Your source for poker information, culture, and community
Views: 915
Date Posted: May. 29, 3:27pm, 1 Comment

We all prioritize and focus on different elements of our time line.  I think there are many people who tend to fall in one of the three camps.  Some people focus on their past.  They recount stories of their past.  They maintain relationships with all the people and things of their childhood and earlier life.  They are more likely to be collectors.  They attend every reunion. They cherish or bemoan their memories.  The past shapes their present and future decisions.

Others are focused on the future.  Regardless of what has come before, it can always be a brighter day.  They dream of what is possible.  Their anticipation of the future greatly influences them.  They dream of what might come.  They plan.  They are constantly redirecting themselves towards some imagined future. 

The third option is an attention to the here and now.  A focus on living in the moment.  Of the three options, I find myself most comfortably one who lives in the present.  While the other times influence me, I tend to concentrate on the moment.  The past doesn't seem to have a tremendous hold on me.  I don't spend much energy planning or dreaming of some particular future. I'm more directed in processing and living that day, that hour, that moment.  The anticipation for upcoming events doesn't stir me until I actually reach that event.

In the poker world, I find these three perspectives also influence players.  Some players have an active memory for every step of their career.  They hold onto their successes and failures.  They can recount all the details.  When they make current decisions at the table, it is in reaction to what has come before.  This can be to their benefit if they have a recalled history of playing players before.  Some top players have great memories and can recall all hands played.  It can also be a detriment if they hold onto some bad beat or injustice at the hands of another.  They are more likely to hold onto the feelings associated with a downswing, or the euphoria and confidence from past success.

The future oriented players have a constant optimism.  They have a tremendous self confidence, earned or not.  Despite past frustrations, they feel they will always prosper in the future.  They may have busted their roll half a dozen times, but they can always make it back and more.  They feel destined for success.  They get excited for the WSOP months in advance and dream of their positive futures. They can work hard on their game in an attempt to achieve their greatness.

Those focused on the present don't worry as much about past results or some nebulous future.  I think they are more likely to be grinders.  The past is used as a guideline but doesn't bog them down.  They focus their energy on playing in the moment.  They don't know what may come, but feel if they work hard in the moment, it is likely to be positive.  Some who focus too much on the present can be prone to tilt when things go bad.  They can't reference the history necessary to understand that variance and bad beats exist.  On the other hand, many present focused players can direct all their energies on optimal play.  They aren't influenced by what happened before or some future agenda.

While no one falls 100% fully in one category, it is interesting to see how their different focus affects their approach to the game and their life.

Views: 892
Date Posted: May. 28, 1:36am, 0 Comments

If I'm honest with myself, I play my B game much more than I play my A game these days. I know I have significant leaks.  I can play very weak tight during these stretches, then burst of inopportune aggression can cost me. The only saving grace is that at the low levels I play, I am still winning playing my B game.  These days, I find is quite difficult to fully concentrate and avoid regular interuptions.  Even when I am alone, there are always business things weighing on my mind.

 

During my interview with Alex 'Traheho' Torelli last week, we had an interesting discussion regarding playing life balance and playing your A game.  In an effort to play more hands, so many players play B, C and D versions of their game as they grind away the hours day after day.  Some become robotic in their moves.  Others become dull or distracted.  The more tables you play, the more routine it all becomes. 

 

Alec's assertion was that you can have a higher BB/100 if you play less.  If you take more time away from poker, when you do play, you will be clear headed, and motivated.  You play better when you are happy.  So it's important to take the time to develop a satisfying personal life.  While everyone has different priorities, it's key to balance time in and away from poker.  Focusing on friends, family, hobbies, sports and work are essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Certainly grinding massive hours can produce superior profits, but at a significant cost.  

 

Being happy away from the tables can provide a great deterent to tilt at the tables.  I notice that when I'm running poorly at the tables, I'll often think, 'geez, not one more thing going wrong, i can't take it'.  This can lead to very poor decisions as you chase losses or beats.  Everything suddenly seems so unfair.  If your non poker life is going positively, you can more readily walk away.  Call it quits.  Poker will always be there.  It's not worth forcing yourself to play if you aren't going to play well.  You can save yourself money that way, instead of costing you lost winnings.

