Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Gregg's game for me in 2009

Gregg writes: I lost as much this week as I won last week (I love/hate this game!)
Jerry has an important announcement which he said he'd share.
Game next Wednesday will begin at 1pm and end at midnight! (I get lucky after 6pm).
we'll have a second shift -- have or bring dinner and be ready to play
by 6pm (or of course come earlier.

Jerry writes:
As most of you know I have been unemployed and looking for work for a little over a year. This week I was offered and accepted a position as Vice President for Business Operation and CFO at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. If any of you are interested in learning more about Coker you can go to their website at The real exciting news is that my start date is January 18th (a little more than a month from now).
For those of you that don't know this move will take Cindy and I much closer to my parents who live in Wilmington, NC and my sister who lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Additionally, golf will be a twelve month opportunity in South Carolina, which is something that I will have to learn to live with. The hardest part of this move will be losing the second source of income that I have had during the last fifteen months playing in Greg's home game.
I have enjoyed knowing all of you.

Jerry adds his new address and contact information. I don't blog post those details. Contact him if you would like it.

GJerry adds his new address and contact information. I don't blog post those details. Contact him.

Ed writes:
One of the things I enjoy so much about Gregg's game is the diversity in personalities and how they tend to either delight or rub raw. I for one will miss you Jerry. I always was giggling inside as you did your best to get to Dewey in you're subtle way.

Oh Gregg, I love Diamonds!!!!

Hey Blowers can you chime in and give us the definition of "string bet"? Thanks Mr. Hollywood.
Here is an online definition.

The game discussion was whether after you clearly announced RAISE, you were still required to move all your raise money in at that same time.
Jerry said you did.
Dewey said his memory of lectures by dealers in casinos on string betting included this kind of line, "Once you say 'raise' you can move your chips in any way you want.
Ed thought he remembered that as well.

However, Jerry may be right in many places. What he objected to is called a "string raise"

Perhaps my memory is more from the limit games. There, since the raise is clearly only a certain amount a "string raise" would not fool anyone acting afterward.

Of course, at Greg's game it is rarely a case of being fooled. We wait for the raiser. Greg rules that string raisers are allowed.
Actually, I think his ruling is somewhat like:

Quit talking about all this shit and deal the cards. Who cares?

Readers should also not confuse this with the famous "fold and raise" practice also fully allowed at Greg's games.

Gregg wants me to write up the game .
We are packing to go South, so I'll have to make this game reflection a bit shorter than usual.

We had a fine game as usual. It is my last on in 2009, my last until March.
By then many of the players will have changed. Jerry got the job in South Carolina, so the rule czar is off to settle issues in another venue. Good luck, Jerry. Glad you found work and perhaps one day you will drift up here on a Wednesday and rejoin the old fellows.

Bruce came this week, but the cards went badly for him. He has trouble laying down second best and saving chips. He was busted early this week.

The new Phil was evident. What is happening! This guy took a huge number of pots again this week and left ahead.

Jerry left ahead $16 after an average game. I took him out when he was ahead of me with a heart flush on the river. He took me out when My flopped two pair beat his single Ace when he caught a queen on the river.

Peter did just fine, stacking chips and he did finally manage to risk less of his winnings and come out ahead for the day.

I came out $3 ahead. I only made two buy ins. Mostly I did not get cards and when I did I did not get callers.

I was more rested and alert, but I still muffed one. I turned before the betting was done. It was a three. Ed held a pair of threes. He was not happy to see his trip card shuffled back in the deck. Sorry Ed.

Greg was back to better concentration and play. He made some fine bets. But he lost money overall. Once he folded a jack of spades only to see the rest of the spade Royal work its way out on the board.

Casey joined us too and he had plenty to say about how the game was played. He won a bananna.

No quads this time as far as I remember.

Well, I will miss this game and be ready to come back to it in March. In the meantime, I'll keep up on my Ocala and Tampa games here on this blog, so check in once in a while and leave a comment.
I do have to review comments as the spammer who visits me everyday was making me work to erase comments. Now I can catch them before they post. But I love getting comments.

