Monday, June 27, 2005


New Ideas

Back on the tournaments on-line, and something interesting happened while I was playing yesterday. Basically I was knocked out of the two added money events I was playing and I ended up in a $15 tournament that had previously been in the background, with about 1700 chips and antes 25-50. I didn't want to start another one, so I thought, well, there's not much point sitting on my hands and waiting for the blinds go up to 100-200 like I usually do - let's play some hands. I started limping in any time I had a half-playable hand and the pot hadn't been raised in front of me. My opponents were obligingly not raising behind me, and before I knew it I was up to 8000 ! To be fair I flopped a few good situations and made the odd semi-bluff - one in particular I was pleased with, by this time we were at 100-200 and I had about 6000 when I limped with 9c8c. Late position raised, but only 500 more so I took a flop. The flop came A9x with two clubs, and this is the key, I deliberately bet out 600 in the hope that (having observed my opponent previously) he would do exactly what he did - raise to 2000. Then I went all in and he passed, ker-ching !

I dropped back to about 5K through being a bit too full of myself but doubled up, pressed around the bubble and finally finished 12th after a spot of "bad timing" as they say on TV - going all in from the SB only for the BB to find Jacks. Ah, timing, gift of the pros. I only won $60 but it broke an embarrassing streak of 26 online MTT blanks. More to the point it felt good - I'm sure I do play too tight in that zone of 25-50 SBs. It's always worth seeing how much limping you can get away with. Unraised pots can be tricky to play, but don't forget this applies to our opponents too, and hopefully they will make more mistakes than we do.

Meanwhile, just as I am mulling that over, Harrington On Hold-Em 2 arrived this morning, at work in a Fedex package with EXTREMELY URGENT printed on it. Damn right. I need to be one of the first to read this book ! I intend to savour it like a fine meal or cognac rather than guzzle it down, but the first section is already well worth the admission fee. Dan really is the Man !

28/6/05 AM On reading that back, I should point out that I don't often make accidental bets :-). I meant I chose the amount 600 so that I could make the final raise to give him the problem. And needless to say I did end up guzzling most of HOH2, it is awesome, and I hope too many people don't take the short-stack section on board in particular. As I had hoped, it [the short-stacked section] is very much in line with my own thoughts (yes I know but it is).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Bits and Pieces

I have been trying my luck with Pete B's suggested limit HE strategy (you can find it in the comments here). I have to say that it has been kicking serious ass on Cryptologic. It doesn't seem to work as well on Party, or Stars, but against the Crypto calling stations I seem to be invincible. No doubt I'm now running hot, but all the same it has to make sense against the kind of people who will call you down with a gutshot, bottom pair or even Ace high, but who won't bet without top pair. And there are a lot of them about on Crypto. It's certainly helping.

Tonight though I am in some promotion on Party and I have no idea what the hell it is. They sent me an Email saying that because I had done my bollocks playing 1-2 (that's what they meant anyway) I could play in this "Late Night Poker Ace Freeroll". After trying to register, failing, emailing support, them telling me to try again next week, but then finding that I could register after all, I'm in it tonight. It says "1 Entry to the Semi Finals worth $1274 each for the top 25 players" and the only other information I know is that these "Semi Finals" take place on the 29th. As there are 300 runners in it right now it looks like a $100 freebie. But there's no mention of it on the website, the Email doesn't clarify, the tournament window is no use - what's it all about ? If I wasn't so suspicious of a free lunch I would guess that it's some semi-final to a fairly big TV tournament. But who knows ? It's ironic that Party are so slapdash compared to Pokerstars, and yet it's crazy to play on Pokerstars because the games are so much tougher. Anyway does anyone know the deal with this ?


Don't Blame The Sleeping Satellite

Do you ever have one of those days when you think that people are posting stuff on forums deliberately just to provoke you ? Of course that's exactly what Derek was doing with his damnable Aces thread, but there was some interesting stuff on the Gutshot forum today which is worth expanding on here to a more select audience :-)

The whole satellite business is a difficult one to explain. Me, I don't like playing in them, they go against all my instincts which are to try to win all the chips. Partly because of this, I don't do very well in them (B+M super-satellites this is). Some of my dislike for the format probably clouds my arguments a little. But I do think that a lot of people are copping out with satellites. The old "but if I had a choice I would take the money" argument is fuzzy thinking. I encouraged people to consider the alternatives, so here are two :

1) Take £150 and plonk it down on number 23 once a month, and any time you win, go off and play a big tournament.

