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Tuesday, May 30, 2006 

Guilty or Innocent?

Just got word that the people involved in the ACF5000 incident were, as i expected, denying their guilt and pleading innocent to all the charges, saying they were unaware that signaling and soft-playing were unacceptable at a poker tournament.

Maybe if Louie didnt act so arrogant and didnt curse and scream too much during the game, people would have listened and given him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe if they didnt show that they checked their full house because their friend was in the hand, they would have been more believeable.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse to break it.

We don't really know them at all, and we welcome their side of the story if they do have one. Our group's main priority is not to destroy their names or personally attack them, (no last names or photos are going to be included in any article, even though a lot of people are demanding it) but rather to protect every other players' money and of course protect the integrity of our organization and the events we provide to the poker community.

The very fact that we allowed these guys to play, it was our responsibility to assure that they knew the basic rules and regulations of a poker tournament at least. A guy was disqualified from the $10,000 WSOP main event because he put his chips in his pocket when he was asked to move tables. He didnt know better, but it was no excuse. We as an organization want to maintain this kind of integrity in enforcing the rules, and the fact that we let them get away with the prize money at all showed a lot of restraint on our part to make a big fuss over it. Security was actually on standby to eject them from the casino, if i'm not mistaken, but we exrecised full restraint on our part, giving them the benefit of the doubt as to their innocence.

Everyone who knew what they were doing on that tournament floor saw with their own eyes the events that transpired that night. Numerous individuals experienced in the field are willing to testify if it has to go down to something like that. They plead innocence by virtue of ignorance, which sadly, is a losing case.

Good luck to them.

Sunday, May 28, 2006 

The ACF5000 Incident

I was really excited about working the ACF5000 NLHE tournament yesterday, because i know that it was going to be one awesome game. I barely even slept because of the party from friday night, going to bed at 6am and waking up at 9am to go to the ACF and prepare for the tournament. Not surprisingly, by the time the game started, we had 88 players and a P440,000 pot up for grabs, plus a sterling silver bracelet for the winner! That alone says a lot about the growth of the poker community and the reputation of the tournament organizers (ehem..), since P6,000 isnt exactly a cheap buy-in. But the people came and the fat pot was built, guaranteeing another great day of poker action.

About 30 seconds going into the game, a record was made! The fastest bust out in RP poker history was made, with two players going heads up with J-J against a well hidden A-A on a flop of 5-5-6! Sorry Blake, but that's poker! By dinner break, we had more than half the field busted out too, even with the slow structure, there was a lot of big hands and big action. I observed a lot of great plays by several poker veterans and big hands banging against each other, and i probably saw more pocket aces in one day than i have ever seen in my life!

Special mention to Jardine of the JG game who finished in 6th place taking home P26,000, crawling back from a tiny stack to build a more than 100K stack going into the final table! Also to Marco of the PBT, who had a rollercoaster ride going into the final table and finsihing in 7th place for i think P22,000+. George, last week's champion, also made a great run for a repeat championship, but ended up in 4th place for a P44,000 finish.Congratulations guys, well done and great game! Great Job to Tournament Director Emi Mungcal and the PAGCOR staff for another excellent tournament!


The article above was what i was expecting to write as i watched the tournament unfold yesterday, making mental notes of great plays and players who had an excellent showing in the game. But sadly, something scarred the face of this tournament and left a bad taste in everyones' mouths.

Ok, now down to the REAL topic of this article. Cheating, collusion, signaling, soft-playing, and disgusting poker behavior by several certain individuals who made it to the final table and cheated their way to a 1st and 2nd place finish, robbing everyone else who played honest and straightforward poker.

About halfway going into the game, i was observing a particular table where a couple of my poker buddies were playing. Several players then went up to me and compained about some explicit collusion going on in their table between a certain group of noisy, obnoxious players with no table etiquette or respect for other players. They said they check down strong hands and signal each other with nudges and eye contact whenever they were in a hand together. I told them that we will try to observe them and see what we can do about it, but that it is really hard to prove collusion unless it is done blatantly, or caught in the act.

The final table came, and two of these players were still in the game. I knew these players were soft-playing, but the first real incident i saw was when this Louie kid who was playing obnoxiously all night, screaming obscenities and slamming cards at the table whenver he was in a showdown, got involved in a hand with his friend Ron.
After calling pre-flop, the flop came A-K-9. Louie bets 20,000, which Ron hesitanly calls, making several gestures before finally doing so. The turn came Ace, and Louie smiles and checks, which Ron also checks. The river was a blank, and which was then checked down again. Louie then shows a K-x hand, and Ron shows his A-9, for the Full House Aces over nines. Huh?
...The turn came Ace, and Louie smiles and checks, which Ron also checks. The river was a blank,and which was then checked down again. Louie then shows a K-x hand,and Ron shows his A-9,for the Full House Aces over nines. Huh?

What the fuck was that? And they did this all smiles, and if they weren't sitting across the table from each other, i'm sure they would have given each other high fives. Jardine even asked Ron, "why did you do that?" to which he just smiled and shrugged. Maybe they are just that ignorant that they didnt know they were actually CHEATING? Nick and i saw this, and i could see the disgust in his face. So i went up to Emi, the excellent TD of the tournament, and told him about it. I said that these guys have already been complained about early in the game, and he was clearly disturbed by it, and then said that we should observe it more closely.

As the game went on and people were busting out, the Louie kid managed to build a monster stack bigger than every other chip stack combined, mostly because of several bad beats against then chip leader Jardine. The guy was hitting running full houses with 10-7 for chrissakes! It was then that he got involved in another hand with Ron. Pre-flop, Louie looked at his hand then looked directly at Ron, and proceeded to WHISTLE while giving a "dont call im gonna make a move" look! Ron still called, but then Louie raised it big and then again looked intensely at Ron, shaking his head. Another person then called, and Ron folded his pocket sixes. Louie then proceeded to win the hand and bust someone out with a runner-runner straight.

As this was happening, Emi and i looked at each other and i could see the look on his face, a look of disgust and anger. He wanted to approach them in the middle of the hand but i advised him to wait until the hand is ended. After the hand, he asked louie to stand up and pulled him aside. Ron then asks, "why? what's happening?" and i told him that they were caught signaling, which he then vehemently denied.

Yeah right dude, what do you think we are, stupid?

So the night ended unclimactically with the two of them winning 1st and 2nd place(after a great chip dump from Louie to short stacked Ron calling All-in with 6-4 off)
and taking home a combined 220,000, which they chopped. Louie even declared that he "would have chopped it even if Ron had only 100 in chips." Sadly, the great event had to end like that, with the cheaters getting away with the money. It was summed up rather harshly by one of the PAGCOR officials who were watching the final table by saying "walang kwentang tournament to...", which sadly had some truth in it.

But, the important thing is, their sorry asses are never going to set foot in any Poker tournament hosted by our group, or even Marco's PBT crew. They just destroyed their non-existent reputation and screwed themselves in the ass for P200,000. I hope it was worth it for them.

I hope that everyone learns a lesson from what happened last night, and thinks twice about cheating other players of their hard earned money. Maybe these punks get away with it in their small home games, but a 440,000 pot is not a joking matter anymore.
Let's all be vigilant about this style of play, and protect each other from these kinds of players.

To the Louie Kid who won it, wear your bracelet proud. It's your first and last one. Good Luck with your home games, it's the only place you guys will be playing from now on.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 


Funny story, i was playing my regular tuesday night wild 20/40 game in the old makati place, which by the way, is probably the longest running holdem game in town, if i'm not mistaken (we started around october 2004 i think). Anyway, i was UTG with Q-5 offsuit, and as i looked at my hole cards, i was overwhelmed with a desire play it. For a fraction of a second, i wanted to limp it in, even raise it. But logic took over and i threw it away, of course.

Flop comes 5-5-5. ouch. Turn, Q. Then here comes the betting, raising, firing away the chips! Man, it would have been a nice little pot for me. I really hate it when that happens.

Have you ever had that feeling? Ive always found myself in situations where something in my gut was telling me to either play a hand or fold it, and it turned out ot be right. Sometimes, when i go all-in pre-flop and it's time to show the cards, it's either i feel completely relaxed or i have a sinking feeling in my stomach that makes me wanna throw up. Just yesterday in a ring game, i went all in on a flop of 9-6-3 all clubs, with my pocket 9's making a set. I got one caller with pocket 4's and one club, but i felt totally relaxed and sure enough, i took the pot down. In the same game, i raised with Q-Q in late position, and then someone went all-in, which i called. She had A-9, and i felt my stomach do somersaults. Sure enough, the Ace comes on the river. Story of my life. it possible that our intuition or gut feel, our so called "Blink" instinct plays a valuable part in our game...?

