Monday, April 12, 2004

Poker blogs, poker blogs and even more poker blogs on PartyPoker.net

"Lying in wait is the secret of success in poker."
R.A. Proctor, 1880

Thanks for stopping by. I've added a bonus post below this one containing a bunch of poker article links I've been meaning to blog. But for now, I'm gonna ramble about my little score this weekend.

For a superior write-up of my tournament experience, please go read Felicia's version. She has been writing tournament reports from before I started blogging and knows how to make it interesting. She watched most of the tourney and wrote up her take here:
Felicia Lee Sweats Iggy

While folding playing this weekend, I noticed that Pokerstars has a tourney page up representing every player who's won a seat to the Championship NL event at the WSOP - it's currently up to 110, if I read it correctly. Damn, that's a lot of PokerStars hats & shirts at the tables.

I've been doing some thinking about a recent prior post of mine. Specifically one talking about 'plodders' versus 'adventurers.' And how my game focus may be misspent grinding away long-term incremental wins versus taking shots at some big payoffs. Hank, for one, is someone who has implored me to play for larger scores, and he's likely correct, as he almost always is. Allocating money for the large NL tournaments isn't that big of a deal to me, so why don't I do it?

It's mindset.

I often get asked why I don't write more about my own play in this blog. I typically respond by saying, "it's boring." Because as the Poker Penguin said, "If you are doing it right, it's boring." And I concur with that sentiment: per grinding. Watching me play poker is like watching grass grow, writing about it wouldn't make it any more interesting.

But I'm going to make an exception and ramble about my poker playing this weekend. Friday evening I enjoyed a profitable session at the 2.4 Omaha hi.lo tables on Party - purely by accident. I felt that I got lucky in that session, and because I haven't played O8 in quite awhile, I decided to ask Glenn, a savvy O8 player, to come sit with me and pass along some wisdom, which he graciously did. Thank you Bags!

Although I refuse to divulge any of his secrets, I will firmly say that I believe most players play worse poker in O8 than HE, if only because Omaha gives a player so many more reasons to play a hand (and to play it poorly). I think Sklansky once wrote about this but I'm too lazy to look up the quote. Anyway, I was dealt 2727 that evening and wondered what Grubby would call the double-headed Hammer in O8?

PokerStars Trip Report:
Anyway, after discharging both family and animal duties on Saturday afternoon, I discovered a WSOP qualifier on PokerStars beginning in 15 minutes. It was a NL multi - $33 entry with unlimited rebuys the first hour and hell, only 70 players had entered! I figured what the heck, maybe I can once again build a giant stack by preying on all the rebuying fools, and give myself a chance to get lucky at the end.

I think 125 players were signed up by the time the tourney began. Prize pool to be determined at the end of the first hour - one WSOP seat awarded for every 11k in entry money.

True to my thinking, reckless play was the name of the game that first hour. Players perpetually moving in with only meager holdings, in an attempt to build their own big stack, rebuys be damned! I quietly doubled through three times (mostly on the strength of kickers) and caught up on some reading. Somewhere in the second hour, I appeared #1 on the chip count board, which I managed to juggle the remainder of the tournament. I think it was around then that NL tourney veteran, Felicia, graciously offered to sweat me. Again, her superior report is written here.

Hrrm, too many hands for me to recount. Plus, you probably don't want to hear that sort of thing. So I'll just offer this one snippet: For me, the biggest hand of the tourney (outside of the inumerable allins) was one I didn't play. I opened for 10x the BB with QQ for 6k. I have mebbe 80k, big stack in tourney. 20k small stack moves in. I'm happy. Suddenly, loosey goosey nutjob 55k stack then moves all his chips in from the button. I use up forty seconds of the PokerStars time clock before mucking my Queens.

Nutjob turns over 44
Small Stack turns over AK

Last night, after telling a friend of this hand, he asked me the interesting question, "Would you still have folded if you knew what their cards were?" and I had to think a few seconds before I said yes. Even though I'm the slight overall favorite (46%-35%-19%), why risk that many chips on a coin flip? I knew I could outplay the nutjob over there with 44. Live to fight another day.

Of course, that nutjob with 44 ended up flopping quads.

Oh the humanity.

But you can't play results-oriented poker, we all know this. But I wasn't prepared to get crippled with Queens in that spot. I had worked too hard for my big stack.

I've never really posted about my NL play in here - I'm always blabbing on and on about grinding. But I've played a ton of no-limit, and to be frank, I consider myself a better NL player than limit, when I'm in the mood for it. To be fully prepared to stack off, at any moment, is a must mentality for me to play well.

So anyway, here is the rub. This tournament didn't attract the 11k necessary for a WSOP seat, it totaled out at $10,500, so now, instead of a WSOP seat, we were playing for first, $10.5k.

Second place paid NOTHING. Yikes, there would be no folding into the money in this tournament, that's for sure.

Two tournament factoids:
I never once had an all-in where I wasn't the favorite.
I bought 43 pots without a showdown.

At the final table, the blinds were slicing through stacks like a hot knife through butter, so the small stacks immediately started yelping about a deal. Big stacks offered stony silence. Suddenly we are five-handed. Even though I hadn't allowed myself to think about the reality of winning the ten large, I suddenly DID think about the very REAL possibility of finishing second and getting zilch. I was now second in chips and realized that even though I knew I could outplay the chip leader, ultimately I'd have to gamble with him.

Small stack goes out, leaving us with four. Now the table chat has even the chip leader interested in a four-way even chop. I decide to do it, too, the last to agree. I had played as well as I could for four hours and was content to take the money. So the always alert Felicia emailed support, the staff immediately came in, froze the tourney, and we did the deal.

Bottom line: I parlayed my $30 entry fee into $2600. Sure beats grinding! Thank you PokerStars.

A huge thanks to Felicia and also Hank, Pauly and Al who stopped by to watch the end game. Very cool stuff. I can't help but think about the ten grand I may possibly have won, but a save is a save.

Poker tip of the day: Sometimes by folding, you win.

I want to get this up, so I'm going to leave the rest of my ramblings and Best of Poker Linkage for my next post. Hope this wasn't too boring or self-absorbed - I prefer to stay low-key with my own poker play.

Per my long poker posts and the amount of content I am blogging, a local buddy had this to say:

Dann: Lots of poker reading time needed, though -- don't know how you find the time!
Iggy: I am clearly deranged

That about sums it up, doesn't it? And damnit, please use bonus code IGGY on PartyPoker if you are playing anywhere else!!

What kind of a Monday post would this be, however, without the brand-new post by David Ross, talking about his past week and two of the biggest things he did to become a winning player:
Playing online for a living Week 50


Despite my own stubbornness too. It took me many weeks of urging before I made the switch from Paradise to Party, and that paid immediate dividends.

And finally Poker tracker. I stalled and stalled before buying it, and for the life of me I can’t imagine why. Has to be the smartest $40 I’ve ever spent.

And finally, I took a time out from my poker reading to update myself on all the Iraqi blogs. Fascinating stuff and highly worth reading. Zeyad already has 550 comments from his post yesterday, entitled One Year After Saddam. Check out Healing Iraq and his list of other Iraqi bloggers on the right.

Link of the Day:
Eat Keanu Reeves
Everything you learned about agribusiness from Babe is a lie, according to PETA. "The Meatrix is the story we tell ourselves about where meat and animal products come from. This family farm is a fantasy."

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