Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Four Part True Crime Series BUST an insiders account of Greenville's underground poker scene by Brad Willis

Fantastic stuff. A Must read. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

More words from the Swampfox

Poker is a game of skill.  Poker also is a game of luck.  It’s both and it’s neither. Poker is what it is.
How someone plays and decisions one makes playing poker can give a distinct advantage. 
Some of the skills that are worth mentioning
Knowing the math is a skill. Know the odds. Understand the odds change drastically after the flop and on every street of the hand.
Understanding tools like pre flop betting to protect your hand and keeping stragglers honest.
Also do not get married to your hand to where you cannot let it go if warning signs show up.
Consistently playing position correctly will eliminate much of the risk of bad players by filtering their chips away.
Playing position is a skill. Understand the risk.
Being able to read tells or understanding deception tactics is a skill.
Pay close attention to opponents focus on play as well as their table talk.
Telling a story is a skill. We tell stories not only verbally but also with body language and betting patterns.
Whether we are aware of it or not.
Be consistent in creating a table persona. Develop a good reputation
When bluffing be sure your story adds up. If you are telling a story be sure the people
You’re telling it too are paying attention and understand the story. I once had a player who could not
 Understand why people tended to chase him down to the river. He was trying to tell the correct story however
His solid reputation of playing mediocre cards or bluffing to frequent was the reason his story was not believable.
The options he has to adapt his play to his persona or find a new group and build a new reputation.
Understand not just one of these skills but a combination of all these skills will increase your ability to maximize
 The value of pots that you win.
Bankroll management maybe one of the most important skills. Always keep records and separate games, times, places and formats.
Play limits that you are comfortable with. You can find lots of free poker bankroll apps that will make this easier.
After establishing play you can monitor the games that you want to play because of your success and avoid those games that are not profitable.
If you maintain and develop these skills and understand that you must always be able to adapt skill will always win in the long run.

One of the great advantages of players that depend on luck is that they usually play at level well below what is comfortable to them.
This gives them a hedge if they lose if they can chase high risk hands enough. When they win the reward can be big for them.
 I have observed that many that play this way. Most are thrill seekers and it is not the money that thrills them as much as hitting that big hand.
That gives them a feeling of power and good fortune. They will have many highs and lows but that is part of the thrill.
They want to beat the game and sometimes they do. They remember the peaks and the valleys but in between is not memorable to them.
In closing both skill and luck is a big part of poker. Sometimes good skills influence luck. In the long run a vast repertoire of skills will usually

Be the victor in the long journey

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Three Legendary WSOP Moments from the Early 1980s - Steve Ungar, Seymour Leibowitz, Jack Straus

Three Legendary WSOP Moments from the Early 1980s - Steve Ungar, Seymour Leibowitz, Jack Straus

1980, The @Stu Ungar domination begins

It took a young man full of confidence in heads-up with one of the best poker players in the world and a hand of small suited connectors. A new legend of poker was born. The arrogant 26-year-old contender was Stu 'The Kid' Ungar, the veteran was two-time WSOP champion Doyle Brunson. and the hand: 4♣ 5♠ vs. Brunson's A♥ 7♥ 
Here is an account by Gary Wise:
The final hand of the tournament started with Doyle limping on the small blind to make the pot almost $13k. The A-7-2 flop gave Doyle top two pair, while Stuey had only an inside straight draw. Ungar checked and Brunson bet $17k. Against most players, he’d have taken the pot down there, but Ungar made the call.
The turn brought the Kid’s miracle three, giving him the straight. He immediately bet out for forty thousand, knowing that a check-raise was more likely to scare the Texan away. Brunson paused for a moment and declared himself all in, pushing $275k into the pot. He’d later call it “one of the worst plays of my career.” The straight held up, and Stu Ungar had his first world championship win.
Stuey thought he was so uncannily good, he called himself "a freak of nature."

1981, a unique personal award

@Seymour Leibowitz is known for having taken up poker late in his life. He was 67 years old when he quit his 9-to-5 job and moved to Vegas to play full-time. Despite this late start he managed to amass $1,370,112 in live tournament earnings. Yet, what he is mostly remembered and respected for is his kindness.  Leibowitz has been called 'the nicest person to ever sit down at a poker table'  and in 1981 WSOP created a special award for him - 'The Most Congenial Player of the Tournament'!

