Saturday, April 28, 2007


So How Was Damascus ?

I can almost see the attraction of satellites now. As I mentioned on Get It Quietly, I chinged a double shootout on Stars last night for a WSOP seat. Deep down I know it's all smoke and mirrors, but even so I was much more pumped than when I won, say, $15K on Mansion a couple of months ago even though the latter is more money which I could have used to ... etc etc.

These double shootouts do have a lot going for them compared to your traditional multi-table super. Briefly, winner take all (so no collusion fears or reliance on other players to be sane), discounted entry through W$, added money every now and then ($500 last night, every little helps), no obligation to whore self out via clothing [1], can play again and take the $ (ok the W$). Here's the play-by-play if you're interested, to be honest I didn't play well or badly I don't think, I just won every race, though I did feel comfortable in both heads-up games :


So it's off to Vegas and I'll be doing it properly this year. 11th June-19th July. Six weeks is an awfully long time in Vegas so maybe I can sort it out to play for three weeks, get out of Dodge for a few days and come back for the ME. I've pencilled in about $15K worth of lead-up events to play and we'll be starting off in a Strip view suite in the Rio. It's only internet dollars. Speaking of which, I managed to simultaneously cop $4000 on Eurobet while winning the seat, which is a bit of spending money. The plan is to keep my nose to the grindstone online till then to plump up the roll a bit more.

Regarding selling action in Vegas, this is something I have considered but rejected, pretty much. It's unnecessary to, for example, play for 60% of yourself in a $5K comp when you could just play a $3K instead. I might sell a very small amount of ME action (like 1% at a time) just to generate some funk power but apart from that I'm better off either swapping with people out there or just hogging it all myself :-).

One other snippet, someone said on 2+2 yesterday "cold calling with a big pair in late position is the new squeezing". Heh, maybe a year ago. Try to keep up.

[1] And in fact they can shove their $1000. The final table bonuses sound good until you check the fine print. If you accept the bonus then you have to be their bitch for a year with no further payment. Screw that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Representing AK with specifically KK

Quite often I find myself in a situation where I have to shove with AK but I wouldn't shove with anything else, except maybe QQ. For example, say 100-200 blinds, mid pos makes it 600, button calls and I have AK in the big blind with 6K. Clear shove. But most opponents will figure that I'm not doing this with a big pair and make the appropriate call with AK/QQ-TT.

So how about I mix in some big pairs as well ? I can't claim credit for this because I read it in a book somewhere. It might have been Sklansky/Miller NL. Shove with Kings sometimes as well. Better to do with Kings than Aces, because if I really don't want to make AK or AQ fold when I have Aces, but if I have Kings it's no big deal. Then again, AA v AK isn't usually going to extract the lot on many flops.

Twice in a tournament today the same player made a huge squeeze which looked like AK. Both times the initial raiser (who was also the same player each time) called with AK. The second time, if he had passed, I would have called with TT (having flat called the initial raise). Good read on my part, the squeezer had 94 off :-). Nice try. He had AK as advertised the time before. Next couple of times I have KK and I would shove with AK, I'll trying shoving with the Kings as well and see what happens.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Surprise Package

Is there anything more exciting than receiving a completely unexpected package in the mail ? Yes. Nonetheless, receiving a surprise package is also quite exciting. So I tear it open like a five year old on Christmas morning and, to my further surprise, it's some kind of trophy from Party Poker, presumably for winning that $150 a couple of weeks ago. I don't have the technology to put a pic up, but it's alright, a sort of chunky glass oval thing with " Tournament Champion" engraved inside it. And three Aces on the top. That's the bit I can't figure. Two Aces, obviously. Four Aces, that would make sense too. Why three, it's beyond me. Anyway, isn't that nice. Thank you Party Poker (there's something you thought you'd never read).

Elsewhere, I'm still banging my head against the wall on Stars but I had a decent run in a small 6-hander on Full Tilt :

$69 6-handed, yesterday

A few notes and points of interest :

22 - No point slow-playing this when the second Ace comes off. If he hasn't got an Ace, I'm not winning much whatever I do. If he has, he's not going away, and I don't want to slow-play and find that he was slow-playing AK back. He had A9.

