Doubling up and Dylanesque Poker

“No, maybe I can’t win. Maybe the only thing I can do is take everything he’s got. But to beat me, he’s gonna have to kill me. And to kill me, he’s gonna have to have the heart to stand in front of me. And to do that, he’s gotta be willing to die himself. I don’t know if he’s ready to do that… I don’t know.”
–Rocky, Rocky IV
Before we get into poker stuff, check out my About Me page which I finally got up. Hopefully I won’t run you off and you’ll come back when you’re done.
It’s Showtime!
Pauly‘s training regimen made me realize that I had a lot of catching up to do for The Grublog Poker Classic, so I’m still catching my breath from a 2 mile jaunt. I hadn’t run for about a month, and my pre-training meal of taco bell may end up all over the keyboard before this post is over. Everytime my feet hit the pavement, I repeated my mantra: “HAMMER!”
I think I’m ready to go. My only advantage is that most of the poker bloggers are playing on the East Coast… since the tourney starts at 6 PM Pacific Time, I may be one of the more sober players in the tourney. To add to the insanity, I’ve added a little bonus to the pot: the first person who shows down 88 as a winner gets $50. Oh yeah, there is one more condition: after showing it down, you must type “DOUBLE OCHO GETS PAID!” to collect. Since there will be at least 2 tables, I’ll have to rely on the word of my fellow bloggers if this happens on a table I’m not on.
I tried to sharpen up my game this morning by playing a $30 NL Sit-N-Go on Party, and played pretty well to put myself in second chip position (2300) with 3 other players left (chip leader had 3000). The other two players both had 1500 chips, so it was pretty even. Play tightened up considerably, the usual “I’ll take 3rd” strategy when the table gets short-handed. Of course, I wasn’t havin any of that, and I thought stealing from the button with J9h was a good idea… but the BB called, and I ended up losing 800 chips after folding when an Ace hit on the turn and the BB bet out. I dropped my remaining 1200 chips in the next two hands when I got a free play in the BB and my flush draw missed, and then my all-in QJ did not improve when the BB called me with ATo.
I played pretty badly– 3 mistakes is 3 too many in a SNG, and if not for a couple horrible plays by other players, I would have been out much earlier. I think playing the ring games has made me a little overaggressive… in the SNGs people get pretty desperate even with a medium stack, so if you play tight you’ll eventually catch one of these guys when you’ve got a big hand.
Doubling up
After reading about David Ross’ astonishing results playing multiple tables, I’ve abandoned the single table games and decided to play at least 2 tables simultaneously. Although I feel like this creates a lot of bad habits, it’s a lot more fun, and probably a lot more profitable.
I started the afternoon out with 2 $3-6 tables and quickly dropped $55 in half an hour, although I didn’t play badly. The cards just weren’t coming– both tables were pretty loose, so when the flop didn’t hit me hard with 6 limpers in, I’d fold. If you don’t hit a big hand in these games, your stack will slowly erode. It was looking like the winning streak of 10 straight sessions was over, with a $30 tourney loss, added to $55 on the $3-6 tables.
But the day was young, and I made a run for the border and refueled the brain and body with a nutritious feast at Taco Bell. I really wish there was a Wendy’s around here, but unfortunately they are underrepresented in SoCal. I still don’t understand why these Los Angelenos love those crappy In-and-out burgers and Krispy Creme donuts. People wait in line for HOURS for that crap. Give me a square burger from Wendy’s and I’m all set.
So back to the Party, where I hopped on 2 $5-10 tables. I’d never tried playing 2 of these simultaneously, and it was a bit of a challenge to keep up, especially since the players are super-aggressive and tricky at this level. I’m still blown away by someone who can play 4 tables. My shorthanded game definitely needs work, but after reading Abdul’s short-handed advice, I was ready to play. Abdul rules.
I won’t bore you with the details, but after 2 hours and 321 hands, I ended up $142 to the good. However, I held a lot of cards, and made my fair share of bad plays. I saw an unbelievable 43% of the flops, which tells you what kind of cards I was getting. I loosen up a little bit for the shorthanded games, but not that much… Biggest losers: suited Aces, and Ace-rag. I got killed with AKs also, getting outdrawn twice when the broadway straight arrived at the river. But I am clearly overplaying suited Aces and Ace-rag, as these are tough to play post-flop in a shorthanded game. Often I will raise my Ace high preflop, and bet my naked Ace until I’m raised. If this happens on the turn, it ends up costing a few bets.
I have to say that these games were a ton of fun. There is so much bluffing going on, and reading a player correctly can result in a great call or steal that puts 4 or 5 Big Bets in your pocket. And these plays come up all the time. The swings are huge, and the rivers cruel in these games, but they are a blast.
So I ended up booking a small win of $55 after a rough morning. Oh yeah, one of the best shorthanded players I faced today was named “HAMMERROCKS” and even shouted HAMMERTIME! after he punished my AK with his straight. I had a sneaking suspicion that the mighty Grubby had taken on a new screenname…
The Greatest RGP Post Ever?
The best source of poker news was kind enough to dig up the RGP debate between Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu chastised Seidel for hiding his hole cards, saying it’s bad for the game. Seidel shot back at Daniel, calling him a sellout to the WPT. While Negreanu is a flashy young kid who plays to the cameras, Seidel’s been a high-stakes winner for decades. Tall, lanky, and super-smart, Seidel embodies the “pure” poker player, one who doesn’t need sponsorship money to get rich.

In the middle of this debate, Jesse May, the author of “Shut up and Deal,” piped in with what could be my favorite RGP post I’ve read. There’s no strategy or EV charts, but May’s Dylanesque description of the high-stakes poker world is brilliant. Like a lot of Dylan songs, upon first hearing it, I cringed at the author’s attempts to create a shroud of mystery. But it stuck with me, and after rereading it a few times, I’ve begun to appreciate May’s genius.
The more I work, the more I see how the true workers are getting screwed by Management, the rich Corporate Execs who suck the blood of the people who do the real work. So May’s lines resonated deep:
“The men of respect have mostly been rangers. They grew up with
talent, they were burdened with honor, and they banded alone and faded
getting fucked. There have been freight trains of others, cattle cars
in and rib roast going out, and the few mangy cows that avoided the
slaughter bled from the jugular and squealed like pigs before the
devil came down and offered the deal.”

Along the same lines, May gives his respect to the true players:
“There’s poker players out there, stars of the game, men of respect who
hold their tongue and go about their business, because they’ve doing
it since boo… What you think? You think they don’t deserve what’s fair? You think you can tell a man who’s survived the war that the gun is not loaded?”

Ok, one more. May points out that poker on TV is not for the true poker player. No one wants to see someone fold all the time. They want Gus Hansen running a stone cold bluff. Tight players may win the tourneys, and be the favorite of the true players… but looks and wreckless bluffing will win the heart of the rest of the poker audience:
“Where’s all the money that sponsors pay to have their brands associated with the most exciting guy to ever fling two cards and his stack in the pot? You think people want to watch some schmuck who will crumble at the sight
of a raise? Everybody wants to watch the golden hearted lions, watch them flock in the jungle.”

Whew. Great stuff. I’m gonna have to go buy his book. Check out an excerpt from “Shut Up and Deal”, the book that put Jesse May on the poker map.
Good luck to everyone tomorrow in the tourney. I’m looking forward to talking trash to everyone.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply