World Series of Poker Posts

Not every event played at the World Series of Poker is Texas Hold ‘Em, but over half1 of them still are, including the Main Event, the most revered tournament in poker.

Thus, it’s not surprising that the Hold ‘Em at Home blog talks about the WSOP a lot. Many of us dream of playing in the Main Event or even one of the smaller buy-in tournaments some day… These articles are sorted by original post date but hopefully most have been updated as needed:

Footnotes:

  1. From 2013 to 2015, the percentage of Hold ‘Em events dropped from 66.1% to 56.9% then bounced back up to 60.3%.

Poker Lingo Posts

Every article in the Hold ‘Em at Home blog talks about poker, but only a few talk about talking about poker. If you want to sit comfortably at a table playing poker, you need to understand the lingo:

Book Posts

The Hold ‘Em at Home gang have reviewed several poker books:

Stan the Stat rated all the No Limit Hold ‘Em poker books in his library and also commented on Amazon’s Top Ten Best Selling Poker Books of 2014.1

Footnotes:

  1. From this PokerBug blog post by guest author Jason of YourHandSucks.

Television Posts

The most famous television Post is Mike Post, the musician who wrote the theme songs for a few dozen famous television shows.1. Stan the Stat is no musician, but he wrote down a few dozen of the most famous poker television shows in four themed lists:

The Hold ‘Em at Home gang watched four television game shows featuring poker trivia on the fictional Poker Game Show Network. You can play along with:

Footnotes:

  1. Mike Post’s best theme songs [with peak Billboard Hot 100 ranking where applicable, else just the show’s first year] include:

Movie Posts

Although poker frowns upon Hollywooding, Hollywood certainly loves poker. Of course, we’d prefer quality over quantity, but we’ll take what we can get.

Before the three popular posts about the first and last hands from Rounders and the last hand of Casino Royale, the Hold ‘Em at Home blog actually kicked off with Mike McDermott’s explanation of Texas Hold ‘Em in Rounders, and the M and Q article couldn’t help referencing the two James Bond characters while actually discussing Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker.

Stan’s Lists have tackled movies in three different ways. Movie Taglines noted eighteen films that were about poker or just sounded like they were; Poker Movies listed Stan’s favorite poker movies and documentaries; and Poker Movie Scenes listed his favorite scenes, even if the movies otherwise had nothing to do with poker.

Of course, if Rounders 2 ever gets made, it’ll fill this blog for months…

Top Hold ‘Em at Home Posts from 2014


And here are the most popular posts from the second year of the blog:

Most Popular 2014 Hold ‘Em at Home Blog Posts

Rank Post Title (with link to post)
1 Stan’s Lists – Poker Reality Television Shows
2 Stan’s Lists – Poker Players on Reality Shows
3 Big One for One Drop 2014
4 “Poker Plays You Can Use” Review
5 Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Streaks
6 Stan’s Lists – Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poker Main Event
7 Stan’s Lists – The Irish Open
8 Texas Hold ‘Em for the Blind and Visually Impaired
9 Stan’s Lists – WPT Career Records
10 2014 WSOP Main Event Polarized Payouts

Again, quite a mix: two articles about television shows (disappointing but not surprising that they’re the top two) and a bunch about various major Hold ‘Em tournaments. I’m happy that my article about the blind and visually impaired made the list; they’ve been incredibly supportive of THETA Poker Pro, and with their help I’ve tried to make my iOS app one of the best games you can play on any device without needing to see your screen.

Top Hold ‘Em at Home Posts from 2013

{ NOTE: The Hold ‘Em at Home gang will be taking a break while the Pro AI level1 of THETA Poker Pro nears completion. For the next few months, please enjoy meta-posts like this one. Maybe you’ll discover an interesting post you hadn’t seen before or reread an old favorite… }

I started the Hold ‘Em at Home blog on January 31, 2013. Full of enthusiasm, overflowing with ideas, and dreading the emptiness of the blog, I posted an article every day for the first month before switching to every weekday for six weeks. Since then, I’ve posted one article a week early each Friday.

