Thursday, February 22, 2007


What I've always found funny about poker players is the way they pride themselves on being unconventional and living on their wits and so on. This is basically true about many of the "characters" I have played with over the years, but what I find amusing and ironic is that very often these self same rebels and iconoclasts can turn into nitty pedants at the drop of a hat. I am of course talking about rules. Let's face it, poker is a mine field when it comes to the correct procedure and don't get me (or every player I know) started on the etiquette issue.

Many a poker game I have been in has often been derailed by a full blown mass debate (geddit?) about whether or not player x's hand is dead or should player y's raise go or how the burn card should be exposed because player z saw a flash of it and he thinks it's the 8 of clubs and then we expose it and it's usually the Jack of hearts, that sort of thing, you know. Or worse, some story about an utterly dull coup from some other game and then everybody has to chime in with their 0.02c and the game you're in comes to a screeching halt. Obviously this stuff doesn't apply to online play, so all of you online players can have another reason to be smug. Having said all that, here are two interesting situations. I was at neither game, but have heard the relevant details from reliable sources (especially the first hand as I got it straight from the horse's mouth. It involves Jon Shoreman again - typical, soon this blog will probably only be about him).

Hand 1.

€200/€400 Deuce to Seven at the Aviation Club in Paris. Jon bets on the end and is called. He says nothing and tables his hand, 86475. The dealer declares that an 8 has been shown and the villain throws his hand away. His cards are touching the muck, but retrievable. Naturally all of you shrewdies out there have noticed that Shoreman's hand is a straight which is not beating much in 2-7. Of course, this being Paris and a relatively high stakes poker game it takes a while before somebody points this straight out to the dealer and the player who has mucked his hand. Who do you think Bruno awarded the pot to?

Hand 2.

£100 Holdem at the Vic. The board reads 444xx and the villain goes all-in for a small amount into a fairly large pot (let's say £50 into £500). Hero flashes the case 4 and then calls. This is all done in one swift movement. Villain calls for a ruling claiming that the hero's hand has been exposed and therefore dead. Who was the pot awarded to here?


In hand 1 the pot went to the villain. Hmmm, what's that about locals always getting the rub of the green? (Jon has taken great pains to tell me that Bruno always tries his best to be fair, and I've noticed that too the times I've been to the Aviation, so I'm not actually suggesting anything. Plus I really like the Aviation anyway). Seriously though, the pot here should be awarded to Jon, don't you think?

In the second hand the villain also won the pot. Having written it down it looks a bit more black and white and seems clear the villain should get the pot. According to onlookers at the time it was clearly an angleshoot on the villain's part and their desperate gambit paid off.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A Good Beat and a Bad Beat

I currently play in a half pot limit game run by Jon Shoreman of The buy-in is a monkey and it's dealer's choice. I also play in another game hosted by The Champ aka Vicky Coren. This is pot limit, also dealer's choice, but with a much smaller buy-in of a bullseye.

Vicky's game actually used to be my game and it's where I first befriended The Champ. Anyway one day we were a bit short of players so I said I'm sure Jon would play even though it's about twenty times smaller than he usually plays. Jon comes along and buys in for a grand and basically raises every pot. But that's not the point of all this.

One of variants we play is Knightsbridge which Jon made up. It's triple draw split Badugi and Deuce to Seven. Got that? Just in case it's not clear, the pot is split between the best badugi (look up the rules somewhere if you don't know) and the best Deuce to Seven hand. Jon being the inventor of said game is of course not only an expert at it, but a total luckbox too. Somehow he and I have gotten all the money in before the last draw ( well, I was all-in) and we turn our cards over. We have very similar hands. Jon being the smart-arse he is tries to talk business and while I'm trying to work out who is the favourite (no doubt he saw it immediately) he turns his last card over and sees he has a really good two way hand (76532 for the Deuce and a 7532 badugi). Now, of course, he says, "Too late, never mind, good luck with your draw". I'm feeling a bit dazzled by the speed of everything and a bit annoyed he didn't give me more of a chance to assess the situation. My hand at this point is 7632 badugi so I basically have one out which is the 4 of diamonds. I give my cards a good old s-q-u-e-e-e-e-e-z-e. Maybe I can hit a 5 to at least get a quarter, I think, feeling a bit glum. Hold on, this baby is red and it's got a peak. Maybe it's the ace of diamonds and I can get half, I forgot about that one. Boom! It's the 4 of diamonds and I scoop. Ship it baby! I must admit I got a little over-excited and couldn't resist saying, "Fuck you Shoreman!" (obviously we're friends and Jon is a good sport and understood my euphoria in the heat of the moment). Wow, a one-outer, can't remember the last time I hit one of those.

Well, fast forward to last Wednesday and now I'm playing at Jon's. It's the very first hand of the night and we're playing six card hold'em double flop (got that?). I min-raise utg and get a few callers. The top flop is Q 9 8 with two hearts and the bottom flop is 7 2 3. My hand is QQ72xx (sorry, can't remember the other two). I lead out for a pony and now Jon raises to £75. Heads up and I call. The turns are an 8 on the top and a 3 on the bottom (for those of you that are confused I now have Queens full on the top and Queens up on the bottom). I check knowing full well that Shoreman is about 1-10,000 to bet. Sure enough, he has a bet and then I stick it all-in. Now it's Jon's turn to look a bit glum. "Oh ok," he says sounding a bit deflated, "I call". He has three 3s on the bottom and a straight on the top (also three 8s). When the bottom blanks off Jon says, "Am I freerolling?", which by the way, should be his bloody catchphrase he loves saying that so much, and bang! off rolls the ten of fucking hearts giving him a fucking straight-flush and the whole bleeding pot. Fuck. Of course he actually had two outs to scoop - always has to have an edge, the bastard.

Oh well, what goes around comes around...

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Stop Press

As you may or may not know, I work for a website called They are currently promoting several invite only tournaments with added money at different poker rooms they are affilliated with. Coming up is a $20+$2 tournament at PokerStars with $500 added tonight (1st feb) at 8pm (GMT). Tuesday 6th feb is $40+$4 at Party with $400 added and thursday 8th feb is $20+$2 at Dream Poker with $700 added. These have been pretty good value - if you are interested in playing these then go here. This will give you all the details plus the passwords and what you need to do to enter. The few we've had recently have not had many runners plus the majority of those playing are from the Poker Verdict office and they are basically DEAD MONEY. Good Luck.