Friday, November 27, 2009

Donkley Poker Tournament--A mega? part II

I was extolling the virtues of amassing big chip stacks to go the final table of a tournament with to lessen your disadvantage when playing 8 more skilled players. Or the Darvin Moon formula. You can do that a couple of ways, by taking more risks than your opponents and letting chance be more of a factor (thus lessening your disadvantage because there is less opportunity for you to be outplayed), or by getting big hands and getting them to hold (Darvin Moon did both).

You can control one of those strategies and the other is up to the fate of the cards that are about to be pitched. The same is true but in the reverse for a mega. If you are a skilled player (with enough chips that blinds aren't a factor) why agree to take coin-flips and get entrenched in hands with lesser players when you don't have to win all the chips? Your poker strategy should exploit your advantage not minimize it.

Chris Ferguson won the World Series of Poker Main Event over TJ Cloutier in heads up action. TJ, was, and is one of the biggest money winners in tournament poker. At that time Chris Ferguson was relatively new to the game, disguising his geeky persona under a Jesus beard, and Ferguson knew enough to know he was out classed. Jesus made it a strategy to get the chips in and to give TJ less a chance to outplay him.

He can even support the efficacy of this "leaving it to randomness" strategy with raw numbers as he did to Phil Gordon (who related this story on ESPN's poker podcast). TJ wanted to play as many hands as possible and extend the match and give Jesus opportunity to hang himself but Jesus didn't let that happen.

This is even more true in a mega, where a good player will have opportunity to exploit a lot of bad players and do enough to make the money. The inexperienced players will blow up on the bubble and make bad decisions that almost mandate a coast to the money type strategy.

I've basically been comparing the Donkley to a mega, because it kind of is. In the Donkley a chop is never far away. When the tournament is full and the final table congregates the blinds and antes are usually so high it is in the final 10's best interests to chop it up, as they did on Veterans Day where each player walked away with 10x his buy-in.

On days where the tournament isn't full, the chop may take until there are 7 or 5 players left. Usually, it isn't the number of players it's the escalating blinds (the 10k 20k level) that determines the when the chop is in play.

However, despite some maneuvering to negotiate for a bigger piece of the chop I advocate a mega satellite strategy for the Donkley. There will be plenty of players making mistakes that you don’t have to push your chips to the middle on a coin flip. You will find plenty of opportunities to outplay somebody after a flop and patience is king. Protect your chips, and survive until the chop.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Donkley Poker Tournament--A mega? part I

I've dealt or blogged about this before... where I've made lay-downs in the Donkley that are definitely sub-optimal for standard poker tournament strategy but for that structure are probably (?) the right move. Here's why...

Well, the Donkley is a Texas No Limit Hold Em' Poker Tournament, however, it doesn't play like a true tournament. Sure, it's a freeze out where the objective is to play down to one player and like a tournament all the big money is in positions 1,2, and 3. But the Chop factor changes the dynamics significantly. In essence it is more a mega than a typical tournament.

In "mega" tournaments it may be right to lay down AA preflop on the bubble. Why? Because in a mega satellite everybody wins the same amount (usually a seat into a bigger buy-in event). All you have do is survive to the money and you get the same prize as the big stack. In that format, protecting your chip stack, ie survival is paramount. There is no incentive to become the chip leader.

Let's make it a concrete example. Say you are trying to satellite your way into the Aussie Millions. There are 18 players left, 17 get seats. You have a middle stack. You look down at two black aces and raise. The only four stacks bigger than you at the table in short order go shove, shove, shove, and shove. Action back to you. Your bet that is in the middle is 1/20th of your stack.

You'd be an idiot to put the rest of your chips at risk, when all you need is one player to go out and everybody has you covered. You may have the best possible chance of winning the hand, but your hand vs. the field as a whole makes you an underdog. Why call here?

Why not take a hand off. Even if the odd thing happens where they all chop, or the smallest stacks in order have the best hands, you don’t lose anything. Probably somebody can be picked off later. If blinds and antes aren’t a factor don’t jeopardize your tournament just because you got black aces… or in other situations the best hand—but one that is extremely vulnerable. Say top pair top kicker when they are flush and straight draws and three or four other guys sticking to their hands.

That being said in most tournaments this is a bad strategy. You rarely get aces so you need to exploit the opportunities you get them by getting money into the pot. If you want to win the tournament, and who doesn't because all the money is there, you have to stockpile chips. Take the WSOP Main Event, Darvin Moon made it to the final two players despite being probably the worst player at the final table.

