Monday, March 25, 2013

Cashing in / out with Seals With Clubs

As you may or may not know, I've been back online, playing Seals With Clubs (SWC), as the only online poker offering currently available to me.  I've been playing on there since mid-January; I got involved via DonkDown radio.  For those who are unaware, SWC works with bitcoins (BTC), an internet currency.  The value of the BTC fluctuates daily; it is a floating currency that is not based on any other currency.  Recently, the value of the BTC has risen to above $70, so I feel that it is time to try the process of selling chips out.  So far, it seems pretty easy:

  • I signed up for an account on, which asked me to verify my email address and required  a bank account / routing number for buying / selling chips.  Once I have the funding source verified (which takes 2-3 days; they will make 2 small deposits of $0.01 - $0.99), I am able to transact BTC to USD.
  • I note the "Bitcoin Addresses" under the "Linked Accounts" tab in the top left corner of coinbase homepage.  There is a funky-looking string of text and numbers that tells me the code for depositing BTCs onto coinbase.  It should look something similar to this:
    Highlight that hash code and copy it into your memory with CTRL-C or whatever standard your device uses to copy.  This is called my deposit "hash code."
  • I go into "My Account" page on SWC and scroll down to the area labeled "Request Bitcoin Cashout."  After entering the amount of chips I would like to withdraw from SWC to coinbase (1000 chips = 1 BTC, which is precisely my trial size), it asks for my "Bitcoin Address."  I enter in the deposit hash code above (via CTRL-V, or whatever standard your device uses to paste) in order to tell SWC that I'd like to transfer 1 BTC to the entered address.  After completing the transaction with my SWC password, the chips transfer from SWC to coinbase, and into my personal account.
  • I click "Sell Bitcoins" and enter in the amount of bitcoins I'd like to sell.  From there, I've converted my bitcoins into cash and move them into my bank account.  It was very simple.
I believe buying bitcoins works exactly in reverse:
  • Sign up and register your bank account on, as detailed above.
  • Note your SWC "Current Cash in Address" hash code and copy it into memory.
  • Go into and purchase the required amount of BTCs.
  • Transfer the newly purchased bitcoins to the SWC with the transfer to the hash code in memory.
For those who I know personally, I would be happy to trade BTC -> USD if you are wary about using the third party coinbase transfer.  Let me know!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Numberplay Solution Available online

From the originating website, the numberplay solution is now available.  Rather than show the completed solution, they've done a much better job of writing a solution set.

The solution can be found here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What Would You Do #243 - Rivered a pair on a paired board + my questionable play

First, a Hand History for all to see how I [possibly] butchered a hand:

Played a bit more 2/5 the other night.  It's going to be awhile until I'm back in the saddle as my wife & I are going on a little vacation.  Anyway, I'd like to share a hand which I'm not sure I blundered or just got unlucky:

QsTs - I raise to $40 into 5 limpers; semi-loose UTG older guy with gruff attitude calls.  I have $650 in front of me, and he's sitting on around $1400, chipping up steadily all night.  He's been continually making un-callable bets, and I've been putting him on a lot of bluffs even though I have yet to truly tango with him.  I've seen him make large cbets with middle pairs (i.e. A9o on a J 9 3 board - and he got me to fold QJo) and call a river bluff vs. bottom pair.  He knows how to play.

Anyway, I smash the flop; we see a flop of QdQh9s.

My plan is to check here, as I had been cbetting every hand all night and not getting any value.  Against this particular guy, my cbets were met with auto-folds.  I also think that this guy is going to bluff a high percentage of the time when he sees a check on the flop, particularly when I change my patterns by not cbetting.

The turn is an offsuit 3, completing the rainbow board.  I "weak" (what I felt was weak for me as I had been cbetting close to pot for most of the night) lead for $55 into the $~110 pot and he snap check / raises me to $200, as per my plan.  I "hesitate" for a good long while and decide on calling - raising here is only going to push him off of his bluffs, while I'm getting crushed by better Q's.

The river is an A, which I think is a great card.  His "bluffs" now have impetus to call the river when I shove over his expected continuation bluff if he was bluffing with an A, etc. and he "caught me."  As expected, he fires out another $200 and I snap raise him the remaining $195 on top.  He thinks for a good long time and calls with 3 3 for the turned boat - I suppose he was afraid of AQ, AA, QQ?

