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Instant Poker Karma’s Gonna Get You

Instant Poker Karma’s Gonna Get You

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Craig's Corner | Comments

Fresh off my fifth place finish in the Borgata 2014 Spring Poker Open and I have been provided with a perfect story to share. I understand that not everyone understands the rules fully and that some do not play a lot of tournament poker, but the events that unfolded at my table on the money bubble of this event are truly unbelievable. The set-up: Event 2 of the open was a $350 +$50 buy in with a $100 bounty on each player. 28 players remained and 27 players would cash in this event. With blinds at 3,000/6,000 and a 400 (I think) ante, I am big blind with about 197,000. The under the gun player moved all in for 13,500. He was called by UTG +1, a middle position player with a big stack, and me, holding KQo. Players from the other tables gather around to watch the all in bubble confrontation. The story: After I called, UTG +1 says to me “Do you want to check it down?” I say “Sir, you cannot say that.” Others start chiming in saying he is out of line and other things of the sort. UTG +1 is obviously flustered and getting defensive. He then points to the dealer and comments that no one cares, the dealer does not care, the other players do not care.  I respond that maybe the all in player cares that collusion is being proposed. I then say “You can’t do that, but never mind…I check.” And with that, before the flop was put down, I tapped the table. The dealer spread an 899 flop. Action was on UTG +1 who now bet 15,000.00 The table exploded with comments and laughter about how he was the player that offered to check it down, but now he bet. With that bet, both the second caller and I folded. The all in UTG exposed AKs. UTG +1 exposed 77. Turn card Q. River card Q. Not only would I have knocked out UTG with a full house, collected a bounty, and sent us into the money, but with the board double pairing, 77 was counterfeited, and the all in...

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Some Well Played Hands, (If I Do Say So Myself)

Some Well Played Hands, (If I Do Say So Myself)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

Hand number 1 (folding because you know your players) – I do not remember if we were playing Omaha8 or Omaha Hi only, but I do know the blinds were $1-2 and the game was NL. I also know I had JJ in my four card hand. I know this because I remember the flop came down Ac Kc Jc. After the flop, one of the tighter players in early position led out into the field. A smart player in middle position made the call. After giving it some thought I folded, and I folded for a very specific reason. I knew that even if I improved my hand, I would not be improving my hand. I knew the bettor had flopped a flush. I did not know if it was the nut flush, but I knew it was a big one. Because I knew the bettor had flopped a big flush, I knew the caller did not have a big flush as well. He is too smart to call with a weaker flush against the bettor. Now I had to put him on a hand. I knew that he hadn’t raised pre-flop so I eliminated AA combos and KK combos from his holdings. This left it down to one type of hand…AKxx (although the results are the same if I put him on AAxx or KKxx). The only way for me to win this hand would be to hit a running pair on board or running cards to combine with my hand to fill up. If an Ace or a King came off, even though I improve to Js full, I would still lose. When the hand was over, my suspicions were confirmed when the initial bettor showed the nut flush and the caller showed the unimproved AK. Hand number 2 (betting/raising because you know your player) – The game was $3-6 LHE at the Tropicana, Atlantic City. I was in the middle of the table. The player to my left was a solid older gentleman. The player in the one seat was truly awful. I witnessed a hand in which he limped UTG with 72 off suit....

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Your Hand is Not Really the Same, Sir.

Your Hand is Not Really the Same, Sir.

Posted by on Oct 31, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

At a recent Friday night home game, I was playing 1-2 flop games where the maximum buy in was $100. The dealer could choose between Hold ‘em, Omaha, Omaha 8 or Pineapple. I was already steaming from a prior hand when the following hand came up. My villain’s comment after the hand really set me off, but as I thought about it, I realized what a great topic his comment gave me. The game called was Omaha 8 (Omaha hi/lo). I was on the button for the hand. A few players limped in, and I looked at A 2 3 K, Ace suited…one of the strongest Omaha 8 hands to be dealt. It’s so strong because I have connecting high cards, three connecting low cards and a suited Ace so I can make a number of nut high hands as well as nut low hands. The BB and a few of the limpers called. The flop was gin for me as I it came down A 5 8 rainbow. I flopped nut low together with the top pair, top kicker. A player in front of me moved all in. I moved all in. The BB, who had checked, moved all in. The turn was a 2 destroying my low hand. The river was a K improving my high hand. The first all in revealed A 4 6 8. He had flopped top two, and turned a better low than me. My villain revealed A 2 9 K. He had flopped the same top pair, top kicker, but no low hand. After the pot was divided with the villain and me sharing half the pot, my villain stated “Wow, we have the same hand.” Already steaming from a prior hand, I retorted that we hardly had the same hand. The cards might be similar, but the hands were nothing alike. After we exchanged words, we got back to playing and I didn’t think about it until the next day. Laid out side by side the hands look like this: Me – A 2 3 K Villain – A 2 9 K Player 3 – A 4 6 8 The key...

