Richard's Poker Stories are often as good as my motorcycle stories. I love to ride motorcycles and play poker. Sometimes the two go "hand in hand" for me.

2015 Poker Results

Ok, I won't give specific numbers on my website but I will say 2015 was a successful year ending with positive results (in the black). I'm particularly pleased that my results were achieved with relatively little casino play and virtually no tournament play. Not that I wouldn't have participated in these activities...I gladly would have. But I just didn't have the time or opportunity in 2015. So most if not all of my good results came from local "home" games. Hopefully in 2016 I will have equally if not better results. 

2016 Poker Results

Excellent results given I only play a maximum of 3x per week...often 2 and I put a self imposed curfew of leaving no later than midnight. Itching to get out of town and play some bigger limit games but my wife has been sick and responsibility is keeping me in town. I accept that and she would do the same for me but I do want and hopefully will visit some other poker venues with some bigger game options.

GENERAL HELPFUL INFO:

GET TO KNOW THE COMPETITION.

There is a distinct advantage for a good player to thoroughly know the competition, which you get to do when the games always have the same players at the table week after week. And virtually all of the players are too stubborn or too ignorant (no, I am not saying stupid) to incorporate changes into their games to improve their results. They apparently don't believe in an opinion of the definition that is RUMORED to be attributed to Albert Einstein..(DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER BUT EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS). I'm sure this is one of the many possible viable thoughts as to what insanity could be. For a poker player...it's one of the most important. There are 2-4 decent players at the table each game and it seems the winning goes from and between those good players most every game with the occasional win by one of the "donks" which keeps them coming back. But some never win and they keep coming back anyway because they can afford to or just have nothing else to do I guess.

PLAY WITHIN YOUR FINANCIAL LIMITS:

Don't step into a game where you financially can't afford it but you want to try because you think you may score a big win. Only do so if you're able to limit your potential loss on that table to what you can realistically afford to lose. SCARED PLAY IS USUALLY BAD PLAY AND WILL USUALLY RESULT IN BAD RESULTS.

IT'S NOT THE GAME THAT MAKES A GOOD GAME. IT'S THE LINEUP OF PLAYERS AT THE TABLE. 

TABLE CHOICE

If the location you are at has several tables spread of the specific game and limit you want to play; take the time to watch the level and intensity of play before committing to a seat or table. If the game is extremely volatile with excessive raising and reraising; will you be comfortable in such an environment? If another table has only 1 or 2 "live players" and the rest are "rocks", will this be a profitable table for you if the majority of the players are at your playing level or perhaps even superior to you? The most profitable game long run is a table with several passive "calling stations" who are not aggressive but basically continuously call and follow the other player's leads. The better players at a table especially if they are at an expert level will rarely knock heads and tend to avoid each other as it is just as easy to throw away a marginal or even a good starting hand and wait for the next, especially when a player that has just folded 10 hands in a row comes in firing aggressively. These are the types of decisions that will make you money (or prevent you from losing money) in the long run.


Never play at a limit or table that is intimidating to you. Scared play generally tends to be poor play. Never play with "food" money. If you are dipping into your funds that you need for general daily necessities; then you can't afford to play and may have a gambling problem if you do

KNOW YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL LIMITATIONS. DON'T PLAY SO LONG THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY STRESSING YOUR MIND AND BODY.

HOW LONG DO I PLAY? WHEN DO I QUIT FOR THE DAY?

Generally, do not lose more on a table than what you would consider to be a good win for the table. For example, if you are on a 4-8 game (any game) and you consider based on the chemestry of the players that a good win would be $200.00, then this would be a good "stop" limit to set should things go poorly and you are losing at the table. Why drop $700.00 on a table that you would be very happy if you walked away with a $200.00 win? This of course can vary. If you are still fresh and know for sure that you are one of the top 3 players on the table and you are not on "tilt" (letting temper/ego/frustration govern your play), then perhaps it might be wise to stay. But there are days that even if you are by far the superior player on the table; things don't go right. And on these days (we all have them), leave your ego on the table and take your relatively small loss. See a movie!! Be with your family!! Exercise!!......Whatever!! Live to fight another day. This is one of the hardest things for a good player to do. To accept the fact that on this day he (or she) is beaten. Going on tilt tends to be fruitless and very expensive overall. 

I have to tell you folks an amazing story that took place at a local omaha hi-lo game. Good game, relatively low limit ($4-$8) but with lots of action and raising, both preflop and after the flop. Anyway, there's a player whose name we shall say is "Irky Irene" who unfortunately is one of the habitual losing players at this game and all the other games she frequents. Anyway, on this day she is actually ahead...about $390 and BOLDLY ANNOUNCES that she won't leave until she wins $400. Ok folks, remember, other than the name, this is a TRUE STORY. She proceeds to quickly lose the $390 she was up and than buys in for another $300 which she promptly loses. So let's think about this for a minute. In her quest to win an additional $10.00 to satisfy her whim to win $400, she blows $690. Can you believe it? Sad but True.


