Thursday, December 14, 2006

Playing Poker on Christmas Eve

I plan on playing a lot of Poker on christmas eve and during christmas as a whole. I celebrate the Pagan New Year on December twenty-first and don’t celebrate christmas; so to me this will be a double positive. In my opinion most people aren’t, generally speaking, more generous during this fine holiday, but many poker players are. I almost always win during this time of drunkenness, wife-beating and mindless Poker playing.

At the very least I would say my changes of winning are increased with at least twenty percent. And since this is a marginal game in the first place, I would say this should be a feast for many players staying sober. The trick is to avoid most of the other sharks swimming these waters.

I’ll see you at the tables…

Friday, November 17, 2006

wsop 2006 toc

It was great and interesting watching Mike Sexton beat the crap out of a number of players, among them Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow. Especially his call with seven three offsuit against Mike the Mouth's bluff was impressive. Sexton has learned a few tricks lately. He's still the quiet, dependable player, a little unimaginitive, but different from before. Negreanu, very imaginitive had him, really, but botched it. If Negreanu had stuck a bit to playing post flop he would probably have won (or perhaps not). There was no need for him to go all-in with his diamond draw. And afterwards, when he said «back to the drawing board» he didn't stick to that either. I guess he got impatient, while Mike (not the mouth) was patience incarnated.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Professional Poker League

Just a brief comment about the Professional Poker League» (ppl).

It's rather uninteresting, really (to be kind). Poker is not a sport (fortunately not), but a game of skill, one played person against person, not team against team, and should never attempt to become such thoroughly boring entertainment like baseball and such.

It's overrated hype. Ignore it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bay 101 ppt

Tom McEvoy won Bay 101 ppt. I'm still attempting to figure out how that could happen...

I mean, he didn't play any better than he usually does. He was just as nervous, just as timid, just as easy to read, and all.

I guess miracles do happen.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bad Beat Stories

Nobody like hearing bad beat stories, they say, but that isn’t exactly true.

I love ‘em.

Everybody got stories, an old, fairly well known poker player told me in London years ago. Bad beat stories, the most incredible stories about luck gone awry. He did this while I was venting in his presence about the unlucky break life (and poker) had recently given me. And I realized he was right, that he was right beyond right. And since that moment I have never told a bad beat story, or at least not told it without a modicum of irony in my voice.

But I love listening to them. They have to be real bad beat stories, though, not merely a tiny shift of advantage during an all-in degree moment. In other words fifty-three/forty-seven is not, and should never be presented as a bad beat. Neither should 60/40 or such, and even aces being cracked all-in versus a single opponent with lower pairs. I’m talking a beyond bad Bad Beat here…

I find them interesting and also educational, both concerning poker and the concept of Chance itself. A pattern is eventually and inevitably emerging. It always is.

We’re striving to beat the odds, or to make them work for us. We always are. What would otherwise be the point of living? In my fairly recent enlightenment people ranting about their misfortune, doing their attempt at evoking pity, are shying away from the Great Game, from Life. They fail to understand the obvious: that there is no luck, no Fate, no meaning, only Change, a random, totally unpredictable pattern of coincidences. You can lessen Chance’ impact, but you can never negate it, and you shouldn’t try. Without the spark of unpredictability life wouldn’t be… life.

Some players claim, to the point of turning blue that poker is mathematics, is predictability, that everything can be measured and weighed and calculated, but they would be wrong. That’s just yet another way of closing oneself off from life, from the true burning wheel of fortune. Throw the dice and you get anything from one to six and even beyond. Don’t throw it, and you don’t get anything, except your own, empty heart.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


After having watched Professional Poker Tour Season 1, episode 7:

I'm not impressed. I've played against Tom McEvoy, and he is really bad, truly a lousy player, but most of the rest of the players around that same table weren't exactly the greatest either.

Mel Judah, Scott Nguyen, Jen Fisher, Michael Kinney, Phil Helmuth... I wouldn't mind playing against them any day.

They have one thing going for them that I haven't: their bankroll. But I can't help thinking there must have been a LOT of lucky circumstances there...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer Wins

I’ve won, have a surplus of about $20000 this summer.

It’s not that much. There are some people that can easily win or lose that in a hand. Even lower level players can win or lose that in a few days.

It’s a fairly small amount even compared to what I used to win in a given month, at one brief time in my life.

But it’s a great progression compared to the low point I’ve been at for some time, now.

And it’s also great that I’ve won it in several different types of games: Omaha, Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit, No Limit, Limit, in both tournament and cash games play.

And I find myself facing new problems. I no longer have any problem with going on Tilt, not even slightly. My major problem, these days, after a long winning streak, is that I tend to play uninspired. I can play inspired for hours and even days and nights, and then suddenly, I hit a wall of indifference inside myself.

There are occasions, when players need a break, after having played a lot for weeks. This isn’t exactly like that, but more of a seemingly lasting (god forbid) problem.

And I have a problem, when playing poker, of course: I’m not greedy. So, when I know I no longer need to win to put food and stuff on the table for a while, I tend to play uninspired. And every game I play should count, count as if it was my last one.

In this as well, poker imitates life, is life.

World Series of Poker Main Event 2006 (and its implications)

One thing I noticed more than anything, even beyond the fact that once again a total unknown emerged victorious in the largest field ever, was all the action, the practically constant action around the table.

It has been claimed that you can’t really learn much by watching the pros on television, since you only see a few hands, one hour or so of many hours of play. You see the action, not the many close to no-action hands. I agree with that. But I also think that you can pick up quite a lot by watching even that hour.

Anyway, it’s starting to become a fairly moot point these days.

