Jason's Poker Blog

  1. 2009-02-19 00:41:56

    February 2009 Vegas Deep Stack Extravaganza

    It's that time again :) I'm walking out the door in 5 mins. Everybody and their mother (including my grandma and grandpa) are going to be there. My poker group has had great success this last month in Vegas last weekend, so let's keep that going! More updates as I get the chance.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-02-19 00:41:56 | permalink | Discuss (8 comments)

  2. 2009-01-28 06:35:34

    San Mateo County Poker Bust Wrap-Up

    It's been over a year since the fateful San Mateo County Poker Bust. I was looking over my blog drafts tonight, and realized I never really summarized the repercussions of what went down.

    Here is the standard slanted summary from the San Mateo Daily Journal.

    For those of us who can read between the lines, here's the real summary...

    On January 12, 2008, Bert was arrested and charged with nine misdemeanor counts of fraudulently obtaining money under false pretenses and for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Trish was arrested and charged for two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    As it turns out, the DA didn't want to go to trial (because he couldn't win), so he offered a settlement. Bert pleaded no contest to illegal gambling (and was fined $3,500) and Trish pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace (and was fined $1,159). They both received 18 months court probation.

    As you can see, the end result of this 3-month investigation (and tons of tax-payer money, including the entry fees they lost to me hahahahhahhh) was no-contest pleas to drastically reduced charges and fines. What exactly did the police and DA accomplish, aside from screwing some good people over for a while? I don't know... I guess people can park a bit easier. Seems like the long way around.

    BTW, if you've ever wondered what happens to your things when they get taken in for evidence, I'll let you in on a secret: your things get destroyed and lost. I heard the police put gigantic evidence stickers on all of the table felt and the sticky residue could not be removed. Additionally, multiple chairs and poker chips were missing. I'm sure the police needed some more poker chips for their home games...

    So, if you ever get busted for a standard home poker game that isn't really doing anything wrong, get a good lawyer and don't sweat it too much. And more importantly, the next time you get a chance to vote for a sheriff or district attorney, make sure you make an informed decision. Turns out San Mateo County could have done a better job...

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-01-28 06:35:34 | permalink | Discuss (9 comments)

  3. 2009-01-18 02:40:14

    Success in Santa Cruz

    I arrived in Santa Cruz last night and unfortunately missed my turn to get to Megan's. The good news is we were going to meet down town in about a half-hour, so I used the opportunity to pick up advance tickets for the Saturday noon 40-person $30+$20 add-on/rebuy tournament at the Ocean View Card Room. And, what do you know, they had three 3-100 Spread Limit Hold'em tables ($100 max buy-in) running this Friday night, so how could I not sit down and play?


    I sat down and promised myself I'd play straight-forward cash game poker, as I have been studying under Jeff and his methods do seem successful. I take down the blinds a few times, check-call a bluffer on the river, and have built up to about $130. Then am fortunate enough to get in the big blind when faced with a open-raise on the button. I immediately 3-bet the sucka, and he 4-bets for about 10% more of the pot. Aces for the win! LOL.

    Ah well. I fold a couple more revolutions and it's almost time to go when I get (favorite hand!). (Not really.) I flat-call a mid-position 4xBB raise (maybe I should have re-raised; probably I should have folded) and one person calls behind me. The flop is so I'm ready to release. Raiser checks, I check, and the button stabs at the pot. This guy has been pretty active, so I was considering check-raising him until the preflop raiser called. Then I figured I might as well squeeze the crap out of both them. I pick up that $60 and cash out for a cool $35 profit. :p

    I really wanted to be a dick and ask them why they didn't let me hit my straight and flip my cards up, but I was leaving and figured I'd rather not give them any more reason to remember me for next time.


    The setup: you get 1000 in chips and the blinds are 25/50 (ouch!) and you can rebuy or add-on (but not both) at $30 for 2000 in chips.

    The hint: if you intend to play well and not gamble preflop, exercise your add-on immediately.