The topics have varied greatly, but every article has been about Texas Hold ‘Em in some way. I thought by looking at the most popular articles, I could discover what areas I should focus on, but the fact is that you readers do like a wide range of subject matter. Here are the most popular posts that I published in the first 11 months:

Most Popular 2013 Hold ‘Em at Home Blog Posts

Rank Post Title (with link to post)
1 Stan’s Lists – Poker Player Nicknames Explained
2 Texas Hold ‘Em Odds from 1 to 52
3 Stan’s Lists – English Idioms from Poker
4 Rounders First Hand
5 Stan’s Lists – Chip Tricks
6 Rounders Last Hand
7 Stan’s Lists – Poker Player Catchphrases
8 The Most Famous Hold ‘Em Hand
9 A New Game in Town – THETA Poker Pro
10 A Decade After Chris Moneymaker

The number one post isn’t a surprise, as everyone likes to know where nicknames come from. But number two is a bit of a head-scratcher as that post has almost no useful content (or rather, the information is too hodgepodge to be of much use). I understand that lots of people search for phrases like “Texas Hold ‘Em Odds”, but my article currently only ranks #39 on Google (#135 on Bing); how many people tap on links at the bottom of the fourth page of search results?

Footnotes:

  1. The Pro skill level is mostly about hand reading, as you may have deduced from recent posts.

Stan’s Lists – Aussie Millions

[SS] “Did you guys see that Phil Ivey won the Aussie Millions Super High Roller again?” Stan the Stat queried.

[RR] “The guy’s not human”, Roderick the Rock noted in assent.

[LL] “How many times has he won it now?” Leroy the Lion inquired.

[SS] “Three times in the last four years, although he also played in the first event in 2011.”

[RR] “That’s insane.”

[SS] “Yeah, even with the small fields — 20, 16, 18, 30, and 25 — three wins over such a tough group of pros is incredible. I don’t know what secrets he’s figured out, but he’s taken in almost a third of his career tournament earnings here1.”

[RR] “Who won the Main Event this year?”

[SS] “Manny Stavropoulos, a local from South Melbourne. He’s a cash game player who also plays in many of the big tournaments in Australia but previously had only amassed about $135,000 in tournament earnings and never won an event. He returned the crown to the home country after three years:

Aussie Millions Champions

Year Winner Prize Players Cashed Runner Up
1998 Alex Horowitz $15,693 74 9 Ken Eastwood
1999 Milo Nadalin $24,801 109 18 Adam Haman
2000 Leo Boxell $38,483 109 18 Gerry Fitt
2001 Sam Korman $28,368 101 18 Eric Sclavos
2002 John Maver $78,030 66 10 John Homann
2003 Peter Costa $221,862 122 18 Leo Boxell
2004 Tony Bloom $323,456 133 18 Jesse Jones
2005 Jamil Dia $777,442 263 40 Mike Simkin
2006 Lee Nelson $949,694 418 48 Robert Neary
2007 Gus Hansen2 $1,192,919 747 80 Jimmy Fricke
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn $1,450,396 780 80 Erik Seidel
2009 Stewart Scott $1,420,737 681 64 Peter Rho
2010 Tyron Krost $1,845,921 746 72 Frederik Jensen
2011 David Gorr $1,978,044 721 72 James Keys
2012 Oliver Speidel $1,647,158 659 72 Kenneth Wong
2013 Mervin Chan $1,689,118 629 64 Joseph Cabret
2014 Ami Barer $1,399,739 668 72 Sorel Mizzi
2015 Manny Stavropoulos $1,264,222 648 72 Lennart Uphoff

Notes:

