Wednesday, March 28, 2007


What You Don't Do When You Don't Have The Ball

This is just something I was thinking about, apropos of nothing. Andy Gray was once mocked in Private Eye's Colemanballs for saying of a team "it's not what they do when they have the ball, it's what they don't do when they don't have the ball". However, what he said made perfect sense and was in fact quite insightful. It's the same with me in poker. Well, except in the sense that Gray's point was a criticism of the team (I can't even remember which team it was now).

A big part of the edge I have is the things I don't do that other players do. Many other players. These include things like moving in from early position when the whole position/stack/hand equation isn't right ; reraising light in situations where the stacks dictate that I have little or no fold equity ; "isolation" reraising an all-in when the upside in making everyone else fold is small and the obverse downside is huge ; calling pre-flop raises with likely second-best hands that don't have good implied odds ; playing AK in committal pre-flop situations where two or more opponents have a good hand ; making late position raises that are just asking for a semi-bluff shove from the blinds ; passing to an all-in reraise when I have pot odds plus against opponent's range ; and so on. More to the point, many of the above aren't considered to be mistakes by most people. For example, the following plays wouldn't raise many eyebrows in a typical medium stakes tournament :

- Making it 2000 and then folding to an all in raise of 3500 more with 33 [or anything]
- Pushing for 10K with 77 after a short stack moves in for 2K, with four people to act behind you
- Moving in with AK after a tight player raises UTG and someone reraises allin in MP

And yet they are all much, much worse plays than shoving for 10 big blinds with Q8 on the button or reraising allin for 4 times the cut-off's raise with 86s. Against typical opponents, both of those are +EV plays that I'll make regularly and, of course, end up showing when someone wakes up with a big hand.

If you watched me play, live or online, you could easily think that I'm a donk who sits there waiting for a big pair until I lose patience and start smashing it all in with filth. And over one tournament or one session it would probably be difficult to tell the difference between me and said donk. It's only over a long period of time that you might notice how rarely I get caught in one of the situations above, and that would only be if you were paying particular attention. I suspect that this applies to many players who are considered "lucky" or "over-rated". Few people watch them carefully enough or for long enough to realise that the mistakes they don't make far outweigh the "lucky" or "suicidal" aggressive moves that sometimes crash and burn.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Mansion Crash

Mansion cancelled their $100K Guarantee tournament this morning after about 10 minutes. There were 350 runners (for $100 each). The Mansion rules are as follows :

"In the event of a server crash all current hands being played are cancelled and players at the tables will have their chip stacks returned to the balance they had at the start of the hand. The tournament will restart once the server is back up. If a tournament fails to complete and is subsequently cancelled, MANSION will use a set formula to determine how much each of the active players receives. This formula is tried and tested and is the fairest method of paying out incomplete tournaments for all players. Firstly, the remaining prize pool is split in half. This prize pool is composed of all buy ins, any re-buys and add-ons which have been made, and any added value which MANSION added to the tournament. Any winnings which have already been paid to players who have gone out are then subtracted. Half of this prize pool is split equally amongst all of the players who were still in the tournament when it failed to complete. The remaining half is paid out to all players who were still in the tournament dependant upon the percentage of chips that each player had when the tournament stopped running. All players remaining in the tournament will also receive a refund of their tournament fee. We advise players to allow 2 working days for funds to appear in their account in the event of a tournament cancellation. This rule applies to both single table and multi table tournaments. "

So I'm expecting $300 (plus a little bit extra as I had increased my chips to 3000) to be credited within "2 working days". If it isn't, there'll be trouble !

Update : I just spoke to Mansion support and they explained that they had refunded my $100 (which they have) and that I could have two free entries into $100K tournaments taking place between now and Sunday. I suggest that anyone else who entered talk to them direct to confirm this. Their representative was OK with me reporting this online. I did tell him that from a PR point of view I thought they would be better off just sticking to their T+Cs next time, and he acknowledged that other people had made this point. This is OK for me because I was going to play more of the tournaments anyway. I'm not sure if it's entirely fair to anyone who just entered as a one-off.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


LOL Donkaments

That's the normally unflappable Phil Ivey on realising that Jennifer Tilly has just checked the turn with trip Jacks and checked the river with a full house, in position heads up against Patrik Antonius. You can see the whole hand here, Tuesday: Segment 2 is the one you're looking for, the hand begins with 2:20 remaining in this clip.

I like Jennifer Tilly so it's a bit sad to see her playing so gruesomely, but what really makes this is the players' reactions. Although Harman probably doesn't have the right to be pulling faces after checking the second nuts on the end last to speak against Eli Elezra on a recent HSP.

Then, if that wasn't bad enough, check out this genius. Bay 101: Ed Pellegrini. But he finished 158th in the Main Event 2005, so what do I know. I'll tell you what I know. I should be playing these events. So it's time to grind it up on the net and build up a few $$$ to take some shots with.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Old School

Check this out. Nic Szeremata has a "dilemma" which he places before the experts. Now, at first I skimmed through this. Nic (with 96K at the start of the hand) makes it 16K with AK and Johnny Lodden raises to 48K. 47 players left, 45 get paid. So I'm thinking, come on, how can you pass this to an aggressive player. Don't be a bubble wuss.

On closer inspection though, Nic was on the button. Now words fail me. You raise with AK on the button and a known aggressive Scandi, perhaps even the very uber-aggressive Scandi, reraises. Anyone who even thinks about passing here simply should not be playing tournaments. Never mind EPT main events.

It's just beyond belief that someone who writes about poker in the national press, who was called as an "expert witness" in the Gutshot trial, could, well, to be extremely charitable maybe he's levelling everyone just to see what the experts say. But I doubt it. And of course we don't know what he actually did. Nonetheless, an "expert" advises him to fold (I don't know this Mick McCloskey) and for my money I think Marcel's wrong too, your hand is so strong that you should encourage anyone to come over the top of you here.

All in all, I really ought to think about playing some of these events.

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