A big reason why, was he had already stockpiled chips and played his big hands hard and been lucky enough for them to hold. To him Aces and Kings were probably invulnerable; he certainly played AQ like that too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekly Donkley Poker Tournament Thanksgiving Week

Some notable hands from the Donkley poker tournament to follow: I won a big pot with AK. A fairly tight guy with a big stack raised from early position. He was your typical middle aged white poker player. ABC. I was on the button and called. The flop came A high with three clubs. He led out a pot sized bet.

I stewed. It looked like a protection bet to me. In case he was semi-bluffing with a club draw I decided my best option was to shove. With action back to him, he deliberated forever and called me with AQ and had no club in his hand. Don't know what I'd do in his position. I think I would have folded. I think I bet enough to get an Ace with a club to fold, at least that was my intention. Obviously, I didn't have a club either. My hand held. That right there is the frustrating thing about these low buy-in tournaments, it’s so hard to protect a hand against players that will call anything. It’s hard to not be at the whimsy of the deck.

Earlier in the tournament small ball was biting me in the ass a little bit. I kept getting counterfeited on the river when a card would pair the board. A couple of times I had two pair, and put my opponent on top pair big kicker. Of course a card higher than my second would pair and then my second pair would now just be a kicker.

On one hand a gentleman shoved on me on the river. Fairly standard Texas Hold 'Em No Limit Tournament hand: I had A9 in the blinds. I turned a 9, after a 10A8 board. River was the 10. He had bet it the whole way. I couldn't call off the rest of my stack. The guy didn't flash me his cards after I showed A9. He said he shoved because he didn't want me to call. He remembered owing me one when I agreed to a chop and he had a tiny stack at the final table.

Thanks, for the favor I think? Kind of like that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode “is it a really a favor?” I didn’t see the hand so did he really repay me? Are we really square? I have no reason to think he was lying but it is a poker. What made it feel better was that he said he had A10. Oh… maybe I didn't get counterfeited.
Just two hands earlier a similar incident occurred. A guy shoved on me when the board paired and I had picked up a now bogus big blind two pair. The board was A high and he bet the flop and turn. He shoved the river. I couldn't call. Poker is Frustrating.

Still I manage to hang around. I played one hand fairly decently. Flop came out Jack high. I made second pair with a 9. Turn was a seven. Guy fired on the river which was a brick. I mulled over the hand. I couldn't give him the jack, nobody lets top pair if it's a qJ10 be checked. I also couldn't have him on a 9 because he should have bet the turn. I figured him for a busted draw and his bet was just too small. After I called him he suggested he demonstrated a tell. Not really, he made a good play, I just had the one possible hand that could call him in that situation (well, one of a small few).

Next post a few more hands… And after that I’ll put some paint on my computer screen and watch it dry…

Monday, November 23, 2009

Caller's Remorse... I should have folded at the Poker Table...

Recently, I play online poker and got into with a player I have a history with. I've played several large pots with this guy and he's usually come out on top. He just seems to have my number. When I decide to play poker online I usually try to avoid the guys that frankly own me, unfortunately I was into a juicy table when this guy appeared on my right. Okay, I'll have position on him, and most of my losses came when he basically had me coolered and had position on me.

I had my standard set-up I put together when the wife and baby are in bed and I decide to play online poker into the wee hours of the night. Water bottle, snack, and place to put my feet up. I also had a couple of tables open.

The water bottle is great because I can do a spit take when I am surprised. Can't do that in a casino. Lost some monitors and laptops by being too emphatic in my surprise—so funny or not spit-takes can be dangerous. Okay, I'm lying. I've never spit on my laptop or monitor and in fact the only reaction i have is when I punch the desk, much like I do when my team let’s sure victory slip out of their hands and let an opponent they have been donkey punching all day get back into the game and steal it in the final moments.

Sorry, I get distracted, back to me, the good guy, and the other guy, the bad guy. It wasn't too long that this big hand came up. He was on the button. A loose player raises from early position. Couple of callers. My nemesis calls. I complete with J5 of hearts. Yeah, I know...

Flop comes out Jack high, I insta-checked as I like to do in multi-way pots oop (out of position) on the flop. I like to think last and evaluate later. Online this isn't as effective as live, because live it's checking in the dark and your check gives them no information. Online poker they may not even grasp your insta-check is done barely looking at the cards.

Still, I also like the value of acting last in a multi-way pot because usually someone hits enough to bet and I get a chance to act on that information.

