Thursday, November 29, 2007

Luck + Changes To My Favourite Tournament!

Two interlinking themes today.

Read an article on p5's yeasterday on ones perception of 'luck' in poker, by Grapsfan. Made a great point about many players attributing their wins to 'skill' and losses to 'bad luck', too many words and not as clear as some of Grapsfan's articles but worth a read none the less.

Secondly, Titan Poker changed by favourite tournament! OK then, all of their re-buys. You used to be able to rebuy at Titan only when down to zero chips. Now with the help of a nice big re-buy button you can take more chips any time you have your starting stack or less... Titan have also increased the paying spots (at least for the larger field tourneys) from 10% to 15%.

Have always been one to enjoy change - even if it is to my personal favorite online tournament -the $10 Rebuy Nightly 30k Gtd.

So, here is what happened... 1115 entered, not too many rebuys meaning there was actually an overlay of almost $1k! Played a solid game all the way through, did not show down too many hands and found myself in the money... then further in the money... then down to 2 tables... then to 15 players left... with an average stack!

The poker-gods then deemed me worthy of a pair of Kings in the big-blind... folds to the small blind (who has be covered) who makes a huge raise - I re-pop (he's already committed to call) and he turns over 9-9... my ticket to the final table had (almost) arrived! Only the 9 on the turn was a small problem, the kind of problem which causes a box to pop up on the screen saying 'You finished in 15th place and won $xyz - Would you like to play again?' - yep, the end of the line.

Of course I was not happy, slumped resigned into my chair rather than angry. One minute later it was 'Oh well, never mind - time for a nice cup of tea!'.

Here is where Grapsfan's article comes back in.... with 3 tables to go and after a couple of failed steal attempts + blinding for a round or two I'd found myself with just 6 times the big blind, in the Hi-jack seat and the rest of the field had folded to me. Ace-Jack was more than enough for the job of shoving to steal the blinds, which is exactly what I did! The button called with Ace-King... oops, but luckily a jack on the flop saved me - enabling me to get to the last 2 tables.

So, there we have it. Could easily have internalized that result as 'poor Mark - he would have made the final table - but suffered a bad-beat'. No, I played well, and both the good and bad sides of this thing we called luck affected the game. Graps has a great point - learn to love your good fortune, it makes the bad times feel better!!

Finally, how did the changes affect the tournaments at Titan?

Well, so far not too much. Only a few people 'double rebuy' early and there are still hordes of fish (repeating previous posts here but you really have to see it to believe it!!). Did not like the longer payout structure as this lead to an extra 50 people basically getting their buy-in's back, have a feeling that this site will be my favourite for a long time to come!!

Check out Titan Poker today (non-US, sry), bonus code SNGPLANET will get you the maximum $500 sign-up bonus.

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thoughts On Becoming A 'Poker Pro'

No no, not me! Already ruled that one out and focus my energies in this post-corporate chapter of my life on creating a 'passive income' (but that, as they say, is another story).

After reading countless forum posts, some excellent blogs and having a few chats with friends both online and off - I have come to the conclusion that the desire held by so many small stakes poker players to 'One day become an online pro' is in fact a delusion...

Yes, a strong word - but one chosen with a good reason.

There are many reasons for this, some practical, others mathematical and still more psychological. Will list a few below:

- Let us start with the statistics: The majority will never make it, a downswing will come and that will be that, mix in the 'real' aspiration behind this decision... people are not looking to become a high-volume low-limit grinder. In their hearts the real desire is to become the next Annette_15 or BigJoe or Rizen... folks, these are the 1% of 5% of 0.1% - that is to say 1% of players actually take the action required to become a 'pro', 5% of these make a reasonable profit after a year, a tiny percentage then go on to make it 'big'... my view on the stats is this, any one wannabe pro has a 95% chance of failure within year 1 (this might be giving up, no necessarily losing money) of these one in 1000 will get to the neo-celebrity status with the success level they really crave. So from the outset - of those who make the decision to 'go for it' 1 in 20,000 get there.

