Tuesday, November 23, 2010


ZOMG ! More Premier League !

A TV programme where a bunch of sociopathic egomaniacs who are about 1% as famous as they think they are bitch at each other, recycle their "catch phrases" from 5 years ago and throw hissy fits for our entertainment. Well, 'tis the season. Premier League Heat 2 aired on Monday, the first half of it anyway, and having seen everyone in action we can try to divide the players into two camps : those who have at least some conception that risking all your chips early on is bad (or ICM as we call it in math land) and those who don't, as follows :

Yevgeniy definitely knows what's going on. Roland probably does, although he might not use the term "ICM" in case anyone thinks he's a nerd. Ian, Vanessa and Phil L either have some comprehension of it or are just naturally tighter players.

Luke is probably aware of it but just can't help himself trying to own everyone. David, Daniel, Phil H and Tony G have some combination of no clue and can't help themselves trying to own everyone. God only knows what's going on inside the qualifier's head.

That leaves JC who I can't figure out at this point. He's definitely not scared to bluff people, but so far he's managed to do it without risking his whole stack. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt for the moment. I should add though that JC is an excellent hand-reader who is totally fearless in backing his judgement and I have a lot of respect for that.

As usual it's what people say that's as illuminating as what they do. Most of the table is all over David for his "great call" with TT. Cliffs, Tony G opens with 55, David calls with TT, Roland calls with 99 and then Yevgeniy ships I think 20bb with 77. Tony G then makes the kind of play you see in a 10 dollar rebuy online by shipping 100bb with his 55 in the hope that this will get him heads up with Yevgeniy, flipping at best, with about 6bb extra in the pot from the two callers. On your bike in the words of the man himself, although to be fair he does acknowledge it as a mistake afterwards.

So in David's seat, in a winner-take-all situation, good call yes. I'm not going to say great because it's pretty fucking obvious that Tony G doesn't have a massive hand and probably JJ is all he can have that David is behind. In this particular ICM spot, it's a lot more marginal, but with the same assumptions, it's probably OK. Of course in the result-oriented world of TV poker, he called a huge bet without the nuts and was ahead = ZOMG amazing call.

Equally illuminating, in a more subtle way, was half the table mocking Vanessa for "folding AJo under the gun" in the previous heat. Now it depends to an extent on when it happened, but certainly 8-handed 150bb deep I have no problem whatsoever with folding AJ in first position in this event. It's something that Neil pointed out in commentary recently, where a lot of "name players", I think it was Annette in this instance, think they can play any old crap out of position because they can outplay their opponents, which is at best hubris and at worst ridiculous depending who they're up against.

I expect much more ego-comedy in future episodes, not least next week because a Hellmuth meltdown is clearly imminent. Yes alright, this isn't hard to predict from the clips they've already shown. Nonetheless, ain't no meltdown like a Hellmuth meltdown. Perhaps next week he's going to crumple to the floor in an unconvincing mock faint. Unfortunately he's been beaten to the punch there though.

Hello Andy,

keep up the blogg it makes good reading.
Here's a link for all the other episodes.

All the best to you and yours,

David Morton
I watched about five minutes of this last night (oh, okay, 8 minutes of fluff and one actual hand). That was where Tony G got a set of fours and, I thought, did not play it well. Have the rest on the recorder.

Some brief observations on tourneyland and TV tourneyland. I think that Hellmuth, Negreanu et al DO have a subconscious understanding of ICM, and that this shows in the v deep-stack tourneys such as the WSOP. However, I don't think that they have much idea in the 14bb to 60bb arena when they are some way from the bubble, and they seem to have no idea whatsoever once they are in the money. Indeed, it's in the "in the money" area where there seems to be a general lack of conprehension between the often stark differential between chip value and cash value.
Well, it's Thanksgiving Eve. There should be some fish in the world at last.

Pete B
Cheers Dave, good to hear from you.


I think to really get to the heart of the ICM issue, you need to ask the question "Would this player change his style for a more top-heavy payout structure".

I'm as certain as I can be that Hellmuth would not. Placing a value on one's "tournament life" is not the same thing. Nor is "I'm so good I'll outplay them later". ICM per se is almost irrelevant outside the money, generally not a big factor with two or more tables left, but can become very large at the final table, and largest of all when payouts are fairly flat as here.

If I ask myself the question "who would play differently in a winner-take-all structure", I'm certain Yevgeniy would, I think Roland probably would, but I doubt I'd want to bet on anyone else out of the other 9 players making more than a token adjustment.

You could relate in each detail very well.Nice, accurate and to the point.
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