So is it for real? Is it possible that our intuition or gut feel, our so called "blink" insinct, plays a valuable part in our game? It seems impossible, but it has happened too many times for me to just ignore it. Sometimes you have a strong hand, but something tells you to tread carefully and sure enough, someone has you beat. Sometimes i go with my instinct and push with marginal hands, and it would work to my favor. I've peeked at pocket kings and intead of feeling pure joy, i felt a sense of foreboding and doom, then proceeded to get busted by an A-x hand. I've raised with 4-3 on gut feel, and watched it make a straight on the flop. Do we really have that internal radar in us? How can we use it to our avantage?

It's actually quite hard to filter it from the all the junk in your head, because sometimes we think too hard and the message becomes jumbled. A friend has told me that if he listened to the little voice in his head all the time, "he would go broke playing poker!" Funny but true. I've been damaged quite bad by "listening" to that "instinct" and chasing that nut flush draw all the way to river, going broke because of it. I'm sure a lot of people have had similar experiences with this phenomenon, so i guess i'm not gonna be alone on this one.

I'm certain we all have this internal "spider sense" in us that warns us of danger, in poker or in our lives in general. It's probably the human survival instinct in all of us, and since poker is some sort of "life and death" situation, with all the stress and psychology involved in it, our senses pick up things unconsciously that we would ignore otherwise, things that will warn us of danger, or opportunities. Poker legends have probably honed and mastered this ability and have learned to listen to it and use it to their advantage. I'm sure we can achive that level of mastery too, as long as we put in the countless hours of experience and time which will help our imperfect "filters" become clearer, and help us distinguish the difference between the voice of the crazy gambler in our heads and the voice of that poker jedi in all of us.

Monday, May 22, 2006 

Tagaytay Wrap Up

Congratulations to Casino Filipino Tagaytay for having another successful tournament last saturday. About 64 players (i think) coughed up the P11,000 buy-in, although a few won their entry through satellite games. Most of our friends made it deep, but only one made it ITM. Neil "Dirty Ice Cream" came in at 8th place, winning about P20,000++ and of course solidified his status as one of the better players out there, being consistent not only in the big games, but also in tournament finishes. One thing he complained about was that although he has probably made it ITM in more than half the tournaments he's joined, he has never actually won one. Dont worry neil, maybe you're just reserving your best perfomance for the WSOP hehe!

I didnt play, so no stories from me here. But there were a few interesting anecdotes from other players regarding the tournament. The most common story was the one of "Mommy Dolly". According to the players, Mommy Dolly stumbled upon the cash game they were running before the tourny, played for a while, then decided to join the tourny. It was her first time to play and practically had no idea about the game.

By the end of a few levels, she was busting people out left and right, calling all-ins of up to 60,000 with 4-2off, 10-7, ANYTHING, and hitting it hard! She hit everything she played, and by the time it was down to the final table, she had about half the chips in play. She even called an all-in from Neil with a rag hand, flopped an open-ended straight draw, but lucky for neil, it was one of the rare times that she didnt hit it. (tama ba?) I dont think she won it though, since eventually we all know the math will catch up, and the last person we talked to said that she had a small stack when they left the casino. In the small game we had right after in our place, whenever someone would make a stupid call or crazy play, they invoked the name of Mommy Dolly! LOL!

As for me and several other poker buddies who trooped to tagaytay, we had a blast! First thing we did when we got there was have some Bulalo and Crispy Pata... mmmmm! Had to make sure we had our insurance cards just in case of a heart attack though. We then had several short handed small buy-in tournaments just to pass the time and have fun. Eventually, players form the tournament started to arrive late in the evening, bringing booze and getting ready for a little poker party/ drinking fest. The cold weather really made the alcohol enjoyable as it kept everyone warm and buzzed. A small 20/40 game was also rocking alongside the party, and everyone was just chilling and having a good time. By around 5am, there were around 6 or 7 of us left, just chilling out in the cold and talking about poker and other things, related or otherwise.

To those who came and even brought drinks and stuff, thanks! To those who couldnt come or follow, sayang. But there's surely gonna be a next time, so let's make sure we'll be there! till next time!

Friday, May 19, 2006 

Where is Everybody?, - New Beginnings

It's been a really busy week. Poker-wise, i havent been playing much, just a couple of the regular tournaments and a couple of ring games. I'm going to try to get a seat tonight at a sattleite game for Tagaytay, so i'm crossing my fingers for that.

There isone thing i noticed during the past few weeks. There hasn't been much action going around in the poker blog community! The poker blogs havent been active at all. The sites i used to check out everyday for new articles and discussions have been pretty quiet. Are we getting tired of the game? I noticed that during our weekly tournies, people rarely ever stay for the cash game anymore. Games end up pretty early nowadays compared to before too. Are we reaching some sort of saturation point?