See all you guys in March except Jerry. Have a good time down South, Jer, don't let that humidity get to you, and enjoy the grits.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The roads were mean Wednesday.
Certainly this would be average driving in Buffalo, but the average drivers here have not driven in Buffalo and that makes it dangerous.
At Best and 43 after driving Best on the side of the road not yet plowed, I had to get a running start to push over the plowed wall left blocking the road by some idiot roadcrew. It took me a while to trigger the light. I inched forward until I hit the laser gun.
Main highways were okay, but you could never tell, and drivers were still thinking it was summer. Few understood the advantage of stopping distance.
I dropped some things to Peter in Colonie and his road was totally unplowed. I backed out of it rather than try to turn around.
Then I hit Lisa Kill road. It was the worst. I slipped coming down, but did not slide away. However, at the end when I had to turn left I could see it was not going to go well. So I waited until all the cars from any direction were gone. Good thing too as just turning left from a stop I drifted off to a snowbank and had to back up and try again. Luckily no Colonie drivers were coming from my right. They'd have sat on their horns and plowed into me.
Gregg's road was clean and clear except for about twenty kids having a snowball fight across the street and only giving us a narrow goal post through the crowd.
I suppose some of them drive as well as play in the street.
That would explain things experienced on the road.
None of us killed any of Gregg's neighbors.

There was some questioning of the judgements when the schools closed the night before, but Springville got a similar storm, did not close, and had the superintendent giving apology after about seven bus fender benders.
I could see how much the kids would be in danger just from watching play them in the streets.

I expected a poor poker turn out, but we had a well attended game, including John. I took a few hands from him early on and then my tray began to drain away.
After $90 buy in, the tide started to turn for me and I left up $51, for my first session win in a while.
I can't remember all the hands. Perhaps others will add some.
I do remember playing John's favorite 7-5 against John's 5-2 and both of us catching on the river. I loved beating him with his favorite rag.
Later a 7-3 gave me a low pair of sevens against John's bluffed pair of fives. He bet thirteen on turn and 27 on river, and I stayed with him. I thought he had a busted flush draw.

Against Jerry I caught an inside straight on the river and I caught a pair of jacks on the river, and that was fun. I stayed with the inside draw just in the hope I could frustrate him. Watching his countenance harden and his eyes roll is better than winning the chips.

My game was a Comedy of Errors. With no coffee and very little sleep, I soon started to crumble.
My worst error:
I held Jack-X of diamonds and three diamonds came on the flop.
I bet and I'm called by Jerry.
The turn is a diamond and that is a disappointment for me as I expect that Jerry, if he stays at all, holds a high diamond.
"Well," I announce as I turn over my cards," I have a jack high."
"Well, " John says, "You also have the river yet to come. Check or bet?"
Jerry is happy. He likes us to show in turn. He likes us to avoid a slow roll. I've done both very early, so there is no confusion.
No more betting and I win. Maybe Jerry had two low diamonds. If so, I lost money.

My second worst error is not to go all in when I have the nut straight and can bet second. I did this at Foxwoods once too. It was my only error that day, but I did not play tired at Foxwoods, so I suspect I just need to double check all straights before I bet. Here it cost me money from John.

Jerry left at his normal time. He had gained a good tray, and then it drained to a couple rows and John took him out. It just seemed Jerry did not get cards.
Phil is used to just that pattern of early gains lost back in the end, but today Phil was really very hard to figure and he collected plenty of pots with good play as well as some luck. He did lose a bit toward the end, but he left ahead, and he left many of us wondering just how to play against him next week.

"I am beginning to learn how you play," Phil said to John.
"Don't tell him that; he'll change up," I admonished, and Phil chuckled.
It was clear Phil had learned how to change up his own patterns. He told us he is more dangerous once he accumulates some chips. He was dangerous this week.

Greg did not seem himself. Pokermaster cannot gain control of the table. John undermines Gregg's aggression.
"Come on Millett; get a grip!"
No head cold. No computer. No excuses this week.
(I wrote this before I learned that he took Blowers in head to head after I left, and regained his Pokermaster title- see below)

Bruce was missing. That certainly changed the game. We can usually count on Bruce to reduce the bluffing by calling if he has a pair.
This left Blowers free to run his mucka jucka, game except he had run it last week and trapped me in a way everyone remembered. So now perhaps he would mucka jucka when he was not trapping but bluffing, but perhaps, too, we all would know that today he would wait for the bluff to mucka jucka.

It was like that verbal game you played as a child.

