Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back From Vienna

Nice place Vienna, and at less that 3 hours from Budapest I really should have made the effort to go before.

The trip got off to a tired start with a 4:30 am finish in Carbon Poker's monthy $50k freeroll... managed 16th for $500 which is not too bad for free, always disappointing to miss a final table when that deep but then again I was happy with my play in the late stages - with almost 2000 entrants this was a decent result.

Unfortunately the cash lasted less than 24 hours.

Nope, not been playing any more (the idea of the trip was to get away from business + poker!), the lovely Erika found a pair of Prada sunglasses which were apparently 'just perfect'... ah well.

There were a couple of plays in the big freeroll I was not involved in which made me realise that the poker strategy knowledge many of us have is sometimes taken for granted. Will write about two hands tommorrow (will be back in the office) which provide some food for thought. For now I am happy to see that the automated blog updates worked (simply post-dated the posts), no excuses for gaps here at Plant Gong when taking a break!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Combating ICM SNG Play - Some Faulty Logic - Part #2

Ok, in the last post we looked at how to combat opponents using ICM at the bubble of a SNG buy examining the only variable we have any control over - our calling range.

The conclusion was that calling 'light' cost us money - real money, not some hypothetical poker dollars! What we wanted to look at next was whether this outlay in real cash would benefit us at this same bubble against the same ICM-using opponents.

Of course, the effect will be to tighten your opponents pushing ranges for a few hands. Now, how could we benefit from this?

The question is this - if our opponents 'put us on a range' and push / fold accordingly, then we have to assume that any shove into us already accounts for the looser range seen last time. If this is the case then we have to tighten against even our previous 'neutral' range, which means folding a lot of hands, in other words our 'light push' forces us to call tighter next time round (since we have to account for our opponents adapting to a range which is not our usual one).

We may get a walk we would not otherwise have received... but rarely. If an opponent mentally adjusts your calling range from 10% to 15% the shoving hands become slightly narrower... but only slightly - what we are talking about is a fraction of the 5%... this should demostrate:

Previously you called with a top 15% hand, adjusting the perceived folding percentage from 90% to 85%... now your opponent expects to be called 85% of the time (he is wrong as it happens*). Out of those extra 5% of calls he wins 30% to 40% of the time on average - taking the marginal difference caused by your light push to just a couple of %,

* since to benefit from your looser image you need to go back to your previous range - otherwise you allow opponents to push correctly again.

So, for me at least the answer is clear - learn what your opponents are up to with ICM and adjust your own play accordingly whether or not you choose to use it. Poker is all about adapting to your opponents... next time you hear 'ICM is bullsh*t' from someone just think about this - what they said is 'I am refusing to understand how my opponents are thinking'.

Gl at those tables, Mark

Monday, July 28, 2008

Combating ICM SNG Play - Some Faulty Logic

Checking out the 'Beginners' forum at 2+2 the other day and came across an interesting post. BTW I am far from a beginner... but find this (along with a few other boards / forums) great for getting ideas for content for my sites.

Anyway, the theory / question was from someone looking to exploit the SNG players using ICM to decide on Bubble pushing ranges. It was structured logically, but actually wrong - thus a post to redress.

A pushing range at the bubble of a SNG is decided by stack sizes, calling ranges of opponents and (last of all) your cards. 2 of these aspects are already known - with calling ranges an estimate based on experience / reads etc. Using this information a player pushes a range of hands which will show a profit over time - and thus makes money.

Now exploiting this strategy.

The only 'weapon' we have is our calling range, since the other factors are known. There are two things we can do with this calling range - loosen it or tighten it, both making the assumptions of our ICM-using opponent wrong.

