Fish Hunting in the Big Sky

Montana Poker and it’s fish!

A Fish Named Wanda or the 2 dumbest statements ever heard

Posted by montanapokerplayer on March 1, 2008

I may be a bit of a snob when it comes to local poker, there are too many people who take a long time to make simple decisions. Often times these players don’t even know what they should be thinking about and will make snap decisions when a call/raise/fold requires careful thought. Last night my table was full of these donkies! I saw players agonize over calling when getting 6 or even 8-1 on there money. However, if the pot odds were borderline and the way the betting had progressed was unusual, they stuck there money like keeping it back would mean it would turn into dust.

However, the big winner for the night in the fish sweepstakes is a little fish that I call Wanda. It should be said that Wanda is an improved player from the last few times we have been at a table together. That said she still over values face cards and draws. Her preflop raising strategy is approaching solid but here post flop play leaves something to be desired.

Sitting in chair one we had a player wearing a WSOP 2007 cap from Full Tilt Poker, after an hour of play Wanda can’t help herself but to ask “Where did you get that? Are you sponsored by Full Tilt?”. My thoughts: ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? This jackass has blown through 3 buy ins and is ALWAYS getting his money in with the worst of it! He has not shown an OUNCE of know how at the poker table? Is that all it takes is a FUCKING cap to get respect?

Of course the guy was not sponsored and answered so. Either way the donkies at my table could not help but to think he was sponsored and that he was just hustling everyone at the table. Amazing how they think a “new” player to this game with a hat on is a “pro” and hustling people, yet the 3-5 guys who play the game consisently and are long term winning players are “lucky” or on a “hot streak”. It truly amazes me how donkies see the world.

Wanda was not done for the night. Remember what I said about agonizing over simple decisions? Well Wanda pulled a doozie. Let’s break down the pre flop play

UTG (40 BB) RAISE to 4xBB

Folds to MP 2 (15 bb) CALLS

Folds to Button (wanda – 30 BB) Calls


Ah 7s Qh

UTG – BETS 4 bb

MP 2 – Raises All in

AT THIS POINT, UTG states his intention to call – he is drunk and does not realize Wanda has cards.

IMMEDIATELY Wanda goes into the tank. She talks to her self about having to call. It literally takes here 15 minutes to flat call. First off, we know she does not have the best hand or the best draw. She is not an actor and she is behind by here time to make the call. The stupid thing is the player behind her has her covered and is already going to call. He raised UTG and led the flop. You are either raising or folding here.

Of course Drunk Donkey just calls. The hand gets checked down between the Wanda and Drunk donkey.

What does Wanda show? AKo w/ no redraws. Drunk Donkey Shows AA for a set and All in guy shows AQ for 2 pair.

Jesus people – simple to fold there instead she wastes 20 minutes of our time

Well that is all I have from the last two nights.


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Getting the pole back in the water

Posted by montanapokerplayer on February 27, 2008

I have not been into a card room, online or brick and mortar in quite some time. To be honest, I didn’t feel the pull to play. I have been putting quite a few hours at work, starting up a steady gym routine, and reading books for pleasure. In all honesty, I was a little burnt out on playing cards.

That was all changed last night, after work I had that “itch” to play cards. Just thinking about pot odds, hand values, and reading hands made me giddy. It seems that my “burnout” is over for the first time I went to play cards because I felt like it – not because others wanted to or because I was extremely bored.

Once I got the pole back into the water, the fish were chomping on the bait before I could even get settled into my old fishing hole. Last night featured a few fish types already explored (and exploited) but it also brought a few new fish out of the pond.

“I am good on the internet, but bad luck is killing me here” fish:

A peculiar fish. They speak of their conquests online and the all the money they are winning on Full Tilt. They always claim to play stakes that would be above their skill level. For example last night two of these fish claimed to play 50 dollar SNG’s and win at least 80 percent of their tournaments, yet they fold to any continuation bet and love to play 2nd/3rd pairs. In fact, one was talking of quitting his W-2 job and living “the big life”. Tell me, where were these jackasses when I played the internet seriously?

These players are generally loose/weak donkies with no understanding of pot odds, aggressive play, or hand reading. These fish will almost always check call with any two paint cards and rarely raise. The nastiest trick in their arsenal? Slow playing big pairs. Why so scary? They play these hands exactly like all their other trash. You’ll be sure you are way ahead until they roll over aces and win a small pot.

“The Part Time Pro” fish

These fish are a riot. You will find a surprising amount of them are college students; generally students who are taking minimal credits and class loads. The others are people who have jobs they dislike and dream of playing for a living.

