Friday, July 14, 2006



A day off again today ; 4 days on before 1 off is probably the maximum I should push it, however I'm running. One or two well-known European players look spectacularly rough and I'd rather not burn out to that extent ! I'm still running good though. So good that I bought two pairs of shoes in the mall yesterday. Two ! The life of me. Just call me Imelda Marcos. Or was it Ivana Trump ? Anyway, some more single table thoughts below.


When the seats are drawn for a single table, there's one person I don't want to see on my immediate right [1]. Not the WPT kid in baseball cap and sunglasses. Not the grizzled veteran in the cowboy hat. It's the 50-something woman. They are the most awkward pains in the arse to play against.

Not, of course, because of any strategic wiles that they possess. Not even because they continually slow the game down through being totally unable to play and talk at the same time, and doing far too much of the latter. It's more that so many of them have a particular style of play, as follows. They'll win a couple of pots from behind, or with a monster. Then about half way through they'll lose one with the best hand, get the raging hump and start raising with the needle every other hand. This, of course, is much more difficult for me to play against than anyone who thinks they're playing "properly". As I said a couple of weeks ago, in a different context but it probably applies here even more, the people who think they're playing well are much easier to handle than the random goons. Funny old game isn't it ?


As far as I can see, nobody plays like I do in the single tables. Nobody. A few people play like me at one stage or another, but no one all the way through. There was one guy yesterday, I've seen him around US tournaments before, he carries himself like a player, and he didn't play a hand for the first 20 minutes so I was thinking "maybe this guy gets it". Then he put 1/4 of his stack in with Jacks and another quarter on an Ace high flop before folding to the check-raise. So in the end he didn't get it at all. I just don't put a quarter of my stack in pre-flop at any stage. It's perfectly sound, it's clearly set out in the new Sklansky NL book. Instead of raising an amount that gives you a problem when reraised, either raise smaller (or limp in the single tables) or move in. People chirp about my all in bets that are larger than the norm, but 90% of the time this is clearly a better play than making a "standard" raise. The other 10% it's either close or unclear enough to make no difference. While we're on percents, at least 80% of players would do better playing "Kill Phil" or a similar rule-based pre-flop all in strategy. I'm not saying it's optimal, just that the vast majority would find it an improvement. Fortunately they all want to "play poker" instead. Which is fine by me, because that means they're in the wrong game.

[1] You heard me, the key positions are immediately to my right. I couldn't care less who's on my left because once I start playing, I've either folded or moved in by the time they act. So what can they do ? Although I suppose tight players who don't understand how to drop their calling requirements against a late position all in are a bonus on my left, but that's most of them anyway.

Interestingly though : Matt Matros knows the score, as follows, from a $1000 single table :

"Second error. It folds to me on the button and I have 11.5 big blinds in my stack. I've come to realize in recent months that this is pretty clearly a jam-or-fold situation. Instead, I convince myself that the two players in the blinds are so tight that I'd be better off opening for 3x and then folding to a jam with my QJo.

So I open for 3x, the small blind jams, and I fold getting 1.88-1. I hate doing that. From now on, no attempts at exploitive play when I'm a short stack. Just move or muck, for Pete's sake."

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