MSPT and Chris ‘Fox’ Wallace Episode

What did you think of our report on the Mid-States Poker Tour and Firekeepers Casino? Did you play in the inaugural Michigan MSPT event? How did you do? We want to know!

Also, do you agree or disagree with the line that Fox took on his Hand of the Week? Are you a member of Grinder University? How do you like it so far?

Feel free to comment on any charity poker action or policies. Do you have changes that you would make if you were the MGCB?

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Jason “icufish” Smith Episode

What did you think of our interview with Jason Smith?  Do you have any questions that you would like to ask this Michigan online pro?

How about your thoughts on the upcoming Mid-States Poker Tour in Battle Creek? Are you planning to play in it? Look for more information at

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PLO Strategy and Vegas Storytime Episode Show Notes

We would like to hear from you our listeners what you thought of 1Game’s Vegas story time. Also, did you enjoy listening to the PLO strategy from Flytrap? Does it make you want to try PLO? What questions do you have about the strategies he discussed?

Do you have a take on what’s happening with charity rooms closing? Do you think eventually all charity rooms will close down?

What about the question about whether you should take advantage of someone with a lot of chips who has played too long and is playing badly? What if you know them? What if they’re drunk? Tell us what you would do.

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Birthday Tournament at Mavericks

I played in the $5 monthly birthday tournament at Mavericks in Port Huron last night. The tourney is a minimum $5 buy-in, but you can buy in for up to $35. The tournament celebrates anyone who has a birthday on that month (e.g., January). Everyone who has a birthday in January has a chance to win a prize not related to the tournament.

In addition, everyone gets free dinner. This night it was catered by Flaming Wok, the Chinese restaurant located in the food court of Birchwood Mall. Have to say it tasted really good. All in all, a pretty good value for the price of admission. On to the poker.

I started with a full buy-in, which got me T31,500. Blinds started at 50/100, and levels went up every 15 minutes. Antes were added after the first break. At 15 minute levels, the action moved very quickly. If you play a tighter style of play, you don’t get to play very many hands at the lower levels.

Some of the players were splashier and took a higher variance approach, over betting pots, raising 5-10 times the big blind pre-flop, and generously shoving to intimidate their opponents.  A few of us, just sat back and waited for better cards, and used a small ball approach.

About small ball: there’s a limit. I mean, I saw a player with T250 chips left bet T150 into a pot of T1,500. Then he shoved on the turn for his last T100. Surprisingly, the other player in the hand was just as bad and folded to the bet allowing the short stack to win without a showdown. Just atrocious play, but let’s face it, some people are just there to have a good time and there’s nothing wrong with that.

An interesting hand came up where I was under the gun in level 4 (200/400 blinds) with pocket 3s. I raise to T900 and get 3-bet by a middle position player to T2,900. The big blind called the bet with very little left (short stacker from the hand above), maybe T1,500 behind. The 3-better had me covered, however, which I felt gave me the right implied odds to call. We go to the flop 3-handed with T8,900 in the pot.

Flop is great for me, A-7-3 rainbow. Big blind goes all in for T1,500. I think for a second and call. The board is really dry here, and there’s no reason to chase the pre-flop raiser out of the pot, although if he doesn’t have an ace it would be really hard for him to call even the small bet. To my delight he decides to raise to T10,000 with over T20,000 behind. He has me covered. I’m not sure if he is going to fold to a raise, so I decide to smooth call with no draws on the board.

Turn is a jack of clubs. I check and the other player shoves . I insta-call and we flip up our cards. Big blind has a set of 7s! He has us all crushed.  Other player has AK and is drawing dead. I lose the main pot, but I win a huge side pot.  It really was an incredible flop, where we all got a piece of the board.

Just before the break I manage to bust two other opponents in separate hands and that gets me close to 70BB. However, I believe with the blinds going up I was going to be around 56BB after the break. After the Chinese food at the break, I lose some pots where I completed the small blind, flopped draws, bet them and missed and folded on the river to bets. I manage to conserve my stack around 30bb through these middle levels until I flop another set of 3s and slow played them before shoving on the river. My opponent tanked for a long time, I was pretty sure he did not have top pair from the way that the hand went down, but I had a feeling he had a big pocket pair and that my shove looked very much like a misguided bluff. In the end though, he probably could not bring himself to call off all his chips with just second pair (misjudgment on my part) and he folded without showing.

That hand kept me going to the end stages of the tournament to where my stack devalued to about 10bb. Just about everyone at my table had 10bb or less. A couple of players had 15-20bb.  Just the antes were a great prize to steal, so I ended up shoving in good spots with mediocre hands (J9o and 34s) and stayed above 10bb.

