Monday, March 21, 2016, 7:06 AM [General]

    Nope. I don't use them, nothing to see here, end of story.

    Well of course its not the end of the story, or you would not still be reading this. I did try to use them. It was a frustrating experience because it seemed to be much more work than reward. It takes oodles of time to get to know the thousands of 888 players well enough to tag them with just one word.

    I know this because I tried to develop a system of tags. I spent hours playing and recording whether the opponent was a donk, a shark, or a fish. Of course those tags were assigned according to my own definition of the words, which may or may not correspond to the reader's ideas.

    I considered someone a shark if they played tight and aggressive. The kind of player who opens with the right cards from the right position and raises relentlessly when they get any decent flop. The donks were just people who played any two cards and often went all in for no apparent reason. Then there were the fish. I liked the fish. They would nibble at small raises with less than premium cards and often call my good hands. Just as often, they would fold to an aggressive bet with a bad hand. Yes, I liked to tag someone as a fish. Its a shame there were not more of those.

    Having started this blog by telling you I don't use tags, I will explain what is wrong with the system. In addition to all the work I have mentioned, take into account that many of these players come and go with frustrating regularity. I wonder how many of the players on 888 are even real people because they often show up, play for a day or two, and then they are never seen again. What a waste of time to tag all these people and then you never see them again. Arrrghh!

    If you were going to use tags, and you wanted to avoid the frustration I have felt, I would encourage you to avoid tagging too many players. Here is my advice, donks are obvious. Don't waste your time making tags for them. Fish and sharks are the ones you want to make note of. They often play the same way preflop so its after the flop you want to feed the fish and avoid the sharks. So tag only the sharks. When you playing a mediocre hand after the flop, and all the sharks are tagged, you can be much more comfortable raising to whoever is left in the field.

    There is one more thing I did wrong. I tried to actually type little notes on the profiles of every 'interesting' opponent. What a chore that was! Remember I said that you seldom see the same people again so I surely don't recommend that EXCEPT in one circumstance.

    When you join the my888 community you will see some of the same names and avatars over and over. These are people worth making notes about. For these people I only wish there was more space to write. Keep track of the players real name using these notes. Keep track of their life events so you can wish them a happy anniversary or what-have-you. Will this help your poker game? Probably not but it sure is a nice way to be social.

    I will close with a suggestion to improve the system. Perhaps an option could be set up so that right clicking on a player auto-assigns a tag of your choosing. Then you would only have to click on the occasional player to assign a little shark symbol. Perhaps you would like to comment on what you think of that idea?

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    Poker (or Personal) - Past. Present. Future

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016, 6:40 AM []

    My poker and personal goals are very similar.

    Readers of my other posts and blogs will know that I have already arrived in paradise. Retirement is a blessing and being 'put out to pasture' is not bad when that pasture is on a tropical island with a beautiful lady for a partner and sufficient funds to enjoy life.

    So how do you make New Year's Resolutions when everything is going well? Nobody is perfect, and I am not rich (far from it), thus my resolutions are simply to continue on my chosen path with particular attention to saving for future emergencies or contingencies.

    The question we should be asking is: Do New Year's Resolutions work? As I look back on Resolutions of the past I remember some of the big ones like quitting smoking, being a better partner in my relationship, and moving to a place where I do not freeze all winter. I have accomplished those goals but I would not say that resolving to do so on the New Year played the biggest part in it.

    New Year's Resolutions are a good start, but to accomplish our goals we need to meet each day with new resolve. From the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep we need to keep one eye on our goals. Did you want to have 'just one' cigarette? Alarms go off in your head and you realize that 'just one' negates your goal of quitting smoking. Aren't you strong enough? What about taking the wife out for dinner? Is it in the budget? Does it negate the savings goal? Oftentimes we have to fight peer pressure or spousal pressure to keep our resolve. Its worth it once you reach that goal.

    I have found self discipline to be the ultimate tool for achieving goals in all things. Savings, quitting smoking, relationships, poker, or even whether or not I live on a tropical island with a beautiful lady all come down to self disciplne. I find a big challenge in this area when it comes to online holdem poker.