1982, A famous saying is coined

You've all heard it and probably used it - 'all you need is a chip and a chair'. One of the most popular inspirational sayings of poker is associated with a legendary figure in the history of the game - @Jack Straus (one of three Poker Hall of Famers to die while playing poker, along with Wild Bill Hickok and Tom Abdo).
Early on in the 1982 WSOP Main Event, Jack was about to leave the table thinking he had busted in the last hand when he discovered one last chip and was allowed to continue playing. That single chip eventually took him to the Main Event champion title, $520,000, and a place in poker history.
The lucky final hand:

Friday, February 7, 2014

9 Topics never to discuss at the poker table

9 Topics You Should Never Discuss at the Poker Table

Poker at its heart is a social game. The love that most recreational live poker players have for the game stems not only from the potential for financial gain that poker provides, but also for the opportunities it presents to be intellectually and socially stimulated. Some of the best poker games create great memories not because of the hands that are played, but rather because of the jovial mood and conversation at the table throughout the night. That said, there are limits to what should and shouldn’t be discussed at your poker table. Be sure that you and your tablemates stay away from the 9 topics below and it’s practically a guarantee that – at least socially – it’ll be a pleasant evening of poker.

1. Don’t Talk Politics

politics and religion
There’s no right way to turn when discussing politics or religion at the poker table
There’s nothing that can drive a wedge among people like politics. Sure, it might be fun to muse about which candidate may win an upcoming election or to publicly opine on a trending political issue, but more often than not you’re likely to end up in some sort of heated argument with at least one of your tablemates. People are passionate about poker but they’re often just as, or even more, passionate about politics. There’s nothing objectively wrong with political discussions, but the fact is that you came to the poker room to play poker, not to attend a town hall meeting. It’s probably best to keep it that way.
Notwithstanding that many politicians enjoy a good game of poker here and there, if you know what’s good for you – and good for your poker game – you’ll do what you can to ensure that conversation steers clear of anything too political.

2. Don’t Discuss Religion

You know how I just mentioned that there’s nothing that can drive a wedge among people like politics? Well, perhaps there’s one major exception: religion.
Most of the world’s wars have historically been waged over religious differences among people. There’s no reason to ignite World War III at your poker tables over a discussion about anything having to do with religion.
Part of the beauty of poker is that it enables people from all walks of life to unite around a common interest. The way to preserve that unity is to ensure that players don’t bring up a religion-related topic sure to divide them.
The only battles that should be being fought at the felt are showdowns between poker hands.

3. Never Talk about the Current Hand Being Played

Every sport has a code of ethics. Part of poker’s code is to not discuss a hand with anyone else at the table while there’s still action in play. This applies whether you’re still part of the hand or whether you’ve already folded.
Don't talk about poker in the middle of a hand
There’s a time and a place for poker discussions
Discussing the current poker hand while it’s still being played out is wrong on at least two very important fronts:
  • It distracts the players still in the hand
  • Your comments may very well affect the active players’ decisions
Even if you decide to quietly whisper the cards you folded to your neighbor at the table, you may be overheard and that could swing the outcome of the hand.
Until a hand is over, then, it’s best to keep your thoughts about what’s taking place to yourself – possibly just jotting down a poker note on your phone. Moreover, if another player not in the hand starts to chatter about the hand while it’s still in play, you’re well within your rights to ask him/her to keep quiet.

4. Avoid Discussing Previously Played Hands

hand history
Who cares what happened in the past?
Don’t you just love when you’re trying to get a read on your opponents or make mental poker math calculations and other players at the table are still going on and on about a “sick” hand that was played 1 or 2 orbits prior?
Yea, we can’t stand it either.
There’s absolutely nothing to be gained from attempting to reenact a hand. More often than not, there’s likely to be an argument over exactly which cards were on the board, what order they came in, which players were holding what, and who was in what position.
Rather than keep dwelling on the past, encourage your tablemates to pay more attention to the present and focus on the current poker table action – it keeps things flowing much more smoothly and quickly.