The player last night as “Part Time” pro was a HUGE donkey. I was excited when he donked his way into a decent sized stack (60 bb). This donkey would not shut his yapper about how much he played and how well he was doing. I think the phrase “go full time” or “quit my job” was said at least 62.75 times in the first hour at the table. Let’s say the table was “enthralled” with his stories of playing 5 tables at a time on Poker Stars while watching Poker after Dark. His best line of the night “I won 900 at a dealer’s choice game at XXXXXX last night”. Really? That game has not run in 6 months and when it did it sucked and rarely had anyone willing to actually gamble and make some big pots.

This guy was transparent. He never raises his big hands (but you can read him like an open book from the way his hands move) and ALWAYS put in a mininium raise w/ Ace rag. Flush draws were good for any size bet put into him. He had the strangest logic – Flush draws are worth any bet/call but a straight draw needed some magical sign for a call (perhaps a sign from God? I was confused.

As always comments are appreciated as is word of mouth to your other friends!

Expect a new post in about a week. This week/weekend I move into my new apartment and should be busy with that – though who knows maybe I’ll get a little online poker in and put my first internet fish post up.

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The Top Pair/Ace Fish table

Posted by montanapokerplayer on June 23, 2007

In my lifelong quest to identify all fish and bring to you the stories and description of them I have found a new species. This fish is the top pair/Ace fish. This fish is willing to call ANY bet on the flop if they have top pair, no matter the kicker. They are also willing to call ANY raise before the flop if they have an ace.

Last night these fish were VERY tasty. They are willing to pay off anyone who flops a better top pair/set/two pair/straight/flush.   It was not uncommon for these little fish to flop top pair then move all in.

Now to the stories! The first and probably strangest deals with three people getting it all in before the flop. It must be said that everyone had stacks that were larger then they started with. They were all at about 35-40BB.  The action was quite strange.

UTG – Raise 4bb

folds to button

Button – Raise all in for 40 bb

Blind – re-raise all in

UTG – Call


UTG – A5s

CO – Q10o

Blind – 9Jo

Blind takes the hand by spiking a 9 on the river. Unreal. It gets better when someone asks them about the hand. Each of them SWORE they had the best hand before the flop or at least thought they did.  One of them even went on to say that he ONLY plays hands like 9Jo is because hands like AK/KK/AA/QQ/JJ NEVER hold up for him. he believes that 9Jo and their ilk are SUPERIOR hands.  By the end of the night this guy was in about 400 bucks…hmm yep SUPERIOR hands.

The only hand that has any comedic value that I was invovled in dealt with a fish who is absolutely obvlious to pot size/odds/poker in general.  Hand went down like this:

UTG: fold

Ep: fold

Ep2: fold

MP (fish): raise 5 bb

Mp 2 fold

Co: Fold

Button (HERO): Call w/ AQs

BB: fold

Flop comes:

As Qc 5s

Fish: checks

Hero: Pot bet

Fish: All in for another 20bb

Hero: calls (DERR)

Fish shows: 35o

Immediately wonders how I could call. Why didn’t I think he had a set or straight.  Compared to an all in, there is NO WAY my top 2 is can NEVER be good!

Never mind a straight is not possible. Fish…so funny.

Posted in Fish tales | 3 Comments »

The Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice table

Posted by montanapokerplayer on June 16, 2007

Last night’s table was JUICY (hence the fresh squeezed!). It was too bad that I had to leave early to help prep my paintball team for a local tournament!

This table was full of fish. While none of them stood out or really did anything funny; they were still terrible players.  I ended up only making 40BB over 3 hrs. The trick at this table was to simply play tight aggressive poker. There was no room for any kind of fancy plays, aside from a check raise thrown in here and there.  The pots I won were taken down w/ solid preflop hands that developed nicely afterwards.

The great thing was that this table “schooled” to raises. What this means is that like a group of fish who school together, these players would do the same to a raise. Most raises were ignored largely by other players, they continually cold called raises. I freely limped suited connectors anywhere but UTG. I knew if a raise came, I would be getting odds to call anyway. While I never made any huge hands w/ these SC’s, I am confident if I had a full night it would have pay huge dividends.

This table was the MASTER of the minimum raise post flop. You bet 5, they raise it another 5. I thought for a minute I sat down at the limit tables! The tells and raises were very transparent. While I never got a chance to make a big raise to an obvious bluff, I was reading hands correctly all night.

