Sunday, July 31, 2005


YTD: +$14880.84

One of the things that interests scientists isn't just the numbers revealed by experiment, but the underlying numbers. By this we mean the numbers that drive the numbers. One of the most common understandings of that now, popularised by book and TV, is chaos theory. This was "discovered" by a guy who realised that just minute changes in his underlying system had massive impact on the behaviours he was modelling, which turned out to be the weather. Incidently, this is one of the more "fun" explanations of Ice Ages. It's not asteroids or dramatic climate change, rather just that a tiny change in our weather system "flips" the climate into an alternate Ice Age state. Nice.

My YTD, subject to much interest of late, has also had some interesting numbers beneath it. As the Faithful Reader will recall, I started my Bad Run by going through a ton of money at 5-10 PLO. About $30k to be exact. What the numbers never showed, and got lost under the avalanche of loss, was that I had started to stage a come back. I had won back about $8k of it, before Party flipped the PLO climate over by the introduction of the 10-20 game. Overnight there was no 5-10 to be had anywhere on the net. In fact on Party, there was barely any action above 1-2. I foolishly took a shot at the 10-20, lost 14k in less than 2 hours, and then spiralled into bad game selection and some painful bursts of tilt. Fate sucks.

There is another very pleasing number under today's YTD. I have stopped playing for July a day early, so I can bask in the advent of black text appearing in my profit for the month column. OK, that black text is effectively zero, but considering that at points I have been nearly $6k down this month it feels very, very good.

Here's hoping that my own personal Ice Age is about to change state too!


Anonymous said...

Your sticking to PLO reminds me of the lab rat experiment where the rat has to press a trigger to either get a food pellet or an electric shock. Rats keep trying, much more than if they only get food pellets. Random reinforcement is more addictive than positive reinforcement.

Hint : there is another game available, fed by a large pool of new players.

Hint2 : it's shown on TV

Alix, in arrogant Frenchman mode

Big Dave D said...


Its a fair point. Butfirst ask why I should change?

Reason 1 - I'm not a winning PLO player.

Reason 2 - For a break and change of pace.

Reason 3 - There are more profitable games to be played.

Well, in reverse order...

3. I'm not a pro. I can play the games that I like. I don't like the other games as much. This is further significant as it means I can play PLO much longer than say holdem, because like it.

2. I did try other games. In retrospect I wish I had just had a break instead. Changing game when you head is f*cked is not necessarily the right move.

1. This is the crux of the question. And the point I think you are making. I have been a winning poker player for 9 years. That's right, before ESPN, before WPT, before Internet poker. And for most of them I have been a good to a very good PLO player. I accept that I may have been outplayed a little at the very highest stakes, but we talked about that at the time and I was aware of the problem, which was mostly a mismatch of playing styles. But the point of my general winningness I never really doubted.



Peter B said...

"There is another very pleasing number under today's YTD. I have stopped playing for July a day early, so I can bask in the advent of black text appearing in my profit for the month column. "

Ah HAH! Caught you manufacturing a win! Glad that I am not the only person who does this when things are running bad. It doesn't matter how much Caro or Fox you read, the psychological boost you get by those black figures appearing and the graph getting back into an upward slope should not be underestimated.

I just played for an hour on a Prima site. Jeez, talk about "action flops". If I could get the hand history to work (which it won't, hence my reluctance to play there more than once in a blue moon), I could show you a sequence of hands that would take your breath away.

If you add in the fact that I suspect there was some collusion going on, unsurprisingly I was glad to leave after recovering from $150 down to $30 up. I'm sorry, but when I see three or more Scandinavians at a table these days, my "what's going on?" sniffometer is set to overload. This game was no exception. I got whipsawed on the river while holding a bare top pair (Kings) and Queen kicker. The timing went out, because Scandy player 1 showed Ace High (Ace Four on a board of K522J) and Scandy player 2 couldn't beat this, despite having called on the river. $160 to Pete, query from me about the Ace-Four, and departure of offending party shortly after.

Go figure.

Beset7 said...

Hey Dave,

Sounds like results are looking up a bit? Sticking to 2/4 and 3/6?

I respect your reasons to continue playing PLO. It's mostly just my "for fun" game now myself. I had to give in and start playing NLHE. I bet if you multi-tabled the 5/10 NLHE at part y for a few days you would get addicted (if you like money that is).

An important aside is that I didn't "give in" until I went pro and table selection concerns and consistent results took on a whole new dimension. Now I just play whever I think my edge is biggest and I can maintain the highest hourly rate period. Not much fun but the rent is paid.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Glad to see you are having somewhat of a comeback, and hopefully one that lasts. I will say though that the 10/20 plo games aren't really juicy very often (hopefully not just because you aren't there lol), and that I have more and more been just playing the game recommended by the arrogant frenchmen. Even though the higher nl games aren't that good either very often, they do have one very positive advantage, which is much lower variance, primarily due to mulitway pots being played to the river being rare. There does seem to be a resurgence in the past week of 5/10 on party though with the introduction there of 6-max. For now though I'll probably only play the 10/20 plo when they look very good and stick mostly to nl. I would play lower plo but they don't seem that good either. One last thing regarding plo, is that if you are going to play seat selection is extremely important even if it means getting back on a list by declining a bad spot. You know the types of players that I'm talking about that you don't want to be in bad position with. The kind that passively call with low percentage draws when you have top 2 or a set, but who also will bluff with position when any draw hits. Either don't build pots out of position with those players or only take a seat that gives you position on the most dangerous ones.

