Poker Road Warrior: December 2005
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Friday, December 30, 2005

Poker News

Poker Fading? Click here for article

I think it has cooled a little. TV just wears it out. Also, 90% of the players lose money when they finally deposit and play. That cools off many quick. It looks easy and fun on TV but if you are not willing to read, practice, study and really work at your game you will probably get yer ass kicked.

Poker growth is not about "gear" or chips. It's about how easy it is to play on the net (free or for money), Competition that old, young, male or female can play on equal footing and the money that can be made if you get really good. I have many retired players that now have a new source of income. Many can do very well just breaking even by making $100-500 a week in bonuses.

This article really puts a lot of stock in how much Poker gear is bought at Xmas to show how Poker is dying. Most serious home game players would never be caught dead with Walmart, Big 5, or Target Poker chips. They buy quality chips that run much more then 20-60 bucks that these department store whores peddle. They buy them from chip companies because they like the feel of casino quality chips.

Many got their chip sets free by playing on the net. My brother has 3 or 4 sets, all free.

Most people have 2 or 3 sets of chips under their bed and many like me never have time to have a home game and use them. We play on the net cause its so convenient and we don't need any Poker gear. Just a computer. Poker online is still growing at a strong clip.

Poker will be fueled by the new group of players that turn 21 each year, not by increased sales of mediocre poker chips and cheap shuffling machines.

Take a look at Poker book sales. Huge growth from players realizing they must improve to compete at this fun new game they started playing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Guest Post, Chippies!

This post is from one of my favorite players "Chip_Tricks". I call her chippies and she has been a huge help to me and our Tour. Always playing in our low limit buyins, moderating our forum and torturing our players whenever they decide to play a pot with her. She is one of our top players and I get a complimentary table change whenever she is at my table.

Have a good story? I'll send you a sweet Shark Logo Tee-Shirt if it's posted. Email it now (in word if you can) to

Hola senior Sharkman---

Okie dokie Sharkman I've decided to take a stab at the guest post - mainly cause I want a shirt (might have to make 2 guest posts cause hubby is bein such a girly grrrrlllllll that he wants one too !! ) I have decided to take a what-the-hell-I'm-just-gonna-ramble approach like my hero da Sharkman. You decide what, if any, of this gets posted on the famed blog (oh I hope I am worthy......if not, bite my huge %*$(#& you one-toothed-%*#&*-sharkman :P).

Some of ya sharkarmyites might have seen me on the tables.....most all sites I have chip_tricks as my SN. My name is Michelle (yea i'ma grrrrllllly grrrrrllll, and I won't answer to my name if ya call me dat during a game cause I soooo prefer to remain genderless so call me anythang but). I am not a poker pro or expert on anything but BS, but I have been "learning" the ways of the wicked for about 3 years online.

My first taste of poker was not online but at a church festival. I will never forget my first game. I was 22 at the time (much older now at 36 shhhh), and was boredchitless on a Sat night, so I hopped into my POS car and drove around a found a festival with huge tent with a bunch of people sitting at tables, and I thought cool, a party with beer and food I'm there.......had no idea they were playin cards. Got myself a spot to park, and I headed over to the big tent after catchin a nasty draft they called beer and saw they was playin cards in der. I watched for a little bit (it was a $1/2 table), and I was like ok I wanna play.

So I sat down at the table next to the one I was watchin and broke out a c-note and felt my first chippies....gotta admit it was a rush sittin there with no clue what I was doin with those chips in front of me. To play off my nervousness I started playin with those chips cause they were changing "dealers" and cards and everyone seemed to know each other at the table and I was just some loser outsider sittin there with me beer. I don't remember a dam thing from that night other than 3 things......1, I had no idea how to play; 2, I was so glad they had a chart hanging on the tent pole showing how hands ranked against each other (think I got a stiff neck from keeping my eye on that chart while playin HA !); and 3, I had a blast winning and losing and couldn't wait to do it again !!!!! Thus began my search every weekend of that summer to find a church festival that had a poker tent !!!!! I played all summer long and eventually got good (well maybe no! t that good, but I was a better donk than the other donks that played) and won overall for the summer. Then it hit ----- no more festivals until late spring next year --- ACKKKKKKKK !!!! So I had to wait, but I was hooked from that summer on and continued to play at those festivals - GOD love those festivals - for the next 3 years.

