Friday, September 01, 2006

Glenn: UP; Felicia: Down!

I'm still running horribly. Glenn tried to critique my play, thinking maybe I had begun to play bad, in response to the run. He was being constructive and we do that pretty well together. I always appreciate constructive criticism. While I have found and plugged a few more leaks during this run, poor Glenn was just flabbergasted while watching me play. He couldn't believe the cards coming off the deck during hands I'd played well up until the turn or river.

I always say that if any card is still live, that card can and will eventually come up to kill a made hand. It doesn't shock me as much as it shocks more volatile players. Maybe because I started poker playing Stud? Maybe because my Mom has dealt off and on for the past 15 years? I'm not sure, but since I'm typically a cautious, skeptical person, I don't seem to explode at one-outers like some players do.

In one hand I had pocket queens. A MP player raised the pot. I re-raised with the queens. An ace was on the flop, but he checked to me. I bet, he reluctantly called. The river was a ten. He check-raised me. I folded (putting him on maybe a weak ace) and he flashed me tens. 22:1, lol ;)

Somehow 22:1 doesn't seem like such a longshot when I think of my other crushing blows this week, although none of them are the type of blows that Glenn experienced when an opponent caught 989:1 against him.

As my star fades, however, Glenn's is rising. A player at Riverside who worked in the series this year as a floorman stated that Glenn is probably the best player he has seen on the river. Quite a compliment when you consider that this is where Cyndy Violette started out. Of course, he probably wasn't around in those days, but a compliment is a compliment.

I have always been Glenn's greatest cheerleader. He doesn't have many of those. His Mom is the type who always has to tell Glenn his shortcomings. If Glenn says he has a new job, she will demand to know how much he is making, and then rag on him, "Your brother has a new job, too, and is making xx more than YOU!"

Never mind that his brother is a loser who has been fired from every job he's ever had.

Anyway, Glenn has never had a lack of cheering from me. From the minute I saw him play poker the first time, I declared that he would someday be much better than I ever hoped to be, and would go as high as he wanted. He had to get his emotions under control, but everything else was a gimme.

Glenn, being the slow, cautious type, has chosen to rise slowly, instead of take the speedy, "Look ma, I won a one million dollar tournament only six months after I learned to play" route. It doesn't mean he's not a star, it just means he has chosen to learn the games thoroughly and completely before competing at that level.

He also doesn't have the drive or ambition to be on your TV screen every week. He could take it or leave it. Unlike me, he doesn't hate and loathe TV, but he doesn't exactly crave it, either.

Today I think I'll leave you with a response he gave to a reader on his site. Wow. Glenn is the next strategist? The new Dan? Let's see where this takes us. We have nowhere to go but up, up, up.

"If you had to pick one reason why you're running well in tourneys, what would it be?

I think I found my leak, but would love to know a reason why a successful player is doing well (besides the "I won my coin flips" line)"


"I'd say, adapting to the structure, playing the players and playing your relative stack size.

The tournament that I play at the Riverside is a little odd. The first hour, we play 3, 20-minute levels. There is one add-on to be taken only at the start, and there is one rebuy that you can take anytime within the first hour. I will always take the add-on, and wait for the rebuy until I need it. If I get really low in chips, I'll take it before the end of the hour. There are people that I see that will let themselves get so short and refuse to take the rebuy, that once they _do_ get a hand, they have no chips. They can double through and still have no chips. So, this is part of adapting to the particular structure.

Another part is, after the first hour, the staff wishes to hurry up the players and get to the final table. Hence, the levels change to 15-minute levels. The blinds come faster and you have to make more moves to stay ahead. I had to call AI from the BB w/ 44 once during this level to stay alive. (UTG was AI w/ AKs, but my pair held.) I looked at my chips and realized that if I did NOT go for it with my pair, that should I get a hand, I would NOT pressure anyone to fold pre-flop. For example, if I'm on the button on a steal, I may not _want_ a call. But if I have no chips, I'm at the mercy of the cards; ie: possible drawout if it's too cheap for the blind to call ATC. I don't want that to happen.

Then, once we get to the final table, it switches to 30-minute levels. I know, this is a little wacko, but you can finally play some real poker if you have chips. Like many other tournaments, however, the blinds do mostly double, so there is still lots of pressure. Plus, as you get short-handed, you have to play a little looser, as the blinds get to you faster.

So, besides the quirky-ness of our little local tourney, I'd say that you just have to make sure that you don't blind yourself out. If you get short, just remember the saying: "You have to be willing to die in order to live." Once you get to an 'M' of 5 of less (see the Harrington books), any Ace, any pair is an AI hand.

A mistake that I _do_ see people do at this point, is going AI with a marginal hand _after_ someone else already has raised. If you're short, but someone raised in front of you and you have A3o, fold, monkey! it's most likely no good. If you're in the blind with it and you're just about out of chip (say < 3 BBs), I'd say, in that case, yeah, call. Just don't OVERCALL with this type of hand. Or worse, limp in with a small pp when you're on short chips. Either shove of fold.

Speaking of the Harrington books, they are definitely suggested reading for anyone serious about tournaments!

Good luck and God bless :)