Friday, April 14, 2006


Grand Designs

Over the last week or two I have been thinking quite a lot about how I'm going to proceed with the poker once I've burned my bridges and played the boss's head like a bongo on the way out. What I have settled on after a lot of to and fro-ing is the following. Play 5 or 6 turbo sit and goes every day, usually in the morning. I know I'm making $10-$12 a time here at the $50 level, and with a little more concentration that is improvable. There's $50-70 a day. One day a week off for good behaviour and that's $1200-$1500 a month. Which, as I have said before, is enough. It covers the nut with enough to spare to keep myself entertained.

That's basically separate, it looks after itself and the bankroll I need to sustain that is minimal. To avoid burnout and boredom, I don't play any more Sit and Goes than that. Apart from that, I can do whatever I like. I still have a separate tournament bankroll for online and live play, and I can play as and when I like within that bankroll. Hopefully I can keep growing that, whacking it on the offset mortgage where it's still available.

This leaves plenty of scope for taking shots at live tournaments, around the $300-$500 level. The more tournament reports I read, the more people who are playing these tell me, the more I want to play them. Because I'm picking up the distinct impression that the standard of play is worse than ever. What I find most interesting are the trip reports of the less experienced players. They make life so hard for themselves. They can't bear to just make a good chip decision and repeat ; they have to distract themselves with all sorts of artificial goals and targets. They seem totally oblivious to the impact of stack size on play. Time and again they grill their opponent for that elusive read, when the pot and stack sizes clearly dictate one play or the other. When they guess on the basis of their "read" alone, half the time they'll get it wrong.

I think there's a lot of scope for a different approach to the one that's prevalent. Everyone seems to be trying to impose themselves on the table, win lots of pots and accumulate chips steadily. I'm thinking about a counter-style whereby I don't win so many pots but when I do, they'll be bigger. Instead of accumulating steadily I'll be looking to double up irregularly. You have to be yourself to an extent. It's not in my personality to impose myself on a group of people ; at the poker table I'd rather stay fairly inconspicous and let the aggressive players throw their weight around until suddenly they commit when they shouldn't, to crash and burn and think "how did that happen ?".

I don't mean I'm just going to play like a rock all the time ; but when the stacks are large, there's no rush and no need to "take control" of the table. When someone's playing a lot of hands and making large bets, many people think this is "control". In fact it's anything but against a patient opponent who is prepared to let the small pots go in order to make the pots he wins bigger. A lot bigger. I'm really looking forward to my Vegas trip now, and if it's going well I'll be looking to extend it. One can never be too confident, poker being such a bitch goddess, but quietly confident is the attitude I'll be taking with me.


I can't remember where I read it, but I think it's a fairly well-known piece of advice that the most profitable way to play is the opposite style to that of your opponent's.

While a bit simplistic, I think this is absolutely true and exactly what you are saying.

Good luck in Vegas!

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