Richards poker stories are often as good as my motorcycle stories. I love to ride motorcycles and play poker. Sometimes the two go "hand in hand" for me.

I enjoy telling richards poker stories, especially when they involve a win. I love to play poker. I enjoy a good game of poker and I am fairly proficient at many games; stud, stud hi lo, omaha hi lo, holdem (limit & no limit). I even enjoy HORSE which is a game involving a round of limid Holdem, Omaha Hi LO, Razz, Stud, Stud Eight or Better. Great game involving the mastery of several games if you want to be good at it and successful.

My favorite game is stud but I will play all games where I have the edge as my favorite pastime is winning.

When time permits, you will find me in Vegas, Phoenix, Ruidoso, New Mexico or Albuquerque knocking heads with the best of them at various limits and at various games. I plan on "testing the waters" in California this year if time permits. I have been relatively successful in my poker ventures and have had the good fortune of meeting some amazingly interesting people in the process.

In fact, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 11/11/06 and entered a small omaha hi lo 8 or better tournament with approximately 90 entrants.

I was virtually card dead but managed to manipulate a few pots due to my table image (tight and tough) and ended up finishing 7th which cashed as the top 10 finishers were paid. The Sandia Casino in Albuquerque has a nice poker room, run well, and smoke free specifically in the poker room. They always have 1 or more very loose and passive 4-8 omaha 8 or better high lo games with a half kill that will keep you entertained and in the money if you know your omaha game. They usually have at least two no limit 1-2 blinds holdem game often in tandem with a 2-5 blinds No Limit Holdem game. They also have "specialty games" on certain days of the week such as a 10-20 fixed limit holdem game and a 10-20 limit omaha 8 game. These are only on specific days but if you want to put up a game on an "interest list" basis, they will accommodate you. It's a nice place...check it out if you're ever in the area.

12/30/12: I was in Albuquerque visiting and decided to hit Sandia Casino's Poker Room. The "Bad Beat" for Holdem had just been hit the night before..over 70K so the participants on that table were pretty happy. They had reset the Holdem Bad Beat Jackpot to just over 40K so that was still attractive. They had reset it that high as several miles "up the street" the Hard Rock Casino had their Poker Jackpot at over 100k and that was drawing some people away from the Sandia Room and to the Hard Rock's room. Now, I am not a proponent of Bad Beat Jackpots. Personally, in all my years of play I have never been on the losing hand or winning hand and I have only been on a table where the hand was hit one time and got a small player's portion which didn't amount to very much as the Jackpot was small. So I have contributed plenty over the years and I have seen players go broke chasing the Jackpot when it was large. Stupid Stuff.

Anyway, I decided to throw my hat into a 1-2 No Limit Holdem game as the only omaha game available was a pretty low limit (4-8) and I would have been the only player on the table without an oxygen tank...lol. Normally, that is a good sign for me...lol, but the game was slow (virtually dead if you catch my drift..lol). So I got on the holdem table and it was pretty active. Luck was on my side...I flopped trips on several occasions where I was the obvious underdog...for example pocket 2's against pocket queens. Pot was raised to $10 with 5 callers before me so Implied Odds insisted that I call and "lo and behold" I flopped the deuce and won a profitable pot. I got lucky one other time with a 10-J of diamonds with several callers. Hand was raised to $20 preflop by a very aggressive player and you just never knew where he was coming from, so given that there were 4 people in before me, I decided to take a stab. Flop was rag rag rag, but 2 diamonds so I felt like I had a reasonable chance. Turn was a diamond and the guy with the pocket aces (of course I didn't know that's what he had at the time) went all in and there was 1 caller and me and I went for it. Hit the diamond on the turn and made my flush and luckily the river didn't bring another diamond as the guy with the pocket aces had an ace diamond. So I had fun...got a bit lucky and more than paid for the trip with the poker

TABLE CHOICE

If the location you are at has several tables spread of the specific game and limit you want to play; take the time to watch the level and intensity of play before committing to a seat or table. If the game is extremely volatile with excessive raising and reraising; will you be comfortable in such an environment? If another table has only 1 or 2 "live players" and the rest are "rocks", will this be a profitable table for you if the majority of the players are at your playing level or perhaps even superior to you? The most profitable game long run is a table with several passive "calling stations" who are not aggressive but basically continuously call and follow the other player's leads. The better players at a table especially if they are at an expert level will rarely knock heads and tend to avoid each other as it is just as easy to throw away a marginal or even a good starting hand and wait for the next, especially when a player that has just folded 10 hands in a row comes in firing aggressively. These are the types of decisions that will make you money (or prevent you from losing money) in the long run.


Never play at a limit or table that is intimidating to you. Scared play generally tends to be poor play. Never play with "food" money. If you are dipping into your funds that you need for general daily necessities; then you can't afford to play and may have a gambling problem if you do

HOW LONG DO I PLAY? WHEN DO I QUIT FOR THE DAY?