So this guy, who in the chatbox seems friendly enough, bets it. I look at top pair and a flush draw. Tasty like tastykakes. Do I fire back? It's a decent pot, but there are others to act, who could have really nailed the flop (set or two pair) and checked to disguise their strength. Tough to do when there are two to a suit and some baby coordinated cards.

Earlier the gentleman had typed in the chatbox, his favorite poker hand is 4-6 because is is so unexpected. I do not access this piece of information. There is also a 3 and a 4 to go with the jack. I call, and the others go away.

The turn is a 5. Tasty huh? Two pair and a flush draw.

I lead out. He shoves over the top for 3x the pot.

Standard call? Top two and a flush draw.
I said we had history and every time the guy has shoved he usually has it (nice tell huh?). Now perhaps he’s trying to protect against the flush draw maybe putting me on AJ (which would signify he’s probably got me beat). It’d be an ostentatious move with say K-J. A-2 is a possibility but I rule it out. Just doesn’t make sense. I can’t figure out how I’m beat… but here is the relevant part, I feel I am beat.
Still, I feel like if my two pair improves I’m cruising with a full house, if I hit my flush I’m probably good. So, I call.

For those curious he had a straight (6,7) and no I didn’t hit my card.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A few other things...

Recently, I got to play with Yarddog, the frequent online poker commentator on Monkey's poker blog, or should I say the frequent humorous commentator on Monkey's blog. I just had to give him a shout out, because he sat down at my table and promptly scooped two 150 to 200 pots with outrageous bluffs showing hole cards lower than the board. He tells me he's had some success playing online poker and I can see why, guy is fearless.

There are times when I've played that style usually with a lot of passive nits that I try to exploit, but it's just so so hard on some of these tables. Some of the players can only see the card in their hand matching the top card on the board and call no matter what, some will do so with second pair, and some with just ace high. I got to give the guy credit, without a read on the table, or perhaps with a preexisting one, he quickly put everybody to shame and stole some pots.

We both had an incredibly profitable down, and it came after one of those moments where I had thought about going home. We chatted in between dealers and I decided to throw in another time rake, though he had just won a ton, he sat down and bought in for 200. That quickly double and quadrupled in no time.

Odd thing was, on his first ostentatious bluff, I was thinking I'd probably call him if I were in the hand. Maybe that was because he just got finished telling me how he smoked another table but got bit back a little because he showed his bluffs. I believe the board was three to a flush. Nobody had the nerve and he took it down flashing 6-4 offsuit. I laughed

Shortly thereafter, I forget the particulars of the hand, he did it again. This time it was bet, bet, and then a big hundo bet on the river. I thought to myself, am I the only one thinking he's at it again. Apparently I was, because his multi-opponents all laid down and were stunned when he flashed air again. I couldn't stop myself from laughing. Just like I was at home playing online poker on a mac.

Later one of those guys clearly frustrated got into a hand with me. I c-bet the flop on a draw, hit my open ended straight (maybe even a gutterball straight) on the turn, bet again, and on the river he just shoved into me. I was contemplating the correct bet size, anticipating his check and I was kind of stunned. I double-checked my cards and said, "Yeah, I call... I got a straight."

Felt like I unintentionally slow rolled him a little bit. I apologized but I don't know if he thought I as being genuine, I did so because a recent hand was weighing on my mind. I had the nuts on the flop, guy hit the new nuts on the turn, a straight comprising two baby hole cards. He bet, I shoved and he didn't instacall. Wow, I'm glad he didn't catch that bullshit straight, I wrongly thought to myself. Now, I'm hoping for the call.

After a moment or two he called. The river was a Queen (which could have given him a set of queens) and though there was a part of me hoping for the board to pair--I still thought I was good. I turned over my second set. He looked at it, as though there was a hand that could beat him, again making me think I'd won, and then turned over the nuts, almost with a shrug like 'of course I got the straight.' I left the game, insult added to injury. Let's not forget some people would argue I played the flop poorly and I was certainly considering that on the way back to the car.

Now in his defense, I can kind of put myself in his shoes. Perhaps, he was also taken aback by somebody shoving into his best possible hand, and questioning if maybe he had missed something. So now, I'll give a little wider latitude to slow rollers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coaching part ii


How do I teach that?

Turns out, there is a lot of information that I've read that I've also digested and processed. It's on display at the poker table everyday and I utilize it even if I don't think about it. Kind of like typing on a keyboard after you've learned to type. You push the "I" button without thinking about which finger goes where, however, if you slow down and think about you know it's your right thumb (just kidding).

