Today I'm going to discuss the huge elephant in the poker rooms - the use of datamined hands (hands that you purchased or traded for that you did not participate in). I was looking at PokerTableRatings the other day and was surprised to see that almost ELEVEN THOUSAND players have purchased datamined hands thru them. There are probably a half dozen to dozen sites selling datamined hands. Having datamined hands is not allowed according to the poker sites' Terms of Service, as it gives an unfair informational advantage. I'm going to assume people who play micros aren't likely to pony up multiple buy-ins for hand histories, so most of the customers are probably playing small to high stakes - the stakes I play. Unfortunately, the pool of players in mid to high stakes is not that large. So it wouldn't be too crazy to assume that many of the "new" regs (later post) I see almost daily have hands on me that I have not played with them. And there are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of people sharing hand histories.
Before this sounds like a whine post, I'm not going to hold it against someone for having improper hand histories (even tho it is an unfair advantage). The competitive situation is such that the games are getting harder, and there is to my knowledge no effective efforts by the sites to curb the use of inappropriate hands. So even tho it is against the sites' terms of service to use datamined hands, nothing is being done about it. Any time you have a law and there is no enforcement, it is pretty much the same as not having the law. This situation is somewhat similar to steroids in baseball a few years ago - when you feel like your peers are gaining an unfair edge on you in a competitive situation, you feel like you need to level the playing field.
Online poker is still a relatively new industry, and as such, it's going to have some growing pains. However, datamining has been a problem the entire two years that I've been playing online poker. In those two years, the problem has probably gotten worse. I think the sites need to do one of two things - either (1) enforce the anti-datamining rules they have, or (2) ALLOW datamining for everyone. The current policy just creates a horrific situation where rule-benders benefit and rule-followers are punished. As with any situation where the public can not police themselves, a higher authority (the sites) need to step in and make any necessary changes to ensure that there is a fair playing field for all.
For now, I play mostly Rush (which can't be datamined). Unfortunately, 2/4 rush may be going away next month. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't.
Those ribs I made really sucked ass. Since I'm trying to be a Southern dude with the ribs, I guess I should have said "sucked ass, y'all." Regardless of the accent, it just sucked. Man! I wish I wasn't such a BBQ scrub.
But I know what I want to do differently next time! Eye of the Tiger, baby!
I felt a little wired yesterday and decided to play for a "few" hours. Normally, I'm not a supersitious guy, and keep playing regardless of how much I make or lose. Because as a winning player, the longer you play, the more money you should expect to make. Period. The only exception is when I have a day like yesterday and I climb back from a big hole. The first hour was just the most painful wanging after wanging I had experienced in a "while." Um... no... in weeks - because that's just how I roll.
My HEM was super sluggish for weeks. I've been pretty good about purging unnecessary hand histories and vacuuming the database, but I did not realize there was other stuff I needed to do from time to time to maintain the database. In particular, I'm talking about optimization. I had never even heard of it before, but apparently you're supposed to do it every 20-75K hands, which for me is almost every week. Below are the instructions from Fozzy:
"If you perform regular maintenance, from your very first import, your DB is much more likely to be stable. http://faq.holdemmanager.com/questio...s+Optimization
1 - Options > Database Management... > Connect > Optimize
2 - Select the Database from the Optimization window
3 - I recommend you use the [x] Quick option once a week, or every 10k - 30k hands
4 - Optimize > Yes
Wait for it to finish and change the greyed out Exit button back to a selectable option.
Once a month, or every 50 - 100k hands, you should run a [x] Standard or [x] Full option, instead of the Quick Optimization."
Week 4 was pretty good, altho the last day or two felt a bit like a struggle. I've noticed that I've been a tad bit spewy in my efforts to be aggressive. Since I've been a nit so long, I think it'll take a little while for me to pick my spots better.
I had fallen as low as 22nd on the rake race, so I need to grind hard the rest of the month to get top #17. It's going to be pretty close as to whether I'm going to make it - I won't be able to play this weekend because of G's birthday. But 25K hands in a week is pretty respectable, especially considering it's only 4 days of play this week. Rush is making it easy to put in a lot of hands.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?
