Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wide Range of Topics

1. Recently, I read on a couple of blogs, Shaniac's and Southpaw Rounders and somebody else's, the sin of blogging only when you win. I'm not sure the GCP.Net bloggers are guilty of this, I think we give a warts and all outlook on our games. In a moment of introspection, I think I write more about the hands I've mangled than I do about the ones I played well. In fact, mangled seems to be my favorite verb applied to a played hand. That being said I chopped the weekly at Harrahs on Wednesday. 97 runners. I will disect a couple of hands later. Was that just one big segue to brag pubicly about another win? Maybe.

2. Want to give a thank you to Monkey and a couple of the players we've profiled on www.gulfcoastpoker.net who, it's nice to find out, are readers of the site. I met a nice young kid, Alex, yesterday, who mostly plays online, and who like me barely made it into the chop. He had told me that Monkey, Gabe Costner and Claudia Crawford told him about GCP at the Bayou Classic. Thank you Monkey, Gabe and Claudia.

This has been happening with greater frequency, meeting players that already read the site, and we are really grateful for people spreading the word and for visiting in general. Our readership keeps growing every month and Gene and I appreciate any word of mouth that helps grow the site. This is really a hobby for us but one we think fills a need on the Gulf Coast. With that being said we'd love some criticism and feedback about what we can do to improve the site. Please email me or gene... wildbill AT or gened AT gulfcoastpoker.net (for those not familar with translating emails, substitute the @ for AT and make it one long word). We appreciate you guys going through our learning curve as we've kind of taught ourselves how to build and maintain a website, and we want this to be a resource for local poker players.

Some general questions, if we had a forum would you use it? Do you want increased tournament coverage? More news or less news? Get rid of the bad jokes or keep them? Whatever... fill free to let loose.

3. Back to me. Recently, even though I've been on a live tournament tear, I've come to question these short stack formats and the profitability of them. Luckily, I've been on an even bigger tear in cash games and think there is always money to be made in that, but it's on this rush of success in tournaments that I've done a lot of reflection. None of my conclusions are especially new or novel but still they've been banged repetively enough into my head recently that I feel like posting them, so maybe I'll learn them...

What I've noticed:

Your big hands HAVE to hold up. Okay, that's about as obvious as can be... moving on.

You can take only one bad beat per stack. IE everytime you build up a stack you can handle a bad beat. Two and you are done. Kind of like the first one.

It's hard to generate or manufacture chips. Simply put, a player that calls you on the flop, is probably going to call you on the turn, and will have to have a really good reason not to call you on the river. There isn't much room for creative poker.

I love cash games because the stack depth enables you to run as many lines as possible on your opponent. You can also bluff by applying real money pressure on a guy. There's just so much wiggle room and different methods to winning a hand. You can make a value bet bluff, a triple barrel bluff, a scare card bluff, you can set mine, you connect with two lower cards against a guy you know won't fold a big pocket pair, you can attack weak tight players with impunity.

You can do some of that in a short-stack buy-in, but I find once you make one mistake you are either done... or simply playing the cards. You try and attack the weak guy and that's the place he's decided to draw his line in the sand because he has too and you are screwed.

Granted once you get a big stack you can do a lot more, but the blinds and antes in all these things are so fast, that there almost isn't even a big stack.

People are going to chase their draws regardless. If you think you can push them off of them you haven't played enough donkaments. Try and push a couple of people off of early draws and you are diminishing your chance of survival.

Luck is just such a prevalent factor in these events. It's even more obvious when you are running good than bad. I joked with Alex that I was really outplaying my opponents, because when I got moved to his table, I won one coinflip after another when a short-stack shoved into me. A guy makes a move with AJ, I wake up with QQ. I got AK vs. 88. I hit an A. KJ vs. 99. I hit a king. All the money is in pre-flop. I didn't have to make a decision, all the way to the final table.

So in conclusion... you better run good if you want to win these things. Which means they are only a micro-step up from bar poker.

4. Hand I mangled of the week: I said I didn't have to make a decison on the way to the final table and that's not true, I made one decision, a bad decision, on the hand that ended my rush, a rush I contend you have to have to win these weekly events, I looked down at 1010 in early middle position. I'd won like 8 out of 10 pots and through blinds and antes and short stacks doubled my big stack. I lead out to 6k. I think the blinds were 1k 2k.