2) Save £150 a month and when you have enough, go and play your tournament.

Seriously I think these are perfectly viable alternatives, and yet very few of the satellite crowd would even consider them. 1) is total anathema to most people but is it really any different to playing a satellite ? Frankly for half the field it must be better. And if you really want to play, what's wrong with 2) ? I think people don't have the nerve to consider 1) and they don't have the gumption to stick with 2). Even though the rake is smaller in 1) and zero in 2), in fact it's a "positive rake" if you stick the money in a savings account. Even though you can use the time you would have spent sitting in a super watching people fold and waste time to play in a more profitable game. Personally I wouldn't take the second option because yes, once I had the money I would do something else with it. Like use it to advance my retirement by three or four months. Which means there's not a lot of point me playing satellites. Although option 1) sounds very tempting for the £5,000 at the Vic next month ...

Having said that I don't mind playing them on-line so much because sometimes you can take the cash (at least in W$), the collusion risk is much lower and mainly because of the added money. I can overcome my dislike if I'm being given $100 to play, which has often been the case recently.

PS I know the title doesn't make sense, but then again, neither did the song.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I Think Too Much (I Think ...)

Or at least I worry too much, definitely. If this is what I'm like when I already have a job that pays about 60% more than I need, I'd probably be a nervous wreck as a poker pro :-). Limit Hold-em may not be for me - $200 down playing 5000 hands of $1-2 is starting to move outside the realms of fluctuation and into sucktuation. I do seem to attract the most horrendous beats and situations - I typed one in there but I feel better now so I've deleted it again. But never mind, that's hardly the only game in town and in fact I have even won a small amount through the bonuses.

What I should do is just play what I want to play when I want to play it, make sure I'm picking up bonuses/rakeback/added money, concentrate on making good decisions and let the final score take care of itself. There is a lot of added money around in tournaments at the moment. I'm not going to tell you about the biggest gold-mines but tonight I did enter the Cryptologic 6-pack tournament. This has 3 guaranteed $12K prizes, and the prize consists of 3 consecutive WSOP entries - $2K, $5K short-handed and $3K from memory, plus $2K cash and free accomodation. Very tasty, and with 3 chances instead of one I think it would be easier to play properly out there if you won it. No one's going to fold AA pre-flop in the Big One whatever crap they might talk on forums, but going out there to play just one event will push you towards folding marginal +EV spots which isn't going to help. Anyway tonight there were only 150 runners giving an overlay of about $100 per head. I wasn't very happy when I was crippled with AA v KJs all-in pre flop (sorry but I wasn't) and exited soon after. If you can get out there on short notice (which I can't) do have a look at that next Saturday.

The tournament added money is classic uneatable value if you can't manage to place. I note that I have cashed 0/19 since returning from Vegas and so the combined overlay of $680 remains uneaten. Never mind, it's not as though I'm going broke. Speaking of not going broke, which is just about everyone's aim when they hit the WSOP whatever they tell you, nice to see the good guys cashing in out there. Professor Duvall notched a great result in the Omaha Hi-Lo, 3rd/699 (699 runners for Omaha Hi-Lo !!) for $77K. I'm sure Jeff is sensible enough not to walk around like his dog's been run over just because he didn't win, like some of them do. Bushy notched $25K at the Palms and the top diarists bar none, Dr. Channing and The Camel are staying ahead of the game thanks to their specialties of Second Chance Tournaments and Monster On-line Heads Up Matches respectively. I don't know if it counts as winning money in Vegas if you do it online in your hotel room - I suppose it all counts anyway !

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Pokertracker - Man's Greatest Achievement

How good is Pokertracker ? How high is the sky ? How deep is the ocean ?

