Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


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    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    Why You Shouldn't Break the Cardinal Rules of Poker

    Because the goddam cardinal rules are there for a reason--to keep you from losing money you shouldn't lose. The cardinal rule I broke recently is one I read this very day in Cloutier and McEvoy's No-Limit book. Let me paraphrase, since I don't have the book handy--they say that the stupidest thing you can do is try to bluff a bad player. A bad player doesn't know well enough to lay down a marginal hand, so by bluffing you're just giving him your money.

    So why the hell did I make that very mistake yesterday? Because I got frustrated, and I tilted, that's why. I pride myself on my even keel, but lately I find myself going nutso over some of the lousy play we all see at Party. I know the reason why--I've been playing satellites for Party's Million Dollar tournament, and by playing smart and tight I get down to the last 50-60 sports, but then I get killed by some loon who lucked into a big stack by going all-in with 2nd pair and rivering some other loon. I feel like I should be doing better in these satellites, but I haven't gotten a big enough stack to really play an aggressive game. Tonight I managed to get some chips early on, but I couldn't get things going once the blinds went up. I got knocked out when I went all-in with JJ, hoping that the 3 limpers and the big blind would run away from a $1100 re-raise. Ah, no. Two players called me--one with AQ suited, one with 99. Of course a nine came on the flop, but I had a straight draw up to the river, when my hopes and dreams died yet again. Oh well, I gotta get to bed anyway, so thems the breaks.

    But back to my horrible play the other day. I was seated to the right of a frothing, twitching maniac. I played about 50 hands against him, and I'd say he played 48 of them. I do remember him folding twice, but only twice. I'd say he raised about 75% of the time. Every time the betting was checked around to him after the flop, he bet the pot. Every time.

    The mistake this nut made was showing his cards after a few of his wins. He was raising preflop and betting the pot with hands like 8-4 and an eight on the board. He beat me once when he held 33 and I had JJ, he caught his trips on the river and took down the pot. Thing is, I'd raised preflop and then raised after a ragged flop, only to have him come over the top of me. I didn't bet the turn, and he bet into me again. I called, and then he caught his trips on the river. I don't know what logic he used to make these bets, but this time the poker gods shone down on him.

    He beat me again when my QQ lost to his KK, but that crap happens. He took about $20 from me, and probably $40 from everyone else. Now was the time for me to take a deep breath, relax, and wait for the hand that would allow me to win my money back. It was just a matter of time.

    I waited about 20 hands and got zilch. Meanwhile Laughing Boy was playing like Gus Hansen on crystal meth. Here's where I made a boo-boo. I had AK and raised his big blind the max amount. He called. The flop came Q-9-6. Normally with AK I hit the brakes if the flop misses me. This time, when he bet a buck, I came over the top of him and raised him the pot. He re-raised me. What the hell do I do now? Like a lamb, I called and prayed for a big card on the turn. This time God said, "No". He bet a buck. I re-raised him. He re-raised me the pot. I had to decide whether I should invest another $12 in this foray. I tossed my cards in the muck, disgusted with myself.

    I didn't get another hand to play back with this guy. He made almost $100 playing ludicrous poker. He did get beat a few hands in a row, but then he won a monster $50 pot when he hit his club on the river to make his flush. I wouldn't stayed at the table for like 6 hours with this guy, but I got a call from my friend Ted to go play tennis and I chose sun and exercise over existential card-related misery.

    I'll be illustrating other examples of when I, who considers himself a reasonably astute player, have played like one who has his head thrust between his buttocks. I hope there won't be many such examples, but I have a couple in my head right now. I do this both to correct and improve my own play, and because I feel the need to flagellate myself in public. Though only figuratively, these days... get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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