Category Archives: Uncategorized

Live Poker is Rigged!!!

Well that’s if you think online poker is rigged, which I don’t. But if ever proof were needed that live poker is rigged, then here it is:

Of course it’s not rigged! As Jarred, the YouTuber who posted this video said; it’s “An Amazing Sick Hand AA vs KK vs KK!!!”

But I chuckled when I scrolled down the comments on YouTube:

This had to be a PokerStars shuffle, no wait if it was PokerStars the 5th King would have shown up!

Did Full Tilt Poker shuffle this deck?

I’m sure there are a lot more comments like these, but I usually don’t read comments on YouTube because, a) it’s usually posted by some brain dead ignorant moron, or b) it’s spam.

Perhaps I’m being overly harsh. They might have been joking about online poker being rigged. Or maybe the guys at Full Tilt/PokerStars actually did shuffle the deck for that hand. Oh man, I’m confused. Either way it’s an entertaining hand.

Poker Heaven or Poker Hell?

I play on quite a few different online poker sites. I’m lucky because I don’t live in the USA, so I have a wider choice of rooms to play at. Although I tend to spend most of my time with my American cousins playing at Full Tilt and Poker Stars, I do occasionally play at a few other sites. The problem is, apart from maybe Party Poker and the iPoker sites, the software at some of these poker rooms is so out of date. It’s amazing how bad some online poker sites are, when you think how much money they make. The prime culprit here is the Boss Media poker network. I’ve given them a bit of a bashing in the past (fully justified), but here’s part of an email they sent me this week: 

We are proud to announce that on January 14th, we will be introducing new features that will make your gaming experience even better!

Which made me think: Oh great. It’s about time they updated their software, which is incredibly annoying. Now I can play with all the fish who frequent Poker Heaven without tilting from the crappy software. Great. What changes have been made, I wonder.

         • Multitasking whilst playing poker has just got easier as you can now choose to have your table pop up when it is your turn to act. To enable this function, go to the ‘Settings’ tab in the lobby. 

Hmmm, not exactly cutting edge stuff. Helpful, but this should have been done light years ago.

         • Our new ‘Join Waiting List’ button means you will never be disappointed again if the table you wish to play at is full.

Right, okay. How long have the other online poker rooms had waiting lists? Forgive me if I’m not getting excited by this email.

         • To make you feel even more comfortable at the tables, you will also be able to choose your preferred seat by selecting the ‘Sit Here’ button.

Whoppido! And that’s the extent of their software update. It’s now 2010 for crying out loud. These changes are way overdue, but they’re still so far behind it’s untrue.

Maybe I’m being harsh, I don’t know. But when you play on Full Tilt and Poker Stars, you just get a little spoilt with there excellent software. Rant over.

Why Do Losers Say Online Poker Is Rigged?

I was having a conversation with a player from my home game the other day. We were talking about online poker, and after saying how he struggles to win online, he said “I think Poker Stars is rigged”. He’s been playing poker long enough to know it’s unlikely that Poker Stars is rigged. I was too polite to suggest it might be that he sucks at poker (actually he’s not a bad player, but online poker is a different ball game).

The whole conversation reminded me of post match interviews with football team coaches. If they won, the interview is usually about how well they played, how they took their chances, and so on. If they lose, they blame external factors, usually the referee, the rotten luck, and so on.

I believe many poker players think they are better than they truly are. They win at their local casino, so why can’t they win online? It doesn’t make sense to them. Their local game might be soft, and while there are plenty of bad players playing online poker – there’s a huge number of skilled poker players, even in the micro stakes. So rather than blame it on ‘online poker is rigged’ and jump on that bandwagon, some introspection should take place. I’m sure if I were to observe their play or analyze some hand histories, it would become clear why they are an online loser.

Some players just don’t want to know the truth – that they might not be as good as poker as they think. I know someone who regularly tells me about his bad beats, how he’s on the worst run ever, how he can’t even win with Aces in the hole, and a million other complaints. Everytime I see him he’s got a bad beat story. I suggest he puts some tracking software on his computer so we can review some of his hands – but he refuses. “I don’t need tracking software to tell me how unlucky I am” he says.

