February 18, 2010

Televised Poker...

I just spent a bit of my evening watching some televised poker (I quit watching the Liverpool game at half time. Perhaps I'm not the die-hard fan I thought. It was just depressing...). I watched the first episode of the new series of High Stakes Poker, and also the first episode of the WSOP-E 2009 coverage (well, the first episode of the coverage that wasn't the lets-make-a-meaningless-tournament-for-the-sake-of-TV Caeser's Cup).

High Stakes Poker realllllllly missed AJ Benza. There was a bit of an outcry when it was reported he had been dropped a few months back, a petition on the 2+2 Forums was even started. At the time, I didn't think it would matter that much, perhaps because AJ lacked a little in the poker-knowledge department. However, having watched the first episode, it is abundantly clear how much the show misses him. The banter he had with Gabe Kaplan was always entertaining, and he added an extra element to the show, as well as perhaps bringing out the best in Gabe.

I watch a lot of wrestling (yes, make fun...) and you don't realise how important the commentary is until you hear it done badly. Wrestling would be so much less watch-able with one commentator, and when the commentary team is especially good, it makes the program so much more enjoyable than when they are bad. If you happen to watch WWE, you will know that certain partnerships just work, and the best commentary teams of recent times; Michael Cole/JBL, Jim Ross/Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham/Matt Striker make it clear that the current Raw commentary team of Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler is killing the show.

Perhaps I'm going off on a tangent, but I don't see why the had to get rid of AJ. Okay, they've brought in poker hottie Kara Scott, but her role in the show is unrelated, and they could quite happily have just added her to the proven team of Gabe & AJ. Classic phrase of if it isn't broke, don't fix it definitely applies here, and having searched out the link for the purposes of this blog entry, I took the time to post on the 2+2 petition. I'm sure it will have little affect, but here's hoping the producers do a U-Turn for season 7.

The first episode of High Stakes poker was only notable for the complete blow-up of "The Poker Brat" Phil Hellmuth. He featured in both the poker programs I watched tonight, and he literally mis-played every single hand he played in both programs. I realise I have achieved 0.0% of what Hellmuth has in poker, so perhaps I shouldn't comment, but on the basis of the hands I saw tonight, he has become something of a donkey.

It seems he is really prone to steaming, and he basically got felted in HSP because he felt he was being bullied early. This led him to make a ridiculous 4-bet with AJ off, and then got way too involved with weak hands and then...busto. He also donked off all his chips in the WSOPE Main Event, my favourite being him calling down every street on on a Js 8s x x As board with 78 of clubs against KK. Wp Phil. He would have been felted in that too had he not hit a gutshot with T7 vs 9T on a 69T board having raised in early position having previously steamed off 2/3 of his chips. Wp Phil.

This early episode of the WSOPE was pretty dull, although did feature an insane hero call by Chrstian Harder against Andy Black, who had fired three barrels with A7 offsuit on a board that ended up 843T9, finally moving all-in with a 3rd spade hitting the river. Harder called with 86 offsuit to win a ~130k pot at something like the 100/200 level. Crazy.

I have a sweet set-up that allows me to watch stuff like this on my big screen TV downstairs. For poker shows The Poker Bay is a great resource for pretty much any poker that has ever been televised. So I download the torrents from there using uTorrent. I then move the completed file onto my network hard drive. Then, I watch them on my TV by using WDTV Live (although for any non-HD content, you can also use a PS3 or X-Box). So not only can you watch stuff at your convenience, the adverts are all nicely edited out for you as well.

Anyways, I've rambled on about TV poker to make a pretty decent (sized) blog entry. I said in my last blog post that I would talk about how my poker coaching (which is going very well), but have decided to use that as the content for my next PokerNews UK column so will be writing that up very soon. I also mentioned my new monitor, but I'll save that for next time and post a couple of pictures of my poker-set-up at my new house.

I don’t really want to go into how poker is going because I’m running so ridiculously good that it’s almost embarrassing. I side-stepped the F40 SNGs I talked of in my last post because the structure was just too slow, and the games filled with too many regs, for it to be worth it. Although it would be nice to think I'm not running above expectation, I pretty much have to be. Am waiting for the inevitable brutal downswing to make up for a couple of sickly good days I've had recently. Perhaps I subconsciously took the day off today to give the Poker Gods extra time to forget how good I've been running recently so that don't press the dreaded Doom-Switch on me!

February 12, 2010

A change of scenery...

If you've followed my blog over the last 8 months, you will have seen me struggle between whether to play MTT SNGs on PokerStars or Full Tilt. I'd settled on PokerStars for numerous reasons, largely involving games per hour and the GodSend that is TableNinja. Having had a 7-8 week absense from online poker to move house and all that, I think it took me a while to get back into the groove of 20 tabling. Rather than just going back into the 45-man grind, I took some time to experiment around with my daily schedule, and the games I was playing.

After a bit of a break-even patch on Stars, I decided to experiment a bit on Full Tilt, which is where I've been playing for the last week or so. I'm not sure it's where I'm going to stay, as playing 100 games per day is a definite struggle, as opposed to very-doable on PokerStars. However, an average buy-in is possible, and I think the longer structure allows for a higher ROI. I reckon my hourly rate will potentially be quite similar, but I think I needed the change to help freshen up my game a little bit.

The games definitely seem softer. I was quite bemused that I made a fairly decent profit of $300 over 70 games in my session today, because of the fact that I came 1st in zero of them and I ran 200,000 chips below EV. These factors would usually result in quite a gross downswing. Notwithstanding a 'meh' last couple of days, my results on Full Tilt make me want to see where it goes, although admittedly this is a very small sample.

It's almost ironic after making this decision that PokerStars has some big promotion that actually has something aimed directly at MTT SNG players. Consequently it will be another change of scenery as I will definitely be playing on PokerStars next week. This promotion surrounds the 40 billionth hand being dealt there, and they've decided to run special 40-man SNGs for a whole week. It looks like there is $40,000 in added value, but I think so many of these tournaments will run that the added value will turn out to be quite thin. However, I'm hopeful that these games will be particularly soft. If that turns out to be the case it will definitely be a busy week for me as I'll have no excuse but to get my grind on. I'm almost disappointed my 25th birthday falls in the middle of it!

I've been rather lax on the blog posts recently, so I'll wait to talk about my coaching progress and my new monitor in my next post which I will put up in the very near future...