Another more recent story. Good friend of mine had a great day at the omaha table, scoring a win of $740 give or take. Couldn't miss. Great win for a $4/$8 limit game.

SO NOW HE FEELS INVINCIBLE.

Goes to the next day's game and although I wasn't there to see how he played, he proceeds to blow off $560 of the $740 he won the day before. So he turns a big win into an average at best 2 day win. And in the process he went against a personal agreement (He, Himself, and Irene...lol) that he wouldn't allow himself to lose more than $300 at this limit game at any one sitting.

MORE THAN EVER...MONEY MANAGEMENT PEOPLE.....GET IT INTO YOUR HEADS.

IF YOU HAVE A DECENT PROFIT, LOCK IT IN. DON'T ALLOW YOURSELF TO LOSE IT ALL AND TURN THE OUTING INTO A LOSING OUTING. STOP WHERE YOU STILL BOOK A WIN.

CALCULATING POT ODDS...IS IT PROFITABLE TO CALL?

The ability to calculate pot odds is a necessary part of any poker player's game. When is it profitable to call vs. realizing that the "odds are against you" and it's time to fold the hand?

The easiest way to calculate pot odds is to compare the total number of unknown cards to how many outs you have, and then do some simple division. For example, in a Texas Holdem game you have 2 suited cards in your hand with the ace of that suit and you are four to a nut flush on the turn (4th street) of a Texas Hold'em game and need only one more of the suit, there are 46 unknown cards, (52 minus your 2 pocket cards and 4 on the board). The cards in the other players hands or what has already been folded are part of the unknown card group. Of those 46 cards, 9 are the same suit as your flush draw. So 37 cards will not help you, while 9 will give you the nut flush hand.

Your odds are: 37/9, or more simply, 4.1 to 1 odds AGAINST making your draw. To make this call profitable, there has to be at least 4x the amount of your bet in the pot to make this a proper "pot odds" call. So if you were playing a game of $5/$10 limit, then there would need to be at least $40 already in the pot to justify your calling that $10 bet to see the river. If you continuously make calls without having an idea of your pot odds, you are fighting a losing battle and will probably lose in the long run.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A MATH EXPERT. JUST KNOW THE BASICS AND ONCE YOU KNOW THEM IT BECOMES RELATIVELY EASY. LEARN ABOUT STARTING HAND CRITERIA BASED ON THE GAME AND YOUR POSITION AT THE TABLE. EVERY HAND DOES NOT DESERVE A CALL OR A RISK OF YOUR MONEY. 

There's a guy named Eddie that plays about 4 times a week. He loses continually about $1000-$1500/week. UNDERSTAND THIS...HE CAN AFFORD IT. THIS IS JUST RECREATIONAL MONEY FOR HIM. But he starts almost every hand...literally about 99% of all the hands. 

BAD BEAT STORIES:

As you play over time you will take your share of "BAD BEATS"...Hands you should have won but the other guy got amazingly lucky with a 4 or 5 outer...sometimes even just a one outer. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. LEARN TO GET OVER IT QUICKLY. Here's one of my personal favorites which unfortunately happened to me.

QUICK BAD BEAT STORY:

Trying to quality for the WSOP $10,000 main event by winning a satellite offered at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Ruidoso, NM on 06/06/05. Just have to win my table to get to the next step which guaranteed a decent money prize with first prize being $11,500 total ($10,000 for the WSOP event. 4 people left and I am a 2-1 chip leader. I'm on the button with pocket jacks. Push in $1500 and I get one caller who goes all in and I have to put in an additional $600 in chips to call which I do. Flop comes up J, K, 3 (rainbows). I flop TRIP JACKS. Turn is a 10, and the river brings a Queen. He has an A-4 and beats me with a miracle straight. Next hand I'm in, I'm in the big blind with a 10-4 offsuit and nobody raises so I get to see the flop. Flop comes up 10-4-2. I have 2 pairs. Another player leads off, everybody folds to me and I push him all in. Turns out he has 10-6 and of course you know what the story is. On the river he hits a 6. Last hand I'm in I have $10,000 in chips and the other remaining player has $15,000. I'm in the blind and the other player pushes all in. I look at my cards to see Black pockets ACES. He had pushed me in with a Q-4 offsuit. Can I ask for anything better?  He bluffed and I had him trapped with pocket aces. Flop comes up nothing nothing Queen. I am still way in the lead. Turn brings nothing. And you know the rest of the story. River brings a 4 and I lose the tournament that it was virtually impossible for me to lose. I know this has happened to everybody but this was the worst nightmare beating I have ever experienced. I can just barely talk about it now...lol. When I lost with the pocket aces, I simply told the other player....."Good Tournament" and left the casino. Oh Well!

