Friday, September 29, 2006

Pot odds

I'm sure Waffles is well aware of the importance of pot odds, but I'll address one of his comments anyway.

I wrote a couple of days ago about a hand in which I raised all-in on the flop with the nut flush draw and overcards. I had AJs vs. my opponent's top pair, top kicker AT hand.

"I failed to improve. I later ran the hand through and found that I was a 52-48 dog. I'll take those odds any day against a poor player in a large pot. Next time, he'll pay. Fish always pay eventually," I wrote.

Waffles commented:

SirFWALGMan said...

Arnt you the fish if your behind by 2%? You will never win in the long run, you will lose 2%. right? I would say if you really are the better player you would want to wait for a situation where you are ahead. Then you will win over time.

I believe I will win lots of money over time by getting in +EV situations like this.

In this specific hand, there was $169 in the pot when I pushed all in for $236 more. If my opponent folds, I'm in good shape because I win the pot right away. But if he doesn't fold, I'm also in a favorable situation. I pushed all-in for $374 in an attempt to win a $779 pot including my opponent's call.

So I was getting 405:374 on my money, or approximately 52:48 pot odds -- 4 percentage points more than the 48 percent I needed to be profitable.

When you count folding equity and the chance that my my odds are even better against some hands in my opponent's range (especially hands that exclude an Ace), I feel like this move is easily justifiable.

Thanks for the comment though -- I like opportunities to think through odds, even when I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Here's the hand history:

Party Poker ($4 no limit). Hand converted by Check Raised hand converter

Preflop (5 players): Hero is CO with

1 fold.

HERO raises $14.00.

BTN calls ($14.00).

2 folds.

Flop (8.5 bets ($34) in pot, 2 players):

HERO bets $32.00.

BTN raises $137.81.

HERO raises $342.00.

BTN calls ($236.19).

Turn (195.50 bets ($782.00) in pot, 2 players):

River (195.50 bets ($782.00) in pot, 2 players):


BTN has Two pair, Tens and Sixes [ ] and won $779.50 (97.44bb)

HERO has a pair of Sixes [ ]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Linky links

I recently wrote about Sixth Sense, a program that scans sites' tables lists and cross-references them with your PokerTracker database to determine the fishiest tables. I loved the program; I hated the cost.

Fortunately, there's a new, lower-cost alternative program called SpadeEye. Compared to Sixth Sense, SpadeEye is a little less intuitive to use but has a few more features. It works with Poker Office and Poker Manger in addition to PokerTracker, and it can also be used as a datamining tool. I'm liking it.

I still prefer to do my datamining of observed hands using FreePHG, which recently came out with version 2.01. Download it here.

Finally, the next blogger event is this Sunday -- and it's that crazy game of Omaha 8! Hope to see y'all there.

PLO banner.jpg

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Drawing hands

For lack of better content, I'm going to ramble for a little bit ...

I've been thinking about the power of drawing hands. These kinds of situations are crucial to profitability in no limit hold 'em. But how to play them?

There was one hand earlier in the day where I flopped the A-high flush draw and folded to a single bet. There was another time when I raised all-in with nothing but a flush draw and overcards.

What was the difference?

Implied odds. In the first hand, the early position player bet the pot in a heads-up confrontation. I took his flop bet to mean that he got a part of the flop -- probably top pair, maybe more. I could have flat called or even raised, but I didn't feel like I'd get paid off if my flush card hit on the turn. The pot was small, and I didn't think I had any edge. I folded.

In the second hand, I flopped the nut flush draw, overcards and a backdoor straight draw with AJs on a T-high flop. I knew my odds in the hand were close to even, and I was against a calling station fishy player. He bet out, which could have meant anything. I raised all-in, and he called. He flipped of AT for top pair, top kicker, and I failed to improve. I later ran the hand through and found that I was a 52-48 dog. I'll take those odds any day against a poor player in a large pot. Next time, he'll pay. Fish always pay eventually.

I was thinking about how I play draws, and I find that I like to get some money in on the flop with them.

The only question is whether I want to bet out from early position, check-raise or cold-call a bet in front.

Betting out is a good option against weak players who will either cold-call or fold. If they call, my hand will be well-disguised when I hit my draw on the turn.