A couple of comments on this hand from my perspective:
  • I'm not 100% sure I like the check on the flop, but if I do wind up cbetting instead, I think it folds most of his hands as per prior history.  If he opts to float me in disbelief, we get it all in on the turn anyway.  My point, though, is that I doubt he'll c/r on the flop and wait until the turn to put me to the test.  If he does c/r the flop, I'm taking the same line I took above where I flat him and call the turn / river.
  • I think I hate my river shove.  I fell into a static thought process where "this is my plan all along and it's working."  The reality is, who is calling the shove?  Very few hands call that.  I should have saved the $200 additional.

Here is the What Would You Do of the week:

Granted, it's a bit simpler, but here goes...

I raise to $30 in the CO with AcJc into 2 limpers (tight MP & loose UTG).  I get a call from the UTG; the tight MP folds.
Of note, I've played 1.5 hours with him during this session - I haven't seen him get completely out of line, but he does limp / call a HUGE variety of crazy hands.  He's shown down a bunch of random 2 pairs by the river, etc.  Preflop, he's been fairly passive, but he can be semi-aggro post flop.

We see a 2-way flop of Td9dTs - $70 in the pot.

It checks to me and I cbet $45.  He calls.

Turn is 2s and we check through.

River is Js and UTG leads $115 into the $160 pot.  WWYD?

Click to see results

There's so many busted straight draws / flush draws + QJ given his wide range that in particular that are betting this after I check the turn for pot control.  Clearly, he's repping a Tx hand, but I have to think he wants value from those hands, not folds.  Is it likely that he makes a big bet like that for value when I just checked through, signalling weakness?  He wants a call, therefore he bets smaller.  He wants a fold, therefore he bets bigger.  In fact, as the night progressed, I saw this exact trait in his play.

I called and was shown Kd8d for the busted flush draw / backdoor straight draw.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Stereotypes and poker - Part 5 of a 116 part series on "Better Know a Poker Player"*

Part of my multi-part series of "Better Know a Player"- the 116 part series on racism and stereotyping those around you*, I continue with 2 new stereotypes: the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern foreigner and the typical old guy.  Enjoy it, or ignore it as blatant racism.  You choose!

The Foreigner; Iranian / Syrian / Egyptian / Israeli / Mediterranean type
Wow.  Did I just do that?  Lump Israel in with Iran?  Holy smokes!  At least I separated them by putting Syria and Egypt in between.  But you guessed it; yup... they're the same type of hot-head, ego-driven player.  Gamble gamble gamble; it's in their cultures.  I liken these players to the Craisian Asian type, with the aggression factor amped WWWAAAAAYYYY up.  They'll bet draws the same as value hands the same as bluffs - bet bet bet.  They're usually cocky *SSHOLES at the table to boot - telling others either how bad they're playing, or how to play the hands that they have and how they misplayed them in the prior hand.
The verdict: Bread-and-butter.  Strap in because it'll be wild, but call 'em down light and they'll never understand how you did that.  Moreover, it won't discourage them because they have these big ass egos.  It'll only encourage them to bluff harder and with greater frequency.  Oh yeah - and when you do nut on them, just check and call, don't let 'em off easy by raising so that they can fold.  Let them bury themselves... trust me, they'll do it.  When you do read them to be on a draw, bet bet bet.  Don't fear that they'll fold 'cause you ain't gettin' them off as much as an inside straight draw!  Surprisingly, few of these types have little knowledge of the odds of the game - they're just in it to win it!

Typical Old Guy
Much like the old retired Navy curmudgeon, these "Don't F*ck with me" types look at the young whippersnappers as annoyances.  Featuring a tight, static range, these rocks love to call call call and only raise the nuts.  Note that there are a few exceptions to the rule - see here & here, but I chalk that up as variance to the norm... Even those aforementioned old guys would agree that they see other old guys and think value value value.  If the typical old guy is raising at your table, you can pretty darn well put him on a few specific hands (few is 3 or more - but I put them precisely on AA,KK,QQ.  The typical old man neglects to raise AK usually, and "hates to lose with JJ" so winds up limping perhaps as often as raising.)  
The verdict: You need to nut on these guys in order to make your money.  Call a raise from them - they'll raise smaller than usual, afraid to let their "prey" off the hook by raising too large.  Plus, they're totally static & stuck in their dated ways of thinking about how the game "used to be."  Let them continue to live in the past and be scratching their head and be steaming mad about how their limped KK lost to a random hand, while the reality is that the game has changed, the players are smarter and adjustments need to be made...

