Poker Bat Chews Up Online Poker Aardvaarks

This past weekend The Bat went back to what The Bat does best…  play poker online.  It was dream because all these little fishies that try and play poker on the internets have no idea what they are doing.  The Bat keeps hearing about all these Ballas, these kids winning millions of dollars and spending it like they got billions of dollars yet the Bat can’t see anything but bad playas at every level. 

Recently, the Bat snapped off a kid named Appelfsh, from somewhere south of Transylvania, which means leafy, green Tranny country, and the kid went off on the Bat in the chat box.  “You play no good.  A$#RDHOLE!”  Okay, aardvaark the Bat’s putting you on notice.  He continued attacking the Bat which loyal bat readers would know is -EV.  “You chase, chase, chase, chase, chase”  then he did “CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC” for sometime.  The Bat giggled to the Bat’s inner self.  The Bat a chaser, har-har-har.  Maybe if the Bat didn’t have the implied odds because the aardvaark was sitting at 200 bbs the Bat wouldn’t have played K2 suited.  But the Bat knew if he hit, he’d snap a stack and that’s just what the Bat did.

The Bat channeled his Ed Hardy wearing, gel in hair, gel on hands, gel on keyboard, persona and got slimey on AppelFsh.  The Bat said, “It’s hard to chase a sitting duck.” 

He replied something like “Duck you.”

“Tired of getting stack by bad hands that “chase” aardvaark?  Learn how to play poker and how to fold a big hand!”  The Bat countered.

The kid disappeared from the virtual felt and the Bat went looking around for his next victim.  Blink, Blink went the little software in the corner that alerted the Bat that PeachfisterH20, another of the Bat’s favorite fishies had just jumped online.  It was turning into a good night.

The Bat found the night getting even better when the PeachfisterH20 started luckboxing his way to a big stack.  The Bat watched terrible play get rewarded and could hear Charles Barkley in the Bat’s head say, “That was just turrrrible, turrrible.”

PeachfisterH20 rarely chats but he couldn’t keep a lid on things when the following hand happened.  AgentOTown raised, PeachfisterH20 popped him and the Bat saw a salty, sultry, seductive 78 o/s.  Spicey.

The Bat called ready to snap an aardvaark.  Okay, the Bat knows you are asking.  Aardvaark?  Donkey is so arbitrary, so is fish, so this week all these online poker fools are aardvaarks.  You see they can’t can’t get away from AA they are blinded by it no matter the flop.  And even after they get stung by it, they’ll make the same mistake the next time the get AA.  Okay, that makes aardvaark less aarbitraary (so to speak) but generally these fools can barely see their own two cards much less check their side view or rearview mirrors to know a Mac Truck like the Bat is about to squash them.

That was happening to PeachfisterH20.  AgentOTown disappeared like a 90s boy band and the Bat was treated to this beauty of a flop J87 two spades.  PeachfisterH20 got peachy and overbet the flop with his obvious overpair.  The Bat now has two pair for those paying attention to this edge of your seat, white knuckle, catch your breath poker hand.

The Bat knows this aardvaark is just looking to end the hand now.  He probably doesn’t even realize 910 is already crunching him.  He just sees the spade flop and is scared of another shovel on the turn or the river.  The Bat thinks about shoving and says f it, move the slider all the way to right and let’s hope this holds.  Bingo, Blango, Bamoo, All-in, Call, brick, brick.  The Bat wins another pot and felts another fool.  Yes, he held AA.  Online poker is fun.

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The Transparency Project

Once again I have to give kudos to a company that gets it.  Harvard University partnered up with bwin to track and study the root causes of online addiction to discover ways to prevent problem gambling.  For those of us familiar with the bright side of poker but more importantly the dark side of the game it’s a refreshing stance to be taken by an online poker site. 

Invariably, there were some critics who thought something smelled funny in a private study funded by an online gaming company.  To prove their motives were altruistic bwin and Harvard have tried to make their data open and available to other scientists.  In an effort to advance the empirical evidence and knowledge base of addictions, bwin will make available actual Internet gaming activity records.  Bwin seeks to accelerate their understanding of problem gaming and institute mechanisms to detect it early.

I made this comparison before but this is night and day from the studies done by cigarette companies in the 50s and 60s.  Then they used the studies to figure out how to addict people and did it in their own closed offices in military like top secret fashion.  Now, this study is being done out in the open, in partnership with Harvard, and it’s to prevent harmful habits rather than accelerate them.

I thought the cigarette companies were idiots from the beginning.  Their science shouldn’t have been researching how to addict their customers, it always should have been figuring out a way to make their product non-harmful.   Forty years of research may have discovered a cigarette that doesn’t inflict cancer, a filter that delivers the nicotine without the carcinogens, or any number of advances. 