One of the things I really miss about living in Manhattan is the ability to get good pastrami (and corned beef, tongue, brisket, etc). At a "real" NY deli, you can get a pound of unbelievably succulent meat between two slices of bread - a man's sandwich that's well worth the $17 price tag. The "NY style delis" around here are very meh. They make their own corned beef and pastrami, but it's not that great. The vacuum packed corned beef you get at the supermarket tastes just as good - but not as buttery as in NYC. Ditto for the pastrami.
So when we went to Stew Leonard (the farmer's market-like local supermarket), they were advertising "Brooklyn style pastrami." Since I hadn't had pastrami in months, I thought we should give it a try. This was super-meh. Kinda made the local delis look like NYC delis. But it still kicked the sh*t out of Boar's Head pastrami. Still have no idea what mystery meat that is. A bigger mystery is how supermarket deli meat is so common when it tastes like crap.
Anyway, Mrs. Fly put these on hot dog buns (because we didn't have any rye in the house) and she served it with some leftover mac + cheese. Kind of a busto pastrami sandwich, but it sure beats bologna!
OMG! When will the lobster insanity stop?!? So the first place that had the lobster sale now has $4.99/lb lobsters. By comparison, the lobsters at the second place that had $3.99/lb lobsters are now selling them for $8.99/lb. I remember buying a jicama (softabll sized root vegetable) with Mrs. Fly earlier this year, and that cost $5.00. I know we're in a recession, but surely people still need to eat - and people aren't so crazy that they would rather eat root vegetables than lobster?!? So anyway, we'll *have to* schlep to the Shop Rite and pick up like 7 lobsters - 3 for us for dinner and 4 for lobster rolls tomorrow...
It will soon be G's birthday. So we invited my family over for a birthday bbq on Sunday. I think this time the ribs will be awesome! Trip report next week.
The worst hand I played this month. Lately there's been a trend to minraise the button very wide and to call a high percentage of 3bets IP. TBH, I'm putzing around with trying that out. Anyway, whenever someone calls 3bets very wide, you can widen your value 3betting range. AQ is a value 3bet anyway, but vs this particular villain, it's the nuts. So my plan was to barrel all three streets, because you have to do that once in a while to get called down when you have premium pairs. But somehow, while multitabling (aka "clicking buttons"), I accidentally clicked the "fold to any bet" check box after the flop. So I missed betting the turn and river before I caught my mistake. I tilted myself into making a river check-raise where I basically rep nothing. GG me.
I know you guys are all *riveted* by D's progress with the potty training... so I present to you D's morning in pictures...
Later that morning...
D is pretty much potty trained. He now goes to the potty whenever he feels the need, and he hasn't had any accidents all afternoon. An example of the scheming I mentioned the other day... Mrs. Fly gave him a piece of chocolate every time he went to the potty and peed. Pavlov would be proud. After a few hours, D caught on and he would just go sit in the potty (even tho he didn't have to go pee) just to get a piece of chocolate. Mrs. Fly started to get suspicious so when she started to walk over to look in the potty, D told her to stay back (so she couldn't see what was in the potty). Criminal mind at work. I'm going to have to work harder at playing poker so that I can have some bail money saved up for when he gets older.
Shockingly that took me longer than one of my usual posts. Don't worry - the regular posts continue tomorrow.
I came downstairs today and D was wearing his Paul Frank monkey briefs. I get a kick out of them because the monkey kind of resembles D - in a cute way. I got a flashback to Theoden from Lord of the Rings saying, "The battle for Middle earth ... has begun." While I sat there eating my pastrami sandwich (later post), I look over at D and he's sitting in a pool of his own urine, like a drunken crack addict at Penn Station. Ugh.
I thought it was going to be a long day, but after that he peed in the potty three times while I was watching him. Then I had the common sense to flee to let Mrs. Fly do the rest. Apparently, he only had two other accidents - all in the morning. No #2s yet. The uruk hai are coming...
I signed up for Deuces Cracked again since I knew I would be on vacation and have some time to watch videos. I was a little disappointed that FoxwoodsFiend didn't have anything recent that was 6max+, but I found a few other series that I really liked:
* Where the Buffalo Roam - this is easily the best idea for a new series. WiltonTilt and Jk3a go over a few interesting hands with their hole cards covered and talk about what their and villain's ranges are on every street. It's a bit on the theoretical side, but I found every episode super-interesting.