  • An Australian has won the title 10 times: the first five from 1998 to 2002, four in a row from 2009 to 2012, and 2015.
  • No other country has won more than twice (England in 2003 and 2004; New Zealand 2005 and 2006). The remaining title have been captured by Denmark (2007), Russia (2008), Malaysia (2013), and Canada (2014).
  • Although an American has never won the Aussie Millions, the U.S. provided the runner-up every year from 2004 to 2009.
  • The event was originally known as the [Crown] Australian Poker Championships, has also been referred to as the Australasian Poker Championships, and has officially been the Aussie Millions Poker Championship since 2003.
  • The events took place in the winter (July and August) the first four years before moving to the summer (January then late January to early February) in 2002.
  • The Main Event was contested in Limit Hold ‘Em in 1998 and Pot Limit Hold ‘Em in 1999 but has been No Limit ever since 2000.
  • The buy-in increased from $1,000 Australian dollars in 1998 to $1,500 in 2000 to $5,000 in 2002 to $10,000 since 2003.”

[SS] “Unfortunately, many of the final hands from the early years have been lost, at least as far as the Internet is concerned, but here’s what I could find:

Aussie Millions Final Hands

Year Winner Hand Value Runner Up Hand Value Board
1998 Alex Horowitz unknown Ken Eastwood unknown
1999 Milo Nadalin Two Pairs,
6s and 5s
Adam Haman A♣7♥ Pair of 6s 6♣6♥4♠K♠
2000 Leo Boxell Three 6s Gerry Fitt Pair of 6s
2001 Sam Korman Q♣4♦ Flush,
Ace-high
Eric Sclavos 8♦7♦ Straight,
9-high
9♠5♣6♣9♣A♣
2002 John Maver unknown John Homann unknown
2003 Peter Costa unknown Leo Boxell unknown
2004 Tony Bloom Three 3s Jesse Jones Two Pairs,
Kings and 3s
3♥7♦
2005 Jamil Dia unknown Mike Simkin unknown
2006 Lee Nelson J♣5♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen Jack-high
Robert Neary 4♣2♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen 4-high
A♣6♥Q♣K♣K♠
2007 Gus Hansen A♥A♣ Pair of Aces Jimmy Fricke 9♣7♣ Pair of 9s Q♦8♦6♣2♣9♠
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn J♥9♥ Pair of Jacks Erik Seidel A♠Q♣ Ace-high J♦8♠7♠3♥K♥
2009 Stewart Scott A♠A♦ Two Pairs,
Aces and 9s
Peter Rho A♥J♣ Pair of 9s 2♠9♦8♥4♦9♠
2010 Tyron Krost K♠9♦ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
9 kicker
Frederik Jensen K♦6♠ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
7 kicker
K♣3♥2♦7♥2♣
2011 David Gorr K♣4♣ Pair of 4s James Keys 7♣3♣ Pair of 3s 7♠6♣3♥K♥4♠
2012 Oliver Speidel A♠A♣ Pair of Aces Kenneth Wong 9♣9♥ Pair of 9s K♠T♠8♥4♣7♥
2013 Mervin Chan 8♠6♠ Three 8s Joseph Cabret A♦3♦ Two Pairs,
8s and 3s
8♣7♦3♣8♦K♥
2014 Ami Barer A♥A♠ Full House
Aces over 2s
Sorel Mizzi Q♦8♦ Pair of 2s 2♣K♠2♥3♥A♦
2015 Manny Stavropoulos J♦T♠ Straight,
Jack-high
Lennart Uphoff T♦6♦ Straight,
Ten-high
A♦9♠8♦7♥8♥

Notes:

  • Pocket Aces won on the final hand four times from 2007 to 2014.
  • Stacks are still reasonably deep heads up. The chips went all-in preflop 4 times (1999, 2009, 2012, and 2014), on the flop 4 times (2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010), on the turn 3 times (2000, 2011, and 2013), and on the river 3 times (2001, 2006, and 2015) [unknown the remaining 4 years (1998, 2002, 2003, and 2005)3].”

[SS] “Lastly, two players have reached three final tables,4 and nine have reached two.”