- Next a bit of psychology (my first degree was in that subject BTW!). The desire to be a poker pro is influenced by the 'love of the game'. There is a lot to love about poker, the challenge, the competitiveness and the satisfaction of taking home the cash! Yet again and again I hear the same thing, after just a few months of being a 'pro' the love starts to ebb, the game becomes a 'grind' in the negative meaning of the word for so many. If you are stuck 'grinding' SNGs (for example) at the low to mid-limits is this really any better than a data-entry job?? (well it pays better I guess!!) Most aspiring pros will give up because they lose the love in my experience.

- 'Kudos' needs to be brought into the discussion too. The online 'names' have a certain 'cool' about them, hordes of wannabes hanging on their every message-board post, pouring over their hand histories and generally wishing to be 'just like them'. Becoming a pro, even a mildly successful one will often gain the 'respect' of virtual peers and offline poker-playing friends... my point here is that this is a delusion too. Your poker playing buddies will leave college and get jobs, your 'virtual' following is nothing more than a rather odd way of making yourself feel 'superior' or 'good' and actually (again unless you are the 0.1% who transition to the 'big time') you end up with a life that is far from 'looked up to' and are really convincing yourself that all is well by using the eyes of those very 'aspiring pros' who will never make it...

- Time: Ok, there are a certain percentge will can and do make a good wage multi-tabling the cash games or playing tournaments. Some will make $100k+ doing this, the majority will not. This is a good amount of cash when you are young, living on campus or with parents (or even on a Thai island), spending your spare cash on a nice lifestyle going out with buddies and the rest. Two points here, you are getting older, some day your buddies will have 'settled down' some day you'll have a spouse and a familiy to look after, some day going out drinking until the early hours will not have the same appeal any more... grinding the poker tables will not then be balanced with other aspects of life. Point 2: You really want to do the same thing for 3, 5 or 10 years (!) sounds like hell to me!!

Could go on, there are a few more thoughts in my head on this subject - will stop though before this post becomes a mile long. Feel free to share your thoughts via some comments, always happy to disagree with people (healthy debate a favourite off-line passtime for me!).

Will summarize, I think the aspiration for most people to become a poker-pro is a delusion for the following reasons: Chances of making it are (very) slim - however good you believe you are. The love of the game will disappear, turning poker from something good into a nasty, repetative grind. The kudos among peers is transitory. And finally, unless you are the 1/20,000 who make it big being a poker pro is a poor option over the medium to long term.

GL becoming a pro! Mark

PS: Xmas booze challenge update: took a hit running AK into QQ on a AQA flop (oops!) but have since ground my forgotten mini bankroll from its starting point of $2.10 up to just over $9 (thats enough for a cheap bottle of wine!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thoughts on Multi-Tabling

Wow, been so busy writing lately that I've not had time to, erm, write.

Had a thought on multi-tabling to share today. For a long time (before having the time got in the way!) I played sit n goes... guess regular readers might have noticed since half the posts here are on the subject.

Playing at the lower end of the buy-ins, $16s and $27s for a bit, the way to maximise hourly take was to learn the 'pushbot' game and to multi-table. Experimented with many ways of multi-tabling (tiled / cascaded / sets / continuous variations etc) and various numbers of tables - up to 12 at once. Decided finally that sets / tiled and 6 tables was for me and settled into that.

With my business ventures and freelance writing now taking most of my time it can be difficult to find the right time to grind those SNGs - so instead I set aside one or two evenings a week and play a few multi's and some satellites at the weekend (just won $530 T$ this morning in fact!!).

Now here is the thought, being used to multi-tabling from the SNG days (sure they will return soon enough!) I set up 4 or 6 MTTs at once. This is simply not +ev for me.

The great thing about SNGs is that they can be played pretty much 'mechanically', you do not even need to play 'perfectly' at the lower buy-ins, just better than your opponents! It may sound obvious here but this is not the case with MTTs at all, you need to be watching your opponents - noting their betting and assigning them ranges for raises and calling re-raises. You need to know who will call with A10o because they think it is a premium hand, and conversely who is happily folding waiting for those aces!

