Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy birthday to me

It's my birthday. Look what I got for it:

PokerStars Game #_: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2008/01/27 - 21:37:58 (ET)
Table '_' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: ($17.95 in chips)
Seat 2: ($26.80 in chips)
Seat 3: ($54.65 in chips)
Seat 4: hero ($25 in chips)
Seat 5: villain ($58.70 in chips)
Seat 6: ($22.40 in chips)
Seat 7: ($17.55 in chips)
Seat 8: ($10 in chips)
Seat 9: ($8.30 in chips)
Seat 6: posts small blind $0.10
Seat 7: posts big blind $0.25
hero: posts big blind $0.25

Yup. First hand. Just sat down. The button just passed, so I decided to post.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [9c 8c]
Seat 8: calls $0.25
Seat 9: folds
Seat 1: folds
Seat 2: calls $0.25
Seat 3: folds
hero: checks
villain: raises $1.25 to $1.50
Seat 6: folds
Seat 7: calls $1.25
Seat 8: calls $1.25
Seat 2: folds
hero: calls $1.25

A suited connector is in relatively good shape against the sort of hand that would raise, and there's 4.50 in the pot and it costs me a buck and a quarter to call, so the odds are right.

*** FLOP *** [2s Js Td]
Seat 7: checks
Seat 8: bets $0.50
hero: calls $0.50
villain: raises $3 to $3.50
Seat 7: folds
Seat 8: calls $3
hero: calls $3

With two others in the pot, whatever the bet is, I have odds to call with my outside straight draw.

*** TURN *** [2s Js Td] [Qh]
Seat 8: checks

There's my straight. There's a flush draw, though, so time to pull the trigger.

hero: bets $20 and is all-in
villain: raises $33.70 to $53.70 and is all-in
Seat 8: folds
*** RIVER *** [2s Js Td Qh] [6d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hero: shows [9c 8c] (a straight, Eight to Queen)
villain: shows [Ac Kc] (a straight, Ten to Ace)


villain collected $54.05 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $56.85 | Rake $2.80
Board [2s Js Td Qh 6d]
Seat 1: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: folded before Flop
Seat 3: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: hero showed [9c 8c] and lost with a straight, Eight to Queen
Seat 5: villain (button) showed [Ac Kc] and won ($54.05) with a straight, Ten to Ace
Seat 6: (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 7: (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 8: folded on the Turn
Seat 9: folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The bluff that roared

PokerStars Game #_: Tournament #_, $12+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/01/24 - 21:52:51 (ET)
Table '_ 1' 6-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: (1850 in chips)
Seat 2: hero (1140 in chips)
Seat 3: (1500 in chips)
Seat 4: (1360 in chips)
Seat 5: (1760 in chips)
Seat 6: (1390 in chips)
Seat 3: posts small blind 10
Seat 4: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [5d As]
Seat 5: calls 20
Seat 6: calls 20
Seat 1: calls 20
hero: calls 20
Seat 3: calls 10
Seat 4: checks

Family pot. We have almost no chance at this.

*** FLOP *** [8s 6h 4c]
Seat 3: checks
Seat 4: bets 20
Seat 5: calls 20
Seat 6: calls 20
Seat 1: folds

Minimum bets are suspicious to me. They're weak as hell. Besides, now there's 180 chips in the pot and it costs me 20 to call. That's more or less correct odds to try and catch my inside straight draw.

hero: calls 20
Seat 3: folds
*** TURN *** [8s 6h 4c] [3d]
Seat 4: bets 20
Seat 5: calls 20
Seat 6: calls 20

Oh, come on. There's 260 chips in the pot now and nobody's going to make a try for it? Screw that! Now there's a whole bunch of potential hands that made a straight. Let's pretend we have one.

hero: raises 130 to 150
Seat 4: calls 130

just call?! That's suspicious, in retrospect, but at the time I put him on a straight draw still.

Seat 5: folds
Seat 6: folds
*** RIVER *** [8s 6h 4c 3d] [Kh]
Seat 4: checks

Well, my ace-high is for sure a loser. Let's try and make something that looks like a value bet.

hero: bets 200
Seat 4: calls 200


*** SHOW DOWN ***
hero: shows [5d As] (high card Ace)
Seat 4: mucks hand

WHAT?! He called my river bet with a hand that lost to ACE HIGH?!

