Monday, July 21, 2008


Book Review / Poker Million

I picked up three books in the last month and here's a brief review of each :

Power Hold'Em Strategy (Negreanu et al)

This book tries to be Super System 3 (Hold-em edition) but has to go down as a FAIL. It's worth the price for Negreanu's section, which is excellent, and David Williams' which is surprisingly good. However the rest of it is basically filler. I was particularly disappointed with the sections by Todd Brunson and Eric Lindgren. Nonetheless, DN's stuff is very good and it's interesting to reflect on how he tries to distance himself from "internet players" when in fact he seems to play in much the same way as many of the best online tournament pros. Which brings me to :

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand At A Time Vol 1 (Pearljammer, Rizen, Apestyles)

This, however, is the real deal. This is an absolutely top book. It's a lot like watching videos from each of these players (and I think I've seen videos by each of them here and there), but having it all written down so you can go through it at leisure. Pearljammer does tend to the nitty, but seeing as my biggest weakness online is that I am too much of a calling station, especially deep stacked, there's a lot of good stuff in there about how and when you can see that you should fold. Apestyles wins the book IMO, his stuff is really great, I can't speak highly enough of it. I didn't think the section at the end (where all three comment on the same hands) added all that much but that's a very minor criticism, and I can't wait for volume 2.

The Poker Tournament Formula 2 (Snyder)

This one's a bit of a curate's egg. There is some interesting, thought-provoking content hidden away but there's also a lot of verbiose fluff and some stuff that's just flat out wrong. I can't help suspecting, as I said on 2+2 today, that Snyder emphasises the extra value ("utility" he calls it) of having a large stack because he himself doesn't play a short stack all that well (his short stack advice in PTF1 was well intentioned but gave nowhere near enough weight to position). Worth a look but handle with care !

That's all the books for now, although thanks to the power of the Internet I have managed to order a copy of Fox's lesser known follow-up to "Play Poker, Quit Work and Sleep Till Noon", which is titled "How To Hustle Home Poker" and I'm really looking forward to that.

In other news, the Poker Million kicks off tomorrow (see Jesse's preview here). I was originally offered a seat in this, and provisionally accepted, but when Ladbrokes announced out of nowhere that they were chucking two people straight into the semi with no indication of how this was going to work (see Qualification here), I changed my mind. Not only did this halve the added money, but it just niggled me because this isn't how you should do things. Indeed, everyone's playing the heats this week and there's still no information as to who this is going to be or how it's going to work.

Now I see the field, which is pretty tough, especially compared to the event I played in April, I don't think it's a great loss. Good luck to the good guys in this, but on the flipside, I have initiated the bok by betting Neil, Vicky, Marty Smyth and Kongsgaard to win their heats. Sorry guys :-/.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Back To The Grind

WSOP is pretty much a wrap as far as I'm concerned, now I can't funk for Camel/Miros or bok the pathetic Hellmuth. Small-minded I may be, but if Tiffany Michelle's luck runs out too, ESPN and Harrahs will be left with 9 complete randoms to try to hype for 4 months, and serve them right. There were a lot of reasons I didn't play the ME, or indeed any televised event, and one of them was that I felt that I wouldn't be on a level playing field with "name" pros. However unlikely it may be that I would personally be affected, Hellmuth's penalty being rescinded for no valid reason whatsoever simply backed that up. Perhaps they'll try to "wild card" him back in somehow. I wish I was entirely joking.

As for my little experiment, it was certainly interesting. As far as I can see, one of my 30 players made the money (Thayer for $32K). And while I could just as easily have come up with a couple more if their names had sprung to mind (e.g. Foucalt for $190K and Raptor for $77K), it's a touch short of $900K don't you think ? One to consider the next time people start throwing out 400-500% projected ROI for this thing. Terrence Chan ended up losing a small amount on his WSOP shorts although once again, none of his choices could top Hellmuth's $150K.

Back to the grind for me, and I've clawed a quarter of the Vegas damage back in a week, which is a good start. I'm surprisingly keen to play (can hardly wait most days) and I have a lot of bits and pieces I'm trying to integrate into my game. I ordered three books at once, and am kind of waiting for the last one to arrive before I do a combined review post, but I will say that Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand At A Time (Vol 1) is the absolute nizzles (that means it's good). I can think of several WSOP hands that I could have managed better if I'd read this book beforehand.

Lollerskates Update : Here's what Dr Pauly, who usually knows the score in Vegas, said about it a couple of days ago :

" I got confirmation that Hellmuth's appeal was based on two things...1. It was an act for ESPN cameras.2. He said that although he was given a warning many times before, it was always an idle threat and nothing every happened beyond that warning. He felt as though the timing of the penalty and that the lack of enforcement of previous warning was also justification for it to be overruled."

Yes, Hellmuth's case was that because warnings had never been properly followed up in the past, he wasn't expecting this one to be, and so the penalty was unfair. Not only did the tournament organisers buy this, their final sanction was to give him another warning.

You could not make this shit up. You really couldn't.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Main Event Experiment

Just for fun, as it's not really going to tell us that much about ME expectation, I've picked out 30 2+2ers/Internet players, and let's see how they do in the Main Event. Of course the damn thing has already started, but I haven't checked the sweat threads on 2+2 and while I suspect a couple of these guys are out, it's close enough for now. In no particular order :

Bond18, uclabruinz, Fatal Error, colson10, Shaniac, MrTimCaum, Jurullo, amak316, ansky, LearnedFromTV, Thayer, Shaun Deeb, Adanthar, ckingusc, JP OSU, Gobboboy, psyduck, fxlexcduck, George Lind, mastr, Cornell Fiji, mlagoo, MaverickUSC, Todd Terry, nath, djk123, lilholdem, SCTrojans, Moorman1, allinstevie.

According to many peoples' estimates of main event EV, these 30 players should expect to return at least $900K in prize money ; I personally am taking the under. I really should have done this before the start, but I was too busy sulking.

Someone who did place his bets ante-post is Terrence Chan, who picked a bunch of players and bet that they wouldn't cash. I wish I had thought of that. Not only can we have a good look how these players turned out, a lot of those bets look like great value in hindsight.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Done And Done

Well, that's that out of the way. To round up, I played OK in the last 3 tournaments, and at least doubled my stack in all of them, but it wasn't enough to even threaten a cash. Somewhat belatedly, I have learned the value of going into check-call mode in limit games when you're short stacked and you can save a bet or two to gamble all in with on the next hand, rather than smashing the lot in just because. I was able to restart my limit shootout twice like that today, but the third was too many.

So the final damage was 1/17 in tournaments for -$25.7K and, probably more frustratingly despite being for much less $, 1/18 in single tables for -$3K. The funny thing is if I had stayed at home and put similar hours in online, I would probably have ended up with about the same amount of money in play. What's not so funny is that I would probably have had a better EV and (definitely) hugely lower variance. Still, it was worth a spin I suppose, and we can just put it down as a bad month and move on.

Where we move on to will be the subject of a post or two once I have my feet under the table back home. Most likely increased volume online and screw live tournaments, I'm thinking right now.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?