Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Sundries

Clouseau: Does yer dewg bite?
Inn Keeper: No
Clouseau: Nice Doggy
[bends down to pet a small mutt on the lobby floor- it snarls and bites him]
Clouseau: I thought you said yer dewg did not bite!
Inn Keeper: Zat eez not my dog.

A few weeks back I started working informally with a blog reader whom henceforth I shall refer to as Le Monsieur. He and I have exchanged a dozen or so emails in the past year or so on various poker subjects, but the focus always seemed to come back to the topic of learning and teaching methods. Long-time readers of this blog know I'm a little obsessed with this particular topic, especially re: ways in which a newbie to the game can/should learn from the ground up using a linear framework like levels of thought, my poker pyramid, and the three primary edge categories. I've been coaching a few online students over the past year or so, refining and tweaking these methods, and have indeed had some very good success with the likes of e-Pal (who, by the way, continues to crush the mid-stakes cash games down under). Anyway, to make a long story short, Le Monsieur approached me a while back with an idea for a training app that would be based around my teaching framework. I won't go into a lot of details here, but he has some killer ideas on short/repetitive/fast quizzing methods with immediate feedback to the student. He also has created some intriguing mock-ups for the user interface, plus has contacts in the NorCal tech arena that can possibly help steer us forward. Bottom line is I think Le Monsieur's content delivery ideas and teaching methods, coupled with my poker framework and base curriculum, could potentially turn into a killer training tool. The trick now (as usual) is to budget enough time in my already full life to work on my end of this bargain.


And speaking of my end of the bargain... as part of this week's homework assignment on Le Monsieur's app project, I've been noodling around with starting hands. One of the things that I've stumbled upon  is the concept of "bunching". It's a small esoteric thing that poker nerds like me love to discover. Let me explain: For practical purposes, playing at a six-handed (6max) NL table can be treated the same as playing at a nine-handed (full ring) table in which the first three early position seats have folded. Said another way, starting hands at a 6max table should be identical to the last four seats + blinds at a full ring table. This is traditional wisdom and actually a pretty good way to transition from full ring to 6max... except it isn't quite accurate. By virtue of the fact that the first three seats have folded, we can deduce that the quality of their mucked hands were below what they needed to play in those positions. And because people tend to play big cards more than small ones, we therefore know a few things about the remaining cards in the deck. Said another way, we know that on average there are slightly more aces, kings, queens and jacks than usual in the last six seats at a nine-handed table in which the first three seats have folded, than there are at a 6max table. No, it's not a huge difference (in fact it's very small), but it is an actual difference. In a six max game, this means we can therefore raise a teeny-tiny-itty-bitty bit lighter than we can in a nine max game where the first three players have folded to us. Cool beans.


I watched snippets of Phil Ivey winning his 10th bracelet this week at the WSOP. This particular event netted him something like $170K for first place, but the rumors  around Vegas are that he made about ten times that amount on a series of prop bets associated with him (and Negreanu) going deep and winning a bracelet this year.


I'm really intrigued with the WSOP's new $1500 "Monster Stack" NL event. If I had time in my schedule this year I would have definitely played in this new event. Nearly 8000 runners entered this inaugural year, which makes it the second largest ever non-rebuy WSOP event in history. For $1.5K you get a massive T15,000 in tournament chips. Even better, the blind structure is very slow and gradual, more akin to a $10K event than a $1.5K. I'm already budgeting to play in it next year. Woot.


In a training video I watched on an airplane a few weeks ago, tournament poker coach and trainer John "Kasino Krime" Beauprez of PLO QuickPro fame stated that there are four skills a tournament player needs to be successful in today's games:
  1. Ability to play different effective stack sizes correctly, from 10bb up to 100bb.
  2. Ability to be very aggressive preflop, including 4-betting light.
  3. Ability to stay very observant of the other players, their stacks, their tendencies, and (especially) their states of mind throughout all stages of the tournament-- and exploit that information.
  4. Have the wherewithal to join an off-table network of like-minded skilled players willing to share and work together to get better. And then participate and work on your game actively.

---Non Poker Content Below---

I had a death in the immediate family last week-- my mom. It was the punctuation point on a long and protracted illness she battled for the past two years. We all knew this day would come, but it still was a painful shock when it did. Heartbreaking, draining, surreal... I'm feeling all manner of emotions this week. I was also in a foreign country on a business trip when I got the news, which meant the added complications and frustrations of trying to get home early on an international flight on an uncooperative airline on very short notice. When I finally did manage to arrive home, I was greeted with not only sadness and grief in the family, but a ton of challenging things to help take care of. Various affairs of state, taxes, money issues, probate, death certificates, funeral service arrangements, siblings with differing ideas on how things should be handled, my devastated father, etc.. This has definitely been a very hard week for everyone. It was also a sobering reminder that life is far too short. My biggest takeaway thus far in this process is: make the most of your limited years on this spinning globe, and make the time now for those things you keep putting off for "someday" in the future. My mom did this right; she lead a full and fulfilling life; she literally told me a few weeks before she passed that she had no regrets in how she lived her life and would have done it all over the same way if given the opportunity. Can you say the same about your own life?

All-in for now...


  1. Sorry to hear about your mom. Even if you were expecting it, it is still hard, I'm sure.

  2. Sorry to hear the sad news. My condolences.