I made the final table and then got caught stealing by the short stack when we were 8-handed. I had shoved from the cut off with Q6 of spades and got called by KJ of spades. If I lose the hand it cost me half my stack leaving me with about 6bb. The flop has a king and a queen, so I am in dire straights. The turn is a blank, but the river is a glorious queen, and I bust the player and jump to a slight chip lead over the whole table.

Eventually talk of a chop comes up. I would rather keep playing now that I have the chip lead, but at the point of the discussion I believe I only had 13bb, so it was a slight chip lead at best and still shove or fold poker. Even though I felt I understood the shoving ranges better than everyone else at the table, all the other players wanted to chop seven handed, and not wanting to be the guy to hold up the chop, I agreed and collected the $121 prize. It was a small prize that took 5 hour to collect, but I was pretty happy with my play and the fact that I only had to come from behind once when my entire stack was in the middle.

There were already two tables of $1/$2 cash games running when I ended the tourney, and I got a seat right away for cash. Unfortunately, my ride was ready to go shortly thereafter and I decided to call it a night after the long tournament. I will definitely be playing more at Mavericks, and would definitely recommend the Birthday Tournament for a good time.

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Santino’s and Merging Episode Show Notes

Post any comments regarding the new episode featuring Santino’s Poker Room and the concept of range merging.  Have you ever played at Santino’s? What do you think about the room?  Do you use merging when playing in Michigan rooms?

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Action at Santino’s

I played a session at Santino’s in Washington Township last night after recording the next episode of the Michigan Poker Monster.  Here are a couple of hands I remember from the night, which turned out to be my first loss for the year (glad that’s out of the way).

It was a fairly nitty table to start, and then started loosening up as players joined the table.  Two young players who have been on our show before, Garrett and Justin, were at the table, and also another solid player that won the three-man team tournament that I placed fourth in at Trip Kings many months ago.

I lost quite a few hands to start the session, just c-betting and getting out-flopped, out drawn.  Was down $100 in the first hour and topped up.  One hand in that first hour, I raise from the button with JTcc, get SB and MP to call me (loose callers). Flop is 642 one club. I c-bet and get two calls. Turn is 8c. I double barrel big with the flush draw and two overs and get two callers! I was really hoping for a club now, but instead it is a red 4 and SB bets gets a call, and I fold. Trip fours beat a pair of 6s with a straight draw. SB asks me if I was on a total bluff. I just smile.

Next interesting hand I have AQdd in the big blind, and I’m the only one to call a raise from MP loose cannon. He doesn’t seem to read boards very well, but he knows how to bluff.  Flop is 678 all hearts. I check, villain bets about ¾ pot, and I check raise. He lingers a few seconds with the cards in his hand, but he’s folding the whole day.  I may have been bluffing with the best hand, but I’m pretty sure I won a lot of equity with that raise and maybe got him to fold a lot of medium strength pocket pairs.

Finally, this is a hand that I probably tried to play too fancy. There is a$5 straddle from the button, it folds to me in the CO, and I make it $15 with AJo. Button probably thinks I have a losing image and this contributes in his decision to call with just about anything, most probably unconnected, unsuited cards.  Flop is J-4-2.  This villain likes to be aggressive and bluff, so I check with the intention to call two streets and lead the river big to represent a bad bluff. I know he thinks I bluff too much already.

But he checks behind.  Turn is a 8, bringing a spade draw. I bet about the size of the pot, he calls without almost thinking about it. I’m sure he has close to nothing and he just thinks I am total bluffing.  River is a 2, no spade.  Now here is where I get fancy again, and I check.  I guess he can have some eights in his range here, and I’m missing value by not betting out after taking the lead on the turn.  But I feel like I have such a good read on this villain, I’m pretty sure he has nothing, and the only way I’m making any more money in this hand is to let him bluff.

He bets half pot. About same bet as my turn bet.  I instacall, and he foolishly flips over T-6o.  Did I miss value in this hand?  I guess it really depends on how accurate my reads were on villain.  Any comments on the other hands?

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Dealing with 2013

Many things have happened in Michigan poker to close out the 2012 and open 2013.  Last year we saw the closings of two of the bigger rooms on the east side of the Detroit suburbs: Cadas first, then Snookers. Both are still fighting for their survival. Both are still hoping to re-open in 2013.  For now, other rooms are picking up the pieces.  Big Beaver Tavern in Troy, Sunnybrook in Sterling Heights, and Four Aces in Roseville, have all reported increase in cash games in their rooms.

 It has been difficult to determine if Motor City Casino is any busier because they’ve had their big bad beat jackpot growing for so many weeks now.  Waiting lists for $1/$2 games are still deep early in the afternoon.  The bad beat was finally hit January 1, with nine players sharing the $368K jackpot, but the action doesn’t seem to have slowed down.