They say summer is the worst time for people, financially speaking. For some reason, peole have more money during the last quarters of the year, and the leanest times are summer. This phenomenon is explained by the coming school season, the drying up of the christmas bonuses from last year, etc. Maybe this also has some kind of effect on poker games. Poker IS a very very capital intensive "business". You gotta have money to win money. And the truth is, majority of us do not have money to burn just for poker games. Those weekly tournaments do add up, and sometimes more than we expect, or can afford.

Maybe that's why attendance in the regular weekly games have been thinning out, and i can't blame them. I havent been playing much too, thinking i'll just use the money i would otherwise risk on poker on some other more important things. But i'm talking about the regular community of poker players. I know the big game is still rocking, and so are the ACF poker room players.

Hey fellow poker writers out there, it's the least we can do to keep the poker community updated and interested in the game, even if some arent playing that much anymore. Keep those articles coming!


Damn it is hard work moving out of your house. Our family is moving to a new place, just near our old place. I've lived here for almost 20 years now, and it's amazing how much junk one can accumulate throughout the years. I even found notebooks and folders containing my 7th grade notes and activities! There is so much crap that i realized that all my important stuff fits in just one box. It's hard work. But new beginnings are always good. A new place, a new atmosphere, a new aura. All that junk and baggage can be pretty heavy and it really does slow you down. A new place makes everything seem lighter and brighter.

See you at the felt!


Tagaytay Party!

Watched the Da Vinci Code movie today. I dont know what the hell the Church is fussing about over some fictional movie. Are they that insecure? There were 5 cinemas out of 7 showing the movie in G4, and we got there around 9, by which time all the movies were sold out until 11:30! Good thing Kath thought about Greenbelt 1 cinemas, and sure enough, we got tickets and there was more than enough space too.

What a turnout. I havent seen such a movie mob since "Star Wars: episode 3". Everyone was eager to watch, thanks to the Church and its over-reaction.

I bet they got a cut out of the worldwide sales of the movie or something. hehe.

The movie? Good. Just good. A fun movie. If you read the book, you'd be a bit disappointed, since the movie cannot really include everything from the book, and they left out a lot of the details that really made it interesting to the readers.

I'm waiting for X-MEN 3. That'll rock for sure!


The Tagaytay Casino Tournament is coming up tomorrow, and my status as of now as to if i will play is zilch. Havent won a satellite yet, and the last day is today, so maybe ill get a chance to win one later. Crossing my fingers. I'd do anything to play in Tagaytay, heck, i'd even take a stake even at 70%-30%! I just wanna be a part of it, just playing is gonna be a reward enough for me.

We'll be going up to Tagaytay a little bit earlier than most people, since we will actually be preparing our place for a little get together we planned for the whole Poker Crew who's trooping up to the game! Our place is less than 10 minutes away form the Casino, about 2 minutes from the Rotonda. To those who still need to ask, what else do you think we'll be doing there? We're gonna bring booze, food, music, and of course, we'll have our own Poker game! It's going to be an overnight thing so no need to worry about driving home at night!

Everyone is invited! If you bust out early, at least you know there's a party waiting for you! See you there!

Thursday, May 18, 2006 

New Look

finally figured out how to change my templates to something a bit original. I hated the previous puke green color of the site, and it took me quite a while to get a new one and figure out how to install it hehe.

I'm finaly learning something about this HTML thing. But, i still dont know how to insert photos in mid-article and also to have banners and ads put in the site. Oh, and the one thing i REALLY want to customize the banner or header of the site! To the guys who know how to do these kinds of stuff, help! hehe.

nice hand... watch your back!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 

Rake... or Rape?

Imagine an opponent that never loses, wins a piece of every single contested pot, never gets tired, and doesnt stop playing until everyone else stands up. He always ends up a big winner, day in and day out. Would you like to play with someone like that?

The truth is, we all do. This guys' name is Mr. Rake.

I guess most players don't really think about it, since they have gotten used to playing raked games all over the metro. The question is, how much is too much? Are players getting their money's worth when they play a 20-40 NL, 10% rake game with a maximum of 300 for every pot? Is it even fair? The sad truth is, the rake in our current poker community is unbeatable, unless you play in the high stakes table.

Let's do some math.

