Podcast on poker, with a focus on the members and friends of The Back Room, the participant-driven poker study forum. Hosted by Chris M., aka Persuadeo and Dean Martin. Visit us at persuadeo.nl
PZ 89: Porter Returns & 2023 Poker Review
OOP Oberleutnant Greg Porter returns to the Zoo pod for an update on his successful career as poker pro. I can’t believe it’s been six years! Time has really flown since the early days of our little group and teaching community.
Greg is an indispensable and senior member of said little community. He runs the OOP training games, providing high-level poker feedback, and specialized coaching. Greg edits my more challenging pieces and, more importantly, provides timely puns in the Poker Zoo chat.
On today’s episode, we hear about his games, and in particular about the influence of the Stand-up Game on mid/high action.
We then go through some of the highlights of 2023 in poker, the year of Doyle’s departure, Berkey’s ascension, and the long-needed return of produced poker content. Speaking of, here’s that opinion piece where I called for the return of production and writing to poker media.
After a short mental game interlude, we get into some hands from his local games.
A previous episode with Porter.
Here’s today’s hands discussed:
Hand #1 10/25 6.3Ke 8h
s2 c 88ds
Hand #2 10/20/40 8Ke 8h
s1 650 AJss
Best wishes in 2024.
PZ 88: Washington State Poker with Mannes N
It’s been a long time since I played in Washington, but the scene continues to evolve, however strangely. See, it’s all about the weird rules and regulations. Podcast guest Mannes N. gives us an update on the state of the games.
The most important details are the rules for the tribal casinos and the rules for non-tribals, which are particularly hard on the poker player. To complicate matters, the tribes have basically quit the poker business, taking the big bets with them, and forcing all the traffic into small rooms around (but not within) Seattle.
Basically, that’s why Eric Persson, owner of many of the small poker rooms, can punt your rake money off at a surprising rate. It’s a great time to own a poker room in Washington State.
Mannes regularly plays at the Caribbean and Fortune rooms, two of the most popular in the current Seattle poker market. He occasionally posts on his “Owlkeeper” blog about poker, mainly tournament trips to Vegas. Here’s a post regarding the local games.
Living in the Raleigh, NC area, Mickey and I started to frequent bar league freeroll tournaments (lots of fun) and landed in our first home game, a low stakes NL progressive-blinds game upping the blinds every 30 minutes.
My first live cash tournament was at Mirage, 2009. I fearfully deposited the $85 buyin and with about 23 runners won the event for something like $575. Needless to say I had no idea what I was doing, played like a passive nit and ran well.
In the second part of the pod, we go over a couple hands under the Spread Limit regime.
– Cardroom: Fortune Renton, 3/5, buyin cap 1,000, betting cap 300. Discuss the 300 constraint and if/how it should influence play.
– Stack: 1080 (216 BB)
– Setup: 8 handed, Villain is Vpiping higher than most of the table, no prior history
– Hero is in S4, Main V is S5 (using the S1=Small Blind convention)
– S3 limp/call
– Hero S4 with A6hh 20
– Villian S5 call, V’s stack covers me
– Pot 60 after $8 rake
Flop: 652 with one heart
– S3 check/fold
– Hero S4 check/call
– S5 40
– Pot 140
– Hero S4 check/call
– S5 80
– Pot 300
River: offsuit 8
– Hero S4 check/ action to be revealed
– S5 250
– Cardroom: Caribbean Kirkland, 1/3, buyin cap 590, betting cap 300. Caribbean recently became part of Maverick gaming owned by Eric Persson of high stakes cash game infamy. The clientele is generally older than that of Fortune, it also gets some of the local tech crowd.
– Stack 515
– Setup: 7 handed, early in the session
– Hero is in S2 (bb)
– S4 10. This is “Jack” a 70-ish fun player who was once ejected from another cardroom for smuggling hard liquor in his “water bottle”. Likely playing a linear range with a short stack of approx. $110.
– S7 call, s approx $400. When he sat down he was introduced by someone else as an “action player” and seemed to live up to the tagline so far.
– Hero S2 with AQo call
– Pot 30 after rake
Flop: A86 rb
– Hero S2 check/ call
– S4 20
– S7 call
– Pot 90
Turn brick – think it was a 2
– Hero S2 check / 165
– S4 40/ call for approx 80 all in
– S7 call/call leaving 200 behind
– Pot 500
– Hero S2 check/ action to be revealed
– S7 200 all in
Mannes is also a thoughtful commenter on my blog, I want to thank him and all those readers who like t...