    Don't you hate it when you have a good hand, and you bump the pot a bit, and the Russian opponent bets enough to cover your remaining stack? He probably has a couple of crappy cards, as those Russians will bet with anything, but he still has a reasonable chance to beat your KQ so self discipline tells you to walk away from the money you have invested and wait for another opportunity. Slow and steady wins the race.

    Don't let self discipline get in the way of self motivation. Are you avoiding that trip to a tropical destination due to self disciplne? I mean are you putting it off because you are saving for something more practical or because you are commited to a project at work? I have seen many people who avoid that trip because they just can't get motivated to try something new. Rewarding yourself is as much a New Year's Resolution as disciplining yourself.

    Is it your turn to reward yourself? Don't put it off too long as you only live once.

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    My.888poker Holiday Special ‘Open Blog’ Competition

    Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 4:44 AM [General]

    My father died on Christmas Eve, many years ago.

    Christmas, during my formative years, was a festive occasion.  Children got drunk on sugar rushes and high on receiving mountains of gifts.  I could not sleep past 3 am on a Christmas morning in those days.  The anticipation was too great.

    Since my father passed, and age has crept up on me, I find myself avoiding  Christmas.  It is not hard to look the other way when you see Christmas decorations.  Ignoring Christmas music gets easy too.  The Christmas gift sales and advertising are ignored as commercialization.  I justified much of this by telling myself I was just too broke to participate in Christmas.

    The hard thing to ignore is the guilt I feel, when looking into the expectant eyes of yougsters and knowing I will not be contributing  to their treasure hoard this year.  Some years ago, I tried purchasing small gifts for the truly needy, shirttail relations.  It quickly got out of hand so I asked my mother how she coped for all those years.  She told me that she purchased most of her gifts on ‘after Christmas sales’ from the previous year.  It is good advice, but I choose to live with the guilt and let others share their spirit of Christmas.

    To me, Christmas has become a time to reflect on past gluttonies and to contemplate my father’s life.  His advice on gambling is particularly pertinent due to my year of playing Texas Holdem on 888.

    He would say that gambling is bad and should be avoided most times.  Then he would go on to discuss “pleasure bets”.  Some people go to Hawaii or Disneyland for their vacation.  Others go to Vegas.  When you plan a trip to Vegas to enjoy a holiday, and when you spend no more than you would in Hawaii or Disneyland, then you are just making “pleasure bets”. His encouragement, and warnings, have enabled me to enjoy the thrill of pleasure betting without fear of a gambling addiction.

    Armed with this philosophy, I calculated how much I could afford to spend at online games this year.  I decided that World of Warcraft and Stormfall were out and Online Holdem was now my game of choice.  I learned that Freerolls were good when I ran low on funds.  I learned that bankroll management was the key to enjoying pleasure bets without going over budget.  I learned that the “pleasure” in pleasure bets comes from the thrill of a first place finish in a multi tabled tournament.

    The last thing my father taught me about pleasure betting was to share the wealth.  It feels good to share.  When I have a $10 win I share by treating my wife to lunch.  I look forward to the day when I win enough to share Christmas with some expectant youngsters.  I plan to inject bankroll management into other areas of my life so that future Christmasses will find me with the funds to brighten a few childrens eyes.

    Whether I can afford to spend money at Christmas, or not, my most sincere wish, for you and your loved ones, is to have the Merriest Christmas you can.  "God bless us, every one!"


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    Hole Cards That History Makes Hard to Resist

    Thursday, October 22, 2015, 11:13 AM [General]

    Any two hole cards can win!

    Of course I am most aggressive with AA in the hole but KK works too.  In fact, K & K were my hole cards when I had an epiphany about how I play 888 online poker.  I’ll get back to that, later.