The guy I'm working with, I'm hesistant to call him a student because I think he's a great poker player who regularly wins online and goes deep in tournaments in live play, is open and receptive to all those little kernels I've picked up. I don't profess to be a better poker player than my peers, in fact, I can name a ton of players locally that I think have an edge on me, and there are probably countless others playing in stakes I don't play at.

I do have some modicum of success in live play relying on the explosion of information that is available to any player, and I believe in that area I'm probably better than most.

It's good that the guy I'm working with is interested in fine-tuning his reads. I spoke to Big Ray, Goondingy, Big Smoove about how he's taught some players in the past and he gave me a good suggestion for how to go about it. So, we decide that I'll sweat my guy for a couple of downs, take some notes and chat with him over the term of another dealer and go over what I've seen. There could be no better way to do it. I've seen things he's done and things other players have done that I probably wouldn't have seen had I been playing and focusing on my own hands.

I really enjoyed breaking down hands where he made correct calls and I ask him why he did it and he got to the conclusion for completely different reasons than me. The antagonist in the hand was spewing weakness verbally and nonverbally (in my mind I was screaming call) but the guy I'm working with had noticed this dude checked the turn and if checked behind bluffed the river three or four times that night, so made the right call.

(Sidenote: I really think I'd get a lot of out of watching some of the other bloggers play hands and breaking it down with them and vice versa. Just a lot of differences in play and nuance that would help us all. Anybody wants to exchange their knowledge in Omaha strategy I'd love to sweat them.)

So far, the coaching has gone great, he's already implemented a lot of my little tricks and things I've picked up on, and been open to other pieces of information motivating opponents decisions that he hasn't been noticing, and winning because of these tips. He's told me about pots he's taken down because of a suggestion I've made, and solid folds because of expaning his outlook. Like I said, the guy is a really good poker player and is absorbing my knowledge quickly and steadily. I teased him to stay away from me in cash games after I gave him all my secrets (though I've read competitive teachers know not to teach their students all their tricks).

I'm really happy that he's gotten a lot out of this process and I've really enjoyed talking through hands with him, and discussing poker in general. I found in high school the easiest test to study for was when I was helping one of my friends who had to get a certain grade to stay eligible for the lacrosse team. The material stuck as soon as I explained it, and indeed, I had one of the better cash sessions of my own after doing a sit down of coaching.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coaching part i

Perhaps inspired by the guys over at Poker Immersion or Jonathan Little coaching Steve Begleiter at the Main Event, I agreed to do some coaching the last couple of weeks. I have to say it's been a great experience. Maybe one day I'll open a poker school. The person I'm working with is already one of the top players, in my opinion, locally and I think I am able to learn quite a bit from him. Teacher is the student?

Well, he approached me because he recognized a skill set that I possess and one that he wants to add to his game. He's a voracious reader and he's already burned through a book I thought could help him out. It's interesting because I had some trepidation in starting this process. This wasn't anything like hand selection, aggression, or any of a myriad of poker skills that he already possessed, though we do discuss those things, no this was about reads.

He's played with me and seen me make some tough calls and has been very flattering about my ability to read other players. And that's true, I put a lot of stock in my ability to decipher if my opponent has a hand or not. When I'm wrong I can lose a big pot, when I'm right I win big ones. I've laid down some huge cash hands I shouldn't have because of misreads, but I've also dragged some huge pots with A or K high.

I still regret a decision not to call an opponent down post-flop when I figured my opponent to be on a draw and the only one out there was a low straight draw. My gut said call with Jack high no pair. I told him as much and he looked frightened. This was heads up at a tournament. I didn't pull the trigger and he later confided I had him dead to rights.

In fact, it's those kinds of hands where I don't listen to my gut that I suffer. I'll figure out a moderate river call should be made because I just have to be wrong one time out of five and I'll make money over the long run, this despite knowing I'm beat and when I make the call my opponent will flip over exactly what I thought she or he had.

Why the fear? A couple of reasons, I don't think any poker player wants to be an open book about why they make the decisions they do. Some of the things I rely on as being accurate 90% of the time could easily be flipped and used against me. So there is a trust factor. 60% to 80% of what I've learned is from a book or from experience but the rest is kind of innate. How do I teach that?

