Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 11:58 PM
It would seem that the mods took a couple of days to pass my last blog entry and so I don't think it made the home page as it registers as the day it was written - not the day it is released for public viewing. As the home page is how I find out about new entries I thought it might the same for you so I'm giving those who enjoy reading my blog a nudge that I've added a new post. So check out my last entry about angle shooting and let me know what you think.
Saturday, July 23, 2011, 3:04 PM
As I've said before I enjoy watching poker on tv. I think it gives you a chance to see some stuff you might never come across in real life. An example of this came a few nights ago when I was watching the EPT Madrid final two tables. During this I witnessed Freitas make what was one of the worst/best angle shoots I have ever seen anywhere. It is successful in tilting the whole table but also shows that generally poker players are pretty decent and don't try these tricks.
Since sharing this with friends we have had no end of debate about whether this should have resulted in a penalty, whether Thomas Kremser's ruling was right and whether he should have said what he said as TD by-the-by. Having given this a lot of thought, I've come to the opinion that it was just an extreme form of deception. And deception is what poker is all about. I don't think the TD had grounds for insisting on only a min raise or for giving his opponent the information that he had done this before "with the nuts". But I also support the idea that a TD can do anything which protects the ethos of the game. I'd be very interested in any views on this.
Sunday, June 12, 2011, 12:26 PM
I've just got back from a 10-day holiday in Italy during which I didn't get to play poker at all. Booo. I had thought that it would be great to play in Venice as I know that it has hosted some tournies in the past and the buildings themselves are so old and sumptous. So on my second day I walked around to the Casino and asked about what poker games they had. The receptionist said they only had "Australian poker" but he had no idea what that was and it wasn't on when I was there for me to go and find out by watching. Any ideas, guys?
He then said that there was a game of Texas Holdem in their other casino and they could transport me there if I came back in the evening. Hmm, interesting I thought, so I asked where that was. "If you come here, we'll take you by boat across to the mainland, about 20 minutes. Then a bus will take you to the casino, about 30 minutes drive." Now, a 50 minute minimum trip each way didn't thrill me but when he couldn't tell me the buy-in, the structure, whether it was limit/no limit, I decided to give it a miss. Can you imagine going all that way and finding it was a crazy 5/10 euro cash game? It still amazes me that casinos don't see the importance of giving good information on games to punters. Surely they don't think that all games are more or less the same?
Anyhoo, apart from a particularly odd dream about playing a Heads Up tournament where I had to play two different games at the same time(????) I was relieved to find that I didn't really miss playing at all. But I'm glad to be back and will be hitting the local live tourney this afternoon. Wish me luck. x
Sunday, May 29, 2011, 9:26 PM
I wonder how many of you manage to watch much poker on TV? I watch it whenever I can because it is great to see how the big names play. I say this even though I know it is about as far removed from the real thing as its possible to be. By this I mean that it is so heavily edited that its often difficult to follow the thinking behind certain moves without concluding that a player is either plain stupid or clairvoyant. Its easy to forget that before (say) JP Kelly makes a massive overbet as a bluff that he has spent the previous five hours establishing his image and learning everything about his opponent. In isolation it looks like craziness and/or genius.
What is a shame is that all sports have boring bits but they are often still shown in their entirety on the telly. I would just love to see a complete sit n go with all the folds and nothingy type hands so I can see the game evolve properly. Afterall, they used to show people sleeping for hour after hour on Big Brother. Personally I'd stay up into the small hours if I got the chance to see a game played out properly to its conclusion.
I guess as long as none of us think that we can learn to play by watching poker on the tv it can still be great entertainment.
Saturday, March 19, 2011, 1:18 PM
As a few of you know I play a lot of live poker with the same group of people so when I get the same feedback from a lot of them, I feel that I should pay some attention. Basically I seem to have a reputation as a calling station. This means that people are reluctant to bluff me but it also means that I pay them off on the river far too often. Whilst I do think through the betting and the line my opponent has taken I always seem to lean towards the analysis that says they are bluffing rather than value-betting. So I’ve been pondering why do I hate being bluffed so much?
