Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Cards Speak - Or Do They ?

Apparently there was an incident in a recent televised poker tournament where a player walked off without realising he had the winning hand, and the chips went instead to the player with the losing hand, Marty Wilson.

Now I didn't see the programme (God knows I have better things to do than watch yet more televised poker) so it's hard to comment directly. It does sound to me like someone should have stepped in and sorted it out. I mean what does the "Tournament Director" actually do if he can't sort this out ? Is his job description just to stand there and look dignified ?

It's not for me to comment on Marty either - what he did is between him and his conscience.

I have been in three vaguely similar situations so I thought I would relate what happened. Quite a few years ago, when I hadn't been playing Hold-Em very long, I mis-read my hand and just couldn't see that I had won. My opponent, Gary Bush, said "No, you've got the winning hand" and actually pushed the pot to me. Since then I have always given Gary the benefit of the doubt when he has occasionally been criticised on-line over ethics, preferring to make my judgement on what I've seen with my own eyes.

On another occasion in Russell Square, in a round of each comp, we were in the final about 7-handed (4 or 5 paid), all the hands went on their backs in an Omaha pot and just as the pot was being pushed in the wrong direction I pointed out, without even thinking about it, that someone else (Pedro if I remember correctly) had a straight which won. I was then given considerable grief by a player who wasn't in the pot, on the grounds that Pedro was all in and would have been knocked out if I had kept quiet. This was well out of order, although I did come to know the player better after that, and am prepared to accept that it was out of character given that he was very drunk at the time.

And earlier this year in the US, I tried to throw away the winning hand, salvaging it just in time when I realised it was good. My opponent tried to claim it was dead, but it hadn't touched the muck, so I got away with it.

The moral ? I'm not sure. Maybe just do as you would be done by. There is such a thing as karma, and I interpret it to mean that you can angle-shoot or con or even cheat someone out of a few quid, but the cost in terms of guilt and loss of self-respect is worth a lot more than the money. Have a think about that before you choose your path, in poker and life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

And there you have it

The final post in the "Rate these players" thread on the Mob Forum reads as follows, if you have understandably given up on the whole thing :

"Trumper was the most successful player in the LNP series. As this was contested by the cream of British poker + the best player in the world Phil Hellmuth i think that makes Trumper numero uno. "

Credit to the poster for managing to express so many of the most common misconceptions about tournament poker so concisely. A fitting end to a thread containing more bollocks than perhaps any of its predecessors in the entire history of the Internet.

Monday, November 22, 2004


I am currently on the run from Hell in Sit and Goes, topped off by a spectacular 4th place this evening. In 4-handed play, my opponents survived 7 all-in coups between them, three of them at my expense, and of course on number 8, you can guess who bit the dust on his first all-in. The best way to think of it is "Look how much luck they needed to beat me". Very philosophical. I must admit though I wasn't very fucking philosophical when it happened, as half my apartment block can testify.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Phil Ivey on Sunglasses

Something interesting in CardPlayer for a change. Check out this Phil Ivey interview. Here's my favourite part :

CD: What type of tells do you look for while you’re playing?

PI: I look at the person. Getting back to my eyes, people always talk about them because I don’t wear sunglasses. I figure that if you can’t deal with someone looking at you, you shouldn’t play poker. Suck it up. If you have tells, work on them. Some people wear sunglasses so that you can’t get a read on them. That’s just poker. Lots of top players don’t wear sunglasses. I tried to wear sunglasses once at the World Series and misread my hand. I threw them into the garbage can, and they were $1,100 sunglasses.

(Phil’s wife overheard this and said, “So, that’s where those went. I thought you lost them.” “Yeah,” he said. “I lost them in the garbage can.” “Those were nice sunglasses,” she said. “Yeah, so nice that they cost me a $100,000 pot.”)

Ivey is the coolest.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Coaches in the Car Park

Gave Luton another spin last night. It's nice to keep my eye in with a bit of live play but I have to say this game is tougher every week ! Last night in the house we had Alterman, Bush, Hine, Magee, Vladar, all top players ; a dozen dangerous players like Action Dave and Xuyen ; a dozen more who won't give anything away, like the Banin brothers, John Burberry, Boots Kohli ; and a dozen Vic-style rocks like Darryl Wong. Quite a few fish besides, but you're never going to find yourself with say two good players sharing 7 fish between you.

I doubled up early on through Carmy when I flopped top two pair to his bottom set in an unraised pot, and hit my house on the turn (after going all in on the flop I have to admit). Up and down after that, but losing 4 out of 5 pots where they were on their backs pre-flop made it hard to move ahead of the pack. Eventually I made a move on Adam Hine, who is an excellent player, good enough to pass most hands but also good enough to call with AK ! My 64 didn't hit and that was my night over.

Maybe I was just on a bad table, but I was disappointed with the amount of lessons being given out. Charlie K is the main offender, but he's not so bad because all you have to do is keep schtum and he'll tell you how he plays. There was a lot of criticism of players after they were knocked out - and I can tell you one thing for sure, when I left, I know for a fact that as soon as I was out of earshot it was "64 ? What the hell was he doing ? Risk your whole tournament on that hand ?". Well boys, you keep sitting there, waiting for Aces and refusing to think about any play you don't understand, and in the words of the master you'll be alright.

