Saturday, August 27, 2005


That Was My Idea

Via the great Iggy, a post from Andy Bloch on RGP :

Subject: Is Andy Bloch right?

NL HE Tourney

-Blinds are $300-$600.
-Player under the gun has $605 and goes-all in.
-Everyone folds to the blinds and both call the $605.

Andy Bloch said that if the UTG player is smart, he will only go in for
$600, and one of the other players will have to raise or bet 600 later
to get him all-in, potentially forcing out the other player.

I'm not going on to RGP to look for the whole thread, I always want to have a half-hour shower after going on there at all. Anyway, haven't I read that somewhere before ?

I rule. By the way I am not for a second making any claims about plagiarism - it's simply an idea that Andy Bloch also thought of. After me though :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Bubbling Under

I knew there was something I wanted to mention from the PLO8 tournament, I had forgotten it till now. Obviously in PLO8 it's harder to knock people out with the split pots. Which is the same for everyone, in fact it's better for those of us who know that a good two-way hand is a better bet than A234 or AKQJ when you're short-stacked. Anyway, this made for a couple of extended bubble periods in this tournament.

First of all with three tables left, 11th-20th paid $38 and needless to say there were quite a few people so desperate for $38 they were happy to give up any chance of $1000 to get it. All well and good until we reached the "second bubble", 11 runners, allowing me at least half an hour of profitable thievery. But why ? 11th was the same $38. 10th was about $75, 9th $110, 8th $150 and all the way up to at least 5th in pretty much even steps. There is basically no difference in the forthcoming payouts whether you are 11th, 10th or 9th. You get another $40 for each step up the ladder.

At this point I want to forestall any asinine comments about "doubling your money". Pretend I'm Jim Bowen. 11-handed, you've got $38, we can't take that away from you (or is it Bruce Forsyth ?). If you outlast another player, you win another $38. Two players, $75. And so on. Now we're 10-handed. You've got $75, we can't take that away from you - everything else is exactly the same !

And yet, 11-handed half the field rocks up, 10-handed the same half go all demob-happy and are splashing it around like monopoly money. "Me on bubble me play tight" is about all their brains can manage I think. If you're in a situation where lasting one more place earns you more money, but the next 3/5/10 however many places are all the same, that's a bubble. If each successive place is more money, that isn't.


Another String To The Bow

When they say "another string to your bow", is that like a bow and arrow so you can fire two arrows ? Or is it a violin, so you can play two at once ? Or something. These things bother me. Anyway it's not so much violins as trumpets, as in blowing my own - $1000 on Party in the $10 PLO8 rebuy. What a game this is if you have an edge. More thoughts later. Unfortunately it went on so long (5 hours 15), by the time I had polished it off it was much too late to fight through the traffic for Barnet v Macclesfield. Never mind, an afternoon in front of Soccer Saturday. Oh wait, no TV. Bugger.

Later on Well quite a profitable day, despite Rangers getting a whopping off Coventry in their new stadium, me missing out on Barnet 1 Macc 0 and so weakening my case for rubbing down the Macc fan at work and being on the receiving end of a scoffing from Pete Birks (I'm sure he only mentions the TV at the end to give me the needle). Wow, that PLO8, once you get some chips. I have dabbled in this before and realised intellectually that it seemed like great value without ever going far enough to stick at it. Today I realised that a good PLO8 comp is full of people who can't play tournaments, can't play Omaha 8, can't play Pot Limit, and all combinations of the above. Definitely a better bet than S+Gs if I fancy a change from NL tournaments. I think I'll keep the secrets of this game to myself for a while - but if you know the score I'm sure you can divine them for yourself.

Friday, August 19, 2005


I Remember Now

I have been playing a few S+Gs this week, just for a change and to knock off the Pokerstars bonus. Up until today I was doing quite tidily and thinking "why did I stop playing these ?". Today I had my memory jogged by one 3rd place out of 6, topped off by a catastrophic every-all-in-survives-except-mine 4th place special. Fortunately a bit of swearing and some 2c-4c limit maniacery blew off the impending tilt. Someone told me I played crap hands at 2c-4c. Oh no ! What if their verbal sparring puts me on tilt, I might do the lot ! Nob-ends.

I'll have to have a serious think about my medium/long term plan because I don't think I could face grinding it out at poker ! Work is mad at the moment, although at least while it is the day goes by quickly. Unfortunately I might have to show my face on Sunday, which is bad news. I'm hopefully looking at 6 months off next year though. After 6 months of Sit and Goes I'll probably be begging to come back ...

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Knowing The Odds And Where It Gets You

It's fun to laugh at people who don't know the most basic odds, but it is possible to take it to the other extreme. A poster on Gutshot today seemed particularly insistent that AKs was a favourite over 22. As a matter of fact, according to twodimes, it is if neither of the twos are the same suit as the AKs, but it isn't if one of them is (if you see what I mean). And I'm not even going to mention the other case I saw today. You'll know it when you see it.

At the end of the day though, if I started arguing with people at the table as to whether AK v AQ is a 73% or a 74% favourite, you might well inquire as to whether it makes any fucking difference, and further recommend that I might shut the hell up and get on with the game. And you'd be well in order. Does it really matter which of AKs and 22 is the 50.1% jolly ? After all, we never have exactly even money from the pot, and we never know exactly what two cards our opponent has (or at least I don't), at the point where we have to make a decision. The only reason I can think of why you might need to know is so that you can claim the high ground in the post-mortem. "I had you before the flop". Yes by 0.1%, you're the greatest.