The truth is, some players just bury their heads in the sand. Maybe the truth hurts too much.

The Misrepresentation of Poker in TV Shows

I’m not talking poker TV shows, but TV shows with poker in them – such as soap operas, dramas and the like. I was watching a serial drama last night (which I won’t name for fear of embarrassment) and when they talked of having a game of poker, I just smiled and waiting with anticipation for the laughs that were sure to follow. Yep you guessed it, it was Four of a Kind vs. a Royal flush, turned over as if these two monsters of poker clash on a regular basis. I often hear people talk about poker TV shows giving the wrong impression of poker by just showing the action hands, but it’s nothing compared with the action you get in non-poker TV shows.

Actually the Four of a Kind vs. a Royal Flush is not an extreme example. I remember once seeing a drama show with four people playing poker, and the hands were; Four Kings vs. Four Aces vs. Royal Flush vs…wait for it… FIVE QUEENS (they used wild cards). Oh how I laughed.

I know it’s all about entertainment but here’s a few tips for TV researchers:

  • Play Texas Hold’em – it’s the most popular version, so why not use it rather than strip poker or 5 card draw (usually with no draws due to time constraints). The only exception should be if there are hot chicks playing, in which case strip poker is perfectly acceptable.
  • “I see your…and” – When someone says “I see your bet” then it’s a call, end of story. There should be no further raising. This will get a lot of would-be poker players in trouble at a proper poker game, particularly if there’s a long pause between the words “I see” and “I raise you”. It may result in a smack in the mouth. The same goes for slow rolling!
  • Betting Limits – There are 3 main betting structures in poker; Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit – and No Limit is still limited to what’s at the table at the start of a hand. Betting your house, car, or entire business empire is not a common situation for poker players. There is no such betting limit as Net Worth Limit.

I do hope any TV researchers reading this take onboard these constructive criticisms and I look forward to not seeing the great game of poker duly mis-represented next time I watch TV. Right must go, the World Poker Tours on telly.

Poker and Data Mining Software

I use Poker Tracker, and I love it. The main reason why I love it, is because I can keep track of my wins and losses, right down to each session, starting hand, and so much more. It’s a useful tool for learning what mistakes I might be making and how to improve my game. Every once in a while I’ll look deep into the statistics and see where I can plug a hole or two in my game.

The other major advantage of using Poker Tracker is the HUD. For those unfamiliar with this, it basically overlays vital information about your opponents onto the table. The basic stats are; hands played, voluntary $ put into pot (not including blinds), preflop raise percentage, and overall aggression factor. Some people argue that such software is cheating or is unfair as in the real world of poker (live casino play) you have to find this information through observation, and so should be the case for online poker. However my main argument against this is that many online poker players will just be there to grind away on multiple tables, playing virtually nothing other than premium hands, and while it’s their right to do so, it wouldn’t happen in live play (people would notice and they’d get no action). Without a HUD it would be very hard to notice the players who play in this way, and they’d probably end up winning my money.

While I think a HUD is fair game, I don’t think it’s right that people’s data can be bought. There are many sites that will sell hand histories, and you can import this data into your software. I think this is wrong and is cheating. It’s not right and is bad for online poker in general. I also think sites like Sharkscope, which mines data from the sites and displays it publicly is also wrong. It’s a matter of privacy and if a player wants to win or lose then it should be their right to do so in private. I know many online poker rooms are very much against this type of data mining, and Poker Stars has banned the use of Sharkscope on their site. I think this is the right thing to do, but they are probably facing a losing battle, as there are now so many data mining sites. My fear is that one day online poker will just turn into a battle of who has the best software.

Oh and before I go, just to update on my previous post. Unfortunately I’ve not won a WSOP seat just yet. I’ll keep trying though – you just never know!

Lady Gaga's Poker Face – a Poker Anthem?