5. Keep Your Lips Sealed about Bad Beat Jackpots

Bad beat lips are sealed
Shhh! There’s a potential bad beat jackpot hand in progress!
Many poker rooms these days feature bad beat jackpots. Some of the most notable are the Mega Beat progressive poker jackpot in Las Vegas and the Total Bad Beat jackpot in Atlantic City, among many others around the world. Though the exact rules of how a hand qualifies for the jackpot and how players get paid out differ from one room to the next, a common denominator among them all is that any discussion about a bad beat jackpot while a potentially qualifying hand is going on will disqualify the hand from being eligible.
It’s fun to dream about being on the losing (or winning) end of a bad beat jackpot… or even being in the right place at the right time to grab a “participant’s share” of the progressive. In fact, that’s often a main draw that gets recreational poker players to come out to a live poker room rather than just sit in another home game.
That said, be sure you and your tablemates all remember to zip your lips if a potential bad beat is in the works at your table. It would be a crying shame for a jackpot hand to be disqualified because of careless poker table chatter.

6. Don’t Ridicule Weaker Players

donkey fish
Have you seen this type of player at your poker table?
In the wake of this summer’s World Series of Poker, many articles have come out in the poker media chastising professional poker players for their lack of manners and general disrespect towards recreational players. It’s that type of condescending attitude that’ll completely turn recreational players off from playing poker and essentially dry up the player pool, they say.
If you’re an educated and experienced poker player, it’s far better not to criticize the play of weaker opponents, but rather to “go along with the show”, be genuine with your compliments as much as possible, and keep them enjoying themselves. That’ll make them more likely to keep on playing, thus increasing your long-term advantage.
This will make you a much better ambassador for the game of poker. Remember that if you scare away enough fish, you’ll end up exclusively swimming and sitting with the sharks; that’s not good for you or for the poker economy.

7. Don’t Discuss High-Level Poker Math or Poker Strategy

mathematics of pokerYou ever hear the expression that you should “keep your cards close to the vest”? It’s simply bad form to discuss poker math and strategy at the table – almost as bad, in fact, as revealing your cards to your opponents.
The stronger the player, the more likely they are to pick up on all your talk about (e.g.,) floating, thin value betting, +EV, 4-betting weak from the cutoff, etc. You’re giving away valuable information about your playing style and it’s almost surely guaranteed to cost you money.
Strategy and poker math discussions surely have their place, and that place is away from the poker table.

8. Never Badmouth the Poker Dealer

Sometimes poker players can get so involved and absorbed in poker playing that they forget that the person dealing cards to them is also a human being. Dealers have arguably the toughest job in the game, having to content with players of all stripes, who aren’t always the nicest people in the world, to put it lightly.
Dealers are human; they make mistakes. That dealers aren’t perfect is something you’ve got to accept as part of the package of playing live poker (just like the rake and other playing “costs”).
It’s beyond disrespectful and rude to be openly discussing a dealer’s performance while they’re still at your table – regardless of how poor it may be; it’s downright shameful. If you need to protest, then walk away and speak to the poker room manager or floor supervisor. If you’re really peeved, then justdon’t tip the dealer.
poker dealers
Shame on those players who sit around a poker table criticizing the dealer, while they’re working hard and doing the best they can. For that matter, it’s also best to keep your mouth shut about stuff like that even after there’s a dealer change. Dealers talk amongst themselves and are often friends with one another. How would you feel if 10 people were talking for half an hour about how crappy a job your fiend just did dealing cards? Probably not too good.

9. Nobody Wants to Hear How Badly You’ve Been Running

unlucky poker player
Don’t advertise that you’ve been running bad
Much like people could care less about your bad beat stories, most people really couldn’t give a damn about how badly you’ve been running, be it at the poker tables, while playing any other casino game, or in life in general.
Pessimistic, downtrodden people just aren’t fun to be around and can be real atmosphere killers at an otherwise lively and exciting poker game.
On top of that, there’s another reason you should keep quiet if you’ve been running bad – talking about it essentially paints a big, huge target on your back, as other players are likely to channel their “inner vulture”. They’ll jump at the opportunity to take advantage of your “unlucky image” and attempt to bully you around.
If anything, continued talk about and reaction to how previous hands played out might reveal things about your play to others, who might be taking poker notes on you.
It’s much harder to play poker when constantly on the defensive against players who are trying to “keep your bad luck streak going strong”.
So, if you’ve been running badly, it’s best to either keep quiet about it or just end your poker session right then and there.
Can you think of any other topics that shouldn’t be discussed around the poker table? Share them with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Word From The SwampFox