"I know," you'd say.
"I know you know," your annoying little brother would answer.
"I know you know that I know, "you'd respond.
"I know............... " well, you get the picture.
Only in poker at some point we all have to bet (or in Blowers case decide to mucka jucka) on some level of "I know."
I lost a big hand last week when he did mucka jucka to trap with the nut. This week, based on that disingenuous play, I lost money by not betting when he was not trapping, and again on a high hand but not the nut. So that one mucka jucka has awarded a good pile of chips to John.



The first chance I got, I showed out of turn my winning pair of kings after two rounds of checks and Jerry put on his face.
Ah.....this is the way to play the game.
Jerry then tried to slow the game by betting slowly, but his heart was not in it.
Hard to do that when it is easy for me to start a conversation with John that is as much fun as the poker itself.
Also, a slower game this week would have helped me in my mental disfunction a great deal. It would give me time to chew a bit of gum, take a breath, walk a bit.

On showing out of turn, Jerry thought my research supported his position.
I told him it supported Slink's position, not his.

I was never really in that position again to show early a well checked hand.
In fact, I was more often folding hands I would not show, especially winning hands.

Very little other rule issues. We did notice that the failure to collect chips into the pot after a betting round caused confusion and error on more than one occasion. Missed ya Bruce.


Gregg did not do computer today, but there were visits that took him out of the game and Jerry made sure he posted missed blinds. Remember, Gregg, that you can always just wait for the blind to come around, especially when you get socked for two chips.
John waited when he telephoned.
Also, remember you are the house and can change that rule anytime you like.


Often it is mentioned that in the casinos the rules of play are such and such and this and that.
In the future, I intend to offer up my opinions on how they pay on Mars as well.
True, I have never actually played on Mars, but not having played in a place does not seem to hinder folks from offering up definitive casino floor judgements.

John brings to the table casino play very different from anyone at the table. He knows no limit casino play.
I learned some things watching him play NL at Turning Stone one night and early morning.
Mucka Jucka was my lesson of last week and I used it at Foxwoods limit poker this week when my A-K caught two pair on the turn. I just made a face and sighed. It was small mucka jucka, but it was enough. My opponent called me twice.

This week John taught us how and perhaps why to bet or check in the dark. This is a much better skill than the blind straddle which John teaches us just for the fun of it. I am really interested because I think of it as a better strategy for limit games, although I often think it is a way for the regular casino rocks to signal their buddies to drop out.

We are playing double or more live straddles, but at Foxwoods they only allow a second regular straddle. Oh, they also play that way on Mars as well.
Only a live straddle cannot act last in round one of betting.
Except in Martian casinos where a live straddle includes..........well, never mind, there may be children reading.

Also RE: Foxwoods. Last week we were talking about their policy to take a timed rake of $5 every half hour, but no pot rake. They have changed that even on no limit games and now they rake. I have trouble leaving the 4-8 limit there, but perhaps I'll try a NL someday.

With Jerry gone the game generally doubles in speed, and so the crumbling of my mind speeds up as well.
But by concentrating on just my cards and letting all other errors simply be there, I manage to play well enough, get lucky, and in the end, I left $51 ahead.

I almost quit early down $80 in spite of the fact that I had no where to go. I was off to the Albany sleep clinic at seven to get wired up for an overnight of feeling like an android while people watch me sleep. Now there is a job I would hate. Imagine having to work all night long and stay alert while you watch people sleep.
The sleep study went well.
I am recalibrated and perhaps that will make me more alert for the next poker game.

Which Gregg reminds us is at Bobby Court again next Wednesday.
See you there.
Bueno suerte!



Five made the table today, at least til 6pm then it was just Blowers and Millett. In one-half hour John took Gregg's full tray and Gregg bought in for $10 more.
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
and $10 more
Then the tide turned!
At 10pm, John had to rebuy -- we set the buy-in at $20.
and rebuy
and rebuy
and rebuy
and rebuy
And go home happy, but empty-handed at 12:15pm
It was great speed poker for over 6 hours. Best hand was my pocket aces and an ace on the flop -- we both bet pretty hard, then an ace on the turn -- "have I got him by the nuts now." It's all in and I show my four aces. John lays down a royal heart flush. Gregg asks, Does that beat my four aces?. Sure does says John. Gregg says, that's the most amazing fucking hand I have ever seen. John says "yea, I put it together while you were in the bathroom!



Gregg - great game yesterday. Thanks for the heads up session...great fun. Maybe next time I'll river the straight flush for real!

