Monday, July 20, 2009


Looking Like A Dork

*** WARNING this post contains spoilers of European Poker Open shows that will be on your screens in the next month. Look away now if you don't want to see them ! ***

If it's not too late, anyway :-). I've seen them (semi-final and final) and they both make me look like a dork. Partly because I have this habit of swaying back and forward in my chair like a 6-year-old, but mostly because of the way the poker hands look. Basically, twice in each show, I ran my bag of filth into JJ+, which never looks good. I know, myself, that all the plays were standard (albeit one or two were a bit thin), and I guarantee you that in spots where commentators wanted me to fold to reraises, that would have been ridiculously exploitable, and there were definitely players on each table (Neil and Karl for a start) capable of exploiting. And as we know, 90% of the moves that get through end up on the cutting room floor.

But I knew all that before I saw the DVD. What surprises me now is how rattled I look at one point in the final. I remember feeling a little off balance but certainly not as much as I look on screen. The overall impression is of someone with a very one-dimensional "shove and hope" game. But you know what ? Maybe that's not a mile off. I was wondering this evening, while spinning a few turbo tournaments, whether too much short-stack online tournament play inhibits my development as a player. Luckily I soon pulled myself together and came up with the correct answer - so do I have to give any of the money back ? *Dr Evil voice* how about Nooo.

Poker is not a sport, it's not about being on TV and it's not about being a face on the circuit. It's about getting the fucking money. THE MONEY. To get the money, you find bad players and you play lots of hands against them. This guy [1] understands it - he's like the cash version of me IMO. Find worse players than you and play a ton of hands against them. I know what my hourly is and I know how few people in poker can match it, and in live poker, how very very very few. And if the style of play required to do what I do is considered one-dimensional, hell if it is one-dimensional, then so much the better, because that makes it easier and so I can do it listening to Megadeth. If I want to expand my brain I can use my considerable free time to go and take a philosophy course, or whatever. Which I might just do.

[1] Yes, the latest entry is about ligging it up in Vegas. Everyone can have a holiday :-).

I was reading clarkatroid just the other day and, weirdly (given your thoughts on the matter), i thought to myself -- at last, a cash player who approaches it properly. My only caveats were (a) 100k hands a month is one fuck of a lot of hands (even I would average $100k a year if I could manage that) and (b) I don't see how he can make player-specific plays when nine-tabling. Oh well, maybe he can, but in the video I saw no evidence of PA HUD.

Secondly, I don't think you would have made this post if there wasn't something bothering you about peer esteem -- and I guess it's something egoic along the lines of "shit, the morons will think I am an idiot, even though I know that my play is right and that I am Zorg, the ZOMG God of tournament poker".

Oh, my table has come up.
"shit, the morons will think I am an idiot, even though I know that my play is right and that I am Zorg, the ZOMG God of tournament poker".

Almost word for word :-). It grated a little bit being damned by the faint praise of Ian Frazer, and having both Jesse and Ian misinterpret my headshakes of "I can't believe I ran into the top 3% of his range again" as "I can't believe I made that bad play".

But on further thought, it's not my fault that most of these players have such huge technical flaws that I can beat that game without spending time thinking about how to adapt when I could be (and am) using that time to just make $$$ playing online.

You must have played terribly if Frazer was praising you. I can see how that's embarrassing.
Heh. Well by that reckoning, at least I was the best player on the table.

I think part of the problem is that subconciously, a lot of players see Poker like a sport or some other skilled endeavour like playing an instrument. This is probably a bad metaphor, as being good in these things is pretty linear and one dimensional. It's probably much better to think of poker like being a financial investor. Some people make lots of investments using a lot of analysis ans sucking up a lot of tiny edges; others make big, qualitiative "bets", but fewer of them. In that world, no one says one is more "skillful" than the other, it's just counting up the money. Another factor is that some of the things volume players have to be skillful at don't look like skill because they aren't glamourous. I can now just about play 8 tables at once. This is very much a skill, just not a soul reading one.

Keep counting the money...
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