I have memories of tricks being played on each other in the playground – like being offered a sweet from a s****ing girl surrounded by her cronies only to find out it was disgusting and something she’d bought in a joke shop. My only consolation was that I was the 4th person to fall for it. I always hated April 1st as, to this day, I’m not a lover of pranks. I think they’re humiliating and only fun for the person playing them. So I think that my attitude to bluffing is linked to the feeling that it’s humiliating. When I watch poker on TV I can see that the fear of looking stupid makes players play differently and I think I’d be hopeless if I ever had to contend with a hole camera. So whilst I’ve realized that I need to get my head together on this I’ve realized that it’s not that simple.
If we fold every time someone bets “as if” they have AA then we’re going to do badly at poker. Particularly in this age of the 3- and 4-bet. But maybe I need to distinguish between when it’s my ego making the call and when it’s an informed decision. Recently, an online opponent argued that I did not have the pot odds to call his pot-sized bet after I sucked out on him. I couldn’t be bothered to explain that I can’t fold every time someone makes a big bet and I don’t hold the nuts. On this occasion I read him (wrongly) as only representing an ace because he hadn’t raised preflop and he clearly wanted me out of the hand but I had a big draw. Again, I’d interpreted the big bet as being a bluff rather than a value bet. Getting lucky can blur the rights and wrongs of decision-making. On that occasion, he ended up falling into his own preflop trap.
Beginner players think that poker is all about bluffing and yet I have read some professional poker players advocate that you wouldn’t go far wrong if you never bluff. So I wonder why I’m so convinced that everyone is “at it”. I don’t think I have the answers yet but I think that being aware of it is half the battle.
I'm off to play in the Irish Open Ladies Event over the Easter weekend with Dierdre from the forum. Wish us both luck!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 4:04 PM
The weekend of the 4th March 2011 saw the advent of the 888 forum annual live get-together at the Grosvenor Casino in Stoke-on-Trent. Details of all the tournaments and winners can be found here: http://my.888poker.com/go/thread/view/111126/27147913/birthday-bash-part-deux?pg=8
Now those who I met this weekend may have noticed my total abstinence in the alcohol department despite the very generous free bar provided by 888. I've always enjoyed the odd tipple but a medical complaint means that I have to desist at the moment and I had wondered before I arrived how I would enjoy a weekend away without the relaxing effects of lager. After the start of the Omaha on Saturday it became apparant that everyone was getting into the mood and enjoying a few sherbets and I am relieved to say that everyone turned out to be very good humoured drinkers. I can't say that they were quiet or that the game didn't periodically grind to a halt but there was a distinct air of bon homie. This made me think about a certain national amateur event that was held a couple of years ago where the same could not be said. The ongoing fall out from that event lasted several months and caused some ill feeling in the poker community including calls to ban drinking at the poker table (!!). There were two incidents that led to this and you'll see why this might have happened.
The first incident was where a guy was knocked out of the main event quite early but was already well-oiled. Bear in mind that this is a big tourney which effectively takes over the whole casino so it was felt that behaviour away from the tournament reflected on everyone. He wandered over to a cash table and continued drinking. A hand came up which led to a big pot contested by drunkman and another. At the showdown, drunkman flips his cards to claim the pot at which point the dealer noticed he had 3 (yes three) cards and declared his hand void and awarded the pot to his opponent. Drunkman objects most strenously but the TD supports the dealer, saying it is for players to point out a misdeal. Drunkman decides to take matters into his hand and grabs the chips (lol) off the table and runs for the door. The bouncers tackle him and a melee ensues in which he is ejected from the premises and the police called. As if the day couldn't get any worse the police turn up to find him just getting into the driving seat of his car. He was given a life time ban from the event and from the chain of casinos on top of his criminal conviction for drink driving.
The second incident concerned a woman at a table who just got drunker and drunker and decided to snog everyone and swear at railers. She had to be told it was her turn to act each time and even nodded off. Unfortunately for the organizers she was also doing well and was chipped up. She was given several warnings but allowed to continue playing. She came back on Day 2 very contrite and seemed to behave herself and actually cashed. Immediately after the event she was informed that she was banned from this organisation's events for a year. The outcry resulted from the fact that she received her sanction after the event. Most players felt she should have been ejected from the game rather than be allowed to continue and then the ban would have made more sense. During Day 1 of the same event a man who had played the event but was knocked out apparantly made a pain of himself watching the footie, continually swearing loudly at the tv and annoying everyone: he got a one-tournament ban.
