PartTimePoker now has a podcast, initially running biweekly and hosted by myself and WSOP gold bracelet winner Andrew Barber. Meanwhile, in the poker world, Ankush Mandavia has won the WPT California Swing; Alex Kostritsyn has had a phenomenal week and Caesar’s Entertainment has not; and one Vietnamese gambler has had the worst week of all.

PTP Podcast Episode 1: Introductions

To start off the first episode of our new podcast, Andrew Barber and I introduce ourselves and our plans for the show. I talk about my various past lives as a physics major, English teacher, graphic designer, game author, and Andrew tells us how he got into poker.


We kick off our news segment by discussing the recent 4-1 defeat of world Go champion Lee Sedol by Google’s AlphaGo AI, why that’s so surprising, and what it means for poker and for humanity in general. Andrew is optimistic of the potential of AI for society, but as a games guy, I’m sad to see how rapidly humanity’s last bastions against artificial intelligence are falling in that world.

The next topic we look at is last week’s story about Ivan Luca facing off against his girlfriend Maria Lampropoulos for the title in the Eureka Poker Tour Rozvadov Main Event. Controversy ensued, as some accused Luca of having soft played Lampropoulos during three-handed play. Andrew and I weigh in how likely we think it is that this was the case, and how widespread soft play and other forms of collusion are in tournaments in general.

Your play: thin value on the river?

Most instalments of our podcast will finish up with a strategy segment, in which Andrew and I go over a hand together. Sometimes it will be a hand one of us actually played, while other times it will be chosen from the recap of a high-level tournament, such as a WPT or EPT Main Event or the World Series of Poker. Either way, only the host who chose the hand in question will know in advance how it turned out; the other will try to think his way through it on air and detail his thought process for you, after which we’ll compare his move to what actually happened.

The hand we’ll be looking at for our first episode is one I played in a recent $110 Mix Max tournament at Playground Poker, and involves the decision of whether or not to go for thin value on the river. It’s early in the tournament, so we’re still playing with a full table, and stacks are quite deep, around 200 big blinds on average.

Just one hand earlier, we’d turned a flush against the villain in question and gotten maximum value from it. Now he opens to 5 big blinds from under the gun, possibly indicating that he’s tilting about losing that big pot and doesn’t want to get “sucked out on” again. We make an exploitative call from the button with Jack-Nine offsuit and flop QJ9 for bottom two pair, then just call his large continuation bet.

The turn is a King, which is bad for us, but his turn bet is small relative to the pot, not much larger than what he bet on the flop. Again, we just call. The river is a blank, and now he checks. With several better hands than ours in his range, and the fact that both of us need to be concerned about a Ten making a straight, will we get called by worse hands often enough to try for thin value?

What’s your move? Listen to the podcast to find out what I did, what Andrew would have done, and how the hand turned out.

Podcast Links

If you’ve listened to the podcast and want to read more about some of the stories we discussed, these are the links to the relevant articles here on PartTimePoker.

Quick Hitters

– The California Swing is a yearly feature of the World Poker Tour, consisting of three events in rapid succession, all held in the state you’d expect. These three events have their own mini-leaderboard and this year’s winner is none other than Ankush Mandavia. All the GPL managers who passed him over in the draft may now be regretting the missed marketing opportunity!

– Alex Kostritsyn has had a phenomenal week at the nosebleed cash game tables online, booking nearly three quarters of a million in profit. His hot streak included a $171,000 pot which he took down without even going to showdown.

– The legal woes of Caesar’s Entertainment continue unabated. CZR stock plunged 15% on Wednesday in the aftermath of an unfavorable bankruptcy report.

– What’s worse than going losing your shirt gambling? Borrowing money from the wrong people and losing that as well. What’s worse than that? Getting held hostage by those same people. Worse still? Finding yourself arrested on suspicion of murder after police mistake you for being one of the hostage-takers yourself. And you thought your downswings were bad!