Dewey - here's the link to the article you were unable to read while we were playing yesterday (good luck with that whole walking/chewing gum thing):

click on this link and flip to p 82:


I told you he cheats Gregg. Well, at least this time he owned up to it :)

And just in case anyone who has not attended out weekly games, gets the wrong impression. Honesty is the one thing we don't have to argue about. As much as we may banter the rules, we can trust our opponents to play and respect an honest game. That is an advantage over the casinos as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Good attendance at Gregg's game as Robin and Slink came out of hiding and so kept the numbers up despite Jerry's absence.

It was another loss for me at Gregg's and again based on a single hand. This time I was trying to swim upstream. I held pocket queens, and ace came on the flop and I still called Gregg's all-in bet. Well, no queen came, and just to rub salt in the wound, another ace showed on the turn. So that meant I left a loser rather than a winner.
I was never up today at all, sometimes I was even.

Bruce lost and left early. Not a good week for him.
Did you leave money as well Phil?
Peter racked up his three rows of chips, but Peter always hates to leave with money, so he plays a double or nothing game and finally Ed took him out catching a single queen for a pair of queens on the river backed with a board pair of 8's and calling Peter's all-in to win the last rack.
Oh, well.
Peter has been pretty lucky in life lately so what's a few dollars?
Peter beat me once with four sixes when I had a good full house, but he only made a value bet.

Gregg has not been at his best. He lost a little as well. without my poor poker at the end, he would have lost a lot.

It was good to see Gregg's cold has gone, but his computer work while trying to play must take a toll on his game. He rarely sees how other players make their bets, so the game then is cards and not people.
So grab another computer, would ya Gregg?

I think everyone lost except Ed.
Ed racked up so many chips he was complaining that they were in his way, obstructing his play.
Poor Guy!!

There was some friendly banter and holiday wishes all around.
And thankfully, even without Jerry or Bill, someone arrived who could once again wonder what the poker rule actually is on who shows first.
I was so overjoyed to have this discussion once again.
I miss it if it doesn't come up.

Slink contends that whatever the rule on who should show first, it is the choice of anyone to show out of order if they like, and only those with cards have much say in the matter.
That fits with my casino visits and experience.

Blowers has noted in the past that it is quite common for the last person checking after a check-around to just show a pair which he thinks is the winning hand, but that he does not want to bet. this is even more true if the last two rounds were void of any bets.

This fits perfectly with my casino experience.

Generally, if no one has played the trash that they held, we don't gain much information by holding up the game to find out what it was.
If I am in that position at casinos with say a king in my hand and one on the board, I'll often say " Well, I have a king." Those who don't have anything more than my pair and have not bet in a round or two (so have not bluffed) hold cards from which I can extract practically no important information and I'd like the game to move along.
Of course any looking to check raise or trap will show the winning hand.

Bill and Jerry are sticklers for showing "in turn" and 90% of the time I go along just to keep them at ease, just as 90% of the time I manage to deal when it is my turn, keep my chips from falling off the table, etc. I don't follow any rule 100% of the time.
It is especially hard for me too if I have recently come from a casino game to remember that it matters to those without cards how I show mine and I'll get a lecture if I don't wait and just grab the pot to keep the game rolling.

Lately, I've been thinking that following this rule just to keep those without cards from being ill at ease, is a mistake.
Why should I want my opponents at ease anyway?

Of course, anyone with cards who has called a bet always can simply wait until the called player shows.
In casinos where I want to see the other guy's cards, I just look at him and say, " I called you, sir," and wait.
In no limit games the dealer will also remind him he needs to show first.
In 2-4 limit the dealer will just say, "Come on, turn em up," in an effort to speed things up and get more tips per hour.

Again, all casinos are different and any single casino will do different things at different times. Often a "rule" depends on the whim of the dealer unless you want to call the floor person over and get a ruling.
Or if you have a lot of guts, you can look the dealer in the eye after winning a big hand and say,
"I'll tip again when everyone is asked to show in turn."

Here is a good discussion of who should show first that reveals some of the complexities:

Here is a couple of simple rule guides that support Bill's/ Jerry's position

As we know, laws are not really very important unless there is some way to enforce them. I take my opponents chips or insult a player, casinos will eject me. No one who does not follow the show in turn rule would get even a lecture from the dealer. At Gregg's, well. what is the worst that can happen?

