peterbirks: (Default)
If I did everything at the weekend that I should do every weekend, then I wouldn't have a weekend.

If that piece of existential meandering didn't make any sense, what I mean is, there are things that I have to do every weekend (shopping, washing, ironing), things that I should do every weekend (hoovering, cleaning the kitchen, dusting, furniture polishing, driving the car), and things that I ought to do every weekend (typing GH, putting some newly burnt DVDs into cases, with covers created and printed via Quark Xpress, tidying up the email inbox) and so on and so on. Then there are the things that I ought to do once a month. But, well, you get the picture.

Usually, so that I have time for things like playing poker, reading the papers, watching some TV, recovering in preparation for the week ahead and maybe, just maybe, once in a blue moon, going out, I end up doing the things that I should and ought to do each week no more than once a month. The things that I ought to do monthly, get done twice a year. And the things that I really ought to do, some time? Well, they just never get done. The stairway and landing walls have been waiting to be painted so long that the paint I bought is close to becoming illegal by EU standards.

Getting a cleaner is one option; but I quite value my space. I would end up having to depersonalize it to a certain degree, rather than just leaving things as I feel like leaving them. I don't think that it's a solution.

Uncluttering my life a bit is another possbility, and one to which I am increasingly warming. Stop taping stuff. If you miss it, you miss it. Hell, it'll be on again one day. Everything is.


So, another anonymous geek-looking Swede wins a major tournament (Deauville EPT). There's a wide pool of talent out there playing tournaments, but I reckon that you could count the number of players who are positive EV at the EPT, WPT and WSOP combined (after expenses) on the fingers of two hands. On the other hand, they are having a good time about it, and the value of that should not be underestimated.

What saddens me is that a number of these people ("poker household" names, as it were) show a remarkable lack of awareness at what is going on. Slowly but surely they are going to find the cashflow tougher and tougher. Those who can win at cash will keep going, because this is where plus EV remains for players of even modest ability, but the tournament specialists will find it harder and harder.

What might keep them going is that, although there is little dead money at the actual tournament, a lot of dead money will have played in the online satellites, meaning that most of the participants will not have paid the full entrance fee.

But this is topsy-turvy economics. What it means is that all the people going to the EPT are probably minus EV, but can convince themselves that they are plus EV, because they did not pay the full entrance fee (having won a seat in a satellite). In fact, if they had played a straight cash-prize tournament online, they would also have been plus EV, and then they would not have had to take the minus EV part as a prize.

But, ego is ego. Most of these poker players will not admit to themselves that, at this level, there isn't much difference between most participants' expected return. Sure, there's some "dead money", but not enough to outweigh the juice and the hotel bills.

The entire tournament schedule strikes me as a long holiday at which most of the party is slowly going broke. But, as long as they have a good time doing it, good on 'em.
peterbirks: (Default)
OK: General consensus is for a pot raise, with one argument for a limp-reraise.

As it happens, the pot raise is right, but no-one spotted why (including me, when I was playing, which goes to show that you should always pay attention). My own line of thought that I was likely to get action for something slightly larger than a pot raise. I'm looking to double through here, and a "mere" pot raise is more likely to win me about 500.

So I raised it to 320. This was a mistake. As Sklansky might say, "can you see why?"

This went round to CO1, who promptly went all-in for 440. This got round to the small blind, who called. All others folded, and it came back to me.

Shit. I thought. If this was Prima, I know that I would be able to raise again. Are the rules the same on UB?

Unfortunately not. Because CO's raise was an underraise, I could only call.

Still, possibly no harm done. As long as an Ace doesn't come on the flop.

Pot size: 1410. I have 1120 in front of me.

The flop comes 986 two clubs.

Small blind bets 400.

What do I do?

No Limit

Oct. 31st, 2005 07:41 am
peterbirks: (Default)
Here's an interesting hand from yesterday. Having accumulated vast numbers of Ultimate Bet points, I've found that I can buy into $5 tourneys for 1250 points. This is a good way to relax after the more serious cash play. Into level 3 (1500 chips to start, 12 minute levels, going 5-10, 10-20, 15-30, 25-50, 75-150, 100-200) this happened. It's a two-parter, and this is the brief first-parter. I'll do the 2nd question this evening and give the result at this time tomorrow:

SB: 3830 (posts 15)
BB: 1410 (posts 30)
UTG: 6800
UTG+1: 1300
MP1: 1450
Hero: 1560
MP3: 1200
CO1: 440
CO2: 1200
Button: 1530

You are dealt Kc Kd: because this is a relaxing tournament (for you, the others may be taking it very seriously), you haven't been paying a lot of attention, but the attention that you have been paying has shown that the big stack is prepared to gamble, the small blind is solid, and none of the others look particularly exciting.

Betting goes: UTG limps, UTG+1 limps, MP1 limps.

What do you do here?


Oct. 26th, 2005 07:25 am
peterbirks: (Default)
A disappointing 19th out of 48 in last night Stan James tournament. Although I went out with KK vs AQ, the damage was done earlier. And once again my nemesis was AKs.

I've come to the conclusion that I have no idea how to play this hand, particularly in late position.

Scenario is thus. I have 4,600 (avge stack about the same) and the blinds are 75/150, about 25 of the original 48 players left.

UTG+1 (with a similar stack to me, perhaps slightly out-chipping me) raises to 300.

Question 1: How much do I bet here? I chose to raise to 800. Original raiser calls, making a pot of 1850.

Flop comes Q 7 2 with none of my suit. UTG+1 checks.

