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Archive for February 2008

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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The Phil Ivey Effect
"The greatest player of his generation (the under 30 somethings)-- or perhaps of any generation." Ed Reif on Phil Ivey

Unlike everyone else on Planet Poker, Phil Ivey requires no nickname. He has an unrivalled reputation as the most feared player around.

Here is the final Hand #100 at the LA Poker Classic:


Quinn Do has the button, he limps for 160,000, Ivey raises to 560,000, and Quinn calls. The flop comes A86, Ivey bets 700,000, and Quinn thinks for about 30 seconds before he calls, leaving himself just 1.02 million behind. There is already 2.92 million in the pot.
The turn card pairs the board with the A, and Ivey moves all in. Quinn goes into the tank, shuffling his chips as he ponders the situation.


After four minutes, Quinn quietly says, "I call."
Ivey shows A8 for a full house, aces full of eights, and Quinn dejectedly shows 98 for two pair, aces and eights. No card can help Quinn here; he is drawing dead. (The meaningless river card is the 4.)


Quinn Do is eliminated in second place, earning $909,400.
History is made as Phil Ivey wins the 2008 WPT L.A. Poker Classic, his first WPT title after reaching a record eight final tables. Ivey earns $1,596,100 and a huge trophy from the Commerce.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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A Guy named Phil will win the LAPC Today! HELL-MOOTH Vs Ivey


The dogs of kitsch are at it again--this time at the LA Poker Classic--silly movie stars in disguise, with their sunglasses and Moneymaker Freshman 15 Chubbyness--Karaoke Poker--the bottom of the barrel, cheap imitations of the two original Phil's, Helmuth and Ivey, who will be going to the Final table for a WPT title. The cream does rise to the top.

Anyone with a few drinks in them can belt out Sinatra's My Way---AK Preflop all-in insta shove, against any big pair--a coin flip at best. Even Helmuth did against Ivey's AA, to give up the chip lead.

Here are the official chip counts for today's historic World Poker Tour final table, scheduled to start at 5:00 pm PT:
Seat 1. Quinn Do - 1,450,000Seat 2. Nam Le - 1,180,000Seat 3. Phil Hellmuth - 2,380,000Seat 4. Phil Ivey - 4,100,000Seat 5. Charles Moore - 1,510,000Seat 6. Scott Montgomery - 2,680,000


Phil-Ubiquitous-Helmuth-The Next Paris Hilton-He's Everywhere!

It brings me back to 2006. Bob Reif, my brother, was playing in a celebrity poker event at Sundance. Bob finished 9th! He gets props for putting Phil on tilt!

Let me set the stage:I was at a $1/$2? NLH game at The Hustler casino. My cell phone rings. I take the call. It's Bob, from Park City, Utah. He says, "I want you to say Hi to somebody".

Helmuth says to me. "Your brother just sucked out on me. I had trip Kings against his pocket 8's and he rivered a full house".

I said, "He pulled a GUS...like Gus Hansen,"

Phil said, "Yea but his table talk is more like Mike The Mouth!"


Phil was cool about his "bad beat". He shoved with the best hand, and got his money in good.

In a typical Phil ephiphany, he reminded me , "If it wasn't for luck, I'd be the best player on the planet".

Er which planet is that Phil, Uranus---maybe a name change would be in order.

By the way, the prize at Sundance was a $700,000 condo, to be built at the W Vegas Hotel in late 2008. Phil won it all! tasking out Annie Duke, Chris Masterson, Shannon Elizabeth, Gina Gershon, W Las Vegas Hotel, Casino and Residences founder Reagan Silber.

Phil may not be in Who's who, but he can tell you what's what---about Poker!

Phil is the hardest working man in poker--the James Brown and Paris Hilton- of Poker- his fantasy camp called Camp Hellmuth, a London-based reality show, and the U.S.-based Best Damn Poker show on FSN; the "Phil Hellmuth" clothing line to be sold in Wal-Mart, a kid's clothing line not surprisingly called "Poker Brat"; a stake in CardPlayer magazine. Phil's got his UB poker blog, and finally, a movie about his life called "The Madison Kid" that may or may not star Kid Vader himself, Hayden Christiansen is in pre- production.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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The Game of Poker Is A Game For Liars
Jessep(Jack Nicholson) You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to them
Jessep: You want answers?

Kaffee: I want the truth!