I read people who are good at detecting lies are people that pick up on tiny pieces of body language sub-consciously, so they might not be able to identify why they don't trust the speaker consciously but they know. The same is true in poker. That's why when your gut or a "feeling" suggests you call and you are good at sniffing out bullshit you should call. But, again how do I teach that?

To be continued...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lessons Learned

In the previous post I discussed two hands I got to play with Captain Tom and Mark Wilds. I was fortunate enough to eliminate them and also granted an opportunity to learn another poker lesson from them both.

This kind of ties into a pet peeve of mine. I hate it when players bitch about the stakes of the tournament they are in. You might hear, "I can't take it seriously this is only a $300 or $500 buy-in," and while I understand where they are coming from I think it's bad form and hurts their game. They are basically assuring themselves of pissing away $500.

The same is true in cash, I notice a lot of 2-5 players will sit down at a 1-2 table and play like the stakes are beneath them. They raise like mad, as though they can turn the table into a higher limit game. Same thing at a 2-5 table when players sit down waiting for a bigger game, or sit down pissed there isn't a bigger game.

I love it when they do. Essentially, their mindset starts them off on tilt. They don't respect the stakes or their opponents and try to push, push, push. Even though I know I could be playing for a stack I've grinded for a couple of hours to earn I'm looking to play against these guys and I will happily call them down light. Lots of money to be won in those situations.

The same is true in a tournament. I think any tournament you buy to whether it's $5 sit 'n go online or $100 tournament or a 10k tournament you satellite into you should try and play your best. You should try and adjust for your opponents and your stakes, but play it hard. I still play hard when I am playing family or friends for basically nothing with quickly escalating blinds knowing it's going to be a luck-fest, because I want to win.

For now, I'm a low stakes player, course there are micro stakes players but that doesn't mean they are any worse than me. Nor does it mean medium or high stakes players are any better. Nor should I enter a tournament that doesn't mean much to my bottom line and treat it as such. I bought in so I should play it as hard as I can.

What I learned from those hands with Captain Tom and Mark Wilds was two fold. One, despite a players accomplishments or resume or experience in live play they still exude information. You can still get a read on them. To solidify this even more watching the WSOP final table I felt like I had pretty good reads on a number of players. Which defies conventional wisdom which will beat into you, once you get to a certain level of play tells and reads go out the window a bit as those guys are so masterful.

And perhaps, more importantly the only reason I was able to get a read on those guys because even though the stakes might not have meant much to them, they were playing it as hard as any other tournament they bought into. They were invested in it from a competitive standpoint, they didn't want to get knocked-out, and while it wasn't the World Series or a WPT final table it was still a tournament.

Granted you could say Captain Tom and Mark probably looked uneasy because they knew I was going to call before I did--so they weren't really giving any thing away, but I still feel the fact they took it seriously only affirms my opinion. This is an important lesson, because hopefully next time when I'm distracted and I play poker online in a micro stakes tournament on bwin or somewhere I'll not take some hands off or allow myself to not my play my best.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A couple other combatants

Wanted to wrap up my thoughts on some of the folks I played with. Got to mix it up with two of the bigger names on the coast and was lucky enough to knock them out. These are a pair of guys who made their poker names playing live poker vs. online poker, and that only made them more dangerous considering the venue. These guys have forgotten more poker strategy than I've learned. This will be a two part post, in this one I'll discuss those hands and in the next post, I'll give you the lessons I learned from playing them.

Captain Tom Franklin who has almost 30 cashes at the WSOP, 2.6 million in earnings and a bracelet also had a pretty decent stack when we were down to about four or five tables. He joined our table and played an orbit or so.

In late position I looked down at KQ o/s. There was a raise from early position from a player that didn't really apply hand ranges to position. I decided to call. Captain Tom from one of the blinds re-raises. The original raiser folds.

I hadn't played any hands with him and normally KQ is kind of like bringing a pocket knife to the jungle. The raise was hefty. I said, "You running a squeeze play Captain Tom?" probably 60/40 on folding despite having the chips to call.

To my surprise, perhaps in response to me assuming familiarity when he had never played with me before, he said somewhat combatively, "Squeeze? I've already looked at my cards, I'm done squeezing." I found that funny. It's a bit of a dated lexicon. I also found it weakish. I ruled out most of the hands that had me dominated and just started thinking Jacks.

The flop came queen high. He opened shoved. Now, at this point given the stack and bet sizes I was pretty much pot committed especially hitting the Queen. However, I stewed a bit, trying to absorb everything about the hand, in case he won and we'd lock horns again, or for some other time we might play, and you know what the bracelet winner looked uncomfortable. Sometimes in these situations I give myself a tiny window if I get a huge read to get away from the hand, but I wasn't going anywhere. Jacks made even more sense.

