Monday, September 25, 2006


This is, I believe, the sixth time this has happened:

Texas Hold'em $1-$2 (real money), hand #1,048,687,004 [PokerRoom.com]
Table Chicago, 25 Sep 2006 09:49 AM

Seat 6: LordGeznikor [Q♣,A♣] ($35 in chips)
Seat 8: [Villian] ($97.80 in chips)

[SB] posts blind ($0.50), [BB] posts blind ($1).

[UTG] folds, [EP1] folds, [EP2] folds, [MP1] folds, LordGeznikor bets $2, [LP1] folds, [Villian] bets $3, [Button] folds, [SB] folds, [BB] folds, LordGeznikor calls $1.

FLOP [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠ ]
LordGeznikor checks, [Villian] bets $1, LordGeznikor calls $1.

TURN [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠,J♣ ]
LordGeznikor checks, [Villian] bets $2, LordGeznikor bets $4, [Villian] bets $4, LordGeznikor bets $4, [Villian] calls $2.
[That's worded funny, but it's capped headsup.]

RIVER [board cards 10♣,3♠,K♠,J♣,K♣ ]
LordGeznikor bets $2, [Villian] bets $4, LordGeznikor calls $2.

[Villian] shows [ J♠,J ]
LordGeznikor shows [ Q♣,A♣ ]
LordGeznikor wins $32.50.

Pot: $33.50, (including rake: $1)
LordGeznikor, bets $16, collects $32.50, net $16.50
[Villian], loses $16

Looking at this hand history, I made a couple of mistakes. The obvious one is on the river: I didn't see the royal; I just figured that Villian's likely full house beat my flush. So I didn't reraise. But I wonder if I played correctly pre-flop and on the flop. Preflop, it's arguable to cap or not to cap, but I think on balance "not" is the correct decision. But on the flop, I think my check-call was probably the worst of all my options.

At first glance, I missed the flop. On a second look, though, I flopped a gutshot, backdoor nut clubs, and an overcard. If I'm not currently best (which seems likely), I have the equivalent of six or seven outs, depending on how live we consider my Ace. That, combined with fold equity, puts betting or check-raising into play.

If I'm beat, it would seem that betting costs me less money. If I'm badly beat, the bet sequence would likeliest go bet-raise-call, bet-fold (assuming a poor turn card for me) for two small bets lost. If I'm simply behind (as I actually am), the sequence would probably go bet-call, bet-call, check-check, for three small bets lost. On the other hand, if I check-raise, then if I'm badly beat the sequence would probably go check-bet-raise-raise-call, check-bet-fold, for three small bets lost. If I'm simply behind, I pick up a bit due to fold equity if he puts me on a King, which he probably should. The sequence then would probably be check-bet-raise-call, bet-fold, which wins me two bets. All of this, of course, assumes a blank on the turn. As it happened, though, the turn was anything but a blank, which actually makes this assessment hard to write.

That assessment leads me to believe that I should have check-raised the flop. If I'm ahead all along (which can only legitimately mean AJ), check-raising wins me an extra small bet, which adds to my assessment. If I'm badly beaten, check-raising costs me an extra bet, but it has the possibility of winning some pots for me when I'm not as far behind (to QQ, JJ, or a lesser pair he decided to get frisky with), and if I'm ahead anyway it wins me an extra bet. I conclude that check-raising is the superior play.

(If it isn't obvious, I'm working through problems like this as I write them. This makes you witness to my thought process, and the brighter souls among you might even see a point where my thought process seriously slips some gears: eg, that I might be considering the wrong thing(s). If so, educate me.)

And About That PokerRoom Place . . .

I'm on PokerRoom right now chasing a 40% (to $200) initial deposit bonus that's fairly easy to work off; I've had a fake-money account here forever but I've never deposited. (There are a couple of other sites like that, too.) In any case, this gives me a lot more of an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the software than I remember from playing around with it in fake-money mode however long ago that was.

If you turn the avatars off, the overall look of the table is fairly clean; you don't have much chance of being misled by spurious graphics. The four-color deck, too, is fairly easy to read (and fairly difficult to misread), although there's another deck setting I didn't play with (the four-color deck they refer to as the "large" deck). The lobby screen is adequate, although for many of the more specialized functions they take you out of the client and into a Web page. Although I can see an argument for doing things this way, on balance I prefer those functions to be within the client.

My single biggest beef with PokerRoom is this, and the problem is so severe that until it's fixed, PokerRoom has zero chance of becoming my "regular" poker site. The software takes up way, way too many system resources. I'm not quite geeky enough to say that it takes up X% of processor time and Y MB of RAM, but I can tell you that, unlike every other poker site I've played with recently, the software slows my whole damned system down. Even typing this blog entry whilst two-tabling, on occasion I've been typing as far as four or five words ahead of where the computer had to catch up with me, and typing a blog entry is hardly processor-intensive.

I've had this problem with other sites that I can't name (but only because I can't remember) if I keep animations on while the cards are being dealt. But only PokerRoom slows the system down, so much, during the entire poker process. And I can't find where to turn off animations at PokerRoom, so I can't even test if it's the animations that are doing it.

If it weren't for that big caveat, I'd give PokerRoom at least a 7 out of 10, but that one major problem knocks my ultimate number down to a 3. If I don't have a bonus to work off, at this point, you'll find me at Party or Stars.