The worst player of them all sat to my right. When I sat down he had amassed a decent stack (100-120bb). it was quickly apparent that he was a donkey though. He was raising way too many hands and folding them to re-raises or any pressure on the flop.  I made a few calls in position with a looser selection of hands and took a few nice pots off this hump. Like a typical donkey/fish once his chip stack dwindled, he complained how “dead” this table was. Quite possibly the most ridiculous statement I have heard in WEEKS. Chips were flying all over this table as if they were hot coals!

Hand of the night actually turned out to be my last hand. In the CO I called the BB w/ K3s (spades). Obviously a sub par hand – but I two hands ago, I called the BB in a large pot w/ AJs and when the flop came down, I made a big bet w/ TPTK and showed. I had gotten plenty of comments on being “trappy” before the flop (which is RIDICLOUS, this is the first big hand I limped, but since I was playing tight even my limped hands seemed like monsters I guess!).


As 7s 2s

WEE, the nuts!

It is checked around to the button, who makes a small bet. BB re-raises, it folds to me. I cold call. Button folds.



BB leads for 1/2 the pot. I flat call.


x (non club….I forget now)

BB checks, I make a small value bet. He INSTA all ins.  Even before I can call, he starts jabbering about how powerful his AI was (even though it was smaller than pot size!! I was getting sick odds to call w/ tons of hands!)

I call and he goes nutty. Telling me I am donkey for calling. He says he KNOWS his Ace is good. I roll over the Nut flush and he goes into speech mode.

“I KNEW I had you crushed before the flop and ON (yes ON!) the FLOP!”

“How can you call my check raise on the flop? God you are terrible! What a donkey!”

I am so stunned to this whole blowup, I don’t say a word. Someone points out he was a 3-2 favorite before the flop and a HUGE dog on the flop. Then he starts into some incoherent talk about how he should have KNOWN he had a set on the flop and I should of folded to it. If he repersents a set, made hands should fold to him.  My head literally started to spin, I expected his head to start spinning 360 degrees and spew pea soup!

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Florida Fishing

Posted by montanapokerplayer on June 14, 2007

As fish nights go this evening was something new. Most fish give me a great laugh with crazy calls, misguided statements, and their belief in how “skilled” they are. Tonight, was totally different, the fish of the night was just irritating.

We will simply call the fish of the night Florida Fish (FF for short). This guy walks in with one of those OBNOXIOUS Hawaiian shirts on. Of course it is unbuttoned at least two buttons, showing grey/white chest hair. He also had that aging hipster haircut, it’s about mid neck long and stringy.

From the first words out of his mouth, I know it will be a long night. In a FAKE southern accent he tells us he is from Florida and not used to these low stakes. Immediately my BS detector goes off – Florida has a max 2 dollar bet on every round. I call him on it and he stutters a bit and mumbles something about a “new law”.

Now as it turns out FF thinks he is the next Phil Helmuth. Every time someone raises he points out there position and talks about how often they raise. This is followed by him taking at least 2 minutes to call/fold/raise. This is really what irritated me about this player. I don’t care if you have to go in the tank for a real decision – but there is NO WAY this guy picked up a hand to EVERY raise.

You may be thinking this guy isn’t a fish, just your average idiot. This guy is a different breed of fish. I think of FF as the “(barely) educated” fish. He has read one book and has just enough information to sound like he knows what is going on. However, watch him play and his fish tendencies come through.

This guy had 2 ways to play a hand. Get it all in before the flop or get it all in on the flop. I watched him feed 2 or 3 different players. ANY pair was good enough for this guy to get it ALL IN on the flop.

How did our fishy friend leave? Well after getting it all in before the flop for probably the 6th or 7th time and behind and not improving he says “I gotta get out of here, getting sucked out way to much here!”

I shit you not, he was ahead ONCE when he got all in and there was no suck out.

I realize this post is not great material. I just wanted to bring you the (barely) Educated fish. Keep in mind he is totally different from the TV fish. The TV fish only know’s what he has seen on TV and tries to emulate the pro’s.

How do you spot a (barely)Educated fish?

1. They constantly talk about odds incorrectly.

2. They talk about position relating to other players – but totally ignore it when they make raises/calls.

3. They are the most likely to “gamble” with you. Not because it’s good poker, but because the books says they “half to” in these spots. However, they read a tournament book and they are playing cash games.

We can close with how I played. I managed to be a whole 5bb up tonight. Why? Mostly due to being card dead (while FF is spewing chips) and having any play I make get re-raised.  By the time the table was shorthanded, I was down a buy in. Thank god in short handed I managed to run over the table. My cards had not improved, but aggressive play against what was a pretty tight table worked in my favor.  For me personally it was an uneventful night.