I just let these things go nowadays, but even I had to have a word when this happened. UTG makes the classic fishy play of calling for 600, leaving himself about 2000. One of the blinds raises and now he goes into the tank. Tony Chapman starts singing "It's Now or Never". I wince inwardly but let it go (I do like Tony and he doesn't mean any harm). Fish furrows his brow and tries to count the pot, the dealer announces what it is and seat 10 pipes up "you're getting 2-1 odds". Fuck me, does anyone else want to help ? There's no point having a scream-up in the middle of the hand so when it was over I just told the guy he couldn't do that, and to be fair he accepted it, end of story.

But this kind of thing will happen when this atmosphere develops at a table. The worst thing about it is that poor players start to feel very self-conscious. They're perfectly happy to "do their bollocks in peace" as someone said on a forum recently, but they don't like being made to look stupid. They will tighten up and play better because of it, I've seen it time and again. Don't give lessons at the table because you will embarrass bad players ; you will educate everyone you're playing against whether they've asked for it or not ; and frankly it's just rude.

"Hang on a minute Andy" you're saying (as well as "will this post never end ?"). Didn't you just call someone a fish, and don't you have an entire blog that gives lessons ? Yes I did and yes I do. I called someone a fish on here without mentioning his name and without embarrassing him, even in the unlikely event that he reads this. I give lessons to people who are prepared to make the effort to seek them out, and who could be anywhere in the world, and very very unlikely to come up against me at the tables. That may be similar in principle but it's about 100 times less in degree. Coaches in the car park !

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Safety Dance

How safe is playing poker in Continental Europe ? It sounds less and less safe with each festival. I have read more than one very disturbing post regarding the recent Amsterdam festival, and players being robbed at gunpoint on their way between casino and hotel. All hearsay, but it is hard to believe that people would make this stuff up just to post it anonymously on the Internet. Maybe if you're trying to nip someone, that's different :-)

In truth this is no laughing matter. I have only played on the continent once, in Vienna in 2002, and even allowing for that fact that I did my proverbials (fair and square at the poker table), I didn't enjoy it much. American casino/hotels are very safe environments. Extraordinarily safe considering the amount of money splashing around. Being able to play and stay under the same roof is a huge personal safety plus. And safety aside, you have much lower expenses, round-the-clock satellites and very competent and fair floor staff (Mike Dean * style home town rulings are much less common).

I stress that much of this is hearsay regarding playing on the European circuit - I would be interested to hear from those who have played there more than I have.

* Or is it Mike Riley ? I always mix them up. The ref who gave Rooney's penalty against Arsenal you know the one I mean !

Monday, November 15, 2004

Putting The Boot In

I see that the WPT are having a "Boot Camp"

Who's running that, Annie Duke ?

Sunday, November 14, 2004


I'm happy today because QPR beat table-topping Wigan 1-0 yesterday ; I've made $600 online in three hours this weekend ; and Withnail Jr., who is definitely one of the good guys, copped E170 large in Amsterdam.

The common theme is that (I'm guessing in Tristan's case) all of us hung in there, found a bit of luck at the right time, and made it pay to the max. Rangers were second best for an hour but kept Wigan's highly-rated strikeforce out, then wrested control of the game and nicked it in the 88th minute, punishing a mistake with deadly effect. After my recent S+G humiliation, I played the perfect S+G this morning - made the money without showing a hand, and went on to win it. And Tristan was close to the felt when he found AA (if we can trust Pokervoice, but it would be hard to get that one wrong), doubled up and went on from there.

If you do things right, and hang in there, there is some natural justice in the long run - good things can happen to good people !

Friday, November 12, 2004

More dumbass American stereotyping

I was just flipping through the Amsterdam live reports. First of all commiserations to The Camel - at times when someone makes a big final but doesn't win it's hard to know whether to commiserate or congratulate, but I know Keith will be disappointed. Hang in there mate, your day is coming, that's for sure. Good luck to Tristan who's still there but will need a bit of fortune as one guy has nearly all the chips.

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that there was a Ladbrokes advert on there, proudly trumpeting the fact that American residents are not allowed to play on the site. Is that supposed to be good ? Poker is going mad in the US and there are huge numbers of American fish playing online. By contrast, there are a lot of Brits and Scandinavians on sites like Ladbrokes who know their stuff, with one crucial exception - game selection.

Meanwhile there are so many fish on Party, it's scary that these people actually have $100 to sit down in a game of poker. I wouldn' t stake most of them to play for matchsticks. This advert reminds me of the WPPA. All good players here ! OK, bye then. I prefer to swim with the fishes. Until you grasp this, you're going about poker in completely the wrong way (probably because you're thinking of it as a sport, which it isn't, and I fervently hope never will be).

