Friday, February 02, 2007


Pseud's Corner

Watch out for players who appear to fit into one of the categories below, but actually don't. There are plenty of pseudo-circuit pros around. I didn't happen to run into any at the table in Tunica but they're around, believe it. I could name names, and I am very happy to do so privately, but I'm not going to here :-). These guys talk the talk, some of them well enough to attract sponsorship, at least for a while. One of the killer giveaways here is if a player pops up with a different sponsor every year. But basically they aren't good enough. If they know this, they're a little more dangerous, but those who believe their own press invariably suffer from chronic FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome). Another good indicator is if they try to over-play with a short stack when they should just be whacking it all in. The really dangerous players can make all sorts of moves with a big stack, but they know the math with a short stack too. If you can lead the pseudo-pros into making an incorrect read early in the hand, they are liable to follow it through to the death rather than admit they were wrong. Unlike the real pros, these guys will commit all their chips on the big bluff when it's not all that likely to work. I shouldn't be too hard because a lot of these guys are likeable, and some are quite sadly delusional about their own ability. Let them outplay themselves. Oh, and don't lend them any money.

The Internet has also produced quite a few pseudo guys-like-me. Similarly to the pseudo-pros, they think they are the real deal but in fact it's a case of not knowing how much they don't know. I read something, can't remember where, which said that moderately competent to incompetent people in the workplace are often far more confident about their own ability than the genuinely competent, who are more aware of their limitations. I ran into a classic specimen in one of the second chance tournaments here. He tried a Stop and Go (a play which I believe is seriously over-rated) which didn't work because the raiser flopped bottom pair. He then berated his opponent, explained patronisingly what a stop and go was and, when the raiser asked how much he wanted to play him heads up for, announced that he "had won two big tournaments online". Finally he called all his chips AQ v AK with a flourish, saying "what the hell, it's only a five hundred tournament". We were so impressed. Once he had gone his opponent offered the table 1-4 that he was a virgin (provided hookers don't count), with no takers. I'll offer about the same he'll be broke within two years. If you hear an internet-looking guy explaining his play, patronising or criticising his opponents and generally talking self-aggrandising bollocks, it's a fair bet he's a fake. Not a certainty, but a fair bet. As ever in life, it's the quiet ones you have to watch. If you do something "out of the book" against one of these guys, like flat calling a raise with a big pair, you can stack him no problem with the right flop. He says "fucking donkeys" and stomps off, you smile and count the chips. These guys are also particularly prone to tilt, although to be fair some of them play reasonably well with a big stack.

Pseudo-eggs are rare birds indeed. You have to swallow your ego right down to deliberately pretend to be a bad player, and how many poker players can do that ? One, that I can think of - Gus Hansen. Maybe Layne Flack. Now, there are a lot of circuit pros who play many hands and try to project a loose image, but you only have to listen to them for two minutes to realise that they think they're God's gift and they want you to know it. Even worse are the ones who project a sort of fake humility, humility being, as Blofeld said, the worst form of conceit. It's also harder to attract sponsorship if you're trying to make everyone think you're an egg, and sponsorship is something that these guys cannot do without. Almost as much for the status as the money. I know Hansen is part of Full Tilt, but that's basically it as far as he goes. Even Gus isn't really a great example here, but I just can't think of any others. You might occasionally see someone who plays goofy hands but actually knows what he's doing, but unless you have clear evidence to the contrary, if it looks like an egg and quacks like an egg then it is an egg. Clear evidence would consist of a decent period of time seeing someone show a lot of strange hands in small pots, but always the goods in big ones.

As for pseudo-rocks, I've probably covered that in part in the local rocks section, with the guys who play tight early on but open up when the blinds rise. And this isn't a bad way to play if you're less experienced or confident about mixing it early on. It's reasonably difficult to exploit but of course you miss out on exploiting the eggs.


Don't know if you'll read this (I can always feel the tumbleweed blowing through comments sections on 'previous' posts on any blog) but...

Have you changed your tune on Stop and Gos? I reread your archives recently (and they're v good on short stack - they've already helped me a great deal (but then, I'm a donkey)) and you seemed to be a big fan of the stop and go. Or am I missing something?
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