrimar (7th) gets crushed as his (KK) is overtaken by Absea98’s (Kc Tc) as his straight makes it on the river.

134 min: Absea98 (6th) gets a PokerStars payback as his (KK) is run down by K9isadog with (AQ), with a [Q] on the flop AND turn.

140 min: A SS Budda627 (5th) makes a move with (A5) but runs into Suetman1’s (QQ). The Ladys are winning while the cowboys are losing. Just as in real life.

145 min: Pingsticks (4th) makes a play with (Q5), but K9isadog has (AA) and Mistermusic5 (3rd) goes with (AK), and the Aces hold up.

Heads up: K9isadog 32000 - 7000 Suetman1
150 min: K9isadog 21500 - 17500 Suetman1
155 min: K9isadog 31000 - 8000 Suetman1
160 min: K9isadog 28000 - 11000 Suetman1

165 min: K9 (AK) and Suetman1 (AT) finally hook it up and a [T] hits the turn! K9 hurt again, just like last week! Now Suetman1 has the lead 34000 to 5000.

166 min: K9isadog (2nd) calls with (T9) and cannot catch Suetman1’s (KQ)!

Congratulations to Suetman1 for making the Walk of Fame, and to K9isadog for his great run!

1st – Suetman1 – 24 points
2nd – K9isadog – 19 points
3rd – Mistermusic5 – 15 pts
4th – Pingsticks – 12 pts
5th – Budda627 – 9 pts
6th – Absea98 – 7 pts
7th – Bigbrimar – 5 pts
8th – Biglou93– 4 pts
9th – Akensi – 3 pts

Standings and total points are on the right side of the blog!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hand Analysis by Phil Hellmuth

I was playing a $200 buy-in UltimateBet Online Poker Championship event on Sunday and was cruising against some tough competition. With 300 players remaining out of a starting field of 1,600, this interesting hand came up.

The blinds were $250-$500 with a $25 ante and I was sitting on $5,900 in chips. My table image was tight as I was playing very patiently. The player in first position was the chip leader with $42,000. He opened for $1,100. Three players folded and the action circled around to me holding Ac-9c.

Normally, this would be an easy fold for me. But the player that opened was playing a ton of hands -- about fifty percent of the hands that were dealt in the previous twenty minutes. After some deliberation, I concluded that I probably had the best hand and that my best play was to move all-in.

Everyone else folded to the player in the small blind who surprisingly reraised all-in for $21,200 -- not good for me. The player that opened the pot folded.

My opponent turned over A-Q. His hand held up and I was busted.

Let's take a closer look.

Why was the chip leader opening half the hands that were dealt to him at a full nine-handed table? That's just bad poker. He should have been protecting his lead, not trying to gamble it away!

How about the smallish $1,100 pre-flop bet? An opening bet for something like three times the big blind, about $1,500, would have been a better play.

Now here's the big question: What in the world was I thinking when I moved all-in for $5,900 with A-9 suited?

Well, I thought I had the best hand at the time. Also, I only had twelve big blinds remaining. Then again, even if I did have the best hand, there were still four players left to act behind me.

In retrospect, I should have folded instead of moving all-in. The chip leader was almost certain to call my bet. He was playing as loose as a goose. Throwing in another $4,900 would have made sense for him.

But suppose he had Q-10 off-suit? I would have been a 57% favorite to win the pot. Or he could have had K-9 suited and I would have been ahead by nearly two-to-one.

"Classic Phil" would have quickly folded his Ac-9c thinking that he should only play a big pot as the overwhelming favorite. But like everyone else, I occasionally make mistakes in the moment, especially in online games where hands are folded automatically after only a minute.

I don't like the $21,200 all-in move from the player in the small blind but I guess it wasn't a terrible play. He might have assumed that I was frustrated and anxious given the few number of hands that I had played, and as a result, that I might move all-in with a relatively weak hand. If that indeed was his logic, then he made the correct play.

Still, I do have the reputation of being a tight player. I mean, geez, I only played one hand in twenty minutes! I deserved a little more credit for having a big hand, right?

I called my friend, six-time WSOP bracelet winner Layne "Back to Back" Flack, and asked him what he thought about this hand.

According to Layne, if you're going to play A-Q in this spot, an all-in reraise is much better than a call because the big bet looks so powerful that it can force the under-the-gun raiser to fold pocket jacks or maybe even A-K. Good point, Layne.
-Phil Hellmuth

Hat tip to K9isadog for sending this along.

Faldo analysis - This is where the Gus Hanson's of the world take the tourneys. This unrelenting pressure of playing nearly every hand, makes opponents make mistakes - and doubt their own game.

The mentality for Gus is simple math: I go all-in, my opponent folds (1-0) or calls and loses (2-0). Or he wins (2-1). I'm a 2 to 1 favorite every hand!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Random Questions Answered by Faldo – Part IV

What do you think of Cake Poker buying T.J. Cloutier’s WSOP bracelet and returning it to him after they bought it from him?

It was a self-serving advertising gesture that does harm – not good.

T. J. Cloutier is a great poker legend and a gentleman at the poker table. However, the scuttlebutt is he is a degenerate gambler at the craps table. Cake Poker returning the publicly sold bracelet to him, will only give him the chance to PRIVATELY sell it the next time. There will be a next time.

Cake Poker gave T.J. the equivalent of a Democrat Freddie Mac – Fanny Mae house mortgage, and you see what that did to the country. Do you think this gesture by Cake Poker will heal T.J.?

Like foreign aid – where the poor people of a rich country give money to the rich people of a poor country – this too will be a waste of kindness and an enabling gesture to the demons.

Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing.

When was the last time you yelled at someone?

Yesterday - at the person on the television! Glad you caught me BEFORE I watched a news program today, or the answer would have been today. It drives me insane that an interviewer can ask any of one of about a dozen questions to any liberal or Democrat on television - and turn that liberal into a stuttering mess – but they never do. Makes you wonder why they never ask the proper questions - or the questions properly - doesn’t it?

You could only have one of these free for a year; a cook, a housekeeper, a masseuse, a chauffer or a secretary?

Cooking and housekeeping is already done to perfection by “The Boss.” My selection would have to be a carefully selected ‘secretary’, as she would handle the other duties mentioned also. Trust me, I have hired secretaries in the past, and multi-talented they MUST be.

What is the strangest thing you ever done on a date?

I don’t think it qualifies as strange. Does skinny-dipping count?

What is your sign?

Leo. But I don’t put any stock in horoscopes.

Would you ever play in a poker game you thought you were probably not going to win in, just for the fun of it?

Yes, but it was not for fun. Just wanted to go up a level and see how I would do. Well, I lost. Who knew the .05 / .10 limit tables were so tough?

How long could you spend at Cedar Point without getting bored?

Two minutes. Spending money to stand in line is not my kind of place.