Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Well, it's been a long time again. Also, in true lazy blogger style I will spend the vast bulk of this post talking about the *last* post. However, for the Faithful Reader there is a semi-useful tip at the end.

I didn't reply to the any blogs I would recommend comment. I was once asked this self same question at the table by one of my fans. Yes, I did used to have fans who would invariably declaim that they had learned more from my blog about PLO than anywhere else, just before blink-blink-swoosh they scooped me out of a pot. I replied without hesitation that the best stuff available on the Net was Roy Cooke's stuff. Anything else, he inquired? Silence.

To my mind 99.99% of blogs fall into one of two camps. The first is the Internal Monologue. This takes the form of I played; I lost; I won; here’s the hand. You get the picture. Just as if you had really looked into the mental processes of a poker player, chilling thought though that may be, this can be a fun place to visit but ultimately unrewarding. WTFP. The other kind I term A Day in the Life Of. In these the poker is often a sideline alongside a lot of other Socio-Economic-Political-Military-Complex stuff. I respect that this is what blogging is all about, but personally if I want that kind of stuff I buy a newspaper, figuratively speaking.

On the contentious point of ZeeJustin et al – and at least he’s had the decency to go into quiet mode now – I fall into both camps really. I have from my B&M days zero-tolerance for cheaters. OK, well approximating to zero. If they were very bad players too, then I was happy to deal them in. But the nature of online cheating is more insidious. Although it has been argued that Zee didn’t gain too much of an edge from what he did, by my approximate, rough-and-ready maths, if he was playing 5 accounts at once he was 5 times more likely to win. Although this does not seem to work out to be a big edge like say skilled collusion in a cash game, he is still 5x better off than me. This cannot be insignificant.

However, I have a lot of sympathy with Chaos. I have no doubt that Party was completely arbitrary in how and why it seized the money. Although $100k seems harsh-but-fair, what about if he had $500k in his account. And more tellingly, if he had $20k in his account would they have prosecuted him for the additional $80k? Anyone with any experience of Party can unfortunately answer these questions themselves. Disturbingly, “The Player’s Friend” PokerStars came out of the whole affair very poorly. It seems that in any large stacks NL game I sat in, I might be playing an unofficial team of soft players. The whole notion that online poker is helpless to this is as ridiculous as the idea that it is mostly harmless. There would be a variety of very simple detections and remedies that Stars could put into place, but it’s clear that they simply cannot be bothered. I had some experience of the Stars collusion detection in action – I got some tiny rebate from some collusion play they detected. The whole process was shrouded in the absurd and the ineffective. The amount was so tiny it could have only been one or two blinds; they wouldn’t say what game was involved, or players, or even when. I don’t see myself playing on Stars for some time.

Now the tip. One of the problems with short-handed NL is that no one wants to do the heavy lifting of thinking through things themselves. This is what often makes 2+2 forums and the like self-fulfilling prophecies in terms of advice. Here’s one based on an old favourite. Its often said to isolate with a vengeance against loose players short handed. This is mostly true. Except some of these folk are what I call “Fight Every Fight” guys. What this means is that they do not want to give up on any pot and they will often bet, raise, check-raise on very thin values. Especially in raised pots. So if you isolate raise them, especially in fixed buyin games, you often find them in much more rambunctious mood and harder to play than if you hadn’t. So don’t raise them. Let’sjust play poker through the streets instead.