52 - I think I like my bet on the turn. It's kind of a block. Maybe it only worked because he had 99, it might just be throwing chips away when he has a Jack.

105 - What a terrible call. If you're just patient in these, and take flops with hands like AK instead of reraising, sometimes they'll just throw their chips at you.

134 - Variance : villain had a gold "FTOPS" avatar. LOL donkaments.

171, 179, 184 - this guy was killing me. I still have no idea what he was doing. Mostly, I suspect, nor did he.

197 - Does anyone bet the turn ?

214 - 6 high is the nuts. See also WPT Tunica.

225 - 3-bettor is getting almost 5-2 to call this. I was surprised he folded. I wouldn't necessarily 4-bet with AK (even 6-handed) but most people do so I can't see what he can have to 3-bet and then fold there. He had no tournaments at all in the database so might have been very inexperienced.

257 - Dammit. By this time I was one-tabling here so just by feel I was pretty confident he was going to shove over the top. After this I think he takes pity on me by giving me a few walks :-)

275 - This shove is thin but good. Bear in mind I've just been moved to a new table. I was expecting to get called by AT/77 (in which case it's clearly +EV) and someone found ATs. GG, next. If I had been called by KQ or KJ then I would have had to question my assumption for calling ranges.

Finally a couple of snippets from the WPT Championship (via Pokerpages) :

"The buzz going around the room is about Ted Forrest. Though I did not witness it, here is what I heard from the WPT staff that spoke with Ted after the hand: on the second hand of the day, Ted picked up pocket aces and raised. He got called from a player who had pocket queens. The flop came out K-J-x and the other player bet 3K but mistakenly put three 10K chips out there instead, thereby betting 30K. Ted correctly read that he had made a mistake and moved all-in. The other player reluctantly made the call for the rest of his chips. A queen came on the river, doubling up the other player and knocking Ted Forrest out of the tournament!"

I swear, every time. Every time some egg fucks up the action, an innocent party suffers.

2:31 - "I wonder if any tournaments will ever take the step to ban headphones and Ipods? There must be about 30% of the players here using these, and it is all too common to see someone take their headphones off and ask, "What's the bet?" or "Is it on me?" or "What just happened?". Furthermore, they often miss tournament announcements. Will it ever come to being banned? Does a player's need to focus outweigh the lack of consideration to the table?"

7:32 - "Mike Matusow is sitting in seat 4 of table 50, which is in one corner of the Fontana Room. The opposite corner would be table 58, seat 9. While standing next to table 58, seat 9, I can clearly hear Mike Matusow's comments. Ergo, everyone in this room can hear him too. The nickname is well-deserved."

Answered your own question mate. I'll stop wearing headphones when people like Matusow shut the hell up. If you have a bug up your arse about consideration to the table (or indeed the entire room), talk to Matusow first.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


50 Rebuy Torture

0/16 in the $50 rebuy this year, culminating in a spectacular bubble performance tonight after being 6th/33 at one point. Here it is :

50 rebuy bubble argh (also starring The Camel)

And here's another one where I made the last 4 tables :

50 rebuy 34th last week

All comments welcome, especially general comments from regulars in these tournaments indicating whether I'm playing too tight or too loose at various stages. A specific question from the first one, hand 7, KK in early position - what's your line for getting paid off here ? I think what I did (3 BB raise) is about the worst option as it tips my hand while giving everyone massive implied odds.

Obv I could have cruised into the money on the bubble but I lost 3/3 hands at a combined probability of 15%, and that's after two people found big hands to call me with. This is the path I chose ...

