Sunday, July 17, 2005


So How Was Damascus ?

This is something DY likes to say when someone completes a U-turn in thinking. And this weekend, it seems to me, I have finally committed mentally to on-line tournaments rather than live.

There are a lot of reasons. You can skim through this blog (and this one of course) to pick up an idea, but in general all the inconveniences and annoyances of live tournaments were tolerable while I was making more money live than online. Now, I think, that's changed. Easy for me to say after winning 3 online tournaments in 3 days I know. But tournaments are inherently very streaky. More so than almost everyone realizes. I cashed 1 in 48 on-line tournaments between returning from Vegas and the tide turning about 10 days ago. In the last 4 days I have cashed 4/8 including 3 wins.

I know about the luck involved - see below - and obviously I also knocked Aces off with Queens, found AA v KK and won a few races, all the things you have to do to win any tournament. But a part of this is down to a change in attitude towards tournaments without antes. Basically, you either limp and take some flops or, if they won't let you do that, wait for a hand and get paid. There's no shame in the latter ! Stealing blinds is not a factor until you approach the bubble. At that point you steal based on the sizes of the stacks behind you and who gives a toss what two cards you have. This has opened up a few more sites - I should mention BoDog which receives a big thumbs-up from me. There aren't too many games for $50 and above, but if you like to play $15-$20 or so, there is lots of play and if you play the bonuses right for every $1 you pay in entry fees you get $2 back. Not bad.

Playing festival tournaments with your own money for any extended period of time is a mug's game. Frankly hardly anyone else is doing it. They're either paid in by sponsors or backers, or they're the luckiest of the online satellite punters (who remind me of those bizarre Japanese arcade machines with a million grillion balls going in the top and a couple of hundred coming out the bottom). Anything that's sub-festival is too small to provide the same kind of earn as on-line multi-tabling, especially when you factor in travelling time and expense. Maybe something like £100 tournaments in Luton or Gutshot are just about worth it, if you can accomodate the fixed start times and late nights, the old-time moaners and angle-shooters, and the "new generation" with their sunglasses and their dwell-ups and their "ain't gonna knock me mate out am I ?".

I will spin the two Vic tournaments I've already paid for and take stock. My aim would be to take stock based on how well I play and whether I feel I have an edge rather than results. If I play like an idiot and still get a result (it can happen) I might just say "ha ha" and pocket the loot. We shall see.

Live tournies, except the small locals, should be viewed as a reward for a bit of hard graft on the net imo. Unless your 'live skills' are very good then it's tough to justify on the $$ front.

As for the u-turn, I'd pity the fool who doesn't constantly reassess his opinion, rather stay married to it, come hell or high water, because (s/)he has invested too much of himself in it.

The major problem (for me) with playing online rather than live is the long-term isolationism. As that great seer Gil Grissom noted, isolation can creep up on you, and the next thing you know you're that mad old man who lives at number 4.

I still enjoy live ring games in Vegas, and I may "treat" myself to the occasional £100 tournament at Gutshot, but it's already got to the stage where I feel that I have little in common with most of the people who play live. It's less bad at the hundred quid tourney level and above, where the dork factor probably drops to 50%. But I certainly wouldn't see it as a long-term profitable venture, let alone profitable in terms of opportunity cost.

No matter how many hours you play online, you still begin to feel "out of the loop". Your bank balance might benefit but, hell you have to spend the money somewhere.

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