  • 3: Leo Boxell (1998 [4th], 2000 [1st], and 2003 [2nd]) and Martin Comer (2000 [5th], 2003 [7th], and 2005 [4th]).
  • 2: David Gorr (1998 [3rd] and 2011 [1st]), Gerry Fitt (2000 [2nd] and 2001 [7th]; the first back-to-back final tablist), Jamil Dia (2001 [6th] and 2005 [1st]), Jason Gray (1998 [6th] and 2000 [4th]), Lee Nelson (2002 [4th] and 2006 [1st]; also 8th in 2001), Mike Ivin (1998 [5th] and 2004 [7th]), Sam Khouiss (1999 [4th] and 2003 [4th]), Sorel Mizzi (2010 [3rd] and 2014 [2nd]), and Toby Atroshenko (2001 [4th] and 2002 [6th]; the second back-to-back final tablist).
  • Honorable Mention: Gary Benson (2000 [3rd] and 2005 [8th]) and Patrik Antonius (2011 [8th] and 2013 [3rd]).

Footnotes:

  1. Ivey’s career tournament earnings are now just over $22 million, of which $7.3 million have come from the Aussie Millions Super High Roller (in 2015, officially called The LK Boutique Challenge as it was sponsored by LK Jewellery).
  2. Amazingly, Gus Hansen planned to write a book about his 2007 Aussie Millions run and then went on to win the event! That certainly gave a huge boost to the sales of Every Hand Revealed in which Hansen shares his thoughts on every important hand he played.
  3. Any information about the missing final hands would be most appreciated!
  4. Play starts eight-handed and drops to six-handed at 36 players, but the official final table is seven players according to Wikipedia’s Aussie Millions article.

Reading Hands, River

{Continued from Reading Hands, Turn}

[NN] “The river is the exciting conclusion to a four-act play”, Nate the Natural continued. “With a good read, you can pick off a bluff by a missed draw, like naming the murderer in a whodunit.”

[FF] “I don’t get killed that often, but they’re certainly always stealing my chips”, Figaro the Fish amended.

[NN] “Okay then, just a bit of larceny to discover… or commit. If you think you’re behind, can you try to steal the pot? If you’re ahead, how much value can you get from the final street of betting? If you’re in position or do you fear a check-raise? If you’re out of position, are you better off betting or hoping to pull off your own check-raise?”

[NN] “So, if a blank hits on a draw-heavy board after your opponent has check-called you the whole way, you’re not going to get paid off much. You have to hope the draw included a weak pair. In tournaments, you may not want to risk a small value bet if your opponent is a known check-raiser (unless of course you think he check-raise bluffs too often).”

[NN] “Likewise, if a money card hits on the river but your opponent still checks, there isn’t much point in betting.”

[NN] “The interesting case is when a draw comes in and your opponent leads out.”

[FF] “Easy fold.”

[NN] “Against most of the players here, probably. But what about against someone crafty like Elias the Eagle?”

[DD] “I try not to get into hands with him in the first place.”

[NN] “True, but you have top pair, and you never even had a chance to fold, since he never bet or raised. So here you are now with a board that shows K♥Q♥T♣4♦2♥. Elias bets half the pot. What are the odds he actually has the flush?”

[DD] “I have to fold or else he justifies his odds for chasing his draw.”

[NN] “The Birdman chases a lot of draws, because his implied odds are higher than ours are. When we didn’t bet him off on the turn, he called with pretty much 100% of his holdings, so he still has:

	AA, JJ
	ATs+, K8s+, QTs+, Ah9h-Ah2h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AKo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

Count up the hands, and you’ll discover that he was on a straight draw more than three times as often as a flush draw. But by representing the flush, he more than doubled his ‘outs’, got us to fold, and stole our chips!”

[DD] “So, the only way to apprehend the criminal is to catch him in the act by calling his river bluff.”

[NN] “Right. Now suppose the board was dry instead: K♥7♣2♠4♦2♥, and your opponent is Roderick the Rock instead of Elias.”

[FF] “No draws there, so he has a real hand.”

[NN] “Yet he’s only been check-calling us.”

[DD] “He has top pair but doesn’t like his kicker.”

[FF] “Maybe a pocket pair lower than Kings?”