However, I must be clear, I compare gaming to cigarettes only to reveal how different they are from one another.  Certain people struggle with gambling addictions but the vast majority of players can enjoy it responsibly at an even keel.  This study seeks to help and prevent the few that struggle with their compulsions from getting addicted and to foster a healthy gambling relationship with those that don’t struggle with it.

For those of us that play online poker, that have a conscience, efforts like this might relieve some of the survivor-guilt.  I personally don’t want to play somebody that can’t afford to lose what he’s gambling.  There is the saying a fool and his money are soon parted, so if not by me someone else will do it, BUT if the opponent has a problem that he can’t control I’d rather play someone else.  The fact that these players play poker online beyond their control still does not sit right with me.  Online poker should be about fun, making money off people that can afford to lose it, and wagering folks that are wagering for the right reasons.

It’s refreshing to see an online poker site that agrees with me.  Live casinos will boot a player that is so drunk he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Some are winning but most are losing.  In the long run that’s a good policy.  In the short run the player may complain.  They also track problem gamblers and try to help them out.  Bwin doing the same is a great thing.  I love to scoop pots, I love to play bad players, but I don’t like to take from somebody that is playing  afford to give it.  Such a weird dichotomy for us poker players. 

On February 16th, Professor Howard J. Shaffer, Director, Divisons of Addictions, will participate in a discussion in Burssels hosted by the European Gaming and betting Association.    For more invormation visit  http://www.thetransparencyproject.org.

Situations to Fold Pocket Kings Preflop

1.  Never

2.  Never-Ever.

3.  Bet, Raise, Re-raise, Re-raise, Re-raise, action to you… maybe.

4.  On the bubble in a multi-table texas hold’me satellite.  Everybody wins the same prize if they survive the bubble and one person is knocked out.   Three shorter stacks are all in.  Each of them has you covered.  Looks like the two players behind you are going to ship it too.  They also have you covered.

5.  You’ve won more than you’ve ever had.  Everything you own is on the table, all of it, including your house note, your stocks, bonds, and savings, and number 3 happens.

You won’t find that in most strategy books or online strategy sections, like this one.

I’ve only folded them a couple of times…

In a cash game, I was deep and my opponent was deeper.  One of my better nights.  He bet, a couple of callers, I popped it.  He repopped.  I repopped. He pushed another couple of thousand in which would put all my chips in.  Hmmm.  My opponent was the embodiment of the tight stereotype.  You could call him ‘the nuts’ because he always had them when he shoved.  Never saw somebody snap off his bluffs because he didn’t bluff.  I turned them face up and mucked him.  He didn’t SHOW the aces but after I cooled off he and walked around the house a little bit.  He said he had them.

In a MTT, we were down to the money bubble.  A guy bet, I raised, another guy went over the top all-in, another guy went over the top all in.  The initial raiser followed suit.  If I folded I’d have plenty of chips for the money play.  To me one of them HAD to have Aces.  Two of them had me covered.  I wasn’t getting a 4 to 1 price.  I laid them down.  AA, 1010, QQ.  Flop brought a King.  Yeah… Still it was the right decision.

I gotten away from Kings plenty of times after a flop, even one that for all intents and purposes didn’t justify the agression of a player at a table, but really rare preflop.  Long run it’s a lose-lose situation.  Kind of like folding sets on non-textured boards. 

The ev is there.  For a helpful tool in calculating starting hands ev check out this site, bwin’s poker strategy as well.  If you don’t know what ev is, learn it.  Shorthand it’s the expected value of the hand.  Plus ev is good.  Negative ev is bad.  Kings have a strong plus ev from any position.

Trip to Porto

2009 promises to be a fun year. I only now became aware of an awesome opportunity for poker players that like to combine poker, travel and sports. Who doesn’t, right? Well, I know some of my peers like to travel to the Bahamas to play poker online all day. That’s fun. Get a wireless connection and stay in your room. At least maid and room service can convince you it’s no different than home.  Who cares if there is an island outside to explore.  And who needs sunlight, right?

For players that like to venture outside of their hotel rooms, bwin is debuting their new promotion the ”Magic Moment of Poker” 2009 that will offer players different opportunities to travel around Europe. Winners of online poker tournaments will get a prize package that will include a visit to a city in Europe, a sporting event, and a seat at a televised poker table. Not too shabby.

The first stop in this tour is a visit to Porto, Portugal. After taking in the sites of the Coastal city, the winners will get tickets to a game between two of the most illustrious soccer (er.. football) clubs in the country. The match takes place at Estadio do Dragao March 1st.

Touted as VIP accommodations, and surely a helping of old world charm, the stay should be just as fun as the poker. Bwin takes care of hotel, airfare, and meals. The entry into the tournament with a chance to win a seat in next November’s Vienna final will be the capper of the visit.

The trip gives travelers four days to see the sights, take in the game, and play some poker. The big three in Portugese soccer are Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica, and even casual fans will enjoy the chance to see two of them engage in a 90 minute drama while sitting in the beautiful 52000 seat stadium. The rivalry over the years is so close that Sporting Lisbon only holds a three game advantage in the win column.

