Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Is Online Poker Rigged? No - but it certainly is fucked

Long story, short. I got screwed and I'm a donkey. Here's the long story.

I spend most of my time at smaller sites. I like them. The players are fishy and I get good rakeback from them. But, these sites are generally newer as well and like any piece of software they have bugs in them. I've never had much problem with the bugs but I know they exist and they have affected other people at various sites. Today was different.

Today I'm in a good six-handed $10/$20 game, my bread and butter, and a few players drop out and it's down to 3-handed. I love 3-handed. I do very well at it. Today I'm against two big donkeys and one of them has a vendetta against me because I sucked out on him in a huge pot earlier in the session (more on this later). This goes on for a while and I'm really beating these guys up. Finally my buddy leaves and it's head's up - which I don't like. I don't like it because I haven't played much of it, but more importantly I don't like it because it takes a lot of concentration and that means I can no longer focus on my other tables (I usually play 3 tables). So most times when a table breaks up I sit out right away, but today I decided to play because this guy was bad and I thought there was a good chance that this table would fill up again soon.

Everything is normal for the first twenty hands, except that I'm getting killed by this donkey, but then I notice that the button isn't moving. It's always on him. That's odd. The SB (small blind) and BB (big blind) are moving back and forth as they should but the button isn't. Since the blinds are moving as they should I figure everything is OK. But wait!

Hand #1331012045001383: San Marino (Turbo, 6-max) 12045
Seat 4: CasaConcha (1310.00 in chips)
Seat 5: Tylerpayto (293.00 in chips)
Seat 10: JLOMEXICO21 (600.00 in chips)
CasaConcha: posts small blind $5
Tylerpayto: posts big blind $10
Dealt to CasaConcha [ Qc Jd ]
CasaConcha: raises to $20
Tylerpayto: calls
*** FLOP *** [ Kh 3d 8h ]
CasaConcha: bets $10
Tylerpayto: calls

To those of you who are not poker players let me explain this to you. In the above hand I am CasaConcha and I am the SB and that means I should have the button. To make head's up play a little fair the button is the SB and that means he acts first pre-flop but acts last on every other betting round. It's designed to even things up a little bit because it's very powerful to have position (the button) over your opponent. In the above hand I am SB and act first pre-flop as I should but then we see the flop and I'm first again!

That is so fucked up I don't even know how to explain it. Let me put it this way - there is not one person on this planet that I couldn't beat head's up if I had the button every hand. No one! Also, anybody who is semi-reasonable at poker could beat me if they had the button every hand. It really is that powerful. Needless to say I shut down all of my poker sites immediately and searched through the hand histories to see exactly how long this had been happening as I had been playing three sites and it's tough to fully concentrate on everything so this may have been happening for a while. Turns out it was only five hands and one of them I folded pre-flop so really just two hands that this affect me on. I caught it early. I've emailed support and am awaiting there response. I feel like they should compensate me for the money I lost on the two hands I did play with such a large disadvantage, but we shall see.

Anyways, I wanted to tell you about the hand I mentioned earlier. I had just got to the table and in the limited time here I pegged ruknight13 as a bit of a donkey, but maybe not horrible and more of a loose passive donkey then a maniac. Also, although I haven't played with vonNeumann I feel as if he's pretty solid. Here is the hand history:

Hand #1331012045001280: San Marino (Turbo, 6-max) 12045
Seat 3: magicaman (354.00 in chips)
Seat 4: CasaConcha (1010.00 in chips)
Seat 5: Liger59 (193.00 in chips)
Seat 6: tacozipp (300.00 in chips)
Seat 7: vonNeumann (10195.00 in chips)
Seat 8: ruknight13 (919.09 in chips)
tacozipp: posts small blind $5
vonNeumann: posts big blind $10
Dealt to CasaConcha [ 7s 7h ]
ruknight13: raises to $20
magicaman: folds
CasaConcha: raises to $30
Liger59: folds
tacozipp: calls
vonNeumann: calls
ruknight13: raises to $40
CasaConcha: calls
tacozipp: calls
vonNeumann: calls
*** FLOP *** [ Qd Qs 8c ]
tacozipp: checks
vonNeumann: checks
ruknight13: bets $10
CasaConcha: calls
tacozipp: folds
vonNeumann: calls
*** TURN *** [ 9d ]
vonNeumann: checks
ruknight13: bets $20
CasaConcha: raises to $40
vonNeumann: folds
ruknight13: calls
*** RIVER *** [ 7c ]
ruknight13: checks
CasaConcha: bets $20
ruknight13: calls
*** SHOW DOWN ***
CasaConcha: shows [ 7s 7h ] (Full House, Sevens full of Queens )
ruknight13: mucks
CasaConcha wins $307 with Full House, Sevens full of Queens

Maybe I'm the donkey?