Check-raising is a great option against a late position bet or on a frightening board. It's pretty likely that your opponent will fold to your check-raise, and if not, your flop bet opens up a lot of options on the turn.

My least-favorite option is the cold-call on the flop, but sometimes it's the best move. For example, there are many times when I'll find myself with a flush draw from the big blind, and the small blind will bet into me on an inconspicuous flop. If I raise him, the small blind would reraise me with any random two pair or a monster draw. That would push me out of the hand unnecessarily. In addition, I don't know what other players yet to act may do. In times like these, I'll just call and hope for the best on the turn.

Playing draws recently reminds me of this fat British asshole Daniel and I played against at the old Horseshoe in Vegas. This dude, named Renee, was a self-congratulatory high-pitched annoying semipro who thought he knew what he was doing. His whole game was to try and trap people with any old crappy draw. He thought he was Gus Hansen or something.

Anyway, I didn't think much of his poker game, but I came to respect his overall strategy of going for the big score with marginal drawing hands. They pay big if they're well-disguised and you have an opponent who may well overplay top pair or an overpair.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On a run

I wish every 260-hand session could look like this.

This graph was made using PokerPatterns, which I downloaded from this 2+2 thread because the main Web site seems to have gone down. (I scanned it for viruses, but make sure you do the same just to be sure).

Going on big runs in a short amount of time at four tables feels really good.

You can see the progression of winning hands starting with around hand No. 78, where I won a $387 pot with a turned flush that got paid off with a $100 bet on the river.

Then near hand 100, I hit a set of Nines on the flop. My opponent had KJs and hit top pair and a flush draw on the turn. He check-raise semibluffed all-in, I called. Ship it for $587!

"What a setup hand," he said. I don't think so though. No one forced him to check-raise me all-in on the turn when he hit top pair.

Five hands later, I hit a set of Tens at another table and got a guy to commit his stack with top pair Queens with an Ace. That was a nice $804 pot.

Finally was the last big jump. It was a good beat.

I had AK and hit trips on the turn, but there were also three flush cards out.

I had an idea that the guy had hit his flush, but he checked it to me. I didn't have any flush cards, I didn't want to give him a free card, and there were plenty of hands I could have outkicked he would call with. The pot was large and I wanted the pot immediately. Those are all lame excuses though.

I went all in anyway.

Of course he hit his flush. I'm a donk.

But a Ten fell on the river to pair the board and give me the nut boat for a $929 pot! Hells yeah.

Let's see here. These 260 hands took 1:20, and I won $1,412. I could deal with a $1,056/hr wage.

If only every session were like this. I'd be rich!

Monday, September 25, 2006


After a couple of beers in Chinatown, I walked by this late-night arcade that I always see.

It's open as usual, even though it's after midnight. All I can see of the inside is a fluorescent-lit room filled with about 10 archaic-looking pinball machines. This isn't your Robocop or Aliens pinball -- these are some old school games with nothing but balls, bunkers, pins and flashing lights.

I wanted to play. I walked inside.

"Can I have change for a dollar to play pinball?" I asked.

"You have to become a member to play," said the middle-aged attendant.

"How do I become a member?"

"You have to talk to the owner. But he's not here right now."

"How much does it cost to become a member?"


"If I come back tomorrow and talk to the owner, I can play pinball?"

"No. The owner would have to talk to the landlord first."

"Do I need some kind of membership card?"

"Yes. But I don't know when you could get it."

OK, fine. I got the point and left.

You can't tell me that the arcade isn't a front for some kind of illegal activity, either money laundering, gun smuggling or drug peddling. No freakin way.

I wanted to play some late-night pinball. Maybe I should keep fighting for a membership.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Looking ahead

It looks like Internet gambling might be safe for the time being. Two senators apparently objected to anti-gambling provisions being attached to a defense bill, but Internet gambling opponents say they will continue to fight for a prohibition before the Nov. 7 general elections.

This is the only substantial link I found from Google News on the subject, so take this news with a grain of salt. 2+2 didn't have any additional information as of this writing.

Meanwhile, online poker is thriving.

