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Daniel - Poker Journal

Teaching Patrick Props

19 Mar 2007


I've really been itching to play poker recently and since I'm home for a bit before my next tournament I thought I'd head down to the Bellagio since I got word that there would be a game.

My sleep schedule is a complete mess right now as I'm waking up at around 4:00pm each day and getting to bed early in the morning. While that sucks normally it worked out well for me on this night since the game was set to get started at 11:00pm and it looked like most of the guys were willing to play until morning.

The game was $2000-$4000 Hold'em, Omaha H/L, Stud, Stud H/L, Stud H/L Regular, 2-7 triple draw, Pot Limit Omaha, 2-7 single draw NL, and Chinese Poker. Lots of fun games in there.

For the early part of the night I was doing very well in the limit games, up probably about 70,000 before losing the following hand that sent me in a tailspin:

Pot Limit Omaha, Jennifer limped for 1000, David limped for 1000, Patrick folded the small blind, and I raised 3500 more from the BB with As Ac 10c 8h. Jennifer and David both called, so there was now $14,000 in the pot. Since we were playing $2000-$4000 rather than $4000-$8000 the cap was only $60,000 so as long as the flop wasn't too ugly for my hand I was prepared to go with it. The flop came 9s 7s 3c.

That's not a great flop for me, but it's a pretty good flop since I have the As which means no one else could have the nut flush draw. I also had an open ended straight draw of my own. I bet the pot, and David called.

The turn was the 4s and there was now $42,000 in the pot and I could bet up to the pot and that would be the end of the betting for the hand since we play with a cap of $60,000. I didn't love the card obviously, but since I had the As I felt like I should bet it in the hopes of getting David off of a straight or a flush.

I bet $25,000 and David thought for a while. He could only raise me an additional $16,500, but if he did that, I'd have no choice but to fold my hand. After a while he finally said, "All right, cap it." Doh! I couldn't even call the last $16,500, but I still think I played the hand very well. David actually had QQ22 with spades. If I bet the cap myself I think he would have called anyway, so betting the $25,000 saved me $16,500 I think.

Right after that I got caught on two consecutive bluffs in 2-7 Single Draw NL. I had trips in my hand and re-raised David from the button. Ralph Perry called and David said cap it...oops.

Two hands later I was dealt 2-3-3-3-10 and decided to "snow" again, making it $5000. Jennifer called and so did David from the BB. David drew two cards, I stood pat, and Jennifer took one.

David checked and I decided to make a bet that looked like I wanted a call, I bet $15,000. Jennifer studied for a long time, before finally calling me with 9-6-5-4-2. Even though I got caught, I still think I was a little unlucky there. If Jennifer missed her hand, that's a favorite to happen, I would have gotten away with it.

A few hands later I drew to 2-3-6-7 and made a pair. Before I knew it, my profit was gone and I was down about $80,000. I only started with $100,000 and anted off to about $5500 left. I could get more money, but decided to be a little goofy and play it like a tournament. I went all in four times, winning each time, and before I knew it I was even again, lol.

It was an enjoyable session. David and Eli were playing props and were teaching Patrick how to play. Since the last time I played props they added several new wrinkles including "7's" and "Kings." Patrick's props were similar to mine so I didn't play.

One about the first round of play a flop came 10-5-5. After the hand was over I said, "So no one hit that prop?" David and Eli looked at me like, "Shut your trap!" Patrick slept his Q-10-5 prop. Oh well, that's the kind of thing that happens when you are just learning and there isn't a human alive who hasn't slept a prop once in a while.

While the props was being played, especially with a "new guy" it really slowed the game down to a halt. Every hand was paused and there was bickering back and forth, "That was my King on the last flop and I hit the stiff jack here for doubles."
"That wasn't the last flop, the King hit the flop before that. The last flop was Q-10-4."
"No it wasn't."
"Yes it was."
"No man, are you crazy? The last flop was.... what like K...something."
"I'm telling you it wasn't."
"Jennifer, what was your up card last hand?"
"Huh? Um, it was the Qh."
"You see, I'm telling you the King was the flop before, you are not on for doubles."
"Ok, whatever. I still think it was, but whatever."

That dialogue, or one very similar to that would happen each and every hand.

Despite it all, I was really having a good time playing, especially the hi-lo games. I think my "best game" is Stud 8 or better followed closely by Omaha 8 or better. I enjoy the added variables the game offers as opposed to Hold'em which I often find rather monotonous and boring. With the other games there are more cards, more possibilities, more interesting moves and math problems. The other games keep me thinking while hold'em just doesn't do that for me as much.

I especially like playing hi-lo games short handed, four or less. I think my edge in those games is heightened when there are less players at the table since in a ring game, a more mechanical approach is required. Short handed hi-lo, though, is a game where lots of hands are playable which makes for even more difficult decisions. I love it.

As much as I love what's happened with poker over the last few years with the rise of no limit hold'em, I hope poker goes back to the beautiful game that it once was with people playing all sorts of games. The new World Championship of Poker, the $50,000 HORSE event is an excellent step in the right direction.

I predict, and I hope I'm right, that poker will start to head back into that direction and not be so hold'em dominated. If all you play is hold'em, you are missing out. No question about it. No limit hold'em is a complete bore in comparison to a good HORSE game. At least for me it is.

After an 8 hour session where I didn't swing all that much I ended the night +$19,000. If it wasn't for the no/pot limit games, I probably would have won close to $200,000.

Having said that, I enjoyed playing PLO with Patrick and David. Early in the morning it was just the three of us playing and I learned a lot about the game from them. They are clearly much better PLO players than I am so I looked at those rounds as learning experiences, clearly feeling like an underdog.

In the hi-lo games and triple draw, I felt like I was in complete control and had a significant edge which balances things out a little bit. In the current mix that we played, barring the Chinese Poker this is where I'd rank the games as far as my strengths go:

1. Stud H/L
2. Omaha H/L
3. 2-7 Triple Draw
4. Limit Hold'em
5. Stud H/L Regular
6. 7 Card Stud
7. Pot Limit Omaha
8. 2-7 No Limit Single Draw


For years, before the poker boom, we routinely played in games that were predominantly hi-lo games and triple draw, often having no hold'em or stud in the mix. I was playing anywhere from $200-$400 to $400-$800 at the time and I learned a lot from those years of grinding it out. I miss playing mixed games, especially in the tournaments.

I'm happy to see more of the events I like at the upcoming WSOP and I feel great about my chances to not only win the HORSE event, but also to win a bracelet in one of the many other non-hold'em events. With the schedule the way it is now, I don't think I'll be playing many of the no limit hold'em events, instead opting for the limit hold'em and hi-lo events where I have an even better chance for success.

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Tomorrow I'm doing an all day shoot at Venetian for a project that I'm working on. It's an early morning call and will take us through till late that night. Then on Wednesday I'll be back at Venetian for another full day of shooting.

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Cheap Thieves Update: In a previous blog I told you about my one true love, my fantasy hockey pool. Well, I won my first round series against the #1 seed in my conference 4 games to 2 and am now in the conference final against the Red Ravens. I won the first two games of the series, and despite an excellent effort in game 3 and a hat trick from Alexander Semin, the Red Ravens came up huge and won game 3. I think this series will go at least six games as I have a terrible lineup for game 4, but he has a bad lineup for game 5.

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My next tournament will either be in Reno then Foxwoods or Monte Carlo for the EPT final. I haven't made any final decisions yet although I'm leaning towards Monte Carlo if I can make it work. There may be a few obstacles with me making it down there but I should know soon.


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