After the game, the winners will then head to their televised match up. Seems like a pipe-dream huh? Actually, bwin Poker is offering a series of online satellites to get there. Play online poker for some low stakes and you could be there.  The first step costs but $6. Even better bwin is offering $50 to the pirze pools of each tournament.

These are the days to play in the satellites:
Thursday January 15
Sunday January 18
Monday January 19
Wednesday January 21
Thursday January 22
Sunday January 25
Monday January 26
Wednesday January 28
Thursday January 29
Sunday February 1

The final will feature:
1st – Soccer package to Portugal valued at €3,150
2nd – $200 cash
3rd – $100 cash “

Good luck to anybody playing. And have fun in Portugal. I had a friend stay there, 10 years ago, for essentially a Worlds Fair, though I think its called something else like World Showcase, and he raved about it and the people.

Binions is new again…

The birthplace of modern poker, the start of the Chris Moneymaker effect, the cramped World Series of Poker venue before the massive Rio became the cramped WSOP venue, the staple of the Old Strip, Binions is turning a new leaf. You want to play poker in the spot legends were created? Now you can. Not that you couldn’t a year ago, but then it was a dingy, crowded, weathered antique. Back then, if you wanted to play texas Holdem on the table that Texas Dolly won his early bracelets, it was a distinct possibility you’d play on the very same table he played on with no renovations to the chairs, faded felt, or steam driven shuffle machines. The fact their 80 year old dealers were Doyle’s dealers 30 years ago just added to the ambiance.

Granted, I prefer to play online texas hold ’em at http://www.pokerroom.com/poker/ or at https://poker.bwin.com/poker.aspx but when I do venture out into live play or land in Vegas, I always liked the opportunity to play under the black and white photos of past world series of poker champions. What’s changed? Now, I can do it in style. Binions has been given a facelift, Madonna would die for, and is now a polished jewel on the old strip.

A brand new poker room is being unveiled where everything is brand spanking new. Built in the spot once occupied by an old longue the new room has 10 tables and 11 plasma TV screens. The words spacious and comfortable come to mind, when a few short months ago the room was exactly the opposite.

Next time when you play online texas holdem and you are ready to take a breather or get out of the house, or if you are planning a trip to Vegas check out Binions. Now, instead of being part of the museum if you decide to play texas hold ’em on the old strip at the birthplace of poker, you’ll be playing in style.

Pokerroom.com Alpine Cup Qualifiers

PokerRoom.com (http://www.pokerroom.com/poker/) is hosting another opportunity for texas holdem online players to win their way to a live event the PokerNews Alpine Cup online texas holdem finals.

From PokerRoom.com, this sounds like a dream vacation: “The Alpine Cup is a new live poker event that will be held in March 2009 at the luxurious Alpine Palace ski resort in the Austrian alps. PokerRoom.com players lucky and skillful enough to win one of the $8,000 trip packages up for grabs in the online finals will be in for the time of their lives, with a perfect mix of skiing, poker, and living the high life awaiting the winners in the Austrian alps.”

The first qualifer had 63 players vieing for the title for three packages. The winners were: mazlumb2, liverpool170, and mr.Schne.

The Aussie Millions Winners

Unfortunately I did not advance deep  to the finals stages of the Aussie Millions to win the $18,000 play texas hold’em prize package offered on PokerRoom ( http://www.pokerroom.com/promos/right-now/aussie-millions-how-to.html).  However, I must send out my congratulations to those that did including ChipLieder85, AmazingRiver, and CorpseGR.

Can’t beat the systems or the variety of means to get there. ..  

You can start in the Lucky Dollar level, where $1.00 + $0.10 gets you a chance to advance to the next level playing Texas Holdem online, $15 +$1.50, and from there $69 +$6.  Win a seat there and it gets you into the equivalent of a $500 +$40 buy-in.  Remember how Chris Moneymaker won big at the WSOP, same principle to get there.  Shannon Shorr of the Gulf Coast started his career with qualifiers to the Aussie Millions and then crushed the field once he got there. 

You could also have won the Big Bounty event which paid the top two places with the $18,000 packages and give you the opportunity to win $100 for each Team PokerRoom member you knocked out.  Then there was the Mobile Millions online texas hold’em poker challenge (http://www.pokerroom.com/promos/right-now/aussie-millions-mobile.html), and coming soon the Leaderboard Challenge and the Sit ‘n Go Jackpot.  All great wins to win the prize package.  There is another qualifier starting tonight. 

I hope to play tonight.  I have had a good streak going on this site and think I can advance past the early levels.  I’ve seen how hard Will Souther is working on a similar structure and I know it’s a challenge.  But it’s a fun one.   Pretty soon, I hope to be reporting from Melbourne.  Just as long as my big cards hold and my little ones improve.