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The fishing pole is back in the water

Posted by montanapokerplayer on June 9, 2007

In my original post of this blog, I made a comment that I would not play for a living. It’s funny how life will throw you curves and you have to make a play.

After the election, I quickly discovered how weak the job market is in Billings. My original plan had been to begin studying for my LSAT and bring in money as a dealer. At the elections conclusion, I discovered I am not ready to head back to school. I began a job search. Knowing that I did not have enough money saved away to JUST search, I knew I would need a source of income. There was no way in hell I was going to take some high school flunky job either. So, I took what little money I had and began to play poker, every day.

I will spare the details of living the poker life for another post. I ended up playing for about 4 months. Living on nothing but poker winnings. I finally secured a job as a marketing director, designing brochures/websites/etc for a local business.

Until last night, I had been on a poker sabbatical. I have once again started playing on a recreational yet serious basis. My fishing pole is back in the water and I hope to entertain you with the stories that will be upcoming!

Posted in The Poker Life | 1 Comment »

I found a 40 pounder!!!

Posted by montanapokerplayer on November 2, 2006

Sun. and Wed. nights are great nights to find fish at Little Nevada. They have a wonderful little night of 40 dollar max buy in NL. You get everyone from the casual home player to the interested patron from the video poker. You will see plenty of crazy hands turned over and usually if you can pick up a few good hands and get heads up it will be a night where you can build your bankroll.

Tonight was something special. There was a HUGE 40 lb fish at the table tonight. This guy called an 8 dollar raise with pocket 7’s, even with someone to act behind him. Then when the flop came and the orginal raiser went all in, he called the 12 dollars. The other player folded. Well, the original raiser showed AK for TPTK.  Wow, what a donk.

The same fish called a raise from the button when OOP with KJs. Then when the flop came Ace high w/ 2 spades he actually had to THINK about calling w/ a flush draw to an all in – only getting 1.7-1 on his money

The problem? The fish was me!!! I played pretty terrible tonight. I was playing marginal hands way too strongly and was pushing way too hard when I was on the draw. I played OOP way too much. It was a long day at work and I was very impatient at the table.

I was the big fish tonight=)


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The Phantom Draw and the bipolar fish

Posted by montanapokerplayer on November 1, 2006

John (ALL names are changed to protect the innocent!) is a fish that you will be hearing plenty about; in fact he is the reason this blog was started. He is one of my favorite fish! He plays way too many hands and is unwilling to lay down even the weakest of hands to moderate bets. While occasionally he will lay down a hand on the flop if he makes it to the turn, he will call all the way now! You can read his hands as if he has them turned up the entire hand. He telegraphs his monster preflop hand (even though he LIMPS every hand preflop) with obvious tells and his hand selection is obviously sub par. He is the classic calling station!

The one problem with our fish John is that he plays very slow. He takes at least 15 seconds to make the simplest of decisions. You would think he was doing advanced calculus or quantum physics at the table.

Towards the end of the night, John had a classic moment. He is playing from MP and has an Overs No Limit chip. He follows 3 limpers; everyone folds to the blind who checks her option. The game is still in 2-8 spread due to blind having no chip.


Qc 7s 2h

BB leads for 8. Folds to John. He calls.



BB leads for 8. John calls.


Xc (random club)

BB checks. John checks.

After checking and flipping over his cards John says “I didn’t get there, anything you have is good here.’ What did he flip over 4c 5c for a baby flush.

A STUNNED big blind flips over QJo. For a solid two pair. Only to find that this guy rivered a runner runner flush.

The big blind asks him “Exactly what did you miss a double gutshot straight draw?”

John: Yeah, I put you the same draw.

At this point I can’t stifle a large giggle. Chases a double gutshot (also runner runner) AND puts a relatively solid player on a long shot draw out of position. THEN he misreads his own hand being saved by the dealer!

Up next we have the bipolar fish. For the most part I had ignored this shaved head talker all evening. He has continually talked about how great of player he was. Granted he never came right out and said “I am great a player” it was always that we must be so bad to allow him to have a profit (of a whopping 23 bucks). At one point, I point out his small profit and tell him that in a 1/4th of the time, I had triple what his profit was. He smiles and shuts up for a few minutes.

Then BOOM bipolar fish changes gears. Now he is talking about how bad the games in Billings are. That the tables are just FULL of fish! Then spouts off how good he is at Omaha and how EASY of game it is. This is followed no more than five minutes later with a speech about how terrible a player he is. Someone please get this guy some medicine.