* Under NewManagement - Newman's a solid reg (and one of the LifeFish guys) and it's interesting getting his perspective on various situations. I thought his first video was excellent - very fresh content. The later ones are live sessions, and I'm not too big on those, as you can't get that in-depth. If you're bored, make bets with your buddies as to at what point in the video Newman's going to have to take a break for a drink of water.
* Thin Red Line - a small stakes look by Grindcore and Improva at LAG play, with a focus on positive red line play. I generally don't watch small stakes videos, but this series was spoken very highly of in one of the threads, so I decided to give it a try. The first and last videos are exceptionally good. I had been very tight in the past, and am "average" now, but watching styles of play different from your own can be very informative - not just to add things to your arsenal, but also to get a better understanding of what others at your table are thinking and doing.
* Twee Bets - a 12 part series on 3bet hands. Nolan is one of the best midstakes players at Stars. This series is a bit old, but I never got around to mentioning it when I saw this a few months ago. As 3betting becomes a bigger part of the games, familiarizing yourself with various 3bet scenarios and how an aggressive 3bettor thinks is going to be important. Nolan's your guy.
This is a milestone day in D's life... we're finally potty training him. We probably could have done it earlier in the year, but we wanted to wait until D's preschool was closed so we can have a few uninterrupted days. Mrs. Fly uses a Spartan method called Potty Boot Camp, which basically teaches the kids to be trained in a few days. After an accident, Mrs. Fly is supposed to run him all around the house as discouragement so he won't do it again. This is Sparta!!!
The Fly house is on Orange Alert (well, technically Yellow and Brown alert). This is because for the next few days, D will not be wearing a diaper during the day. We have to make sure we don't step into any accidental puddles or deuces that may have been left behind. Fortunately the geese gave me plenty of practice picking up poop. Not a brag, obviously. If he has diarrhea the next few days, I'm abandoning the house and moving to Canada.
G picked it up in less than two days, and he was also good at night. Hopefully, D will be the same. But I won't be too harsh if it takes him a while. It's not that many more years until Old Man Fly will probably need to wear diapers himself. I suppose on the bright side, I won't need the Leatherass Gatorade bottle next to my desk (not that I use one now - just sayin'). Having warmth flow around my loins both repulses and intrigues me at the same time. But I digress...
It'll be interesting to us to see how long it takes D to be potty trained. Apparently, he figured out how to use the portable potty by himself yesterday with no coaching. We hadn't even started the program yet! G was always a super-great baby. D has like an evil genius side to him where I can see him trying to connive his out of the training. Or maybe he'll resort to his fake crying. We're on to you buddy! Don't even think about it!!!
Oh Puhleeaze don't take a dump in my office. Puhleeeaze!
We're home! We're home! As much fun as we had, it's always nice to get back home. I suppose it's always a bad sign when you get home home from vacation and you wish you weren't home. Probably means you need to consider moving. With the flexibility of poker, why not?
I see that I've fallen to #17 in my rake race. For those of you new to the blog, my volume motivation in recent months has been to place between #4 and #15. Anything too close to #15 means that I risk not getting a $1,000+ rake race bonus (you have to be in the top 17), and anything in the Top 3 means I'm not spending enough time with the family. So I pretty much need to get in some serious grinding sessions. Also, my winnings total is pretty meager, so I want to avoid posting yet another embarrassing number on the right. Who says shame isn't a good motivator?
I almost forgot to do my quarterly piece on online poker traffic. For the new readers, here is a link to my last piece in May. Below are graphs from PokerScout. I had suggested they start putting in 1 year graphs instead of 6 month graphs. A 1 year graph would remove some of the seasonality involved in the poker traffic. They agreed it was a good idea, but they haven't done so yet. My next traffic post in November should be more telling, as I will have 1 year of data.
The 6 month graphs look pretty bad for online poker - there appears to be a huge drop in player traffic. There was a thread in the forums about it a few months ago. While it does look bad, I think it's a little early to start thinking the sky is falling. Currently Stars and FT are at 25K and 14K, but 9 months ago, we were at 27K and 16K (altho there was a huge spike to 19K at FT afterwards). Still not good for sure, but since I don't have a year's worth of data yet, it's hard to say what's seasonality and what isn't. Maybe there's a huge spike once summer vacations end and school starts. <3 drunk degenerate college players.