Jessep: You can't handle the truth. We use words like All-In, Stone Cold Nuts, Semi-Bluff...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very economic freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a copy of Hotel Anyware’s The Sex of Poker or read a post from Ed Reif's blog. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Does money play a role in Poker? This seems so obvious, why even ask the question? But, for some, the thrill is in the doing — not in the having. All the energy drinks in the world can't produce the rush of catching a one outter on the river. Just ask Corey Zeidman.

Do we really have only one goal in mind: to kick ass. You have to also be asking yourself this one question all the time --‘What is the right thing to do next in my game?"

An Aggressive game is a game of strategy and deception. A passive game is one where money flows from bad to good players. A loose game is a game of money and odds; a tight one is a battle for the antes...and then there are just crazy delicious games.....

It's A Beautiful Day For A Night of Poker

Crazy Delicious NLH poker is not a "A-ha" experience, it is more of a "holy-shit" experience. Most playahs are experience rich and technique poor. Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. Someday, this post will start to read like one long typographical error, and you come away thinking, “From now on, I'll connect the dots my own way”.


License To Thrill-Pure GENEius

Early windfall in your poker career— can be pathological—The neurological high---doing something dangerous and still survive, is thrill seeking; but risk taking is different, the part that craves the excitement—D4DR is the thrill seeking gene. A lot of risk tolerance is genetic. and it's very hard to unlearn an inate lesson.
Nothing fails like success, after all, how many back-to-back champions do we really know of? You simply can’t rely on early successes in gambling; it instills false confidence. If your game is not broken, break it...before someone else does.

The pain and pleasure of "Maybe" and "Getting It Over With"-WILDING

Going for broke and the threat of it is so much a part of No-Limit Holdem. Going "ALL-In" is more poetic than crunching number and calculating pot odds.


Witness Ashley Revell, the poster boy for thrill gambling. I like to call Ashley's style WILDING. In 2004, he sold all of his possessions including his clothes and placed a double or nothing bet of $135,300—all of his money—on one spin of the roulette wheel. Choosing red, he came away with $270,600. After seeing this video, you might regard "Double or Nothing" risk strategy as a benign thing. The fear of losing money,however, often trumps the desire to make money in poker. Minimizing risks rather than maximizing returns is actually a style of play to fail in poker. You can't play a safe-tight-is-right game, and wait for the deck to hit you. Too much respect for money makes you a bad NLH player. Yet so does wilding.


It’s desire to not lose money that is at the heart of risk behavior. Poker players are actually loss averse.



Make The Right Mistakes

Doing things right the first time, however is an obsenity. We learn very little from the things we do right. We learn a lot from the things they do wrong. Making mistakes will help you refine your ability to more effectively calculate risks.



If you are a good player and you get it in good, bad players are going to draw out on you more than your hands are going to hold up because they are more often than not putting their money in with the worst of it.. Shuffle up and deal with it.

Extraverts are more susceptible to taking excessive risk ("greed" and overconfidence) Neurotics are more likely to irrationally avoid risk (sensitive to "fear")

Egonomics and neuroeconomics

Managing our own ability—separate emotions from the experience— Emotional leverage—it’s informative and natural, but it can’t grab the wheel and drive the bus---Our healthy ego should remain stable and strong n the face of setbacks and failures---That is why we hold onto losers too long, and cut our winners short. It’s purely emotional decision making, Great poker players lay down great hands—you have to learn how to love lose. The winning is the easy part, any one can do that. Getting out of a position, “being stuck” with QQ , when you just know this guy is playing Ace Rag, as opposing to holding them too long is cognitive reframing.

Why do we play this way? because we can’t admit failure-egonomics- Learning to take the loss early and apply it to another hand. That frame of reference is essential---introjections, self statements we say---conversations we say—If I lose I am a loser. Separate yourself from the lose. You are not your mistakes. You are never now how you have been. Allow yourself to recognize that you’re going to have these scary moments, and lots of chip swings in cash games.


A smart poker player, however, doesn’t have to be world class—just be better than the people he is playing against. It's his YOUniverse, and his opponets just live in it. Unfortunately, this is where the analogy ends. In the real world, there are no special tables for beginners, hobbyists, and suckers. There is just one table, and, every time you sit down at it, you will be competing against the best players in the world, the best trained, most well-informed out there.

If you sit down at a poker table at which you are better than six of the nine players, do you think the best two players, the ones who are better than all nine of you, are happy or sad that you showed up? Happy. Your playing just means more money for them to win.


Risk perception, appetite-goals and personality . We are really lose averse than risk averse— we take greater risks if we are down, losing money than if they were up—knee jerk double down stuff.. So how you frame your day at the table, where you mentally classify yourself as having either won in the W column or L, lost column is how you will approach risk.

