Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Run the Voodoo Down

By Pauly
New York City

I have been writing several hours almost every day, unfortunately very little about poker. There's an epic poker post that I'd like to write but I don't have the proper time to dedicate myself to such a post, so instead I'm writing yet anther half-baked post on the fly. I gave myself twenty minutes to write the last time and I have twenty to pen this one. Why twenty? Why not?

Writing is therapy for me. It keeps me sane and gives me tons of pleasure... that is when I'm writing for myself. I've been working on a new project and spending very little interaction with people and have been limiting distractions from outside media sources like internet news sites and avoiding as much TV as I can. Aside from a few flicks and sporting events, I have been avoiding the boob tune. I stopped buying and reading newspapers. I've been trying to keep my mind on one thing and it's been this recent writing project. I never realized how many distractions I had in my life until I started taking measures to distract them.

I guess that's why I play better poker live is because I have limited distractions. I'm not multi-tasking which I often do when I play online poker. I'm playing other tables, sweating my brother or girlfriend, and looking up opponents on my Poker Tracker. Even those activities are poker related and I'm still dividing my time. I believe that my ego is the problem and bullies reason out of the way. It seems that when I limit my distractions, I give myself a better opportunity to play better. Especially when I play HORSE, NL, or PLO. For me, limit hold'em is such an ABC poker game that I don't have to pay attention to the tables or the players. I see my cards and play them accordingly, unlike NL where I'm playing against my opponents and cards have nothing to do with it.

Last weekend, I wrote an editorial for the Swedes over at Ongame Zone about Annette_15. I mentioned a story that in my opinion makes Annette_15 a legend. Several months ago, before she won the WSOP Europe and became the youngest bracelet winner in the history of the WSOP, Annette_15 confirmed a rumor that she played a 180 person MTT totally blind. She covered up her hole cards and played by total feel. She admitted that she peeked at her cards only once, and that was on a flop of all spades. She wanted to see if she had a spade before she made a decision. Aside from that one instance, she played blind... even during heads up... and won it all. Very few players have such a grasp and feel for the game to be in a position to dominate and decimate the entire field without even looking at her cards, like Annette_15 and that's why she has the potential to become one of the greatest NL players of all time.

I could never do that. I once tried to play a $5 SNG blind, but that didn't work out too well. I didn't actually cover my cards. But it was one of those late nights in Hollyweird during a merciless bender where I was so jacked up from partying that I could barely see the laptop screen let alone my cards.

Then again, a friend of mine once dropped acid and made the final table of a Razz tournament. Miracles do happen.

* * * * * *

I enjoyed writing about my exploits with Grubby in the previous post. So here's another nugget. Whenever I had assignments in Las Vegas, I stayed with Grubby. Usually I'd rent out his place for a month at a time. I'd arrive early, work my assignment, then stay a week or so longer.

One of my least favorite past times involved me going from casino to casino on Saturdays with Grubby. That's when the casinos located off the strip handed out gifts to locals, in an attempt to draw them in and get them to play. Grubby would bring me along because he knew that I wouldn't let him near the slots or blackjack tables. One afternoon, we hit up four different casinos while Grubby collected a fanny pack, a salsa bowl, jumper cables, and a coffee mug. He seemed pretty pissed off at the selections, with the exception of the jumper cables. Those always came in handy.

Sometimes we'd play online poker. I'd sit on Grubby's couch and play a couple of tables, while Grubby would fire up four SNGs. I always find it interesting to watch other people play online poker in real life... if anything... to hear the funny shit that they say to their virtual opponents. People love to talk shit and not have any consequences. I'd lose my shit when Grubby would unleash a tirade of obscenities after getting sucked out on. In real life, Grubby takes bad beats in stride and rarely criticizes his opponents play. But online is a different story. Sometimes saying the word douchebag or assclown or fucknuts makes you feel better.

Anyway, sometimes we'd be playing online poker for hours and after a slew of bad beats, we'd stop playing and decide to go to a casino and play for real. But then we head out to Green Valley or down to the Strip only to discover that we're bored shitless at the tables. Some dealers are painfully slow and some of your tablemates won't shut the fuck up. I guess that's how we invented betting on wheel spins at the Excalibur.... to keep things interesting. Then again, action is action.

* * * * *

Tough swing for me at the tables over the weekend. In a 70 hour stretch, I lost over $1,200. The carnage was ugly and was spread out over the 1/2 PLO, 1/2 NL, 3/6 HORSE, and 10/20 LHE on both Full Tilt and Poker Stars. I'll spare you the bad beats. But I only misplayed a couple of hands. Aside from that, I felt that I played solid poker.

I stopped the bleeding on Tuesday with a decent 10/20 LHE session on Poker Stars. I was down for the majority of the session until I put one guy on tilt after a bad beat. I caught a runner runner flush when all I flopped was bottom pair in a four-way pot. He had flopped top two with A-Q. Oh well. I guess I was on the good end of karma that time.

The other night, I played 3/6 HORSE with Julian Gardner. He is a British poker player best known as the runner-up to Robert Varkonyi at the 2002 WSOP. I had no idea why he was playing 3/6 HORSE. I always thought what would have happened to poker if he won instead of Varkonyi. Hellmuth would have gone on mega-tilt knowing that his record for youngest WSOP champion would have been broken by Gardner. Alas, it didn't and Hellmuth had to shave his head because he bet that there would be no way in hell that Varkonyi would win the WSOP.

Anyway, I also played HORSE with Daddy and Derek over the weekend. Lots of fun. I rarely play online with friends anymore, so it's a treat when I get to.

I played some 5/10 HORSE at PokerStars and turned a small profit. The HORSE games on Stars seems tougher than on FT. The thing is that there are rarely any middle stakes HORSE games. It's tough to find anything higher than a 3/6 table going most nights.

During my NL cash game experiment, I noticed one thing... that sets make and break you. The biggest pots that I won came from flopped sets. And the biggest hands I lost were against sets. I got felted once in a set over set situation. A couple of times I doubled up players with a big pocket pair against a middle pair who flopped a set.

And the biggest suckouts against me happened when I got my money ahead with a set and either lost to a draw or my opponent improved their two pair when they rivered a boat.

* * * * *

Finally, congrats to Liz Lieu for making two final tables in Macau. She finished in 7th place in the APPT Macau event, which was the first ever tournament to be played in China. She also made the final table of a 15K buy-in event.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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