Monday, November 27, 2006

Verbal Abuse In Online Poker

I've finally decided to write about the subject of verbal abuse in online poker site chat. I've been thinking about it for a while, but it just crept up and kicked me in the head while playing. In the past 24 hours while playing online heads-up $5 NLHE SNG's, I've been subject to the following gems:

  • After I beat an easily-read player's busted flush draw with Queen-high: "Q2? You ****ing donkey! I hope you die. A donkey like you doesn't deserve to live."
  • After I won the match by mimicking this player's type of aggressiveness: "You suck. You ****ing donkey. ***k your mother."
  • Before the match started, a player from Europe typed: "The US sucks. I hate all you Bush-loving pig ****ers."

I swear I'm not making this up! You have to wonder what each person's story is here. Are they mentally challenged? Are they 12? Does losing $5 really irk them so badly? Are they behind on their rent? I guess we'll never know the answer to these questions, but I wish I knew because it needs to be addressed.

I have to admit that I am fighting (and starting to win, so far) a battle with "sore loser chat", but the worst I'll come off with is "donkey", "ATM", or "idiot". I realize that even those words are low class and I'm about 80% cured. I know that any kind of commenting may make a bad player play better, thus ruining my future profit from them. But I would never get as personally vicious as the 3 lines above. I've also seen vicious observer chat happen to Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, and even Annie Duke. A couple weeks ago, some guy went at my friend "Freak" for over an hour during and after he was out of our game. Just because he disagreed with some plays, he went on about what my friend does with his dog. Sometimes I'm ashamed to be of the same species as other human beings. They just seem to disgrace us as a whole.

If someone can't handle losing, poker is the wrong game for them. I've come to realize that and so should these sore losers (I almost typed "idiots", but I'm still in rehab). This kind of "chat" is also a disgrace to the game. How must this look to a completely new, greenhorn player if they happen to come upon it? I want to be proud of online poker and believe in it, despite any new laws. But these venomous people are embarrassing.

SIDE NOTE: Is it me or is the word "Donkey" becoming more and more offensive in poker circles? People seem to use it to try to really hurt each other.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Jimmie Johnson & UB HH Workaround

NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson:
Well, as I said in the first post of this blog a few days ago, I have an opinion on this year's NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson. I figured I'd share it here.

In his rookie year 2002, I was a semi-fan because he was from California (like me) and looked like he & his team had it in them to challenge Gordon & Earnhardt at the top. I was even disappointed when Ryan Newman beat him for the Rookie Of The Year title that year. Then my attitude changed right about the time he wrecked Tony Stewart at the spring Phoenix race in 2005. Just pinched him right into the wall going down the straightaway (Sure I've been a Stewart fan since 2001, but that's beside the point). Then I noticed how aloof he is in interviews and actually how hard he tries to be bland. Like he has the old "I hate fame" syndrome. When confronted with any sort of controversy, he seems to curl up like a child. The last straw was when he started causing wrecks at Talledega. He's fine when he's out front, but he can't handle it within a pack. Then there have been those cheating incidents & rumors...

There have been a few articles written about Johnson lately that have hit the nail on the head. The writers have relayed the fact that he has much less appeal than previous champions and his winning could even be hurting NASCAR. Maybe he'll improve his off-kilter image with age. But right now, there's plenty to dislike about the new champion.

A Workaround For UB's HH Restriction:
I've found a solution to the ridiculous restriction Ultimate Bet has put on their hand history windows (I reported about this restriction in a previous post). It's actually quite simple and logical. Get a hold of the old version of the ultimatebet.exe file previous to the last update. Then just copy and paste it to your UB folder and overwrite the old one. No re-install needed. The update flag in the program (the prompt to download a new version when logging on to UB) shouldn't be a problem. Mine didn't need it, so I haven't researched if this would be a problem.

Though my problem is fixed, I'm still not sure about going back to UB. It's just the principle. I've read about players who have emailed their complaints to UB, but I haven't heard that they've come to their senses. I think I'll wait to see if they put their customers preferences first or if they say "Like it or lump it" (or if a killer reload bonus comes along, LOL).

Thursday, November 23, 2006

UB's New Hand Histories Restriction

Just to spout off about UB's new ridiculousness:
In case you don't know, UltimateBet.com released a software update last week which implemented a restriction on the number of hand histories a player can call up consecutively. I believe the number is only 4 or 5 before an error message pops up telling the player to close and reopen the hand history window if he wants more. I understand that this is to combat "data mining" with Poker Tracker and a "hand grabber", where in previously a UB user could open numerous tables with each table's hand history window while not seated and run Poker tracker which then records hundreds of hands of potential opponents and allows that user to get better reads on his foes in future games. But UB's restriction also prevents a player using PT to record their own legitimately played hands for the purpose of tracking their progress and help in their own improvement. This is the main reason I use PT. I can usually go back over my played hands and find leaks in my game. This is no longer sensibly possible.