The SwampFox

I have played poker at many venues over the years. The range has been from some of the top casinos in the world to the semi-regular Friday night beer buddy game.
I really enjoy both types of settings. However some pet peeves that stand out at the beer buddy home games are the addition of certain house rules. I’m not talking about usual rules of etiquette but the variance of regular rules that many times cause confusion or even disagreements. The amazing thing is the same house rule continues to cause the same confusion every week because new people join the game and are not aware of the of the house rule.
For example I have played at a place that if a card is exposed during the deal it is a miss deal. Cards are reshuffled and dealt again. Not only is this time consuming it also can be easy manipulated. Let’s say I get a 3♠ with my first dealt card. I then try to get my hand in the way when second card comes to expose card so I can get a misdeal.
Roberts rules of poker states in Hold’em/Omaha games.
If any of the face-down cards in the games of Hold’em or Omaha
Are accidentally turned face-up in the dealing process, the dealer
Shall exchange the exposed card with a card off the top of the deck
Once all the hands have been dealt. The exposed card will be placed
On top of the stub and used as a burn card. Two or more exposed
Cards are a misdeal.
Another example is the first card I receive is A♥ flips up and is exposed. The house rule at this place allows me the choice of keeping the A♥ or taking another card instead. This gives a distinct advantage to the person whose card is exposed. Also if it happens to a person that is new to that game or is unaware of the house rule and did not use same option when his card was exposed.
Roberts Rules of Poker states if a card is exposed due to dealer error, a player does not have an option to take or reject the card.
Another practice I have seen at Home games is chopping pots once hand is heads up. This can be considered collusion.
 Openly agreeing to check a hand down to knock someone out is collusion and against the rules. It is often implied but you can't openly agree to check the hand down.
The controversy isn't that the guy wants to check it down and is acting as though we agreed; it's that he's verbalizing a collusion agreement openly. That's against the rules; you simply can't "agree to check it down".
I know many of you that are reading this could add many other home house rules that have caused issues at a game. That is not what I’m trying to point out. In fact if you have the same group of guys playing every week with these special house rules if probably is not an issue. I have learned to adapt pulling my hair while adjusting.
 However if everyone played using the same rules at every venue it would avoid many disruptions and disagreements that I have seen at the poker table.
 My suggestion is that if you have any special rules or guidelines for your home game please post in a visible location so new people to your game can see. This will help avoid any misunderstandings.

Friday, September 13, 2013

4 Sic hands that I wanted to share.

The Omaha Wheel
Pot Limit Omaha H/L 8 or better

I’m Holding A♦A♠3♠K♦  
Flop A♥4♥8♣ Turn A♣ River 2♥.
My opponent holding 3♥5♥8♠4♠
I have A♠A♣A♦A♥8♣ for High A♦2♥3♠4♥8♣ for low.
My opponent was holding A♥2♥3♥4♥5♥ for the steel wheel high and low.
My feelings were seriously hurt as I tucked my tail and crawled home.

Lightning strikes twice
Texas Holdem Orange Park Jacksonville Fl.
I’m holding K♠K♦
Flop is K♥4♦4♣ with a raise and re-raise in front of me. I call. The person behind me is all in. I call.
My boat is crushed by 4♥4♦4♣4♠K♥. Crack/Flash/Boom.
That one took me a few minutes to recover from. 
Approximately 45 min later I woke up with K♠K♣.
Flop was 10♥K♦10♠ UTG went all in I snap called he showed 10♣10♦.
I had been hit by lighting twice in less than an hour.
 It was a long trip home. I considered hanging poker up after that week. Fortunately I got back on the horse and won a tourney upon my return and recovered all of my losses.

Quads are not good enough.

The next hand happened in a small Texas holdem tourney.
I have 7♣9♣
3 players called.
Flop10♣J♠8♣  I 4 bet 1 player called.
Turn K♣  I 4 bet the other player called.
River J♣. I 4 bet. The other player went all in. I snap call.
My opponent was holding J♥J♦. for quad J’s. She complained and suggested that I should refund her some chips because I had sucked out and cracked her quad J’s. I pointed out that she did not raise preflop and I was never behind post flop. I did however understand her pain. It’s amazing how certain hands are burned in your brain.