 You would think that the other downtown poker rooms (Greektown and MGM) would be busier as well, but I have heard no such reports even while Motor City was turning players away with waiting lists 100 deep on weekends during the bad beat chase.  It’s nice to have a strong selection of poker rooms downtown, so I really hope that more action starts spreading to those rooms.  I’ve seen trip reports of 2+2 players playing at Greektown, but nothing recent for MGM. 

Poised to take advantage of the vacuum left by Snookers, the Arcadia Poker Room (name still to be approved by the state) is having its soft opening this week in Troy, at the Hamlin Pub located at 3946 Rochester Road.  The room will have 10 tables and spread $1/$2 NLHE to start with. Owner Dave Ashcraft is planning on spreading tournaments and higher stake games, even a round by round game, after their official opening on February 4. Games will be running until then from 12 PM to 2 AM.  Look for our podcast featuring this room at the end of January to learn more. 

From a personal stand point, I was able to start the year with a winning session in a small stakes mixed game I played last weekend. I plan on grinding around 20 hours a month at $1/$2 the first two months of the year and then take a shot at $2/$5 all of March to build the bankroll to hopefully stay at those stakes for good.  What are your goals for 2013?  Where do you plan to play in the new year?

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Eight Game Remix

Played in the second Michigan 8-game last night at Sunnybrook Poker Room. We had a few different players this time, and unfortunately, not enough joiners as the afternoon progressed to keep the game running.  The game still consisted of 2-7 Triple Draw, HORSE, NLHE and PLO.

The action started sort of slow. We had to explain some of the games to the new players, and of course, understandably they had to take a little longer to make their decisions.  Didn’t seem like anyone minded.  We were all just happy to be playing the mix game.

Caveman started up the props with the 7-2 game in the Hold’em rounds, trips and quads in the Omaha games, and all cards ten and higher in 2-7.  It definitely added some fun to the games, and everyone was in a gambling mood.  I won a couple of hands early on at 2-7, staying pat with ten high after only one draw.  Caveman was drawing two in the first draw, and I just thought if he didn’t make a pat hand right away I had a good chance to win heads up.  I just couldn’t get him to call me light on the last street with jack high. He definitely has some kind of read on me that guy.

Nothing really unusual happened in the Hold’em round.  Playing short handed limit hold’em you can get away with raising pre-flop with questionable hands especially when people are not used to playing limit.  There’s just too much folding by players who are used to the odds in no limit games, so you can exploit this by raising early and betting on marginal hands that have a chance to improve.

I lost a few hands at Omaha-8 and then I hit nut low with a runner runner flush for a nice multi-way pot.  Razz was fun as usual, but no real hands to talk about.  In stud hi low I hit two pair with kings and jacks in a three way pot and couldn’t believe that the jacks and kings were still live.  There was one less king on sixth street, but I hit my jack on seventh and split the big pot with a low hand.  One piece of advice on Stud hi-low.  If you’re in a multi-way pot and you’re the only person with a low hand, it’s okay to raise and get that extra bet in there.

Not sure how often we are going run this game if interest starts to wane, but it sure is a fun game.  Have you ever played the 8-game online?  Do you enjoy live mix games?  Would sure like to hear your opinion about them if you do.

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Monday Session at Snookers

I played a session at Snookers last Monday and here is a recap of the action.

I arrived at about 4:50 pm and see Pay4MySchool at table 18. I don’t see the floor at first, but then I see him settling some dispute at P4MS’ table.  The floor returns to his station and greets me. He tells one of the dealers waiting for the tournament to enter my name on the 1/2 list.

“Frank,” I tell him.   “Last initial?” he asks. “P.” I respond.

I go say hello to P4MS, and he shakes my hand. He tells me he just got there, but he thinks it’s a good table. “Seat 7 and seat 9 are driving the action.” I wish him good luck and go wait for my name to be called by the front desk.

The room is busy as usual, but there’s no tournament running at the time so some of the tables are empty and there are some dealers just milling around.  Before long, the floor calls for everyone on the waiting list to get chips and sit at table 17. I get the max $200 and sit where I can see P4MS. Unfortunately, I can’t see his stack from my seat, but I can see if he’s texting and his facial expression, which is a poker face, of course.

Table is eight handed at first.  Guess one of the waiting list players decided not to hang around. No problem. They never seem to have trouble filling seats in this place. There are six call-ins on the list too. They draw for the button, and I get the big blind.

The guy that sits to my right seems to be the action at the table and a talker. Seems like he’s in almost every hand and always has something to say. He tries to show me his hand when he folds on the turn with a board of AKxx. I ignore his attempt to show me queens. Never mind that he called on the flop after someone donked and another player called before it got to him. Guess he wanted to peel one just in case, or donate, not sure which.