Today at about 10:30 p.m., I sat at a 2/4 NL table with two players from Vietnam and two from Russia, according to the Party Poker's country tag that it puts on players. Maybe this isn't new, and of course it's anecdotal, but I'm glad to see that poker continues to expand.

I used to wonder where all the international poker players were. Online poker seemed to be dominated by United States players, and I wanted the rest of the world to catch on. New players, new blood, new fish. A larger player base is good for the future of the game.

Perhaps the growth of poker in other countries helps explain why the late night games remain loose. Even when the number of players on Party drops from prime time highs of around 90,000 to lows of about 20,000, the tables are still playable.

What gives? Is it that in the wee hours of the morning, people are chasing their losses? Are winners reluctant to end their sessions? Or is it that looser players in different time zones are gambling it up in the daytime halfway across the world?

For whatever reason, even though there are fewer tables at night, it seems like just as many of tables have two or three bad players sitting in. I don't know why.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I think this is just a software glitch. The duplicate screen name never bought in, and the hand history only shows his screen name once.

Still, it made me a little paranoid for a minute there. I immediately shut down all my tables.

This kind of thing should not happen (Click picture to enlarge).

Here's the hand history. Both MyNutzHurtAA and CO were at the table, but they sat out this hand.

***** Hand History for Game 5202597405 *****
$400 NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, September 19, 03:59:28 ET 2006
Table Monster #1277489 (Real Money)
Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 3: MyNutzHurtAA ( $485.94 )
Seat 5: CO ( $257.90 )
Seat 6/Button: BB( $574.22 )
Seat 4: Hero ( $602.65 )
Hero posts small blind [$2].
BB posts big blind [$4].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Kh 8s ]
Hero calls [$2].
BB checks.
** Dealing Flop ** [ 4h, Jd, 9s ]
Hero checks.
BB checks.
** Dealing Turn ** [ 9h ]
>You have options at Monster #1277330 (No DP) Table!.
Hero checks.
BB checks.
** Dealing River ** [ 5h ]
Hero : did you see that?
Hero checks.
BB checks.
Hero shows [ Kh, 8s ] a pair of nines.
BB shows [ 5s, 7d ] two pairs, nines and fives.
The time at which hand ended:Sep 19 2006 04:00 ET
BB wins $7.60 from the main pot with two pairs, nines and fives.

Monday, September 18, 2006

No structure, no theme, only scattered thoughts

There's not too much doing. Just a few notes.

_ The anti-gambling legislation may be fought out in the Senate over the next couple of days. I believe the most recent effort is by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who wants to push through gambling prohibition laws by attaching them to a military spending bill. I don't know what would happen if this law is passed, but I hope I don't find out.

_ Poker went great this last week. When I include the Steelers promotion from Mansion, blackjack bonuses and rakeback, I've recovered all but about $1,000 of the money I lost in the first week of the month. I like 6-max, but full ring is a lot more relaxing.

_ A bunch of bloggers have been writing about the so-called death of poker blogs. If there's any common theme to these posts, it's that poker blogs shouldn't be about poker as much as they are about the people behind them. Those kinds of sentiments irk me a little bit. A poker blog -- and any blog for that matter -- can be whatever the author wants it to be. I don't understand where this animosity toward plain old poker-centric blogs comes from. Maybe I'm just being defensive because I'd rather write about cards than my personal life.

_ For the first time since February 2005, I returned to Ultimate Bet, the site that brought my bankroll down to $700 at one point. This time, I had a lot more fun because I was playing Triple Draw! Thanks to SoxLover for getting me to play. Triple Draw is awesome -- I like it a lot more than razz. I wish other sites (Full Tilt? Poker Stars?) would offer Triple Draw as well. I also played some 6-max no limit with Slb, which was cool.

_Congratulations to BadBlood for winning the no limit blogger event on Poker Stars on Sunday. I had fun playing the tournament, but I feel really embarrassed about how I went out. Shortstacked tournament situations often piss me off, especially when I'm too thick-headed to get away from hands. My last hand was a awful: with an M of about 6, I made a standard raise with KTo from late position. One of the blinds reraised me all in, and I felt pot committed so I absent-mindedly pushed the call button. The blind had KK. I guess I should have moved all-in or folded from the start. Folding seems like the best choice in retrospect.