Well, I do not profess to be the worlds best MTT player (did make another final table earlier in the week but busted out in 8th after someone was selfish enough to wake up with aces against my 8's...). Thinking about the game gives an edge against the 'average joe' (who, incidentally we know is 95% likely to be break-even at best and 70% likely to be a loser!!). Really feel that I have been giving up a good proportion of my edge in these games by playing too many tables... time to cut down - to stop thinking of myself as a 'multi-tabler' and acknowledge that I am a 'SNG multi-tabler' who likes to play other forms of the game!

GL at those (multi) tables, Mark

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rizen, Apestyles, PearlJammer To Release A Book...

Interesting news.

3 very successful online tournament pros, Rizen (Eric Lynch), Apestyles and PearlJammer are to release a poker book. Having seen training videos from all 3 players on PxF I have to say that these guys know their stuff (and have records to prove it - bah!). It'll be on my reading list for sure.

Not too much information to go on at the moment - other than the fact that there will be a press release in a couple of weeks time - here is a link to Rizen's Blog where he mentions this... Rizens Blog (will open a new window)

Gl at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Drawing Hands in Position - Check or Bet?

Turning my thoughts to a new area today... here is the scenario - you call a raise from the button with 2 suited high cards and flop a flush draw + overs... your single opponent bets around 1/3rd of the pot into you on the flop.

Common eh? could happen with a number of draws or made hand / draw combos in a number of situations. There could be other players still to act, or your opponent could have checked to you on the flop (or for that matter have made a pot-size bet.

The question is - when to raise as a semi-bluff, when to flat call and hope to make your draw and when to simply fold and get on with the next hand?

Not professing to know the answers! What I like about this one is there are so many factors potentially involved... the cards that you hold only being one of them. Plan to do a couple more posts over the coming days to look in detail at some of these factors - for now a list of some of the things we may need to consider, in no particular order (feel free to add to this list btw!).

1) Active opponents in the pot to act behind us? (relative to the player who bet post flop)
2) Stack sizes... how deep are we and our opponents?
3) The known tendencies of the opponent who bet (weak? likely to re-raise all in?), can also include any other players still active in the hand...
4) What kind of game is this - is the answer different in a SNG, MTT and a Cash Game?
5) How strong is our draw, to the nuts?
6) The texture of the flop - sure we have a flush draw, but is there an ace on board? a pair? stright possibilities?
7) Our table image? Are we perceived as tight, weak, crazzzzzy?

Have this 'forgotten one' feeling.... ah well, can always edit later. Something to think about - my own thoughts real soon!

GL at the tables, Mark

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sit N Go Strategy - Interesting p5's Post

Interesting Sit N Go Strategy post over on pocket 5's to link to today, and one that works on various levels at that with a fascinating debate between 2 successful small-stakes SNG Pro grinders included.

You'll see the numbers in the thread - where is gets interesting for me is the assumptions on which the decision is based, the pushing range of the big stack and the 'fact' that the small stack should be calling with any-2 (in my own experience at the 27's this is not a definite - even though folding would be mathematically horrible for smally here enough people do it to make it only 75% to 80%).

The best thing of all about this debate is that there are various levels of thinking going on... on one side there are a bunch of maths-based calculations which assume each player understands ICM... on the other hand there is the line of thinking that says 'if player x understands ICM he will assume I am pushing range XYZ, therefore I can actually push ABC etc etc'... great stuff.

(right click to open in new window / tab)
http://www.pocketfives.com/0AD2C412-5A93-4ADA-BA11-5D56EAF0B554.aspx

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Challenge Time...

Well, the last challenge did not last too long so time for a new one.


Accidentially found I have a sum of money in a (very) old Pacific Poker account. Must be 2 years since I put in $50, donked it off in a few hours and then forgot all about it. As fortune would have it I needed to download the new version in order to do some writing work for a client... and lo and behold if there's not $2.10c in my account!