    The hole cards that are hard for me to resist are 10 & J suited! I don’t play them all the time, but I can’t resist them when I see 4 or 5 strong players going into the pot ahead of me.  There is no scientific basis for this, it’s just a hunch.  When half of the players at the table are betting hard, then I have the impression that there are a lot of Aces, Kings and Queens in people’s hands.  That gives me a hunch that the cards most likely to fall on the flop will be lower than a Queen.  I believe that even if an A, K and Q come down on the flop it can be good for me.  The hope is that a few players have trips, so I can get a great haul with my anticipated straight.

    I am leery of flushes with these hole cards.  When lots of players are in the pot there is a fair to middlin’ chance that one of them will have a higher flush than I.  That has happened, but it has not stopped me from joining the fray. So far this strategy only works about a third of the time.  That is a better result than I get by joining the action with an A, K or Q.  One more thing to consider is the size of the pot.  When there are 4 or more contributors and the pot is growing quickly, there is a sizeable reward when my J & 10 takes the prize.

    So getting back to my epiphany, I was betting strong with K K in hand and a rainbow of rags on the table.  There was only one challenger, but he beat me with a donk hand that turned into a straight.  I was all in at the time and it struck home that ANY 2 hole cards can win the hand.  My revelation was that it does not matter.  Now, when I look at my cards I ask myself:  “Self, is that the winning hand”?  If the answer is “Probably” then I bet hard.  If the answer is “Unlikely” then I fold.  The epiphany is realizing that:  There is no room for “Maybe” in Texas Holdem!




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    The Poker Hands That Haunt Me

    Sunday, September 13, 2015, 3:41 PM [General]

    You’ve got the nuts and you can’t lose!

    50dfdf6ee1e0bc0adc46c3dc19507049.png?v=14400Here’s the deal.  Our hero comes to the table with a sizeable bankroll on a ‘can’t lose’ night.  Being dealt Ace-Jack off suit is not exactly a wet dream of mine but it’s worth a triple blind bet. One beady eyed old lady calls and everyone else folds. Let’s see what flops.

    e9a82d06ff14101fd2db2b5bc1c8a39e.png?v=34700It’s looking good!  Two high pair is worth another raise.  Let’s go triple our previous bet and see if that shakes the pot loose.  But no, soccer mom calls the bet. There are a number of hole cards she could have and it’s the first time playing against this opponent.  Maybe she has a high pair.  Perhaps K Q on suit.  At any rate she is staying with us.

    dc362fdb429a4354715a608e0ee753da.png?v=27400Come to Poppa!  It’s big money now!  Full house with Aces over Jacks is THE NUTS!  We’re ready to go all in but wait, our hero decides to slow play this one and checks.  Big Momma senses fear and goes all in. She must have the last Ace, but what does she have with it?  Well the best she can do is split the pot so our hero matches her, all in.

    fa91b21d98e0974750eb604ce70d3ac9.png?v=27000 A big sigh of relief!  We got her.  She’s banking on trip Aces with the high kicker.  Not today. There’s 20K in that pot so all we have to do is let the River flow and let our full house take the pot.  And then:

    b9718264affaf95869d4fbe69f8aaa79.png?v=27900OMG!  The Queen of Spades comes up the river.  The lady has a higher full house! What a bad beat!  This should not be happening!  With this our hero goes from “the nuts” to the poor house with one little flip of a queen.

    This was not a hand I was playing in.  The hand came from a movie called Mississippi Grind and our hero is a compulsive gambler named Gerry.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and this hand haunts me for a few reasons.

    I followed the hand along with Gerry and would have played it the same way so the hand haunts me as I would have lost all my money on it if I were playing.  I thank the movie makers for teaching me 2 valuable lessons.

    Lesson 1 is; do not slow play anything, even the nuts.  If Gerry had gone all in on the turn instead of slow playing his full house then the opponent may well have folded and the result would be a much better chance for our hero to profit on the hand.

    Lesson 2 is; never put your entire poker bankroll on the table in any one game.  Had our hero only been playing with half his money, or less, then he would have survived to win another day.

    There is one other poker hand that haunts me.  That is the dead man’s hand.  I can never look at an Ace and an Eight without checking to see who is behind me, but that would be a blog for another day.