 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I've felt pressure lately, because on top of funding elements of Poker Curious from my bankroll, I am now funding the freerolls we have been hosting.  They are popular and people want more of them.  Thus I have felt the need to squeeze in play time.  But I'm constantly distracted and interupted and haven't been playing great.  Thankfully, I can still win at the low levels I play, but there is more variance and frustration.  Fortunately, Poker Curious demands most of my attention which limits my time to play.  But I completely appreciate and understand Traheho's perspective on life balance and poker.  Why not play less, but feel confident that when you play that you will play your A game and reap the rewards.

Views: 917
Date Posted: May. 20, 1:44pm, 1 Comment

In addition to occasionally playing low stakes PLO, I enjoy railing the high stakes games.  It keeps me up to date on how the best cash game players in the world are doing.  Pot Limit Omaha is a game with a lot of inherent variance built into it, but at the high stakes, this only seems to be magnified by the aggressive styles played.  From an outsiders viewpoint, it can appear that these top players are making sub-optimal (read Donkey) moves.  My personal perspective is that it's a combination of factors that leads to this aggression and extreme variance.

 

1. Each player has tremendous confidence in their game.  If they have moved up through the ranks to play at the highest levels, they must feel they have an edge over most of their opponents.  At the highest stakes, this fearlessness often creates a game of chicken, of who will blink first.

 

2. While the players certainly know how to play ABC solid poker, they have learned that you have to give action to get action.  Your bluffing and thin value betting frequency has to increase to protect and create value for your strongest hands.  Because the player pool is so small, they have to vary their playing style to not seem predictable.

 

3.  The best players in the world are not immune to the psychological effects of winning and losing.  They can tilt and steam just like any player, but for much higher stakes.

 

Combining all these factors leads to some seemingly questionable plays.  I'll share 6 examples I collected last night from watching some of the high stakes action.  I'll let you be the judge if you feel they are standard or not.

 

Example 1 -  Heads up changes your hand values, but second pair and open ender draw seems very light to be reraising all in by Gus.

 

Full Tilt Poker:  Table durrrr (heads up, deep) - $500/$1000 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi
Seat 1: durrrr ($146,193)
Seat 2: Gus Hansen ($43,795.50)
Gus Hansen posts the small blind of $500
durrrr posts the big blind of $1,000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Gus Hansen raises to $3,000
durrrr raises to $9,000
Gus Hansen calls $6,000
*** FLOP *** [6d 9s 3c]
durrrr bets $18,000
Gus Hansen raises to $34,795.50, and is all in
durrrr calls $16,795.50
Gus Hansen shows [Jc 8s 7h 6h]
durrrr shows [Js Jd 3s Td]
*** TURN *** [6d 9s 3c] [6c]
*** RIVER *** [6d 9s 3c 6c] [8d]
durrrr shows two pair, Jacks and Sixes
Gus Hansen wins the pot ($87,590.50) with a full house, Sixes full of Eights

 

Example 2 - While Ivey's top and bottom pair on the flop isn't a lock, Durrr's all in push on the flop with the overpair and no draw seems more questionable.

 

Full Tilt Poker: Table Ivey Thunderdome (heads up) - $500/$1000 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi
Seat 1: Phil Ivey ($92,786.75)
Seat 2: durrrr ($340,097.10)
Phil Ivey posts the small blind of $500
durrrr posts the big blind of $1,000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Phil Ivey raises to $3,000
durrrr raises to $9,000
Phil Ivey calls $6,000
*** FLOP *** [4h 2s Kc]
durrrr bets $11,200
Phil Ivey raises to $42,000
durrrr raises to $144,000
Phil Ivey calls $41,786.75, and is all in
durrrr shows [Ac Td Tc Ad]
Phil Ivey shows [2d Ts Qs Ks]
Uncalled bet of $60,213.25 returned to durrrr
*** TURN *** [4h 2s Kc] [4c]
*** RIVER *** [4h 2s Kc 4c] [8h]
Phil Ivey shows two pair, Kings and Fours
durrrr wins the pot ($185,573) with two pair, Aces and Fours

Example 3 -  Playing a nut flush draw aggressively works for Durrrr this hand, but a naked nut flush draw is not a winning play normally.

