Sunday, July 31, 2005



$1100 on Betfair this afternoon (900 Euros if you wish) ahhhh. Which pushes us the right side of $3000 online as we end the month. What I'm pleased with is the number of deals I've closed, 4 outright wins and just the odd 3rd and 5th place finish. More than one bubble finish as well - which is quite as it should be ! I've had some luck here and there but if you do hit the front in some of these tournaments, you have a lot of play (Bodog and Betfair especially) and it's often just a case of chipping away at people till they crack up. Geezer reraised me with A9 today for no reason at all, I had AK and that was the end of him. I've been playing pretty well heads up and 3-handed too. Let's hope I can take a bigger tournament to the hoop fairly soon, then we'll be in business. Not tonight though, I think 4 hours will do for today ! I might play some Exchange Poker on Betfair with my winnings. Totally pointless from a value POV, but it looks like fun.

What was nice today is that I was really on a freeroll. Not in terms of added money (although of course there was some mmmmm) but because I should have been busted miles away from the money. Playing 75-150 I had about 1600 after posting the BB. Late position made it 300, SB called, I called with 65s planning to move in if I flopped a draw or a rag flop pair. I hadn't planned for it coming 789. Or one of my opponents having JT. However, thanks to a comedy bungling duet of the like not seen since Glaze and Maclean *, I escaped with half my chips and never looked back.

The added money makes more of a difference than you might think. If you assume a basic ROI of 50%, for an E20+2 tournament that's an EV of 8 Euros, not really worth getting out of bed for. However with 100 runners and E1000 added, now our total expected return is 1.5 x 30 = 45, and our EV is almost trebled to 23 Euros ! Because your edge and the overlay can be multiplied. Double-table another tournament with a similar edge and there's $60-70 for maybe 1.5-2 hours play on average.

Finally, as usual there was a bit of stalling going on. It's not too bad on Crypto, certainly nothing like as bad as Party, but it still perplexes me what people are trying to do. If 20 places are paid and 22 players left, fine I can understand the players 19th-22nd in the chip list taking their time. But not the guy in 7th. He's just missing the stealing boat. Or if 30 players are left, the guy in 27th is just wasting his own time and ensuring that the blinds go up quicker in terms of hands played. Most of the time it was just one guy, and he busted 22nd (ha ha) but what amused me was, his name was a prominent English football club. Now if I was going to piss everyone off by wasting their time trying to get my money back in tournaments, the one thing I wouldn't do is call myself "QPR" and drag my club down with me. But as soon as this guy sat down I thought - staller ! Angle shooter ! Anyone like to guess which club he was proudly representing ? Clue : think 70s.

* Yes, I had a bath this morning. Well I thought it was funny at the time.

On the stalling, I have written about this before. It seems to me that, if all the remaining tables are playing at the same pace, one set of players is likely to gain from the game slowing down — the ones with large stacks.

You say that the players are "missing stealing opportunities" but, of course, they aren't. if you think of the tournament in terms of hands played rather than minutes elapsed, all that happens is that the stealing opportunities that appear are for larger blinds than they would have been if people had played quicker.

So, if every table plays at the same pace, the larger stacks gain rather than the smaller stacks as the pace slows.

Ahh, you say, but the point is, the tables do not play at the same pace. The smaller stacks want their table to play slower than every other table, while the larger stacks want their table to play quicker than every other table.

Which is why the big stacks play fast, and the small stacks play slow.

It's a neat paradox. If you are told in advance that, no matter what you do, every table will play at the same pace, then the larger stacks should like that pace to be positively funereal, because the rapidly increasing blinds (say, one every hand, please) puts the smaller stacks under more pressure than the bigger stacks.

But, if you are not told this, then the "prisoner's dilemma" (indeed, double prisoner's dilemma) causes the larger stacks to increase the pace and the smaller stacks to slow it down — the opposite of that which would be in their interest if the game were hand-for-hand.

My take on this is that, as a smaller stack, I play fast, because I'm never trying to limp into the money anyway, and I want as many double-through opportunities as possible.

With a large stack, stealing opportunities don't appear every hand (unless you are the only large stack at your table and everyone of the other players is a small stack), so I will play slowly. I'll still steal, but I reckon that my slow play will not cost me that many opportunities.

And, of course, I tell the smaller stacks that I am playing slowly "because I want you rather than another guy at another table to get into the money".

All of this may be the wrong strategy, but I feel comfortable with it. The players with the smaller stacks like me (and having people who like you in tournaments can, as in 15-to-1, have its advantages) and, if I am giving anything up, I don't think that it's much.

If, as a player with a small stack, I do not stall, the bigger stacks are less likely to think that I am prime stealing fodder.


PS: Should chaos be thinking about replying to this (admittedly left-field) post, please read through your post first and make sure it is understandable to those with smaller brains who are incapable of the intuitive intellectual jumps so frequently required! I'm tired. I need things spelt out, just this once :-).

Oh, and congrats on the win this month, Andy. Wish I was within the same number of decimal points, is all....
There are a lot of angles to this stalling business, but I prefer to keep it simple - I think I'm better than the other players so I'd rather be playing hands than flicking my plums.

In the end there's not much you can do about it but stick to the sites where it's not too egregious. It certainly annoys me more than it should. That's my problem though :-)

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