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Fourth Circle of Hell

I was quite pleased with myself today. More than usual even. Apparently someone in Time Out quotes a Vic punter describing the place as "the seventh circle of hell". Having a passing familiarity with "The Inferno" (Dante was great, and not mad or anything) I thought, I bet I can find a good description of the Vic in there. But even I was surprised to turn up :

"Useless giving, and useless keeping, has robbed them of the bright world, and set them to this struggle: what struggle it is, I do not amplify. But you, my son, can see now the vain mockery of the wealth controlled by Fortune, for which the human race fight with each other, since all the gold under the moon, that ever was, could not give peace to one of these weary souls."

Such an accurate description of any card room that you expect Virgil to break off and shout "SEAT HERE !" at any moment. Just do a search if you're interested - it took me all of two minutes to find a suitable quote for the Vic in Dante's Inferno. Which says a lot about the Information SuperHighway, and even more about the Vic.

Predictably enough, hardly anyone on the Mob Forum was interested. Although Vicky C did post a response which said "Ooh. I have to admit that's very good". Which I thought was funny in its way. After all, there are people on there who would die for an "Ooh" from Vicky C. It seemed kind of wasted on someone who everyone thinks is gay.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Hard Day's Night

So I gave the Friday night freezeout another spin in Luton. After all the joking last time about not wanting to be there till 2am without cashing, I'm glad that didn't happen - it was 1-55 as I sloped out in 17th place. Quite depressing in a way to realise how much luck I needed even to get that far.

It struck me on the way back that I had spent 8 hours out of the house, in mixed company (to say the least), performing occasionally interesting but mostly routine mental exercises with the intention of earning some money. Sounds kind of familiar. Although at work I have a better expectation, zero standard deviation and I can stop for lunch.

I exaggerate slightly. It was nice to see lucky Lloyd, although Janine probably wishes I had stayed at home with my 56s, a very chipper Action Dave popped in and "The Guvnor's Guvnor" Willy Tann was there to watch and learn from. It didn't seem to be as much value as two weeks ago - while, as a tournament in Luton, there were at least two fish at every table (I think it's a by-law of some sort), there were a lot of Vic faces on show, which is always a sign that you've missed the party in a Luton game. All in all, I'm very glad I'm not doing that half the night 5 times a week. Not when I should be sleeping like a log.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Who is this Super Hero ?

The question on everyone's lips in the poker world - who is The Poker Bastard ? Firstly it's not me. I wish I had called Wendeen Eolis "The queen of arse-lickers" because that's surely what she is, but I didn't. Who knows. Of course the whole point is that his crimefighting secret identity must remain secret to us Sarges and Rosemary The Telephone Operators, to enable him to keep fighting the good fight. More power to his elbow.

Shit Happens ... to the best of us

I was subject to the ultimate humiliation in a Sit and Go this morning, or at least the ultimate humiliation that can be handed out in that format. After being chip leader with 2500 at one point, I finished fourth, ceding third place to someone who wasn't there. Nice surprise for him next time he logs on. How did I do it ? A three-way combination of bad luck, thoughtless play and ignorance of the rules. I thought that he would just lose when his last chips went in, but no, he survived the all in and I didn't have enough chips (20 more would have done !) to survive the blinds myself. Live and learn I suppose ! Sit and Goes can be frustratingly "anti-poker" sometimes even though they are profitable.

So, I'm not going to "shoot for" $2500 this month, I'm just going to play when I want to, but make sure that when I do it's in a game that's beatable and worthwhile. Then see where we are at the end of the month. Another reason for this approach is, as you may have noticed, that Roscoe and the Duke Boys have shaped the world's destiny by voting Junior in for another four years. Marvellous. God forbid, but if the four minute warning goes off I'm unlikely to think "Damn. I wish I had watched more TV and played more online poker". If there's something you want to do before you die, do it now. Which isn't a bad philosophy to live by in any times.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Maybe it's just me

For all the talk on here about the limitations to a good player's edge playing No-Limit tournaments, I'm beginning to wonder whether the bottom line is that I'm not very good at them. I made most of my money in Luton playing Stud. Now I seem to be hitting a brick wall in NL Sit and Goes, while I feel good playing Limit. As some vague sort of practice for any Poker Million qualification attempts, I have been playing some 5-handed NL single tables on Ladbrokes, and hitting the wall in those as well. It's true that I do have a good record in live winner-take-all NL single tables ; possibly because I'm free to play the kind of aggressive semi-bluffing game I want to without having to be overly concerned about elimination.

As usual, it's probably a bit of both. Funny how it goes though. If I was in Vegas right now, and I had a choice of a $500 NL tournament and a $500 Limit HE event, I'd play the limit. Even though it's their "home game" ! It is so much cheaper to represent a big hand in limit, and so much cheaper when someone outdraws or cold-decks you. When you reach the higher levels, you often have 3 chances to knock your opponent out of the pot instead of just the one.

Meanwhile if I do find myself in a live NL tournament, I'm going to play to win all the chips. As it says in the Bible, screw it *. Less EV but more fun **. It's a shame you just can't do this in 50-30-20 S+Gs online ; I think the trick there is to play high enough so that a small % edge translates to a half-decent $ edge, and keep turning the handle. No one said it was going to be glamorous !

* Quote from a recent Simpsons episode. Homer is the greatest.

** Debateably only a little less EV and maybe about the same in a lot of tournaments. Definitely more fun though.