Let me explain. Pre-flop my 3-bet is pretty standard here. A slightly tight UTG opener will still have a large enough range of hands that I want to play my 77 against him, but I want to get the pot head's up so I have to 3-bet him. Both blinds call (that sucks) and he caps (that sucks). At this point he has a pretty small range of hands (TT-AA, AK, AQs with teh AK and AQs being slightly less likely than bigger pairs). I also feel as if vonNeumann has a hand like 22-99, AJ-AK, and QJs-KQs. The other guy is a donkey so I don't know.

On the flop I really can't fold getting 17-1. It's 22-1 against me hitting a 7 on the turn, but I also might have the best hand. I think it's a pretty easy call and after talking to a good friend of mine it might even be a raise. I'm on the fence on that play. I still feel there is a lot of merit to a call instead of raising here, but raising is definitely viable. What I can't do is fold.

Now that we are on the turn here is what I know. ruknight13 has a good hand and vonNeumann does as well - he has a lot of outs or maybe even has me beat. I also know that ruknight13 won't be able to 3-bet me with AA or KK because I could very likely have 88, 99, or AQ/KQ. There is a very slim chance that my 77 is the best hand at this point - very small. But there is a still a chance of me hitting a 7 on the river (about 4%) and there is still a chance I have the best hand. I'm also getting 10.5-1 to call so I probably have to call. But if I do, vonNeumann is getting 11.5-1 and is probably going to call with hands I want him to fold. If I raise though he will probably fold and he might even fold hands that beat me leaving me head's up against ruknight13 at which point I can simply check behind on the river so it costs me the same amount to raise as it would have to call down.

Anyways, I get the perfect river and crack ruknight's Aces and giggle like a school girl in delight!

vonNeumann made some comments after the hand which lead me to believe I did make him fold a hand which was better than mine in some way which is a good result for me. On the turn if ruknight13 can only have hands TT-AA and AKs (4 combinations that I beat compared to 25 combos that beat me) I still have 13% equity which means I have to call. Also, if the river had blanked (3s for example) I have 13.8% equity and would have to call again.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Post - How I became Bucky

So, I'm Bucky. Originally Buck the Canuck. AKA Mark Dodd.

I picked up the nickname at the tables in Grande Prairie. The game was populated with the same crew every week and it ran every Thursday. We played 20-40 Half/Half, which was a big game for me at the time (still is surprisingly). Anyways, I know I have some non-poker related fans so I better explain what a 20-40 Half/Half game is.

This game is played in the limit variety, as opposed to No-Limit, which you are used to seeing on TV. In a limit game the betting ammounts are fixed, they are static. On the first two rounds of betting all bets and raises are in multiples of $20 (in the game I am describing) and on the second two rounds of betting the bets and raises have to be in multiples of $40. They can be one bet and three raises maximum on each round of betting at which point the betting for that round is "capped".

Half / Half refers to what we were playing. We played Limit Holdem and Limit Omaha. After a half an hour of one game we would switch to another. You are all aware of what Holdem is so I'll just explain Omaha. It's the same as Holdem, kind of. You are dealt four cards instead of two and you have to use two of your cards to make your hand. In Holdem you can use 0, 1, or both of your cards but in Omaha you have no choice - you must use two cards. Simple right? Right. Don't worry I don't play in this game anymore and you will almost never see a limit Omaha High game because the game sucks.

Back to my nickname. So we are playing in this game and I am about 23 and the next youngest person would probably have been 40 and I was a regular. I had just learned how to play about 9 months earlier and had starting playing for real money about 5 months earlier and had been in this game for about 2 months at this point. Also, I was absolutely killing the game. It wasn't because I was a good player (I wasn't) it was because these donkey's were SO bad as to be unbelievable.

Anyways, the biggest donator in the game was rambling on about how he had no luck or some shit. Probably lamenting his latest bad beat and I was sitting beside him. I was sick of listening and probably said something like, "Stop playing every hand and you will last longer."

To which he replied, "Shut up, Buckwheat."

At which point the table erupted with laughter. Another dude pipes up, "We should put him in the World Series of Poker and when they ask him his nick name he should say Buck the Canuck." Which only got a few laughs, but it stuck. You see, Buckwheat was a character on some old TV which these guys all knew. I think he was supposed to be a nerd or something and I guess I fit the mold because I used to quote the olds and percentages to these donkeys all the time (I don't do that anymore - never educate the opposition).

Maybe it should have bothered me - but it didn't. I was taking their money and money heals all wounds. Buck The Canuck was born.