Let's say there are 10 players at the table, and all buy-in for 2000 max at the 20-40 NL game. That's 20,000 in play. Now, at a conservative average of 100 rake per hand in a 300 max-rake game at about 20 hands per hour (dealers in the casino are slow) it adds up to about 2,000 rake per hour. (I've done the math, and that's roughly the figure you'll get if the max is 300, about 1500 if max is 200). That's 10% of the money in play going to the "invisible opponent". If everyone plays for about 5 hours WITHOUT rebuying, they will soon end up with about 50% of the money in play going to Mr. Rake. If we only have one winner, he would cash out 10,000 only. If we have 4 "winners", they would have a profit of only 500 for the night. Truth is, nobody really wins.

Now, that doesnt sound like "Rake" anymore. More like "Rape".

I realized this when i played a home game with my uncles, of course self-dealt, and no-rake. At 10-20, with max buy-in at 500, i won about 4,000. German Snake also won about 5,000 and the total buy-ins for that night was about 10,000. If there was rake in that game, which we played for about 5 hours, we would have only won about 2,000 each, since the rake would have been about 800-1000/hour.

Since we have, in the words of nickG, "only one hamburger stand in town", we really dont have much of a choice. I'm not saying it's bad or wrong to do that, but this will really hurt the poker communtiy in the long run. It is simply too much to rake that much in such a small game. Bigger games have no problem with the rake, because their pots are very big and taking 300 doesnt really matter, but that's only for a handful of privileged players.

In the $4000-$8000 Limit Holdem game at Table One in the Bellagio Poker Room, they have a table charge of about $20 per hour, per player. That's it. Youd be hard pressed to find a 10% raked game in the US, or in any other casino for that matter. The biggest rake you'll find in a US casino would probably be $4 per pot at most.

In fairness to players, and game organizers as well, i believe that the normal practice of raking 10% and having a high maximum should be, in time, slowly adjusted and reduced to make the game beatable and ultimately enjoyable to play. I'm talking about the ACF here, but it also applies to underground poker rooms. Make the max smaller, that's the first step. I personally believe in putting players first, and this is the best way of doing it. If people see that you are prioritizing players instead of profit, then more players will come to your games.

I know this is a somewhat controversial topic, but i have been thinking about this for quite some time now, and i just had to get it out of my system. This is just my honest opinion, and i believe it will be for the best of the poker community to be aware of this situation and demand for the most fair structures and conditions possible not just for their Poker tournaments, but also the ring games.



ACF 1K Weekly Tournament!

I just first have to congratulate PAGCOR and the PBT guys for running a flawless and well-executed tournament yesterday. 120 players came, and built a 170,000 peso pot with their buy-ins and re-buys. Not bad considering that the buy-in was only 1000+200, then you get a chance to win up to P50,000 (the 1st prize), but getting even 3rd of 4th wasnt so bad! The pot was well distributed and paid 14 places. The game even had one rebuy up to the second level, which really added to the flavor of the tournament. Overall, very very well done.

Also, Congratulations to one of the regular rounders who always wreaks havoc in the games he joins, and if this guy doesnt bust out in the first round, expect him to make it deep into the tournament. None other than JJ the Duke made it to 3rd place out of 120 players, and won P20,000+! Good thing i had a piece of that action hehe, i made maybe 200 pesos by trading pieces with him and a handful of other guys LOL! Nice game Duke! Congartulations also to our friends who made it ITM, i heard there were several. An amazing story is Atty. Oli's 'comeback of the century", where he got busted on a big hand and was left with 300 in chips at the 400-800 level. The guy managed to crawl back from the grave he dug himself in and make it ITM! (did he? i heard he did. even if he didnt, it was still amazing as he outlasted amost everyone else!) Good game Atty!

Everyone really enjoyed the tournament, and PAGCOR was awesome enough to provide a nice dinner to go along with your P200 fee. I'm pretty sure theyre gonna need more than 15 tables for the next saturdays to come.

One thing though, because of time constraints, they had to compromise the starting stack, which started at 25 big blinds. As usual, by the middle rounds, the game had turned into an "all-in or fold", with the average stacks being about 9 or 10 big blinds. This was compensated by the rebuy factor, but still, 50BB stack would have made a world of difference (but it also might have lasted for 15 hours hehe). The game ended at about before 11 i think, which made it a total of roughly 8 hours of poker play. Not bad for a 1000 buy-in huh? talk about bang-for-your-buck!