That may be the stupidest thing I've seen all week.

hero collected 940 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 940 | Rake 0
Board [8s 6h 4c 3d Kh]
Seat 1: folded on the Flop
Seat 2: hero (button) showed [5d As] and won (940) with high card Ace
Seat 3: (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: (big blind) mucked [7c 9h]

He called my river bet with a brooklyn straight. A word to the wise: If you miss your flush or straight draw, you probably have the worst hand.

Meanwhile, I bet seats 5 and 6 were... a bit upset. :)

Seat 5: folded on the Turn
Seat 6: folded on the Turn

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

All rise for the royalty

PokerStars Game #_: Tournament #_, $12+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/01/23 - 22:19:27 (ET)
Table '_ 1' 6-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: (2095 in chips)
Seat 4: hero (3310 in chips)
Seat 5: (1965 in chips)
Seat 6: (1630 in chips)
hero: posts small blind 15
Seat 5: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Qc 4c]
Seat 6: folds
Seat 1: calls 30
hero: calls 15
Seat 5: checks
*** FLOP *** [Jc 2c Kc]
hero: checks

Now, trapping here can be considered dangerous. You're potentially letting the singleton ace get a free card.

Seat 5: checks
Seat 1: checks
*** TURN *** [Jc 2c Kc] [Tc]

Damn! Sure enough. Now I have to worry about that ace, so I have to be prepared to fold the 2nd-to-nut flush if I get serious action.

hero: checks
Seat 5: checks
Seat 1: checks
*** RIVER *** [Jc 2c Kc Tc] [Ac]


The problem now is getting value. There's only 90 chips in the pot because I tried to trap on the flop and got scared on the turn.

hero: bets 50
Seat 5: calls 50
Seat 1: calls 50
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hero: shows [Qc 4c] (a Royal Flush)
Seat 5: mucks hand
Seat 1: mucks hand
hero collected 240 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 240 | Rake 0
Board [Jc 2c Kc Tc Ac]
Seat 1: (button) mucked [3c 9d]
Seat 4: hero (small blind) showed [Qc 4c] and won (240) with a Royal Flush
Seat 5: (big blind) mucked [6c 5h]
Seat 6: folded before Flop (didn't bet)

So that's how tonight has gone. Since it wasn't a cash game, I didn't get any sort of bonus for my Royal. And I netted a grand total of 160 chips on the deal. I wound up getting 2nd place - my only cash for the whole night - when I flopped top 2 and the other guy flopped a set. Every other time I got my money in good all night long, I got screwed. 2008 has been the suck so far, no doubt.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time machine and AirDisk

How was this not broadcast over the entire Mac-loving portion of the tubes?!

If you want to use Time machine over AirDisk (a USB hard disk connected to an Airport Extreme), type this into a terminal window on your mac:

defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

Mischief managed!

thanks to this guy. Credit where it's due, and all that.

San Mateo county home poker tournament busted up by police

Clearly having solved all other higher priority issues on their to-do list, sheriff's deputies in San Mateo county raided a home game and arrested two people and took a 13 year old away from his parents. According to the complaints, the tournament proceeds were being skimmed by the organizer (he denies this), and a "refreshment fee" was charged the participants, which amounts to an illegal rake for a home game.

Congratulations, super cops, you've clearly made the world a better place by not allowing our neighbors to play poker at home for low stakes.

There is, however, a lesson to be learned. If you want to advertise a home game outside of a circle of personal friends, take some time to familiarize yourself with the law. If you don't want to be stuck with the bill for refreshments, make a point of describing the event as BYOB. Never ever rake the pot in any way, don't open the game to minors, and do whatever you have to do to make sure that the game is completely honest (if someone catches someone cheating, the cheater can ruin your life if they claim you were in cahoots with them).

The cops will have a much, much harder time justifying wasting the courts' and DAs' time with your home game if there are no grey areas they can use to hassle you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macworld '08 Keynote - more questions than answers

So, as usual, the keynote was fun to watch, even if you have to watch it tape delayed. His Steveness is, as ever, the eternal showman.

