Sunday, September 05, 2004

Bad Beats or Bad Play???

***I will be out of town for most of September. My postings may be sporadic due to so many good Stud tournaments this month***


Thursday, September 2, 2004

I have recently joined the WPPA and am volunteering in the hopes that tournaments will be taken out of the hands of individual casinos and put back into the hands of the players, where they belong. Casinos feel it is their right to take 20, 25, 50% juice out of the prize pool from the players, while giving nothing back. The dealers in these tournaments are vastly inferior to cardroom dealers, are poorly trained and yet are abused and harrassed by other staff members and grumpy players. The WPPA promises to stop dealer abuse, as well as busting cheating teams, instead of allowing them to play (and cheat) time and again.

Casinos have virtually stopped players' benefits, like cheaper room rates, free players buffets and pre-tourney get togethers, while at the same time, continually increasing the juice. Casinos take advantage of the exposure that television gives them, while continuing to take money from the prize pools. This has got to stop. They have been taking and taking, yet giving nothing back, just taking even more. To top it off, some casinos are known to steal from the prize pools, taking even more from already exploited players.

As an added incentive to promote the WPPA, freerolls will be conducted in cardrooms all over the world. For zero buy-in, zero entry-fee, players everywhere will be able to compete in a satellite for one of the WPPA events. The WPPA wants to be about the "common man," not the big poker superstars. I will alert you as soon as the first freeroll is planned.


When Glenn and I were in Vegas last Friday night, I went over to check out the Nugget and the Plaza. I just wanted to see how business was faring, and what was new.

Nugget was finishing up their Friday night tourney. There were about seven players left, one woman. The room was pretty dead, which is too bad, but since they are moving it to an area where it will never thrive anyway, maybe it's meant to be. They had NO high limit games going on.The Plaza was running satellites for their ongoing tournament. I think this would be a good bet for a Vegas local, but for someone who cannot play every tourney, taking that large of a chunk out of the prize pool is simply a horrible bet. There is no way to win.

The Plaza had two Pan games going on, but I haven't played Pan in a long, long time, and have forgotten some of the basics. I thought they would have a print-out for me, just something simple so that I wouldn't get into too much trouble (you get penalized in Pan for making mistakes, and I'm not talking about losing the hand, I'm talking about money penalties), but due to the Hold'em explosion, they are doing nothing to promote Pan or keep up on it, in order to encourage new players. This is really too bad, but whatever, I'm not going to cry about it, next time I'll just bring my own cheat sheet along.

I saw Ed Miller at Bellagio. I haven't really seen him since last November, when we played together. I congratulated him on the book, which I've heard is a runaway hit. I told him I wished I had some passion for Hold'em. I wish I had that spark, that drive that would propell me into WCP status. I simply don't have it. I pick up HEFAP and get through about two pages before my mind starts to wander and I drift away. Granted, I have read this book at least a half dozen times already, but I know I need to continually brush-up, and instead, I just get bored and turn to something else. Now with Stud, the exact opposite is true. I have all of the Stud books, the good ones I read over and over again, and not just to brush up, I end up reading them cover-to-cover time and time again. I can't stop myself, I just get so excited and caught up. I picture scenarios in my head that involve Stud play (when I say Stud, I am always speaking of any form of stud: Stud, Stud 8, Razz). I see myself playing in tournaments, making the final table, playing with the world's best, and holding my own. I see myself becoming better and better. I picture myself as a WCP in Stud, even if nothing else. I have the passion, the drive to become the best.

I remember when Andy Glazer asked me about my poker dreams, and I told him this. I have the absolute perfect personality to become one of the best Stud players in the world. Mostly tournaments, naturally, since I have a passion for tourneys as well. Now, if I could become the best, yet no one would know my name...that would be nirvana, lol.

Anyway, I just don't have that passion for Hold'em. Not LHE, not NLHE. Not cash games, not tourneys. It is just another game. Sure, I like it better than Omaha 8, but it cannot even touch the way I feel about Stud.