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Your “bad luck” is more likely your bad play

Your “bad luck” is more likely your bad play

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

I recently joined a local Thursday night 1-3 game. I’ve played the game a handful of times and find that, for the most part, the game is super soft. One player in particular stands out as the weakest link and he is the inspiration for this post. Last night he took a couple of river beats. They were unfortunate, but as I sat and listed to him mutter and curse under his breath I couldn’t help but think to myself “Instead of bemoaning your luck, you should be fixing your game.” This player plays any two cards from any position regardless of the action in front of him. He will literally see a flop 80% of the time. The list of things broken in this man’s game is extensive, but here are a few of the standouts. I will use one specific hand as an example. A late position player raised to $20 pre-flop. The only caller was our subject who called from the small blind with K7o. The flop came out K 10 x rainbow. Our player led for $20 and the raiser called. The turn was a blank and our player led for $20 again. The raiser called. The river was a Q. The player put the rest of his chips in, a little less than $40 and was instantly called by AJs 1) Buying in short – The max buy in at this table is $300. At the time our subject arrived at the game, the shortest person at the table had about $300 in front of him. This player sat down in the only available seat in front of a row of loose players, but behind two players with stacks in the $500-$700 range. He then proceeded to buy in for $100. In my opinion you should never buy in short. First, you give away too much value when you flop a huge hand. Second, you never have enough money in front of you to protect your hand against a player who is chasing. If you are going to buy in short, do so with the intent of getting your chips in pre-flop or on...

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Did you think that call through?

Did you think that call through?

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

It has been some time since my last post. I had some serious block, and my real life has kept me very busy. I have been running well at cash, but felt like I was floundering in tournaments. However, just back from the Borgata Poker Open, and I am feeling real good about my tournament game again. This trip also seems to have cured me of the writer’s block. I have written before about reasons why a person might make a questionable call, and also about the fact that some people may call for no reason at all. However, when you do decide to call, more than just looking at what you have, and what you perceive your opponent has, you have to think about what the ramifications (not just the results) of your call might be. Let me explain. In the $350+50 big stack tournament, I was moved to a table and had about $28,000 in chips. From the moment I arrived I was dealt absolute garbage. I was in a tough spot because I had a stack that would commit me if I three bet, and I could not find any hands to open. My $28,000 dwindled to about $11,500 without being able to play a hand. With blinds at $600-$1,200 it folded to me and I figured it was time to try and steal so I looked at my cards and moved all in with 9c2c. Keep in mind I had not played a hand since coming to the table. It folded to the BB who had a big stack. I guess it was his stack that prompted him to call with Q 10 off suit. I do not know if his call was correct or not. He was getting only about 1.5-1 on his call so the odds were not there. On the other hand, the call was for only about 10% of his stack so he could clearly afford the call. Looking deeper though, the ramifications of his call should make this a fold. Based upon how tight I was, his Q 10 cannot be ahead of much of what I am shoving with....

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Poker Rules and Etiquette 102

Poker Rules and Etiquette 102

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

Poker Rules and Etiquette 102 September 2011 was when I published my first rules of etiquette, and having just returned from the Borgata for the spring open I realize its time to update the rules so here goes. 1.         One player per hand – Even the most innocuous comments should be kept to yourself until the hand is complete. Obviously you cannot ask a player for advice on how to play your hand.  In fact, you shouldn’t be showing your hand to anyone else while you are in the hand, but this discussion is going to focus on speaking while a hand is in progress. I was playing the 7 pm bounty tournament when the following hand arose.  I raised from UTG with As9s.  I had one middle position caller.  The flop came out A x x two hearts and a diamond.  I bet and the player called me.  The turn was a blank and I checked to the caller who bet about 1/3rd of my stack.  I made the call.  The river was the K.  I shoved in thinking he might have a low two pair, and wanting to represent AK.  He tanked for a bit, then said he didn’t want to be the first man out.  The player to my left then told him he could re-enter.  I immediately asked the player to not say anything.  I was called and was happy to see my villain had a bare King. The player who spoke asked why he shouldn’t say anything, and I explained that his comment could induce action that I don’t want.  He responded that all he did was point out it was a re-entry tournament.  I told him he was correct, but if my villain didn’t know that maybe he would fold, however once my villain found out he could re-enter he might call and I might be bluffing.  Now the table erupted commenting about how the comment was meaningless, how I was being grumpy, how I should thank the player for inducing the call… The fact is the result of the hand is meaningless.  If you are not in the hand, shut it.  There...

