October 02, 2006

Political Sliminess

Bill Frist, proving that he is a politician, uses a ploy that has always bugged me to get the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006" passed.

He attached it to The SAFE Port Act of 2006.

I have always hated this tactic, particularly in the instance of completely unrelated legislation. Anyone who voted against this bill would be tagged with being against protecting the US, a designation they are obviously unlikely to embrace. If President Bush vetoes it (and let's face it, he is anti veto anyway) no one will report the extraneous language that loaded this bill down. They will just report that he doesn't care to protect the US through the very simple SAFE port legislation.

The president who has stood strongest against our foreign enemies gets handed a security bill with no way to avoid the stench of the pile of poo it got dipped in.


Posted by Vox at 04:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2006

More Poker Sniping

State lotteries, online or off, are legal. Poker, online or off, isn't?

What's the difference? My belief is that it is the ability of the bureaucrats to extract their cut. If Washington was getting a nice big chunk of the pie they wouldn't give a second thought to the industry.

Pokerati points out a story on the recent rumblings in D.C. attempting to throttle online gambling.

One of the main points used to bemoan the rise of internet gambling is "the children", because having gambling sites available means that children around the world will be getting addicted. As Las Vegas & Poker points out:

If there's any one single thing that will keep online poker from legality, it's the same old argument that keeps vintners from shipping wine across state lines - What about the children? What the hell are these kids doing with their parents' credit cards anyway? Hell, our dad kept a stash of quarters in a Crown Royal bag in his top drawer, and god help us if that bag had shifted an eighth of an inch from on top of his Playboys due to our need to buy a Slurpee or some Fun Dip. If we had bought a box of '88 Donruss with a pilfered credit card? We don't even want to think of the consequences. Maybe the real warning should be Why can't mom keep her Visa in her purse?

I would rather have my teenager spending time playing poker online, which they can do for FREE at sites like Bodog.net, than spending that same computer time on mySpace.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention I would rather have children playing with broken glass than playing with mySpace, the glass just seems safer to me.....

Posted by Vox at 03:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2006

Suspicious Play

I occasionally play poker online, generally just the tournaments that cost me nothing (or nearly nothing) to enter. Many people suspect that online sites are fixed or crooked in some way, a claim I usually dismiss. Yeah, you see a lot more straights/flushes/quads online than in a live game, but you also play a lot more hands - the computer just deals 'em up quicker.

However, sometimes something happens to make even me doubt.

Case in point: 8 players at the table. I have Q-9 off suit, a player in front of me bets heavy (a couple hundred) pre-flop. I fold, not a strong enough hand for me to stay in. Player after me calls - a very large bet, remember. Flop comes 6-8-J. First player bets heavy again and gets the call. Turn in a 3, River is a 6.

The first player, the one who initiated the betting had pocket kings - definitely a hand to bet heavy. The player who called had 6-3 off suit, so he won with a full house. But why in the WORLD would you call that big of a bet, pre-flop, with a couple of rags, unless you had some way to know you would get those cards on the board? It seriously makes me wonder if they have ringers in the player pool, especially when said player manages to win the tournament (which had a guaranteed payout but low sign up, meaning they would have to have paid out $300, even though only 9 people signed up so they took in less than $40) .....

Posted by Vox at 01:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 24, 2006

We Got Trouble

For those of you familiar with the show The Music Man, you know that in order to con the town out of some cash, Harold Hill had to first convince them of the perils of the pool hall.

Sounds like politicians are working on convincing us of the evils of the poker room, and ensuring that it is an opportunity to confiscate all the money they can find.

Let's hope Sheriff Joe doesn't get wind of this.

Posted by Vox at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2006

Shuffle Up and Deal

Had a good streak at the game Saturday night always nice to come out ahead.

Hopefully, I am not at Poker Zombie level - but I do enjoy the game.

Posted by Vox at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2006


Forgot to mention my other boneheaded play from yesterday:

I have A-something in the hole, flop comes A-A-10. I am golden at this point, how can I lose with that hand. I make a minimal bet, hoping to get callers and build up the pot by not giving away the invincibility of my hand.

Turn comes with a rag, and I bet heavy. I am hoping he thinks I made a small pair with that rag, or that I am bluffing - I want him to call me and my set of Aces. He does. (I actually think I had gone all in here, and we flipped our cards)

The river comes with a 7 of diamonds, complete rag......yeah, Baby!

Er...eek! That was all he needed to complete his freakin' flush.

