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Daniel - Poker Journal

Off to Australia

09 Jan 2007

So I did not win the first tournament of the year with an astounding 937 entries, but I was pleased with the result, cashing for the third consecutive time on the WPT.

I got Ramdinned. He out flopped me several hands in a row and I just couldn't seem to make a hand when I needed to. Finally, with 5 minutes left to go in the night I came over the top of Ramdin from late position with KQ for all my chips. Victor was playing lots and lots of hands, so if you are going to pick a guy to move all in on, he was the best choice. Unfortunately, he happened to have AA this time! Oh well, I'm ok with my decision to play the hand with such a short stack.

What really happened to me in this tournament was that I just ran out of time. I was playing my game, but the blinds were going up every 75 minutes which meant that seeing flops became more and more difficult as it would cost me too high a percentage of my stack to call.

I believe the structure is better in Australia and I'm looking forward to the 90 minute levels. I decided to leave today so that I can be well rested for the main event and get a workout in before then.

I've been staying pretty dedicated to working out this year and I feel fantastic despite being soar. Yesterday I worked on biceps and triceps which don't hurt too bad, but I think doing the shoulder shrugs really tore me up good. Feels good, I like the soreness.

As for food I've been doing well there too. No caffeine, no alcohol,. no fried foods, and lots of protein from shake mix and foods that I've been eating.

So that's the update on the tournament scene, now to other things that have been on my mind:

I did the Circuit the other night with Bill Chen. He is an amazing dude in so many ways. His approach to poker is fascinating to me. We certainly don't approach the game the same way, that's for sure, but I respect his knowledge base. It's a pretty good show if you want to check it out at Card Player.

Anyway, I also went on the show to clarify the whole Raymer thing. It's been blown totally out of proportion and it was all based on a quote that left out much of what I said. I'm fine with what was printed, but a lot more was said.

I never said Raymer was a flash in the pan. I said that when an unknown wins the WSOP ME the general consensus is that the guy probably can't play and just got extremely lucky.

So then I went to visit another forum, the 2+2 forums, and was surprised to read so much garbage in a thread related to my comments. Many of the posters in that thread are just plain mean-spirited and arrogant.

It probably shouldn't bother me at all, but it does annoy me when people takes things I've said out of context, change it, make it what they think I meant, and then rip me for it.

I went on there to clear the air about the situation, but things got side tracked as they often do. There was one dude claiming that Alan Goering "sucks" based on a preliminary tournament he played with him and it all made sense to me. In the box thinking.

You see a guy play a hand bad and automatically assume he's a bad player. That's a very dangerous poker disease to have. Alan is an excellent poker player and his approach to the game does him very well in deep stack events. In this case, he was goofing around, trying some new things in a smaller event, and the bi-product of that was that he was able to completely fool some of his opponents into thinking that he was an idiot. Poker 101 right there.

There is more to poker than just playing the cards. Alan, with that one session playing in a smaller tournament with his opponent now has a distinct psychological advantage over that opponent if he were to meet with him again.

Ted Forrest once told me something that I found to be very interesting. He said that most poker players compare their best game with their opponents worst game when deciding whether or not to play in a game. Speaking of Ted, here is another case of a guy who many believe to be a bumbling idiot at the poker table. Sometimes he might be, but it's all calculated. He may be trying to think outside the box and it turns out bad. Or, he may even be setting up his opponents to think that he is a nutcase.

Anyway, I guess the point of all of this is that you always need to keep in mind that poker is a game of people first, and a game of math second. Analyzing your own game and the game of your opponents is an excellent way of improving your skills, but you also need to spend some time experimenting with different strategies to fully understand them.

I wrote a column a while back called Nutbar that received a lot of criticism from some internet geeks who's minds are trapped inside of a box. In that column, I basically gave the following advice: Go play in a smaller limit game and play every hand before the flop for three hours. Your goal is to try and break even, or even win if possible.

An internet geek would tell you that it's -EV and that you should always make the optimal play when playing poker. They just don't get it. It's an exercise, an experiment, that in the long run will help you become a better poker player.

My plane is about to leave, so I'll be bloggin' when I get to Australia. In the meantime, spend some time thinking about all of this. Look in a mirror and ask yourself if you spend enough time experimenting with new things? Are YOU stuck thinking inside a box? Do you play poker thinking in terms of hard fast rules? If so, maybe it's time to think about improving your play in some more unconventional ways... for example, have you ever gone to the mall and just watched people interact?

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