Generally, do not lose more on a table than what you would consider to be a good win for the table. For example, if you are on a 4-8 game (any game) and you consider based on the chemestry of the players that a good win would be $200.00, then this would be a good "stop" limit to set should things go poorly and you are losing at the table. Why drop $700.00 on a table that you would be very happy if you walked away with a $200.00 win? This of course can vary. If you are still fresh and know for sure that you are one of the top 3 players on the table and you are not on "tilt" (letting temper/ego/frustration govern your play), then perhaps it might be wise to stay. But there are days that even if you are by far the superior player on the table; things don't go right. And on these days (we all have them), leave your ego on the table and take your relatively small loss. See a movie!! Be with your family!! Exercise!!......Whatever!! Live to fight another day. This is one of the hardest things for a good player to do. To accept the fact that on this day he (or she) is beaten. Going on tilt tends to be fruitless and very expensive overall.

I have to tell you folks an amazing story that took place yesterday (10/11/13) at a local omaha hi-lo game. Good game, relatively lo limit ($4-$8) but with lots of action and raising, both preflop and after the flop. Anyway, there's a player whose name we shall say is "Silly Sadie" who is one of the habitual losing players at this game and all the other games she frequents. Anyway, yesterday she is actually ahead...about $390 and BOLDLY ANNOUNCES that she won't leave until she wins $400. Ok folks, remember, other than the name, this is a TRUE STORY. She proceeds to quickly lose the $390 she was up and than buys in for another $300 which she promptly loses. So let's think about this for a minute. In her quest to win an additional $10.00 to satisfy her whim to win $400, she blows $690. Can you believe it? Sad but True.

MONEY MANAGEMENT PEOPLE.....GET IT INTO YOUR HEADS.

CALCULATING POT ODDS...IS IT PROFITABLE TO CALL?

The ability to calculate pot odds is a necessary part of any poker player's game. When is it profitable to call vs. realizing that the "odds are against you" and it's time to fold the hand?

The easiest way to calculate pot odds is to compare the total number of unknown cards to how many outs you have, and then do some simple division. For example, in a Texas Holdem game you have 2 suited cards in your hand with the ace of that suit and you are four to a nut flush on the turn (4th street) of a Texas Hold'em game and need only one more of the suit, there are 46 unknown cards, (52 minus your 2 pocket cards and 4 on the board). The cards in the other players hands or what has already been folded are part of the unknown card group. Of those 46 cards, 9 are the same suit as your flush draw. So 37 cards will not help you, while 9 will give you the nut flush hand.

Your odds are: 37/9, or more simply, 4.1 to 1 odds AGAINST making your draw. To make this call profitable, there has to be at least 4x the amount of your bet in the pot to make this a proper "pot odds" call. So if you were playing a game of $5/$10 limit, then there would need to be at least $40 already in the pot to justify your calling that $10 bet to see the river. If you continuously make calls without having an idea of your pot odds, you are fighting a losing battle and will probably lose in the long run.

QUICK BAD BEAT STORY:

Trying to quality for the WSOP $10,000 main event by winning a satellite offered at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Ruidoso, NM on 06/06/05. Just have to win my table to get to the next step which guaranteed a decent money prize with first prize being $11,500 total ($10,000 for the WSOP event. 4 people left and I am a 2-1 chip leader. I'm on the button with pocket jacks. Push in $1500 and I get one caller who goes all in and I have to put in an additional $600 in chips to call which I do. Flop comes up J, K, 3 (rainbows). I flop TRIP JACKS. Turn is a 10, and the river brings a Queen. He has an A-4 and beats me with a miracle straight. Next hand I'm in I'm in the big blind with a 10-4 offsuit and nobody raises so I get to see the flop. Flop comes up 10-4-2. I have 2 pairs. Another player leads off, everybody folds to me and I push him all in. Turns out he has 10-6 and of course you know what the story is. On the river he hits a 6. Last hand I'm in I have $10,000 in chips and the other remaining player has $15,000. I'm in the blind and the other player pushes all in. I look at my cards to see to Black pockets ACES. He had pushed me in with a Q-4 offsuit. Can I ask for anything better?  He bluffed and I had him trapped with pocket aces. Flop comes up nothing nothing Queen. I am still way in the lead. Turn brings nothing. And you know the rest of the story. River brings a 4 and I lose the tournament that it was virtually impossible for me to lose. I know this has happened to everybody but this was the worst nightmare beating I have ever experienced. I can just barely talk about it now...lol. When I lost with the pocket aces, I simply told the other player....."Good Tournament" and left the casino. Oh Well!