Was also busy booking flights today - for a family visit at xmas - so why not combine the 2 into the 'Plan3t Gong Xmas Booze Challenge'.

The idea being to see how many bottles JD (and other assorted drinkies) I can get to by xmas.


*Update* first hour successful - up to $6.45 already...


Will keep you posted right here on Plan3t Gong,


GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

(Completely) Off Topic - Mum's Blog

Well it does not get any further from poker than this!

Can you ever properly put into words, to share with other people, the realisation that we have been totally missinformed about the true nature of the universe and our part in it?

Me? no, would not even try.... my mother on the other hand has started a blog to answer this very question! In order to get her off to a flying start I'd like to ask the good readers of plan3t gong to share the link below with anyone who might be interested in this topic... spiritual stuff that is, not the correct spelling of 'mis-informed'...

http://zarwoonasjourney.blogspot.com/

In return I'll promise to look into some obscure aspects of poker strategy real soon...

Cheers, Mark

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Plague Of Small Stacks

Decided to play a little No-Limit Holdem cash yesterday to make a change from PLO / Tournaments / SNGs etc. Having not been at the cash tables for a while I headed for the lower levels ($20 buy-in with 10c / 20c blinds) over at Titan.

It would seem that every other player is a short stack... not, you understand, the good short stacks who may have read Donkey Devastation's short stacking guide or Ed Miller's book.... oh no, awful players posting with 1 hand to wait, calling bets for 1/4 of said stack then folding to a min bet on the flop... really bad.

Actually these players, while irritiating, are not usually an issue. Yesterday it was the sheer volume of them, seemed like half the players were buying in for the minimum $4.

So, as usual this got me thinking (!) what adjustments do I need to make to beat these guys? Wait for premium hands? limp in and hope to hit a monster? Get aggressive as soon as the other big stacks were out of the hand? After all there is a counter strategy for every player type - if you can just figure out what it is!

Waiting for premiums was out, not enough to go around.

Hit a set once with another deep stack in the pot.... only to see my cbet raised all in by a shorty and the deep stacked player understandably fold. (arrrggghhh)

Aggression did not work, many of the shorties would call with around 50% of hands pre-flop and then push bottom pair (or even ace-high) after the flop... fold equity = zero!

So, half an hour later I'd exhaused all the options, except one.

Leaving.

And you know, it worked! I was able to get on with other parts of life safe in the knowledge that my poker skills were working for me well... I'd found myself in a -ev situation and quit.

Guess the message here is that this happens in different ways to us all... ever fancied a few SNGs and found your level full of winning regulars - yet played anyway? Looked at the tourney schedule to find only Razz available in the next 5 minutes but played it anyway?

I'll be honest - I have, and its a leak that is not too difficult to fix.

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poker Pro? Me? No!

Interesting question came in via a comment from one of my longest-term contributors MrTynKyn - here is his blog http://pokermarplatense.blogspot.com/ (en Espanol (which means I can not read it unfortunately!).

The question is whether I am a 'pro poker player' - with a side question of whether it would be possible to be a 'low limit grinder' kind of Pro here in Europe...

Firstly my personal answer... then some thoughts that this triggered about the desire to be a poker pro in others.

Well the fast answer is 'no' for me.

The slightly longer answer is that poker is a liesure pursuit, something that for me is a challenging and fun part of a balanced life... have considered the idea in the past, but whenever I play purely 'for the money' the game becomes a total bore. Poker turns from something to enjoy into something sinister - a grind in the bad sense of the word.

From a personal perspective grinding a living on the online poker tables would be socially isolated, dull and... well horrible. Playing the occasional game (and making $$$) on the other hand - love it!!

In fact I currently have 2 'jobs' the first one is as a freelance writer, doing (mostly) poker content for other webmasters. You'd be suprised just how many of my pieces are 'out there'... unlike this blog I write them in 'US English' so no clues from the UK spelling!! I also run www.sitandgoplanet.com and have 2 more poker sites on the way (Plan3t Gong readers will be the first to know when they are launched!). The idea is that these generate a 'passive income' which will enable me to spend more time writing on the subjects I really love - going well so far with this one. (some killer non-poker writing projects in plan for next year - at the moment the poker writing pays for my beers and holidays!!)