I watched the last six hours of the final table on a pirate download of the ESPN direct broadcast. We watched every single hand, every single move on the table. As stated there was a distinct difference between this and previous years’ final tables. The game has obviously changed again. There was not much left of the «rest periods» from yesteryear. The Stu Unger tenet of the need for dominating the table, at least in part, has now become gospel for almost anyone. Anyone not doing it falls behind very fast. The condensed broadcast from the final tables becomes increasingly more accurate these days.

So, yes, provided that the action is at least close to faithfully rendered, we can now learn even more by watching and observing games on television.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

PPT Foxwoods

Foxwoods Casino Resort, Connecticut is a dream, a mirage in the forest, one giant fantasy in the wilderness.

My foremost impression of the first so-called Professional Poker Tour is about Chris Biegler. The thing about him is that he hardly even looked like Chris Biegler anymore, poker wise. Everybody seeing him play says the same: he’s quite a different player compared to only a year ago, far sharper and more dangerous. I agree. He used to be insecure, hesitant and fairly easy to roll over. Now he’s the one doing the rolling. I particularly enjoyed his duels with Hoyt Corkins and John Juanda. He broke Corkins, and I think Juanda was lucky to win in the end. While Biegler was the very epitome of calm, Juanda was practically drowning in sweat and anxiety.

Great play, Chris. And congratulations.

Seeing him improve this dramatically means there is hope for us all…

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gus Hansen about Phil Helmuth

«I don't think Phil Helmuth is a very good poker player. The best I can say about him is that he's great against bad players»...

Gus Hansen

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gambling major boost to economy

From BBC Text- TV today:

Gambling could become one of the most lucrative industries in the British economy, researchers have claimed. By relaxing regulations surrounding betting and gaming and by abolishing tax on punters, the government has ensured an economic boost they said. That could eventually see more money generated by the gambling sector than any other, said the Betting Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University. It could «only be good news for the economy», said researchers.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Paradise Poker PLO Masters

I was out after about three hours, and never took off, really, and in a field of just above 500 players I never went above the one percent of the total chips range. It was a slow table, and also hard to dominate, and the cards were slow as well.

Not the best of evenings.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Paradise Poker Masters Omaha

I’m going to play the $215 Omaha Paradise Poker Master tournament on Wednesday. I like Omaha, and I’ve discovered that my changes are currently slightly higher there, comparatively speaking, then in Texas Hold’em. And the buy-in is within my current direct buy-in range.

Omaha is different from Texas Hold’em in two important aspects: You get four «hole» cards, and only two of them can be used to make the end result. And thus, by default only three on the table, can be used to make the counting hand. This creates a variety of situations clearly differing from those in ordinary Hold’em. I see seasoned Hold’em players fuck up constantly while stumbling on to an Omaha table, which is both profitable and always fun watching.

One could argue that Omaha and especially pot limit Omaha is more poker than Texas Hold’em. I agree with those saying that it’s «easier» to read the game, and that it’s not that much prone to the coincidences haunting Texas Hold’em. Anyway, It is a preference. I am better at it, comparatively speaking. And playing Omaha, you will also avoid the insanely large fields of Texas Hold’em No Limit. The game on Wednesday will have a guaranteed price pool of $150000, and will probably reach about $200000, and a first price of about 40 to 50k. I can live with that. I choose this game, this battle, at this time, this hour, in yet another attempt at making a good starting point to a great year of Poker.

Friday, March 31, 2006

WSOP 2005 Stats

Some essential (and funny) WSOP 2005 stats:

Total number of registered entrants

Total number of official entrants

Players expected to take their seats on day 1A

Players actually taking their seats

Registered players whose buy-in got lost somewhere in transit

Online qualifiers refused admittance because they were under-age

Online qualifiers who died before the big event...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Amos Keppler Poker Blog

I have been playing poker, in various forms, since I was eight. Except for the minor gambling aspect of it (I like to gamble, to make an educated gamble in life), it’s an odd undertaking of mine, a bit out of tune, perhaps, with my other activities. Or perhaps not. Poker, in its foundation, is very much tied to anarchism, to independence, to freedom. It’s one way out, for people not fitting in. People perceived as gamblers, as «professional gamblers» have always been frowned at (at best) by the mundane, established part of the population, and they used to be chased from towns dipped in tar and rolled in feathers. It’s just by the onset of television and later the Internet it has been hailed as a somewhat acceptable «profession». Poker players have become the modern gladiators, fighting it out around the felt, not spilling blood, but rather sarcasm and veiled insults, while the bloodthirsty audience cheers from the sideline…like they always do, while forgetting for a brief moment their sordid lives.

I have been able to make a living of playing poker since my late teens. There have been times when I could live comfortably because of it… and times when I couldn’t. Economically speaking (too) my life has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, of «swings» if you want. I used to play mostly Five Cards Draw, a preference I now, in hindsight very much regret. I didn’t start playing serious Texas Hold’em until I began playing on the Internet five years ago. «Nobody» play Five Card Draw anymore. So I, like all the millions out there, play Hold’em. It has become the game of choice for any prospective player. I struggled a bit with the adjustment, but now I’m fine, more than fine with it. There were opportunities for me to learn to play Hold’em earlier in my life, on my numerous travels to the city of London, for instance, but better late than never. Like a friend of mine predicted would happen: I don’t play Draw anymore, and have practically forgotten how to play it, at least how to play it well. The game that sustained me economically for many years has become obsolete. It was just mostly local games anyway, and it was always hard finding players, finding enough fish to fry, so to speak. These days, you can find all the players, the Hold’em players you want by flipping a switch or pushing buttons. There is a game happening, either on the Internet or live, every second of the day and night, on present day planet Earth.

It’s a both exciting… and dangerous time to be a Player.