Sunday, December 28, 2003

Phil Helmuth Poker Blogs

"Las Vegas is the only town in the world whose skyline is made up neither of buildings, like New York, nor of trees, like Wilbraham, Massachusetts, but signs. One can look at Las Vegas from a mile away on Route 91 and see no buildings, no trees, only signs."
Tom Wolfe

From a prior post of mine:

John Feeny talks about the "strategic moment" in hold em in his fine book, "Inside the Poker Mind." He's referring to the moment when a strategic decision is made during the hand - the brief time before and during the moment finds a player assessing the relative merits of his playing options and choosing the one he deems best.

One of the major elements he says separates an average player from an advanced one is a well developed tendency to think about what opponents are thinking.

But playing on Party Poker more often than not causes me to think, "What the HELL was that guy thinking?"

Here I am, wanting to knock out a long, rambling post but I'm doing well in a bigass multi-table NL tourney. Maybe I'll get knocked out so I can complete this tonight.

Update: I finally decided to stop the grinding and sat in a satellite for a $500 no limit tourney on PokerStars. About 550 players. I got off to a roaring start, building up to 30k when the average stack size was around 11k. When we were whittled down to 100 players I was 8th biggest stack, which bode well, because only the final nine players won an entry into the big tourney.

Down to 20 players, blinds at 3000 - 6000, I caught AKd on the big blind. One raise by the biggest stack in mid. I move in. He calls. He shows K9h, woohooo, domination! But alas, he catches a damn straight with that nine and I'm out, in 20th place. As TJ Cloutier says, you gotta win with *and* beat AK to win a no limit tourney. Pivotal hand.

Iggy: raises 37844 to 43844 and is all-in
Kashan: calls 37844
KING TONE: folds
*** FLOP *** [7s Th 7c]
*** TURN *** [7s Th 7c] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [7s Th 7c 8d] [Jc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Iggy: shows [Kd Ad] (a pair of Sevens)
Kashan: shows [Kh 9h] (a straight, Seven to Jack)

The problem with these tourneys is the damn time you have to invest. For a drinker like me, this could be problematic. ;)

So.... I finally picked up Phil Hellmuth's book. I want to be nice, but I can honestly say it's likely the worst poker book I've ever read. To be fair, I'm not done with it yet, but his advice on limit hold em is terrible.

But Phil Helmuth knows tournament play, so I'm trying to glean some nuggets of wisdom from his no-limit section. I won't go as far as to say the book helped me in my tourney last nite, but his ideas did help me to play mid pocket pairs much stronger than I normally would. Because I was typically playing very tight (18% of flops seen last night) and enjoyed solid table image, I could push thin edges with success.

However, I would highly recommend SuperSystem over Phil's book when it comes to learning the heavily aggressive no-limit style that many pro's use. Plus, esteemed blogger, Alan Bostick, warned me to ignore the Omaha and Stud advice in the book, so I skipped over that. From the little I did read, it's quite obvious that Phil is out of his element.

I have much more to rant about Phil Helmuth but I thought this post from Daniel Negreanu a few days ago on RGP spoke volumes. It was relating to Phil's latest Cardplayer column that publicly takes Phil to task.

You know, this goes way back. Back before Alan Goering, Toto, and more
recently Hoyt. I remember a while back at the WSOP Phil Helmuth was down to three at a pot limit Omaha final table with Amarillo Slim Preston and some total unknown who obviously had no clue how to play poker.

Phil and Slim were bantering back and forth, clearly certain that when
they got heads up it would be an entertaining heads up match. The young unknown stayed quiet. Phil complained about having to fold this hand and that hand to the youngster. I mean, how lucky can this kid be to get AA like twenty times against me at the final table???

Somewhere around this time Phil Helmuth wrote a nasty column about an
excellent european player named Dave Colcough. In that column, he
basically called Dave everything but a donkey. Well Dave Colcough is far from a donkey, and if you read his column about the events you would see a
completely different story from the one Phil presented.

