Just finished reading Lee Nelson’s new book Casino Malaysia Everyone. It is a great read, some very interesting stuff, and what seems to me, vital concepts about tournament play. I think the comment made about why to read it – because your opponents are – is very valid.

While I am sure all the concepts are sound, it always seems to me that the insistence to play optimum strategy to determine when you must fold, must call or must go all in still ignores the fact that you only have one life.

Sure, optimum strategy will give you a distinct advantage over many hands. But when your tournament life can end at any time with one unlucky break, what advantage does 5% or even 20% on a single hand really give you?

Still, to use against other good, thinking, and well read players, it is definitely going to increase the leverage.


Played the WAPL Pro game $40 buy in at the Market Tavern last night. I haven’t played a hand of poker for almost a month, and it really showed.

With pocket sixes and a good, tricky player to my right I called his BB. Everyone folded, SB called, BB raised about 3 x BB. I called, SB folded. Flop came all low rainbow with a six. I made a pot size bet and he folded. Stupid, with that flop I was way ahead and should have checked to trap for more chips.

A few hands later I called his pre-flop raise with A J suited. The flop came Ac 9h Jc. He checked, I figured I would trap and so I checked too. Turn was a 6c. He checked, I checked. River was a blank, he checked, I bet $200, he raised to $600. I called, he showed the flush. Stupid, stupid stupid. I should have at least made a bet that shut out the flush draw on the flop.

In the mean time, he had also picked up chips from two other all ins and so was a massive chip leader. He set about shutting down possible steals and speculative play, and continued to accumulate chips.

With the blinds increasing I was down to about 12x BB, and just waited for a hand I could push with. The tables recombined and the best hand I had with a full table was K4. I continued to wait, but was almost blinded away. In the BB for 400 with only 600 chips left I was all in with K2. Got called with A 10 and that was it for me.


My sister in law and her husband came over the other night. They are going on a cruise next week, and thought they would play some poker in the ships casino. So asked if I wouldn’t mid giving them a few pointers (well known an respected pro that I am – not), since I was the only person they knew that played poker,

Anywho, happy to do that. I jotted down about 20 points I thought we could cover, focusing on starting hands, position, and folding when likely to be beat. My plan was to deal a few hands face up and explain what to do with them and how to rank them and why, then touch on calculating outs and basic pot odds.

So I started dealing a few hands and discussing their relative merits, when my wife interrupts to ask if I can explain the hand rankings.

‘I’m doing that’ I say

‘No’ she says ‘you know, like what a pair is high than, and three of a kind and so on.’

Uh oh. I realize what those blank looks mean now – not their game faces after all.

Thirty minutes later, I think they have a bit of a grasp that an ace is the best high card, but not as good as a pair. But that glazed over look comes back as I try to move on to show the top 10 starting hands.

I decide to change tactics and just play some hands as if it were a real game.

I get everyone to keep all their bets in front of them, and their mucked cards, so we can analyze the hand at the end.

I had forgotten just how strong the propensity is for novice players to call everything with nothing. Liz (my sister in law) was calling any bet or raise with hands line Q 4, or 7 9, whether any card hit or not. Going over the hand, I asked her why, which turned out to be because a six had come and she thought (even on the river) that two more cards might hit to make her a straight.

Henry (her husband), fared a little better, unless his hand had an ace or any picture card. And that was enough to call any amount to the river in case he made a pair.

Look, they are completely novice players, and just wanted to learn a bit to play for fun on the boat. No problem, there is no criticism due them for that.

The point is to remember that, in the mind of a beginner, any two cards are good. They can not be bluffed, and they could be holding anything. Nor are they in any way readable after the flop, because they could have the nut hand, and not even know it. So risking all your chips with them on the non-nuts is not a wise move.

However, they are just has happy to throw in one chip as twenty. So lots of small pots when likely to have the best of it should ensure a steady in-bound flow of chips.

Well worth remembering at many low stakes games.