When you think that the casinos in Vegas give alcohol away to encourage gambling I don't think there is any realistic chance that drinking will be banned at the poker table. And anyone who saw the tape of Scotty Nguyen's behaviour at the WSOP HORSE will see that it can bring out the worst in people. But when you think how the 888 Annual Event went you can see that the idiots are definately in the minority and that we shouldn't let the actions of them spoil the fun for all of us. Happy Birthday 888community.
Monday, February 28, 2011, 7:54 PM
Following on from these recent team games there has been a lot of discussion about the rules that should be applied in these events. TDs are trying to use the standard poker rules for these quite different events. I have seen guidance such as:
"no chip dumping or soft playing will be allowed whatsoever. Chip dumping examples are such as if the blind level is 500/1000 and Player A from one team has 1100 chips left and goes all in. If the big blind has already put 1000 in, they HAVE to call even if they are Player B from the same team. Folding will result in disqualification from the game and both players chips removed from the game with no points scored."
"when everyone has a lot of chips and Player A raises from 600 to 3000 and Player B from the same team re-raises to 8000, Player A will still have the option of folding. That will be allowed."
Its my view that there is no point in trying to get more and more restrictive rules to cover every eventuality. Instead we should go the other way and allow everything except outright cheating such as signalling, card marking and passing chips. Team games should become a whole other beast to normal tournaments. The potential for really exciting strategy and tactics becomes enormous. And the challenge of stopping things like chip dumping or strategic folding means room for some creative play. If for example you're sat under the gun and the cutoff and big blind are team mates, what can you do to stop them colluding? Maybe you have to make a bet when you don't want to! Or maybe you have to limp in just so that you preempt any attempt by the cutoff to raise/fold to help out the Big Blind if s/he is shortstacked. You could introduce the concept of time outs (maybe one per hour per team per table) so the captain can brief anyone who's moved to a table where either a team-mate is or where opposition team-mates are sitting.
The more you think about it, poker team-play could become more like other team sports which have high levels of strategy such as American Football or Baseball where team tactics can shift according to the stage of play or the switching opposition make-up. To me this would be a really exciting development and could bring a whole new dimension to the game.
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 10:10 PM
I was in the Birmingham area staying with family so the lead up to this team game was completely different to the previous weekend where we'd travelled up en masse. Maybe thats what made the whole event seem more subdued and flat. I'm not sure how much this affected my game but it was not a roaring success!
The first upset was finding that a team had decided to turn up late and so the TD delayed the start for an hour, thus keeping 9 teams waiting cos of one team's selfishness. The second upset was finding a mate sat on my immediate left: this is a player that I have a huge amount of respect for and often feel that he can see into my heart and my cards (lol). The third upset was that the casino had decided to drop two of the levels meaning that it turned into a Deep and Steep tourney rather than a proper Deepstack with lots of room for maneovre. This was because they wanted it all over by 9pm so we'd all join their evening tourney (and of course the hour late start). I was irritated to hell. I was card/position dead for 2 hours before I went out with an optimisitc shove with J9o: I was down to 11 big blinds with the level about to go up and I got carried away at the sight of a face card
I then sat down in a SnG which had a man who was so drunk that he couldn't sit upright. Every action/request was repeated 2/3 times until he understood. He would "tank" before picking up his cards, "tank" before acting and then refuse to give his cards back after the hand was over. Couple this with him being in every hand and I was relieved to lose my chips quickly. My third tourney of the day was the evening tourney: I did no better and donked off my chips in 3 hours. I left quickly in search of a take away pizza as some small consolation!
As far as the team was concerned I was first out but was quickly followed by 3 more team mates. Points started at 18th (from 90 starters) and by the time we were down to there we only had one left. So no team ££ and our last man standing took a bit of cash for 6th. Last year I was runner up on the individual prize and our team took second (but there was no second prize money last year). So this year we didn't fare well. Still not sure about this team business but if 888 forum fancy putting up a team next year I'll pass on the details.