Did I mention that I am the only one with 100 big blinds? Everyone else has $140 or less. It’s an easy table.  The interesting thing is that they’re experienced players, but they’re all bad. They know about straddles, they know when it is their turn, they know the rules about the betting line. Some players can just play poker for a long time and never get better.

Seat one has been getting hit by the deck since we started the table. I over limp with 9-7cc in middle position on the first hand that I play, and seat one makes it $19 from the big blind into 5 limpers. Everyone folds. In the first half hour he gets AJs, AQ, AA twice and KK, and they all win. He stacks the talker to my right twice. Talker rebuys for $80 the first time, and $100 the second time. He will rebuy again later for another $100. It always puzzles me why people bring enough for a full buy-in, but handcuff themselves and play short.

I raise in MP to $10 after one limper with QJo. I get two callers. Flop is a rainbow king high board. Callers check to me, and I bet $20. Everyone folds. I stay even the first hour by making plays like this, betting hands that miss everyone.

The next hand I raise from late position to $10 with 44. This time I get four callers but I am still in position. Flop is J 8 6 rainbow. Everyone checks to me, and this time I check behind. Turn is an ace. Everyone checks to me, and I bet $25. The small blind tanks for 30 seconds, probably has a jack, but there are so many people behind him. He folds, and everyone else mucks. A nice pot, but not a value hand.

Talker sees me raise pre-flop a couple of times and lose a couple of hands.  He suggests, “you should stop raising.” I look puzzled so he explains, “you keep losing the hands you raise. That happens to me.  I just can’t hit anything when I have good starting hands. Eventually it adds up. You should stop raising so much.”

My first value hand I raise to $10 from under the gun with KK.  Talker to my right says, “careful now.” I get three callers including seat one and the talker in seat three. Flop is 7-7-3.  It gets checked to me and I bet $20. Folds around to my right, and Talker calls. Ace on the turn, and I check behind. River is a 2, and now Talker bets $15 into $80. I probably should raise here as this is such a weak bet, but instead I snap call. He says, “two pair!” and shows 23o. I say, “me too,” and flip over my kings. He starts mumbling about being counterfeited, and seat two and I look puzzled. To my delight, Talker gets up to go to the ATM. He buys another $100.

I get another chance to value bet when my red twos run into a Tc 4c 2s flop. I bet and everyone folds. No one has a flush draw? I muck like I had nothing.

Later, I raise to $15 on a straddled pot with QQ. I get seat one and Talker to call. Flop is Q-9-6 rainbow. Talker bets $25 with $65 behind. I think for a second then call. Seat one folds quickly. Before the dealer is done turning a 5, Talker quietly but quickly shoves. I announce call, and the dealer waits for me to push out the chips before dealing a 7 on the river. Really, a 7? I expect to be beat, but flip over my cards quickly so not to slow roll. Talker is disgusted, and he shows QJo and tells the dealer to hold his seat as he storms off towards the men’s room.

Seat two was amused, “I don’t know why he wanted you to stop raising. You just keep showing him the best hand.” I just nod and smile.

P4MS tells me he has a really good table and there’s an open seat, I should move tables. I ask the floor but because of charities selling out he declines to move me. I shrug at P4MS and stay at my table.

Probably one of my last hands, I raise to $10 with 78hh from middle position. I get four callers. Flop is T-5-4 two clubs. I continuation bet $25. Seat 7 calls. He’s been quiet and passive at the table so far. Turn is a 4 of hearts, and I check, fully prepared to fold my gut shot draw. But seat 7 quickly checks behind. Flush draw? Weak ten? Both are in his range. River is the ace of diamonds. What a great bluff card. Unless he has exactly AT. I bet $50.  Seat 7 starts to tank. Now I think he does have a ten, and he’s going to hero call me. But he folds.

I cash out for $385 after a couple of hours since I have to get home, but P4MS first tells me about his great table. Apparently with $500 to start he raises to $10 with 99, one guy that seems to be tilting goes all in for $75. Another player that’s $500 deep calls the $75 after tanking a bit.  Another guy who’s ready to go home ships it for $150.  P4MS take s high variance play and shoves $500 all day.  The last guy tanks for a long time and finally folds (he had tens!)  Board runs out and P4MS’ nines win against QJo and some random hand.  He’s sitting on over $800 when I leave.

Just a reminder, the 8-game will be running again this Saturday at Sunnybrook. I will write a post about that game this weekend too. Come on by if you’re interested in playing or learning the game!

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Sunnybrook 8-Game Episode

Post your comments on the Sunnybrook 8-Game Episode here.  What did you think about Caveman’s play with 7-6 offsuit in the No Limit Hold’Em round?  Have you ever played Razz? What do you think about Sevup playing King high on third street? Post all comments on the show here.

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