A few months ago a friend of mine said “there’s this song called poker face by Lady Gaga- you should listen to it”. I probably replied “who the hell is Lady Gaga?” and left it at that, since I didn’t listen to it. That was until about a week ago, when I heard it for the first time and realized this is the song my friend had been talking about. Even though it’s a girlie chick song (so is my friend), I’ll admit that it’s quite catchy – not bad I thought. I listened to it a few times on YouTube and observed the lyrics to see what the song might reveal about Lady Gaga’s poker thoughts. Here’s a snippet from the chorus:

“Can’t read my, can’t read my
No he can’t read my poker face

Well, this is good to know. Lady Gaga clearly knows how to keep a good poker face. So far, so good.

“Cause I’m bluffin’ with my muffin”

Yes, Lady Gaga actually uses the line “cause I’m bluffin’ wth my muffin”. I’m not quite sure what to make of this line, other than it may be pure filth (lyrics also include “love – if it isn’t rough it’s not fun”) – dirty minx! Indeed I conclude that this song is nothing to do with poker, and this left me feeling hugely disappointed. What other songs can educate our youth of the joys of poker?

Well there aren’t too many songs I could actually think of, apart from a couple of classics. Let’s take a look at MotorHead’s “Ace of Spades”, which includes the line:

“I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace of Spades”

Okay, so he’s going for a one-outer! Not good, not good at all.

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,
But that’s the way I like it baby”

Ah, such a shame. I was expecting better from this classic rock anthem. While it’s a better song than Lady Gaga’s Poker Face, and is a slight improvement lyrcis wise – it still leaves me a little cold. This brings me to the legend that is Kenny Rogers. From his classis “The Gambler”:

“He said, son, Ive made a life out of readin peoples faces,
And knowin what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.”

At last, some good old, solid poker advice. Is it any wonder that poker players wear sunglasses? It’s all in the eyes baby! He follows this words of wisdom with more…

“Said, if youre gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.”

Unlike MotorHead, Kenny is an advocate of playing poker the right way. Good on ya Kenny! This is backed up with the famous chorus line:

“You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.”

This is great stuff from Kenny Rogers. He’s teaching the fundamentals of the game of poker, and I’m impressed. Unfortunately he makes a big mess of the last line in this section of the song:

“Now evry gambler knows that the secret to survivin
Is knowin what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause evry hands a winner and evry hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

I have to disagree Kenny. Most poker players hope for an WSOP bracelet, or a TV appearance, or a big fat winners check (preferably all three) – not to die in their sleep. But hey ho, a good job nonetheless. You put Lady Gaga to shame. Actually, going back to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face – those of you following High Stakes Poker will be aware that Barry Greenstein often has a bet to slip in certain phrases, such as his recent “math is idiotic” comment. Well here’s one for you Barry – say “bluffin’ with my muffin”. I dare you!

Poker in Atlantic City

On a recent trip to New York I decided to take a visit to Atlantic City. It’s less than two and a half hours from New York by Greyhound, even if it’s not the nicest way to travel. I stayed at the Hilton Resort this time, which was cool, but they only had a small poker room and the cash games on offer are a little limited. So I spent most of my time playing at Caesars Palace and the Taj Mahal.

While playing poker at the Taj I was seated next to a Russian guy who couldn’t speak a word of English and didn’t really have a sound grasp of the game either. I only found out later that he was Russian because another Russian joined the table. This guy was involved in practically every hand, and I had him to my right. Happy days! I managed to hit a nice winning streak, including quad jacks, and turned what started off as a losing session into a winning one, with plenty of chips coming from the Russian next to me.

My next venue was the Borgata – which is a superb casino with an excellent card room. It reminds me a little of the Venetian in Las Vegas, my favourite poker room in Sin City. Anyway, I gotta tell you about this hand I was involved in at the Borgata, but don’t worry it’s not a bad beat story! We’re playing $1/$2 NL hold’em and I have JQ off suit. There are 5 players in the hand. The flop comes 289 rainbow and everyone checks. The turn brings the 10, giving me the nuts. Someone makes a medium bet, one player calls, and two fold. I raise it up, then the other guy re-raises, the other caller re-raises, and I also move all in. There is probably about $1200 in the pot that I can win. I suspected that one of the players may have the same hand as me, as he was playing super tight, but would you believe that all three of us had the same hand of JQ! It was a 3 way chop!