Yesterday we took the husband out to one of his favorite places for his birthday dinner. It was a seafood buffet restaurant. When I was a younger lad, I loved buffets - you get all kinds of different food and as much of the good food as you wanted. I was on the thin side between the ages of 2-6. Then we immigrated to America - the land of super-sizing, people scooters and all-you-can-eat buffets, and I never had to worry about anorexia again.
Now that I'm older, a buffet's got to the one of the worst ways to eat. Yeah - you get variety. But most of the food at buffets is so meh - there usually no item of food at a buffet that you can't get much better elsewhere. The only "good" buffet I've been to is at a handful of the top casinos. Everywhere else, the food is just way too salty and greasy. But I suppose to the typical buffet-goer, those traits are positives.
But um... yeah - I still went up like 8 times to get more food, but that's just me. Oink oink. The DoubleFly - terrorizing buffet owners across the 50 states.
Recently, the topic of EV has come up a lot in the forums. Many regulars seem to be running below EV - especially at Rush poker. There is definitely a vocal camp out there against the use of EV. The main argument against EV seems to be that it only captures a small amount of "luck" - that you may be "unlucky" in some areas and "lucky" in others.
I personally find EV quite useful. The main reasons are that it's readily available and it DOES measure a small part of "luck." The standard deviation of your EV line is about 20% less than the std deviation of your winnings line. Any time you can explain away some portion of your variance is a good thing. Sure, 20% is not a lot (and the figure may vary depending on your playing style) - but it's statistically significant.
Whether you find a 20% explanation "useful" is all a matter of personal preference. It's like asking someone if a glass is 20% full or 80% empty. There's really no right answer, and I suppose that's why the same arguments reoccur every month or two. But IMO, considering how many different types of "luck" are involved in poker, that just one item can explain away 20% of it is pretty impressive and nothing to sneeze at.
I find it comforting to know that even when I lose money, it *may* not all be due to bad play. I always prefer knowing as much detail as possible. But for some players, it puts them on tilt to know they are running below EV and they start playing even worse. If you are one of those people, then yeah - turning it off on your graphs might be a good thing. There are also tons of people who don't believe in looking at graphs or their cash balances either while playing for similar reasons. So depending on your personality, ignorance may be bliss.
From the "Bite Me!" files, I present to you this week's graph. Pretty much feels like Week 1, where I just kept getting coolered, rivered and unable to win a flip. I was going to post the photo of "Coola" again, because let's face it - Jessica Alba makes everything better. But I'm not sure I won't get punched in the back of the head by Mrs. Fly - I have already been warned.
This is two weeks in a row where I didn't get in enough hands. When I get back home, I'm going to be grinding like a madman. Now that 2/4 Rush is here, why not? I swear there are some easy spots at those games, but I can't seem to make any money, which is always frustrating. There's definitely a pattern of "cute" play at 2/4 rush - people not 3betting premiums (or even raising premiums pre), flop raising monkeys, people who never fold to a 3bet, etc. I'm guessing they are relying on enough people not using a HUD to make their exploitable play profitable. There have been a number of regs who have had problems getting their HUDs to work properly, so maybe.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH?
Our friends are Vietnamese. I spilled the beans because the last meal I talked about was Vietnamese, and today, I'm going to talk about a little known food item called the Vietnamese sandwich. I never see this in the stores we frequent, so the only time I have it is when I visit our Tampa friends. This particular place makes absurdly good sandwiches. I suppose one of the things about being colonized by the French for so long (well, probably the only good thing about being colonized) is that the Vietnamese bread is just as good as a French baguette - crispy on the outside and light on the inside. The sandwich we got had pate, head cheese, ham and roast pork. And some random vegetables - but you all know how I feel about that. This sandwich was just oozing pig. Pate is a common accompaniment to a baguette, so I don't know why more sandwiches don't have pate as a spread. Normally, I don't eat a lot of head cheese, but that and the pate really puts the pork flavor of the sandwich over the top. I had two and a half grinders yesterday - Pig on pig action. Swine cannibalism, as it were.
When I mentioned "head cheese," I know some of the less mature readers of this blog will be thinking of smegma. Do you mind?!? I'm trying to have a serious blog about food here!!! "Pork," "head," "ham," "spread" and "sandwich" do NOT have to refer to sex!!! Pigs!