The button moves in. Then an older gentlemen, who I've played with a lot and is a fixture at Harrahs shoves over the top. It's another 10k to me. You can you say all you want about the pot odds and the opportunity to knock somebody out and the closeness of the bubble, but this is relatively easy ABC poker chain of information.

I raise. A guy reraises over the top. The next guy shoves over the top of that. He doesn't have enough chips to try and isolate the first all-in player. Add to that he's an old guy. And he's relatively tight... for an old guy, which means he's only making that move with two hands. Most young guys are only making that move with two hands. He's got to have me crushed. Sure, I'm a 4 to 1 dog to an overpair, I've already committed 6k to the pot, and I'm probably getting just about that 4 to 1 to call. At the same time I got roughly 70k.

Here's the rub. These tournaments play the same. You just have to survive to the point that the blinds and antes catch up to the final table that even the grumpiest player realizes it's a shove fest and a chop is agreed upon. You almost have to play it like a mega-satellite. I don't need to be throwing 10 k into a pot to chase a set, whether I got pot odds or not.

Granted part of me did so because I was on the rush, and I wanted to build a MASSIVE stack where I could negotiate for a bigger chunk of the chop or potentially decline a chop and get some first or second place money. Yet, you have to have A HUGE stack to do that because the doubling blinds and antes crush you.

Anyway... I called, on positive tilt as Reid calls it. AQ and AA. Helped my odds a little bit as it decreased the chance I'd lose set to set. Still had to hit a set which I didn't. I contend it was a bad play in that I was jeopardizing a guaranteed big score pursuing a minimal chance of a bigger score. Does that make sense. And I use "big" relatively.

5. I will give myself some credit.... I made a couple of laydowns during the tournanment I was happy with. In fact, one in the early level where I folded top pair, aces, to a single postflop bet. Guy flopped broadway and I sniffed it out. Guy next to me called him to the river and I saw the flopped joint. When I made trips aces on the turn, I was glad I trusted my gut on the flop because if I saw that card I don't think I could have gotten away from it. The dealer who saw what I mucked kind of eyeballed me at that point. Felt good that I was sharing with somebody my good laydown when the board didn't pair again and the first guy turned over the straight.

6. Alright until next time...

www.gulfcoastpoker.net






4 comments:

the"Honest"player said...

i hope you didn't hurt your shoulder while you were typing this post..haha, congrats on the chop

C.S. said...

Thank you. The shoulder's fine. I'm really good at patting myself on the back. REALLY GOOD, maybe one of the best. See.

C.S. said...

Actually, the sentiment I meant to convey is my recent success is more tied in to luck than skill in these things. Can you pat yourself on the back for being lucky?

Perhaps, I write poorly. Other than stating multiple ways that things outside of your control have to go a certain way to win a tournament and have for me recently, I wrote about a hand I mangled and at the end gave myself credit for one decent laydown.

I was joking about bragging in the intro, as in the short run these weekly things feel more like a spin of a roulette wheel than any skillset I have.

C.S. said...

Can't edit these comments. Oh well. Here's another one...

I re-read my post and I certainly didn't drive home the sentiment the way I wanted to. Point was even though I'm the one on the bit of the rush, I'm recognizing it is less about what I'm doing and more about luck. I used to think making the correct decisions and playing solid poker was key to these things. Perhaps it is, to be profitable long run playing them, but in each event, you have to get lucky plain and simple.

I used to challenge that, but now on a recent rush, it's oddly more evident to me than when I've been on a dry spell and taking the coolers instead of dishing them.

Oddly, as I've discussed with others of late I'm actually questioning why I play these tournaments, where blinds force so much action and make the cards so much more relevant than a cash game. Sure I'm running good but that's just it... I'm running good. I'm playing no better, and at times worse, than when I'm out within one level.

At the Beau event we played together I thought I played terrible, as bad as I've played in a long time. Impatient, reckless, and undisciplined. Yet, this takes place in the middle of a rush. Makes me question if I deserve any credit.

Obviously, I did a poor job in my list. Rereading it, it sounded like I was preaching on what you need to do to win, but if you notice, I was stressing things that are for the most part outside a player's control, you know like run good, don't take bad beats...

I figure out how to control those things... I can't lose.