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Cat Skinning and Other Fun Pastimes

November 19th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rob had two interesting post.  (I know!) that discussed interesting aspects.  The first made use the old aphorism, “Are you good enough to fold KK?”  KK certainly has appropriate substitutes.  It falls in that benighted category we refer to as Hand History.  I have said before that text ones leave me stumbling about –ya really gotta be there.  Hand histories are the hair shirt of poker. Usually missing is the real context.  The only consistently great histories I can recall were in Shirley Rosarrio’s blog.


52 times 51 and we arrive at the possible hands.  That’s a bunch and all are capable of rapture or anguish.  Is AA better than 72?  Well, more often than not but don’t sell anything short.  Do you remember Fuel55? (Last post 4 years ago.)  He loved Presto and called his blog “Creativity breeds Madness” and his last post covered Presto#150.  Every week it seemed his blog was giving another example of the vaunted 55. I got to know him by way of another paid blogger on my old site — PokerWorks.   He was kind enough to forward a lengthy collection of his hand histories.  Fuel was a higher stakes player and many of those examples were inventive and could become costly.  Far and away, most were the blah crap that gets folded.  That included some premium hands with situational leaning and that host of pure crap that litter the poker landscape.

One of the early things that I remember discussing and only knowing half of what I was talking about — yes, I know that has slipped — was implied odds.  If there is one great thing to learn at no-limit ring,  implied odds is a strong candidate.  That was what Fuel55 was doing and his happiest occurrences included  the nickles.   He looked for substantial stack held by active players.  He was willing to invest more than average when implied odds favored him.

It is and isn’t about the cards.  That’s always the case and it is hard to keep that at the forefront of our action.  That doesn’t say splash like the biggest fish.  It means knowing when to gamble a bit more than usual.   That is the power of implied odds — giving away odds to expose greater rewards is a powerful NL tool.  Being on the wrong end gets costly.

Other examples abound.  Crubs?  Remember her?   Rakewell and his 24.  A host of players with mid to low suited connectors.  AJ is a tower of strength against those hand — preflop anyway.   Out of position it is all arguable.  But, whats poker without arguments — isn’t that what we really mean with hand histories?


In discussing AJ, it certainly has its place.  One nice thing about it is that it is easier to fold than KK or “Premium holding” that woof to an action board.  So, it isn’t as bad as it was made out.  What is bad is getting exercised over an old duffer that seems to be getting away with murder and getting your attitude played.

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  1. November 19th, 2012 at 11:04 | #1

    I always thought the worst hands to play were A-Q and Q-Q. I have probably lost more money on those hands than any others. A-J seemed to be a blogger favorite, especially in the old Mookie tournaments.

  2. November 19th, 2012 at 11:21 | #2

    “That is the power of implied odds — … greater rewards is a powerful NL tool. ”

    That’s why you did well in the seven-stud-8 tournaments. NL players chase because the reward is great, but they don’t make the adjustment to limit games/tournaments.

  3. November 19th, 2012 at 13:46 | #3

    @Sparky I guess we are looking from different angles.  Any pocket pair is a solid hand with  a roughly 7:1 chance of making a set.  It is great because when it makes it is under the radar with a chance a above average rewards.  If you look only at pot odds and 1 or 2 entering pots, you’d fold every pair.  Regardless of cards, you can still play situational because of what is implied when you hit.  Cards aren’t bad.  What we do with them is the key.  What QQ AQetc. put in the mix is harder decisions post flop.

    @Dave  That little S8B tournament taught me a lot.  Some of the things I’ve talked about seemed so obvious.  Yet, I’d see people with a game set in concrete.  Women should play it better and a lot do.  They don’t get chopped like some of the macho crowd.  Playing the same through start, middle and end game is so -EV.  I think my NL game would be better from that experience.  It was similar when I played a lot of S&G’s and people followed the hard path instead of the easy one.

    I should add a bit about Shirley.  Her HH’s came with an explanation of what she was thinking.  A had history without that might as well be in a foreign tongue.  Without that clarity isn’t there — win or lose.


  4. November 19th, 2012 at 15:40 | #4

    Thanks for the shout out, Ken.  When you get right down to it, doesn’t every puzzle in poker come down to “it depends”?  One of the nice things about pocket pairs–especially LOW pocket pairs–is they’re so easy to play.  Miss on the flop and you’re done.  Catch a set and you play it strong and if you get sucked out on, well “that’s poker.”  With AJ, you catch an Ace, how do you know you’re good? Flop a Jack and there still might be an overpair out there.  Solution:  Either don’t play it or toss it if you don’t flop Broadway.  At least that’s my attitude now….and will no doubt last until the exact moment I am dealt it next time.

  5. November 19th, 2012 at 16:22 | #5

    Well, it’d be a pretty boring game if “depends” were absent.  (No Depends jokes at my aging exterior!)  

    Seems we are all too insulted being bluffed.  That was at the back of your mind in the AJ playout.  It one of my sins too at times.

    I remember a guy in a tournament I used to play every morning.  It was a limit one and he was a bluffing machine.  He’d often build a stack but seldom monied.  It was fun to watch him bluff me and others off of hands.  A few would play out understanding with mixed results.  The reason it was fun is I knew I had a great chance later when the blinds/antes made it more like NL.  Then, I’d play the trapping game.  He played the same game from top to bottom.  That takes depends out of the equation or cripples it.  You’ve watched people that you thought you could “depend” on and it is profitable.  I’m always wondering just how readable I am.  I can hit a rut — especially playing ring.  It is far worse than playing AJ poorly.

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