Archive Aug 2007: Poker Talk

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deliberate stalling in online tournaments

I was just reading through a thread on twoplustwo that really hit home to me. The author of a post was playing a $1000 satellite to an EPT event online at Pokerstars when a player at his table was deliberately stalling on every single hand by taking the maximum time to play. This has happened to me a number of times and it drives me crazy. It usually happens to me during one table sit-n-goes, so the only issue is the time the sng will take. In the case of a big MTT the stalling has serious consequences because you don't have as many hands to play as other players in the tournament.

The poster wrote to Stars and they told him that there was nothing they could do. He kept on complaining and asked who has taken over since Lee Jones left. Here's what they wrote:

The position formerly held by Lee has not been filled at this time but there are a few people who have taken those responsibilities. However they are not going to tell you anything different. Your simply not understanding there is no violation here so we cannot take any further action. EVERY player is given the full time to act on their hand and is their decision if they wish to use that full time.

Again I am sorry your frustrated but you are going to have to accept that this time is given and they can use it even if you would like them to act faster.


PokerStars Support Team

Nothing they could do? Totally legitimate and within the rules? I completely disagree. If this were to happen in a live tournament the floor manager would give a warning and watch the play. If it continued to happen EVERY HAND they would certainly penalize the player. I have seen it happen many times and 100% of the time the floor manager will take a stand and penalize the player.

Pokerstars and other online sites really need to take action on this. It's not really that difficult. If a player takes the maximum time on a certain number of hands and always folds the hands then they should receive a warning. Once the warning is given the player should receive a penalty. What is so difficult about that?

$5/10 NL Holdem Cash Game Session at the Commerce

I visited the Commerce last week to meet with some potential business partners. After the meeting I decided to stick around for a few hour cash game session. There was no wait and I was immediately seated at the $5/10 NL table. The maximum buy-in is $400 and that’s what I started with – if you bust-out they allow you to buy back in for $600.

A quick scan of the table revealed few dominant stacks. There was an attractive Asian woman to my right who did have about $1000, but she told me that she was actually even having bought back in for $600. She was very chatty with the guy to her right. He just lost a substantial portion of his stack when he raised PF with AK, hit the A on a AT5 flop and then was CR all-in on his flop bet and called. His opponent had A5. He spent about 10 minutes discussing with her his bad luck and the reasons for his call.

The table was somewhat passive. Nobody appeared very aggressive or creative. Lots of very standard poker – fold bad hands, play good hands, bet with good hands, call with draws and good hands, etc. TPTK was a monster on this table and people were more than willing to go broke here with less than TPTK. Most everyone knew each other and was having a good old time being chatty and friendly. I was happy to join the party!

I waited a few hands for my BB and called a MP raise to $30 with A9. There were two other players. The flop came 9 high with few draws. I lead out for $70 and one player called. The turn paired the low card and I made it $150. The other player folded. One hand, good start. If only every hand could be so simple!

Things kept on going well for me for the first hour or so as I ran my $400 up to $1000 fairly quickly. Here’s a fun hand:

I like to raise with most hands from late position if it’s folded or limped to me. I’m in the CO and raise to $25 with T7s with one limper in before me. The blinds call and the original limper calls so there is about $100 in the pot.

The flop comes A high and it’s checked to me so I fire $60. Only the original limper calls but he doesn’t seem that confident. He makes a comment such as ‘no way you have an A, right?’. I didn’t think he was angle-shooting here, I really believe he meant it. My plan was to fire again on the turn if checked to me.

The turn pairs the A, which I like and don’t like. It makes it more likely that he doesn’t have an A, but also more likely that I don’t have one either. He checks again and as I take my time (as I always do) to ponder my options, he again says something like ‘no way you have an A.’ I only respond by saying $140. The second card on the board is a 9. I put him on either a 9 or a pair like 88 or TT. There is a possible straight on the board too so perhaps he has a straight draw. He takes quite a bit of time but calls. Now if he doesn’t say anything in this hand there’s a really good chance I would have given up the hand by now, but at this point I really think he doesn’t have the A and if I continue to play the game I think I can get him to fold. The river is a blank 2 and he checks again. He seems really frustrated and lost as I start to count out my bet. There’s no way I’m not going to take another shot at this hand. I just do not see him calling one last bet if he doesn’t have an A. I have about $250 left and announce all-in. He doesn’t take long to fold his JJ face-up. I was pretty surprised that he limped with it and also surprised he called the turn bet with it. This was the hand that put me at $1000 in chips.

Nothing much good or bad happened for the next hour or two. I win a bunch of small pots and lose some too. I don’t lose any pots at showdown. Most of the hands go like this:

raise from late position, blinds call. Bet at flop, they either call and I slow down or they fold.


Raiser in front of me who I peg as weak, I call with intention of taking the pot away on the flop or turn when they slow down. If they are willing to fire on flop I will sometimes call if I hit some of flop or if I sense weakness. Often they check, I bet and take down the pot.

So nothing much happens for a while, although this was an interesting hand:

I raise from button with T6o, both blinds call, flop comes K64. It’s checked to me, I check this time – for no reason other than mixing things up a bit. The turn pairs the 6 so now I’m looking good. The BB bets $40 into a $75 pot. I pop it to $150 and the BB calls. The river is a Q. The BB checks. I’m a bit worried that he has a 6 too and really don’t want to get CR here. There was a flush draw on the board and the Q brought the flush so this could also be a problem for me. I decide to check and he shows 67. Unfortunately the Q gives us the same hand. I had him on the turn, but oh, well. What are you going to do. One thing about the hand was that the table saw what I raised with from LP. This was the first time in 2 hours that I had to show my hand from one of these raises. Not sure if this is good or bad, but I need to be aware of it.

I don’t play much for the next orbit or two and then this crucial hand comes up:

I’m in MP+2 with 97. The CO raises and 3 players call. I call too and 2 other people call so there’s $150 in the pot.

Flop comes T 6 4

The MP player bets $40 and one player calls after him. Now I have nothing but a gut shot here, but the bet is just so weak. I decide to call and my plan is to consider taking it away on the turn. One of the blinds calls too, so three of us see the turn and there is now $270 in the pot.

The turn is the J so now I have a flush draw with my gut-shot. The MP player bets only $70 this time – what is going on here. Hmmm. What to do… The guy in the blind has only $120 left and the MP player has $250 left. I have tons of potential outs, plus these guys seem so weak and unsure of their hands. I decide that the best option is to push (I have tons of chips here). The blind folds, but the MP guy calls pretty quickly. He doesn’t really take much time to think about it.

The river bricks so I have nothing. The guy waits for me to show my hand and I do. He stares for quite some time because he cannot believe what just happened. He had K3 so he missed too – he had a similar draw to me. So he wins this huge pot with K high. Unbelievable. His calls was actually pretty interesting. Assuming he didn’t put me on an A high flush draw, he had 12+ outs (his K could have been good, but probably not). Not sure what he thought I had or even spent a second thinking about it. He was probably a 2-1 dog at best and he was getting better than 2-1, but I really think he thought process was simply – ‘there’s a lot of money in the pot, I have to call.’ Well, it worked for him. What can I say?

Nothing much good happened for the next hour. I lost a race with AK, won a few small pots and ended up down about $100.

Well, had a great meeting and the session was fun. I was in the 5 seat and had a great view of the 2nd round of the PGA. I got to watch Tiger’s historic 63. That was fun too.

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