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.

free bet

i think that Gus really helps ppl with his easy to explain, no BS, simple and straightforward language
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