Anyway like I said, hope the comeback continues. Good luck and skill.


Big Dave D said...

Pete...i think manufacturing a win is a little harsh. I had played some seriously long sessions prior to hitting the black, and had also been quite poorly with man-cold. I never once hit n run in the entire come back. I just chose not to play the final day. And to be honest, I didnt feel that good about it either.



Big Dave D said...


Mostly 2-4 as the 3-6 has mostly popped out of existence. The trouble with NLHE is, as I understand it, mostly a nut fest at the serious levels. Basically waiting for the ESPN fish and snapping them off with monster hands. Unfortunately, I learnt my NLHE game from a very loose style of PLHE in tourneys, so I would be that fish too; there is no way I could play the waiting game.

Glad things are working out for you though.



Big Dave D said...


Good to see u back. Sorry my abscence has spoilt the 10-20 :)

IMHO, Party have made a grave error. Not only have they destroyed the higher level PLO action, but they have effectively killed all the games beneath it too. But I am sure the 50-100 and 100-200 in LHE will have the same effect.

For NLHE, see my Beset comments.

The advantage of playing 2-4 now is that there are very few players who can hurt me at that level. Also I think my natural style - quite passive preflop, very aggressive after - works much better in those limits. Sometimes I believe a lot of winning poker is just matching coins almost. As an experiment, I tried the classic 5-10/10-20 style at those limits and in a short spell it didn't work too great. Simply because you got too many callers preflop. That 35/15 style of the Dutch players, Darwin and Rafi only works well if there are only 2-3 players preflop, ideally headsup.



LA_Price said...

Hey Dave,

I think I know what you mean by playing the game you enjoy the most.I've spent a lot of time trying to learn all the games but I ones I play the most are 7 card stud and Pot-Limit Omaha.

Yes Hold'em is the big thing and I like to play it as well. But it's sort of disturbing to me that it's all some people know how to play.

There's a class of players I like to call the "Limit Hold'em lifers" that I see all the time. They're the ones that use the terms "poker" and "hold'em" interchangably. Some of us have to remain obstinate or before you know it they actually will be.

As an aside I think that party made an error with the bigger PLO games as well. I hadn't played online in awhile and couldn't find a game between 2/4-5/10.
Glad to see the YTD++

Good luck,

Anonymous said...

"And to be honest, I didnt feel that good about it either."

and so you should you big girl's blouse:) Those aint the seeds you want to be sowing.


FrankGuest said...

Big Dave,

Long-time reader, first time poster.

I've heard you reference the particlar style of Rafi and other 'great' higher limit PLO players. I unfortunately have not had the privilege to play as high PLO but am contemplating the level change (due to BR) -- anywhere (2+2/previous posts of yours) where this style is laid out in greater detail.

I saw the 35/15 reference and was curious of the meaning and other 'high-limit' PLO strategies. Thanks in advance...

Aksu said...

Are the NLHE games really kind of waiting games Dave described?

Any comments from Alix Beset and others who actually play these.


Anonymous said...


You have to have some starting hand discipline -- at least it makes your life easier -- but after the flop, or after the first raise preflop, it's a very rich and complex game. Read the Harrington books to get an idea.

But of course you can't play as many hands as in omaha. Besides, I think playing very loose is not a very good idea in plhe tourneys that have no antes, at least online.

While learning,
- don't multi-table (it's against the Tao of poker)
- don't buy in for the max (50BB is fine)
- if you hit a bad spell, and you realize you're playing badly, cash out half your remaining bank. Reduced limits and virtual bankroll pinch combine to ease reestablishing your balance. // at least it works for me.

But please feel free to keep out of my games and play omaha, for me I plugged a big leak when I stopped playing anything else than nlhe.


Anonymous said...

@frankguest: wrt the 35/15 reference. I think BDD mentioned it in another post that some players buy in short at the $2K table and play 35% of their hands with 15% pf-raises.

Big Dave D said...


You say no but your words are actually yes. If you played as in Dan H's book then you are certainly quite tight. ALso, I dont like the uncertainty in NLHE. In PLO I nearly always know when I have played well and when I have played bad. The same is not so clear in NLHE.



Big Dave D said...

Frankguest and Anon,

The classic winning style, in games 5-10 and up is a VIP of 35 ish and a PRF or 12-15 ish. THis is not to say that other styles don't exist, just that this one is very common.

Frank, it would take many posts to talk about how the high limit games play differently. And my record isnt exactly a proud one in that arena. What I would say about the best players is that they are prepared to raise more, and reraise more. And gamble when headsup. Of course when of the biggest differences, regardless of style, is how few people start to see the flop when its raised. In the 2-4 the other day I eventually got to make it 140 before the flop and got 4 callers. This happens a LOT less at 5-10 and above.


Dave D