Monday, February 27, 2006


I was going to write something meaningful and profound, but I couldn’t be bothered. I don’t seem to be the only one with a problem with posting. Most of my favourite blogs have gone very much into silent mode.

Never mind. Favourite was a hell of an exaggeration anyway.

You can tell the poker scene is really exploding in the UK. There are now two broadly available poker mags now on the High Street. Well I say two, but I can’t seem to find Poker Player for love nor money. The new kid on the block is WPT Magazine, or something like that. Now normally I treat the printed word like a Franciscan monk; but UK poker magazines invariable find their way into the bin within a couple of hours.

Now I understand that they are aimed at the lowest common denominator but often they contain advice that is simply, utterly wrong. In one issue of Poker Player, the amusingly nicknamed "The Boy" explained that having a staking plan was a key component in successful cash game plan. That is, sit down with a small amount of money and when you have made a fixed amount of profit, immediately leave. With some additional permutations I can't bring myself to repeat. Now even if this "expert" is just filling word count, this madness should not get past any sane editorial process. Oops.

WPT Magazine, or whatever the damn thing is called, is certainly glossier, and doesn’t have all the usual UK pseudo-player-parasites involved. But it is still outstandingly bad. How about this situation. Three handed in a 5-3-2 payout SNG everyone has roughly the same chips (it is a bit vague here). Either one or maybe both of your opponents go allin. The advice is to pass your AA. At least this will keep the tables healthy.

I couldn't leave you without a comment on 2+2. As pointed out by Beset, there has been some excellent Sklansky-kicking on the HSNL forum. Also fascinating was watching ZeeJustin trying to defend open softplaying as being ethically right as "PokerStars don’t really mind". He then further exemplifies his *ethics* by admitting to playing multiple seats in MTT, which has cost him his ability to play on Party and $100K.

An example worthy of Socrates himself.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Four Ps

I have surprisingly found myself still enjoying playing short handed NL. Winning helps of course. As I have commented before, when you play NL you really do feel that the "decision", with all its many variables, is king. In PLO, by comparison, it’s often just playing the maths of the situation. This is down to a very simple factor. In most big hands in NL, you are either really right or really wrong. In PLO, by contrast, big pots are often contested with hands that are very close in value and you are normally either side of a 60/40 shot.

One lesson I would like to think I would bring from my NL game to PLO is the importance of position. When you play NL, especially short-handed, the importance of position is magnified. You can feel how much harder it is to play any hand, especially in a raised pot, when you are first to act. PLO players, unfortunately, treat position almost as an irrelevance, and basically play the same hands wherever they are sat. And this gambling hurts. Here's an example:

You're sat in a six handed NL game with a mix of strong and weak players. You limp UTG with A6 suited (which I would never do, btw) and a good player raises behind you 4 times the blinds and everyone passes back to you. You both have 100x blind stacks. This is a clear pass.

Now look at a comparable situation in PLO.

You limp UTG with a nut suited ragged hand and again the same happens. But being a PLO player you call. The flop comes giving you a nut flush draw and a small pair. You check, the good player continuation bets, as he often does headsup, and you check raise.

He sets you allin.


This is a hugely common set of circumstances that you will see at PLO tables from 2-4 and up. Players, often good players, contriving to get themselves into situations where they are putting their whole stack in jeopardy with marginal hands, just because they think position does not apply to them.