- Loosening: This loses money immediately, and usually a lot of money as a proportion of the prize pool. Making a 'spite call' with 2 suited broadway cards will often cost $3 or more in profits in a $100 prize pool ($11 SNG)... on the plus side you reset your opponents shoving range for a short period of time as they realize you are loose - more on that in a tomorrow, firstly;

- Tightening: Well, this just allows your opponent to push more hands, or to put it another way makes the hands he is already pushing more profitable. Turning down a profitable call against the range your opponent is pushing is losing money, real money, the perception is different of course but players need to be aware that this is a leak too.

The idea I am trying to get across here is that the only defense against opponents using ICM is to understand what they are doing and call profitable. The crux of this is that ICM is by no means 'optimal' - as in the 100% most profitable move in any given situation - it is however mathematically unexploitable assuming correct ranges... so even if you do not use it you had better understand what your opponents are doing by reading up a little, it will benefit you immediately at the tables!

So, we will continue this discussion tomorrow (post-dated posts willing!) with a look at how a perception of a looser calling range might affect your strategy later.

In the meantime why not check out this SNG Planet article on how an ICM calculator can improve your profits.

Poker ICM

GL at the tables, Mark

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poker Strategy Forums - Check 'Em Out

Fed up with the math-nerds of 2+2? The spotty teenage bitching at p5's? Not interested in the porn spam at

Then, dear readers, you should be making your way over to the Poker Strategy Forums the only community that treats poker players of all levels with respect - whatever they wish to know.

You can discuss SNG Planet / Omaha Planet / Killer Holdem and Planet Gong posts too!

Give 'em a go!

Cheers, Mark

Google Page Rank - An Intro For Poker Bloggers

A new subject area, and something for my fellow poker bloggers no less. I thought I'd share a bunch of information about some specifics on SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. Starting, as you do, at the very beginning.

Some of you will be familiar with the concept of Google's 'Page Rank', others will not. It is an indication based on a 0 to 10 scale, of how much 'authority' Google thinks that your blog or website has. It is only indicative, in fact Google use far more complex factors that those outlined here to determine rankings - however it is useful in certain ways.

To see a pic like the one above you need the Google Toolbar. The green bar shows how much rank was given at the last update (approx every 3 months) to every site you visit. Plan3t Gong is PR4 which is pretty good for a poker blog (very rare to see a PR5 and I have never seen any above this).

Apart from selling adverts (more on that below) PR is really only an 'authority indication' from Google, yet it does tell us a lot about how the big G determines what is a quality site and what is not. The idea is that links coming from sites which have 'authority' are more valuable than links coming from sites without. Page Rank is an indication (not a statement of fact) that your site has some authority. Sites which have a lot of 'natural good quality links' are deemed to be important and thus appear higher up the search results in google.

Here is an experiment for those with the Google Toolbar, surf some poker blogs and compare the Page Rank of sites which contain a lot of text-link type adverts to those which do not. While not 100% you will see a very strong correlation between advert numbers and PR4 (and some PR3) blogs. Why? Because the owners of the sites which buy these adverts know about Page Rank and are actively seeking the PR4 blogs... they are 'buying your 'authority' rather than seeking clicks.

A factor which makes having a higher PR beneficial is 'crawl rates', since the more authority your site has the more often Google will send spiders to check it out - meaning your new material appears in the search results faster.

Many factors influence your Page Rank - I will go into more detail of these, and the use of special 'nofollow' tags in a future post. In the meantime I will leave you with the thought that taking these text-adverts is actually 'giving away' some of the authority of your site... put up too many and you will get fewer and fewer visitors from the search engines... oh, and link to the wrong ones (called 'bad neighbourhoods') and you could lose your PR completely!

GL at the tables - oh, and let me know whether this is a useful line of pokerblogging and something you would like to hear more about


Saturday, July 26, 2008

General Update - Cereus and Stars vs Carbon

Well, seems like anybody who is anybody needs to have an opinion on this new-fangled Cereus network... the moral 'how could you' brigade (who IMO can not see that this whole incident is similar to complaining about carrying out mass hangings using scratchy nylon rope instead of the good quality traditional stuff) are out in force...