Had I bet heavier on the flop, he probably wouldn't have called. By the time I made my move, he had made a pair and had a flush draw - the odds were right for him to call. Ouch!

I was so blinded by those beautiful aces, I lost sight of the other possibilities in front of me. Fortunately, I had more chips than he did at that point, so I wasn't completely out, and I managed to recover. But, DAMN! Just....DAMN!

Also, forgot to mention that it was SG who crushed me and my three aces. Just makes it that much more embarrassing. *damn*

Posted by Vox at 03:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 11, 2006

Poker Basics

There are certain things you need to be able to do well to have a chance at poker. Besides the ones I mentioned here, you should also be able to read - the board, your opponents...

I have always been pretty confident in my ability to read the board. I can see what is there, what is possible, what might beat me. I have never mastered reading my opponents, I just can't seem to figure what they might have. Some players are really good at that, and I am often amazed when someone at the table will tell me exactly what I have ("you've definitely got two pair") before they raise/call/fold. Often my board reading is enough.

So I am playing today, and having a decent run. I chopped one pot and took one outright. Feeling good. I am in with a decent stack of chips, don't know if I was the leader, but I was looking good.

I am in the blind, so I go ahead and call with my middle cards. The flop comes and I have a straight draw - not a high straight, but the high end of it. I make a decent size bet and get a caller. The turn comes and I have it made, so I bet again - and he calls. Bear in mind that the board is showing a possible straight and there is a King out there. River comes with a repeat of one of my straight cards, so I bet AGAIN - and he calls. I'm thinking he has a king or two in the hole, but I am still feeling pretty good.

Then he flips his cards and he has a seven, to make two pair (there is a seven and two 5s on the table) and I flip my cards and say, "I have a straight". All cocky and stuff.

Only I don't. I completely misread the board - I am a card short. Doh! So I lost a LOT of chips, crippled myself. @$#*&! I was pretty much on life support after that, hung on a bit longer but couldn't recover.

But why in the world was he calling with a pair of sevens? With a higher card and a straight on the table, my bets should have induced him to lay it down.

Posted by Vox at 07:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Yes, I Would....

I was noodling around over at The Party Poker Blog and came across this quote - and the whole office was amused:

My favorite is when Pug, in a moment of weakness, asks his girlfriend "Would you still love me if I were broke?" Her response: "Yes, I would, Pug. And I'd miss you, too."

BTW: Funny blog, interesting poker tidbits - INSANELY long, rambling posts full of unrelated material that makes it difficult to link to the info you want, and confusing to read through. Argh!

Posted by Vox at 02:28 PM | Comments (2)

August 10, 2005

Poker Epiphany

Why I am a bad poker player: I get bored too easy.

Do I think poker is boring? Nope, not at all - but I don't have the patience/focus/stamina - whatever - for the long haul. I am good for a couple of hours tops, then I need new scenery and start giving away chips.

It is a little better online where I can multitask, but at a live table, choking on the smoke, forget it. I have played with SG and his friends a few times - the first few hands I do fine, by about third third buy in I am out of it and they all get their money back.

It is hardly worth the drive to a casino for the length of play I am likely to indulge in - unless SG is playing (which is true of most live games). Once he busts out or moves to blackjack, I lose interest. And tournaments? Forget it, if there are more than about 50 players involved it is going to take tooooo long.

Posted by Vox at 01:44 PM | Comments (2)

July 27, 2005

Luck of the Draw

There are a couple of schools of thought on poker: luck versus skill. I personally believe it is both; the luck comes in with the cards, the skill comes in with the chips.

In a long, rambling, Guinness fueled post over at Party Poker Blog I found a bit of a gem comparing poker to golf:

I was talking to a good friend, an avid golfer, about this concept today. And he showed me how golf is similar - the very "stickiness" of it - it's challenging to the point that you can never solve it. And usually, the enemy is yourself.

Because of this, poker, like the game of golf, hooks the susceptible and the desperate with the seductive promise of coming up a winner against all odds via nothing more than the auspices of Lady Fortune. And thus, like gambling, golf becomes addictive. Just one more round. I can feel it.

Today's the day luck rides in my cart. Today's the day that higher power makes me destiny's tot, guides me thru the shadow of the valley of incompetence on a giddy roll of clean fairway drives, miracle putts and group one hands.

Well, it didn't work today. Maybe tomorrow. I'll just keep playing until it does. Gawdamnit, it's only a matter of a few inches here, a few folds there and a tad more topspin on my approach. Can't stop now - sooo tantalizingly close I can taste it!

