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.

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