Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Change of Pace

For a change I thought I might talk about actual poker playing, as opposed to the usual GOM rants and ravings. August has been an interesting month. I started late, owing to my hols and got off to a reasonable start. Then, just a week or so ago, I was kicking around Stars looking at the WCOOP schedule, when I saw a new tab. “Other Games”. One click later I was looking at HORSE cash games. I guess the ESPN WSOP stuff was good for something after all. We all want to be Chip Reese now. Pretty soon I was on a 100BB rush in the 10-20 game and I started seeing a new, brighter future as a HORSE specialist. Now this fantasy didn’t quite run into busting down the Big Game in a couple of years, but I hate to admit that I actually was enjoying poker again. Not just enjoying the winning, but the actual game itself. And I could play it seemingly for hours at an end. In one day I did 10 hours, 7.5 in one session. And this was playing multiple tables as well. To put this into perspective, I probably haven’t done a big bet session over 4 hours in two years. It almost felt therapeutic.

Perhaps too much so, as I quickly hit a 170BB downswing and I had to stop visualising the delivery of the Porsche from the Stars VIP scheme. It struck me that I probably wasn’t that good after all. On a closer look, the problem seemed to be, paradoxically, in the HO’ element of HORSE (this is putting aside a pretty bad run of luck in Razz, which is truly a game to create the manically depressed.) The HORSE games are 8 handed but then often ran short. More than this, the H and the O were nearly *always* short, as people sat out to avoid paying the blinds. Now Faithful Readers will know of my issues with short handed Omaha. But I also kinda feel the same about short handed limit holdem too. Whereas I have a vague clue how to play 4 or 5 handed limit holdem – as opposed to the Omaha equivalent – I just don’t like it. Too much play “feels” like being a fish. In fact the levels of aggression are so pumped up and calling to the river very thin is so common it was hard to tell chump from champ. Time and again I would button raise, continuation bet against the BB caller and he would take a card off with just one overcard and no other draw. Whether this is right or not, I don’t really know. It may very well be the right play. I just don’t like playing poker like that.

In the end I think it comes down to the blinds. When the game becomes a fundamental scramble for that blind money, I’m just not as effective. It turns me into an alternating tight passive – insane aggro fish. Back to NL.

FWIW, my second article is up on the Cardplayer site here – probably a bit more similar in tone to the stuff here. And with a pretty picture too.


Div said...

Not as pretty as the picture on the front cover Dave!

What do you reckon is the best way to get round the sitting out issue in HORSE? Not really playing fair is it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Unless I'm misreading your fine article oughtn't this line read differently:

"In fact, upon reflection, it is reasonable to assume that there is no real hand the foe will call with here that’s ahead of our hero."

He won't call with a hand that's behind I'd guess?


Big Dave D said...


To be honest I hadn't even realised it may have been deliberate until Pete B mentioned it on his blog. I was *very* meditative I guess :) I'm not sure there is a sensible way that a site can invigilate against it. Which probably means the games will burn out with the Stud players getting all the money :(



Big Dave D said...


Mea culpa. I wish I could say it was an editorial mistake, but it was me.



Anonymous said...

Oh righty, just glad it wasn't me...

I meant the 'fine article' bit, was just checking since I'm dyslexic and may have got the sense of it backwards.


Div said...

I was thinking they could at least be forced to post all the missed blinds in the first Razz hand, but that's still beefing up the pot in a Stud variant.

Another possible option would be to limit sitting out time in a similar manner to the time bank for thinking time, but I don't think there's a perfect solution.

Which is a shame, cos HORSE is good fun.

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I haven't tried HORSE yet. Do you know of any online sites that offer HORSE cash games at low (micro) limits?

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