    Have fun at the tables.

    a contest entry.

    [Edited By Moderator]

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    Strange Poker, Extremes and Confessions

    Monday, August 10, 2015, 4:40 PM [General]

    ac596ee492a83d431aedaad8fe5d59ca.png?v=9975 I’m sure we are all imagining the sort of strange and extreme poker confessions that might come out in this blog.

     09519ac3c383ba52e896a4eb001e262e.png?v=4800 Let’s start with the time I came out of the closet.  (He senses the ears perking up and the imaginations running wild.)

    For the rest of the story, you need to realize that playing on-line Holdem is not something you can take lightly.  When you are in that big money Freeroll, and you have passed the bubble, the thrill of 20 cents is more than mere mortals can bear.

    While I was playing a Freeroll one day, some friends came to my front door and hollered "Hellloooooo”. I knew that, if they came in, I would have to quit the tournament. In desperation I realized that there were only two places to take my laptop and hide.

    A walk in closet smells better than the toilet and is actually very quiet. The trick is being sure that your company has actually driven away before coming out.


    That time, when I came out out of the closet, I saw my friend Scott waving at me though the living room window, but hey!  I won a dollar that day!

    While it might be strange to play poker in the closet, it is more extreme to force yourself to wake up at 3 am.

    274cfefb9f807fade3b5e51912f5dff9.png?v=4200 Who plays poker at 3 am?  Certainly not me if I can help it.  But there are these people called “Brits” on the other side of the world, who are wide awake at that ungodly hour and they want to play cards.

    These Brits have a magic Holdem power that forces me to wake up in the middle of the night, turn on my laptop, and take their money.  (Well usually they take mine but let’s not admit that, OK?)

    To be honest, the thing that I find most extreme and strange about some ‘other’ poker players is that they let their wife nag them into not playing Holdem.


    is especially strange to me because the solution is so simple.
    Just get a new wife,

    0f076bf75a32bf4ae2eb34c5996cf895.png?v=17700 Then you can 02eb3cbdf64df8ec3ab28cd930dc008e.png?v=7300 in more ways than one. 

    Have fun at the tables!

    a contest entry.

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    Poker, Personalities and Perfection.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 10:36 AM [General]

    Practice makes perfect when playing poker.

    My father taught me to concentrate on doing one thing, and doing it right.  There is no glory in being a jack of all trades but there is money in acing your preferred poker persuasion.

    Shall we take one of the acknowledged champion money makers in Texas Holdem Poker, Doyle Brunson, 5480ee5f9e75ff2e275d1924a2e87d53.jpg?v=50490and see what he has to say?   “No-limit poker requires a lot more skill. In limit games, you can afford to be right most of the time, make a few terrible errors along the way, and still come out on top.“ As we see here, Mr. Brunson not only sticks to one game but he sticks to one variant and is specific enough to choose only No-limit pots.  If it is good enough for him then it is an example we can all follow

    Why do you play poker? Of course you enjoy it, but do you enjoy it when you are losing money?  Do you enjoy it when you are simply breaking even?  I suggest that a large part of the enjoyment of any variant of poker is winning.  It’s addictive.  When you have a big win then the next win needs to be bigger to get the same thrill. To keep winning you need to practice, study, and learn from your mistakes.  That gets harder to do the more variants you play.

    It is a fact that other variations of poker exist and thrive.  If the biggest money is in no-limit holdem then my guess is the other variants are for players who want to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.  This is only a guess as my personality keeps me focused on no-limit holdem.  There is a chance that I will try other variants one day. ff24122a4a1c68c75c9d955f8db1b53a.jpg?v=50396 The little numbskull in my brain, who is responsible for curiosity, tends to push me in that direction every so often.  But until now I have resisted his push.

    Those who are still agreeing will ask more specific questions.  Is turbo better than regular speed? Are freerolls better than low stakes games? Are different times of day better suited to winning? How many players should be in a game to give you the best chance to profit?  And the list goes on.  I suggest that each player must do some self - analysis into their own personality to find those answers, but I will give a few of my own choices here.