I called, and he said "I guess you outflopped me."


My KQ held.

Later at the final table, I had a much easier call. I was on Mark Wilds left. Mark is just shy of a million in earnings and has 68 cashes, including a cash in this years main event. To say he was probably the best player at the final table is probably an understatement.

The day before we merged 10 handed to play down to the final table's nine. He open shoved on me from the small blind when I was in the big. I smiled at him and said, "I'll call you pretty light." At that point, I was a little tired of Ricky and Slim on my left taking chunks out of my stack and I wasn't going to let the new guys think I was open for looting, much less the guy on my right.

He said "How light?" with a smile, "Guy earlier told me his minimum was 10-7."

I laughed, "Not that light, but pretty light."

He looked solid, and I stored that interaction away. My hand I think was dog poop and I mucked it.

Anyway at the final table, from pretty early position he shoved as the short stack. I looked down at 1010. It was for 60% of my chips. I thought about how to handle it. There were a lot of players to come. Do I shove over the top or do I flat? I was basically pot committed.

I (probably wrongly) decided to just call, if somebody woke up to AK behind me called me and the flop came out all bigs... I guess I could get off the hand. If the put me in preflop, I'm stuck to hand. I didn't think raising could get any trouble hands out of the pot and a bigger pair is just going to shove on me and I got to call there.

Anyway, as I was coming up with that conclusion, my eyes were on Mark and he looked uncomfortable too. Weird. In this little tournament, I saw both these guys sweating my decision. I called, flopped a set. He turned a gut shot and a flush draw, and rivered a six (thankfully).

He was very graceful on his exit and wished us luck.

Monday, November 09, 2009

WSOP November Niner Poker Player, Begleiter "It's okay I'm wealthy."

Saw this thread on 2+2 apparently after November Niner Steve Begleiter got knocked out he said the above. Begleiter is notable for being a former Bears Stern executive, who had some involvement in the the toxic assets that precipitated the recent economic collapse. He's not some self made internet online poker millionaire (though he did hire one upon making the final table--never too late to go to poker school I guess, and of course that coach is fellow Gulf Coaster Jonathan Little).

The sentiment, per se, of simply stating that he's wealthy really doesn't bother me that much, but there was some controversy and hate forcused at him. I started to join the fray and stopped myself deciding to post it here. Why? I'm not going to remember to get on there to follow up to any responses this might have gotten.

This post provoked me...

[QUOTE=tcash777;14409289]Does that me he is NOT wealthy.

Okay, you are right, he should have said, "this sucks, life is so unfair, I only have a few million in the bank, Im so poor."

[B]He is wealthy, it's a fact, not a brag[/B]. He was saying despite being sucked out on, he is still has a lot to be happy and thankful about. I didn't like the way he acted in the WSOP episodes either, but some people are just hating on him cuz he worked hard, got a good job and made money. Anyone hating on him for saying he is wealthy is just a pathetic, lazy, jealous *******, probably.[/QUOTE]


I disagree with you in two ways...

1. Brags are usually facts, those that aren't facts are usually called lies, and the other type of brags are simply unrevealed/undiscovered lies. To say it's a fact not a brag--is a bit of a headscratcher.

Brad Pitt is good looking. Women probably prefer that he doesn't have to say he is.

If you are rich, you don't need to say you are. Indeed, a humble man doesn't say it.

Even worse to say it in a context like "Yeah, it's horrible what happened to me, but hey at least I'm wealthy"--not so humble. I get the gist was to say, you know what I have too much to be thankful for, to complain about a poker tournament. And that's fine to an extent, but kind of like a back-handed compliment it's in a way suggesting he's better than those that don't have what he has. Doesn't faze me, but I can understand why it fazes others (if you enjoy irony, I'm kind of doing it too with that last sentence).

So, no I wouldn't call the guy humble. Humble is being loaded and people never finding that out about you from you. Or not showing the picture of your gorgeous girlfriend to any and everybody that will tolerate talking to you. If they see her they see her. When you jet-set off to Tahoe for a little skiing, you answer the where ya been question with "trip to the mountains."

2. The second way I disagree with you (though you could argue I'm not hating on Begleiter but just stating the fact he isn't wholly humble so maybe I don't fit into your category) I'm not jealous, pathetic, or lazy... but nor probably are the others that don't stoop to dropping their net worth as though it's self worth. I could care less if he is wealthy or if he feels the need to validate himself in the face of adversity by advertising it.