Good luck!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Folds to Continuation Bet

In response to my post about whether to continuation bet out of position with an Ace-high hand against a calling station, I got this comment:

easyE said...

Take this for what it's worth because I am playing lower stakes than you (.5/1, 1/2 NL). But, I've had this same issue a LOT. As you say "it depends". But playing out of position, I found I lost a lot of money on continuation bets. If the hand went to showdown, I'd find that many times villian hit bottom or middle pair on the flop and was happy to call my continuation bets on the flop, turn and even river. So if I miss the flop, here is basically what I do right now: If the player's "Calls Coninuation Bet" is relatively high (I show this stat in PAHUD now), I'll check the flop and bet the turn. I've found that so many of these "floaters" can't stand the turn bet. It seems that many of them are willing to call a preflop raise and and a flop bet, hoping to hit big.

If an A hits on the flop, obviously I'll bet. Even if they've caught a piece of the flop, they seem to fold a lot, because now they "believe the continuation bet".

Depending on the player, I may continuation bet on the flop, but then shut down after that. I just hate playing out of position, and being called down by a small pocket pair, middle or bottom pair.

I know with 6max there is a lot of talk about aggression, aggression, aggression. But, I haven't necessarily found that to be true out of position.

I found this to be excellent advice, and it has helped me deal with difficult situations when out of position.

The "Folds Continuation Bet" option in PokerAce HUD is particularly helpful (I prefer this option over "Calls Continuation Bet"). It's nice to know that if a player will fold to any continuation bet more than half the time, it's usually worthwhile to go ahead and try to take the pot down.

And, like easyE says, if someone won't fold to a continuation bet on the flop, often a delayed continuation bet on the turn will work well.

Thanks for the insight, easyE.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Capped NL games

I figured I'd give Full Tilt's capped no limit games a try. The idea is that you can only lose 30 bets in one hand, even if you buy in for 100 bets. Full Tilt's explanation is here.

Going in, I had mixed feelings about cap games. My impression was that it would be easier to get pot committed, implied odds go down, the fish gain a measure of protection, more pots are played and more rake is paid.

Those were my preconceptions. But were the games fun?

The first big hand I played in the 2/4 NL 6-max cap game was AKo from the blinds. I reraised a minraiser, he called. Flop came AJx, I bet about 4/5 pot. He called. Turn was a Q, which is pretty damn dangerous. Now I would have tread lightly here in a no-cap game, but I could only bet $48 more (into the $145 pot) before we reached the cap of $120, and the pot was already large, so I went ahead and pushed. Of course he had JQo for a turned two pair. Whatever.

"What horseshit," I thought. These donkeys just call, knowing that I can't bust them because they're protected by this cap. Bleh.

Then again, the cap is kind of like bad beat protection. He was possibly committed to the pot anyway, and I only lost a relatively small amount.

One thing's for sure -- that no cap game was loose preflop! At my table, the tightest player saw 32 percent of all flops, and the two loosest players had seen 56 percent each.

The discounted implied odds change strategy for the game significantly. I didn't get involved with any hands in which I had a flush draw, but it seems kind of silly to chase too many draws when you know you can't get paid off big because the pot size is limited.

Then again, you can be more sure that you will get paid off some. I'll have to play a few more games to get a better feel for when it's appropriate to chase draws.

I had fun playing the game because the action was pretty good and the consequences weren't severe. It's the kind of game I might be more likely to play if I'm drunk because I can't hurt myself too badly.

These games remind me of what Mason Malmuth wrote years ago about no limit. He predicted no limit hold 'em was a dying game because fish got busted too quickly.

Fortunately, Malmuth didn't account for the arrival of capped buy-in no limit games, which reduced players' risk of ruin.

These new capped games seem similar in that they will slow the demise of vulnerable bankrolls. I'll withhold judgment on whether that's good for the game. Here's a discussion thread.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Royal Vegas Casino promo is a scam

Royal Vegas Casino has this new promotion where they will give you 200 free spins on their slot games without any deposit required.

I received two e-mails:

"Your Free Spins balance will be credited with 200 free credits, which gives you 200 FREE chances to chase the paylines and keep your winnings!"
"100 FREE SPINS - no deposit required - keep your winnings!"