Maybe I'm nobody but I can not get too excitied about it. Except in the business sense, will drop AP from my sites shortly, they never really converted well anyway, and use the empty slot to bring in Cake - who are growing in popularity.

We will have to wait and see whether more rooms, new or existing, join the Cereus network. All the .com domains were taken by the time I heard, but managed to swoop in and get (nothing there but an ad from my hosting co at the moment - will see what pans out over the next couple of weeks before deciding what to put up on this domain!).

All that will have to wait though - as Erika and I are off for a few days in Wien / Becs / Vienna (all the same place, Austria's capital city - detele the names as applicable!). Does not mean you should stop coming over to Plan3t Gong though - will experiement with post-dating some posts and see if they appear at the right time (will have to be strategy then!). Really hoping to meet Midge Ure while there.

Stars bonus getting there - again work keeps getting in the way - managed to clear 700ish points so far. Funny how the psychology works with me... got really fed up with this points business very fast and went over to Carbon, my god the loose-passive cash games are so profitable, even for a player who considers himself to be wearing the 'learner driver plates' in the cash arena... makes me question why I am bothering with the bonus at Stars at all - the logic being that my expectation / hourly rate is higher at Carbon even without the bonus dollars...

Ah well, rather than waste too much time on this I'll focus on the websites, play for fun and see the bonuses as fringe benefits!

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Night Back At The Stars 16's

Well, tired with short-stacking the PLO last night I decided to clear some Stars bonus at the SNG tables... playing 30 or so games, mostly at the $16s.

Fun to return to the tables where I spent so long... and I'm pretty certain that the standard of play at them has got worse rather than better. 10-4 sooted was never a UTG min-raising hand back in the day right? How about an EP raise then all in with (missed) K-J (oh and a show for good measure).

Since when did that same K-J (different player) become a bubble call for all of ones chips at BB150? The same guy proclaiming that he 'had the odds' after the player he busted complained.

Had my share of horrific beats to be sure, and managed a couple of suckouts too - showing a profit at the end of my first proper SNG session for 6 months despite my 'rust' with the push / fold ranges.

Here is a thought for today that came up in the SNG session but can relate to almost any form of poker. It concerns re-raising, specifically when either you, or your opponent are short. Here is an example from a game last night.... from memory:

5 or 6 left BB200 no antes

Raiser - 2nd to act has 3000 odd chips and makes it 600
Shorty next to act has 1200 ish chips and raises all-in

Now, shorty had A-3 offsuit and lost to a pair of 10's... not very interesting yet. The point I wanted to make is that this player did not raise with his A-3 off - he effectively called an all-in with it. Do you see why? Offering his opponent more than 3/1 on the call, with the chips to spare (ok, so not to give away) meant that the call was 100% mandatory with any legitimate raising hand... could it have been a bluff (the initial raise)?? No! Not 2nd to act of 6 with a comfortable stack.

If your all-in re-raise offers 2/1 or more to an opponent with chips (or even without so many) then you are effectively deciding to call an all in.

Would you call an all-in from someone who has already indicated strength with A-3 off? well, would you??

Oh, one more thing, this error works the other way around too - sometimes at the bubble.

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This Time I'll Clear It (The Stars Bonus That Is)

An admission.

While my main income is as a poker affiliate, selling bonuses and special offers to potential new players, I am useless at one thing... yep, clearing bonuses!

Sure, the initial sign-up bonuses came and went. But in the 3 years or so I have been playing poker online I have yet to make a concerted effort to 'bonus whore'... no reason really other than apathy.

Got the Stars pop up / e-mail with the $240 WCOOP reload bonus and thought that it was time to make ammends. Also created a Moneybookers account recently, so the two came together and in went my $600.