Full Tilt Poker: Table durrrr (heads up, deep) - $500/$1000 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi
Seat 1: durrrr ($102,094.50)
Seat 2: Gus Hansen ($87,888.50)
durrrr posts the small blind of $500
Gus Hansen posts the big blind of $1,000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
durrrr raises to $3,000
Gus Hansen raises to $9,000
durrrr calls $6,000
*** FLOP *** [8c 7h Kh]
Gus Hansen bets $18,000
durrrr raises to $72,000
Gus Hansen raises to $78,888.50, and is all in
durrrr calls $6,888.50
Gus Hansen shows [5s 9d Ks Kc]
durrrr shows [4h 9s Ah 9h]
*** TURN *** [8c 7h Kh] [Jh]
*** RIVER *** [8c 7h Kh Jh] [2h]
Gus Hansen shows three of a kind, Kings
durrrr wins the pot ($175,776.50) with a flush, Ace high

Example 4 - Another questionable example of playing mediocre hands and draws aggressively.

Full Tilt Poker Game: Table Hansen Knockout (heads up) - $500/$1000 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi -
Seat 1: Gus Hansen ($39,592.50)
Seat 2: durrrr ($60,394.50)
durrrr posts the small blind of $500
Gus Hansen posts the big blind of $1,000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
durrrr raises to $3,000
Gus Hansen raises to $9,000
durrrr calls $6,000
*** FLOP *** [3c Qs Ac]
Gus Hansen bets $6,000
durrrr raises to $36,000
Gus Hansen calls $24,592.50, and is all in
durrrr shows [8s 7c 9c 3s]
Gus Hansen shows [Qd Jd Kc 2c]
Uncalled bet of $5,407.50 returned to durrrr
*** TURN *** [3c Qs Ac] [8c]
*** RIVER *** [3c Qs Ac 8c] [8d]
Gus Hansen shows a flush, Ace high
durrrr wins the pot ($79,184.50) with a full house, Eights full of Threes

Example 5 - An overpair is enough for Ivey to get his whole stack in on the flop.

Full Tilt Poker Game: Table Crazy Action (6 max, ante, deep) - $300/$600 Ante $100 - PLO Hi
Seat 1: Phil Ivey ($108,106.50)
Seat 3: MR B 2 U SON ($96,096), is sitting out
Seat 5: durrrr ($268,053)
Phil Ivey antes $100
durrrr antes $100
Phil Ivey posts the small blind of $300
durrrr posts the big blind of $600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Phil Ivey raises to $2,000
durrrr raises to $6,200
Phil Ivey raises to $18,800
durrrr calls $12,600
*** FLOP *** [2s 5c 7h]
durrrr checks
Phil Ivey bets $37,800
durrrr raises to $151,200
Phil Ivey calls $51,406.50, and is all in
durrrr shows [Jc Kd 7d 5d]
Phil Ivey shows [Ks Kh 4h Qs]
Uncalled bet of $61,993.50 returned to durrrr
*** TURN *** [2s 5c 7h] [2d]
*** RIVER *** [2s 5c 7h 2d] [5h]
Phil Ivey shows two pair, Kings and Fives
durrrr wins the pot ($216,212.50) with a full house, Fives full of Sevens

Example 6 - Durrr's flop overcall with slight overpair and J high flush draw seems questionable with two all ins before him.