And on their Web site:

"Keep your winnings"

Unfortunately, Royal Vegas Casino is repeatedly and knowingly lying. You cannot keep your winnings.

Royal Vegas does not tell you that you are required to make a deposit in order for this money to be credited to your bonus account. Then, after you make the deposit, you have to clear a 30X workthru on the bonus amount. Additionally, only the worst games -- slots, American roulette and parlor games -- give you 100 percent credit toward the wagering requirement.

I went through their terms and conditions thoroughly and did not find any sentence that clarified that this promotion would be subject to a 30X workthru requirement.

I got suspicious when I tried to cash out my so-called $113 in winnings, and the software said I needed to make a deposit before I cash out. After two phone conversations with their customer support, they won't budge on these ridiculous requirements.

Don't waste your time with Royal Vegas. They're trying to screw you.

Coming out of it

I don't get GSN from my cable provider, but fortunately I found this site to get my High Stakes Poker fix. Pokerbay has tons of poker shows at fast download speeds.


Barry Greenstein says that running bad only reflects on the past and has no bearing on your future play (or something like that).

Well, I'm ready for my bad run to be over. I think I'm making progress.

I thought back to where I was before I started losing. Ah, that's right. I was playing 2/4 and 3/6 full ring. Then I switched to 3/6 6-max, had a few wins and then went downhill.

It should have been obvious -- I'm a better player in full ring games than in 6-max. I've been trying to develop a loose-aggressive strategy for 6-max games, but that's difficult to do once you lose even a little bit of confidence. I almost laughed at myself last night when I was trying to play loose-aggressive but kept making tight-weak plays.

I know I'll have to conquer 6-max someday. I feel like I have all the skills and knowledge to do quite well in those games already. The difficulty is execution. The pace of the games is different, hand reading becomes more crucial, and position is even more important. I can handle that -- for a while. But after an hour or so, it's hard to maintain focus when playing multiple tables.

So it's back to the 2/4 and 3/6 full ring NL games. They're slower-paced. I can take more notes. The play is more transparent. Bluffs are more effective. Hand ranges are narrower. My tight-aggressive style works well. I'm comfortable.


Bad runs -- and the accompanying loss of faith that comes with them -- have one advantage. They cause self-doubt, which leads to reflection and questioning of everything you think you know.

One thing I realized is that I fell into the trap of pressuring myself to get even by playing a lot of hands until probability evens itself out and I start winning again.

Even though I played well most of those extra hours, what I lost was time away from poker. I don't want poker to use up all my time. Grinding just isn't worth it at the expense of going outside, reading a book or even playing Guitar Hero.

I play my best game in short bursts for a limited amount of time per day. Long sessions cut into my EV, both at the tables and away from them.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Riding out the ass end of variance

If you play at Party, I found this really neat AHK script that automatically gets rid of the Monster jackpot counter, closes Party's pop-up windows and makes your system run faster.

Here is the link to DeMonster.


I would say the last few days have been a roller coaster, but roller coasters at least go up sometimes. My bankroll is just going down.

I know it's only been a few days since this run started with my accidental $445 bet, but I've lost nine or 10 buy-ins at 3/6 NL 6-max in that time. As far as I can tell, only one of those bust-outs was entirely caused by my donkish play. The rest were due to bad beats and cold decks.

What can you do when variance decides to slap you around a little?

There's no way to avoid bad beats. You have to be doing something right to even suffer a bad beat -- you have to get in with the best of it, which is exactly your goal on every hand.

But I have a few ideas about some of the things I can control that went wrong:

_ I tilted. When bad luck hits, tilt can happen. I should have stopped playing the moment I got angry.

_ I wasn't comfortable playing 3/6 NL 6-max games. It's still a pretty new limit to me, and I'm not familiar with the nuances of how the play differs from 2/4.

_ I played three tables throughout, but I should have scaled back to two tables so that I could focus on what I was doing.

This kind of dreadful run hits at least once a year for me. I don't think it's avoidable -- eventually, cards are simply going to get cold, and I'm going to have to deal with it. That's OK. They say the measure of a good player is his ability to deal with the bad times.

This run might already be over. Pittsburgh won me $1,000 through that fantastic Mansion promotion, and I started winning again later on tonight after I stepped back down to 2/4 6-max.