[NN] “It depends on who you are. If his opponent is Carlos the Crazy, Rod would have no problem calling with a pair of Tens. If it’s Mildred the Mouse, he’s folded all but his best Kings.”

[DD] “So, not only does he have a King, but it almost has to be King-Queen. Because he would have raised with Ace-King preflop.”

[NN] “Very good. So if we’re Mildred, and we actually hold pocket Sevens for a set, how much should we bet to extract the maximum value?”

[FF] “I’d probably pay off anything up to half a pot.”

[DD] “He’s tighter than you are. I don’t think he’s paying off much at all. I might try a quarter pot or even smaller.”

[NN] “I agree. That’s all you’re likely to get. He shouldn’t call anything, but we all hate to get bluffed, and we’re all curious to see what our opponents have.”

[DD] “Mildred isn’t ever bluffing here.”

[NN] “What if the opponent was Elias with an unknown hand instead of Mildred? If he bets a quarter pot, should Rod call? A half pot? Pot?”

[DD] “Roderick would probably call the first two but fold to a pot bet.”

[FF] “Unless Elias had been bullying Rod out of a bunch of pots recently.”

[DD] “Precisely when Elias is most likely to show up with the goods.”

[NN] “Maybe. But if you do a good job of putting him on a hand range, he won’t be able to fool you nearly as often as he does now.”

[DD] “Thanks, Nate. You could write a great book about reading hands.”

[FF] “I don’t know about palmistry, but you sure could write a good poker book.”

[NN] “Thanks, but Ed Miller already has. How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold’em is expensive1 but worth the price. You can easily win that outlay back in a single cash game or tournament.”

Footnotes:

  1. Currently still selling for its original list price of $49.99 at Amazon. The book deserves a full review, but I’m not qualified to write it. Maybe in a couple years.

Reading Hands, Turn

{Continued from the Flop, Part Three}

[NN] “The turn is the street of hope”, Nate the Natural asserted. “You hope you’re ahead in the hand. If not, you hope you can bluff your opponent out. But if all else fails, you still have hope that you’ll be able to hit one of your outs.”

[FF] “I’m usually hoping I won’t mess up the hand…”, Figaro the Fish added, “if I haven’t already.”

[DD] “Roderick’s usually hoping his opponent isn’t about to suck out on him”, Deb the Duchess noted.

[NN] “Which is why if you’re ahead, you need to figure out which cards you’re worried about and charge accordingly. Suppose we’re in position as before, on a wet board of K♥Q♥T♣, when the 4♦ hits, and our opponent checks again.

After he check-called the flop, we put him on:

	AA, JJ
	ATs+, K8s+, QTs+, Ah9h-Ah2h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AKo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

So he has a lot of draws in his range where he currently has less than top pair:

	JJ (8 outs for straight and 2 outs for set)
	JhTh (17 outs for flush or straight)
	AhTh-Ah2h, Th9h (9 outs for flush)
	KJo, QJo-JTo (8 outs for straight)

That’s half of his hands. Except for the J♥T♥, you can give your opponent the wrong odds to call with a half-pot or larger bet. Assuming of course you don’t pay off on the river if a scare card hits.

If you have a King yourself, your opponent is even more likely to be on a draw, so a bet here is basically required.”

[FF] “What if my he check-raises me?”

[NN] “That’s very unlikely around here, but if it happens, just fold and silently congratulate your opponent on a nice play.”

[DD] “I’ll have to try that with my next drawing hand!”

[NN] “On the other hand, if you have a King on the dry board of K♥7♣2♠ and the 4♦ hits, you need to know how often your opponent would have called your flop continuation bet with a weaker King or an underpair. The looser you’re perceived and the tighter he plays, the more reason you have to check behind to avoid the check-raise or check-call he was planning.

As the saying goes, ‘Big hands want to play big pots…’, and you have just top pair here, so keep the pot small. Your opponent most likely has at most five outs,1 so the free card isn’t much of an issue.”

{To be continued…}

Footnotes:

  1. An underpair has five outs to make a set or two pairs, a weaker King has four kicker outs, and an Ace has three outs for an overpair.