There are a many types of people in this world. Some are very similar but at the same times very different. Lets look at the ones that volunteer, say at a food bank or a soup kitchen and laugh and try to treat the people they are helping with dignity, and then there are the other guys that volunteer at a food bank and regale anybody that will listen how they wouldn't eat this slop and what a great steak they chowed down on at last night's dinner--all within earshot of the "pathetics" they are serving.

They also get irate when it's suggested their behavior is boorish "Hey, I'm volunteering here." Not realizing Begleiter's "I'm wealthy" statement invalidates his veener of humility means you'd probably fall into the latter category rather rather than the first. It's okay, both you and Begs are mostly good. I know a few wealthy people and most don't get or understand this difference, even the good ones.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The kid...

You know who he is. He plays with a scowl, he's fearless and not afraid to mix it up with anybody. He's relentless, aggressively betting into any and everybody on the table no matter their position but never getting his head in too deep. I bet he kills the tables when he plays online poker.

For much of the tournament he was at my table with a stack size comparable to mine. I also watched him with the resilency to rebuild his stack after a couple of bad beats back to a chip leading stack in no time. Man what an attribute. Get beaten down, and not only dust yourself off, but just not stop being controlled aggressive. He pounced on weakness from the first hand and didn't stop.

Some people when you slap their hand, that's it. Lesson learned, this kid realizes just the opposite should be true. With him you play back at him and scoop a pot, he's coming right back next rotation. Most people know him as Ricky, I'm most people so I know him as that too, and I have to say playing with him was fun and challenging.

I had to check raise him dry a couple of times because he just kept coming at me. If gave him an inch he'd take a yard. He probably won more off me than I him, but he made me up my game. When he was on my left, if I didn't come in for a raise he had liscense to steal from the table and did so. When he was on my right, the few times it remained unopened to me, I had to raise with any two cards, because he was betting all my marginal ones out.

I constantly watched him get his toes in, and then escape when real hands showed up.

Granted every multi-table tournament is a flawed prism. With limited knowledge at your disposal unless some guy is a complete luckbox and sucking out on everybody, you have no idea how well a guy is playing based on one deep run
with him. That being said, the kid can play. He always has you on your heels.

We both remember a big hand when I knocked him out at the last IP event, ending his string of consective final tables. I felt like I got a read on him and made a call. I knew it involved AJ, but he remembers me sucking out on him, and getting it in bad. He also remembers AJ being involved and maybe 10s.

Probably it's back there in one of these posts, I need to catalogue. It's funny, because I remember that hand and a read I got off him, and I was waiting all day to get the same read, but I never did. However, if I misremembered the hand and indeed got it in bad and won, then that read would have been useless anyway.

Anyway, it was fun to follow his lead and just attack people. I talked about trying to scoop three pots every two rotations, even if it was just blinds and antes, and the speed with which he did so, kept me attacking too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Some of my opponents

Like I said I learned a ton from many of the guys I played with. I wanted to touch on some of those attributes. Let's start with the guy won the whole thing, Mike. On a good day, I hope I have his disposition and I try to, but got to commend him he pulled it off effortlessly.

We started on the same table, and I went up and down a bit but had the good fortune to catch hands while my opponents caught hands--with mine being better and then I didn't stop rolling. At first, I rated Mike as passive player and a target as he folded everything.

Then I recognized when he did play some hands, he did so with some finesse, and saw that he was just being patient and selective. He was aware of the table dynamics and played poker with a fun spirit, even when a couple of times the deck got ugly on him.

He never, ever got down on himself. Many of my best runs are when I have the mental fortitude to not throw a pity party after a bad beat, and many of my worst are when I tilt or have the personal arrogance to deny that I am tilting. So, I admire that attribute and wish I always have it.

So later as we meet again later in the tournament on another table, as the blinds get up Mike makes a couple of solid steals and resteals with absolute garbage. And shows them to the table. Good for him, he's got every facet to his game and ain't afraid to mix it up. I thought he'd be trouble.

Of course, I started rooting for him to lose his stack. Far easier guys for me to contend with, than a likabale guy who's hard to put on a hand and never fazed when he has the best of it or the worst. Kind of Chip Reese-y, I guess.