I really liked Ultimate Bet's game & stakes selection and smooth software interface, but this new development has turned me off of UB. As I've read in a few poker forums, I'm not the only one. You would think that after the last major update they did earlier this year, which caused major glitches and the loss of many upset players, that they would think over their future updates more thoroughly. Now is not the time to be chasing off customers since many US players have been looking for new homes since the new law passed and some sites subsequently banned them. They should be thinking of ways to entice this new found flux of potential dollars out there.

The answer to the "data mining" problem is quite simple. First, either deactivate or erase the Hand History button until the player is actually seated at the table. Second, only allow the player to call up hands in which he was dealt. Party Poker implemented this second part and works quite well. Both should be simple to program and would calm the chaos they have now created amongst their customers. Sure, those of us who like the game play at UB could wait around until someone designs a PT patch or helper to open & close the HH window every 4 hands. Yes, there are sites out there that PT doesn't even support and UB might now be thought of in that same category . But those aren't the point. The point is that UB has shown a tendency to not think things through before trying to "improve" their site.

Maybe I'm done with them, I dunno. There's too much competition out there to choose from to be waiting on this place to get it's act together. I guess we'll see if they ever get smart enough to fix this.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Micro-Stakes Limit Hold 'Em & Cardschat

Micro-Stakes LHE:
Today I've figured out the problem with playing online Limit Hold 'em at micro-stakes while trying to build a bankroll. While I know being proficient at LHE is an important part of being a good all-around poker player, playing it at micro stakes is like playing Lotto. Everyone puts their money in and tries to hit the big one. The more players, the better chance everyone has to win.

For example: If I catch KK on the button at 25c/50c and raise a few limpers preflop, they'll just think "It's only a quarter more" and they throw another in. Then against 3 or 4 limp-callers holding suited connectors, the strength of that KK goes way down to something like 45-52% to win. Yes, each of them only have about a 10-15% chance to win. But I think of it as "the field", as a whole, has a 48-55% chance against me. I don't know if that thinking is correct, but it sure seems true. For "only a quarter more", any gambler can try his luck at a bigger pot.

This seems to force me to play incorrect poker by limping in position with semi-strong hands. Though I've read about Sklansky advocating limping preflop to keep the pot size down so that poor odds can be created later, it seems these chasers will call with bad odds no matter what. I often end up check-dumping my AJ on the turn for fear that some clown has hit a 7 to pair his 87 suited or something. I really like playing LHE, with its more prominent odds calculations, etc. But I think I'll wait until I can afford to play $2/$4 or more, where a raise has more strength. I'll stick to NLHE at micro-stakes for now.

Cardschat Poker Forum:
You may be wondering what that "new threads" section is on the right side of the page. I forgot to mention that I was a member of a poker-related online forum called "Cardschat" (www.Cardschat.com). My handle there is "MrSticker". I really enjoy being a member there. I go on there to chat about poker, engage in hand analysis, ask opinions & participate in discussions, etc. But they also have some great online freerolls and money-added tournaments. There's even a "game arcade" section where members can unwind by playing a cool shoot-'em-up or puzzle game. If you decide to sign up there, please put my handle in the referral field. I don't get anything for it except bragging rights and maybe some kudos from Nick, the cool admin there. Even if you don't want to join, you can still click on the links in that feed to just read the cool articles & posts.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Let's Have Some Fun!

First blog post here. My idea for starting this blog came from the fact that I have been looking for blogs by really average poker players like me and I haven't found any. Well, "If you want things done, you gotta do them yourself." I like to read about other common folks' poker experiences, so I figured I'd put my own here. I play mostly online poker right now, but I plan on trying out my local cardrooms soon and I plan on making semi-regular trips to Reno (all as the bankroll allows). I'll try to mix in random poker news and happenings and even some non-poker stuff, just to jazz things up. Don't want to just say "I played and I won" or "Got drunk and I lost." You may see me come up with things like "Why I dislike Jimmie Johnson (2006 Nascar Nextel Cup Champion)." Hmmm. I feel a 2nd post coming on!

Anyway, I promise to update this blog regularly. At least twice a week or more. I hate finding good blogs that die after a few months.