My wife and I have iPhones, and we love them. It's nice to see the new features, which indeed were downloadable before the sun set on the day they were announced. Left un-announced, however, were a few things I'd still like to see support for:

1. GPS over bluetooth connectivity, for up-to-the-second positioning and turn-by-turn navigation. No, I don't want or need GPS built-in to the phone. The current functionality demonstrates sufficiently that it is not really necessary. Perhaps we'll see this in a TBD 3rd party native app when the SDK arrives.

2. Since day 1 I have been unable to make the phone's wifi work with internet connection sharing on a mac. This is a pretty glaring one, Steve. I'm not the only one either. The mac support forums light up with this one pretty frequently.

3. Dinging the iPod touch folks $20 for buying them sooner rather than later seems like deja-vu for us who bought the iPhone on the first day. At least the magnitude of the sting is less.

4. No A2DC profile for the iPod touch or iPhone? We still have to use wires and adapters? Humph.

I have a little bit more ire for the announcement of the Time Capsule. This is nothing more than the existing Airport Extreme with a hard-disk built into it. Steve billed this as a fix for those who found that at the last minute the ability to use Time Machine on a laptop with a USB disk shared from the airport was removed.

So help me figure this out, people. Somehow it's the 480 Mb/s USB interface that's the problem that's going to make it impossible to fix this without buying a new box with the drive built-in instead?

Now, in Steve's defense, he didn't say that this functionality wasn't going to be addressed for existing airport owners, and the new price points are competitive with what the prices of an old gigabit airport, external USB enclosure and drive would be.

Since I work at Netflix, I won't blog about the movie rental or Apple TV stuff. Sorry.

Lastly, though, was something I can't really complain about. The MacBook Air looks like a really fantastic machine. I know exactly to whom I'm going to recommend it. My mom! The 4 or 5 of you reading this who know me well are probably stunned by that, expecting me to name my wife or even myself. Nope. The time is right for mom's old, aging iBook to go. She's needed the optical drive on about 10 occasions, and she could use Dad's in a pinch. But for her, small and light trumps it all. I really think she'll love it. She'll particularly love jumping from a 1.mumble GHz G4 with 640M of RAM to a 1.6 GHz core 2 duo with 2 GB of RAM.

And no, it's not a surprise - I won't be buying it. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Donkeys upset me

PokerStars Game #_: Tournament #_, $6.00+$0.60 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/01/13 - 17:38:57 (ET)
Table '_' 6-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: (255 in chips)
Seat 2: villain (2865 in chips)
Seat 3: hero (1655 in chips)
Seat 4: (720 in chips)
Seat 5: (1900 in chips)
Seat 6: (1605 in chips)
villain: posts small blind 15
hero: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Ad 9s]
Seat 4: folds
Seat 5: folds
Seat 6: calls 30
Seat 1: folds
villain: calls 15
hero: checks
*** FLOP *** [5d 8d 9d]
villain: bets 30

This guy is the worst player I can remember seeing. He has repeatedly made terrible, terrible calls, and has made these minimum bets whether he hit or not. With top pair and the nut flush draw, it's time to teach this guy a lesson.

hero: raises 1595 to 1625 and is all-in
Seat 6: folds
villain: calls 1595

At this point, we turn 'em up, and he had T7o with no diamonds - an outside straight draw with a flush showing.


*** TURN *** [5d 8d 9d] [Tc]

Oh, of fucking course!

*** RIVER *** [5d 8d 9d Tc] [Qs]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
villain: shows [7c Th] (a pair of Tens)
hero: shows [Ad 9s] (a pair of Nines)
villain collected 3340 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3340 | Rake 0
Board [5d 8d 9d Tc Qs]
Seat 1: (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: villain (small blind) showed [7c Th] and won (3340) with a pair of Tens
Seat 3: hero (big blind) showed [Ad 9s] and lost with a pair of Nines
Seat 4: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: folded on the Flop

