Wednesday, January 17, 2007 

Viewer eMail Time

Back to reality...
Been out of town these past few day's taking a mini vacation. Took another trip to the mountains of Tennessee. Unfortunately, I found myself doing so much driving that I had little time to unwind. However, it was time well spent for the most part and it was great to get away. Over the course of the trip I had some time to answer some viewer email which sparked a good bit of informative conversation. I thought I would share some of that insight today.

Aaron writes the following:

Thanks very much for taking the time to write your article on your blog concerning multi-table tournament play. I was wondering if you might be able to offer a bit of advice. I regularly do the single table sit n go’s and find myself doing well. However, when I attempt a multi tournament table, I can’t get anywhere. I try to keep the same mindset of tight aggressive play, but I just am not getting anywhere with that. The blinds will go up and I will continue to get no cards or possibly lose to some fish playing junk. Do you have any advice or recommendations of other literature that may help my online mulit-table tournament play. Thanks in advance.

And my response:

Thank you for your email. Always willing to lend some insight.

First and foremost, you have to understand single table SnG's are a far different beast compared to MTT's. You may be a genius with single table's, but it's not an easy transition to MTT's. Here are some various bits of insight:

Put some thought into the MTT's you opt to participate in. While every tournament will bring it's share of fish, sharks, etc. You do have a different caliber player at various levels of buy ins. If you want to stay away from the idiots, I would suggest you not participate in re buy events initially. Especially turbo re buy events. This just caters to those with a healthy bankroll looking to amass a huge stack at all costs before the first break. This is not poker. This is a testosterone contest more or less.

If your doing well at the SnG's, let that fund your MTT buy in's. Rather than play the smaller cost MTT's, hit 2 or 3 SnG's and buy into a little bit higher buy in MTT. The payoff will be worth it.

There are two specific things I would suggest in relation to your dilemma.
1) Practice patience. It's all about the waiting game. Don't worry about the blinds initially. Let the button go around a few times. Get your bearings. Study those at your table. Make some mental notes. Make some physical notes. Study betting patterns. Is this guy check raising a lot? Is this guy dead money? etc. Patience is the key to any MTT in my opinion. I also realize this is easier said than done. If your anything like me, I have to be doing more than one thing at any given time. If I'm playing poker, I usually have other things going on. I might be reading other websites, I might be talking to my wife, I might be IM'ing. However, limit your distractions if you can. If you need something to occupy yourself though, start up another table. What I like to do, if I'm playing in a good MTT, I'll fire up one of those 180 person MTT's to just have something to do in between hands. Granted, not everyone can play multi tables. But if practicing patience means keeping yourself occupied, go for it.
2) Take advantage of your position. If you're not concentrating on your position relative to the button, then you will not win. You don't need to have cards to make others believe you do. When your in late position, and the action ahead of you is nil, take a chance by raising. Once the blinds increase, this is a must. You'll find you will pick up blinds more often with an aggressive approach to your position. Personally, I only get frisky with moderate to good hands in late position. For me, that includes small too middle pocket pairs, to unsuited connectors or two face cards. I like to placate myself by saying even if I am bluffing here, it's only a semi bluff as there are cards in the deck that will ensure my win.

I hope this helps in some small way. One final piece of advice? Talk with fellow players. It's important to have individuals to bounce things off of.

This was but only a small piece of insight but I was very pleased to receive the following email after the above exchange:

Thanks so much for the great advice. I just played a MTT $50, 90 people on bodog and won it. I stuck to your advice and tried to stay as patient as possible and paid close attention to my position and even picked up on a few betting patterns. I can’t believe I just won that, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. Take care.

Monday, January 08, 2007 

Stars Sunday Million

Yesterday was my shot at greatness. However, it was not meant to be.

With a healthy bankroll, I played a few satellites and got myself into the big tourney at 4:30. I was feeling good. This was my tournament to shine.

First hour was a bit daunting. I made a few small hands. It became pretty apparent I had an individual at the table that was taking advantage of "scared money" that first hour. What I mean by this...this tournament can be intimidating to the first time participant. Many individuals find themselves thrown into this tournament through much smaller satellites and quite literally are out of their league. Certainly no disrespect intended. They just don't have the large MTT experience and it shows. Anyway, this guy just kept raising and check raising each smaller raise and everyone continued to fold to him. I finally had a good hand and went up against him. Didn't put a lot on the line but he sucked out on the river. Figures. Few hands later, similar situation presents itself. I raise small in late position, he re-raises in late position. I just call. I hit a set on the flop. He bets strong. I call. He bets strong again, I raise. He calls. He checks, I bet his remaining stack. He folds. This was the start of a good run for me.

Had a few bumps. Had to battle back at one point. But 3.5 hours in, I find myself at 60k in chips with only a few hundred left to the money. That might sound like a lot of people, but we started with some 6000 entrants and people were dwindling extremely fast.

It's at this stage I usually tighten up and ensure my placement in the money. From there I go on the hunt and play my aggressive game. However, for this tournament, I didn't just want to squeeze into the money. Perhaps I was over eager, perhaps it was just stupidity. But here's where things went south.