The only question is, how to clear it... 20 points per dollar is easy enough, but with limited poker playing time (too darn busy with the business) I'd like it over with fast. After a dabble last night which cleared the first 110 points the options were narrowed to:

- SNGs: Used to be my 'bread and butter' (well at least once I'd worked out how to beat them), now I am not too sure that those push / fold ranges would spring readily to mind. This should be fast (assuming 6 tables initially and a few more once used to them again)... the one thing stopping me here is that I have no idea who the regulars are anymore which will make avoiding them more difficult... a possibility.

- Cash Games: Thinking of NL Holdem, either short stacking or set-farming 6 or 8 tables at once... tried this last night with short stacks and got brutalised (normal varience, well, lost 4 of 4 'whole stack' flips at least). Did not really enjoy the short-stacking of holdem, too boring... set farming a possibility.

- PLO Short Stacking: This is what earned me the 110 points (oh and about $40 in 1.5 hours too... but that was the better side of varience). Did 9 tables at the 10 / 25c and 25 / 50c level, just to tune back in before moving to the 50c / $1. Used the Slotboom limp + reraise approach. Yeah its evil, nope its not 'real poker'... but my goodness those lower level PLO players have got worse since I last saw them if anything. The advantage of this is the large number of large pots make the points come thick and fast... will choose this option for the first 1000 points and see how it goes from there.

GL at the Tables, Mark

Friday, July 18, 2008

MTTs - Short Stacked Late...

Here is a situation we have all been in at some point... you are late in an tournament, maybe even in the money. A couple of failed steals or the loss of a pot and *boom* you are in that danger-zone, down to 7 to 10BBs - resteal fold equity gone and really only the all-in steal (or play for all of your chips available).

One thing I have been getting better at in these situations is pulling the trigger earlier rather than later. Nothing worse than blinding for an orbit, getting aces and doubling up to 9bbs!

The benefits of aggression with a short stack in these circumstances are almost always going to outweigh the costs. Watching pros on PxF is an interesting example - they start to 'worry' and actively look for spots long before getting to the <10BBs area, makes sense right... with antes a 10bb stack will often give you an 'M' in of between 6 and 7, you'll be firmly in the red zone by the time one orbit has gone.

So... todays 'thing to think about' as it were!

What is stopping you from shoving with any 2-cards when folded to in LP in these circumstances? Would you be embarrassed showing J3 off when called? Are you 'waiting for a better spot' that might never come? Are you not yet familiar with the maths which shows that your 67s has a great shot against A-K when this hand calls? Maybe you did not consider that the blinds and antes may add 15% to your stack, and that doubling from here could potentially make you a viable contender for the final table again? Or maybe, just maybe, you looked at the $10 jump in payouts which folding will bring you and chose this over a shot at the final table which could bring you an average of $400 (how many % of the time do you need to reach this to make the 'gamble' worthwhile?!!?!?)

GL at the tables, Mark

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's So Good About Fridays? + SNG Wiz Update!

Looking through my affiliate stats last night and came across this one from SNG Wizard which caught the eye.... yep thats more than 1000 individuals who have downloaded a copy of SNG Wiz for the 30 day free trial via my recommendation - quite a lot when you think about it!

Not all alturistic of course, I get paid when someone takes the full version, an small milestone none the less, I honestly hope that a significant proportion of the 1007 downloaders improved their game a little! There is a full review / info over at SNG Planet (banner top left of blog).

Also looked at Facebook yesterday and saw that 3 of my friends from back in the UK had updated their 'status' message... the latest 3 all being displayed on the left hand side of the log-in screen.

These people do not know each other. All 3 work in corporations of one type or another.

All 3 took time on a Monday to type into their Facebook status that they are looking forward to Friday / The weekend.... sounds like 'wishing your life away' to me! I'm ok with a Tuesday, plan on making the most of Wednesday, enjoying Thursday and welcoming Friday when it finally arrives... something to think about huh?

GL at the Tables, Mark

Monday, July 14, 2008

Poker Update

Managed to get more than my usual amount of poker in over the last several days... must be some kind of reaction to updating all those Hungarian pages in Dreamweaver (do not understand the language at all which makes things doubly difficult).

