Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Futile Attempts To Impose Order On Variance

The weekend went pretty well, ran up about $18k of buyins for a smallish profit. A lot of things about putting this grind in were quite surprising ; I'll probably comment in more detail once I've done it for a bit longer. So far I've felt fine when playing, just a bit spaced out the rest of the time. Even with this volume, 80 tournaments in one weekend doesn't mean a damn thing in terms of results or ROI. It's kind of funny when people say "I'm going to 3-bet a bit more aggressively and see how that goes", and we all say things like that, when any differential effect would be like a ripple in a tsunami.

More to the point right now is that I'm following up my idea to try to track some players in the WSOP. Now that a) so many players are on Twitter and/or blogging and so on and b) there are no rebuy tournaments, it's a lot easier to track how much money people have spent, which is of course a completely necessary half of the equation. The other important thing to do is pre-select your players. This isn't just to pick out "the best players" like in a Fantasy League, and I stress at this point that the lists below are not meant to be the best players, just quick top-of-the-head lists of people who are likely play a lot of events and be featured in news updates. The idea of the pre-selection is to cut out all of the bias that arises after the fact. "Year of the Pros" and all that bollocks. So, stressing once again that these aren't "best of" lists and so I don't give a flying fuck if your heroes (or even you) aren't in them :)

TV Pros : Benyamine, Bloch, Corkins, Cunningham, Ferguson, Greenstein, Hachem, Hansen, Hellmuth, Ivey, Lederer, Liebert, Lindgren, Matusow, Mortensen, Negreanu, Men Nyugen, Scotty Nguyen, Raymer, David Williams

Euro Pros : Akenhead, Bansi, Black, Channing, De Wolfe, Dempsey, Duthie, Eastgate, Grospellier, Jorgensen, JP Kelly, Kravchenko, Luske, Mahrenholz, Minieri, Moorman, Obrestad, Pescatori, Marty Smyth, Ulliott

2+2 + co : Aaron Gustavson, Andrew Lichtenberger, Christian Harder, Clayton Newman, Cliff Josephy, Eric Baldwin, Gavin Griffin, Jason Mercier, Jason Potter, Jeff Williams, Jon Aguiar, Justin Bonomo, Mike Watson, Phil Galfond, Randall Flowers, Shannon Shorr, Steve Gross, Steve O'Dwyer, Terrence Chan, Thayer Rasmusson.

Also I don't care if Annette is a TV pro or Jason Mercier doesn't post on 2+2 that's not the point. Stop being a nerd. The only point is that I have pre-selected the players, however arbitrarily, and we observe how they perform, thus eliminating survivor bias. Join in ! Make your own futile predictions :). I predict that group 2+2 wins, group TV Pro wins small/breaks even, group Euro Pro loses. But that's probably my own bias at work !

Update : Just for fun, check out this list of cognitive biases and think about how many of them show up in poker reporting. My estimate would be an absolute shedload :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Enough Jibber Jabber

Quite a lot happening lately. I've hit a bit of form on Pokerstars and Full Tilt with some nice results in the last 2 weeks. It's very interesting playing those games at the moment ; in my opinion (FWIW) the regs in the bigger tournaments on Stars and Tilt are making some plays that are quite exploitable. It's funny how they all copy each other as well. Obviously I'm not going to say what these plays are right now. Plays might be the wrong word, it's more strategic than tactical in some areas. All very cryptic, but you'll just have to work it out for yourself :)

I have also decided to step it up online, push for 30-35 hours a week rather than my lazy 15 and see how that goes. If you look at the really big winners on the databases, one thing you notice is that they rarely pass up an opportunity to play big field tournaments for decent stakes, meaning Sundays and festivals. Now, I have a major problem with the way Stars run their festivals because structures are too slow (you heard me) and many tournaments run for 18+ hours at a stretch, which I think is just plain unhealthy. FTOPs, which run every 3 months now, and the various Euro festivals are something I will be focussing on though, with of course ECOOP coming up on Boyles next week.

As for Sundays, I think I have been leaving money behind by not extending my Sunday sessions. I played till 5am last Sunday and still felt good till the end, albeit I was one-tabling for at least the last 3 hours. So the plan is to play later sessions Friday through Monday, with Tuesday to Thursday as recovery time. Again, this is similar to how some of the big winners seem to operate. A couple more decisions I have made are not to talk about stats and numbers on here - they're all out there if you look for them, start off on Pocketfives under 'Bonified', most of my screen names are on there, then you can check other databases ; and I'm not going to the WSOP. Definitely. 100%. Well 95. Don't put me in any of your prop bets or fantasy teams anyway. I am thinking about trying to track a reasonable number of players at this year's WSOP though, now that so many people are on Twitter and such and there are no rebuy events, it's a lot easier to track buyins, so it would be interesting to make some kind of measurement (statistically insignificant though it might be) of ROI.

Anyway, I shall be modelling myself on Phil Ivey for the foreseeable future :). Tough call, but you have to aim high ! Basically STFU and get the money. If I get annoyed with everyone in poker who wants to talk the talk without backing it up, the least I can do is set an example to myself.

Monday, May 03, 2010


April Wrap / FTOPs and SCOOP

Once again I managed to put in good volume through April despite a week in Dublin at the start ; once again though results didn't come and the month's total was $32K in $18K out for a $14K loss. I'm pretty sure I have identified some leaks though. It's all Lee Nelson's fault. Well, and partly mine. My (faulty) line of thinking was "well I'm playing lots of tables so I'd better play unexploitably and stick to the book ranges". Problem one was I kept doing that out of laziness when I had fewer tables open, but the bigger problem two was that it's really not necessary. People just don't call allins as light as they should do across the board, and it doesn't take long to run some analysis on Hold-Em Manager and work out how often people are calling and reraising as opposed to how often they should be. And even when I am multi-tabling it's not a problem to just open-raise and then, if reraised, click Time, give him a range, stove it up and fold the first time or two if necessary.

So with that, and a definite attempt to focus on process rather than results, I kicked May off with a spinup over the weekend. Neither of the $2K events proved fruitful (FTOPs 2-day and SCOOP 6-max) but I had deepish runs in the FTOPs KO (23rd/5000) and SCOOP $200 6-max (192nd/7000) last night. Unfortunately I was brutally coolered in both within the space of 5 minutes, I'll spare you the details. Nonetheless, there's nothing like a deep Sunday run when you accumulate some chips to bring back the excitement. $3300 for 2nd in the Ongame 100 Turbo was a nice bonus as well. I played much better with a mindset of "just keep making decisions until there are no more to make and see what happens". I'll try to take that into the next couple of months.

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