Tag Archives: Poker

Black Swan

Nassim Nicholas Taleb outlines his black swan theory as:

  1. The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology
  2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)
  3. The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs

The high potential upside of an event can offset the low probability of its occurrence. 

Money Looks Worse When Wrapped in Red Tape

What’s the EV of filing a remissions claim of $650 with the US Department of Justice?


As a player on Full Tilt Poker, you may be aware of the recent settlement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”).

Full Tilt Poker will not offer real money online poker in the U.S. until it is permissible to do so under relevant law.

In relation to your account balance, you will have the opportunity to file petition with the DOJ through a remission process which will be administrated by the DOJ.

In light of the above, only play chip games will be available to Full Tilt Poker players in the U.S. following re-launch, in the first week of November, 2012. Your Full Tilt Points balance will remain intact in your account.

Please note that we are unable to answer queries in relation to your funds – all such questions should be directed to the DOJ in accordance with the procedure to be defined by them.

Please retain this email for your records.


Full Tilt Poker

Several Hands of High Stakes Poker II

I’m in the mood to think about poker.  Time to live vicariously through my teenage self.  This is from a 2008 2+2 post.  Ah, the memories:

villain is a good reg, although i admittedly have little experience with him. I can’t think of many hands he is repping here…If I fold, does that mean I shouldn’t have raised in the first place?

Full Tilt Poker Game #6821913519: Table Larson (6 max) – $10/$20 – No Limit Hold’em – 12:25:07 ET – 2008/06/14
Seat 1: plastikcards ($3,138.50)
Seat 2: dreamofsuccess ($1,991)
Seat 3: Skyline985 ($2,007)
Seat 4: jcreachbaum1 ($2,012)
Seat 5: HAAANH ($3,591)
Seat 6: Kinetica ($410)
Kinetica posts the small blind of $10
plastikcards posts the big blind of $20
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to HAAANH [6s 7h]
dreamofsuccess folds
Skyline985 folds
jcreachbaum1 folds
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH raises to $70
Kinetica folds
plastikcards calls $50
*** FLOP *** [Js 9d 9h]
plastikcards checks
HAAANH bets $111
plastikcards calls $111
*** TURN *** [Js 9d 9h] [8s]
plastikcards checks
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH checks
*** RIVER *** [Js 9d 9h 8s] [5s]
plastikcards bets $279
HAAANH has 15 seconds left to act
HAAANH has requested TIME
HAAANH raises to $821
plastikcards raises to $2,957.50, and is all in

My current thoughts:  preflop was a standard button raise, flop was a standard c-bet.   The turn is an interesting spot.

Arguments in favor of bluffing the turn

  • He’s never coming over the top unless I am drawing dead.
  • If he flat calls, it gives me credibility to bluff if the river is a blank.  His hand will be face up at that point as usually Jx, and A9 at best, which he will fold many rivers at least some % of the time assuming I fire a third barrel.
  • I probably have outs.
Arguments against bluffing the turn
  • There are so many semibluffing hands I could have, he will almost always call with Jx, and a good percent of the time will call any blank river as well since the pot is not too big and it is a chance to get some idea of how I play.
  • I might not have any outs at all, and if he check calls and then I hit on the river, I probably won’t make much unless I hit a 4.
  • If I had AT or KT or spades I would check the turn a good percentage of the time, so I can credibly represent those if they have a straight or flush on the river.
  • If I check, I get to see the river, as well as how he responds to it.  All things being nebulously equal, I might as well make my bets with a little more information.  In a macro sense, I would prefer to hold off on a risky triple barrel until I knew more about the opponent I was up against.
In summary, checking doesn’t mean giving up the pot, but firing probably isn’t too bad either.
The river illustrates a problem with going for thin value when you have shown confirmable weakness in a hand and your opponent has not.  I am going to fire the turn 100% of the time with a full house or quads.  Therefore I should never raise the river here for value.  I am giving him carte blanche to use his deep stack leverage to push me off of my entire range.
Villain is very aggressive. He’s trying to win every pot and for the most part succeeding. I played back at him once and got it in with 66 vs his KK on our other table (we were just 100bbs deep there). He’s called me down extremely light with A high twice (losing once), and snapped me off the first time I ran a big bluff. He’s been repopping me really small, just 3x, and I’ve been calling a decent amount since we are so deep.$2000.00 NL Texas Hold’em – Saturday, June 21, 02:57:31 2008
Table Newman (deep hu) (Real Money)
Seat 2 is the button
Seat 1: Sleepy_Hippo ( $5974.50 )
Seat 2: HAAANH ( $4368.50 )
HAAANH posts the small blind [$10.00].
Sleepy_Hippo posts the big blind [$20.00].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to HAAANH [ 9d Jh ]
HAAANH raises [$50.00]
Sleepy_Hippo raises [$160.00]
HAAANH calls [$120.00]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Th, 8h, 4d ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$240.00]
HAAANH calls [$240.00]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 7c ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$500.00]
HAAANH raises [$1500.00]
Sleepy_Hippo calls [$1000.00]
** Dealing River ** [ 2h ]
Sleepy_Hippo bets [$3840.00]2500 to me
I posted this in the 2+2 high stakes forum and was ridiculed by several winning players for even questioning whether to call.  In retrospect I should not have posted on 2+2 so much, especially about HU hands where there is a great deal of subjectivity.
Preflop is completely standard.  When playing 200 BBs deep, there is no reason to fold any hand you have raised with from the button to a reraise by your opponent when it’s only $120 to enter a pot with $200 already in it.  Any player that worked his way up to high stakes knows this, so it’s clear my opponent is an amateur since he keeps setting up a situation where there is a big pot and he is out of position.  Also, as I said, he is aggressive.  And I do have the nut straight.  For the people on the forums, that is apparently enough to call.
The problem is that a straight has relative worth, and my opponent is never betting a worse hand for value; all of those hands (sets, two pair, AA perhaps) would have rather shoved on the turn.  On the river, my hand might as well be pocket kings, or AT, because they effectively have the same worth as a bluffcatcher.  If he had T9, 89, or 79, he would just check the river because there is a chance I bluffed the turn, and his hand has showdown value.  He could have A9 or K9, or be turning a pair + busted straight draw into a bluff, but I’m not going to give someone who plays so amateurishly credit for being capable of that.  It’s clear that his most likely hand is two hearts.  I folded.

