Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Friday, September 12, 2003

The Million Dollar Question

One post on the Mob Forum recently was so interesting that I broke my self-imposed exile and chipped in. The original question was “How did you make the transition from ‘Joe Average’ to ‘hey that guy/gal’s not a bad player’? I’m thinking specifically about competitions!”. The poster admitted that the question was ambiguous, which it is, in a very interesting (IMO :-)) way.

Does the poster want to be a good player or to be seen as a good player ? The latter is much easier, as follows : How to look like a winner. And of course, you don’t want to do both now do you ? It boils down to the choice that every “new” poker player has to make. What are you trying to do, make money or be noticed ? Supplement your income on a regular basis or get your name in Poker Europa ? Huge numbers of younger players are seduced by the latter. I’ve been through it myself, but now I think it is a mirage. Not that I’m complaining. New, keen players with half an idea (well some of them have) aren’t cluttering up my games, they’re off chasing a million in satellites, on-line and down the Vic. Tournament “faces” are finding that the circuit is being supported (just) by all the nearly dead (comatose ?) money put in by the wannabees, so they don’t have to drop down either. Meanwhile I can get to work in their absence.

Because the second interesting post in this thread was one by DY. David broke his “coaches in the car park” rule to give the (very sound) advice to find other games than Hold-em tournaments. I have touched on the reasons why previously in this diary, and probably will again, so I’ll leave the technicalities for now. The reason he felt able to give this advice was the point that no one would pay attention. Much like Cassandra (in Greek mythology, not Only Fools and Horses), the oracle of truth is doomed to be ignored. Because what do they play on Late Night Poker ? What do they play in the WSOP and the WPT, coast-to-coast on ESPN ? Hold-em of course, No-Limit, the “Cadillac” of games. Stud ? What’s the point of that ? Only one. It’s much easier to make consistent money against typical weak fields playing Stud. And Omaha for that matter. And cash games. Just that, nothing else.

So pay your money and take your choice. You think you’re the next Chris Moneymaker ? Good luck. I won’t be seeing you !

It's About Time ...

... someone said this :

and very well said too. Caro is like Sklansky in that you may find his style annoying but an enormous proportion of what he says is correct.

The last time this came up when I was at the table was in a festival comp in Luton . I went all in, 4 or 5 people called and then the last player to act made a huge reraise, knocked everyone else out and turned over 34s :-). Quite a clever play really, he knew everyone would fold, now he’s getting 6-1 from the pot and is only a 2-1 dog. Needless to say though the next 10 minutes turned into an all-out strategy seminar. I was the only person who didn’t get involved so I suppose I must have been the audience. What’s really funny is that there were still about 130 players left ! The advantage gained by knocking someone out at this point is so small you would need an electron microscope to see it, for reasons which Caro explains better than I could.

On another occasion I was told by a Late Night Poker finalist that “the idea is to knock players out”. I said “No, the idea is for me to get chips”, and he let it drop, probably because he thought I was clearly insane and not worth arguing with rather than because I had refuted him. Anyway there are only a few very specific situations where you make a significant gain by knocking someone out, and of course these are all in or around the money. And if you have one of the biggest stacks it’s often worth keeping people in ! You’ll have to work out why yourself though :-)

Nothing is Free

They say that if you want to attract hits to your website you should put the word sex * in an invisible font at the top of your front page. I think for a poker website the key word should be “free”. Nothing gets a poker player salivating like the prospect of something for nothing. But is there any such thing ?

If your time is absolutely valueless, then maybe. If not, you should at least work out what a freeroll is worth and how long it’s going to take. Simply divide the pot by the number of runners and that’s what it’s worth, more or less. Walsall , for example, came up with a fiendish plan for their recent Midlands Meltdown. Anyone who played in one of the first two events could play in a freeroll for one £250 seat in the next day’s comp. £250 for nothing ? Sign me up ! Well maybe. If 50 people turn up to play this, it’s £5 for nothing, which isn’t quite as exciting. 100, then £2.50 for nothing.

If you do have nothing else to do you could still play. But this is where the fiendishness comes in, and I have to tip my hat to the Walsall boys for this. Starting stack is 1000. Starting running antes are 1000. Everyone plays one hand, the winner on each table advances. Leaving 90% of the field hanging around with nothing to do for however long (a couple of hours I should imagine) until the real comp starts. With the bar open. And the restaurant. And the pit. Ching Ching !! Genius.

* or better still lesbian