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An Interesting Hand and a Very Cool Person

An Interesting Hand and a Very Cool Person

Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

I recently made a deep run in the Borgata 2013 Winter Open $1,000 + $90 six max event, finishing 28th and in the money out of 344.  This was especially sweet for me because it was my first 1K event, against a stacked field, in a super aggressive format. Day 1 found me at the table with Amanda Musumeci.  For those of you who don’t know her, Amanda is a scrappy young pro from Philadelphia making big waves on the poker scene.  She’s had numerous cashes, including a deep run in the WSOP main event.  This year she is featured as one of the World Poker Tour’s “Ones to Watch.” So back to Day 1.  With blinds at 75/150, I find QQ under the gun.  Amanda is in the small blind.  My stack was over average and Amanda was a little under average.  Because I wasn’t satisfied with winning the blinds only, and having Amanda and another pro, Vinny Pahuja, at my table, I limped in hoping one of them would attack my limp.  My plan failed and I took the flop four handed with two players in position.  The flop came A K 10 rainbow and it checked around.  The turn was a beautiful J completing my straight, but it was the second spade.  Now Amanda led into the field. I thought about putting in the raise, but convinced myself (1) Amanda had a Q, (2) a raise would chase everyone else out, and (3) I would end up splitting the pot.  I wasn’t content with a split so I decided to get tricky and merely called, hoping for a third spade to fall.  The other players folded.  If Amanda did have the Q, she’d have to fold to my river bet if the flush came in.  Well, the flush did come in and Amanda led right into me.  Curses, foiled again.  Now I was in a position where the best I could hope for was a chop, and there was a chance I now held the loser.  I made the crying call and Amanda revealed the 8s5s. Amanda and I made it to the table break and...

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What’s the Logic In This?

What’s the Logic In This?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Craig's Corner | Comments

I am sometimes baffled at the reasons I hear for why players make certain plays.  While the play may be correct, the reason for making the play is so flawed it just leaves me scratching my head in wonder. In the early stages of a tournament I call a raise out of position with 10h9h.  On a 10 high 2 diamond flop, not yet knowing where I was, I check called the raiser’s $250 bet into a pot about that size.  The turn was a blank and I checked.  The raiser bet $750 into the pot.  I was still not done with this hand, however now I put the aggressor on an overpair.  Knowing I can win with a 10 or a 9, and recognizing there were 2 diamonds on the flop, I again called. The river was the Qd.  Although I missed, it was time to put my nefarious plan into action.  I bet $2500 into a pot about that size.  Now the aggressor starts talking to himself and in the course of talking, something along the lines of this pearl comes out…Any other diamond and I could fold, but I don’t think I can lay this down… The moment my opponent said this I knew I was up against a set of Queens.  It still took my opponent a few minutes to make the call, but call he did.  After the hand, we started discussing that comment. I asked him why he could fold if the 2d came off, but not the Qd.  The answer given was that he could give me credit for the flush there and get away from his pair of Queens.  When I pointed out that the Qd would also complete my flush, and a set of Queens loses to a flush just like a pair of Queens, the answer I got was that he couldn’t put me on a flush draw… What what what?  Either I have the flush and you lose, or I am bluffing and you win.  If you are going to fold to the 2d, you have to fold to the Qd.  If I have the flush your hand...

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My Bad Play, Another’s Bad Play, and a Lesson I Learned

My Bad Play, Another’s Bad Play, and a Lesson I Learned

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Craig's Corner | Comments

Just back from the Borgata winter open and thrilled to report I have added two more cashes to my resume with a 29th place finish in event 4 ($560 freezeout) and a 10th place finish in event 35 ($230+100 bounty). Here I share my huge mistake, a general mistake made by my opponents, and my poker epiphany. All of this learned in the course of the 7 hour bounty tournament. My huge mistake – I am a proponent of always being aware of everything going on at your table. If you lose sight of even one critical factor, you will be doomed to failure. Well, I did lose sight of one such factor and it almost cost me a bounty and the ability to receive value from AA. With the blinds at $400-$800 I find AA UTG +1. I have about a 15k stack, and I limp in. I don’t ordinarily condone such a play, but I had two very aggressive players in late position. One was aggressive but weak in the cutoff. The other was a solid aggressive regular in the sb who would punish limpers if given the chance. I had hoped my limp would induce a limp fest, which it did…right past the weak aggressive player, and right past the aggressive regular to the BB who only had $1,475 left, a fact I let slip past me. She put her remaining chips in. Since her bet wasn’t a full raise, all I could do was call, and get sick as five more people called behind me. I ended up taking AA against 6 other players, my worst nightmare. I had already decided I was going to check, and if there was action from multiple players, I would just fold. The flop came 7 3 4 rainbow. I checked, The next player shoved 17k. Thankfully everyone else folded. I called and saw I was up against 7 8. I survived, got the bounty, and chipped up huge, however my bad play did not warrant the positive result. Another’s bad play – midway through this tournament I was moved to table 1. I had been fortunate to chip...