Another "Bad Beat" Story

Went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play in a WSOP Main Event qualifying tournament over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend. 117 entries...top prize gets $10,000 entry fee + 3 days stay at hotel plus $1000 spending money. All players making the final table get a piece of the pie. Entry fee was $150.00 so it was reasonable. Anyway, several rounds have gone by and there are 55 players left and I'm getting a bit "short stacked". I'm on the button and a player in early position pushes all in and I have watched this guy basically "bullying" the table for the entire duration. So everybody folds and when it's my turn, I look down and see red pocket 9's...not a spectacular hand but reasonable and based on this guys actions, I probably have him beat. So I go all in and I have read it perfectly. The guy had pocket 4's...actually a better hand than I suspected he had but I'm a prohibitive favorite. To make a long story short, he flops a 4 and that's the end of the story.

All I can say is if you have played well but get beaten by somebody else lucking out, there's nothing you can do and you shouldn't beat yourself to death over it. One of these days, I'm going to win with the better starting hand in a tournament and then watch out...I'll be dangerous.

EL PASO POKER

I'm primarily playing in El Paso Home Games of late...which are pretty much 4-8 omaha hi lo games or 1-2 No Limit Holdem Games. Doing well in both although I must say I'm bored with the 4-8 limit although I will continue to play it when I really don't have any other choices available in town. The younger kids all want to play NL Holdem...I guess it provides the "adrenaline" rush they feel they need and anytime there is a poker event shown on television, it is always a NL Holdem show. A couple drift into the Omaha Hi Lo game and get bored quickly or take some big losses in it because of total lack of understanding of the game.

There are interesting characters at all the games..I suppose I am considered to be one of them by many of the players...lol. And I suppose I am. 

WE FINALLY MANAGED TO GET OUR OFFICIAL "BAD APPLE" OUT OF THE EL PASO POKER GAMES,  HER NAME IS MARTHA...I WON'T USE THE LAST NAME. DON'T NEED TO EMBARRASS ANYONE. THE LOCAL PLAYERS KNOW WHO SHE IS. SHE WAS BARRED FROM ALL OF THE LOCAL GAMES EXCEPT FOR ONE.

And for those that think poker is "All Luck"; let me say this. Overall, the same people win each week and each month, and each year and the same people lose. It's a very obvious pattern. What does that tell you? Are the consistent winners just "Lucky"? 

EDUCATION!!  

LEARN ABOUT THE GAME. LEARN ABOUT ODDS. LEARN ABOUT STARTING HAND CRITERIA. THAT'S HOW YOU BEAT POKER IN THE LONG RUN.


PLAYING AGAINST A MANIAC

Now in many cases, there are big advantages playing against a maniac or extremely aggressive wild player.

In El Paso, there's one player that I affectionately call "Crazy Joe" who raises every hand pre-flop and if it's reraised he will always cap it...often without looking at his hand (for reals). And every single hand is raised by him preflop, again usually before he looks at his hand.

Now certainly if things are going well, this can be incredibly financially rewarding, but on a bad day..whoa!!

In my opinion, the best rule of thumb whether you're having a good or off day is to really tighten up your starting hand criteria. Because if you're playing loosely, you are willing to take the risk of at least 1 preflop raise and often having it capped before the flop. I guess this is the result of surging "testosterone" and the urge to show Crazy Joe that you're not scared of his financial antics. Because although Joe usually loses, it doesn't mean thatyou're going to be the winner at the end of the night. Oh yeah, somebody is going to win and maybe several people, but it may not necessarily be you.

So...don't be scared. Consider it an opportunity to be on a table with a "Live Wire" such as "Crazy Joe", but also be respectful and don't get caught up in the temptation to go for the ride with him thinking you will have a huge payday. If you tighten up and be careful, you very well could have a great outing, but if you loosen up because it seems like fun and you're playing with a Lottery mentality, you're going to leave the table driving home wondering what the heck just happened and wondering how your money disappeared from your wallet.

Just for the record, "Crazy Joe" really does exist and in reality, he is a quiet, sort of reserved guy with a heart of gold.  Drinks way too much at the games but when he loses, he NEVER COMPLAINS and will usually compliment you on a "Good Hand". The difference between the "Average Joe" and "Crazy Joe" is that the crazy version can afford to lose and the experience of pushing the table around and scaring folks is fun to him. He doesn't care if he loses.

Same thing for Juan. He plays for fun. Sometimes he'll play a hand without being at the table, without seeing his cards, and raising every street of the hand....seriously. And sometimes in those situations he'll win...not often though. AND HE DOESN'T CARE. HE THINKS HE'S THE BILL GATES OF EL PASO POKER. Perhaps he is.

Can you say the same thing?


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