It's maddening sometimes, isn't it?

I mean, everytime I've built a giant stack in the NL ring game at the boat, I lose a large chunk of it to a bad beat. It's becoming a theme. So I've become very adept at building that stack - now I just need to learn how to keep it. (Don't play big pots with the other big stack, damnit!)

Now, I do believe it is possible to get cold-decked in which case, if you stay at the table you can easily get blinded out. But I also believe that having bad cards is not going to keep you from winning pots, I have pulled in some doozies with nuthin' but a phony tell. It is harder to make that work online, but it is doable if you are bold enough - and willing to lose a lot of chips if someone calls your bluff. In the same rambling post we get Daniel Negraneau's take on playing online:
Last year at BARGE, Howard Lederer said that online tournament practice is very valuable, especially as younger players can gather up a great mass of tournament experience without ever leaving their living room.

Obviously the biggest difference between live play and online poker play would have to be the absence of physical tells. A great player's tell reading ability is neutralized online, which leaves just the fundamentals. If you have a good understanding of poker fundamentals, there should be no reason why playing poker online wouldn't be profitable. There are likely a few minor adjustments you would have to make when playing online though:

1. You will have to call more potential bluffs more often. Without the presence of physical tells, the only way you'd be able to make a big laydown would be to have logged enough hours with your opponents and have a good read of his betting patterns. When playing online though, it's likely that you'll often face players you've never played before. Against them, it's important to pay them off until you have enough information otherwise.

2. You should bluff less often. Again, if you are supposed to look people up more often than you normally would, then so should your opponents - and they will. So bluffing more than you need is just a total waste of money. Your profit from these games comes from VALUE BETTING, not bluffing.

So true. The occasional bluff will work, but not as often - and nowadays, with the explosion of Texas Hold 'Em, there are a lot of green players. You can't bluff the flush if the player isn't able to recognize it sitting on the board. A great bluff will fail against someone who doesn't understand that the odds of him getting the one card he need are not worth the risk.

I'll finish up my long rambling post with yet another excerpt from his long rambling post.

Attributes of a winning poker player by Dr. Al Schoonmaker:
  • Extreme self control- no impulsive behavior
  • Ability to concentrate intently- no wandering thoughts
  • Ability to admit mistakes quickly- and thus terminate them
  • Ability to depersonalize conflicts- be objective regardless of personalities involved
  • Selective aggressive play at the table
  • Acceptance of responsibility - accountability for all your results
  • Always demanding an edge/advantage before you play
  • Brutal realism- the absence of denial or kidding yourself
  • Visible thinking- thinking through and knowing why you made every play
  • Ability to learn from your mistakes
  • Obsession with winning
  • Ability to make adjustments based on observations; adaptability
The ones I've mastered are in bold letters.

Posted by Vox at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

On Poker...and blogs

Gonzo poker bloggers bring World Series to life in real time

The community of poker bloggers is only a few years old, but already they've stolen the spotlight with live World Series of Poker coverage, sold out to bigger publications, and even run an online charity poker tournament.

Posted by Vox at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2005

Took 'Em Long Enough

Well, we finally got a winner in the WSOP big event. You can get the play by play at Poker Wire and Tao of Poker for the "there I was" feeling.

I sort of lost interest once everyone I was pulling for was knocked out, the last being Phil Ivey who came in 20th (only $300,000 - poor guy) and then the only other names I recognized were gone early from the final table. I will be interested to see it when it is broadcast, and I believe ESPN will be showing some of it on Tuesday - then the whole edited deal in October.

Congrats to Lebanese/Australian Joseph Hachem! Not a bad payoff for 6 days of card playin'

Posted by Vox at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Tao of Poker

At the risk of overwhelming his site when my four readers click through: visit Tao of Poker, he is live blogging the event.

Posted by Vox at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

Thinning The Herd

Latest standings at the 2005 WSOP big event. Check out my Phil Ivey - number 7 going into today.

Posted by Vox at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

And Then There Were 567

The latest chip counts at the big WSOP tournament.

Phil Ivey managed to triple his chips and started the day with nearly $90,000. A far cry from the chip leader's $464,000, but good enough to keep him going. There is money to the top 560 finishers, so almost everyone who started out the day will get paid.

Side notes:
There are still 16 people from Arizona hanging in there.
There is a Nick Cassavetes from Los Angeles in there....do you think it is him?