Enough about me: What about whether 1500 USD a month (as in the original comment) would be enough to live on in Europe? erm, no. Might work for a college kid sharing rent, or someone young enough to live with parents but this is not really a viable living wage (especially in the UK / Germany / France etc)... life is just too damn expensive over here!!

OK - will save my thoughts on the 'aspiring pro's' you find all over internet forums for another day... want to do this subject justice.

GL at the tables - and thanks for the interesting questions MtTynKyn!!

Mark

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thinking About Aces + November Challenge Over!

Some quick thoughts about Ace-Ace today. Re-reading Harrington on Holdem vol.1 (a great book!) and came across the conventional wisdom that is 'Aces play best all-in pre-flop against a single opponent'...

Thought I'd have a look, we have 2 separate angles here. You are 80% favourite against someone with a lower pair - increase this to 2 opponents with lower pairs and you are 60% to win.... and so on.

The angles I wanted to cover are - 1) maximising your expectation 2) The effect on your variance.

So, Poker Stove shows us these numbers (using pairs that do not intefere with each other for straights and a mix of suits).

AA vs 99 - 80.8% equity

AA vs 99 vs 22 - 65.7% equity

AA vs QQ vs 88 vs 22 - 52.5% equity

So, we will simplify by saying that everyone involved has 1000 chips....

AA vs 99 - expectation +808 (cEv used), risk of busting 19.2%
AA vs 99 vs 22 - expectation +1242, risk of busting 34.3% (additional 15.1%)
AA vs QQ vs 88 vs 22 - expectation +1575, risk of busting 47.5% (add another 13.2%)

For 2 and 3 opponents - extra chips won vs increased chance of busting (baseline 1 opponent)

2 opponents - +434 chips, extra 15.1% bustout
3 opponents = +695 chips, extra 28.3% bustout

Its all kind of obvious right, as the number of opponents go up so does your expectation, yet the risk of busting out of a tournamnent also goes up... what is interesting (again in an obvious way!) is that the increased expectation in chips does not have the same risk / reward ratio as you add more opponents.

On the surface it would appear as if the 'covnentional wisdom' is right - that your best risk / reward comes against a single opponent. But how do we factor in the variance angle... that is to say that 'doubling up' is great, but could easily put is in a position where we have to take further chances in big pots to stay viable in the tournament, on the other hand tripling up (or even quadrupling) would put us in a completely different position - our future risk of ruin goes down - at least in the short term + out ability to grow our stack by pushing the shorties around goes up...

Food for thought!

Well, after a month (mostly) off of poker I set myself a $1k challenge to get back into the swing of things for November... erm, its over. 3 Final tables, 2 in PLO tournaments (a 5th and a 4th) followed by a 3rd in a NLHE tournament (all at fishtank central (Titan!)) put me over the $1k mark for the month already. No additional challenges - plenty to do besides poker this month, will set a new one next month and just play for fun (and hopefully a little more cash) for the remainder of this month.

Gl at the tables, Mark

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sit and Go Strategy Showing Hands

Time to return to the subject of 'Ego Players' those people who somehow feel the need to appear smarter than the rest, who play poker not just for $$$ but to boost their own ego's...

Showing cards is in general a bad idea, there may well be specific scenarios where this is a positive play - when you are playing with the same crowd all the time for example, or playing with sophisticated opponents at a high level. In a lower limit SNG there is never any need - you will not be playing the same opponents often enough and, in my humble opinion, any perceived benefits will quickly be outweighed by the negatives if anyone is watching closely.

These are the scenarios;

1) Showing great made hands.
2) Showing bluffs and or Monsters
3) Showing rags in the big-blind when folded to.

1) Showing Great made hands.