    The result: I tangled with one of the other few big stacks for the whole amount with my overpair against his flop set. Ugh. Stupid.

    The Galen

    This crazy mofo was down to negative chips (practically). There was a point when he stoled the blinds and his stack increased by 25%... Somehow he held on. I was busy playing the cash game, but every time I walked over, he was knocking somebody out. I swear. Somebody would push, he would call with a better hand, and they would be gone.

    The first hand of note: Galen calls an opponent's all in with his . The guy had and a shorter stack. The flop blasts Galen: . The turn is no good... . BUT, guess what the river is: ! Woooooooooooo. LOL. Galen takes out the next two players by calling with medium aces preflop and not getting screwed. The other player at the table (Gary, a regular) seems content letting Galen do the dirty work.

    The Prop

    I sit back down at the cash game and the conversation goes towards the heads up battle that is about to ensue. I state that I hope Galen doesn't take any chop offer, as he is almost a 2-to-1 chip favorite. Of course, most players at the table support the regular, and say it's in Galen's best interest to chop. I tell them they don't know the genius of Galen, and even if he gets outplayed, it's still heads up! Galen can get lucky and end it, or he can lose a big hand and their positions would only be swapped. Simple mathematics makes him the favorite. One player tells me Gary doesn't get into situations where he's all in and needing to get lucky... Yeah, right.

    I tell the table to put their moneys where their mouths are. I offer even money that Gary loses, up to $50. Only one player (a kewl kat on my left) has the nuts to sack up and we each threw down $20.

    The Finish

    Gary, being the proficient tournament player that he is, does indeed start to outchip Galen. What he doesn't know is that Galen's strategy is to let you think you know what's going on, and then he crushes your hopes and dreams by making a spectacular call that makes you crap your pants. This exact scenario (perhaps minus the crap) went down shortly after Gary become about a 2-to-1 chip favorite. Gary moved in with and Galen snap-called with . These hands will split frequently (I'm too lazy - 30%ish?) but Galen masterfully gets a quick 6 on the turn. Boom, baby.

    If I recall correctly, Gary went all in again the very next hand. This time Galen called him pretty quickly with . The flop was strong: . The turn was theh and the river was the , completing the flush. Of course, Gary had moved in with . Oops.

    A few hands later it was all over for Galen. Ah well. I guess you can't win every race. I go pay my debt, and the guy who beat me was amicable about it. The guy who told me Gary doesn't need luck tried to rub it in my face. I'm pretty sure my money went in good :)

    Galen scooped $450 real quick and got my lunch. Woot!


    Okay, here's the best part of the day. I was stuck for about $200 in the cash game, but I made a hero call with my pocket tens against pocket nines to double my third buy-in up to $195. I was still down $105 and had to get up to watch Galen play the heads-up match. I folded all the way to UTG and decided a straddle was in order. I asked if I could straddle for more than $6 and luckily they said yes...

    I pre-tipped the dealer $3 and straddled for $12. I figured I'd cash out for an even $180. I've had less fun for $12, for sure. Two people called the straddle, and the small blind put in $50 on top. This guy had bad-beat me earlier by calling my preflop raise with some weak holdings. He was pretty aggressive, so it wasn't that unexpected. I sighed and checked my cards, figuring it was a quick muck.

    I accidentally found under my card protector, and stated "I raise the maximum amount, whatever that is". Of course, that was $100, so I still had $40 left. I could tell the guy really wanted a reason to call me, but was convincing himself to lay it down. I told him, "If you want some help, I'll give you good implied odds. If you call here, I'll put my last $40 in no matter what the flop is." He quickly obliged, and bet $40 in the dark.

    Hero (that's me):
    Guy (that's him):
    Hero: up $90!


    Jeff's cash game strategy worked out pretty well here. People called a bit more than I liked, so I had to tighten up the range and play more positional. In the end, I probably made some really stupid plays and got exceedingly lucky with the kings. Some day I'll learn how to play for real...