To be continued...

* Credit to Steven Colbert and the Colbert Report's 434 part series, "Better Know a District" series.  If you haven't seen any of the episodes, click over to his website and watch.  It's very clever - Eleanor Holmes Norton is my favorite interview.

My limited biased cranium has only a few obvious stereotypes in mind.  I don't fancy my self an honest-to-goodness racist, so I'm having trouble thinking up new targets.  I'm happy to take suggestions as to other stereotypical players!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Numberplay: A Poker Puzzle from the Logic Olympics

I spent some time on this puzzle, and wanted to share it with my readers.  It is a repost from the NY Times blog referenced here.  This was originally brought to my attention from the folks at

See if you can figure out the proper ordering.  The rules are as follows:

You have a deck of 28 cards: 8 through ace in four suits. Arrange 25 of these cards in the five-by-five grid so that the 12 named poker hands appear in the rows, columns and diagonals. The location of some cards and suits are given.

To make it easiest to solve, I copied the image (right click on the image and "Copy Image") to a powerpoint slide (open powerpoint and Paste).  Then I inserted a few text boxes with 8-A of each suit, moving the various permutations.  However, you should not need approach the solution with a trial & error methodology.

Click to view my hint if you're interested

On the diagonal from the bottom right is a Royal Flush.  We know that it cannot be diamonds (Ad, Qd are already exposed).  We know that it cannot be hearts (too many hearts are exposed, yielding more than the 8h,9h maximum to be used).  We know it cannot be spades for the same reason (3 spades are already exposed, and at maximum, 2 spades can only be exposed 8s,9s in order to form a Ts-As royal).  Therefore, the Royal Flush diagonal must all be clubs.

For the two Four of a kinds, we know that all 4 ranks are needed to form proper quads.  Both Four of a kinds intersect the Royal Flush requirement.  Moreover, the A, Q, & J are already used elsewhere.  Subtracting those possibilities from the quads requirement, we are left with Quad K's and Quad T's.

Furthermore, we know that the Straight requirement involves an 8.  Therefore, that straight must run 8-Q, limiting the intersecting quads row to < Q.  A good question to ask at this point may be "how can I be sure that the intersecting card between the vertical Four of a kind and the horizontal straight is not the kicker?  Well, we know most of the suits of the horizontal Four of a kind, and can see that there are 2 hearts listed already in the first and 4th columns.  Therefore, the kicker to the vertical Quads is one of the card that makes up the horizontal Quads.

That should be enough to get you started on the right path...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Stereotypes and poker - Part 4 of a 116 part series on "Better Know a Poker Player"*

Part of my multi-part series of "Better Know a Player"- the 116 part series on racism and stereotyping those around you*, I continue with 3 new stereotypes: the Indian guy, the European foreigner and the white trash guy.  Enjoy it, or ignore it as blatant racism.  You choose!

The Indian player (the guy from the Asian subcontinent, not the wah wah wah / feather type)
For whatever reason, I've been seeing an influx of Indian poker players burst onto the poker scene.  Perhaps I was blind to it before, but it seems that poker has grabbed hold of the Indian culture.  These players, much like your run-of-the-mill white guy, are hard to fit into a box.  They're modest gamblers, sometimes downright degenerate, but for the most part, intelligent, much like their young, Asian internet- kid counterparts from the same area of the world.  I can't really describe a pattern here, because there is such tremendous variability.
The verdict: Let your own eyes and their actions determine how to proceed.  Frequent raises could signify a string of good hands, or tendency to gamble.  Beware and take mental note.