As for me, i busted out after about 2 hours of play, going all in on K-K and getting called by an A-Q suited that hit the Ace on the turn. Ouch! i thought i was finally gonna have some chips to play with, but the poker gods decided not so. Note: there were about 6 other incidents of K-K being busted that day, against A-4, A-Q, K-7, etc.! Not a good day for Brokeback!

There really is no complaints, but of course the idealist in me wishes that our tournaments would start to evolve from the all-in festivals of the past into more intelligent, strategic battles.
This is only possible if we didnt have time constraints, and at a 1000 buy-in, the trade-off seems fair enough. I'm playing that game every week for sure!


Check out the newest addition to our poker blog community, German Snake at the Playground! Just go to to check it out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 

Nice bluff... Watch your back!

Have you ever had someone you don't know or even just met insult you to your face? Wouldn't your first instinct be to knock his teeth out or slap him in the face? Well, i'm sure it rarely happens in any social setting, especially with our Filipino culture of not being too open about our feelings or speaking ones mind openly, much less in a social or public setting.

But the poker table is a totally different story.

Just yesterday, while playing a friendly, short-handed, 10-20 NL game with 4 of my friends, a guy we just met decided to sit with us and play. He buys-in, sits down quietly, and doesnt really make an effort to introduce himself or make small talk with the guys who are playing. Mostly he is talking with his friends who are watching him play, since it is their first time to encounter a cash game (mostly new players). In one of the early hands, i hit middle pair on the flop and check in early position, which is checked around. The turn gave me a nut flush draw, and i bet, and he raises me double my bet, so i naturally call. The river gave me trips, and i bet out 100 only, which he calls. I showed it and said that if he raised me on the flop, i would have folded. He kept saying "wow, you got me on the river", but he didnt realize that he didnt do anything with his top pair on the flop, which led to that situation of me getting lucky.

Several hands later, i get into another pot with him. I get a gutshot on the flop, which i decide to make a feeler bet with. The guy then raised me double my bet, and i tell him "if you hit something and you want me out of the pot, you should bet bigger, now ill be forced to call", so i did. The turn came blank, and he checked, so i decide i should just check it too, since it was just a friendly game anyway. The river came, and he goes all-in. Naturally i fold. Then as he was gathering the chips, he flips over his cards and throws them in front of me, a busted flush draw. (he actually said that he made the flush. I honestly didnt see it, i thought that the river was a diamond. I rarely ever misread the board, but it's possible.- edited- 05/13). I've seen this "move" done before to several good friends of mine who i play regularly with, and this just made my blood boil at that time.

WTF? "What was that for? Why are you showing me that?" To which he couldnt really give a straight reply and just smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders. This geeky looking scrawny guy in glasses is flipping over his "bluff" on a 200 peso pot to my face, and he doesnt even know me. After about 20 minutes i get into another hand with him, which he won about 700 with a higher two pair. Even before he could fix his chips, he declared a cash out, making some excuse that he had to go somewhere. (ok, he DID say he was going to cash out soon, in fairness to the guy, who's turns out to be actually a pretty ok dude.- edited 05/13)

Even before that game, there was a tournament running, and Kath went all-in on KK, which got called by an A-10. Flop showed an Ace, and the guy who had A-10 started srcreaming like he won a P100,000 pot or something. He kept screaming and getting himself pumped up, saying things like "not on my big blind!" or something like that. He was even hitting the table and puching bar stools and stuff, all with the intense look of a man who just scored a winning basket for the NBA finals. Good thing Kath was in a good mood, or else he would have gotten a piece of her mind. After the game, i approached the guy and told him about what he did, and he at least apologized to Kath for it.

I'm sure everyone has encountered situations like that. People you dont even know throwing their bluffs face up in front of you at the table, things like that. I think it's pathetic, but mostly, i also think it is because of ignorance. They do those things because they thinks it's cool, or that theyre "the bomb" for making a big bluff, and they just cant resist not bragging about it. They have no idea about proper table etiquette, or even just respect for other players.

Mostly, these things happen with beginners who are playing for the first few times at a real game outside their home games, and i think it is the responsibility of these players to learn proper table etiquette, or else risk getting themselves hurt or even worse. Emotions can get so high at a poker game that if they do something like that against someone with a short fuse, who knows what might happen. The top players i know can handle people like that, and they just wipe them out on the felt and take all their money as a retribution. Ive even seen a player getting piss drunk and insulting another players' mother, but because of respect for the other players on the table, the guy just let it pass, and then they proceeded to clean him out for about 300K that night. But not everyone has that kind of patience. That could have surely resulted into something bloody.

