Monday, October 19, 2009

Sad Day: Sacramento Brewing Co. Closes

Sad news that Sacramento Brewing Company closed today and joined the number of recent closures of on-site Sacramento Area breweries.

First report I saw is here:

From the brewmaster, here:

Personally, I always thought of SBC as Sacramento's main craft brewery and every place else was just a part of the category. Not sure why I did. Maybe it was because it had the word "Sacramento" in its name. Or maybe it was because they had a bigger reputation than most, especially after they started bottling. Sure, it's not the oldest in Sacto. But to me, it always seemed to do well in carrying the weight of having the city's name in it's own name. Whether I planned to buy some or not, I always noticed the SBC packaging when I browsed any particular craft brew isle. "Oh look. They have Sac Brew here." In my mind, I guess it gave the store more credibility.

So away goes the beer with the city's name. A craft brewery making stellar beers, but apparently the victim of a less than stellar frontside restaurant in our less than stellar economy in which only the "stellar" seem survive. I know the beer could still live up to carrying the name. It just can't carry the restaurant any longer. I've celebrated a few Father's Days & birthdays there and the frontside seemed fine. Just not award-winning to me like the beer. Too bad they can't just close the dining room and keep brewing.

But it seems we in the Sac area will still be blessed by having SBC's brewmaster, Peter, brewing in Sacramento. More on that here:

So let's not forget to support our local Sac area on-site brewers. Our local culture can't afford to lose any others, imo. Here's a link list of those I know of or have learned of:

Rubicon Brewing Co.

River City Brewing Co.

Brew It Up

Hoppy Brewing Co.

Mary's Pizza Shack (in Roseville)

Sudwerk (in Davis)

Let me know if I've missed any. I'd surely want to try them all.

Cheers to Sac Brewing. You will be missed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Moving Down For Tuning, not BRM

A surprising thing happened today. I had been struggling at 50NL this month, so I decided to try 25NL for a couple days. I am still rolled for 50NL, but I just needed a confidence boost. So I played a 25NL session today and my 25NL stats miraculously appeared right where I want them to be at 50NL. Hmmm.

Is it the type of play or the players at 25NL that suit me better and at 50NL they're tougher? Or is it just me being more confident skill-wise at 25NL? Or even roll-wise? Hmmm. I think I'll spend a few days at 25NL and find out. I've never really "crushed" 25NL. I just moved up when I had the right bankroll.

We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Book Review: "Practical Poker Math" by Pat Dittmar

A while back, I had read a book on poker odds & probabilities and was a bit lost on the subject. The book by Matthew Hilger seemed thorough enough but was a ways over my head, I guess. So when I saw this book, "Practical Poker Math" by Pat Dittmar, in the book store and thumbed through it, it looked a bit simpler and more my style. (Not that I'm stupid or anything. Just that it takes a bit longer for new concepts to sink in with me and simpler explanations help with this.) So I thought that maybe this book could help me build a base for my poker math knowledge so I can understand the more complicated stuff later.

Well, I was right in a way. It was simpler, but not in the way I thought. This book is nothing more that an over-explanation of what most average players already know. Every non-beginning poker player worth his salt should know that the odds of flopping a set or boat with a pocket pair is 7.5-1 and the odds of being dealt Aces is 220-1, etc., etc. So all this book does is tell the reader how to calculate those figures. Every... single... one of them.

(NOTE: I skipped reading the Omaha parts of the book since I am concentrating on learning Hold'em for now.)

The sections of the book address odds of hitting certain hands on each street including preflop. Each section begins with some barely useful poker tips and a very useful table of odds pertaining to an array of different hands for that section's situation. Then it goes on to explain how to calculate each and every one of those odds in the table. And the author shows how to calculate each results, not 1 but 2 different ways. Here's an example of the calculation for a pocket pair flopping a set or boat:

(48 * 47)
(1 * 2) = 1128

1128 * 2 = 2256

(4 * 3 * 2)
(1 * 2 * 3) * 12 = 48

2256 + 48 = 2304

19600 - 2304 = 17296

17296 : 2304
17296/2304 : 2304/2304
7.5 : 1

OK, so I left out some words in there. But why does the reader need to know how to get an answer when he is given the answer first? This isn't studying for a college exam. This is poker. All I need to do is memorize the odds (the answer) for a situation and apply it to my current implied odds, etc. Tell me how to apply and calculate that next step. I don't need this overkill, imo.

Anyway, the author is in the "trading" industry so it figures he'd be caught up in calculations. The tables at the beginning of each section and towards the back of the book are great. But I bet you could find most of them searching the internet. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm missing something here. But this still just seems like overkill. It's like showing me how to slaughter a cow when I'm just going to McDonald's. Not necessary, imo. And to top it off, the retail on this book is about $30. On the high end compared to other more popular poker books on the market.

So I can't really recommend this book for any purpose other than math/stats geeks getting their fix with a poker flavor. Not useful for anyone wanting to improve their game. I can't even recommend this book for beginning poker players. I think it could do some damage by muddying the basics that they need.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September 2009 Results

Another "good news/bad news" month.

Good News: I ended up the month +$114 profit. Tuned my aggression some more and had another flat NSD Winnings red line.

Bad News: The +$114 was only possible due bonuses totalling $208. I would have ended up -$94 without them. Still getting crushed at showdown, too. I think my PF & flop aggression has still been getting me committed on the turn. But I also have been running into some killer suckouts. I included my "All-in EV" line in the graph as proof.

(Only played 1 MTT all month.)

During the last few days, I brought back just a smidgen of my old passivity and it seemed to pay off some. Maybe in a "changing gears" respect. Still kept up my Steal % and 3-bet %, though. I think I'm getting a feel for a good balance. Yay!

Still gotta play more hands. Averaged 600 per day. Would be nice to double that. But I still played enough to clear my Take 2 goal on FTP and I made Goldstar on Stars. So not too bad, I guess.

I've been spending a decent amount of time on Twitter and Facebook as of late. Might be worth tuning into (Twitter, at least) as I talk about my new bicycle, my weight loss progress, and a feature/series I call "My Gym Observations". Up to part 5 now.

I'm reading another poker book right now and should have a review very soon. I know I've said this before, but this book seems to be a breeze ...and that's actually a bad thing in this case. Stay tuned.