Full Tilt Poker Game #12304257306: Table Sandspring (ante, deep) - $300/$600 Ante $100 - Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 23:31:08 ET - 2009/05/18
Seat 2: Phil Ivey ($81,893)
Seat 3: HarrisMP ($35,300)
Seat 4: Patrik Antonius ($58,398)
Seat 5: Gus Hansen ($32,597)
Seat 6: MR B 2 U SON ($28,986)
Seat 8: durrrr ($308,433)
Phil Ivey antes $100
Patrik Antonius antes $100
durrrr antes $100
Gus Hansen antes $100
MR B 2 U SON antes $100
HarrisMP antes $100
Gus Hansen posts the small blind of $300
MR B 2 U SON posts the big blind of $600
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
durrrr has 15 seconds left to act
durrrr raises to $2,100
Phil Ivey calls $2,100
HarrisMP folds
Patrik Antonius folds
Gus Hansen raises to $9,600
MR B 2 U SON calls $9,000
durrrr calls $7,500
Phil Ivey calls $7,500
*** FLOP *** [8h 5h 3c]
Gus Hansen bets $22,897, and is all in
MR B 2 U SON calls $19,286, and is all in
durrrr raises to $126,977
Phil Ivey folds
durrrr shows [Qc 9h Jh 9d]
Gus Hansen shows [7h Ac Kh Tc]
MR B 2 U SON shows [3h Ks Qs Th]
Uncalled bet of $104,080 returned to durrrr
*** TURN *** [8h 5h 3c] [Td]
*** RIVER *** [8h 5h 3c Td] [Kd]
durrrr shows a pair of Nines
Gus Hansen wins the side pot ($7,222) with two pair, Kings and Tens
Gus Hansen ties for the main pot ($48,427.50) with two pair, Kings and Tens
MR B 2 U SON ties for the main pot ($48,427.50) with two pair, Kings and Tens
Views: 462
Date Posted: May. 17, 9:23pm, 2 Comments

One of the goals of Poker Curious is to be responsive to our member's wants and needs within the poker world.  Earlier this week, one of our first members suggested that we add a page on poker player's Twitter addresses.    He follows a number of well known poker celebrities and felt it would have value to a lot of people. 

 

Honestly, I hadn't embraced the Twitter trend.  I've enjoyed blogging regulary for the last couple years because it was a medium that you could express yourself with some depth.  Twitter seemed to me to be like cotton candy as far as intellectual thought goes.  After spending the last few days on Twitter, I have both reinforced that belief and realized that most people haven't learned how to fully utilize it.  I think that the forced brevity and it's wide audience access causes people to dumb down their tweets.  In many respects it feels similar in tone to 'the wall' comments you find on social networking sites that have no personality or depth to them. 

 

There are some situations that tweeting works well in the poker world.  It can be a great way to update your progress when playing a tournament.  People want to hear regular quick updates of chipstacks, important hands, and overall progress.  It can work well as a quick announcement or shout out.  It can act as a sort of mass marketing texting tool.  For instance, I created the PokerCurious Twitter address to share some of the features, content and news on our site. 

 

It can work well as part of a narrative if you consistently tweet.  Similarly to blogging, regularity of tweets makes a big difference.  Having some thematic continuity also helps.  Unfortunately, marketers have also learned about Twitter and can spam aggressively.  You have to manage who you follow.  If someone follows a ton of people, but has very few followers, that's usually a sign they are spamming.

 

We have decided to create a new page on Poker Curious that will list all the poker personalities who you might want to follow.  While many of them haven't fully realized its potential, it is a new technology that will grow with time.  I hope to roll out the new page within the next couple weeks.  Feel free to follow http://www.twitter.com/PokerCurious if you want to follow our progress.

Views: 481
Date Posted: May. 15, 2:38am, 2 Comments

The first several days are in the books at Poker Curious.  One of the most striking aspects of our first members has been their global diversity.  While 5 out of the 6 Poker Curious staff are from the US, and most of our website partners are similarly U.S. based, we have had new members from all over the world.  I'll list some of the coutries represented amongst our early members:

 

Brazil

Australia

Germany

U.K.

