Thursday, May 29, 2008



I ended up dropping about $2400 this month, this was the first losing month since the summer break last year. I had three or four frustrating tournament sessions where I went deep but ended up 7th or 8th for not enough reward. Never mind. To pass the time I also played a fair bit of $8-16 HORSE (making a few hundred) and $10-20 limit HE (breaking even). The one thing with cash games is that you can dip in and out of them for an hour whenever, which is obviously a lot easier when you don't feel like putting in a long session.

I was thinking lately that the online poker season should run like the football, August to May with a break in between for people to play the WSOP, so all the nerds staying at home don't get all the ranking points :-). Anyway, looked at in that way, I've made $165K online in that time ; chuck in another $15-20K live and I'm very happy with it. Not bad for a 3-day week :-).

Fortunately the WSOP has come around just in time for a break from online. My plans haven't changed over the last week (for once), I'm still looking at 17-20 events for $30-35K total entry. If I get off to a good start I might step up into some bigger comps, but it's always nice to know your maximum downside. This year I'll be making more of an effort to play single tables and even cash (limit cash) in between, and just play as much as I can. Can't wait !!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Break Time ?

I'm thinking about skipping the rest of this month and just taking a couple of weeks off pre-WSOP. I'm not playing especially well anyway ; I'm even on the month thanks to an 8th place in the FTOPS Pot-Limit, in which I was rather unlucky at the final table. Since then it's been a bit meh, I was playing better tonight for a couple of hours but then I donked them off pretty horribly in the $300 6-handed and I think it might be better to skip the rest of the month rather than do $10K just because I think I have to play all the time.

This should allow me to move into "live poker" mode, and it would probably be a good idea to play a live tournament or two as a quick warm up. So don't be surprised if you see me at the Vic or the Sportsman in the next week or two. Then again don't be surprised if you don't, given my record for deciding to go out and play live and then not being arsed :-)

I'm finalising my WSOP plans, right now I'm thinking about playing as many as 18 prelim events ! That list includes the two $1500 shootouts, the two smaller 6-handed NL, two HORSE comps (not the 50K ldo), one each of all the random $1500s except PLO high which I think I suck at, and a couple more limit hold-em and small NL here and there. Might as well put some volume in while I'm out there, and TBH I'm happy to have a good excuse not to play the main event. Incidentally regarding the main event, for everyone who says the change won't affect you anyway, and even if it does you'll be winning a lot of money, how about if Harrah's said they were keeping half of first prize ? It's highly unlikely to affect you, and even if it does you're still winning $4 million, wow that will be terrible. So presumably you'd have no problem with that either.

Obv stay tuned for Vegas, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll have something else to announce that's moderately exciting.

Update (Sunday AM) : On reflection, I probably won't take a break, I'll just try to play better.

Monday, May 05, 2008


What I Learned In April

Most of the April focus was on live tournaments. Reading Gus Hansen's book and playing the televised event opened my eyes to a lot of the differences between live and online play. Hansen's book I have commented on below, I'll just stress again that if you have any interest in playing bigger live tournaments you must buy this book.

As for the Matchroom tournament, it turned out to be better value than I was expecting. To start with I wasn't sure this was going to be the case ; in the first two levels of my heat, the play seemed fine. There was very little limping, most pots were opened with a standard raise and the play was overall TAG. Soon enough though, one player donked most of his chips to me through clumsy play, and with the chip lead 4-handed I basically ran over the table. From the forum updates it seemed that many of the other heats were even weaker, with all sorts of limping, weak-tight play and even calling heads-up on the river with the nuts.

The semi-final was the really key part of the tournament. This is where you can set yourself up to finish deep in one of these. It was a fantastic situation in that the actual bubble factor was quite low, but at least half the field played as though it was extremely high. It's common sense really. With a payout structure of $250K-100-60-30-25-20-14-14-12-12, if I don't tell you where the line is drawn that separates semi from final, at what point do you think the bubble factor is highest, that is at what point does survival have the most value ? I hope you say with 4 players left, where the next jump is from 30 to 60. Failing that, you'd have to be out of your mind to say 7 players. However, because there is this whole situation of "making the final", that's where people really tightened up. I saw at least three really gross plays at this stage, in my semi and watching the other from the green room. Unfortunately none of these benefitted me directly, but on top of those there was all sorts of general tight/passive play to be exploited.

On top of that, it's hard to quantify this, but with the blinds being rolled back to 2-4K in the final, with the two chip leaders having around 400K and the other 4 players all on less than 200K, being in that 400K position was almost a through ticket to the top 3, where all the money is. I was just playing it by ear in the semi mostly, but next time (if there is one, I do intend to play some more of these but you still have to come through the heat) I should go for the throat at the semi-final stage.

Outside the specific implications of this structure, I did fall down a little bit by not giving sufficient weight to how tight or loose individual opponents were, and that's something I should be working on in Vegas. I do plan to go out and play as many hands as I possibly can in NL events, EV considerations are so swamped by variance anyway that I don't mind dropping some theoretical EV if my style of play keeps me involved so that a) I don't get bored and b) I learn more. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

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