I'm feeling great with 60k in chips. Average at this point was 48k. I was second leader at my table...however, the chip leader at my table was also the overall chip leader. He was flirting just over 200k in chips. The one thing I said to msyelf, do NOT tango with this guy. Just stay out of his way and prey on the other stacks. Did I listen to my advice? Obviously not.

So I'm on the button and I'm dealt AQ diamonds. Fairly nice hand I'm thinking. One call in front of me, I raise about 4x the BB. I don't remember the exact raise amount. Chip leader is in the BB. I should have paid better attention. I raised unaware that he was in the BB and would probably play almost any hand at this point. He calls my raise. The other caller folds. Flop comes 9 8 3 with two diamonds. He comes out betting. Okay, my mindset went like this. He's obviously playing his stack, as he should be. However, I really think he's full of shit at this point. Call it intuition, call it a gut feeling, whatever. Point is, I really believed I had a better hand at this spot. And in the case that I did not, with the nut flush possibility on my hands, I saw this spot as an opportunity. Like I said, I did not want to just squeeze into the money. I wanted this to be my swan song. I took a chance. I pushed back and went all in. He insta calls with 55.


Turn and river bring no help and I'm out of the tournament. Just like that, in the blink of an eye...gone.

It took me a while to cool down. And obviously, I'm still bent out of shape over this. I'm sure other pro's would analyze this play and beat me up over it...but I felt good about my move. Had I walked away the winner in that hand, I would have been sitting with about $140k in chips and a commanding presence moving into the money. My goal was not to play too cautiously. I wanted to be aggressive in certain situations. I deemed these one of those situations and it didn't work out.

In hindsight, would I have played it any differently? I became too attached to this hand, that much I realize. However, thinking back, I should have paid better attention to whom was in the BB. I got carried away with my great position with a good starting hand. Had I just smooth called here, I believe he would have raised and I probably would have come off the hand.


Okay, I'm not going to torture myself. As my wife said last night, there's always next week.

Good luck everyone!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007 

I'm Back, no...I mean it this time!

So, In my last post I happily praised the poker gods and announced "I'm back".

I lied...

I could put a nice fancy slant on my current situation, or I can just speak the truth.

Boils down to this...
I've been playing a shitty game resulting in zero profit. I've been flirting with a dangerously low bankroll and have been limited with my game choices. When in a tailspin I tend to shut down my exposure to the world until I figure out what the hell is wrong and make the necessary adjustments. And to be perfectly frank, when I'm losing, the last thing I feel is inspiration to write about all things poker. This may be an error though as I find writing about it does help a lot. With recent holidays, job responsibilities, and everything else, I just lost my focus.

Psychologically speaking, I'm sure I could give a shrink plenty of material to analyze. God knows how mental this game is. Long story short, I've been letting negative results affect me personally. However, I can honestly say I will never give up. It's really a matter of understanding that bad runs will end. It takes confidence in your ability. Granted, confidence won't pay the bills unless there is a payoff...but you have to remain confident in your abilities. I've won in the past, I will win in the future. If you hit a brick wall...repeat this mantra over and over again.

For what it's worth, as I mentioned in my last post...separating from poker entirely for a certain amount of time can be refreshing. I didn't play much poker over the holidays but I was able to spend quality time with my new Nintendo Wii along with a certain warlock in World of Warcraft. For all those considering purchasing a's worth every penny. Fun as hell. Only set have to get off your ass and move. It's really great. Many, many thanks to my loving wife. She's the best gift giver ever! Not to get sentimental...but you know when people say they enjoy giving gifts more than receiving? These people in my experience are full of shit. Just a ruse in an attempt to appear better than others. My wife is truly the only person I know that I can honestly say enjoys giving more than receiving. She really is an amazing person with the biggest heart one could imagine. Okay...enough sap! As an added diversion I have also started a new blog which has absolutely nothing to do with poker. However, if you're ever in Jacksonville, Fl...might be worth checking out:

Anyhoo...I suppose the real reason I feel inspired to write today is due to the success I had last night on PokerStars. I've been having consistent money appearances in the $10 MTT w/ 1 rebuy and 1 add on at 7:15 each night. I generally stay away from rebuy events, but I like this format as I'm able to quickly accumulate chips and thrive on the poor play of others for the first hour. Just a matter of patience. After everything was said and done, finished 4th. A deep finish with the tournament has eluded me but I really felt like it was just a matter of time. With over 1000 entrants, it can be viewed as a lottery...but I choose to believe my skill has something to do with it. Anyway, this gives me much needed breathing room which will allow me to focus on the overall goal.

What is the overall goal?
Two fold at this point. One, get to this years WSOP to participate in several events. and two, transition from semi-pro to professional.

Tall orders to fill...but one way or the other, it's going to happen. As always, I will continue to document as I progress while sharing whatever nuggets of wisdom I can.

I appreciate all my readers hanging in there!


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