Pretty soon, if this goes unchecked, we might see something on the news about Poker Violence, people getting hurt or even killed because of poker, and that is not exactly going to be good for the game. Filipinos are very proud people, and bluffing someone then shoving it in their face is no different from slapping their face with a glove and challenging them to a duel.

Learn proper poker etiquette, or even just have some manners and respect, and it will go a long way towards getting respect from your peers as well. If youre a veteran poker player and you encounter something like this, make an effort to correct them and teach them a little poker manners, since they mostly do not really know what they are doing, and is doing it out of pure ignorance and youthful arrogance.

I believe it is our responsibility as players to make sure that Filipino players will eventually learn how to play like the pros, not just in skill, but in all aspects, including manners and respect for other players.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Deuces on the River!

Tonight i was witness to some amazing hands and bad beats at my regular tuesday night game. Wow. It seemed like it was really bad beat night!

One of the most notable hands went like this.

I had 10-3 on the SB, and everyone limped in so i join the family pot. Flop came 3-2-2. Being first to act, I checked. Next guy, a pretty tight player, bets 300 into a 200 pot. Everyone folds except the button, then i fold my hand too, pretty sure that the initial bettor had a 2. Turn was a 3! The initial bettor goes all-in, and is quickly called by guy on the button. Button shows a 3, and the first guy shakes his head in disbelief, since the other guy had only one out (i had the other 3). The dealer then counts the pot and almost forgets to deal out the river, and everyone was making a commotion about the bad beat that just happened.

The river was dealt, and it was the 2! Quads on the river! Man... two ONE-OUTERS in one hand, turn AND river. Amazing.

well i wasnt spared from bad beat night when i got 3-3 on the SB, had about 5 people in the pot, and flopped A-3-4. I bet out 180, got raised to 400, had one caller to the 400, so i went all in for about 900 more! I had them where i wanted to, with an ace and high kicker, or trying to draw. The first guy folded, and he had A-Q. The button called the all in, and showed his A-5, with a gutshot prayer for a deuce. Turn Q. River, you guessed it, a Deuce!

It was bound to happen. Well, that's poker!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

The Big Game, Getting Staked, and the Tagaytay Tournament

I was reading one of my earliest posts "Playing REAL Poker" (sept.20,2005) where i first tried playing the "Big" game, which back then was the 50-100 game at the Bombay Bicycle Club, played usually by only around 4 players namely Big W, NickKGB, Pokemon, and BarbieMla. It amuses me when i remember the thrill or playing for "real" money, since today i could play for the same amounts without any stress or fear. An all-in for more than 3,000 left my mouth dry and my heart pounding back then. Nowadays, the chips have no monetary value to me anymore, and i treat them as bullets that i use in battle. The "Big" game today has evolved into a real big game, with pots hitting six-figures and bets that could be the monthly salary of an average filipino.

It's been a while since i posted an update about my games, especially since i took a big hit to the bankroll early this year and was delegated to mostly spectator status in the ring games and was mostly playing low stakes home games. Starting from scratch, i am slowly building up the bankroll again, and i find myself having more fun and being more relaxed playing the ring games than ever before. And you know what? i believe it has vastly improved my game. Since the start of this month, i noticed a steady upward trend in my poker stats, booking big wins (relatively) almost every week. I figured out my poker formula for success. Short-handed game with a couple of maniac players in the mix, plsu most importantly, no bad beats. Last night, i had more than 10,000 in my stack in a 20/40 game because all my big hands held up. No bad beats. No river bombs. If the math holds up, im sure to book a win since i almost always never ever go in if i'm not the one who has the edge.

I have never been a high stakes player, and i dont think i will be taking a stab at the big game anytime soon. When i say a "big win", for me, that's cashing out 4 or5 times my buy-in, which usually translates to between 4,000 to 6,000. On an average day, i would normally book a win if i double up within 3-4hrs, anything more i consider a bonus.

Eventually, if i build the roll enough, or maybe even book a big MTT win, i'll take a stab at the big table. I'd love to play those guys more often, because there's something different about playing a game full of quality players who truly love the game.


Kath also booked a nice win last night, with the help of Neil "Dirty ice Cream" who staked her in the game. It's funny because people are more confident at staking her than me, since they see her as a better player. It doesn't really bother me because i taught her how to play, and for me that's the best compliment i can get. She finds herself playing better when she's being staked, since it means she has to gain the confidence of the person who staked her and feels that she has to win no matter what. She's always had consistent results when being staked, and her biggest wins at the felt were when she was staked by a fellow poker player. Excellent poker players recognize other players abilities, and some of the better players out there like Jun Uy, Neil, Mischa, Nick, and Atty. Eric, have no problem staking kath since they recognize her skills at the felt.

