Daniel - Poker Journal
Training Day: Day Two14 Oct 2005
So yesterday, my agent Brian asked me to attend the PGA tournament that is happening here in Summerlin and we made it there at around noon.
Brian used to be an agent on the PGA and LPGA tour and used to represent Ben Crane so we ended up following him around all afternoon. Ben is actually the #1 putter in the PGA this year and works as hard, if not harder on his game than any other player on the tour. He is extremely focused and determined to be at his best.
Ben was tearing up the course all day long and after 16 was -6. Brian and I walked the whole course watching him play flawlessly when I realized wearing a pair of brown dress shoes probably wasn't the best idea! I was dying out there, but had to see the finish.
On the last two holes, Ben went bogey, bogey, his only bogeys of the round which had to be disappointing. You wouldn't know it, though, by watching him sign a few autographs on the way to the clubhouse with a big grin on his face.
I'm sure on the inside he was upset with the finish, but he handled himself with absolute class.
While I didn't really "do anything" that afternoon that would seem to prepare me for my tournament on the 18th, the afternoon was extremely valuable to me.
It helped me to get in a focused frame of mind just in time for the big day. Focused, determined, calm, relaxed, and having fun all at the same time is the place I want to be come Tuesday morning.
When I got home I decided to practice a little bit more online, entering a $50 two table sit n' go. I played well, but ended up in 13th place. The three key hands I played were all in pre-flop:
KK vs 10-7: LOST
AK vs AQ: LOST
QQ vs AQ: LOST
That's just poker and didn't discourage me so I played another sit n' go, this time a one table for $100.
This time I let the FCPer's in the forums at www.fullcontactpoker.com know that I was playing and had them sweating me.
I was in a goofy mood, and was typing in all kinds of Ali G like silliness into the chat box while posting my hands in the General Forum.
No one at the table knew it was me, but the observers did. I went on to win the sit n' go which again, puts me in the right confident frame of mind in preparation for Tuesday.
On another note, I wanted to explain something to all of you once and for all. Many people are very confused in thinking that buying in for more chips than the table has is an advantage all by itself. Let me explain for you all what you are not seeing:
If a bad player bought in for $1,000,000 in a $1-$2 NL game and you bought in for $200, would this bad player have an advantage over you now? Of course not.
All that would be relevant to you, is that when you put your $200 in against him you'd get full value against him and likely have +EV. If $200 is too much for your bankroll, than you could do the same thing with $60. The point is, if you are a better player than him he wouldn't all of a sudden be better than you because he has more money in front of him!
True, you are more likely to go broke than he is, but you are still a favorite to make more money than he does. I would happily, and I mean happily, play a bad player heads up where I risked only $5000 in a 10-20 blind game where he risked $1,000,000. Are you kidding me? The most I could lose is $5000, but I get the chance to knock off a guy for a million if he doesn't quit!
Too many of the people in the FCP forum are missing the bigger picture in regards to my last blog. Even if I went all in blind every hand for $100,000 to win the $15 in the pot, that would NOT be advantageous for ME. It would however, be an EXCELLENT opportunity for the other players to get great value on their good hands.
If you are sitting down in a NL game with $1000, but can't afford to lose it in one hand- you simply shouldn't be playing, period. Instead, you should be buying in for maybe $100 and protecting the rest of your bankroll.
Another poster in the forum used an analogy that went something like, "It's as if you went into a tournament as a massive chip leader, it wouldn't be fair."
Well, there are several holes in that argument:
1) In a cash game you can quit anytime you like.
2) In a cash game, the blinds don't go up.
3) In a tournament, the goal is to end up with all of the chips, while in a cash game it's all about getting +EV when you play.
The only thing that buying in for the most money would ensure you is that it would be less likely that you went broke than someone who bought in for much less. But at what cost? If the guy with $60 goes broke, he loses $60! If the guy who buys in for a $100,000 goes broke, wow, the dude loses $100,000!
When you play poker, you should think in terms of hourly rate, even when playing no limit hold'em. If a guy buys in to your $1-$2 NL game for $100,000 and goes all in blind every hand, ask yourself what that will do to your hourly rate? Do you think this would hurt you somehow? Do you think this player with $100,000 is on to some hidden strategy that has escaped all of the great poker minds in the world?
If you are the best player in your game and have a sufficient bankroll then you should have the table covered. Why? Not because it is in any way some unfair advantage, but because you don't want to have to go all in. The more play there is, the better it is for a good player. Having said that, if the other players at the table all buy in for a small amount, it won't make much difference anyway in how much play there is to the game.
When you buy in to a game YOU have the choice to decide how difficult you want the game to be. If you buy in for the minimum, it makes the correct strategy very simply. If you buy in for the most, it will force you to make more difficult decisions. An example:
You raise to $30 with AA and get three callers. The flop comes 9c 6d 2s and you bet your last $50. That's a no brainer right? Well, what if you had $20,000 in front of you? You bet the $50 and a player raises you $200 more. Now what do you do? It's more difficult isn't it?
You aren't going to stick the whole $20,000 in are you? No, you might raise to $1000 or so. Say you do, and now your opponent raises you back $5000 more? Do you fold? Do you call? Tough isn't it?
No limit hold'em, in it's purest form is a game in which no player would go all in. A game with extremely deep stacks that allow for more pure decisions.
If a bad player buys in for more chips it will actually be a much bigger DISADVANTAGE for him. If a bad player bought in for the minimum every hand, he would lose less money over the long run. His hourly rate might go from -$2000.00 an hour to -$100.00 an hour depending on how bad he plays.
So I hope you all understand now that buying in for more money isn't in itself an advantage at all. It's a BIG disadvantage for a bad player, but will increase a good players hourly rate to have the table covered.
Now if a good player decides to goof around and play recklessly, well he wouldn't be playing very good now would he?
The greatest thing about allowing no maximum buy in is that it gives YOU more options. If you want to buy in cheap and take a shot- you can. If you want to buy in for a ton and go after a sucker, you can do that to.
Finally, if you buy in for $200 and run it up to $1000, but don't feel comfortable losing $1000 in a hand, you can quit!
The reason a casino puts a max buy in on their tables isn't to help YOU at all. It's in their best interest to have LESS fluctuation so that players don't go broke as quickly. Casinos do that to protect THEIR interests of keeping the games going so that they can keep dropping rake. I mean, do you really need someone to hold your hand and tell you how much you can buy in for? "No sir, you don't want to buy in for that much. That's a lot of money sir, please don't gamble that much, we are worried about you." Yeah right!
I have to say, that reading all of those posts about how buying in for a gazillion was an advantage was getting annoying! This concept isn’t that difficult, and it is important that all of you understand it so that you learn how to approach poker the right way.
If you haven’t read it, I would suggest picking up a copy of the “Theory of Poker,” by David Sklansky. That book should help you understand concepts similar to this one.