Have been playing 50c / $1 full ring NLHE games over at Carbon which has proven to be profitable, the Omaha games are also very soft there but there is not yet the volume to make this a regular PLO venue.

Cashed in one tournament on Titan... where the effects of running good and peoples perceptions of this were all too apparent. I was nursing a small stack for much of the time and noticed a player 2 to my left was catching cards, which were holding up... enabling him to build a top 5 stack in the 800 odd person tournament.

Now, the thing is he quickly turned into a table 'professor' lecturing others, making snide comments and all that usual stuff. So, I had a quick look through the hand history (was the 2nd hour)... wow... in 25 hands, aces three times, ace-king three times (won each time), queens once and kings once, also flopped the nut flush with an a-9 suited.... jealous? of course I was! Did not say a word of course! Funny how he thought he was a great player though... similar to the wider context for me - that 10% who 'run good' for their first 6-months and consider 'going pro' who in reality are no better than the average Joe....

Anyway, won a seat in the Sunday 2-Million - via a Turbo rebuy - and decided to play, was picking spots in the satellite without regard to cards, something I used to do well but have recently been failing to do (confidence?).

Busted out of the Million just before the end of the 2nd hour. No worries looking at the hand, I was doomed whichever way it got played due to stack sizes, position and situations.

Blinds 800 / 400 ante 50 so 1650 in the pot pre. I have 14k (having lost a medium pot a few hands before then folded for a while) and the c/o (has me covered) opens for 2200... he has opened when folded to a few times and twice folded to my re-raises, I have A-K suited.

Hmmm, options are all odd.

Raise - any raise which has a chance of taking it is going to pretty much commit me to the pot on the flop.
Call - Ugly, since I'll miss 2/3rds of the time.
Push - Possibly the best with my stack, since we have some history I'll be called with a lot of worse hands (he has more than 2x my stack as well which might help).

Well I pushed... looking back I feel this was weak but then again it did ensure I saw all 5 cards. Flop comes 10-4-K but my opponent had aces (0ops!). Of course, with the K on the flop I was going to bust however played so no worries.

Anyway, this week will be busy (again) with a long list of tasks... not expecting to get too much poker in, though you never know!

Gl at the tables, Mark

Friday, July 11, 2008

Isolate or Flat? Tournament Situations With All-In Short Stacks

Here is a situation which is suprisingly common.

Someone is short in the mid to late stages of a tournament and shoves in their last 7 blinds (for example) from early position.... the table, including you, are 30 to 40 blinds deep (with variations around this level of course) and someone flats from middle position - the question is: What kind of hands are they doing this with??

Well, in the time honoured Plan3t Gong tradition of providing something to think about, rather than answers here are some ideas:

- From observations at the lower limits (up to about $30 MTTs) I see the flatting-ranges as very much player dependant... an inexperienced player doing this with the 'medium' part of their range (77 to JJ, A10+ or KQ for example). While the 'stronger player' would tend to raise to isolate with these hands (+ QQ / AQs / AK) and is more likely to flat with AA / KK hoping that someone behind tries to squeeze them out with a big raise.

- The second consideration is whether an opponent is capable or willing to 'check down' a hand with the shorty all-in. If a player has checked one down in the past they may see this as a 'natural' play and expect to do it again... if this is the case then it follows that they would try and get more value from the premium end of their range by raising pre flop - again giving us the 'medium to medium-strong' part of the range.

- Finally, the stage the tournament is in... whether the money bubble is approaching or already passed will affect these ranges. Many players in the lower limits will shed their weak-tight bubble strategy once ITM... flatting might now be a tricky play with the stronger hands once again.

Anyway... next time someone flats a shorty all-in you not only need to decide what hands they do this with - you need to decide how much of this range they will call your re-raise with!

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

'Interesting' Exchange Of Mails...