Personal risk perception, and risk tolerance. When it comes to risk tolerance---how much emotional and psychological pain can you take. We like to function much below our risk tolerance. The risk of any NLHat an game on "any given sunday" is stable or assessable. Perception of the risk can fluctuate according to your whim, bias, and environment, and environment does create mood! Letting your emotions cloud your jedgement--euphoria or despair is the in to your sane game.

Poker rewards aggression . Poker also rewards infinite patience. Don't fret when you lose money, have patience. Find that comfortable balance between aggression and patience, between risk and security.

Our level of greed and the need for speed (rush,bluffing off/maniac with chips) is increased when one or more of the following conditions is met:

Your buddies just won a ton of cash, owning the table.

Comparison with others who are successful "Your dopamine system plays off my dopamine system,")
Learning of a large potential payoff.

Learning of a high probability ("almost certain") payoff from a school of fish

Expecting a quick payoff.

Wanting badly to make money.

Our level of fear (hemorrhaging/bleeding chips)is increased when one or more of the following conditions is met:

A losing streak.

Being around low vibrational people, stories and situations.

The possibility of a dramatic negative event in RL (Real Life)(E.g., bankruptcy, accounting scandal,job, marriage break up, death.

Low probability threats are overweighted if they are dramatic or potentially catastrophic.

Expecting to lose soon.

Having a prior negative experience with similar players or casinos.


A Recent bad beat or suckout by a donkey.
Hotel @nyware- The dawning age of ubiquitous poker playing.


- - -- by Ed Reif»
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...so easy even a caveman can do it.

The biology of fear for Homo Economicus is about running away from saber tooth tigers, and trying to live past your twentieth birthday. That impulse to avoid lose is so strong.There is a little piece of neanderthal in everyone's game that responds primitively to certain poker situations.

Caveman Fred has been hard-wired by evolution to have a malignant optimism and bullish outlook on things. Fred suffers from an incorrect interpretation of statistics (Gamblers Fallacy). Fred also has an irrational tendency to be less willing to gamble with profits than with losses (lose-averse) and even experiences more pain with a lose than pleasure from a gain (Prospect Theory); choosing a small reward that arrives soon as opposed to a larger reward that arrives later (risk-averse). The future is uncertain.Why wait?

Under the influence of powerful Flintstone emotions and drives, players often end up doing the opposite of what they think is best for themselves, even at the moment of acting. No matter how much we evolve as players, we're still capable of going "Yabadabadoo"!

Put pressure on our Fred —and he responds -- with a rush of adrenaline and the urge to fight or flee. Those survival impulses are hardwired into the oldest layers of all of our brains. Emotions like these can damage our game not to mention devastate our bankroll . When we give in to our old-brain reflexes, we'll probably regret it.

When we feel under attack, we experience a visceral response that may lead us down the primitive path. If we feel shamed, we may withdraw, like the caveman taking flight.(fold) If we feel angry, we might lash out and fight.(Call/Go over the top all-in with marginal holdings).

All behavioral biases have some evolutionary reasons for existing and it's very tough to overcome those deep-rooted impulses! So here’s the Neural Poker Challange--- we have two systems for reacting to risk–a primitive intuitive system and a more advanced analytic system–and they’re operating in parallel. And it’s hard for the neocortex to contradict the amygdala.


Bamm! Bamm! Beat- you -over -the- head- with -a -club- poker is motivated by "red" emotions -- anger, fear, greed – and by "green" ones --confidence and enthusiasm. Its not a question of if, but when, will our greens and reds light up our game.

The empathy gap is the difference between how we behave in "hot'' states---those of anxiety, courage, fear; and ''cold'' states of even-keeled calm. Our empathy gap impacts our thoughts and behaviors to the point where we cannot seem to predict how we will behave in a hot state when we are in a cold state.

Putting the Odds back into God

You're feeling on edge, but is the fear nothing to fear but devolutionary fear itself? Have you felt this way before? How intense is the feeling? Understanding the f.e.a.r., the false information appearing as real. It is key to getting control. After all, nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists, Herein lies the peace of God

Identify the cause of the feeling. What is the source of it? Trace the feeling back to its source. Explore a way out by feeling the fear and doing anyway---that's where your game expands

I dared to do something different and my poker game grew larger. For me, it was Monday's Fulltilt- Stu Unger- three -barrel- stone -cold bluff I pulled off. It was energizing, a peak experiences much like I had as a track athlete at Comsewogue High School.

