by

Katkin,
Jun 13, 2009 | 12:35 am

Before I go any further, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I respect everyone who’s made the final table of the $1,500 No-Limit Hold ’em Shootout. It’s a great accomplishment and one I’d be happy to emulate.

That said, my question is, couldn’t this be considered the easiest WSOP bracelet to win? Sure, it’s a tournament that started with 1,000 players, but the winner only has to defeat 26 of them to claim the prize. It’s not the same as a $1,500 donkament where you’re likely to see 1- or 200 different faces on your way to the final table, or even a 10K event where you may face 40 or 50 different opponents as tables break and shift.

This is essentially three sit & gos. Tough? Sure. But compared to other tournaments?

by

Katkin,
Jun 10, 2009 | 11:06 pm

Watching the $1,500 No-Limit Hold ’em Shootout at the WSOP today brought up an interesting question; how much does the luck of the a player’s first round table draw factor into their chances of winning?

Looking at today’s field, there were some tables that were obviously much more difficult than others. Of course, this is true in any tournament, but the structure of a shootout makes this more important in my opinion. Why? Because in a standard MTT, there’s a much better than average chance that you’ll change tables at least once on the first day, giving you a shot at facing some weaker players along the way.

In a shootout though, you’re stuck with your table mates. If you’re a seasoned pro, this probably doesn’t matter as you’ve probably played with them already and know their games. As an amateur though, you may be seriously screwed if you end up with someone like Ivey on your left and Negreanu on your right.

Does this mean I think shootouts are unfair for the casual player? Not at all. Just that they may be more difficult than you might expect.

Good post by Gugel over at AnskyPoker where he breaks down the three things you *need* to be a great poker player. These kinda-sorta go without saying, but at the same time, it’s always good (for many of us) to see a visual reminder for a more embraceable understanding of the concept:

I think the only thing he forgets in this model is “lucky rivers”.

Frequently in tournament poker you will encounter players who are re-raising your opens at an inappropriate frequency.

At the lower stakes they tend to re-raise too little, either trying to fold to cash or just call and play passive pots without the momentum of a raise or a strong hand. As you rise up the stakes though, you will start to encounter players who re-raise too much, and against these players you must be prepared to make one of the boldest plays in poker – the re-re-steal.

*“If pulled off correctly it can help someone hugely chip up and push on for the win, if it goes wrong it can just look like a massive spew as someone loses a massive pot with a weak hand”*

This play can only ever be effective if both players have enough chips that fold equity can be created, as there is no point making a big bluff like this if your opponent is pot committed by the bet; and should only be made against a player whom you know is capable of re-raising you with a lot less than premium hands.

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This is simply because the odds a player faces in limit hold’em are nearly always very good – and as a result folding too much is a much bigger mistake than calling too much (if you are getting ten to one odds you do not have to be right very often to show a profit making thin calls); this is the exact opposite of big bet poker, where calling too much will quickly bust you (you have to be much more confident about your hands strength when getting two to one or worse odds – as you have to be right a much higher percentage of the time).

*“Always remember that limit is a game about extracting as much value from your hand as possible, and saving as many bets as you can when it looks like you are behind.”*

As a result of this, many players brought up on big bet poker find limit an extraordinarily boring game when they first start learning the mechanics of it – the scope for advanced play making (and therefore a lot of the creative thought) is just much less in limit simply because it is so much harder to bluff. With most players now being brought up on big bet poker, many of the limit games (particularly the now popular mixed games) have become rather juicy in recent times, full of big bet players who try and bluff far too much.

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## Betfair | Heads Up Sit and Go – The Nature of the Beast

Heads up sit and goes provide a great opportunity for spinning up a bankroll to the beginner or play money player. The variance is very low in these games, as they combine many features which allow skill to shine through over the short term.

*” …it is important to understand that heads up games will not give you that monster score of multi table tournaments, they will just give you a steady profit over the long run.”*

The first point about these games is that heads up games require much more skill due to the massively increased number of decisions a player has to make. You can’t simply sit back and wait for big hands in this format – you have to be playing lots of hands in order to stop the blinds from eating you up, and this means that any edge you have is made significant much faster than in any other games, and your profits are made in a much more steady manner.

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## Random Walks: The Importance to Poker Players

A ‘random walk’ is a mathematical term to describe looking at sequences of consecutive random events and observing the patterns.

A simple random walk can be built using just the flip of a coin. If we assign heads the number +1 and tails the number -1 and flip a coin 6 times we will have a number of possible results, ranging from the extreme results of +6 after five heads in a row, and -6 after five tails in a row; and including every other possible result in between, with the true odds lying at the number 0 (indicating an equal number of heads and tails). Mathematicians have done these sort of tests over hundreds, thousands and even millions of throws, and the results they give tell us an awful lot about poker strategy.

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