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My Final Table Breakdown

My Final Table Breakdown

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Craig's Corner | Comments

Two weeks after my victory in Event 6 of the Borgata Fall Poker Open, I’ve had time to sit back and reflect on the final table. Here I breakdown the key hands that led to my victory. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed playing it. The final table began 10 handed with blinds at $40,000-$80,000 and an ante. I was in the 9 seat sitting third in chips with about 1.2 million. There were just over 9 million chips in play. To my left I had a solid aggressive player and friend Nam “David” Sou. To his left was a solid player, Jonathan Diolosa, who began the table short. To his left sat the chip leader, and strongest player at the table, John Del Rossi. Unknown to me, two seats over was poker pro Sirous Jamshidi, also short on chips. The rest of the players were a mix of solid regulars and competent amateurs, but only one other player had a stack north of mine. Hand 1 – A player has been knocked out, and with blinds at $40,000-$80,000 action folds to me in the cutoff and I open to $180,000 with pocket 5s. Sou folds and Diolosa moves all in for $280,000 in the sb. The bb folds and I make the call for an additional $100,000. Diolosa turns over AK, I flop my set, dodge a chopped pot straight draw on the river, and knock out the second player at the table. Things are fun as I watch players get knocked out in 8th, 7th and 6th place, and my equity increases with each knockout. Then the hand of the tournament occurs. Hand 2 – Sou raises from the sb into Del Rossi. Del Rossi, still with the chip lead, moves all in. Sou calls. Del Rossi shows A 10 offsuit. Sou shows Ks6s. I was stunned at Sou’s call because he had a lot of chips, but none of it mattered when the flop came down As, 2s xs. Sou flops the nut flush leaving Del Rossi stunned. I am celebrating with Sou on the miracle flop, but pause when...

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Why You Need To Mix Things Up or Why You Need To Pay Attention

Why You Need To Mix Things Up or Why You Need To Pay Attention

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 in Craig's Corner | Comments

As a student of the game I like to watch all the well done poker shows such as WPT, WSOP, High Stakes Poker and Pokerstars.net Big Game. Recently I was watching a rerun of Pokerstars.net Big Game show. A hand came up between Joe Hachem and Daniel Negreanu which is one of the most interesting hands I’ve ever seen. This is a big game with $300-600 blinds with antes. The game is pot limit pre-flop and no limit post-flop. Hachem raises to $2,500 from under the gun with J 10 offsuit. Neither card is a spade. Negreanu calls from the big blind with pocket 4s including the spade. The flop comes Ace high, all spades. Hachem bets $3,500 and Negreanu calls. The turn is the Ks. Now Negreanu leads for $5,000. Hachem raises without a spade to $13,000. The river gives Hachem two pair, but he is behind Negreanu’s flush. Negreanu checks and Hachem bets $28,000. Here’s where the hand gets interesting. Negreanu is sitting on the third worst flush with his 4s. He tanks, then says “The thing is, I’ve seen you do this before.” Negreanu starts talking about a hand Hachem played exactly the same way 2 years ago in High Stakes Poker. Hachem played the exact same pattern on a four flushed board against Howard Lederer, Raise preflop, bet flop, raise turn, bet river. Hachem had absolutely nothing in that hand. Although he had two pair this time, he couldn’t beat a flush, and he knew Negreanu had one. In this hand, Negreanu was on the verge of calling until David “Viffer” Peat made a comment that led Negreanu to fold. Because he played the hand exactly the same as an earlier hand, Hachem almost cost himself $50,000.00. This is why you need to mix things up, but more importantly think about the kind of memory and concentration you need to recall a hand your opponent played 2 years earlier against someone else and realize he has just played your hand exactly the same. The best, like Negreanu, can do this. Everything you do at the table is being observed and mentally recorded by someone. You...