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-01-18 02:40:14 | permalink | Discuss (6 comments)

  4. 2009-01-07 20:50:54

    Solution For How To Play In-Between (Acey Deucey)

    I was co-chilling with my poker-playing cousin and the rest of his family shortly after Christmas when an opportunity to play some cards with his neighbors came up. Never one to pass up such an opportunity, I made the short trip to the neighbors and once introductions were complete, we were gambling it up.

    And I mean gambling... we first played 7-Card No-Peek Baseball. In this house, five-of-a-kind beats straight flushes, and I skillfully flipped over quad queens with my first 5 cards, only to be outdone by quad kings. Of course, I had 2 cards to go and one was a wild. Thank you for the 5-of-a-kind hours rule! :) After a couple cracks at follow the queen (the variant where the queens are always wild, of course) we settled in for a long game of Acey Deucey.

    The Game

    If you don't know the rules, here it is. Everybody antes into the pot. Each player takes a turn, starting with the left of the dealer until there is no money left in the pot. A turn consists of two cards being dealt face up and the player betting an amount of money whether or not the third card will fall in between the first two (thus, the name "In-Between"). A player may bet anything from zero to the pot. If the third card is in between, the player wins from the pot the amount that was bet. If the card is outside the first two cards, the player has to add the bet into the pot. If the third card matches one of the first two, the player must pay twice the bet into the pot.

    The best possible two-card combination is an ace and a two: you only lose if an ace or a two comes up. Thus the other name "Acey Deucey".

    Some variants include:

    • You can only bet up to half the pot until everybody has a turn (so the game can't be over right away)
    • As the first two cards are dealt out, if the first card is an ace, the player can call it to be high or low. The second ace is always high
    • If the first two cards dealt out are the same, you can get two new cards or you can bet if the third card is higher or lower instead of in between
    • You can bet an amount and call "inside" or "outside". This creates more action (people will make bets when a six and and an eight come out instead of just passing
    • You must bet some minimum, regardless of the two cards

    What Happened

    So all seven of us anted $1 and I was first. I saw the and and thought "jackpot". I bet the pot, and my cousin promptly dealt the off the deck. Nice! I'm in for $14 more. It goes around a few times and the host graciously only bets about half the pot both times he's dealt so the game can keep going. I get dealt another great pair: and bet the pot again only to see a . Wow. I run out of money and go meet my friends for dinner.

    The good news is I'll be invited to future games after dropping $30. To them, I was a gambling fool who didn't care about losing $30. To me, I maximized my value by betting the pot whenever it was the right move. Which got me thinking...

    The Solution

    Disclaimers: This solution assumes:

    • Your bankroll is large enough that you can handle some crazy swings!
    • You aren't counting cards in order to calculate your exact outs (it's as if the deck is reshuffled each time)
    • The rules are as above with no variants (most importantly, you have to pay double your pot when the third card matches and you can pass or bet zero)
    • The Ace will always be high

    Bet the Pot when there are 8 ranks in between your cards: or better, or better, or better, or better.

    Pass or Bet Zero all other times

    With only 7 ranks in between, the bet is completely even money. You have 28 outs to win your bet, there are 16 cards that cause you to lose your bet, and 6 cards cause you to lose twice your bet.

    With 6 or less ranks in between, it's a losing bet.


    You probably aren't playing this game solely to make a profit. Sometimes it's fun to bet $1 that you can hit that one-outer. Or at least the minimum bet just to juice the pot a bit and seem friendly.

    If your bankroll is not big enough to handle losing $40 at a time, you may want to only bet the pot when you have 6 or 10 ways to lose instead of 18 ways as the solution suggests.


    If you like to be nasty, you can also call this game "Between the Sheets". LOL.