PZ 87: Enrico Camosci’s Tournament Focus
The poker world loves tournaments in the 2020’s. Online, tournament culture is vital and MTT-heavy while cash game action stalls. GG has challenged Pokerstars with huge tournaments series. U.S.-facing ACR continues to thrive. As for the live scene, everyone is amazed at the action, with WSOP and WPT now vying almost non-stop for your dollars; did I see they were bringing back the NAPT? I give in. Today we talk with one of the best in tournament poker, Enrico Camosci, and hear what it takes to rise to the top of the MTT food chain.
Enrico has had a huge 202o’s so far, with an online bracelet and multiple big results, leaving him with about $2.5 million in online wins. In Spring he took third for a massive score at the EPT Monte Carlo high roller; maybe that’s why he’s even started to scale back the grind and hang with the live whales.
Despite his success, the only way you may know him is that Enrico was the televised victim of a curious slow roll that got a little attention in 2021. Not really sure what Sam Grafton is thinking here.
In this interview I didn’t focus on results and trophies too much, but process. I wanted to hear how Enrico got to the top of the (specifically Euro) MTT world, and so I asked a lot of questions about what he does. In general, it sounds like an intense dive into specific spots but also returning to the spot later, in cyclical fashion, is his studying and coaching key. It’s certainly true that two weeks on a single board BU V BB is going to yield a lot of fruit, for instance, but you must also come back to it to truly own the knowledge.
I’m thinking he’s doing it right. If I study like him, can I be a thirty-year old vacationing in Paris, tired from beating the games in Monte Carlo? Definitely.
Once a novelty, there is now even a school of thought that tournaments have more complexity than cash games; with changing stacks, levels, and tougher competition, I think they may be right. Hope you enjoy my first chat with Enrico. You can find him on Insta, and also contact him at his in-development coaching site, MTTgod.
PZ 86: Richie Brodie
Vegas is home to more than just gaming, it is home to the history of those games and to those who created that history. Richie Brodie, lifelong “poker bum,” has played with all the greats, from Doyle and his “southern” crew, to the Mayfair’s Erik Seidel, to California’s rising 1990’s NL scene with Bobby Hoff and Barry Greenstein (along with an apparently more reluctant Dan Harrington). Today we hear his story and the story of a whole age of poker, from the pre-internet obscurity of the late seventies to a comfortable seat at the Sahara deepstack game of the Covid era.
Richie starts in upper New York but is soon drawn to the Nevada games, led by his older brother, a gambler and expert sports bettor. I say Nevada deliberately, as there is a great deal of less-told history surrounding Reno, Tahoe, San Jose, and the rest of western cards; Las Vegas just wasn’t the only place. As Richie emphasizes, the games moved, and the players followed, from famous rooms to forgotten obscurities. (One of the casinos Richie mentions, Harvey’s in Tahoe, was even bombed.)
It sounds like a lot of fun: a bunch of guys who love poker gathering at Caesar’s Tahoe for two weeks of around-the-clock-play.
Think again. This is serious business.
The approximately 100 entrants in the casino’s third annual Superstars of Poker tournament huddle intently around the fifteen tables in the roped-off tournament area.
Their concentration is so intense it is nearly impenetrable. Neither the smoke hanging heavy in the air nor the persistent clanking of coins in nearby slot machines is enough to jolt the players out of their poker-induced trance.
A television broadcasting a college basket all game goes unnoticed for hours. Finally, a passing cocktail waitress turns it off.
from the Reno Gazette-Journal, “Poker More Than a Game for Tournament Players,” probably early 1990’s
For point of reference, when Richie first started playing seriously in the late seventies, David Sklansky, with whom he would soon be playing against, had just published Hold’em Poker, one of the first modern poker books. Doyle Brunson’s Super System would not appear until 1979.
I think I missed some questions that poker players would like – the real details of the games, and I mean down to the nitty gritty: what were the sizings, how many players per hand, and such. We know Bobby Hoff introduced a lot of three betting, but what about the others? Yet Richie hints at the answer during the interview, “in reality,” he comments, “the games haven’t changed that much, but the number of players who know what they are doing has.” I think we know what that means.
Enjoy this interview full of poker history.
PZ 85: Gerard Moves On
Picture late 2019. Britain was finally Brexiting, Trump was somehow still presidenting, and general protests for a more liberal, freer society were happening all over the world- remember Hong Kong? Remember life before mask and vaccine discourse? That’s when I last talked with Gerard S., aspiring pro and studied player who had worked with a number of noted pros and organizations, including Fausto Valdez and Solve For Why. Gerard had a poker blog, a girlfriend, a residence in sunny Florida, and was finishing up a year cleaning up at live ring games and MTTs.