It's frustrating, but I still feel good about my play. What more can you hope for than to get your money in with the best hand?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Go Steelers!!!

The Steelers picked up a lot of new fans really fast.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stupid poker

Six-max is hard!

It's especially hard when out of position against huge donks who I'm sure are profitable, but they're tough to play against because they could have anything.

If there's a raggy board, my opponent probably got a piece of it.

That causes problems for me because there are plenty of Ace-high hands that I raise preflop from one off the button. I'll get called by the loose-passive button player. Then when rags flop, what do I do?

I'm usually inclined to continuation bet for value. I'm not sure if this is correct, but my thinking is that my A-high is often the best hand against a mostly random holding. I know he probably won't fold even if he didn't catch part of the flop, but I want to get money in while I have the best of it.

But then comes a big problem: the turn. My value play on the flop works perfectly if I happen to catch one of my six outs to make a pair, but that's a 6.7:1 proposition. Those aren't very good odds.

Here's my question (and I think I already know the answer): Is there any value in my Ace-high flop bet, even when I do have the best hand, if I'll be forced to check and fold on the turn when a blank card falls?

I think the obvious answer is "it depends," and the other obvious answer is "no."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Game selection

I canceled my subscription to Sixth Sense at the end of the free trial period. It's an excellent program that accesses your PokerTracker database and then pulls up tables that have the most fish.

My only complaint is the price. For a Gold subscription, which is needed for the program to work on tables above 2/4 NL, I would have to pay $45 a month. That's a bit high compared to the one-time fees of $55 for PT or the $25 for PokerAce HUD.

I may still go back and pay for the program later. I want to see how I can manage without it, especially since I am a table selection nit.

My criteria are pretty strict. I want to sit to the left of a loose player with a big stack. Money flows clockwise at the poker table, and the best way to catch as much money as you can is to sit directly next to the person who's putting the most into the pot.

I also like for the fish to my right to be either a folding station or a calling station.

Now this is important, and I don't think enough people who use PokerTracker appreciate it: the Went to Showdown stat is priceless. I use PokerAce HUD to display Went to Showdown in yellow directly beneath preflop aggression.

Went to Showdown is essential because it's the single stat that can tell you whether you're up against a calling station. In no limit games, a calling station is anyone with WSD stats above 30 percent. A folding station is anyone with WSD below 15 percent.

When playing against a calling station, every bet has to be for value. Bluffs and semibluffs are pretty much worthless. Bet if you have it; check and fold if you don't. Play straightforward. Don't get fancy. Wait for a big hand and bet, bet, bet. The calling station will call you down the whole way.

Folding stations are more fun to play against, but you usually won't get more money from them on later streets unless they have a legitimate hand. Against a folding station, you can break out all those donktastic moves that you've been dying to use: turn check-raise bluffs, scare card bluffs, all-in bluffs, stone cold bluffs. Any bluff will do. The folding station will do what he does best: fold.

Game selection is one of the most important parts of poker, right next to your hand and position. Don't ignore it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bad move, dude.

There are lots of mistakes you can make in poker, but this has to be one of the worst.

This guy limps from under the gun, and I make a pot sized raise from late position with KJs in a 3/6 NL 6-max game. My opponent calls. So far, so good.

The flop comes A34 rainbow. Opponent checks to me, and I decide to make a $45 continuation bet into $61 pot.

The only problem is that instead of typing "45," I accidentally hit "445." The money goes into the pot, my opponent check-raises all-in for $150 more, and I fold my worthless King-high hand.


Friday, September 01, 2006

So long, August. I'll miss you

August was my best month at the tables yet -- more than $5,000 in winnings.

Woo hoo!

The month started on the wrong foot as I lost some money in the first week. During the second week, I went on a heater and made up for my losses and more. The third week, I was basically even. Then I got hot again during the fourth week as I played 6-max games exclusively.

On top of that, last night's play put my total winnings for the year at a higher mark than I reached in all of 2005. If the last four months of the year are similar to this month, I'll be doing quite well by the time 2007 rolls around.

In celebration, I'm going to not play tonight and watch TV instead.

Fish, I give you a brief reprieve.