Archive for May, 2010

Phil Hellmuth in Ludacris Music Video

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Phil Hellmuth was spotted in the recently-released Ludacris music video for his song ‘Sex Room’. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Phil Hellmuth is in ‘Sex Room’. Here’s a still from his brief music video cameo:

Hellmuth makes his appearance at around the 2:08 mark in the Ludacris video that includes the lyrics, “Welcome to my sex room! Where your body meets my body it’s our private after party if you want it girl I got it in my sex room!” I know when I think about the private after parties in sex rooms, the first thing that comes to mind is Phil Hellmuth’s toned abs, so it’s only natural that he should appear in this video.

You can watch the new Ludacris music video below:

Phil Laak Aiming for Poker Endurance Record

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Phil ‘the Unabomber’ Laak will attempt to put his name in the Guinness World Record books by playing poker for more than 78 consecutive hours. Laak’s assault on Paul Zimbler’s world record will begin on June 2nd in a $10/$20 no-limit game at Bellagio. In an interview with Poker News Daily, Laak says that he expects this game to run uninterrupted through the duration of the WSOP making it a good fit for his 80 hour challenge.

Laak plans to sit in the $10/$20 game at Bellagio at noon on June 2nd. If he succeeds in his quest to play for 80 hours straight, he won’t leave the game until 8:00 p.m. on June 5th. Half of any money Laak wins will be donated to Camp Sunshine, which provides a retreat for children with life threatening illnesses.

In the aforementioned interview, Laak says that he’s hallucinated about floating poker chips during a 40 hour session, so it should be interesting to see how he’s doing after playing for twice that long.

Thin River Folds

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Recently, a member of our poker forums, ‘kid hustlr’, started a thread in our tournament strategy forum seeking feedback on a hand where he was dealt pocket Kings. The hand history posted by ‘kid hustlr’, whose screenname is ‘c-biz-kid’ at this online poker table, is as follows:

Full Tilt Poker Game #20948326493: $75,000 Guarantee (158419291), Table 31 – 20/40 – No Limit Hold’em – 20:34:46 ET – 2010/05/18
Seat 1: moudro (2,180)
Seat 2: Firerang (5,350)
Seat 3: c-biz-kid (3,245)
Seat 4: RBC123123 (3,355)
Seat 5: BegsClutch (2,630)
Seat 6: Pokerccini (4,580)
Seat 7: dwf1029 (11,375)
Seat 8: 77kol0bok77 (2,340)
Seat 9: wmmcl (3,210)
moudro posts the small blind of 20
Firerang posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to c-biz-kid [Kc Kd]
c-biz-kid raises to 120
RBC123123 folds
BegsClutch has 15 seconds left to act
BegsClutch calls 120
Pokerccini folds
dwf1029 calls 120
77kol0bok77 calls 120
wmmcl folds
moudro calls 100
Firerang folds
*** FLOP *** [Th 3s 5h]
moudro has 15 seconds left to act
moudro checks
c-biz-kid checks
BegsClutch checks
dwf1029 bets 240
77kol0bok77 has 15 seconds left to act
77kol0bok77 calls 240
moudro folds
c-biz-kid calls 240
BegsClutch folds
*** TURN *** [Th 3s 5h] [Jd]
c-biz-kid checks
dwf1029 has 15 seconds left to act
dwf1029 checks
77kol0bok77 has 15 seconds left to act
77kol0bok77 bets 440
c-biz-kid calls 440
dwf1029 has 15 seconds left to act
dwf1029 folds
*** RIVER *** [Th 3s 5h Jd] [Td]
c-biz-kid checks
77kol0bok77 has 15 seconds left to act
77kol0bok77 bets 640
c-biz-kid calls 640
*** SHOW DOWN ***
77kol0bok77 shows [Jc Tc] a full house, Tens full of Jacks
c-biz-kid mucks
77kol0bok77 wins the pot (3,520) with a full house, Tens full of Jacks
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,520 | Rake 0
Board: [Th 3s 5h Jd Td]
Seat 1: moudro (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: Firerang (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: c-biz-kid mucked [Kc Kd] – two pair, Kings and Tens
Seat 4: RBC123123 didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 5: BegsClutch folded on the Flop
Seat 6: Pokerccini didn’t bet (folded)
Seat 7: dwf1029 folded on the Turn
Seat 8: 77kol0bok77 showed [Jc Tc] and won (3,520) with a full house, Tens full of Jacks
Seat 9: wmmcl (button) didn’t bet (folded)