Never a Cheaper Time for a Poker Trip

With the economy in the shape that it’s in America and the fact that more and more people are being laid off or let go from their jobs, taking a trip is the last thing on many people’s mind – especially if it involves live poker.  In these times, not too many people are up for flying or driving long distances just to play in a poker tournament or ring games.  But the truth is that if you’ve got a job and some extra money then there may never be a better time to go and do this. 

That’s because casinos in major gambling destinations like Las Vegas and Atlantic City are desperate to get people to come to their establishments.  They are so desperate in fact that they are dropping the rates of their hotel rooms to record lows.  Some of the best casinos in Las Vegas are letting people stay in their rooms for as little as $20 to $30.  And you won’t find better deals than this at any point when the economy gets better.

Flights are extremely cheap too since airlines are just as desperate to get people to travel.  Some people are getting round trip flight tickets along with a four or five night stay in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City for as cheap as $300 or $400.  There has definitely never been a better time to go and schedule a trip to somewhere where you’d like to play in a poker tournament.

Now obviously if you don’t have the extra money you don’t want to be spending a bunch of cash on poker and flights.  However, if you’ve got a job and would really like to play some live poker then now is certainly the time to do it because there’s no telling if deals will ever be this good again. 

South Carolina is Finally lightening up

South Carolina has traditionally been one of the toughest states in America when it comes to poker and gambling.  In fact, this state has had restrictions against gambling in general for over two centuries and has been one of the most reluctant states to change.  However, there could be some light on the horizon since a new bill has been introduced that would allow private poker games and gambling-related fundraisers to take place within the state.

The bill was introduced by Glen McConnel (R-Charleston) and it calls for people to be allowed to have private poker games at their house as long as there is not rake taken plus charity fundraisers where slot machines and sports betting are the only things barred.  McConnel did a good job in pointing out that South Carolina’s ancient anti-gambling laws could be understood to prevent simple board games such as Monopoly from being played and said that the state shouldn’t determine whether or not friends can play poker together.

He also went on to state how effective things like casino night can be in helping churches and other non-profit organizations raise money.  A bill similar to McConnel’s was introduced two years ago, but it never made it out of the committee.

This makes me wonder whether or not the new bill has a chance of succeeding in a state where gambling has been looked at as an evil for 207 years.  However, I definitely think South Carolina needs to take some steps forward in relation to their strict anti-gambling laws and consider passing this bill.

How much Money will Full Tilt get for durrrr Challenge

The Tom Dwan challenge has been going on for a couple of weeks at Full Tilt Poker with him taking on Patrik Antonius in heads-up play.  For those who haven’t heard about this, “durrrr” will be playing Antonius under the condition that Patrik will get to keep $1,500,000 if he wins the challenge while Dwan will only pocket $500,000 if he wins the battle.  And since the two will be playing thousands of hands in $200/$400 Pot Limit Omaha it begs the question of how much money Full Tilt Poker will pull in during this event.

The last day I heard about in the challenge saw Dwan earn almost $135K while Antonius lost a little over $135K in 1,541 hands.  There was a $297 difference between the two players and this went as rake towards Full Tilt.  And this doesn’t seem like a whole lot of money to me since the pair is playing for such high stakes, but I went looking for how much rake the two are expected to generate anyways.

The common answer I found was that Dwan and Antonius will make about $10,000 in rake together.  Once again, when you’re talking about $200/$400 limit, $10,000 does not seem like a whole lot of money.  But you have to put things in a bigger perspective too when thinking about how much money this will generate for the site.

And the bigger picture is that the durrrr challenge will be attracting a whole lot more players to Full Tilt through advertising alone.  Lots of poker players have already heard about this challenge and you can count on some of these people being drawn to Full Tilt as a result.  It should be exciting to see who wins in the end!