Monday, November 17, 2008


Over-Egging The Pudding

Matchroom have almost completed the line-up for the next Poker League thing. Now I've seen next to nothing of the previous two series, as this is a format in which, in the past, "banter" was encouraged at the table. That's "banter" in the poker world, we in the real world would call it something more like "obnoxious disrespect for your opponents and your game". But it takes all sorts, and if you think Devilfish and Tony G are funny (some people do apparently) then this one's for you.

The current line-up, though, has me scratching my head. Let me just say straight off that this is not because they are bad players. I'd run to the hills before taking on this line-up without added money. JC Tran, Annette, Nenad Medic and Durrr have been added to the core of the stronger players from previous series, and they're all top players. What puzzles me is that none of them are known for being animated at the table. Not that this would be a problem if this was a 100BB+ cash game, like the Poker Den. That's the other thing. When you have no weak spots donking it up, the blinds catch up very quickly and the play soon becomes routine until it just degenerates into an all-in card-catching contest.

So unless they suddenly announce Hellmuth as the last player, and it'll be must viewing to watch him get pwned by everyone, I'm struggling to see this working. Oh well. Not that I'm the camera's best friend myself ; following on from the semi, I saw the final from April on the web today (Channel 5 have cocked up the playback so the final's actually on the web before it's broadcast on TV, which is midnight Wednesday night). In this one, I play three hands and get it in with the worst of it every time. Ho hum. The hands in between where I steadily accumulate don't make the cut because I'm not doing stuff like calling 86o out of position to check dark/fold the flop, as was shown in the 2nd semi (before I got bored with it). Even so, if you can catch this anywhere, it's probably worth watching for one hand between Neil and Marc Goodwin, which was funny enough at the time but is super lollerskates on TV.

My own verdict, having seen all of those now, and after playing the other one last month, is that it wouldn't do me any harm to open up and be myself on these things. It's true that 95% of what you say on TV comes across worse than it would in real life, but jeez, I couldn't look as much of an idiot as [insert name of favourite TV idiot here] if I tried my utmost. And if the play makes me look a bit donkish, who'd notice one more, out of the hundreds we've seen over the years.

Update : Let pwning commence :-). Cliff notes - Hellmuth is in, and you can read him either damning his opponents with faint praise or saying they're good but not as good as him at that link. I've had a small investment on all three outsiders (Juha, Andy Black and Vicky) as there can't be a big difference in expectation with this format IMO.

Saturday, November 08, 2008



If any of you were wondering what the second thing was, it's the launch of the Pokerswat training site. I am one of the video instructors on the site and I'm quite excited about this going live and getting up to speed.

As you can see on the front page, there are three free sample videos so I'd encourage you to check these out. When you click on one of these, it will initially seem to not do anything but just give it a little while and the content will appear. My own video here is specifically aimed at beginners, so bear that in mind !

So have a look around, explore the site, and when it comes to considering signing up, there is one thing I'd like to say. I've gained considerable benefit from joining a couple of existing training sites over the last 18 months or so, and have no doubt in saying that the subscriptions I have paid have been returned at the tables tens, if not hundreds, of times over. Someone posted on 2+2 that when you initally look at a training site you think "Why is it so expensive ?". Then after a few months of using it you think "Why is it so cheap ?" ! And that's spot on IMO.

I'm very happy with the content I've submitted to the site so far (including a live recording of a $65K tournament win) and I'm looking forward to checking out the other videos from some very highly regarded players. So, advertisement over :-), and of course I can answer any questions either here or on the Pokerswat forum.

Friday, November 07, 2008


UK Poker Open

Couple of things happening this week, first of all I played the UK Poker Open V in Maidstone. The heat was pretty random but after winning an all-in flip with A8 against KJss on an 863ss flop I was mostly ahead of the game. AA > JJ helped too, as did a truly ludicrous raise/fold by Surinder which I'll probably go into in a Boylesports blog pretty soon. Heads up I had a 3-1 lead which I promptly lost to a flop 5-outer, then I thought I played pretty well and ended up winning the last flip.

The semi-final yesterday was very frustrating. There were no weak spots and a lot of open-raised pots. I ended up playing one hand of poker, in which I was thoroughly owned, and showing down one hand, the mighty J7o which I had shoved with 6BBs. That might sound rash but we were playing 7-15 blinds 6-handed, with an average stack of 8BBs. Just one of those days when everyone else won their first allin, often from behind, but I went 0/1 gg. I think I know what to do about this next time, but that's going to remain a genuine secret, sorry :-)

Funnily enough, the semi from the World Poker Open in April was on TV on Wednesday night as well, and even though it was the exact same structure, there was a lot more play because three players managed to bust out by the middle of level 3. I often say that the amount of "play" in a tournament depends more on how recklessly or cautiously people play than the actual blind structure, and this was a good example. The TV version showed even fewer of my hands than the DVD version I had seen. I think I can see why a lot of my hands don't make the cut ; first of all, I tend to take lines that make things simple on later streets, and secondly I tend to act fairly quickly generally. TV loves big dwell-ups in difficult spots and I just don't tend to be in these spots ! So you'll just have to imagine how I went from 200K to 380K by apparently folding every hand :-).

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