    Posted by Jason M at 2009-01-07 20:50:54 | permalink | Discuss (2 comments)

  5. 2008-12-28 20:36:55

    PokerStars 35000 Player Tournament Guinness World Record Attempt

    I'm going to be live blogging my participation in the Guinness world record attempt by PokerStars. Look for more soon :)

    Update (12:41pm): I won my first hand. We started with 3,000 chips and I'm at 2,960, after I flopped the nut open-ended straight draw with early on. Heh, while writing this I just stole my second win with by continuation betting a terrible flop. Up to 3095. Woo! There are already only 33,744 left.

    Update (12:53pm): I just picked up some chips with by spiking an ace on the turn. I don't know if it was necessary, as I bet and my opponent folded. The very next hand I pick up . The same guy limps in front of me and I raise it up. One player calls and the limper re-raises all in for less than 1k. I call and the other player folds. The dude flips over . Awesome?! ... !! I yell out "COME ON" and the river is the . LOL. I am up to 5000 and the blinds are 20/40 with 32k players left. While I was writing this I got and lost the minimum to when an ace came on the flop and he didn't bet until the river :)

    Update (1:01pm): At one point there were almost 250,000 logged in to PokerStars. Tony said he could tell from the speed of the site. Crazy. There are only 170,000 people logged in now.

    Update (1:08pm): I don't like the PokerStars look and feel, but some of the other features are making me rethink my dislike. First, not only can you select/deselect "muck losing hand" but you can also choose the option for "show winning hand". Better yet, when looking at previous hands, you can do a "live replay" of the action. Very cool. Now I can watch myself bluff-raise continuation bets with ace-high. Maybe not a bluff, I guess... And finally, the "stats" section actually shows some detailed stuff about your position. Here's mine so far:

    During current Hold'em session you were dealt 36 hands and saw flop:

    • 1 out of 3 times while in big blind (33%)
    • 2 out of 3 times while in small blind (66%)
    • 7 out of 30 times in other positions (23%)
    • a total of 10 out of 36 (27%)
    • Pots won at showdown - 2 of 4 (50%)
    • Pots won without showdown - 4

    Update (1:26pm): Still in it... Luke and Jon dropped out on some bad beats. Paul, Tony, and Parag are still in it. Not much happening for me. I have 5,925 in chips and the blinds are 40/80. The average stack is almost 4,000 and there are 27k players left. Prizes go down to place 8750 or so. Wow!

    Update (1:32pm): We are on the first short break. I am up to 6285, but the blinds are going to be 50/100 with an ante of 10. That means the average chip stack has an M of 16. Another few rounds and people will be dropping. 26k players left.

    Update (1:50pm): I'm in 3,617 place with 6,695 in chips. The blinds are going up to 60/120 with 15 in just a minute. The chip leader is at 29k while the average is 4,300. 24,397 players left. Make that 24,384.

    Update (2:03pm): Whew. I just limped in early with and caught a middle position all in with . At 10k.

    Update (2:12pm): Got and took 4 limper's money and the blinds. Not bad. At 10,295 in chips with 19k people left. Average is 5,400 and the blinds are 100/200 with 25 antes.

    Update (2:35pm): I recently layed down pocket jacks preflop after I 3-bet and was put all in by another player. That was tough. But not as tough as losing half my stack to pocket 3s versus my :( I'm at 4,140 and the pot has 850 in it at the start of each hand. Crap!

    Update (2:39pm): We made it to the second break. Parag, Paul, Tony are still in it, too. There are 12,046 players left. Only 4,000 more to the money lol. The pot has 975 in it at the start and I'm sitting on 3,760 and going to be the small blind. Guess I'll be open-shoving here soon :)

    Update (2:50pm): Redemption! I cracked aces with my LOL. Back up to 8140.

    Update (3:06pm): Parag is out - he flopped two pair against a flopped straight. Tony doubled up twice and is at 10k. Paul and I are at about 10k, too. The average stack is 11k and there are 9541 players left. 1,000 more until the money ($20 for the worst prize). I've been folding. Woo.