Here is a real-life example, you will see this again and again. An early position raise and 3 callers, flop 10 10 4, first raiser Cbets and an opponent pushes. Everyone folds and the pusher shows.... Q 10 off suit.

Pretty standard at the 16s! Here is what the Q10 guy told me:

- "I think 2 unsuited broadway cards is a big hand"
- "I do not understand position" (called a pre-flop raise in mid-position)
- "I am not a tricky player" (pushed on a drawless board scaring off hands that might have called a raise).
- "I want to show people that I had a monster after the flop so they do not think I was bluffing"

He made 3 errors here, calling an easily dominated hand in a multi-way pot early, shoving his concealed monster when the only hands that would call are likely to have him beat (A10 / 44 etc) and showing the cards afterwards!

So we take a quick note, overvalues broadway cards (loose player) and 'straightforward' (kind of player who will raise good hands, check with draws and fold everything else). His ego let him down, we can now exploit this player!! At the bubble we can tighten our pushing range against him (likely to call with similar hands), if we raise on the flop we can get away from a medium strength hand if he raises and watch the board closely for draws if he flat calls, and we can call him in position with the knowledge that he will show the strength of his hand before we act!


2) Showing Bluffs or Monsters.

Will start with monsters... several ways of looking at this, the very best opponents will show you their AA when everyone folds on the river - now you can take a note of how they played it on each street. Someone who limps or mini-raises their Aces is a goldmine, the key point for me is that when they next raise to 4 times the BB you can rule out premium hands!! Add this to other tendancies for the player (likely to fold to a push after raising??) and you have a chip ATM at the table... wait for the BB to become worthwhile and shove over their raises here with semi-decent holdings - they already told you that you are not dominated!

Now bluffs... the point for me here is that someone who bluffs and then shows is likely to bluff again and again, even if you do not play another pot with them in the current game you must make a note - they will be doing it the next time you play them. In practical terms when deciding whether to call this opponents raise you can not always assume they have nothing, the thing to do is to increase the % chance that they have junk when deciding whether you have the odds to call. Harrington suggested there is always a 10% chance in any given situation - I like to make it 30% for the ego bluffers!

One more way to exploit a bluffer is to make sure you give them the maximum opportunity to bluff - let them control the betting when you have a monster, if that is not possible then checking the turn after leading preflop and on the flop can induce a bluff on the river. At the bubble do not push into these guys with great hands, give them room to come over the top of you with junk from their BB. If you have a reasonable hand then push as normal, it is not possible to bluff someone who is already all in!!!

Someone who pushes a lot and shows you a good hand say once in 3 or 4 hands is also slave to their ego. They think they are sending a message that their pushes are always strong to the table - in fact they are doing the opposite. Read this as "I am pushing junk but want you to think that all my hands are strong by pushing this one".

3) Showing Rags in BB when Folded to...

Now this can be irritating but also gives you some valuable information. Folded to the BB who shows you his 94 off suit... his ego is saying 'haha - got you' but what is he really saying about his play?

Well to start with he is saying 'I lack the understanding that the others at the table are deciding their actions based on their assessment of strength / stacks / player tendancies, based on the range of possible holdings for the remaining players'. So this opponent is also unlikely to have a good understanding of Bubble play.

They are also, more subtly, telling you they would not have defended this blind - great information! If you are to their right you should be raising every single blind from here on (and I do!), put them to the test - if someone never defends their blinds without a premium holding then they are unlikely to make too much money in the aggressive late-game of SNGs, they scored a couple of points for their ego but the result was to lose a huge number of blinds!!


Finally, levels of thinking should be mentioned, a sophisticated player might well employ one or more of the 'tells' above to throw others off their game - keep an eye out for these opponents! As a rule never show if you do not have to... Texas Holdem is a game of information - the less information you give to your opponents the better!!


Cheers, Mark

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Moshman's SNG Book - Full Time Report

Finished up Colin Moshman's 2+2 SNG Strategy Book... time for a 'Full Time Report'!

