Saturday, July 22, 2006

Take them Dives for the Short-end Money

The WSOP is shit again. Now not shit in the Harrahs are running it like they are prime contenders in the half-wit Olympics sense. Although, if other reports are even partly true, then they are a shoo in for that particular Championship. Nor do I mean the death of any kind of impartial, non-tourney sycophantic reporting. That died probably a couple of years back. What has really struck me is how bad it has been for those folks who want Poker to be a sport.

Obviously, Harrahs and the Media Circus clearly view poker as just another reality TV show. Because they wouldn’t treat genuine sports stars in such a shoddy way. But unfortunately the results of some of the play seem to be confirming their suspicions. The big names are not dominating. This is bad for poker-as-a-sport. What brings the money into a sport, especially in the USA, is either dominance of, or conflict between, sporting characters. And by characters I mean Tiger Woods not Mike the Mouth. This was always going to be hard for Poker, but crap shoot structures are always going to hurt this. In the WPT, for example, the antes accelerate as you get closer to the big money.

If some of the play is to be believed of the Cardplayer hand by hand, some of the winners have chumped their way to victory. Some of the recent John Gale victory hands were especially dubious. And saddo I am, I tracked Jules Gardner’s 3rd place quite closely and the ultimate winner seems to have played quite poorly. Certainly his move of calling off all his chips with KQs before the flop was very suspect – yes I actually number crunched this one, thanks Andy W.

The ultimate problem is that this becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more like Big Brother or Date My Daughter it becomes, the more it will be treated like cheap, ratings eating TV. But the public may have an unlimited appetite for sport, but far from it for another reality TV show.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Well, that was interesting. For those of you that thought I was starting a burgeoning porn empire over the last few days, I'm afraid not. I was hijacked, which was a disconcerting experience as at first, not knowing about this kind of thing at all, I thought my PC had been hacked and I went into full-on anti-virus/spyware frenzy. Several pointless hours later it dawned on me that any hackers would most likely be emptying my bank accounts, not auto-posting pornography links. Anyway, after a spot of reminding, Blogspot got it back.

On a poker front, as June was quite bad, I thought I would have a spin at a few tourneys, to magic myself into profit. No joy. However I did finally figure out what I am doing wrong. Now those that knew of me back in the old, B&M days knew me as a good tournament player. In fact an occassional reader here said he that I was very, very good indeed - I think it was just mindless flattery but it was nice :) He was also aghast at my playing cash. Which showed just how much a "star" I was in those days. Anyway, masturbatory digression aside, I think my problem is that I still play these tourneys like these good ol' days. Some examples.

I'm chipleader on a full table when a tight player just UTG raises, putting in just about 30% of his stack. With 77 on the button I decide to put him to the test and put him allin. He calls with AQ and he wins the race. Standard? Internet-wise, yes. Old school no. If he was facing a real world drive back him into the middle of the night we would say something like this to himself. It is almost 100% certain that I am at best a 50/50. And quite a few times I will be badly dominated. And its a long drive. Pass. On the Net, he thinks a bit more like, fuckit, another tourney in 5 mins, call.

Similarly, with only 10 or so big blinds I face two limpers on the button. Finding KQs I move allin, expecting to increase my stack by 30%. The real worry, the first limper, passes. After some thought, the second limper calls for a big chunk of his stack with 99. Obvious result. Again, classic Internet woolly thinking. His hand wasn't good enough to raise, but is good enough to call a massive chunk of his stack with no extra factors like hitting the bubble or the like.

Well its only been two years now since I stopped playing live. I'm a slow learner.