Posted by Vox at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

WSOP Chip Counts

Going in to what is officially day 2, here are the counts.

Amazing that so many of the big names are already gone. At this point I think I am pulling for Phil Ivey, but with less than $30,000 in chips it doesn't look good for him......

Posted by Vox at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2005

Such As It Is

I did my best to get some info on the WSOP Tournament in Vegas - these are the chip counts as far as I can gather. Sorry it ain't real pretty...

Posted by Vox at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

It's Everywhere

Online poker in the comics, funny and true.....


Posted by Vox at 03:17 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2005

Lucky # 12

I played in free poker tournaments the last two nights, and finished 12th both times.

Last night I started strong and was even the chip leader for a while, then I just got sloppy and put myself out. Don't even remember what beat me.

Tonight, I was playing horribly with one exception. Usually, when I try to slow play the table, I end up losing. Early on I flopped a king high straight and bet it like I was chasing it, which got someone to go "all-in" when I checked on the river. Always feels good to put someone out. Unfortunately, that was my one shining moment all night. I put my own self out when I got a straight later on, which blinded me to the possible flush showing on the table.


Bummer. I guess I'll just have to try again.....

Posted by Vox at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

Play Money 2

I enjoy playing poker, especially Texas Hold 'em. I like the balance between luck (the cards) and strategy (the chips). You can lose with good cards, and win with bad ones, if you bet them right.

I have been wasting some time lately on the Bodog play money tables. They start you off with $400 and you go from there - unfortunately, as soon as you lose your money, they give you another $400. When you are at a 'table' with others who want to play the game it is fine.

But eventually, even at a good table, a couple of yahoos show up who go All In on every hand...then just replenish their funds if they lose. That takes all of the strategy, and thus all of the fun, out of it. It makes me wonder why they are there at all. They could just as easily sit at home and deal out a few hands just to see which seat gets the best ones.


Posted by Vox at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

May 15, 2005

Caveat Emptor

Since I have been endorsing online gambling - sort of - I thought I would point you to this article regarding the legality of those sites.

It strikes me as yet another example of the Nanny State mentality of the government claiming to want to protect us from ourselves. That is not the job of our elected officials, they should just worry about protecting us from other people. If you read my previous posts you will see that I am not actually a gambler, only playing with fake money. Why? Because I can't afford (or don't want to) lose real money. That is my choice. If you want to play with real money, that is your choice. I know there are people who go overboard and drain their bank accounts but I didn't vote for anyone in the office of "keep people from spending their own money". Not.your.job. There do seem to be several committees of "keep people from having money to spend" - but that's a different (annoying) deal

I believe what it really comes down to is the Feds don't have enough access to the revenue. They have no problem with lotteries. They have no problem with brick and mortar casinos - heck, I can point my car in just about any direction and be at a casino in 20 or 30 minutes. But they get revenue from those. The casinos in Arizona contribute around a billion dollars each year just in direct tax money. Those greedy politicians love that and promptly spend it on some stupid program or other that should not be financed via public funds - but I digress. Add to that any additional monies from tourism/travel, food/beverage, gasoline...... Not to mention the enormous cash infusion to the Indian community. That's commerce, Baby. Free enterprise. Viva Capitalism!

What is the difference with online gambling? No way for the government to get their fingers convincingly into the pie. I imagine they will figure it out soon enough - there is just too much money changing hands for them not to skim off a portion for themselves.

Posted by Vox at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2005


You know how, when you are upset/feeling bad/depressed/off balance, you will do stuff like prolific blog postings, dusting your baseboards, sorting your vitamins....basically anything to avoid dealing with what you are feeling? Or is it just me?

Anyway, I am running out of diversionary activities and I am not ready to face my problem. Suggestions?

UPDATE: I'm going to try an online poker tournament. They have one that costs nothing to get in and I could win up to $100. And I will be distracted...
Or not - that was quick. Knocked out on the first hand I played - 2 pair, aces and jacks. He had three of a kind. On the plus side, he got knocked out three hands later.

Incidentally, having been hit once again with comment spam for an online gaming site of which I most certainly don't approve, I have decided to list the Official Vox Online Gaming Destination as one that I do - Bodog. If you sign up, please enter referral number P1F1B13 (SG, I know you have a different referral number but I can't find it. If you send it to me or leave it in the comments I will put it up - I know you will get more benefit from it than I will)

Posted by Vox at 04:59 PM | Comments (2)