I know I should be, could be, capitalizing on the HE boom. I could make a fortune in cash games, if I did a little bit of work and applied myself. I could do well in tournaments. I just don't care enough to even try. That is sad. The biggest boom we've known so far in poker history, and I don't even love the game enough to take advantage of it.

Surprisingly, Ed understood this. I guess Ed has layers. Who would believe that a man could actually have layers! Onions have layers, men don't have layers, lol. ***this is a joke***

I have been playing a lot of NLHE tourneys lately. I see my shortcomings clearly, and have tried to nip them in the bud. In this, I am partially successful, but still have a long way to go.

I am way too tight, not making the most of opportunites when they arise. My timing isn't always 100%.

I let myself get blinded down too often, and then have to rely on the mercy of the cards to keep me alive. Naturally this leads to lots of eliminations for me, when the situation could have been avoided. Someone said to me, "JHC, you take more bad beats than anyone I know!" Well, the truth of the matter is, I let myself get into those situations, needlessly, and then I'm at the mercy of the cards, I am subject to "luck" (someone else's luck, lol). This is not their fault, it is MINE. I take complete responsibility for getting myself into that situation in the first place.

Here are some examples of tourneys I've played in the last week, to help illustrate my point:

1) The blinds are 4000/8000. The average stack is only about 30k, so the structure is horrible, yes, but it is such a soft tourney that I can't pass it up. I am short with about 15k left. I post the BB of 8k. The SB is dead. It is passed to a very passive player on the button who limps in with 88 (let's not discuss just how badly this guy played, lol). The flop comes down all spades, I have no spade, but second pair is a nine, which pairs my T9o. No better time than the present, I go all-in with my last 7k. This is not even a full bet, so the button has no problem calling me with his eights, because one of them is a spade, which he hits on the river. IGHN, in 11th place.

2) Blinds are 400/800. I have 2300 left. I have not played a hand the entire tourney, over 1.5 hours. I've not had a pair nor a good ace. I have won two hands in the blinds, by other's passive play, but have not voluntarily entered a pot. We reach the final table, but I am shortest in chips. A player two to my right raises to 2500 on a steal. I cannot even raise him with my AKo. He flips over KTo and gets the gutshot on the river, IGHN.

3) In the first hour of a rebuy tournament I have only won two pots. One was before the flop, one was on the flop. Both times I am certain that I held the best hand. I still have less than average chips due to loose play and multiple rebuys by others. On the last hand before the rebuys end, the blinds are 100/200. I am in the SB. I have about 1k left. The button raises to 600 as a steal with ATo. I re-raise him all-in with AKo. It is no problem for him to call the additional 400. He gets his ten on the river. REBUY!!!

4) The blinds are 1000/2000. I am down to only 1500. In LP, I go all-in with 88. The BB gets 500 back. She has 95o. A nine hits the river and IGHN.

5) The blinds are 500/1000. I am on the button with KQs. I am a short stack with only about 1500 left. I go all-in. Both blinds call with nothing. The BB has T9o and hits a nine on the turn. IGHN.

So here I am trying to illustrate that I have a big, BIG hole in my NLHE tourney play. I don't need to let myself get blinded down so much that I can't protect my hand. I am really good at monitoring that when the number of chips is pretty good versus the blinds, but when it starts accelerating faster than I could possibly get any decent hands, I wimp out, I become too tight. I stop taking chances that I would normally take. I try to be calm and rational in a situation that is anything but rational. I need to make way, WAY more moves, and much sooner. I know the structure, I see where it is leading, but somehow I still convince myself that I cannot play certain hands that I should be playing. Bad, bad, bad.

Um, I hate Hold'em.

Just kidding! I may not have passion for HE, but I certainly don't hate it. It is my favorite form of poker after any Stud game.

So I've gotten off on the wrong track. I can right that course easily. I will go back to taking notes during play. I will be more diligent about my chances of success if I let myself get blinded down to 10x the BB or less. Wake up, wake up. It's time to get real, Felicia.