Then sadly, I got married and had to give it up due to cash shortages because of those dam grownup resposiblities. The only time I got to play was at home games at my friend's house...where she didn't even play....I had to play with her husband and his friends....but whothehellcared I got to play and I had some runs and won a few times. That was the bulk of my poker play until a few years later when the casinos came to town. But that's a continuing story for another day.............

If the oh-thou-great-poker-guru decides to use my rambling in his blog, I'll make it a continuing story of my poker life since the ever-so-pathetic beginning. I am so not a pro and have no place giving advice, but as my story progresses I'll share all the mistakes I've made, the successes I've had, and everything I have learned, and how I got to where I am today. My poker philosophy is simply this :

There is no right or wrong way to play poker. Poker is a game of strategy, skill, and luck (everyone has their own opinion as to the percentages each of these has in relation to the game). I have no interest in placing a "value" as to the importance of each of them as I believe each hand has it's own unique combination of strategy, skill, and luck based on the players at the table. Gather all the information you can by reading books by the pros, watching the game, asking a pro all the questions you can, then develop your style of play.....and then practice, practice, the great Sharkman has told me.

This philosophy has served me well thus far, however, I know I have so much to learn as I want my game to continually evolve to a higher standard, and I look forward to getting advice and help from the great players we have on this awesome shark army.

Until next time.......
The up-n-comin-poker-lovin-grrrlllllyyyy-student,
Michelle a.k.a CT

Friday, December 23, 2005

Helpful Links for Profitable Play

These links are for the most profitable game online (in my opinion). 6 players max., limit Poker. You can play more tables versus no limit,(less big decisions) chew up bonus money like pac man and get a ton of rakeback at several sites.

Q and A

Pre Flop Aggression

General Hand Questions

Hands Part 2

Blind Stealing and Defense


Good Hand Chart

What to do if you start runnin' bad?

Stay tuned to the Shark Blog. More 6 max. ideas to make you a profitable player upcoming. Its not easy to become a profitable player. Get to work! Read, practice, post questions on our forum and become a dangerous shorthanded player!

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Heads up at Ultimate Bet

Lately I have played very little and decided to read a new book to see if that would get me jacked about playing a little Poker. Usually if the book is good that will work. We had our best month ever (Nov.) at the Shark Poker Tour so I have been very busy sending out shirts, setting up tourneys and runnin' herd on a buncha chip tossin loonies.

The Book: The Making of a Poker Player, by Matt Mattros. I really didn't know much about the book but I have enjoyed Matts blog and knew he enjoyed shorthanded limit like I do. Matts Blog

I don't usually say this about Poker books but his writing style is fun and easy to read. When he started to describe how much he enjoyed heads up play it reminded me that I was rusty and really missed playing heads up. Mission accomplished. I fired up Ultimate Bet and started with the $20 sit n gos (hey i'm rusty). 4-1 and feeling good so I move to the $30's. 2-0 and so far not 1 player has okayed a rematch. That is a sign that i'm not too rusty for the 20-30's limits. Even the guy that beat me wouldn't play a rematch.

Off to the UB $40 buyin, 166 lags started and although rusty played close to flawless poker for 3 hours seated to the left of chip leader "erbloore" for the last 90 minutes (nice guy, pic here) erbloore

I'm short stacked (T6500) with 12 players remaining and blinds at 400/800 when this hand came up. Folded around to middle position who raises to about 3000 (very agg, 25K chippies) folded to me in SB and I look at AKo. Time to double up. I push, BB folds and Mid Position quickly calls. Turns up A10s and I like it. A quick thought reminds me that I have lost 4 all ins (when ahead) in my last 4 tourneys to get launched (3 as heavy fav) but I quickly get that out of my head and concentrate on NO 10's or spades! no 10's no spades....NO....river double pairs board J2J28 and our Aces split the pot. Can't catch a break. Two hands later I lose as I should when my 66 got punished by 99. gg nh,ty, yw. shit. Cashed 67 buckers. 1st was 1800 and second a respectable 1000.

I cannot continue to outplay my opponents and lose. It will turn, it always does. Similar situation last week, my AKs loses to A3o all in when his 3 hits on the river.

So back to my new book. Really good shorthanded chapter. Matt likes to play 6 max (or less) online and when he started writing about his first really bad downswing it sounded almost exactly like my first bad run. A few points he made really got me excited to play again so I fired up UB again and played some heads up tonight. 3-0 in the $20 sit n gos and no takers for a rematch (less rust tonight, dominating) when I start playing "vince beck" he starts with a friendly "good luck" then 2 minutes later is saying how bad I am. Chaser, caller, and the dreaded "F" word (fish).

