Episode 139: Neil Blumenfield

Neil Blumenfield is third in chips at the final table of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event. At 61, he is also the second-oldest player ever to final table this event (the oldest, Pierre Neuville, will be competing against him this year).

Neil talks to us about this dubious honor as well as the other challenges facing him as an amateur, albeit a serious and accomplished one, among professionals.

You can root for Neil in November when ESPN airs the final table of the WSOP Main Event. If you’re in San Francisco, check out his girlfriend’s store.

Our strategy hand comes to us from the author of A Main Event Rookie Lives the Dream.


:30 – hello and welcome
12:40 – strat
54:30 – interview


Blinds 2000/4000/300. UTG2 (80K) limps. Hero has JJ in the HJ and raises to 12,000. BB calls and the limper folds.

Flop (34.5K in pot) Q-6-8r. BB checks, Hero bets 20K, BB calls.

Turn (75K in pot) Q86Jr. BB checks, Hero bets 65K, BB calls.

River (205K)  Q-6-8-J-10. BB shoves 70K.

Episode 138: Homeless, Jobless, and Alone

Carlos Welch is on the show with his most aggressive cost-cutting idea yet: living in a van! Find out how he’s managing it and how his first few weeks have been, then be sure to watch him on Twitch and read his new blog for the latest updates.


0:30 Hello & Welcome
38:31 Strategy


$5/$10 NLHE, $3000 effective stacks. UTG opens to $50, Hero calls 9d 7d UTG1, SB and BB call.

Flop ($200) 6h 5s 4c. Check, check, UTG bets $100, everyone calls.

Turn ($600) 8h. Three checks, Hero bets $300, SB raises to $1000, two folds, Hero shoves, SB calls.

Episode 137: Ron Upshaw

Ron Upshaw hosts the Don and Ron Show on KIRO radio in Seattle, and is one of the people behind The Poker Academy. We talk to him about the radio game, the poker training game, and even the beekeeping game.


0;30 hello & welcome
17:00 strategy
34:54 ron upshaw


Three limps, I make it 30 on the button with JxJx, BB calls, two limpers call.
120 in the pot: Qx6d4d. k/k/k/60/snap-c/f/f
240 in the pot. Kx. k/k
240 in the pot. 6x. 190 / ?

Episode 136: Jamie Kerstetter

Jamie Kerstetter is a lawyer-turned-poker-pro with a long and colorful career. She talks about her decision to go pro, her first experiences playing live poker, moving to Mexico after Black Friday, the East Coast poker scene, the New Jersey online poker scene (she represents Party Poker), and sexism in poker.

You can follow Jamie on Twitter at @jamiekerstetter, and on Twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/jamiekerstetter. If you’re in New Jersey, you can play with her on Party Poker. Watch her videos on Tournament Poker Edge! You can read Barry Hutter’s comments about female players here. And most importantly, be nice to each other!


0:30 Hello and welcome
7:35 Strategy: A PLO hand
33:00 Interview: Jamie Kerstetter


$5/$5 PLO home game w $10 button straddle, I have $1350 (all villains cover), I oeld AcKc8h7h on the button (&straddle). Both blinds call, good aggressive player raises to $50 UTG, 2 players call, I call, blinds fold.

Pot is $210. Flop is Jc9c4h. UTG bets $200, one of the two interim players calls, I call.

Turn is 6h. UTG bets $400. Interim player fold. I call.

River is the Kd. UTG bets $800. I fold.

Mailbag: Checking For Balance

This is actually a question that was posed on the Tournament Poker Edge forums, so I’m paraphrasing it a bit here. It began with me arguing against checking KQ on a Q72r for “pot control” because there are plenty of run-outs where you can bet three streets for value (more than just the obvious ones where you improve your hand). I did say, though, that checking Q9 (or whatever are the weakest Queens you would have in your range) made sense.

Q: Hero raises from late position with Q9s and is called by the button. The flop is Q72r. Being out of position with a one-pair hand, shouldn’t I frontload my value? Sure, top pair is a good hand now, but the board will get scary later, and it will get harder to get paid off. I can see check-calling hands like JJ, but Q9 seems good enough to value bet. Basically you’re saying its important to put hands like top pair  (sets/2pair for balance) in our check/call range so that we can strengthen our check/call range as we will be folding too much to 2-3 barrels. Basically it allows us to get to showdown for cheaper with our marginal hand if we’re capable of taking the same line with our monsters/marginal hands? If Villain knows we’re capable of check/calling with monsters, they won’t bluff as much.

Episode 135: Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is a game designer and a writer for Part Time Poker. In this interview, we discuss what makes poker unique among games, how to strategize for unfamiliar poker variants, the art and business of game design, and how computers have changed the nature of gaming.

You can find Alex’s digital games and more information about his tabletop games at www.benefactum.ca. This is the article about journalistic integrity mentioned in the interview, and this is his post about Courchevel strategy (discussed in greater detail on Episode 48 of the Thinking Poker Podcast). The game designer Alex recommended is Vlaada Chvátil.

Here’s a follow-up article about Duck Flush.


0:30 hello & welcome
6:13 strategy: constructing ranges
20:25 interview: Alex Weldon

Episode 134: Julie Anna Cornelius

Before Julie Anna Cornelius became a professional poker player, she was a ballet dancer and a flight attendant working in the fleet of one of the poker world’s most notorious characters. In this interview, she shares her story and reflects on the nature of dedication, competition, talent. and hard work.

You can follow Julie Annie on Twitter @LuckyJadeJules.

Thanks to PokerWomenNews for suggesting this guest. If you enjoy our interview with Julie Anna, be sure to check out theirs.


:30 – hello
20:55 – strat
45:42 – interview


Hero: 89.00 Villain: 86.00, Effective Stacks 170bb

Folds to Villain on BTN

Villain (BTN) raises to 1.50
Hero (sb) 3 bets to 5.50 with Jc10c
BB Folds
BTN calls

Flop: 2c7h8c pot: 11.50

Hero bets 5.75
Villain calls

Turn comes 9s, board is 2c7h8c9s pot: 23
Hero bets 11.50
Villain calls

River comes 9h board is 2c7h8c9s9h pot 46
about 65 behind

Hero bets 19.50
Villain shoves 65

What’s Your Play? Big Draw, Short Stack Results

Thanks to everyone who commented on What’s Your Play? Big Draw, Short Stack. It got a lot more attention than I expected!

Folding is an Opportunity, Not a Cost

Props to those of you who mentioned the relevant toy game from Mathematics of Poker. That was the first thing I thought of when playing this hand, and it was the impetus for my posting it.

For those who aren’t familiar, Chen and Ankenman demonstrate that when you have a big draw against a made hand, it can actually be correct for you to move all-in on the flop, knowing you are behind and have no fold equity, rather than give your opponent the opportunity to blow you off of your equity on blank turns.

The critical difference between that toy game and this hand is that in the toy game, we assume that the made hand knows his opponent is drawing and can play perfectly on the turn. In other words, not only can he force the draw out on blank turns, but he can also correctly check and fold on turns that sharply improve his opponent’s equity. No commenters suggested that Villain might check and fold a 6 or a heart on the turn with any hand that would have called a flop shove, and rightfully so.

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