Ireland

Switzerland

Japan

Netherlands

Austria

Romania

 

I think it's wonderful that the word can spread quickly around the world about Poker Curious.  It shows that there is a strong interest in poker and good poker resources and communities on many continents.

 

I wanted to give special thanks to members Jeff218, Peerless67, and Sc000t for their efforts to spread the word via personal blog or forum.  Many of the major traditional poker media outlets have resisted allowing any mention of Poker Curious because they feel we are a competitor.  Whereas, we try to take the high road and provide fair reviews and coverage for all significant poker sites out there, including those that reject us.  I hope people appreciate that approach as we move forward.  I thank you in advance to those of you who help us spread the word about Poker Curious.

Views: 507
Date Posted: May. 11, 9:35am, 0 Comments

What better way to begin my blogging at Poker Curious than to explain... why Poker Curious?  For nearly two years, I lived and breathed the community and business of CardRunners as their Operations Manager.  When I departed in February 2008, my entrepreneurial desire was to address those areas in the poker world that I had yet to find myself.  That is one of the fundamental principals of creating any new business.  Identify a need that is underserved and address it in a novel fashion.

 

What were the areas that I saw as needing a new approach?

 

1. People on poker forums everywhere often ask similar questions time and again because everyone is at a different point on their poker learning curve.

2. People are very busy and appreciate the convenience of having information at their fingertips.

3. People who may never aspire to be high stakes players still have a real passion for the culture of poker. 

4. People often feel intimidated and lost in trying to evaluate all their important poker options.  While people want to make their own decisions, they appreciate constructive and informative advice as they consider those options.

5. People enjoy connecting with each other around a shared passion.  They want to be part of something bigger.  They want to express themselves in a supportive environment.

 

These five areas of need were all incorporated in the concept of Poker Curious.  We sought to be a comprehensive source for poker information, culture and community.  We created a number of features to address these five areas.

 

1. Poker Curious has developed a database of easily searchable commonly asked questions and answers in poker.  We display the 10 most often viewed questions on our home page or you can View More Questions to get to the heart of the questions and answers database.  Whenever you don't find an answer you are looking for you have the option to submit your own question to the Poker Curious staff for further research and eventual addition to the database.  Each content page has its own individual page searche, or you can access the powerful site wide Search that organizes and presents many types of information.

 

2. Poker Curious has organized and rated hundreds of poker sites within 25 poker specific categories.  To save you even more time, we have made the most popular category pages 'favoritable', forwarding them to your custom My Favorites page for easy viewing.

 

3. Poker Curious shares your love for poker culture.  We have deeply researched well known poker player Blogs, Podcasts, Online Poker Identities as well as a variety of entertainment related poker sites that help satisfy your 'pokertainment'.

 

4. Poker Curious has organized, reviewed and rated all the areas in which any online poker player has to make important decisions: Playing Sites, Training Sites, Rakeback SitesSoftware, Hardware, Books, DVD's, Movies, Magazines and Merchandise.  We have researched Classic Poker Articles and Classic Poker Interviews for you to easily access. We have provided helpful resources like News/Informational sites, Open Poker Forums, Interesting Poker Sites, Glossary of Terms, Rules and Game Play, and Acronyms and Poker Slang.

 

5. Lastly, but in my estimation most importantly, Poker Curious has developed a variety of features and tools to encourage communication and community.  Starting in The Community which acts as an advertisement for the general community activity level, the real core of Poker Curious lies in My Community.  You build your community of friends via My Friends.  Once you have friends, your Friends Feed keeps you updated on their activity on the site and interactions with you.  The Buddy List tracks their movement on the site and equally important when and where they are playing poker on the major poker sites.  You can communicate with other members through My Messages, Forums, Chat and comments.  You can express yourself through My Blog, My Profile, My Pictures and coming soon My Hands.

 

Undoubtedly, poker is a great game that anyone can play, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or even ability.  Poker Curious simply wants to aid in making your experience more pleasurable, informed, expedited and connected.  Enjoy the site and let us know how we can make it even better!

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