Alchemy or Fool’s Gold?

I’ve got a new article on Learn.PokerNews that addresses one of my (many) pet peeves, the idea that satellites are a good choice for players with limited bankrolls:

Winning $480 in a satellite doesn’t magically make it a good idea for you to buy into a $480 tournament any more than winning $480 in any other tournament (or inheriting $480, for that matter) would. If you win the satellite, your bankroll is $430 bigger than it was before, but still not nearly large enough to justify entering this tournament. The problem is that once you win the seat, you generally have no choice but to enter.

I’m also a bit embarrassed to see that I made a reference to “the promises of medieval alchemists to turn water into gold”. Alchemists were actually seeking methods of turning common metals like lead into gold – don’t know where I got water from. Anyway, hope you find the article helpful.

Episode 76: “Doctor” Pauly McGuire

You might know Pauly Maguire from his Tao of Poker blog. Or his Tao of Pauly blog. Or the Dope Stories podcast that he co-hosts with Shane Schleger (our interviews with Shane here and here). Or from his book Lost Vegas. He joins us on the show to talk about Dope Stories, Las Vegas, strip clubs, and David Foster Wallace. We couldn’t quite get this episode out on 4/20, but we came as close as we could!

Plus Nate and Andrew talk about the resolution of the Borgata counterfeit chips debacle and how to get what you want with pocket Kings.


0:30 Hello & Welcome; counterfeit chips at Borgata
32:23 Interview: Pauly McGuire
88:14 Strategy: Pre- and post-flop decisions with pocket Kings

Guess the Guest – Episode 76

The new episode won’t be out until tomorrow night. Sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment that causes, but I think you’ll find it worth waiting for. Just to whet your appetite, here are a few of things we discussed: the need for rational conversation about drugs, the dark heart of Las Vegas, and David Foster Wallace. Can you guess who the guest is?

What’s Your Play? Jacks in Multiway Pot Results

Thanks for all the comments on this week’s What’s Your Play?, and sorry for the lack of response on my end; it proved to be an unexpectedly hectic week.

Important Points About Multiway Pots

I want to start by making two observations about multi-way pots:

1. It is not necessarily exploitable to fold a large portion of your range in a multiway pot. This is because the “burden” of making the bettor indifferent to bluffing does not lie solely with you. In this example, between the two of you, BB and you would need to continue to this bet approximately 66% of the time to make UTG indifferent to betting a pure bluff. Here, because Hero’s range is much stronger than BB’s, more of the burden lies with Hero, and I don’t mean to say that this is an easy fold. However, the analysis isn’t as simple as “Hero is near the top of his range, so folding would be exploitable.”

2. Other players, even reasonably good ones, tend to be more straightforward in multi-way pots. Judging from the comments, I may have made the Villains seem like better players than they probably were. They weren’t superstarts, they just weren’t obviously bad. I suppose that saying now that I think UTG will be more honest than he should be is in fact in direct conflict with my description of “no obviously exploitable tendencies”, but I do think you see a lot of people who play pretty well in heads up pots who will still make mistakes in multiway pots.

Episode 75: Sam Grafton

Sam Grafton’s post-graduate studies in critical theory make him the first guest capable of schooling Andrew on Foucault. We talk about staking and swapping, the importance of social capital to success in poker, the blurred line between poker and gambling, the extent to which the poker world operates independently of traditional government and economic institutions, and Sam’s political activism.

Sam is a video producer at Run It Once. You can read his columns in UK PokerPlayer and follow him on Twitter @squidpoker.

For more great strategy content, be sure to pick up the Thinking Poker Premium Podcasts and sign up for Tournament Poker Edge.


0:30 – Hello and Welcome
3:58 -Interview: Sam Grafton
57:30 – Strategy: Queens with a King on the Board


Blinds are 200/400/25 ante. Hero (42,900) opens to 1600 in MP1 with QQ. Villain (57,675) calls in the CO, and the Button also calls.

Flop (5900): Kc 6h 5c 3 players. Hero bets 2500, Villain calls, Button folds.

Turn (10,900): Th (board Kc 6h 5c Th). Hero checks, Villain bets 10,000 into 10,900.

River (30,900): 2d (board Kc 6h 5c Th 2d). Hero checks. Villain bets 20,000 into 30,900.

What’s Your Play? Jacks in Multiway Pot

What's Your Play?This hand is from a $5/$10 game at Maryland Live, currently playing 7-handed. Both Villains seem pretty competent with regard to sizing, bluffing, value betting, etc and have no blatantly exploitable tendencies. My best guess is that they have a similar view of Hero.

UTG opens for $35. I call Js Jd in the CO, the Button and BB call.

Flop ($145 in pot) 5c 4s 2h. BB checks, UTG bets $105, I call, Button folds, BB calls.

Turn ($460 in pot) 9h. BB checks, UTG bets $275 with $670 behind. I have about $1500 behind, and BB covers.

What’s your play and why? Post your thoughts and comments here, and I’ll post results as well as my own thoughts this weekend (maybe as early as Friday, maybe not until Sunday, going to be a busy week).


Evaluating Bluffs

I’ve got a new series now going live at Tournament Poker Edge. It’s called Evaluating Bluffs, and it’s a hand history review with an emphasis on considering whether and with what range I should have bluffed in various situations. More than that, it’s a case study in how to conduct a hand history review more generally, as I believe that focusing on a specific topic and trying to come away with some specific items on which you can take action are important.

This series is only available to members, so if you haven’t already, you should sign up for Tournament Poker Edge now to get access to all of my videos plus hundreds more.

Episode 74: Clayton Fletcher

Clayton Fletcher, professional poker player and comedian, talks about growing up in a poker playing family (his mother is also a professional poker player!), how his two careers complement each other, and what he’s learned from each. Then, we talk about the strategic implications of playing against world-class players in a tournament with a generally soft field.

Clayton first came to our attention when he mentioned our show on Dennis Has a Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @claytoncomic and learn more about his upcoming shows from his website. Be sure to hit him up on Twitter if you want to check out the Clayton Fletcher Show at the New York Comedy Club.

In the opening, we mentioned a few of our past episodes, specifically our interviews with John the Lawyer and Ben Wilinofsky. The Premium Podcasts are available at


0:30 – Hello & Welcome; Andrew gets shunned
14:36 – Interview: Clayton Fletcher
59:01 – Strategy: Clayton Fletcher vs the World

Podcast Feeds
  • Subscribe with iTunes
  • Thinking Poker Podcast Feed
Join Us