Question 2: Do I bet here? If I do, then how much? I chose to bet 1,050. This is about the standard size of my continuation bet these days -- around 55% to 60% of the pot. Opponent flat calls.

Turn is some rag kind of card (a nine, I think). UTG +1 checks.

Question 3: Do I bet here? If so, how much? There is 3950 in the pot. I have about 2800 left and opponent has just about the same.

I think that I will leave it there for the moment. Because I'd really like to know why I always seem to get into some kind of trouble with AKs. The only time that I don't is when I bash the whole lot in pre-flop, which is hardly a skill recommendation for NLHE.
peterbirks: (Default)
Most people notice that the nights are drawing in -- for me, it's the mornings. Distinctly dark when I get up now, but light by the time I walk to catch the train. That pleasure will disappear within the next couple of weeks. Then a couple of weeks after that it is dark when I arrive at Charing X, but light by the time I reach the office. Finally, we enter the hibernation period of perpetual darkness except for when I am in the office, although that gives me the pleasure of seeing dawn from my desk. Yes, we still live a life that we time by the seasons.


"Only" $111 lost on Party last night. Since I double-tabled for just over two hours, this was a pretty insignificant amount in terms of big bets and volatility. I'm definitely not playing to my best. In particular, my instinct for when to bet and when not to bet on the river is awry. I probably missed a couple of big bets there. I also got caught nicely by a guy when I had middle pair ace-kicker in the big blind. He limped from UTG+1, everyone else folded, I declined the option with A8 and he then checked a flop of J86 two clubs. Turn was the two of spades so I decided to bet. He raised and I was in a novice's pickle, because I hadn't put him on any kind of hand that he could raise with here (except perhaps 22).

I'm afraid that I called this bet and the river bet out of genuine curiosity. He showed down KJ of diamonds. This was a nice play, although it has its perils. It was worthwhile because the size of the pot is fairly small, so he can afford to gamble it a bit. A ploy to add to the armoury against aggressive players.

So, maybe $50 lost by marginal errors in 250 hands. Not good, but not disastrous. I really feel that I am due a big win on Party. The opposition has contained some real shockers. And, once again, my losing table was the one where the fish was on my right, while the winning table was the one where he was on my left. Go figure.


I then managed 16th out of 53 in the Stan James Hendon Mob League tourney. At least I racked up some points, even if I didn't get into the money. Ironside managed to join the ranks of "I can't resist showing a hand when I have bluffed the river" players -- a curious breed. In fact he had Ace-high, quite enough to beat the hand that I folded. These players invariably justify their showing of cards with flannel by saying that it is about putting other players on tilt, or being part of a long-term strategy. This is utter tosh. It's "Look at how good I am, I just bluffed you off a pot", pure and simple — a male testosterone attempt to establish Alpha Male status. Poker players tend to be lovers of instant gratification, and this is one way they fulfil it. Its long-term gain is zero. Or, rather, it's negative. But this type of poker player is too much in search of the instant hit to care.

The tournament had been chugging along and I was down to about T$2,300 on level 2 when I picked up Aces in the Big Blind. MP1 (with about T$2000) raised it to 150 and everyone else folded, so I felt a flat-call was in order.

Flop came A97 rainbow, giving me a set of Aces. I checked. Opponent bet 200. I flat-called. Turn brought a Jack. I checked, Opponent bet 500. He had 1,200 left. I decided to pull the trigger and raised all-in. He paused and then folded.

Is there an argument for a third flat call here? Is there an argument for a mini-raise of 500? (In retrospect, I like this line best...)

I'd been playing in Sam Grizzle mode, limping a lot and going for post-flop play (the chips are realtively deep in this particular tournament) so on level three (50-100) I limped on the river with Ace-Ten suited against a tight small blind and aggressive big blind, no previous callers. SB folded and BB called. Flop came KK4 two clubs. BB had K4. I managed to get out for just 800 on the hand, which I thought was good going.

Then came a near disaster with 37 players left, level 4 (75-150). alanc in UTG+1 raised to 500 with 6,500 chips behind. MP2 then raises to 1,000. I have 2,200 left with QQ on the button. I see no reason in pissing around here. For a start, we might have the classic QQ v AK v AK situation. Any other combination (provided I am not facing AA or KK) is as good. I raise all-in. alanc quite correctly folds and MP2 calls. He has AK and hits an Ace on the turn. I am down to 175 chips.

Then came the age of Lazarus and the style of Sam Farha. All in next hand. Win. Up to 550. All in next hand. Win. Up to 1175. All in next hand. Uncalled. Up to 1400. Go quiet for a while. All in with 88 which is called by Simon Galloway's JJ. 8 comes on flop. Back in the game.

But I was still low on chips. In fact I remained in last place or thereabouts for the next 45 minutes, stealing blinds to stay above the water line, going all-in when down to 14 small blinds or less, and stealing the pot nearly every time. But I couldn't get up to average chip size.

My chance finally came when we were down to 16 players at level 7 (200-400). I was sitting on T$1800 (hmm, wasn't I there an hour or so ago?). Big stack in MP2 raises to $1600 and I find 88. I know that I should flat call here, but I have a vague feeling that SJ's software still allows a reraise of an underraise. This means that if I make it 1800, anyone behind me will worry about calling, because the original raiser will be able to reraise. I decide that this is a better bet than calling and then folding a dangerous board, leaving me with just half a big blind. I raise all-in. Everyone fold to MP2, who calls. His AK hits an Ace, and that's that. Not an unenjoyable tournament, in the sense that all tournaments are unenjoyable...


Lunch at L'Escargot today with KPMG. Yum Yum.

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