Getting staked is a good way for a player to build their bankroll without fear of going bust, and as long a you gain the trust and confidence of your fellow players, you wont have trouble finding people who will invest in your skills.


The Tagaytay Casino Tourney just adjusted their tournament structure, making it better and more skill friendly, and this will surely attract more players to come and play. It's great to see that our local tournaments are evolving into Internationally accepted standards, and that our voices are being heard and heeded by the powers that be, PAGCOR. Thanks to the Poker Godfather for making an offer they can't refuse, and changing the structure to be more player friendly.

I'm almost sure that i will play that tournament too, and i'm slowly building up my buy-in through the ring games, since there are very few sattelites going on for the game.

It's been a while since i've won in a big MTT, the last really big one being last September 2005, when i placed 3rd in a field of 107. Since then, there has hardly been any big MTT's, and it's usually the weekly 3 or 4 table games which i havent really been consistent in. I'm crossing my fingers for Tagaytay. I hope i'm due for an incredible run of good luck and book an ITM win in that tournament.

May the edge be with me!

Saturday, May 06, 2006 

I Have a Dream

I have a dream... i dream that one day, tournament structures will become standardized for all PAGCOR sanctioned NLHE games run in the RP.

I believe that if PAGCOR has the authority, they should have the last say on the structure of the blinds and payouts in ANY poker tournament run with their permission. This, i believe, will give players peace of mind that whenever there is a tournament, big or otherwise, the structures will be fair for players. They should devise a basis or template for all tournaments to follow, since they are the ones with the authority to do so. They have very reliable sources and consultants who can help them achieve this goal, and these people will gladly do it for the love of the game.

I'm not saying let's immediately adopt WSOP structures or whatever, but rather evolve from the super turbo structures/ all-in festivals that we have become accustomed to and use more intelligent strucutres that weed out more luck and give way to more skill. There are several games out there that use or have used very intelligent structures like the friday tournaments in a certain area down north, and surprisingly, the PPT structure in their big tourny. Payout structures, IMO, should be flat (like the way nickg does it) instead of top-heavy ones that give most of the money to 1st and 2nd. Since getting to the final table is hard enough to achieve in a big field, everyone who does make it should be already considered a winner and be rewarded accordingly. The WSOP gives about only 32% to first place in a big field of up to 300. We can use widely available info to adapt to worldwide standards.

I know this goal will be achieved in the near future. We all have to work hard and let our voices be heard by the powers that be, because believe me, they do listen, and they will give us what we want. If we just sit back and do nothing, then nothing will happen.

Once we have this in place, i believe that the cream of the crop of the poker community will rise up above the rest. Standard structures will allow for consistency and adaptibility for the players.

May the edge be with you.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 


Last night i played at my regular tuesday night game, and i was reminded of how brutal the game can be at times. Ive been playing there for over a year, and i basically know how to handle the loose, wild, "money-doesnt-matter-im-doing-this-for-fun" players that regularly go and play. Ive had my share of bad nights, but when it's good, it's really good. I would usually buy-in for less than half of what the others buy (they all buy-in max), pick my spots, wait for a good opportunity, then BAM, double or triple up, then relax and play my game. Last night was pretty much the same, and by the end of the night i cashed out double of my total buy-ins, booking the win.

No, it wasnt me who suffered the brutal bad beats, but rather kath aka the German Snake, a well repsected poker player in our community. I watched as she went all-in way ahead, only to get sucked out on the river not once, not twice, but three times that night!

First hand was her AQ vs. an AJ, all-in pre-flop, with the J coming on the river. Ok, it happens... next hand with the SAME PERSON, her 10-10 going all-in pre-flop called by an A-6o, with an Ace of diamonds, and 4 diamonds coming on the board! After taking a 30 minute breather, she came back and bought in, and after some close calls, got back to almost even out for the night, then, her last hand...

After she raised it big pre-flop, she got a caller, and on a board of 4-6-7 rainbow, the caller bets 100, which she raises to 500, then the guy still called. the turn was nothing, so she went all-in after the guy checked, only to get called. The guy turns over A-4 while kath shows her Pocket Queens. River: you guessed it. the damn Ace. Brutal night for kath, and i know how it feels as ive experienced not just brutal nights but brutal weeks, even months.

Man, this game can sometimes really be cruel.

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Quote of the Day

  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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