Sunday, April 15, 2012

Black Friday in retrospect on a Sunday that should be spent playing online poker......

What's up?  Been sometime since I've blogged, I've done plenty of poker and plenty of writing so there's no real excuse.

Anybody interested in my strategy blogging can go places like here http://www.pokergames.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/sitn-go-poker-strategy.html.

It seems I may have another writing gig doing a blog post about once a week on poker issues.  I'm sure there will be some overlap with GCP's frontpage and this blog and I will likely cross link to it a lot.  So that's good.  Nice to be able to write about poker one year out of Black Friday.

The landscape I think one year later has changed remarkably.

Poker on TV is down to just a few options, most reruns.  Most fresh content comes from YouTubes of other places that still have customers for online sites to advertise to.  Enjoy this gem which reinforces the value of always looking one last time at your hand.


Domestically, we have WPT and WSOP.  I think The level of play at the final tables of the WSOP-E and WSOP Main Event is that above the rim level Hellmuth always attributes himself at playing at but it's really just a kid's game now.  Fun, fun, fun to watch.  Wish we had more.  WPT is good but it still feels like the blinds are forcing the action a little more than they should be.  Though, in relation to Black Friday, you'd have to wonder how much more site related propaganda like Poker After Dark we'd have forcing us to watch the dinosaurs play... again, and again.

Live Poker tours continue to jack up the juice and we keep paying it.  Enough will be enough when it reaches 50% that seems absurd but when were paying 10% I never imagined we roll over for 25% plus so easily.  I don't know.  I know I've personally boycotted a number of events or rather chosen not to spend my money in certain places because the juice is too much. Boycott is a strong word. At the same time, I'm chasing points or trying to hold on to a qualifying spot in the WSOPC and with the help of a backer and my own bankroll, spending more in tournament entries then I used to... so I'm kind of talking out of both sides of my mouth.

Internet poker consists of a few sites with far fewer players and every one is just waiting for the plug to be pulled on them.  Every couple of weeks two rumors will swirl, one; a site is about to go down, and two; that legal online poker is coming... is just hasn't yet.  Feel like that's been a story for seven years.  Certainly, assets are being lined up and partnerships brokered in anticipation of laws changing but they haven't yet.  Will they ever?

Just about every single Full Tilt (false) Idol has been slayed in the court of public opinion.  Erik Lindgren the most recent to be pulled through the viciousness of the message boards for a laundry list of debts, joining an equally long list that includes Phil Ivey (still adored by many but now abhorred by more), Mike Matasow, David Benyamine, and of course the principals... Lederer, Bloch, Bitar, and Ferguson.  Somehow Seidel seems to sidestep the swipes shockingly and surprisingly.

Live Poker is getting more crowded.  There are more talented players battling it out as the Internet kids have joined the ranks of the casino denizens and raising the competition for tournament dollars.  There has been a slow shift to a closer to optimal internet style of play.  Three bets used to mean Kings or Aces, now they mean anything.  Is your range polarized or merged?  So many different dynamics at work.  It's amazing that the board and the action can be the same thing but depending on who is doing the action can be an insta-fold or an insta-shove.

Yes, that's always been true, but I think it's more... polarized... than ever.  A paired board being the primary example in a heads up pot.

That being said even as the talent pool at the top swells....

There are still donkeys in every casino...  illustrative case in point, I played a cash hand the other day with the following action.  I opened and was called in two spots.  The small blind min-raised (which is just incredibly bad, especially with him because it was obvious he had a biggish pair and it was nowhere big enough to get anybody to fold) and of course we all called.  Flop came AJ10.  He led out.  I quickly folded my ace and one of the other two jumped out of the way too.

Before the last player called and was stewing I was telling my friend Ray, the bet was terrible.  There was not a hand that guy should open that flop with.  One check let's anybody bet their ace, for him to get value with his set.  If he has Kings or Queens most players are calling his bet with an Ace and he's beat.  There's only five or six hands he could have and four of them are in great spots.

...Ironically, he compounded his mistake.  The guy that called him, was only calling with a better hand and our bettor needed to pair the board but didn't know it.  Obviously, he pumped it on every street with his set and was called on every street and re raised on the river by the tight old man who obviously had KQ.  Which we all knew when he called on the flop.  I don't like betting for information, generally, but if he wanted to rationalize his lead bet on that flop he could say that's why he bet so be it.  Bu since he ignored the information he got he doesn't even have that out.  Granted there are far worse plays and perhaps that's not the best example but come on man...

There are still asshats in every casino too.  In the same session, I also got cheerfully slow rolled when I twice hero called a guy I put on overs and a flush draw with a baby pair.  I didn't "hero" call the river when the queen hit because I didn't have enough chips to fold.  I was rooting against three cards in this order Ace... King... Queen.  He peeled up the ace of the flush draw first, and I thought my pair of threes had somehow survived the oodles of outs he had.  Just AK.  Then he put the Ace down like he was going to muck it and just show me that one card.  Just a nut draw and one over?  Wow.  Nice hand Bill. Then... no, he peeled it up again, just the corner so I could see it... the ace again...  did he pair one of the board of babies and I misread him... no... then he peeled the next one the Queen on the flush draw.  Ouch.

This "gentleman" would later tease Ray and his short stack saying that he obviously couldn't get his opponent to fold if he shoved... during the action.  Ray balefully looked at him and asked "Is that supposed to be a joke?"

Seems a printed this without a conclusion.  Started talking about Black Friday, veered into some poker stories and then just picked up and left like I was hitting and running.  Sorry...  Let's tie this thing in a bow.  Black Friday.  Terrible day.  People still without their money, the poker economy eating itself, and it's stars, live poker tours strangling their own business because of short term greed, and we still can't fire up a computer and play online.

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