Just to highlight his fishiness we have two hands to discuss. The first is pretty simple. There is no action on his blind and he is PISSED. He flips over AJo and told everyone he was going to raise (unless myself and one other solid player had limped…gotta love respect I guess!) because AJ is a monster. There is ZERO sarcasm in his voice. When I point out that AJ is a marginal hand especially OOP, he looks like I just told him that I slept his girl.

The best is ANOTHER hand I was not in. The player to our fishes right is a pretty solid, tight player who has amassed a pretty good stack. At this point, everyone has a No Limit chip. The tight solid player in the cutoff limps, our fish min. raises to four dollars. The blind calls. The tight player makes a good sized raise of 15. Both call.


Qs 9s 3h

BB – check

CO (tight player) – All in (NO hesitation)


BB – Thinks and calls.

CO shows – KK (Of COURSE he had an over pair)

Fish shows – QJo (WTF?!?!)

BB shows – QK (WTF?!?!)

KK holds up. The whole table does a collective WHAT THE FUCK on the Fish hand. Why call QJ to a HUGE raise to your initial raise. The QK hand is a marginal call to the preflop action.

What a night!

Till next time I hope your bait lures in all the big fish!

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Who I am and what we (yes we!) are going to do!

Posted by montanapokerplayer on November 1, 2006

Often times when I read blogs, I always wonder “who” this person is. Most of the time you find out by reading pages and pages of said blog. You know what I mean, you read about all the experiences they write about – from bad beats at the table to bad beats in real life. There is one problem with that method – your finding out who YOU think they are. You never really get a sense of who THEY think they are. You are constantly reading their posts putting in your own bias.

Well I am going to provide at least one CLEAR post where I put up who I am and who I think I am.

I am 23 year old recent college graduate. In May I graduated from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. I received a double major in Political Science and Communications. Immediately after graduating college, I took a job with the Montana Democratic Party working to get local legislative candidates elected. The job moved me from Helena to Billings. It is here in Billings that I really discovered my love for poker.

During one particulary long stretch at work, I took a break and while looking through my bookmarked sites I found ( I started reading threads again and soon enough I was addicted. I depoisted money on Ultimate Bet and quickly ran my 45 dollars up to 160.

There was something stale about this whole process of Internet poker. It lacked a human connection. This bugged me for a month or so. Then by pure chance while back in Helena for a friends bachelor party, I was discussing it with someone who grew up in Billings (this discussion was before 2 kegs of beers and a thousand on strippers) and he told me to check out the Little Nevada Casino.

I went once and was hooked. Pretty soon I was playing 2-3 days a week. To be honest at first I was terrible, I gave off every tell in the book, I was play with too small a buy in. My biggest problem was just using an ATM, there were few nights I regret it (it managed to cut into my other fun funds – liking drinking!). I was going bust at the table because of this factors forcing me into scared play. However, I was still sure that I could be a winning player at the live table.

After depositing again into UB and running my 100 up to 250 in less than 12 hours of play, I was revitalized in how to play. I withdrew and made this my live bankroll. It is pretty small, but it works. I have now ran up to 500 three times at which point I put 300 in savings.

The games I mainly play at Little Nevada Casino are 2-8 spread (though I take a no limit button ALWAYS) and their 40 dollar max buy in NL on Wed/Sunday. At the moment, I am playing every night after work (that’s every day) for at least 3 hours and the weekend nights I am trying for 6 hours.I am a hold-em specialist who is learning to play Stud hi/lo and Omaha hi/lo. I would consider myself a poker enthusiast, who has no dreams of playing for a living (that’s not to say it doesn’t provide me with a little extra income!)

After Nov. 7 (election day) I will be working as a dealer at Little Nevada and playing more poker than I do now. While some people look down on being a dealer when you have a college education (I struggle with justifying sometimes too) I need some time to relax. Working in politics is long hours that are full of stress. I plan on being a dealer so that I can bring in money and start studying for my LSAT (Law School Exam). Being a dealer provides a relatively low stress environment that lets me do something that I love!

That is my life in a nutshell. Obviously, it does not address my life outside of poker or before poker, but that’s not the point. What I want to do with this blog is to write about nights that I play. For the most part it will be about the fish at the table and the funny stories they provide. There will be a few posts about hands I played (outside of fish ones!) and there will be a few about other players that I respect and have learned from.

Now why did I say we? Because, I want your comments and feedback on my posts. I know that right now my readership is ZERO, but it will grow from PFO and others. I want your comments and feedback to make this blog fluid. If you don’t like stories about Fish X, then I’ll scrap em. If you want more stories about players I respect, I will make sure to add more.

Thanks for reading,


Posted in The Poker Life | 2 Comments »