One way rush poker differs from regular poker is that there is a breed of super-nit in rush that would not exist at a regular table. Not sure if it's the ability to fold all undesirable hands really quickly, but you would never see someone playing 4/4 at a normal table over 60+ hands. Sure it could just be sample size, but one thing is certain - he's definitely not your standard 15/11 player. I'm pretty sure I lost the absolute minimum on this hand with KK running into AA - two big blinds!!!
Preflop: Hero is MP3 with K, K 2 folds, MP1 calls $4, MP2 bets $8, Hero calls $8, CO calls $8, 3 folds, MP1 calls $4
MP2 is the 4/4. Normally this would be a 3bet / get it in all day situation (either pre or postflop), especially considering MP2 has a half stack and I'm a 68% favorite vs his 4% range. But that min-raise of the limper looked so super-fishy - wouldn't you raise larger or over limp (!!!) with 99-QQ or AK? It's really only correct to start getting it in with KK if the other guy can show up with AK or QQ (which for most villains is a "yes"). Then I asked myself, is he ever getting all-in here with something other than AA? I mean the guy is 4/4!!! So I thought about it and decided to see a flop ip - kind of setmining with KK, as LOL as that sounds.
Flop: ($38) 9, 8, 6 (4 players) MP1 bets $12, MP2 raises to $74, Hero folds, CO raises to $370 (All-In), MP1 raises to $397 (All-In), MP2 calls $162.80 (All-In)
Pretty gross flop considering we got a bunch of overcallers. When MP2 makes that enormous raise on the flop, I have a pretty easy fold. Not only was he 4/4 - he had like no aggression post flop. I mean maaaybe he had QQ, but that seemed unlikely. CO pretty much has the nuts every time when he's raising MP2. Not sure what MP1 is doing calling CO's all-in with bottom two.
Turn: ($1014.80) 3 (3 players, 3 all-in)
River: ($1014.80) 4 (3 players, 3 all-in)
Total pot: $1014.80 | Rake: $3
Main pot: $748.40 between MP1, MP2 and CO, won by CO Side pot 1: $266.40 between MP1 and CO, won by CO
MP1 had 6, 8 (two pair, eights and sixes).
MP2 had A, A (one pair, Aces).
CO had 9, 9 (three of a kind, nines).
Outcome: CO won $1011.80
Sometimes, not losing money is just as good as making money. I think you could argue you should get in KK pre anyway, but if it's a mistake I don't think the mistake is huge. Lots of strange things going on in Rush. Strange times call for strange plays.
We're finally here. I knew we weren't in CT anymore when I got out of the car and and I literally got smacked in the face with the humidity. My glasses instantly fogged up. Just like the first time I unhooked a bra. Ahh... memories.
It turns out the husband just turned 50 last week so we're going to take him out to dinner later in the week. Even tho they're pretty comfortable, they don't go eat at a lot of nice restaurants. Their favorite restaurant used to be Todai, which is a chain buffet seafood restaurant. TBH, the food was incredibly meh, but we just got a kick out of how the husband kept saying the food at Todai was "toe-die" for, and then chuckling afterwards. We had gone to the one in Vegas a few years ago before I started playing poker for a living. Anyway, the local Tampa branch closed (maybe something to do with the fact that the food was as previously mentioned, incredibly meh). Shocker.
It turns out that even tho the wife is a stay at home mom with a full time nanny, she's pretty busy, so we have some free time just to relax. We bought our current house because it felt like a vacation home - very lush surroundings and a water view. Not sure if it's a grass-is-greener thing, but they have our house, but super-sized. More land, more water, more house. So as I write this, we've occupied the entire second floor of their house, D taking his nap in his bedroom, Mrs. Fly taking an nap in our bedroom, and me in the THIRD(!!!) office upstairs testing my laptop for poker and writing this blog. There's also a wet bar up here so I helped myself to a lemonade and vodka. Ahhh... vacation home.
WHAT'S FOR DINNER
We ended up going to our favorite local Vietnamese restaurant. It's probably the best Vietnamese food I've had, and it's pretty authentic. The Vietnamese places I've been to in Manhattan and Northern Virgina seem a bit more "Westernized." I brought a camera but we ate the food so fast that we didn't have time to take pictures for the blog. I had a beef pho appetizer, the grilled pork over broken rice, and half a spring roll over noodle entree and a third of Mrs. Fly's friend's seafood dish. That's what happens when you have a long day of traveling and all you have to eat is a slice of pizza at the airport and half a sandwich. Also helps that I'm a fat pig.