The foreigner; European
Downright awful.  These guys will pay you off and will be happy about it.  They've seen poker on TV and sometimes can play it in their originating country.  The expression "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King," comes to mind when describing these players.  In other words, you have a continent filled with fish  and no King to take their money or school them.  Bad play begets bad play and they bring it to America with them.  Oh to be playing cash games throughout Europe...  Easy peasy.
It should be noted that there are a few Gus Hansen- type Euro foreigners out there.  They are total aggro with no valid story.  In effect, they're simply spew machines.  Variance will be high with these guys and they're a challenge, but stick to your guns and trust your reads - they're usually weak.
The verdict: Bread-and-butter for the guys described first.  Although "the blind squirrel will catch a nut" every once in awhile, value value value on these guys.  They have little idea of their own immediate hand strength, much less their relative hand strength.  In other words, they have no problem calling down JJ when there's an A and a K on the board and action dictates otherwise.  They're usually so unaware of their own immediate hand strength that they'll limp all hands except AA - so watch out for their weirdly played flopped sets or whatever when PF action had dictated otherwise.

The white trash guy
These guys are downright awful.  I don't know if they have busses from the mountains that ship these ATMs in, or what, but a table full of hicks has me a salivatin'!  Gonna get me some redneck!  Darvin Moon aside (just kidding; include Darvin in this here group, yah see), these guys are much like the Europeans described above, but much more abundant 'round these here parts!  They'll make such apparently stupid calls that will leave you wondering what they were trying to achieve by calling.  Perhaps its their inbred mental capacity, but I simply don't think they're well suited to play a game like this.  Fortunately, that doesn't stop them from congregatin' in gaggles.  They come to the table with a buddy, get drinks, turn into drunk guy and drop their hard-earned $2-600 in the drop of a hat.  I always wonder how they afford it, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth... amirite?
The verdict: Bread-and-butter.  Need I say more to rip apart the former lower / slower Confederates?

To be continued...

* Credit to Steven Colbert and the Colbert Report's 434 part series, "Better Know a District" series.  If you haven't seen any of the episodes, click over to his website and watch.  It's very clever - Eleanor Holmes Norton is my favorite interview.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Annoyed with myself - and my foray into 2/5

I was determined to play 2/5 tonight, so I put myself on the list without even checking the 1/2 seating.  I was able to grab a seat almost immediately - and bought $1k in chips to sit down (figuring I'd top off along the way).  I never even needed to fish any additional money out of my pocket, as I doubled through within 4 hands with a turned flush - I raised pre and got it in on the flop with AhQh vs. QcTh on a 8h9hJd board.  I figured my gutter, over or flush would be good and got it in on the flop.  Turned 7h sealed it when the river blanked.  Playing a few more hands, I switched tables and doubled through again (for $750) with a set.  This 2/5 thing is pretty cool.  I was able to steal a few straddle limps and worked my way up to a $2k profit, which I would leak back a few due to missed flush draws / straight flush draws / etc.

After awhile, I took a dinner break and decided I would go home in an hour.  I switched over to 1/2 because I just didn't want to deal with the stress of every hand, and [illogically] wanted to "book a win."

Here's the hand that has me so peeved - I'm so annoyed that I didin't stick the turn:

I'm in late position and feign raising to limp my KTo.  I'm pretty sure people saw me hesitate over my reds before sticking in 2 whites.  The BTN, as the BTN has been doing since I sat down, played position poker and raised to $12 among 5 limpers.  Calls back to me and I decide to get "tricky" by back raising $25 on top.  In retrospect, it should have been $30-35, but I'm cool with the results.  Calls all around - EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.CALLED.  We see a 56T 2 club board and I lead for $100.  Folds to the young-ish mega chip guy (had $1300 in front of him) who calls.  I tell him to just stick it in; he does not oblige and tells me he's not on a draw.  Turn is a 2 or something off suit.  He checks to me and I get gunshy.  I weakly check with $160 behind.  I have NO IDEA why I didn't just stick it in.  Then, to compound matters, the Jc hits the river and he auto ships.  Tells me he has the flush.  I call anyway in disbelief.  Kc9c FTW!

I'm annoyed with myself.  I lost concentration.  I lost my gut.  I think the end result is the same; he calls my ship on the turn, but I still would rather be shipping than calling.  I talked myself into him having a set on the turn, but yet I called anyway!  WTF??!?!?!

Enough said.  I should be happy with a nice win.  I'm still very upset with the donkey turn check.

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