I lose money frequently, but in small amounts, and make money rarely, but in large amounts. I am a crisis hunter. You can't avoid crisis in NLH, you must be in a perpetual one that you create. Get lucky or bluff was the selective aggression I used, and poker rewards not only infinite patience, but selective aggression.

Give Yourself A Poker Lobotomy

It's not so much about "counting your outs" and "folding AK in a raise, re-raised pot"-- that cause-effect relationship stuff. It's more about the anti-neuro-poker game--situations. A collection of situations you haven't played yet; of the things you don't know. there is a massive collection of unknowledge,the anti-hands that contain all the hands that may still change your poker life.

The Sex Of Poker logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know. I considered that many of my Jackpots and big hands were caused and accelerated by their being unexpected.---of me being an anti-gambler. The upshot is that:knowledge leads to action but lack of knowledge can also lead to action.

The “Open Source” world that everybody is smarter than anybody, this is the NEW Herd mentality. WSOP Survivorship Bias-We see the winners who cash and learn from them, while forgetting the huge unseen herd of railbirds -losers. who were making all the right mistakes.

A poker game is not static. It's a dynamic, living organism that changes from moment to moment. You have to respond to those changes. You have to be the change you want to see . . In the RW(Real World) change is seen as some “thing” built to last. Would you rather have a TEMPORARY change to your game that lasts as long as it is useful, or rather a LASTING change that continues to last far beyond any limits of usefulness.

Players underestimate, on average, the probability and impact of improbable events. Going completely broke is consistently unexpected, but highly likelyin cash games. Buying into a poker game , unlike buying a car, is a gamble that the future will represent an improved version of the past. And who knows whether that will be true?

Nevertheless, when it comes to NLH, what you don’t know is far more relevant than what you do know. Consider that many huge hands can be caused and sped up by their being unexpected, that case eight on the river for a suck out, a four card flush free roll.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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God made the world, but it's held together with duct tape.

Honolulu Duct Tape Sighting!

I was stuck in afternoon traffic at Aloha Towers, when the engine cut out on my SAAB 900.

I pulled over, as the Japanese tourists enjoying their surf and sun "brain dump" looked on in awe as Adolfus,The Beast started smoking. Would there be life after luau for these temporary colonists, Team Abunai! That's what they were screaming "Danger" in Nihongo.
I opened the hood. The battery was on fire, and the cables were melting! This was not on the packaged tour---But Inspector Travelers were about to get an even bigger show when I pulled out the ultimate power tool and made Aloha graduates of them all...Let me splane...

The Honolulu Fire and Police came on the scene instantly, complete with 4-year varsity letters, Portuguese last names and healed acne scars. Spot on Guys! I was expecting Steve and Danno but due to the current Writer's Guild strike, couldn't make the trip.

It was a Code Marshmallow. The fire burnt itself out. That didn't stop the tow truck from hooking me up. I waved him off. Itold him I would do it like John Cruz sings, " Island Style".... Da Kine, Hawaiian slang for "whotsis", "thingummebob" or "watchamacallit.
Da Kine, The Hamburger Helper for Mainland haole (pronounced howlie) Scum
Auto meat grinder chop shops don't like Da Kine solutions, unless of course they are billing you for them.---I did not, however, give in to the urge of paying too much for things that comes with a side of Polynesian paradise.
Er, let me do the math, tow charges, plus mileage to Haleiwa's North Shore, parking fees, throw in Uncle and Auntie doing the repair. Sure I could drink, fight, laugh and love with the best, even get a tribal tattoo, but pay "Ohana" family prices, never.
I found it easier to speak and do the math in Hawaiian..because I only know like four words. One of them is Da Kine! the all purpose DIY solution.

Props to HPD who said the land yacht had to be towed, unsafe at any speed. I had other plans---A can of whoop asss---the essential tool for everything that life throws at you, duct tape...After all, this is no ordinary moter vehicle---It's a SAAB.

There are now 1000 and 2 things to do with er, is it duct or duck, tape!Oh you know, the 100-MPH adhesive.






Move over Victoria's Secret instant "boob jobs", post lasik eye protection, here comes Emergency Budget SAAB Engine Fire Repair Kit! Apparently, I am not the first SNAG, Sensitive New Age Guy to get Stuck In Traffic.

Here's to you Sweden, maker of the safest cars on the planet, and, The Ministry of Duct Tape and High Voltage, the Duct Tape Evangalists, and the crew at Henkel Consumer Adhesives and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. (3M) who make the stuff for Wallet-bearing Americans like we who lack the patience, skill and dough to fix stuff right.

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