    Update (3:19pm): We are playing hand for hand at each table because we are on the bubble (8751 players left). I have just under 8k (6000th place) and the average is 12k. There is about 2,000 in the pot at the start of each hand. Play is SLOWWWW so I'll post my latest stats:

    During current Hold'em session you were dealt 143 hands and saw flop:

    • 5 out of 14 times while in big blind (35%)
    • 9 out of 15 times while in small blind (60%)
    • 13 out of 114 times in other positions (11%)
    • a total of 27 out of 143 (18%)
    • Pots won at showdown - 5 of 9 (55%)
    • Pots won without showdown - 16

    18% total flops seen is pretty low. I like it.

    Update (3:22pm): I just cashed in the biggest poker tournament ever held! We are at 8492 players and I'm guaranteed $20 at least. First place is $30k. The real money doesn't really start until you get into the top 100 ($300 for 100th, $700 for 30th, $1500 for 10th).

    Update (3:40pm): The action has been fast and most furious. I worked up to 20k in chips with 2 continuation bet bluffs and pocket tens. The players got wise of that so I ended up folding preflop to an all in but leveled out at 16k in chips. But then I called a short-stack all in but forgot somebody was behind me. I managed to get a straight, but the guy behind me got a flush and I paid him off, not even realizing it was there. I was down to 5k but stole blinds to get up to 8k now. Damn!

    Update (3:54pm): We are on break. Paul just got knocked out. I stole 3 sets of blinds and am up to 13k. Tony is at 10k. Average stack is 23k and the pot starts at 4k! Math time :)

    Update (4:14pm): I played perfectly against a similar stack and got him to commit all his chips with 2nd pair to my top pair. Yay! I'm at 34k in chips and Tony has 20k. Average stack is 36k. There are less than 3,000 players left!

    Update (4:22pm): Tony is at 45k and I'm at 30k. Scratch that, Tony is at 55k and I'm at 35k :)

    Update (4:40pm): I'm out in 1702 place. I had 6 big blinds and went for a steal with . It's kind of hard to steal from and , though. Payout was $60. Now I have a PokerStars bankroll I guess hahahh. Tony is still going strong with 72k in chips while the average is 66k.

    My final stats:

    During current Hold'em session you were dealt 214 hands and saw flop:

    • 6 out of 20 times while in big blind (30%)
    • 11 out of 22 times while in small blind (50%)
    • 19 out of 172 times in other positions (11%)
    • a total of 36 out of 214 (16%)
    • Pots won at showdown - 7 of 13 (53%)
    • Pots won without showdown - 26

    I think I tightened up too much at the end. There were a couple opportunities where I could have called opposing all ins with or and the like. In retrospect, I'd rather get my money in there than where I did, but I don't know if it was a mistake.

    Update (much later): I didn't update this after Tony's 418th finish for $100. Awesome finish man!

    Posted by Jason M at 2008-12-28 20:36:55 | permalink | Discuss (7 comments)

  6. 2008-12-18 18:32:17

    Snowing in Las Vegas?!

    In case you haven't heard, it snowed 3.6 inches in Las Vegas yesterday. I guess the town is being punished for all the sins. LOL. When will the pigs start flying?

    (Is that Stephen in the middle there?)

    Posted by Jason M at 2008-12-18 18:32:17 | permalink | Discuss (3 comments)

  7. 2008-12-12 21:12:06

    Learn How to Sue the Casino When You Lose

    Check out this article that I found on Yahoo News.

    An Australian gambler who lost millions in a A$1.4 billion ($909 million) gaming spree is suing one of the country's largest casinos, claiming he was targeted by managers despite a known gambling addiction.

    Supposedly this guy was barred from all the casinos in Australia, but the managers of this particular casino "lured him in" after they found out he had lost million playing baccarat in Las Vegas.

    How much you wanna bet this guy doesn't see a penny back? LOL.

    Posted by Jason M at 2008-12-12 21:12:06 | permalink | Discuss (5 comments)