So let's review where we are. You wouldn't think it was possible to lose money on a $150 bonus at Party ($1 every 7 raked hands) playing $1-2 : and indeed I didn't. But it was close. I managed to lose $138 on the tables for a profit of $12. Something is still awry with my limit Hold-em. I thought I was paying off too many raises on the turn, but thanks to PT I checked this evening and, to my surprise, I wasn't. There were two occasions where I called a turn raise and river bet with top pair and won, which covered the times I did so and lost $4. I could still have done better by making a few obvious laydowns (like with 3 flush cards on board), but that's not why I'm losing in itself. It could just be a bad run ; more likely I go on tilt too often and try to bluff the unbluffable. I think I'm learning though - not least when to use the check-raise for maximum profit.

So anyway, having cashed in the Party bonus (or 8% of it anyway), I turn my attention back to Stars. And I think "hmmm. I wonder if $1-2 Omaha 8 clears the bonus quicker than $1-2 Hold-em". So I give it a spin, and people are throwing chips at me. Here's an example of the standard of play. I raise pre-flop with AKK2, the BB calls as does a limper. Flop comes KK6 - kerching ! Limper bets, I call, BB folds. Turn is a 4, he bets I raise he calls. River is a 5, he bets I raise he calls. I scoop against his .... AJ74. Go figure that one out. And Omaha has bigger pots, so more hands qualify for an FPP. Per 100 hands it clears about twice as quickly as $1-2 HE, although this is offset by fewer hands/hour.

I go back to Pokertracker Omaha (it's just as good !) to find that I made $85 in 1000 hands of $1-2 Omaha on Party and Stars about a month ago, before deciding the game was too small, giving it back at $2-4 and switching to HE. In itself, the game was too small. But that was before I started on the bonuses. Now I reckon that Omaha could be the way forward when bonus whoring on Party and Stars, while HE is the only game in town on Crypto so I'll have to live with that.

There are quite a few $10/table hour bonuses around at the moment. This adds up to $30/hour if I can break even at 3 tables of Hold-Em, and about the same if I can manage $5/hour on 2 tables of Omaha. Doesn't sound like much ? Well, look at it this way. Playing live in Vegas you would almost certainly have to play $20-40 to make that, and of course the swings would be humungous. Furthermore, last year Daniel Negreanu, considered by many to be the top tournament player in the world (and I would definitely put him in the top 10), estimated his hourly rate in B+M tournaments to be ... $50/hour !

It remains to be seen whether I can maintain my interest in these - I couldn't in Sit and Goes, and I was making about $40/hour in them when I tried. But there's much more to these games, you have many, many, many more decisions to make and it's always nice to feel like you're moving forward. One other bonus is that it appeals to my perverse nature to bang on about $1-2 limit at the same time as everyone else is talking about $2500 tournaments !


Aces in the WSOP - I was wrong

When Derek started up another "Aces in the first hand" thread on Gutshot I explained that this kind of thread attracted the stupidest comments imaginable. However, I wasn't counting on someone saying "What is the purpose of winning the first hand" in the context of trebling up to 30,000.

I should have said "stupider comments than you could possibly imagine".

My apologies.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


I Won Ten Grand Once ...

... now I'm playing $1-2 limit on the Internet. A comedown - or a much more sensible way of playing ? This is poker after all, not a sport - you want to play against the worst players, not the best. I could still knock it up a notch or two and I will once I'm sure I have the fundamentals down. What's quite striking is the difference in the games on different sites at different times. For example, $1-2 on Crypto in the afternoon is a totally different game to, say, $2-4 on Stars at 11pm.

The other striking factor is how many bonuses there are knocking around at the moment. I've pulled in $300 in bonuses in the last 10 days, with another $300 in the pipeline. And none of these are sign-up bonuses ! They're either monthly deals or reloads on Party and Stars. All you have to do is break even at $1-2 ($2-4 on Stars) and you're pulling in $10/table hour for free. When I see posts on Gutshot saying "boo hoo I can't afford the £200 can we have a satellite" it makes me wonder what's wrong with people. I hate to break this to you but if you can't make £200 online in 2 weeks then you'd be toast in a £200 event anyway (even this one).

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