I do frustrate players with my patience at times but we just started vincent! I really study my opponents and try to figure out their patterns. Usually the cards are not real important HU. I'm just pickin away at his stack and he just gets meaner in chat. I tell him I will play him all night if he wants and he can take all my money. I finally trap him twice and its game over (maybe 15 minutes). I hit rematch and he declines! I start giving it to him both barrels. All that talk and no rematch? I'm trying to make his ego do something his talent shouldn't when he types "i'll play you for $100 now". lol.

He secures the table and this one is over even faster. He is steaming so bad now he can't even think str8. all-ins probably 10 times. Swears at me. I just fold and say "i'm not lookin for a coin flip with you, Can we play a rematch this time"?

After I finish Mr Friendly off he leaves and I can't push him for a rematch cause he blocked my Ultimate Buddy player tracker. $110 in about 25 minutes, that works.

I played 2 games of 2/4 at UB for about an hour then shut er down. +$60 in 90 minutes. As usual the UB 2/4 is about as tough as 5/10 elsewhere. I caught some cards and used some ideas from Matts book that I will be trying more (mixing up my game mostly).

Finished off the book tonight and can't say I have enjoyed a Poker book more. The ending is the best part. He placed third in a WPT event for a 700K cash and describes his first final table on TV.

Heads up: Mix it up. Don't become predictable. I will call pre flop with big hands and raise with rags. Check top pair good kicker on flop? Sure. Slow play 2 pair with a flush draw on flop? Maybe. Disquise your hands. The average hand HU is J7. 2/3 of the time you will both miss the flop. Fire bets when you miss. Check raise when you miss. If you find a weak player you will want to hit "rematch" for as long as he/she will. Your unpredictability will pay off much more in game 2...3...4...5.Your read on the opponent will be strong and they will still be trying to figure you out.

I'm trying to trap my opponent for a big pot and pick up a lot of small pots by betting small amounts often. If you are new to heads up be careful with these "plays". Slowly slide them into your game. I feel that the risk/reward is sometimes worth the big pot and of course it accomplishes the unpredictable image I want. But after you see a ton of hands heads up you will smell a trap and muck your hand if your slow play blows up. Let it go...don't fall in love with one hand. Go back to your patient "trapping" game. Watch for good "action cards" on the turn or river. I possible flush or str8 is a great time to bluff.

I see many HU players falling in love with top pair good kicker or pushing all in alot. 1 pair is weak usually (for all your chips). All-in? Weak. You can outplay your opponent without a coin flip. Be patient with the "all in" type player. They are hoping for a coin flip because they are impatient or know that you play better post flop. Let them steal yer blinds. Get KK or QQ and call them and watch them go down with A9o.

To become a strong HU player you need to see a ton of hands. Fire up a table and start practicing. If you prefer tourneys don't handicap yourself against a good heads up player at your next final table. Be prepared, unpredictable and aggressive.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sharkfest Events, 12/17

Hello All,

Updates on weekend events click here.

Best Wishes, Shark

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cancellation at Pokerroom 12.11

All Shark Players,

Pokerroom management has cancelled our event. I have cancelled the evening Tourney also.

I am very sorry. I started emailing Pokerroom management 15 hrs ago and finally received a response a few minutes ago (3 hrs before start). I emailed all 4 managers that I knew and finally heard back.

I'll have more on this situation after I get their response to my email that I just sent.

They say it's "technical difficulties" which doesn't work for me. I think we should be told what happened and why our days are all being disrupted (with almost no notice).

Friday, December 02, 2005

NL Strategy Session

Shark Wrote:

You have a good friend and fellow Shark Army soldier that won a seat in the 06 WSOP (World Series of Poker).

You are at the RIO with them and sweatin hard.

They are a lttle nervous (ha!) and you have 2 minutes to give them much needed advice before the the first break ends.

He/She sits with T11,500 (Tourney chips, 11,500) just above the starting stack of T10,000. You noticed they are nervous (duh) and playing super tight (to be expected).

Hyper aggressive John Phan is running over the table and plays about 60% of the flops. No other known killers, mostly internet guys looking to survive.

What do you say? You only have 2 minutes cause he/she had to go to da baffroom, and the lines are long.

Shark Tour Player zyzygy wrote:

A guy like John Phan is going to look closely at table image and how a player plays. Use this to your advantage. You have a tight image right now, so do the others who are playing conservative. Now you have to loosen up a bit and use that image. That said, don't go crazy, and make bad raises and reckless calls. Play position and play strong from that position. Eventually someone has to re-raise the pro who is using his image to run amok, why not you? Pick a solid playable hand in position, and be aggressive.