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I shot the sheriff

PokerStars Game #_: Tournament #_, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/01/11 - 17:32:47 (ET)
Table '_' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: (3180 in chips)
Seat 2: villain (1550 in chips)
Seat 3: hero (1760 in chips)
Seat 4: (1470 in chips)
Seat 6: (1430 in chips)
Seat 7: (1280 in chips)
Seat 8: (1380 in chips)
Seat 9: (1450 in chips)
BSUfan41: posts small blind 10
rocton: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Kd 9s]

I've decided to bluff here, I've got aces, and I'm going to the wall with it.

hero: raises 40 to 60
Seat 4: folds
Seat 6: calls 60
Seat 7: folds
Seat 8: folds
Seat 9: folds
Seat 1: folds
villain: calls 40
*** FLOP *** [8d 5s 7h]
villain: bets 80

If I had aces, I'd be afraid of that flop. Any one with a would have a straight draw, and the 45 or 9T hands have an outside draw. So I can't give a free card.

At this point I actually said in the chat window, "No draws allowed!"

hero: raises 120 to 200
Seat 6: folds
villain: calls 120
*** TURN *** [8d 5s 7h] [7d]
villain: checks
hero: bets 600
villain: calls 600
*** RIVER *** [8d 5s 7h 7d] [9h]
villain: bets 140
hero: raises 580 to 720
villain: calls 550 and is all-in
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hero: shows [Kd 9s] (two pair, Nines and Sevens)
villain: shows [8c Tc] (two pair, Eights and Sevens)

Now, if you were in his shoes, would you honestly think your 2nd pair was good at this point? I've had a pretty good image at this point, so I think the full bluff would have been unexpected.

hero collected 3170 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3170 | Rake 0
Board [8d 5s 7h 7d 9h]
Seat 1: (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: villain (big blind) showed [8c Tc] and lost with two pair, Eights and Sevens
Seat 3: hero showed [Kd 9s] and won (3170) with two pair, Nines and Sevens
Seat 4: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: folded on the Flop
Seat 7: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)


Silicon valley has outgrown its agricultural past. The state finally saw the reality of the situation when they decided to close the Bay Area Research and Extension Center - a small plot of land run as a research and educational farm. The question now is what to do with the land. The answer is obvious. The bay area is one of the most expensive places to buy a home in the country. Despite the overblown talk about a housing crisis in this country, it's clear to me that the best use of that land would be the use proposed by measures A and B - part affordable senior housing and part park.

Those opposed to this plan want to keep this land as some sort of "urban farm" experiment. In actual fact, their motives are clearly less pure. Look for the "NO on A & B" signs in Santa Clara - they're concentrated in the southeast corner of the city near the site. This is NIMBY, pure and simple.

So, if you live in the city of Santa Clara, I urge you to vote "Yes" on measures A and B. We have more need of affordable housing than we have of NIMBY agri-fanatics.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Table sheriff

Full Tilt Poker Game #_: $10 + $1 Madness (_), Table 1 - 15/30 - No Limit Hold'em - 12:30:44 ET - 2008/01/05
Seat 1: villain (675)
Seat 2: (1,455)
Seat 3: (1,455)
Seat 4: (2,325)
Seat 5: hero (1,590)
Seat 6: (1,500)
Seat 4 posts the small blind of 15
hero posts the big blind of 30
The button is in seat #3

So first, a bit of setup. This is the fourth hand in the tournament and I've just raised the last 3 and picked them up before the flop.

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to hero [Qs Ac]
Seat 6 folds
villain calls 30
Seat 2 folds
Seat 3 calls 30
Seat 4 folds
hero raises to 135
villain raises to 240

There's a new sheriff in town. Too bad he's a short stack.

Seat 3 folds
hero raises to 1,590, and is all in
villain calls 435, and is all in
hero shows [Qs Ac]
villain shows [6c Th]

The downside of wearing a tin star is that it gives the other fellow a nice mark to shoot at.

Let's pretend he thought I was stealing. Was it worth a third of his stack (with a crap hand) to write me a speeding ticket?

I've spoken before about pot commitment and tournaments. Yes, he only had to cal 435 to win 1395, but it was his last 435 and he had ten high! Even if I was stealing, wouldn't I have done it with, oh, say, KJo perhaps? Maybe even QTo? either of those has him crushed pre-flop. Even a suited connector is in pretty good shape against a 3-gap hand.