Had an interesting exchange of e-mails last week with a particularly nasty individual who wrote to let me know that the ideas in my free 'Comedy of Errors' Poker eBook were wrong... at the lowest limits at least, since the 'donks' call with too wide a range.

Sensing the frustration I wrote back explaining at some length that every calling range has a corresponding pushing range and that time + patient mathematically 'correct' play = profit... should not have bothered! This nasty piece of humanity from the UK would not budge and instead of any 'thanks' for my assistance just sent back abuse (will not mention his name or publish e-mails / address (however tempting) as I have just a little in the way of dignity!).

Anyway - on to the point of this post... a question:

Can ICM (or any mathematically-based poker Strategy) actually help someone who is at the stage of their poker development where they can not yet profit from opponents who are trying to give away their money? (ie the people you'll face in a $3 or $5 SNG).

After all, poker is a game of adjusting to opponents based on betting and cards... the adjustments to people who are trying to give you money is the first base, if you are not able to do this then life will be impossible against people who are trying not to give away their money at the same time as trying to win yours!

My thought is not really that playing a 'correct' bubble in a $3 SNG according to ICM could not make a profit - it can and will. It is more that at the very beginning level, trying to incorporate an 'avanced' strategy into your game may be dangerous... for example what is the point of knowing your hand is a call at the bubble if you are going to stack off with an easily dominated hand in the middle stages.

In a situation where opponents are behaving 'irrationally' there are wider calling ranges to contend with, stack size considerations which drive ICM decisions in the higher buy-in SNGs are less important*, and you need to factor in a distinctly non-zero chance every hand that your opponents will burst the bubble for you (this can be easily esimated by increasing 'ev fold' by 10% or so each time - did a post here on it waaaayyy back).

* For example medium stacks will not usually call without aces when there is a micro-stack present in a $50 SNG... but are likely to do just that in a $5... making decisions on what to push from the big stack more complex!

So, if you are able to adjust to these circumstances and accurately assess the wide (sometimes crazy!) calling ranges then you'll kill the $3 SNGs. If you are at the stage where these factors are not clear then some small amount of $ equity strategy could actually be dangerous.

Ah well, a new thought - but one I'll carry on pondering - key thing to think about today is that if you can not adjust to take money from opponents who want to give it away then you need to, ahem, work on your game a little....!

GL at the tables, Mark

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dignity / Self Respect At The Virtual Poker Tables...

Played some low limit tournaments over the past few days (a case of the 'almost!') and something struck me about the usual plethora of whiners and 'experts' at the tables that seemed worthy of a post.

Want to be careful to get the tone of this post right - nothing worse than whining about whining after all!

My point is that a significant minority of individuals, especially in the low limits, are lacking 2 significant things:

1 - Dignity
2 - Self Respect

Poker is a game of edges, this means - however hard we try - that sometimes, due to the good old law of averages, we lose a pot we 'should have won'. Everyone knows this, and over time everyone will encounter it.

What I do not get is peoples reaction to such scenarios, not only the 'whiners' but the 'only at XZY site' or the 'how could you have called pre / flop / turn (delete as applicable) 'professors.

What I really wanted to type this weekend, on many many occasions was 'Have some self respect... this is a $5 tournament!' or similar. This is the core of the matter for me - those very people who want you to 'respect their raises' have zero digity, zero self respect.


No, I typed nothing except for the occasional 'gg' or 'ty'.

Did not win anything at the tables this weekend, but at least I lost with dignity!

GL at the tables, Mark

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Poker Affiliate Business - Irregular Update!

Time for another update on the poker business, after our first full month in an office things are going very well - I can feel the improvement in focus and productivity! Wanted to make this a forward looking post, and a follow up to my recent statement that 'no more sites for a couple of months' was something to be excitied about.... the question is why??

Well, the fundamental point is that things could always be better. We now have 7 sites in total and a month or so of 'sharpening' each one is the plan. Here is the current list:

Sit And Go Planet
Omaha Planet
Plan3t Gong Blog
Melted Felt Blog
Poker Bonusz Klub

While each have separate areas to work on identified there are a couple of themes which run through them all.