Phan is going to look to knock folks out pre-flop, or outplay them after. Don't let him do either when you have position. Phan is aggressive but not interested in getting his money in with a bad hand. This also lets the rest of the donks at the table know that you have some game, and may not be the one to pick on among the less experienced players. The best cure for an aggressive player is being aggressive back, it tends to knock them off their game a bit, especially since the only information they have about you is the play they have seen.

Simple advise, but it often works. In the end playing scared means your sure to loose.

ConnAir wrote:

I'd pat him on the back (maybe even share a man hug)
and tell him he's doing fine... and to "keep it up"

positive reinforcement of his gameplay
will give him more self confidence


Doing fine? I didnt mention hes shakin like a leaf and just wet himself on Phans last 6X BB raise in the cutoff? haha

I say hes a theif and you need to get sum stones and use yer tight image to make him lay down his 84o that he keeps scarin the whole table with. Sure you may have to fire hard at the flop and turn cause he won't back down. Sounds good, bigger pot and I still have him slaughtered with most of my pockets. He'll look for a new whippin boy or he can try you on again if he wants. You are gonna meet these guys for 5 days (hopefully) might as well grab yer privates now (military term, sorry ladies) and start practicing being a playa. All the aggressive players with chips are lookin for marks. Not this one toofed, mr T starter kit wearin shark.

I think ya got him beat 80% of the time and you need chips just like he does. I'm not gonna be short stacked. I need chips

Shark NL animal tajmahal420 writes:

ZYZY's point about position is dead on. Phan is the type of guy who will play a mediocre hand out of position, especially early on. He's trying to build a stack, so if he thinks he can take advantage of a lesser experienced table, he will. Wait till you have position on him. With the blinds being relatively small (50/100), it's a great opportunity to make a stand without risking a big chunk of your stack. Hole cards don't make a lot of difference here, you're just trying to let him know you came to play poker. In position, re-raise. Just calling makes him lick his chops. And, you don't want three way action. He may come back at you, but unless he's holding a monster, this new aggression exhibited by you is gonna make him think twice. Use your tight image to get him thinkin.
Take down one sizeable pot from Mr. Phan, and you not only earn his respect, but the entire table's, even the dealer.

Point is, calm down! Go dry your pants, smoke 'em if ya got 'em, sit yer ass back at that table. You're just as good as anyone here. And you're at a bit of an advantage over John. You've seen him play on TV with those little pocket cams. He just met you, and is having trouble remembering your name. But not for long.


IMO: The early levels of a tourney should be played tight/conservative
(I'm echoing the comments of 1/2 dozen authors/authorities on the subject)

I'm not worried about a phan/type stealing my blinds when my they're are almost meaningless... (1% of my stack aint worth fighting over... unless I got something to fight with... and if I got something to fight with... fight I will.)

In 2-3 levels (say once blinds are 2-3 hundred) then it would be worth 'moving/pushing' at the dragon... (and in one hand, taking back any/all blinds he may have stolen from you up to that point.)

Of course... the 'right' answer to any hypothetical question is:
"it depends." there are too many variables (and too many right answers) for any one approach to be correct.

fun to discuss it though...

who's next?


Hes making the whole table play his game. When the table breaks me tight/weak buds gonna have 7000. the other 8 are gonna have 7000 and Phans gonna have 37,000. Now i'm not saying you need to be an over agg animal like him (hes got that down, your bud don't) but you should be able to get to 16,000 with this table a weak sucks. Its not always gonna be just blinds yer grabbin either.

This is a total IMO deal but heres my read on this. Doug (connair) is a master at going deep in tourneys. He really has a great knack for it and cashes a very high % of his starts. He also is short stacked alot, especially late. He is great at laying down borderline hands or even big pairs preflop to survive. Nothing wrong with this and it certainly works for him. Similar to a Dewey Tomko or James Van Alstyne. Rock solid, go deep but often fighting for chips to survive. This has been pretty much my style till recently I started taking more "shots" at pots and pushing players instead of playing conservative. I have found myself in money less but enjoying my big stack more and feeling like I can play more agg because I can survive a bad beat (or 3) and also can take on smaller stacks on coin flips or worse.

I don't have this style down but I enjoy it more and fits my personality better I believe. I also like the fact that I can fire up 2 more tourneys in a half hour if I get knocked it. What did I do wrong? How can I improve? Hey another event in 25 min. i'm in!