Anyway, back to our little story. Phil Helmuth finally lost to that little
unkown punk and went out in third place. In fact, that unknown donkey
went on to win his first bracelet at the age of 23. Eventually, he went
from being that "unknown rookie" to none other than... Phil Ivey.

Mr. Phil Hellmuth, you are a better human being than this. While I consider you a friend and don't want to bash you, you leave me absolutely no choice. You bash Toto, you bash Alan, now you bash Hoyt. Why? I KNOW you don't want the same treatment in return, so why not give credit where credit is due and show "some humility?"

Yes we all know you play no limit very well. Why do you find it so
appealing to use your column to discredit those that were lucky enough to beat you?

I know this is not who you are, because I know the "good Phil."
Unfortunately the rest of the people here, and those who read Card Player are left with reading your hateful words about those who have accomplished things you have not.

Toto won the USPC... you have not
Alan won the WPT championship... you have not
Phil Ivey won five bracelets in several forms of poker... you have not
Hoyt won a WPT event... you have not.

After reading your column, how could anyone possibly either sympathize
with you, or see you as nothing more than a toddler throwing a temper

I never thought I would make a post like this, especially now. Yet
reading your latest column made me think ??#$#@$##!??? What is Phil
thinking? Dude, you need to chill for real. You don't have to be an ass
to get attention. You write a great column WITHOUT all the negativity
towards your peers.

Stick to the facts, and show EVERYONE the same respect you would like
them to have for you. Yes, that INCLUDES the donkeys who hit three outers on you!!! :-)

Daniel Negreanu

Gotta love that Canadian guy for having the temerity to write posts like this. Wonderful stuff. I'll save more Phil Helmuth bashing for future blog posts.

Interesting thread on 2+2 about taking notes on your opponents.
As I'm starting to play "serious" online I'm trying to think of a good system for player's notes, at least a better system than my current one, which is either nothing or "retard". Does anyone have a good system that works well?

I'd encourage everyone to check out the thread in the Internet forum. Poker Odessey chimed in with a response as well as Ms. Sunshine, who submitted an expert's thesis on said topic. Amazing stuff.

For the record, when I sit at a table for the first time, I'll copy and paste the limits and date on every player in the notes box.
3.6 12/28
$50 nl ring

Whatever the game is. I'll do it on any site that allows it. There's so many damn players now, it's important to tag the players you have sat with before. It's the smart play and takes 20 seconds.

It's a big help when I'm sitting with a couple regulars and can easily delve into their past play via PokerTracker. I'll never be a Ms. Sunshine, but I think player tracking is extremely important to be a successful grinder.

TheFatGuy continues his foray into online poker, offering up this hilarious witticism:
No-Limit is like playing against Danny DeVito in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

He also asks for some advice:
I want some of the long-time online players to cut loose with some of the tips for finding those schools of sandies that they're always talking about. No matter what table I sit down at, it seems like I'm playing against all of the poker bloggers out there.

There's far too many tables available on Party for you to waste time on a tight table or to play with tricky, aggressive players. Table-hop! Keep hopping till you find a table to your liking.

Per game selection, mentioned in a prior post and discussed with blogger extraordinaire, HDouble, here is some insight from a veteran player per 2+2:

It's amazing but the crackheads dry up above 3/6 at party and then multiply like fruit flies at 15/30. The best advice I could give would be to take a shot on the stupid loose 15/30 full tables. You should be able to beat these tables

Speaking of Party Poker, I did some digging on the three other skins and deposit bonus situation. Here's my findings:

Eurobet - 25% first deposit bonus up to $50
Intertops - 15% up to $70
Multipoker - No bonus for players with existing Party accounts


Sports Illustrated had a column on the legality of online sports gambling.
Gray area

Lastly, I'll leave you with some solid advice from a grinder:

You should be cold calling so infrequently that you can't even remember the last time that you did so.

Cold calling raises with medium and small suited connectors is the fast track to the poorhouse. Yes, even with 3 others in the pot. No matter WHAT Phil Helmuth says, he's flat out wrong.

K, gotta go root for the Bengals and Steelers!

Link of the Day:
Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit

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