SEO: The vast majority of traffic for the strategy sites comes from Google (the other search engines also contribute of course). The focus this month will be to take a bunch of terms for which we are on page 2 and 3 and work on getting to page 1. The focus will be on the kinds of terms that will generate profits rather than the general strategy searches. This will involve some on page optimisation as well as gathering some external links.

Content: Of course the key to my whole business... content acts as the backbone of the sites, to get links coming in, visitors and to keep people around for a while too. 'More Content' is not really the strategy this month - though I will publish a bunch more this is really 'business as usual'. The difference this month will be in re-writing some of the earlier pieces and increasing the number of 'calls to action' in relevant articles + a small increase in the number of banners / adverts. We also plan to make the content easier to find by re-organising the headings (SNG Planet in particular has a huge amout of content)

Languages: This almost feels like a mill-stone around my neck... have wanted to get the sites translated for ages and still nothing to show for it. Well, not quite right - most of the 100 pages we wanted are now in Hungarian... to be published by the end of the month, we are also getting started with the Russian this month (prob Aug / Sept for this as not understanding creates some more complications). Will make decisions on which languages to do next soon too... Romanian is high on the list and maybe Polish too - Plan on being the 'King of Central + Eastern Europe' before looking towards the western European markets next year!

Advertising Sales: The lovely Erika is (rightly) nagging me to get an advertising sales strategy together... I have enquiries almost daily, some spammy but many geniune too. Selling banner space and links could increase our income nicely... yet I'm reluctant to give away too much of our traffic too soon. Hard to explain but I keep thinking that if I keep the sites (mostly) ad-free they are somehow more 'valuable' for the future. Ah well, probably clear that the strategy is what is required here... after all 6-month slots do not commit me for so long.

Tournaments: Well, the latest PLO8 tournament did not get enough people to run, only 8 of the minimum 10... ok this was during one of the Euro 08 group matches, but even so a $2 tournament with a $100 overlay... this pissed me off a little and so lead to me (probably temporarily) postpoing the plans I had for a "$1000 SNG Freeroll"... the idea was to have some $1 MTT qualifiers (themselves with prizes including tournament tokens etc) and video the final SNG... maybe next month I'll feel like doing it again!

Oh well, another long post... back to formatting Hungarian pages in Dreamweaver!

GL at the tables, Mark

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Can A Little Strategy Knowledge Actually Be Dangerous?

Continuing the 'things to think about' theme today with a question that I see alluded to but very rarely explicitly asked... Is Poker Strategy Knowledge Actually Dangerous?

On blogs and forums all over the web we see examples of people who made the 'right plays' and lost their money. We look back to when calling a big raise with a rag-ace was the norm (we did not know any better right!) and somehow those final tables, SNG wins and big cash-game pots were shipped our way.

So, what could be the issue here? Are we applying strategy that might work against thinking players to those who do not think in the same way? Are those of us who carry on with poker and learn strategy a self-selecting sample of people who 'ran good' for their first 6 months (ie, if we had not seen the positive side of varience early would our interest in the game have faded away?), are we mis-applying strategy due to incomplete understanding? Not patient enough or not applying discipline and bankroll management?

Many possible ways of tackling this question - but hell, I'll tackle it anyway over the coming week or two.... anyone with any thoughts on this phenominon (losing money even though ones understanding has improved) is welcome to drop a comment with their thoughts in the meantime!

On a separate note I made my first decent final table in a while yesterday in the Full Tilt $9.5k gtd Knockout... ended up 8th of 660-odd which was a shame, but got my money in good even then. Not feeling the urge to play too much and actually deciding on when to have a session in advance these days - might flesh out my ideas on the 'paths' of interest / obsessiveness etc that different players take at some point soon too... for now, back to work on the planet empire!

GL at the tables, Mark