Who had who before the flop, on the flop, on the turn, hell even on the river, is of no import once the dealing's done. Evaluate your own decisions on their own merits ; take note of your opponent's for future reference. Waste as much of your own time as you like trying to claim the high ground ; but please don't waste any of mine. You tak' the high road, I'll tak' the money, and I will be caked up afore ye.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Just Like In The Book

A couple of interesting hands came up yesterday. This one I liked because it was almost exactly the scenario that's always used in books when explaining the effect of proportional payouts in tournaments.

There were 3 of us left. I had 40K, the other two just over 50K each. Payouts were $1600, $1000 and $600. As you know I like to go for the win, but sometimes common sense does dictate holding back just a little. Here I'm happy to try to keep pots small, nip a few blinds and see if anyone does anything stupid because, as we will see, a major confrontation between two players is money in the bank for the third.

Blinds 1600-3200, I pick up AQ in the big blind. Just as I am rubbing my hands and saying "raise me now and you'll catch it", the button does make a 2xBB raise to 9600. The small blind then reraises the minimum ! Hmmm. Having been paying attention for once (only playing one table) I'm confident that if I pass there's a great chance all my opponents' chips will end up in the middle. On top of that, AQ isn't such a monster three-handed against a raise and a reraise. When an all-in pot is likely to be three-handed, pairs go up in value and big cards go down. This is because the big cards are much more likely to find one or even (disaster) two of their cards duplicated in other hands. Usually. Because after I fold, all the chips do indeed go in, only for both opponents to turn over Tens ! Damn, I should have called ! But the board comes all rags. Hooray, I was right to pass !

20-20 vision notwithstanding, I think I was right to pass. If it doesn't end up as a split pot, my equity jumps from about $1000 up to $1200. Enquire below if you don't know why, or just pick up a tournament book, it's bound to be in there. Having said all that though, it's surprising how rarely this actually does come up in real play. And even in this case people were making more normal raises than the book scenario "they both go all in". It pays to recognize this situation when it does happen. But it pays a lot more to ignore the survival factor when it doesn't apply, which is much more often.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Money Won Is Twice As Sweet

And 4 times as sweet when it's in a freeroll. Another $1600 on Blue Square kerching ! And I will not get it quietly because I played fucking great.

Suppose I'd better go to bed now though. I'm going to work tomorrow why ?

Sunday, August 07, 2005


£300 at the Vic

Had a spin, no good. I'm not going to bother with the whole hand reporting thing, that's ten a penny nowadays. And it's often very hard to do when you've lost (which is after all usually the case) without sounding like a bit of a whingebag. Trip reporters, heed my number 1 trip report tip, DO NOT criticise your opponents' play, ESPECIALLY when they knock you out. Just say what they did and let the reader decide for themselves.

That said, it was nice to catch up with a few people. As The Camel said at the bar beforehand, you do miss the social side just playing online. Also hob-nobbed with DY, Jo, Dr Channing, Bushy, JQ, Richard introduced himself, and so on. It does strike me that it would be nice to be this social and not end up £300 out of pocket mind you.

It was hard to get into the game to start with, I find live poker sooooo slooooowwww these days. Especially when I'm short stacked. One downside of my confidence at this stage is that I know what to do instantly at least 95% of the time. Probably more. So it's look at cards pass ... watch someone dwell up for 2 minutes over a decision that's equally clear cut ... repeat. Vicky and Michael Arnold made up an amusing double act for a while which just about kept me awake enough to stay in the game and not do anything stupid, but eventually I split one when we both had A6, then my K7 ran into QQ and lost. You're not going to win a tournament if you don't win a single "on their backs" whatever you do. Damn there you see, whingeing again ...

Monday, August 01, 2005


The Best Laid Plans Of Mice

I quite enjoyed the film of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, but I did miss a few little things from the book that didn't make it to the screen. Like when the mice say "Oh well - the best laid plans of mice" and Arthur Dent chips in "and men !" and they just look at him like he's a complete nob-end. BTW the other bit I missed was when Arthur saves everybody by turning on the Infinite Improbability Drive and suddenly they all have new respect for him "Hey Earthman, you saved our lives !". He says "Oh, it was nothing" like any Englishman would and they all go "oh was it ? Never mind then" because they don't do sarcasm. I'm like that on the forums sometimes.

Anyway, the best laid plans of mice and men have gang aglay once again (I knew that - I just used google to check) because Blue Square have scheduled their league playoff for Wednesday night. Which is fine, he who pays the piper (or the bagpiper if we're quoting Burns). So I am going to blow the Vic out, as is right and proper, this is a £100 freeroll (for the main event in Luton) even without an edge over the field, which I have, having observed my foes over the course of the three week league period. I can tell you about it now because it's too late - you snooze you lose !

And Luton itself might have to be given the swerve if I can't manage to contact the DVLA (do you think the V stands for Vogons ?) by then, which is looking a longshot judging by today's efforts. Of course if I win the freeroll I'll be fine - they're bound to kick in a few hundred $ for expenses, so it will be a door-to-door limo from Loftus Road to Luton !

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