    I like to play very early in the morning as I am freshest then.  Unfortunately I also like to lie in bed enjoying those last minute zzzzz’s so life is always about choices.  I like to play freerolls as there is a great potential gain and the only loss is my time.  I prefer to play the games that have the very smallest amount of time for late registration, rebuys or add-ons.  I feel a sense of accomplishment as people get eliminated and I move up the rankings, even when eliminated before the bubble I get a sense of accomplishment for sticking around longer than many others.  On the flip side, when I work at getting into the money for 2 hours and then a late registered player knocks me out it is a bitter pill.

    So from all this insight, we can now plan the perfect poker game.  Not that it takes much planning as it has already been done by 888 Poker.  I suggest the Summer Splash event combines all the elements of a perfect poker game and my hat is off to the staff at 888 Poker. Congrats on coming up with a great promo and may it last a long time.  9c3eb32cfca8707b362cca99197127b5.jpg?v=96105

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    The Game of Poker Has Changed My Life

    Sunday, June 14, 2015, 5:56 AM [General]

    The Game of Poker Has Changed My Life.

    I don’t go to real life poker rooms very often.  Real life poker rooms have become stale and boring.  First I need to pay close attention to the calendar and the clock to see when there is a good game in my area.  Then I must drive through heavy traffic and be lucky enough to find a seat.  I cannot choose who my opponents will be and Big Mouth Larry is sure to be one of them.  The hands go slowly as one or more of the participants is there to talk rather than play cards.  At the end of the evening I have had a bit of fun, won or lost some money, and my life has not changed.

    Then I discovered the world of on-line Holdem Poker.  It has changed my life.  That should not imply that I have a new found faith in luck or my card playing ability.  Do not assume that I have become addicted to the game or that I play it any more than I play any other on-line game.  On-line Holdem Poker has changed my life by rekindling a dream!

    What will happen to you when you are past the age of working for a living?  Sure you will retire but where will you go, what will you do and how will you pay for it all?  Do you have a moderately small pension, as do I?  When such is the case our dreams tend to die as we realize there will be no more pay increases, no more overtime pay, and inflation will still grow.  What can we do to keep our dreams alive?

    My answer is On-line Poker.  There is an element of skill to the game.  I can buy in for the same price as having a cup of coffee at the corner café.  I can play from my living room, anywhere in the world.  In my case I am retired and living in a tropical paradise with beautiful girls waiting on me hand and foot . . . ahhh I sense disbelief.  Let’s insert a pic.


    Yep, that’s me in the middle.  Now back to the topic, so it seems I have everything I want and need but we all need to wake up in the morning with dreams of future plans.  That’s where On-Line Poker comes in.

    888 Poker is where I currently play.  There are games where I can win $100 for the price of that cup of coffee I mentioned, and there are games with the promise of $1 million payoffs.  Look at that picture again.  Think how those lovely gals would enjoy being treated to a trip to Hong Kong, for example.  My dream of doing that is still alive, thanks to the game of Poker.  How do you keep your dreams alive?

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    If I had a poker mentor

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 6:21 AM [General]

    If I had a poker mentor, she may be a computer program.

    5 years ago I picked Holdem as my poker passion.  2 months ago I started to play it on line.  During the interim, I played at kitchen tables, friend’s rec rooms, and in friendly bar games.  Good friends taught me the basics and a few losing hands taught me that losing is bad.  It was with some trepidation that I ventured into online poker as I had no friends there and I saw sharks at every opposing seat.

    An acquaintance directed me to 888 Poker as they give you an instant $2 to start playing immediately.  Thus my first poker mentor became the “Poker Coach” program downloaded from the 888 site.  She was a good teacher and gave me a hunger for more learning. I wanted to know what my odds of winning each hand were.  I hoped for a tutor to teach me who was the fish at the table and who were the carnivores.  Searching for more free programs led me to free trials of “Holdem Manager” and “Poker Office”.