Be lucky readers. x
Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 4:10 PM
Had a great journey up to Bolton on Saturday morning with three friends. As I wasn't driving I arrived happy and relaxed ready for the 2.30pm start. I love the period right before a tourney starts when everyone is meeting and greeting new and old friends. The internet has meant that sometimes we end up seeing old friends who we've never met in real life before and thats always great.
This event saw 200 players in 25 teams of 8 pay £50 each to battle it out with 50% of the prize pool going to the top 20 players and 50% going to the top 3 teams. My game did not start well when I ran into two big hands. Before I knew it I was down to less than 5k from a starting stack of 10k and we had only just started the second level of 50/100! I actually stood up and took a slow walk around the casino checking in on my team mates: I could feel myself tilting horribly even though I still had 50 BBs and I needed a little time out. Feeling calmer I came back and was soon up to 13k thanks to grinding aggressively on a tight table and a welcome double up with AA.
When the tourney started there were only a couple of places where team mates were on the same table but within a couple of hours this began to change. I was moved to my second table where I was soon joined by a team mate but luckily I didn't need to make any huge sacrifices for him or vice versa. Only once did he need to raise my BB from the button but I only had a middling hand that I was happy to ditch. It was on this table that I knocked out the guy who'd virtually taken my first 5k single-handedly: always a nice feeling . Especially as I made a hero call with A9 v his 88 after he shoved over my early position raise (he'd shown a wide range already and I had him covered). I binked A on the flop.
I was moved to my third table when I found myself out of position to two mates who were on the same team but not in my team. They know my game very well and are both very successful players so I knew I had to tread carefully. But weirdly they began to try to outplay each other!! They were glaring at each other for not being first to fold: it was actually very funny. I got moved again quite quickly which was good but I was not surprised to find that one of these players knocked the other out shortly afterwards. KK raised, AA shoved (to say "I have a really big hand") and KK called ("What??"). In a team game this makes no sense as you need to have as many players as possible into the last 50. Now, you'd think that KK got what he deserved, but.... you know whats coming don't you? Yes, another K came on the turn and AA was out. They've kissed and made up but it wasn't good team play. As different people were heard to say at different times over the weekend, "if you can't take care around your team mates, don't play team games!"
My team mates did not have a great tourney with 6 getting knocked out before the points let alone the ££. I limped into 49th and scored 2 points and our last man standing went out in 27th for 23 points. This gave us 19/25th in the team rankings. But it was still great fun to be away with so many friends and having the craic. We've got to do it all again this weekend and our "team strategy" looks like including never having to fold your aces or kings! Lets hope we do a bit better.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 8:55 PM
Its been a quiet couple of weeks but had a couple of decent results. I came 3rd in a live 2-day deepstack with 33 runners for £200 and then took down an online deepstack for £450 so I am well in profit for this month. I can't say that my cash game is improving too much but I still practice when I can. As a losing cash player I don't want to let it become a leak in my bankroll so I only play .05/.10 once or twice a week and won't invest more than 5 buy-ins per week. Surely my game must turn around eventually??
Over the next two weekends I'm playing in two different team events. I've noticed a rise in the interest in playing different types of team games and I've yet to make up my mind about them. I can't help but feel that poker is an individual game and the complications brought about by making them a team event confuses me. The group of poker players I belong to won the Amateur Team Championship in 2009. When they formed the team, they just went off to have a good time and play their own game. The team prize was split equally and individual prizes were kept by the player. I didn't play in the team as I was on holiday but there was no real pre-match briefing and no recriminations afterwards for any dodgy/selfish play. This was different from the two team games I've played where there seemed to be lots of chat about what constitutes collusion, softplaying and/or cheating. I've been talked into playing in these teams by my mates but I suspect I'll still get it wrong at some stage and annoy someone. Initially the TD seats different team members at different tables but as the numbers reduce inevitably team mates will be on the same table. This means that we also have to be aware of what other teams are up to as well. First game is in Bolton and second in Birmingham - gosh, not quite Vegas I know but should be a laugh. I'll let you know how I get on.