Get It Quietly

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

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Friday, November 28, 2003

I'm Still Standing (1)

So last night I'm putting my plan into action, an hour's kip after work and then out to Luton for the £20 Stud. An hour in I am wishing I was asleep again - 240 chips in front of me (having just dropped 500 on a poor call) and "Jon's Elton" is banging out "Daniel" in the restaurant. If you were unaware, Luton are trying to "go Vegas" with an entertainer. Now, I subscribe to the theory that musicals are the lowest form of artistic expression, with tribute bands a very close second. To give this guy his due though he is quite a good singer. It's just that it is a little distracting when you're trying to play self-deal with 5 grabbing hands in every pot as usual. All I can hear during the quieter bits is a string of juvenile unfunny remarks (as you can imagine) punctuated by sycophantic laughter. Some people need to grow up, and by the way it is a scientific fact that people who are unsure of their own sexuality are usually at the front when it comes to this brand of "humour".

Anyway thankfully the music stops but I'm off my game and decide not to add on. Long story short, two hours and 3 big outdraws in my favour later I chop it heads up, £700 each. One of those nights you have to remember when things aren't going so well. Still the real point is when you do get lucky, take it to the hoop and that's what I managed to do. As I (in the style of Elvis) left the building there was some more apposite musical accompaniment to send me on my way. Phil Lynott in his pomp on the TV, spangly jacket, rocking guitars and "it's just that he gambles so much - and you know that it's wrong". Damn straight Phil. But he's not talking about me :-)

I'm Still Standing (2)

What's so great about going broke ? If there's one poker saying that I think is total bollocks it must be "all good players go broke sometimes". The hell they do. Bankroll management is an important skill for a truly good player - and so is digging in when things aren't going well.

Bankroll is a much misunderstood concept, as you can often see on the forums. If you're a recreational player on the side, a bankroll isn't a necessity. It's nice to have some money set aside to play poker out of, but if that goes you're not out on the streets. Like when you start out, you just set aside whatever you're comfortable with for poker, and do your best with it. I started with £50 a month, although to be fair there were regular £10 tournaments at the time. Meanwhile if you're a losing player, the concept of bankroll is simply irrelevant. It's only a matter of time before you lose it, however big it is.

A winning player who is dependent on poker income must have a bankroll and he must look after it. He must also not play too high for his bankroll and that's what almost everyone seems to do. Exactly how much you need depends on how well you play. However if you insist on playing £500 tournaments and £1K sit down cash games then I can assure you that you need a f*ckload of money to maintain an acceptably low risk of ruin. As Jesse May says in Shut Up and Deal "You really need a lot of money to play poker. A lot lot. So much that if you had it all you might as well not play any more, unless you got nothing else to do or are just out for blood money". I swear every time I read that book it rings more true.

There was a very brief, and very rude :-), post on the Mob forum last week which nonetheless contained a very salient point. The point being, there are lots of fish around in the small games and the small comps. So why are all these "faces" broke ? And why don't we see them grinding it up in the small games ?

The reason of course is but three letters long. E-G-O. If you keep playing in big games when your roll is running out, you're not a good player in my book. If you go broke, even less so. However many tricks you've got up your sleeve. However badly you would beat me up if we played heads up. I'm in action and you aren't. That means I'm better.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Never complain, never explain

I must apologise for the month's hiatus (ooh) in the Diary. But frankly not much has been happening, apart from QPR's irresistible surge towards Division Two glory. On top of the lack of excitement, I read something in a book last week that really struck a chord. It simply said "never complain, never explain". Isn't that a great aphorism to take to the poker table ? I do try not to complain but sometimes it gets the better of me ; while explaining how clever I am to people is something I enjoy so much it's very hard not to.

Having said that, complaining and explaining is all I ever do on here. Perhaps if I get it out of my system on the web then I can do the right thing at the tables !

Look at the muck in here

During the break in a Stud tournament recently I was talking to someone who should probably remain anonymous :-) about why I played Stud much more than Hold-em. When I mentioned that I preferred the people, on the whole, the answer was immediate "Ooh, I couldn't agree more. Common as muck they are in those Hold-Em games !"

One of those things that I'm glad you said and not me, however it is as good a description as most. For some reason small Hold-em games seem to have more than their share of miserable, small-minded, petty, rude people. Common, if you like. Go down to the Vic and you'll get it in spades. Spending time in this company is very draining. Very bad karma ! Once you start picking up bad habits it's time to ask whether it's worth it.

And so, a decision

As I have said before, my play has been patchy for 18 months or so. One of the reasons is probably that I have simply been trying to do everything. Trying to play big comps and small, cash games, on-line poker, trying to master it all ! Even within Hold-em tournaments, if you consider £20 comps, £100+ comps and on-line comps they are three completely different games ! One size does not fit all.

So while I have, for example, won £1000 in cash games over this period of time, my winnings in tournaments have dropped off by a lot more than that. So today it is very liberating to be able to say, nuts to these :

Small B&M Hold-em tournaments. First off the list. I don't enjoy them anyway (see above)
UK Festivals. Been there, failed to do it. So many of these end up being chopped nowadays anyway. 12 ways in Brighton for God's sake ! Kudos for winning one of these is not what it was. And quite right too, anyone can get lucky, even a few times. While from a monetary point of view, facing up to so many of the best players is not good.
Dealers / Omaha / Hi-low B&M cash games. Too hard ! You can find yourself playing against opponents with decades of experience in tough games. I'd like it easier please.
On-line multi-table tournaments. Take too long. I doubt whether even a good online player (which isn't me) has a much higher expectation in a $50 multi-table comp compared to a $50 single table. And the multi table takes anything from 4 times as long up.
On-line cash games. I go on tilt too much :-)

Is there anything left ? Well yes.

Small B&M Stud tournaments. Fun to play in and, depending on the field size, more play than you might think. The smaller the better in that respect.
B&M Stud cash game. Happily of course, on the same night. Luton has a very good stud cash game which I have a very good rate in on the rare occasions that I've played in it. Even though there was a great deal I didn't know about it which [I think ...] I do now [not least buying in for the correct amount].
On-line single tables. Despite my on-line travails I have managed to work out that I am about $700 up in these since day one. 8 or better games (omaha and stud) are particularly attractive.
US Festivals. Now that's a holiday ! Knock British and European festivals into the shade for many reasons, which I'll probably cover later. Reno in March sounds like a plan. Then maybe even lig it up at the Series !!

So that's where you'll see me for the next few months. Playing games that I enjoy, that I make money in, and putting the hours in. Or you won't see me :-). Unless you're doing the same !