Sunday, May 29, 2005

Drink to Me Only with Labyrinthine Eyes

YTD: +$31998.20

Something really just tickled me. As Faithful Readers know, I have long used a labrinythe of spreadsheets for analysis and record keeping purposes. One of the things I track is my estimated bankroll for a particular game.

So over 320 hours in the 2-4 PLO games on the net, I am 95% certain of having a win rate between $6 and $116 per hour, with an estimated bankroll of under $10k. Which shows how well I ran there.

In the infamous 5-10 PLO game, for a while at least, my estimated bankroll was between $40-50K, which felt about right.

With my recent form, this figure has changed somewhat. My new estimated bankroll requirement to play the 5-10 PLO game is...


So it looks like a place finish in the Big One is necessary. Vegas here I come!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Eternal Recurrence

YTD: +$31709.81

Well that was interesting.

As it was a year ago, so shall it be again.

Back in my last bad blip, an old pal and sparring buddy, Pete F from 2+2 said I had gone on "winner's tilt". This phrase stuck with me and has some truth in what has happened this month.

I haven't played bad. I haven't played well. Strictly speaking, I have been very, very unlucky. But when you play all your hands like they are made out of titanium, four tables at a time, then you will experience some swings. If I had been swingy-er in the other way, I would have been easily $40k+ on the month. But when you play this way, "winner's tilt" as it were, you start to abdicate so0me decision making that perhaps you would have made before. And this was actually part of your edge.

But all in all, I feel ok. It would have been better to have won and feel ok, but I know the difference was slight and I just need to refocus.

What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh… must return to you—all in the same succession and sequence

Saturday, May 14, 2005

For Aksu: Popular Music from the Cold Country: A Play in Three Parts

YTD: +$55131.00

Part I

Our Cold Country* friend enters the cardroom for the first time. He is supremely confident in his abilities, having played 420 million hands of poker already. He has won and lost and won and lost, ad nauseum, hundreds of thousands of dollars. And he has only just turned seventeen.

Hands on his hips, cocksure, the crowds part around him. Mostly this is because he is six foot five and rather “chunky”. But mostly because, despite this overwhelming stature, our friend looks a lot like a girl.

He strides towards the green baize arena.

Part II

Plunking down mixed piles of stacks of Euros and Dollars, Mr Cold Country asks his soon-to-be-busted-foes, in his perfect, polite, pristine English:

“What game are we playing please?”

“Knock Out Whist”, replies the blue-rinse and pearls elderly lady, nervously pushing back her pince-nez and casting worried glances at her friends at the table. None of them is under seventy.

Our friend leans back in his chair with a grin.

Surely this “Knock Out Whist” is exactly and identically the same as short handed limit holdem, the game he has devoted his life to since a boy. EVERY game, in essence, he has found to be the same as short-handed limit holdem.

“I raise”, he says, pushing forward a stack of greenbacks.

Part III

“You garbage, you play such junk, u mf, I bust u , lol, lmao, u f**ker, I show u, RiverStars again, u broke, llllllloooooollllll”


*Cold Country is an amalgam of Scandinavia and the Nordics


Of course this play is based on an unfair stereotype. In general, Nordic and Scandinavian players are the best in the world, especially in the limit holdem, big stakes games. However. Sometimes stereotypes are useful. And if you are playing a game that ISN’T short-handed limit holdem, especially when it’s not holdem at all, then sometimes treating the best players in the world as guilty until proven innocent can be very profitable.

I raise.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Speak Softly, But Carry a Big Stick

YTD: +$59911.61

What is winning?

Is it that beautiful pause, the magical disappearance of your opponents’ hands into the ether, the electronic ecstasy of the chips swooping towards your pixelated player?


Winning is decisions.

PLO is not limit holdem. In limit holdem, a good player crafts out his edge on every hand, tweaking the most out of every theoretical EV, especially in small pots, where the odds can be more easily manipulated and the number of foes is fewer. Limit holdem is about every hand.

Speak loudly, carry a bigger stick, and hit often.

I mostly ignore the small pots.

Sure, if “no one” wants them, then I will take them, tyvm. But I am not trying to turn a small pot into a big one unless I have a very powerful hand. And if someone wants to bluff me in these spots, fine. Bully me, that’s ok too.

Speak softly.

And if I don’t feel that the situation is right, I am happy to pass draws that it seems everyone else is happy to get broke with.

So where does a PLO player make his profit?

Big decisions.

If the pot is raised, or it is multiway, or there is some action then the soft speaking stops. Here is where I can make decisions where the “rightness” of them really matters. Now we are in the territory of the big stick.

Whereas before I was passing nut flush draws with a yawn and a shrug, now I am raising them even though I know I am against trips and there is a weaker flush draw out there too. Or calling a $1000 allin in a massively raised pot with just a middle pin draw. Or raising a big stack when he bets out when a straight hits the turn, even though I just have the trips. The big stick of key decision making is striking out.

All of these hands really happened my friends, and in each and every one of them, win or lose, and some were certainly lost, I was happy with the decision.

Winning may be about decisions, but what kind of decisions? Soft ones, and sometimes brutal ones. It’s where you wield the big stick that makes the difference.