Uncalled bet of 915 returned to hero
*** FLOP *** [As 5c 9s]
*** TURN *** [As 5c 9s] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [As 5c 9s 8d] [Kd]
hero shows a pair of Aces
villain shows Ace King high
hero wins the pot (1,395) with a pair of Aces
villain stands up
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,395 | Rake 0
Board: [As 5c 9s 8d Kd]
Seat 1: villain showed [6c Th] and lost with Ace King high
Seat 2: didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: (button) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: hero (big blind) showed [Qs Ac] and won (1,395) with a pair of Aces
Seat 6: didn't bet (folded)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gambling propositions

We Californians have an election coming up. As has been the case several times over the last few years, there are propositions on the ballot to once again tinker with the indian gaming setup we have going on. As is always the case, it pits two powerful sets of special interests against each other: the indian tribes on one side and nevada gambling interests, card rooms and horse tracks on the other.

And, as always, poker players find we have no dog in the hunt. All of the fuss is about slot machines and other "house games." Poker is a completely different animal from those - with Poker, the vying is between all of the players seated at the table and the house has no interest in the outcome (because they rake the pot by the same amount regardless of who wins it). In virtually all other casino gaming, the player plays not against the other players present but against the house, and the house always has an odds advantage which insures the house will be profitable over the long term. Even bookmakers don't have any interest in the outcome of the events upon which they are making book, because of the "vig" - the difference in odds between the two sides of the proposition. If you want to be a profitable book player, you need to be better than everybody else at picking the outcomes, and so much better than you can overcome not only the odds, but the vig as well. At least with poker the rake is typically so small that it's easy for reasonably good players to overcome it. Besides, with poker you have a much larger percentage of the available information at your disposal when making a decision. But this isn't intended to be a diatribe espousing the virtues of Poker over other forms of wagering.

So where do I stand? I am voting my continued disappointment with the state of the restrictions on Internet poker players we currently enjoy in the U.S. I am voting "no" on all gambling-related propositions other than those that are aimed at restoring the rights of players to easily move their money back and forth between the financial institutions of their choosing and sites that provide honest and fair Internet poker.

I urge my fourteen readers to do likewise.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fixing vonage voicemail to work with the iPhone

We have vonage. We're pretty happy with it. One thing that's particularly nice is that they will e-mail you voicemails as attachments (I wish they would not then also store them in a voicemail box that has to be hosed out periodically, but that's another issue). The one downside is that these voicemails are attached as µLAW WAV files, which aren't compatible with the iPhone.

Not to worry: if you run your own mail server, a little bit of perl can re-encode them as MP3s, which the iPhone is perfectly happy playing. So now vonage voicemail comes in as e-mails on the iPhone, with MP3 attachments that can be listened to. Huzzah!

To use this, set up an alias in sendmail to pipe the e-mail through this perl file, adding the destination e-mail addresses as arguments. For example:

vm-fixit: "|"

Then, set the vonage e-mail address in the voicemail set-up to vm-fixit @ your domain. With the example above, it will change the audio to an MP3 and mail it to and

#! /usr/bin/perl

use Email::MIME;
use Email::MIME::Modifier;
use File::Temp qw/ tempfile tempdir tmpnam /;

my $in_msg;

{ local $/=undef;
$in_msg = <STDIN>;

my $message = Email::MIME->new($in_msg);

$message->walk_parts(sub {
my $part = shift;
return if ($part->content_type !~ m[audio/wav]);

($fhw, $filenamewav) = tempfile( SUFFIX => ".wav" );
print $fhw $part->body;
close $fhw;

(undef, $filenamemp3) = tempfile(SUFFIX => ".mp3");

system "/usr/local/bin/sox $filenamewav -t wav -w -s -r 8000 - | /usr/local/bin/lame -m m -b 32 - $filenamemp3";

my $mp3audio;
{ local $/=undef;
open FHM, $filenamemp3;
$mp3audio = <FHM>;
close FHM;




open SENDIT, "|/usr/sbin/sendmail " . join(" ", @ARGV);
print SENDIT $message->header_obj->as_string;
print SENDIT $message->crlf;
print SENDIT $message->body_raw;
close SENDIT;