A Retrospective of Several Hands of High Stakes Poker

Here is a song I made using only noises from the PokerStars user interface:

You Are a Star

I used to play poker online a lot.  I was on the Two Plus Two poker forums earlier today for the first time in a long time, when I noticed that my post count was above 3,000.  Many of those posts are from threads which I started, about hands I had played. I am always in the mood to think about high stakes poker, but long ago lost the desire to build my career on its roller coaster of emotions, so I am going to go back through and rethink the hands from the perspective of someone not at all in practice.  Maybe this will get me some followers from the poker community.  The preface to each hand is exactly what I posted on the forum.

Villain makes a lot of dumb, nonsensical bets. He triple barreled FWF (another player at the table) with 2nd pair good kicker, bet 3k into 1k pot, etc. Nonetheless, he hasn’t shown down many times and when he has, it is with a hand.

Full Tilt Poker, $25/$50 NL Hold’em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker Hand History Converter

UTG: $1,047
CO: $5,000
BTN: $4,721
SB: $12,258
Hero (BB): $5,247

Pre-Flop: J A dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG folds, CO raises to $175, BTN calls $175, SB calls $150, Hero raises to $825, 2 folds, SB calls $650

Flop: ($2,000) 2 K 3 (2 Players)
SB checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($2,000) 3 (2 Players)
SB bets $2,000

AJo is not usually a great hand to squeeze with since it has such nebulous showdown value if you hit an ace.  However, given that my squeeze will swell the pot to a point where anyone with AK will undoubtedly shove all-in, I will be able to rule out AK postflop.  The real hazard is if one of the players calls with AQ and an ace flops.  The squeeze serves the purpose of trying to isolate the CO raiser, which is an argument for making it bigger, since with its present size, if the CO calls, the other players might overcall.  However, in that scenario, the overcalling players may be calling with connecting broadway cards which may include a weaker jack than me.

Postflop, a bet accomplishes little.  If he has a weaker hand, he will fold or check-raise me out of the pot.  If he has a stronger hand that is not AQ, he will call or raise.  The turn decision is difficult because he is an erratic player.  Though he would be gaining little by betting a mid pair, my erratic perception of him is that it is a large part of his range.  Unfortunately, he could also have a stone bluff.  Even more unfortunately, I have no clue how often he has a weak suited broadway with a king here, or if he is intelligent enough to realize that it would be in his best interest to bet smaller with a weaker king.

Since I’m assuming the times he has nothing are outliers and I don’t have any reliable outs, I hope I folded.

This hand is unconverted:

95% sure preflop was accidental. Whether he meant to raise more or fold or call, I don’t know, but he plays a lot of tables so anything is possible.

villain is very big winner, solid, doesn’t like to give up. I dunno what hands I can rule out here. Do ppl fold turn? What’s the worst hand you call with, on turn and river?
POKERSTARS GAME #13051003524: HOLD’EM NO LIMIT ($10/$20) – 2007/11/05 – 02:22:34 (ET)
Table ‘Arctica II’ 6-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: jaymac111 ($2007 in chips)
Seat 2: jmc2536 ($3450.50 in chips)
Seat 3: socutiesf ($548 in chips)
Seat 5: redargoe ($9750.45 in chips)
Seat 6: CrAbLaR ($2586 in chips)
jaymac111: posts small blind $10
jmc2536: posts big blind $20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to CrAbLaR [9d 8c]
socutiesf: folds
redargoe: folds
CrAbLaR: raises $40 to $60
jaymac111: raises $40 to $100
jmc2536: folds
CrAbLaR: calls $40
*** FLOP *** [Ts 4d 8s]
jaymac111: bets $150
CrAbLaR: calls $150
*** TURN *** [Ts 4d 8s] [2d]
jaymac111: bets $385
CrAbLaR: calls $385
*** RIVER *** [Ts 4d 8s 2d] [Jd]
jaymac111: bets $720

This hand summarizes how much jaymac111 brutalized me during my career.  He knows my wide preflop range, but it is an odd circumstance for me to be priced in to see a flop without the lead with such a weak hand.  At least I had position, right?

If I remember the UI buttons correctly, fold was to the left of call which was to the left of raise, so he either meant to reraise or call.  This filters out the utter chaff from his hand, but nothing else, as he is good at balancing his range.  The flop call is not really debatable, especially given my backdoor outs, but the turn is just too easy of a spot for him to double barrel turn and river for me to call.  He knows that if I have a good enough hand to try to go for value, I will usually repop him on the turn given the draws out there.  This means I have a bluffcatcher (which I have), a bluffcatcher with a diamond draw, a spade draw, 97, or J9.  Flatting the turn with a pure straight draw would be gross with two flush draws on the board, but that possibility could have been one reason why he bet a little more than half pot on the river. For the above reasons, the jack hurts me more than it hurts him and is a very safe card for him to follow through with the plan he probably had from the turn.

This was fun to write.  I want to do more of these in the future.