So it was no surprise when he showed up at the final table, and wasn't afraid to get his chips into the middle. When he laid a bad beat on somebody he was genuine in his empathy. He paid me a pretty high compliment too suggesting he thought we'd be the two settling the entire thing from very early on. Maybe it was just my mamoth chip stack. Considering the abilities of the guys we were sitting with, seemed like I was the only guy without a ring or a bracelet when they did the introductions, I took it as high praise.

Also, at one point fairly early in the tournament somebody said I looked like Eric Lindgren (um... no) and after getting agreement from others, Mike chimed in "more like Freddie Deeb" and kept calling me Freddie. Funny.

Anyway, I think I picked up some important aspects of disposition from him. I also thought he was class all the way when we organized our weird chop to not engage in it if even had the appearence of collusion.

Basically, the chipleader didn't want to chop when we were five handed. The other four of us, had about one move under 10 bbs, shove. Rather than let a craps game decide it, we wanted to chop. He wanted no part of it. I said, why don't the four of us chop whatever we win four ways after it's all said and done. We are all playing for first, the ring, and the 10k seat so it's not like we'd be conspiring against the giant stack. Mike brought up that it'd still look that way. So, we simply asked the chipleader if he'd allow it... and he did. Though I can't say I agree totally with some of his sports bets, not the betting but the teams he picked, so I guess we all got leaks.

Don't know how he did on the tournament of champions but now I'm rooting for the guy in any tournament we aren't both in.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

400 Posts

Wow. Just saw that I have 400 posts under the belt, that's a lot of posts. Unfortunately, I rate maybe 5 to 10% as entertaining, I'll try and do better. Too many hands, too much minutia, and that kind of stuff. I want to enliven the blog a bit, so will work to better dedicate myself to getting creative in presentation at least. I know I can but too often I get, well, lazy.

Of course another of the goals of this blog which is to chronicle my mistakes and to learn and grow from them. I also want to track what works for me, that I'm trying out, and put some post-play thought to my blog. No man is an island, and no man is a poker island, so feel free to criticize as you see fit.

What an wide range of 400 posts it's been. Maybe I'll sift through them, perhaps in time for post 500, to give a choice cut. We'll see. I think I've mentioned this before and haven't done it.

It's been a good week. Final tabled and cashed twice--chopped twice. The second final table the winner got a ring and a seat in a 9 handed tournament of champions free roll for a WSOP Main Event Seat. I felt like I was going to win that. I didn't.

I was chip-leader for most of the second half of the tournament which really made me buckle down and not get spewy. I didn't get spewy only because there is cautionary tale on every week. I don't know how many poker telecasts I need to watch to see that an early chipleader is usually a middle level exiter.

I decided to raise three times every two rotations. If I got a hand that made it easier, a tight chipleader only gets action with made hands, so I tried to cultivate that image and it made it easier to get away from the dreck I sometimes had to lead out with. If I played a pot and won it, I didn't necessary have to play two more before the second rotation was over. However, when I was getting card dead that metric was a good way to keep me involved and how I kept my stack growing. Before the tournament, I listened to Matt Glantz on PokerRoad radio talk about exploiting the sublteties in structure.

For example the antes in a very slow structure early and middle wise, that caught up with us in a hurry at the final table, would often repeat: ante 25 blinds 100-200, then ante 25 blinds 150-300. So, if you are going to be aggressive you want to do it when the antes are proportionally bigger. I don't think too many people were paying attention to that, and me pressing the gas a little more in those levels was probably just mistaken for a run of cards and kind of randomized my aggression.

In a similar vein, it always stuns me when a short-stacked player, I'd rate as otherwise good, will shove with any two cards at the very end of the 100-200 level. Why not wait til the next level and do the same thing, if you are in that much of hurry to bust, and have almost double the starting pot (10*25 plus 100, 200).

I had a couple of well time three bets, and had the chip stack to not get in a pissing match when some of the good players did it to me. It was something I was looking to do a little more of and I think had I not had such a big stack it's a skill I'd need to learn.

Plus, I got lucky. Can't win without doing that. There will be a point in time your chips have to get in and then you are at the mercy of your hand holding or catching up.

I played some talented opponenets in the latter stages of both tournaments and will probably spend the next post writing what I learned from their styles, table image, dispostions, and strategies. As with every deep run, I learned a ton.

Thankfully, it was one of those days where my hands held up for most of the tournament. It sounds like the Titlin' Texan and Southpaw Rounder have caught the dreaded bad beat-itis. They couldn't get into a tournament without running into ugly circumstances. Their frustration was obvious, I felt bad for them, and it was a reminder of how fortunate I had been.