Well, the fact that I'm sitting here racking my brain for something positive to write about the second half of the book tells its own story. Took me a whole cup of morning tea to come up with... erm, well, he knows what he is talking about!

The book is a missed opportunity, it contains some excellent points about a tight and solid early strategy and very aggressive high-blind and bubble play. Where is goes wrong is to aim those points at less experienced SNG players - then frame them with examples which quite simply do not match the reality of the games those readers are likely to be playing in...

Here is an example - 2 big stacks and 2 very small stacks at the bubble. Biggest pushes, 2 micro stacks fold and the other big stack looks down to find QQ. The 'Mathematically correct' response here is to fold... the reason why is the risk in prize pool equity does not equal the reward.

I can agree with the logic, many posts here on Plan3t Gong on this very subject... what I can not fathom is how this fits in with the cold hard reality of the Stars $16s (or the Titan 33s for that matter) and below... at this level QK, A10 and 77 are likely to 'beat you into the pot', let alone folding QQ!! Therefore pushing - even as the big stack, needs to account for the real danger of being called - not the 'mathematically correct calling range' of your opponent, but their real calling range...

Thats the contradiction here, either you aim a book at the inexperienced players and write about the reality they will face at the tables - or you aim the book at the more expert player and keep the higher level examples.

Ah well, getting a little negative now... there are some well make points - its better to bust by being too aggressive than too passive is the main one. Shame about all the 'filler' - especially the last 1/3rd of the book.

Colin Moshman knows what he is talking about - unfortunately even the fine editors at 2+2 could not hide the fact that he is no writer!!

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Challenge Update - Size of Mistakes + New Widget!

Set myself a small challenge to make $1000 in Nov from SNGs + PLO... happy to say that the first update is a good one. + $212 real dollars and $285 tournament $ from some Sunday million satellites, alas -$7 from 120 hands of PLO (most of which lost in one big pot with the evil hand which is the second best full house!).

Feel that the relative break from poker in October did me the world of good, enjoying the tables once again. Actually asking myself before opening any table 'Am I in the right frame of mind to make a series of good decisions?', the couple of times the answer has been 'no' I've done something else instead.

Only made one really bad decision (shudder just thinking about it!!)- in a $10+R Sunday million Sat - I raised and was called by the small blind who shoved me on a KQK flop... hmmm. Stacks were already shallow and I figured (correctly) that he never has a K here. Not a good enough reason to insta-donk my tournament with A-J really though... ah well guess I had outs!

Its all about errors, as Rizen said recently making a small error such as folding the best hand when you are unsure where you are at and your tourney depends on it - is much better than making a big error. Simple words but so true. Make the little mistakes folks - let your opponents make the big ones.

Finally, I have a new social bookmarking widget (!). If you enjoy Plan3t Gong then I'd appreciate a bookmark on any of the services you use - if not then check some of them out (warning - they can get addictive, particularly StumbleUpon!!!) The widget is on the top right corner.

Anyway, GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Moshman's SNG Book - Half Time Report

Time for a quick half time report on Colin Moshman's SNG 2+2 book... got to say I am not overwhelmed by it, then again I probably have too much experience with SNGs already - not really the books core audience.

One positive was a piece on 'High Blind Limpers' aimed at the 200 big blind zone. Already covered this topic here at Plan3t Gong with a few posts - 'the push over limpers' looked at the maths behind it... making notes saying 'HBL' for these players was also a nice idea.

The 3-5 big blind rule of pushing without looking at your cards was also good. Again experienced SNG players will inituatively know that you have to use your last bit of fold equity rather than blind away (reminds me of the piece on 'Going like Broomcorn's uncle' in Doyle Brunson's Super System... for those who do not know he anted himself to death!). Making the 3 BB thing into a 'rule' and explaining the numbers behind it will help a lot of new SNG players.

On the minus side the chapter on ICM was not great - too many equations which would put off some people new to the concept... its really quite simple and the book does not make a great job of making the central points.

Not bad and certainly worth a few dollars for newer SNG players - will bring the full time report some time next week!

Cheers, Mark