I think the mistake ‘kid hustlr’ made on this particular hand was calling on the river. Others have suggested that he should have bet the flop or bet the turn, but I really don’t his failure to do either of those things was as big of a mistake as calling on the river was. I’m not writing this to knock kid hustlr’s play; he’s a tremendous player and has been on a tear in 2010 by winning a triple crown and by finishing 4th in the Mini FTOPS Main Event for $52k last weekend. I’m using his hand as an example because I know he’s a good player and a good guy and wouldn’t mind a decision he made at the table being used in a discussion for learning purposes.

kid hustlr’s river call on this particular hand was very thin. The only thing he was really going to beat was a busted heart draw. I think it’s pretty rare that you’ll see a player bet all three streets for value-sized bets on a busted draw. In this particular hand, the ten was a very bad river card for kid hustlr. As forum member ‘killcrazy’ pointed out, “with so many guys seeing the flop, i think a ten is in play an obscene amount of the time.”

kid hustlr’s river call was one that a lot of online poker players make, myself included. It seems that when you call a flop bet and a turn bet with a showdown-able hand, you almost always get lulled into calling the river bet as well. However, there’s a lot of money to be made (or saved, rather) by staying sharp when facing a third-barrel from an opponent on the river. In this particular example, even when one of the worst possible cards hit the river, kid hustlr still called. I don’t think anyone could have faulted kid hustlr for calling on the river if a complete brick had hit, like, say, the six of diamonds. It would be pretty hard to put your opponent on exactly a set or exactly Jack-Ten, so a call in that scenario would probably be okay. However, when the ten hit the river, there became a much wider range of hands that you’re now losing to.

In general, I find it pretty uncommon for players to fire bets on all three streets, including when in position after a scare card comes on the river, and not have a very strong hand. Usually players tense up and check behind when a scare card comes off. The fact that kid hustlr’s opponent fired a value-sized bet when another Ten came on the river suggests that he almost certainly had a Ten or a set. In a sense, it was actually a good river card for kid hustlr since it increased his likelihood of saving money with his second-best hand rather than paying off without hesitation like he would have if the river were the six of diamonds.

Keep the ‘thin river fold’ concept in mind in your future sessions. Don’t fall into the trap that almost all players have of paying off on the river with their showdown-able hand. Evaluate every river bet you face in a vacuum. Don’t just put the money in the pot because that’s what you did on the last dozen river bets you faced with a showdown-able hand. Sometimes you can throw it away on the river and save money. The key is knowing which spots are best for this play.

Most competent players know their opponent who called on the flop and turn is only going to fold on the river if they missed their draw. For this reason, their river bet is very rarely a bluff.

As players start to make this adjustment, there will eventually become a market for making river bluffs with more regularity. But for the time being, you can assume your opponents will a.) usually call the river if they called the flop and turn (unless they have a busted draw) and b.) almost always have a strong hand when they bet the river, especially if a scare card hits.

Old WSOP Documentary

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

A member (and self-styled ‘Godfather’) of our poker forums, ‘killcrazy’, linked me to this old WSOP documentary called The Million Dollar Deal. It’s about 45 minutes long and pretty worthwhile for any poker enthusiast. It’s pretty cool watching this while knowing what the Main Event eventually turned into. It’s like watching home movies of some pro athlete playing their sport when they were 7 years old.

Some thoughts:

17:00 – Scotty Nguyen talking confidently “I always be #1 baby,” and this is before he even became a World Champion!

28:45 – Interesting that TD’s used to think it was okay to pester players by asking, “are you going to call? Are you going to call?” during a hand.