Finally, the rule that all casinos honor is that any player who called to the river (in some casinos any player at the table who was dealt cards) can ask to see any two cards, even those that a player mucks.
The dealer will then attempt in most cases to keep them out of mixing into the muck and will turn them over.
That's right. There is no right to muck.
While it is a player's right ask to see, it is also an insult because the rule is there to bring out into the open players who are betting on nothing in a effort to build a pot for a buddy who has signaled that he has the nut, or a strong winning hand.

Even in limit games this collusion can put a squeeze on second best player by allowing raise after raise. In no limit games it is a deadly collusion. A good description of this can be found in Andy Bellin's book POKER NATION. Andy was a poker cheat for a number of years and the book is the story of his scams, this being one.

However, I have often seen this rule used just so a player can get information.
For example, I sat down at Foxwoods, caught trip deuces on the flop, raised until the river, and then was beat with a straight. I was new to the table and the fellow next to me wanted to see what I played, so he asked to see my two cards and the dealer turned them over.

Generally, the player who is forced not to muck will get insulted and grumble for a couple hours. S/he might also afterwards call to see every two cards possible on the person who asked to see cards that the player intended to muck.

In practice, I rarely see this rule employed and you do want to be careful. Often if the two cards were going to be folded, but actually would have beaten the caller's cards, the pot is given to the player with the best cards in spite of the intention to muck. Son Keith had this happen outside Chicago and lost a pot of about $300 just because he wanted to see what a super loose player had when he called to the river. It turned out to be a full house that the player not noticed and intended for the muck.

Well, I hope all of those so fascinated with this rule, as I am, have managed to read this far. I'll be happy to post your rebuttals here where we have all the time in world to keep having this discussion.
However, I also know that researching answers and writing is not quite as much fun as raising rule issues at each game.
And Jerry, you can see you missed a good game and a huge opportunity to perseverate .
Jerry might paraphrase Amarillo Slim:

"Poker is a game of rules... It's not the hand I hold, it's the rules that I play with"

I'm off to Foxwoods to play some limit poker early next week. Elizabeth has actually agreed to come along. She'll hang in the spa while I play poker. Maybe we'll catch a show. We have free nights at MGM. That is a mystery to me as I have never dropped a nickle there.

At Foxwoods the grumblers will also have some fun with the rules, but the dealer will decide, or the floor will be called, and anyone who keeps arguing forever will be asked to leave. I hate the rake, but I like that as well as the free Myers Rum or Johnny Walker Black or coffee with amaretto.

I expect next week will be my last week, if I make that one. By April I'll be chomping at the bit to play at Gregg's. It is a long time without a game. However, I should manage some no limit at the horse track or some limit at Ocala where they have a 50 cent 1 dollar limit game. Florida is a low rollers dream. By state law the max no limit buy in is 100 dollars so if I show up as the games begin, it is a long while before I can get bullied out.

So Happy Holidays to everyone.

SLINK adds:

I'm proud to say I avoided the Ed steamroller and walked away up $5. I enjoyed Dewey's calm dissertation on the who shows first rules. It's clear he loves to discuss this and we had a delightful conversation during our game yesterday regarding this. I'm looking forward to further discussing the nuances of this issue the next time we play together


good read, Dewey - and congrats for using 'perseverate' correctly!

next Gregg game I wander into (hopefully the 16th) I'm angling for both 2/7
bonus and the 'show one' when a pot is won uncontested...'tis the season,
after all :)



Wow, what a lot of good chatter!
I can't wait until the next round on who shows first. My pants are already unzipped.
Yes, their will be a game next Wed. beginning at 1pm.
Best to all, Gregg



Sooooooooo, I wanted so badly to be just like my big toe (Stripes reference) bro in law that I found the closest fedora to his and wore it. Played when I normally would have folded and won. Folded when I normally would have played and reduced my losses (learned that lesson from the Dewster). Showed a Blowers bluff on occasion and generally didn't let my hallmark lack of patience get the best of me (this time).

Note to self - Arrive after Dewey to avoid chip and assorted other shrapnel. Just in case I'm breaking out my old kevlar vest from a past life............

Thanks for this wonderful experience Gregg. I was missing the old locker room, ball busting days of my youth. Ah yes, the smell of mildewed rotting socks is all that's missing. :)