Next morning : On review of these I think I play awesomely and am just unlucky :-). That bubble comp, I went from 12K (hand 175) to 70K (272) with only one showdown, Aces where I won 21K (253). Sometimes you live by the sword and you die by the sword (hand 278 onwards). If it wasn't for my aggressive play I'd never have had 70K to blow in the first place.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Play A Tournament With Me

OK, this rules. PokerXFactor is a website run by JohnnyBax and Sheets which allows you to view tournaments that subscribers have uploaded. You don't need to pay anything to play back public hand histories, which is what I was doing for a week or so. I found it helpful to play back some tournaments featuring the more successful online players, even if only to satisfy myself that they're not doing anything magic. Most of what they do is just sound stack-based play combined with making few (or no) obvious mistakes (as below, What You Don't Do When You Don't Have The Ball).

Having picked up a few pointers (especially from Annette_15 who is very good) I promptly won a $150 on Party (where I basically haven't won ever in MTTs) for $7900. So I have reinvested a small part of that in a subscription to PokerXFactor. This allows me to upload my own histories so you can see them, as follows :

Party $150 last week

You have to register with the site to see this, but that's free. Watching this will probably give you a better insight into how I play than reading this entire blog. Please do post any questions or comments (whether general or about specific hands) and I will try to answer as best I can.

Am I concerned that this is going to help my opponents to play better against me ? Not too much. It doesn't seem to bother Annette, Bax etc. for a start. Receiving and answering feedback should help me improve ; I will post a couple of rebuy tournaments where I haven't done so well to see if that helps me adjust to them. Another subtle point is that building a name for yourself online can be very beneficial. People are much less inclined to play back at online "names", so however far away that might be, it's still a potential benefit. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. Enjoy !

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Looking At The Stars

As Wilde said, "we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars". Pokerstars is generally considered to be the #1 site on which to play multi-table tournaments. And in most ways, maybe all ways except one, it is. The software is head and shoulders above the rest (bizarre blind-moving bug that I never understand why they don't just fix apart). Customer support is also completely different gravy compared to the competition. Structures are good and for sheer number and variety of tournaments at all levels, Stars can't be beat. There's just one problem. The player base, on the whole, is much tougher on Stars. And that's a huge, huge downside. Me like play against bad players they suck.

To make a lot of money playing online MTTs, you have to follow Greenstein's number one rule of tournaments : play lots of tournaments. You also have to play at a decent level. Once you reach a certain level, it's just not worth your time playing $20 tournaments, however many tables you have open. If you want to play more than 4 or 5 $100 (or $30/50 rebuy) tournaments a day, you have to play at least some on Stars. If you look at the top earners on, almost all the biggest winners (24 of the top 25 ranked at time of posting) play on Stars. If you want to make a lot of money, if you want to make a name for yourself, playing online MTTs then you play on Stars and you put a shitload of hours in.

What if, however, we want to make a reasonable amount of money for minimum effort, lazy bastards that we are. OK, fine, that I am. In that case I think we do something completely different. We play three or four sessions a week, 4-tabling tournaments around the $100 mark on sites like Mansion, Betfair, Crypto, Eurobet (Ongame network) and so on. Presumably Party too, though I can't win an argument on there, rigged [1].

I had a spell last month where I was trying out the Stars $50 rebuy as a means of stepping up (and a couple of goes at the Stars $100 rebuy). Results, 0/12 -$1900. Yes, I know, a small sample, but even though I think I have an edge (if only because of the loose play in the rebuy period), it's remarkable how often I would look up my post-rebuy opponents on OPR and find three or four players per table with a shedload of experience and a very good ROI. Sure there were weak spots too, but it just doesn't compare with sitting down on Mansion or Betfair and having the entire table throwing chips at you and/or tightening up like the hounds of hell were after them on the bubble.

I wonder how many people are doing the same thing. We can't tell on the databases because there's no linking of accounts on different sites. And that's probably a good thing too. I still think I'm better than the majority of the players in a Stars $50 rebuy. But that's just not as good as being better than 99% of the field and miles better than 80% as I am on some of these other sites. Game selection baby. You can look at the stars, I'm happy to stay right here in the gutter when it comes to online MTTs

[1] Joke.

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