30:40 – LOL at Mike Magee thinking that the only hand that would call his M 3.5 shove was Ace-Ace.

32:00 – Someone tell this guy that Jesus doesn’t exist in Las Vegas.

34:33 – Haha… Scotty was still nursing the beers back then I see.

35:16 – It’s amazing to me that Scotty seemed as if he just knew he would win this event from the very start.

36:48 – Huh… didn’t realize TJ got third that year.

40:28 – Are those the most famous words ever uttered at a poker table?

43:17 – So true, Andy!

Currency Movements and the Poker World

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

One side effect of the global financial chaos are the zig zagging of  currencies. In mid-2008, the dollar got squashed; the pound and the euro strengthened greatly. The pound reached a 2:1 ratio for awhile against the dollar, and the euro held strong at around 1.5.

Then global financial markets collapsed in the fall. The dollar strengthened greatly against all currencies, as people made a flight to the dollar as a safe haven.

This eventually eroded, and the dollar weakened again in the latter half of 2009. However, the pound weakened too, mainly over fear of the budget deficits, so the pound did not move as well against the dollar as the Euro. The Euro got back to 1.5:1, but has since weakened, largely due to the situations in Greece, Portugal, and Spain.

With all the craziness in the currency world, I find it a bit odd that the dollar is still the primary currency used in games at non-US poker sites. Most of the time, the reason for this is the inertia of the pre-UIGEA world. Most now non-US poker rooms used to accept US players, so their games were structured in dollars.

Furthermore, the $3 max rake has become the unstated rake “price” in the poker world. Poker rooms may not want to risk players exiting for another site if they change to euros and then the dollar suddenly weakens (and their games thus becoming too pricey). I have my doubts how rake-sensitive most players, especially casual ones, are though.

For the past couple of years, I’ve expected a few of the major non-US sites to move their games to either pounds or euros and away from dollars. By moving their games and having all costs/deals made in a European currency, the poker room could limit their currency exposure and have everything in a more local-friendly currency. It’s been 3.5 years since the UIGEA and we’ve had several major currency movements in the meantime. So my guess is the trend will continue, and the dollar will stay king in the online poker world, even at sites devoid of American real-money players.

Hellmuth, Duke Appear on ‘Good Morning America’

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

In a segment that aired this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke appeared to play poker with one of the show’s anchors, George Stephanopoulos. It’s “Living the Dream” week on the show where each of the anchors aims to cross one thing off of their bucket list. Stephanopoulos’ dream was to play poker against the pros.

He got his wish when Hellmuth and Duke, along with 2009 November Nine finalist Steve Begleiter and Jason ‘Jaspuduf’ Lee, sat down with him at a poker table in Harrah’s Atlantic City. On the line was the “Good Morning America” Poker Showdown trophy. Stephanopoulos outlasted Begleiter and Lee but succumbed to Hellmuth who went on to beat Duke heads-up.

After the recorded segment aired, Stephanopoulos told his co-hosts, “it was so much fun. They were all terrific.”

You can watch the 6:20-long segment here on ABC’s website.

Harrah’s Seeking Offers for WSOP Home

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Harrah’s Entertainment, owners and operators of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), are said to be seeking a buyer for the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The property has been home to the WSOP for the past five years. Harrah’s is said to be asking for around $500 million for the property which is about a six times valuation on it’s profits of $85 million last year. While a six times valuation is generally considered cheap in the casino industry, the Rio’s value will likely fall if it no longer plays host to the WSOP. The property is located off of the Strip so events like the WSOP help keep the casino relevant since it does not get nearly as much organic traffic as other Vegas properties.

If Harrah’s sells the Rio, it’s almost certain that the 2011 WSOP will be held at a new location. This potential sale does not affect the Rio’s role as host of the 2010 WSOP.

The most likely place for a new WSOP venue would be Caesars Palace which is Harrah’s largest property. Discussions on moving the WSOP to the Roman-themed casino took place in 2008, but Harrah’s decided they could maximize room occupancy at their properties by keeping the poker festivities at the Rio.