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It’s Thank You Time

It’s Thank You Time

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Craig's Corner | Comments

I am sitting in front of my computer, bleary-eyed and crashing from my adrenaline high after having won Event 6 of the Borgata Fall Poker Open, besting a final table that really didn’t have a weak link on it and that included poker pro Sirous Jamshidi. This was a solid, tough table, and I was able to navigate through it where the best hand I picked up the whole table was 55. The outpouring of congratulations, well wishes and sheer excitement for my win has been so overwhelming. Here is my thank you to all. First up – To the guys at Short Stacked radio – Mark H. JJ, Frodo, Ty, Bratz, and Mark. C. and the supporting cast of characters – Rick, Kev and Bryan, especially, thanks for welcoming me into the family. I’m always looking for things to talk about, and this will supply me with plenty of material. Just hope you don’t get tired of hearing it. Next – Thank you ProPokerGear. You give me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the game. Through that, I approach the game more seriously so when I write about it, I’m not talking out of the wrong side of my body. Thank you for the forum to express my thoughts. It has helped me improve my game. Dave, Steve and especially Mike – Although our “last longer” was ultimately cancelled, it pushed me to excel beyond my expectations. Having you three on the rail made this victory especially sweet. Your excitement only made my excitement greater. Up next – the entire Merrick Tournament crew – You guys give me the opportunity to play tournament poker on a regular basis. You challenge me, and make me strive harder to achieve. I look forward to further challenges in the future. J.H. and Murph – your place gave me the opportunity to really learn this game. I would not have even considered entering a tournament with this super fast structure if I didn’t learn how to play speed poker from you. To my regular home game crew – Mark, Mike, Tom W., Dan, Izi, and especially Jordan, our host. What can...

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Of Sets and Odds

Of Sets and Odds

Posted by on Jul 9, 2011 in Craig's Corner | Comments

You are sitting on a stack of $185 in a $1-2NL game and you are under the gun. You’ve straddled to $4. The game is 8 handed. Three players limp in and the SB, sitting on a stack of $375, raises to $35. You have pocket 4s. If you put the raiser on a big pocket pair do you call? If your answer is yes, you have a leak that is costing you much over the long term. Consider that odds are you will flop a set less than once every 7 times you hold a pocket pair. This means that one time in 7 to 8 times you are dealt a pair, the odds dictate you will flop a set. Conversely, 6 to 7 times you will not flop a set. (The actual odds are about 7.5 to 1) Assume each time you flop a set (assuming your opponent does not flop a set, and no over cards hit the board that will slow your opponent down) you will double up. The rest of the time you will fold. So where’s the leak? You double up or fold…easy game, right? For all the people that think poker is about gambling it is an easy game, but poker is a math based game. If you want to start winning seriously you have to consider the ramifications of making this call every time. All you need to do is look at the math to see that your play is a long term loser. Because you start the hand with $185 that is the most you can win. Assume you are dealt pocket 4s seven times one night, and each time you are dealt pocket 4s, your opponent is dealt pocket Qs. Each time your opponent raises to $35. Each time you call. Six times you will fold, one time you will flop a set and win $185. This means that for the six times you folded you invested $210. The one time you win, you win $185. You will realize a net loss of $25. Remember, all this assumes you do double up on the hand. There will be plenty...

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Poker and the United States of America

Poker and the United States of America

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in Craig's Corner | Comments

My last blog was written on April 14, 2011. Little did I know the next day would change the lives of poker players world wide. April 15, 2011 started off as an ordinary day, but by 10:00 a.m. I had discovered what everyone the world over would discover during the next 24 hours. Claiming violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, among other claims, the U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York seized the domains of Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars and Absolute Poker. Travelling to any of those sites got you a screen filled with the Department of Justice warning that the site had been seized. Over the next 72 hours, the sites all began negotiating with the Department of Justice in an effort to provide gaming to others around the world, and as part of getting their domains back, each site ultimately precluded players located in the United States from playing on their sites. A little background is needed here. In 2006, Congress passed the SAFE Port act. This act was designed to provide security at ports of entry. Who wouldn’t want such protection? Any congressman voting against such protection would be vilified. Well, this was the chance the anti-gambling establishment was looking for. Attached to the SAFE Ports act was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). What does internet gambling have to do with United States ports of entry you might ask? Absolutely nothing, I would answer, but by attaching the UIGEA to this important legislation, the UIGEA was assured passage. Now the act itself doesn’t prohibit internet poker. It merely prohibits banks doing business in the United States from processing payments to or from gaming sites. To continue conducting business with U.S. players, the sites set up payment processors. If you received a check from Full Tilt Poker it would bear the name “ABC Corporation” or something of the sort. The banks were none the wiser, the players kept playing and everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who found an opportunity to make a name for himself. With the snap...

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About Me

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About Me

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