Another "Bad Beat" Story

Went to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play in a WSOP Main Event qualifying tournament over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend. 117 entries...top prize gets $10,000 entry fee + 3 days stay at hotel plus $1000 spending money. All players making the final table get a piece of the pie. Entry fee was $150.00 so it was reasonable. Anyway, several rounds have gone by and there are 55 players left and I'm getting a bit "short stacked". I'm on the button and a player in early position pushes all in and I have watched this guy basically "bullying" the table for the entire duration. So everybody folds and when it's my turn, I look down and see red pocket 9's...not a spectacular hand but reasonable and based on this guys actions, I probably have him beat. So I go all in and I have read it perfectly. The guy had pocket 4's...actually a better hand than I suspected he had but I'm a prohibitive favorite. To make a long story short, he flops a 4 and that's the end of the story.

All I can say is if you have played well but get beaten by somebody else lucking out, there's nothing you can do and you shouldn't beat yourself to death over it. One of these days, I'm going to win with the better starting hand in a tournament and then watch out...I'll be dangerous.

EL PASO POKER

I'm primarily playing in El Paso Home Games of late...which are pretty much 4-8 omaha hi lo games or 1-2 No Limit Holdem Games. Doing well in both although I must say I'm bored with the 4-8 limit although I will continue to play it when I really don't have any other choices available in town. The younger kids all want to play NL Holdem...I guess it provides the "adrenaline" rush they feel they need. A couple drift into the Omaha Hi Lo game and get bored quickly or take some big losses in it because of total lack of understanding of the game.

There are interesting characters at all the games..I suppose I am considered to be one of them by many of the players...lol. And I suppose I am.

And for those that think poker is "All Luck"; let me say this. Overall, the same people win each week and each month and the same people lose. It's a very obvious pattern. What does that tell you? Are the consistent winners just "Lucky"?

EDUCATION FOLKS...LEARN ABOUT THE GAME. LEARN ABOUT ODDS. LEARN ABOUT STARTING HAND CRITERIA. THAT'S HOW YOU BEAT POKER IN THE LONG RUN.


PLAYING AGAINST A MANIAC

Now in many cases, there are big advantages playing against a maniac or extremely aggressive wild player.

In El Paso, there's one player that I affectionately call "Crazy Joe" who raises every hand pre-flop and if it's reraised he will always cap it...often without looking at his hand (for reals). And every single hand is raised by him preflop, again usually before he looks at his hand.

Now certainly if things are going well, this can be incredibly financially rewarding, but on a bad day..whoa!!

In my opinion, the best rule of thumb whether you're having a good or off day is to really tighten up your starting hand criteria. Because if you're playing loosely, you are willing to take the risk of at least 1 preflop raise and often having it capped before the flop. I guess this is the result of surging "testosterone" and the urge to show Crazy Joe that you're not scared of his financial antics. Because although Joe usually loses, it doesn't mean that you're going to be the winner at the end of the night. Oh yeah, somebody is going to win and maybe several people, but it may not necessarily be you.

So...don't be scared. Consider it an opportunity to be on a table with a "Live Wire" such as "Crazy Joe", but also be respectful and don't get caught up in the temptation to go for the ride with him thinking you will have a huge payday. If you tighten up and be careful, you very well good have a great outing, but if you loosen up because it seems like fun and you're playing with a Lottery mentality, you're going to leave the table driving home wondering what the heck just happened and wondering how your money disappeared from your wallet.

Just for the record, "Crazy Joe" really does exist and in reality, he is a quiet, sort of reserved guy with a heart of gold.  Drinks way too much at the games but when he loses, he NEVER COMPLAINS and will usually compliment you on a "Good Hand". The difference between the "Average Joe" and "Crazy Joe" is that the crazy version can afford to lose and the experience of pushing the table around and scaring folks is fun to him. He doesn't care if he loses.

Can you say the same thing?


BAD STREAKS


Well, here I am facing a dilemma I never thought I would experience. As I had posted earlier, In Nov 2013 I had gone 2-8 over a 10 outing period. Yech

I THINK THE BAD STREAK IS OVER.

 It's now 12/29/13. Good news is that I think the losing streak has been nipped in the bud.

I am 5-0 for my last 5 outing with a decent total for the 5 days.

What I did I think to stop the bleeding was to tighten up my starting hand criteria. When you are losing for several sessions, it's easy to get "inventive" to try to make the losing go away and usually what happens is you lengthen and intensify the losing experience.

This doesn't mean I'll never lose again (though that would be nice). I know I'll lose plenty of times in the bigger long term scheme of things in poker. However, my confidence is back and I'm feeling good about my game.

So hopefully my losing streak will help some of you if you are in a similar dilemma. Don't get inventive. Analyze your game. Odds are you're involved with more hands than you should be.  This "leakage" will cost money in the long run. During these bad spans, tighten up your game even more and if you're unable to do so or find yourself going on tilt easily, stop playing for awhile. Even if you have to stop for weeks or months, it's best to allow yourself whatever time it takes to get your head and game back on straight.

Have an interesting poker story to tell? Let us hear it. Maybe we'll learn from it or maybe just laugh. Either way we look forward to your contribution.

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