    Poker Office quickly became my favorite as the table display was unobtrusive and easy to read.  The side panel gave instant stats every time cards showed at the table.  This program tutored me as to the best possible hand on each flop.  She showed me my odds of improving my hand and she showed me the pot odds.  But like many fickle females, as soon as the free trial ran out she left me until I could pay for it.

    Next I discovered a free trial of Poker Tracker.  She wasn’t as good to me as Poker Office but she did have one amazing feature.  She would keep track of every hand I played and then calculate a graph which showed where I had ‘got lucky’ as opposed to being good.  She also gave me a synopsis of my leaks.  She was very good at telling me what I do well and where I need more work.  I will have a lot of trouble letting her go when my free trial runs out but what to do?  There is only so much money and all of the program vendors want some of it.

    These experiences have shown me that I need discipline.  I need a mentor who will smack my backside when I play too loose out of position. I prefer someone who will whisper in my ear when I have the second best possible hand, but I suspect “the nuts” is betting against me.  Can she show me how to keep my cool when I have a great hand and get beaten by someone who goes all in with a 6 + 2 off suit? I think I would be happy with an application that combines all the features of Poker Coach, Poker Office, and Poker Tracker.  But, she has to be wrapped in a low price tag.  I guess I shall keep dreaming.

    Contest entry.  Thumbs up appreciated Cool 

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    My prize poker story takes place on my 29th birthday

    Sunday, April 12, 2015, 9:34 AM [General]

    My prize poker story takes place on my 29th birthday.

    Until my 29th birthday I was clueless about poker. As a skinny lad, who did not hold liquor well, I suspected my brother and 4 friends planned to get me drunk and fleece me of my weeks’ pay.  It was a Friday evening and did not take long for the former to occur.  Cigarette smoke thickened the air and Crown Royal was flowing freely. In a short while my head and stomach were vying for control of my bowels.

    Miraculously enough, I began to win at Poker.  Hand after hand I carelessly went all in and the jingle of coins coming my way was better than sex, or so it seemed at the time.  By dawn, the other 5 players were tapped out.  Lyle offered to give us all a ride home.  We agreed, as none of the rest of us wished to drive drunk, but Lyle was too inebriated to think of that.

    On the way home, the sun was just beginning to peak over the horizon when we heard the siren wailing and saw the flashing lights. Lyle rolled down the window and a police officer looked in and mentioned that the headlights were not on.  One whiff of Lyle and the officer was asking us to step out of the car.

    “We can’t do that.” said Lyle.  “Only one door works so we would all have to crawl into the back seat and go out the passenger side.” The officer showed no sense of humor.

    “Show me your license and registration.” said the officer.

    “Can’t!” said Lyle.  “I did not bring it with me because I am just taking my buddies home after our card game.” At this point I am sure I saw the cop’s eyebrows rise.

    “OK. Give me the keys.” said the officer.

    “I can’t do that either.” said Lyle as he demonstrated how he had to cross two wires to start his car and then twist two other wires to keep it running.

    “Who’s got some ID here?” was the next question asked by the officer as he looked at the rest of us drunks.

    We all looked at each other but none of us had any ID with us.  That was unusual as each of us generally carried driver’s license and credit cards but that night we had all neglected to do so. By this time the cop was shaking his head and starting to show saintly patience for the idiocy of youth.

    “OK.” said the officer, “Exactly where do you think you are going?”  Lyle explained that my house was just 3 more blocks away and we would park and go to bed as soon as we got there.  The officer most graciously allowed us to continue on our way as he followed at a safe distance.  Arriving home, my brother and I breathed a sigh of relief that we had escaped unscathed.  We escorted Lyle and the gang to beds in the basement and went upstairs to our own rooms.

    “You know what the worst part of that evening was?” My brother Wayne asked me?  I could think of quite a bit but I asked him what he was thinking.  “You are such a freaking horrible Poker Player but it was your birthday. We all agreed you were going to win, we just didn’t think it would take you all freaking night to do it!!!”

    I smiled and said thank you.

    True story but give a THUMBS UP please as it is also a contest entry.

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