Then it happened: Covid went from zero public awareness to a full-blown hysterical crisis that would shape the next decade. Covid would also trigger a sequence of events that changed everything for Gerard and his poker life. Soon he’d be signed up with Poker Detox and battling not only to beat the games, but to understand them at a new level, all while making rent.
Today, we find out where he’s at and what he’s learned.
As any poker player will tell you, a significant element of skill is involved in winning at the tables long-term. However, it’s also important to acknowledge the role luck plays in poker too.
We have zero control or say over the poker hands the dealer gives us. Nor do we have any control over the community cards dealt on the flop, turn and river. These variable outcomes can cause short-term volatility in your poker results, known as variance.
Game selection has a major bearing on the cause of variance in poker. If your preference is to enter vast, multi-table tournaments with fields of hundreds or thousands of players, it’s fair to say your poker bankroll will encounter immense variance. That’s because these big-field tournaments carry so much volatility. If you’re playing for hours or even days, it’s possible to experience run-good and then run into the brick wall of a downswing and be knocked out before you’ve even made the money.
-from “What is Variance in Poker?” by poker.org
The Poker Zoo often visits with Coaching for Profits players, check out episodes such as
Episode 43: Luka turns to CFP and Nick Howard
Episode 40: Coaching for Profits with KYT
Episode 36: Odb_Blackbaron/DLF on CFP
PZ 71: More Coaching, More Profits, with Luka V – Out of Position (persuadeo.nl)
and others, including from a coaching perspective.
Food in this episode:
Hot Pepper Jelly
2 C Green Bell Peppers cut into pieces for the food processor
1/2 C Jalapenos, chopped – Seeds & webbing removed
For a red version, substitute red bell peppers and just 1/4 C thai chilies
Combine these in a food processor and mince accordingly
Pepper mash from the food processor
5 3/4 C Sugar
1 C White Vinegar
1 Bottle Certo (or 2 pkgs) This is just Sure Jell or any fruit pectin
Combine Pepper mash, sugar and vinegar in a sauce pan and boil for 5 min, then turn heat off and leave for 20 minutes.
Add fruit pectin and boil hard for 2 minutes.
Ladle into small canning jars (we use pint size) and can using typical water bath canning procedure.
For a quick appetizer for parties, you can simply serve over a block of Philadelphia cream cheese.
If you have access to a smoker you can take it to the next level ...
PZ 84: SDJen to Vegas Grinder
Swirling beneath the never explicit politics of the poker scheme is the treatment of so-called “recreational” player. A lot of condescending, hypocritical stuff is said every day, on every platform, by every talking head about this source of all poker income. Occasionally, however, that tension is resolved when one decides to stop donating and start taking his own, or in this case, her own.
Jen Gianera is one of those players who decided to turn it around, and to great effect. Since taking on actual poker theory and not the Tips & Tricks clickbait that fuels the mediocre and parasitical poker training industry – APT is still, almost unbelievably, shockingly grabbing novice dollars – Jen has flown through the ranks and is now profitable at all the cash games stakes she has tried.
Of course, nothing is that easy or simple. Jen already has the advantage of being both more hard-working and more curious than many poker players. She also has the time and leisure to play and study on her own pace, having retired to Las Vegas after a busy and successful career serving the law and the people in southern California.
On today’s pod, we talk about her process of coming to be a winner. We go over the Las Vegas low-stakes scene, which has its hot and cool spots. Jen talks about the Sahara game, now coming to a pause after nice long run: can its success be duplicated elsewhere?
(Unfortunately we missed covering her rungood at slots and such – how do they do it? No one knows.)
We finish by reviewing an ambiguous spot from her run at the Monster Stack in this year’s WSOP – with competing incentives, how and why do fundamentals solve our problems for us when we are potentially destined to lose no matter what?
Monster Stack WSOP 300/500/500 9 handed 50Ke me
9 c (villain)
1 c QJss
Flop Jc9s6d (8000)
Turn Ts (8000)
River 4s (14,000)
If you are interested in becoming a better poker player, this is the podcast for you. Informative hand reviews, interesting interviews and all the poker theory you can handle. Thank you.
Best poker podcast!
Interesting mix group of personalities. Give wonder poker life stories from farce of life. The host give a great in-depth analysis on hand history. Definitely the best podcasts for serious and casual poker player. A must listen!
One of the best poker podcasts available. Strategy, analysis, theory and interviews put together in a way that is neither overwrought nor underplayed.