Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Get by With a Little Help from my Friends

YTD: +$52271.43

Apologies for faithful readers for a slightly longer than usual pause between posts - unfortunately my pc is somewhat on the blink again.

I wanted to get back to another topic raised by David Young in a comment a week or so back. The problem, if you can call it that, is an influx of new, WPT and ESPN driven players, cluelessly diving into a pot limit holdem game. In the classic way of lemmings searching for a suitable cliff, PLHE is the worst game they could have stumbled onto, bar plo8b. Their chances of even short term success, never mind long term, are very, very low. Especially playing Gus-stylee tourney moves.

But why is this bad and why should players care?

Players who make any substantial amount of money in live action should look at themselves as being in the entertainment business. Live players, especially in the UK, are a valuable commodity. They do not exist in US or Internet type numbers. Many players may be 'happy' to pay to be 'entertained' over a long period, but will struggle to maintain an interest facing unrelenting losses. A player after throwing off a couple of thousand $ in short order may never return, yet if he had felt that he had a remote chance and was getting some kind of value for money he may have gladly paid for many years to come.

So what is the solution?

Firstly, the newbie players should be treated well. As Tommy Angelo says, this is how you should treat everyone over the felt, not just the fish. Unfortunately for DY, the Vic, the place in question, is fairly well known for having an unfriendly ambiance. And that's putting it mildly.

Okay, anything else? Dealers choice games. Although they can confuse beginners the inherent luck in them shoots up variance and gives weaker players a shot at the loot. Here though the new players are their own worst enemies, as they tend to see these more varied games as some kind of conspiracy to befuddle the money out of their pockets.

The only answer is one that US casinos have adopted but the half-wits that populate card room management in the UK are unlikely to adopt unless coerced by the players. Who unfortunately themselves don't see the wood for the trees. NL games instead of PL. And crucially, critically, maximum buyins of about 100x the big blind. These factors will give conditions more akin to the tourneys these types know and love, shoot up the luck to give them a chance to get some winning sessions, but still leave skill as the dominant factor.

Everyone's a winner.


Andy_Ward said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on this. It must be a vital issue for live cash players.

Or is it just that few B+M cash players in the UK surf the poker web ?


Big Dave D said...

Hi Andy

I think the problem with a lot of winning B&M players in the UK is that (a) there probably arent that many (b) they are mostly idiot savants. They win, but dont know how or why or spend much time thinking about it. They probably all fly Quantas too :)


redsimon said...

From my limited experinces in the D C games in Nottingham and Sheffield I don't think having a max buy in NLHE game would be sustainable. The D C game has a core of players with quite a wide periphery who dip their toes into the water occasionally. NL has no reasonance here (all tournies are Pot Limit Holdem) and the majority of games chosen are probably PLO PLO8 with a definite slant to "superstud".

We get our fair share of WPT types, they don't last long. But we do have a pool of "gambler" types who occasionally hit a big score either in the tourny or the cash game. They generally give it back eventually. (Better there than on the roulette!).

There is a general perception in poker that the tourny is everything. Apart from a few souls locally everyone must be losing big in tournys. Meanwhile the cash game has a handful of big winners, some who make a reasonable amount (in my case to compensate for tourny buy ins!) and a larger group of donators.

We tried SNG type events and smaller games but generally they don't last long.

Then again Nottingham has always been contrary!

That Holdem game at the Vic sounds good. Can it last?

Andy_Ward said...


Most people can't be losing big in daily tournaments - a few better players skim off an existence (I wouldn't call it much of a living), a few real no-hopers are losing a chunk, while the rest of the field are small losers with a huge variance that helps most of them believe they would be winners "if only". That's why small tournaments are sustainable over a long period of time.


redsimon said...

Losing big probably too strong. But unless some of these guys clean up when I'm not there, then they are consistently losing. There are some guys who I've seen every time I played over the last two years who have NEVER got to the final table.

Agree though that due to the pool of players small comps are the most sustainable form of poker in provinccial card rooms

Big Dave D said...


I think the situation in the Vic may be a little different. They have always had a core of people who liked to play just holdem, for a start. And of course the potential influx of newbies for a London casino must be 20x + than that of one in somewhere in the North.

Of course as I said, a DC game would be best for all concerned but its just in my experience (a) players are too unfriendly (b) newbies are too scared.

Think of how much money you've lost over time when those WPT types have come and gone instead of come and stayed?



Zsystems said...


Thanks for sharing this stuff with us.
I am sure my comment won't hurt anyone...

based money business home