Thursday, April 30, 2009

posted by James - 4:50 PM

Some of you can hate on freerolls all you want... but if Full Tilt wants to spread some money around, I'm going to line up to try and get a piece of it. Well, the Full Tilt Poker Academy is handing out both free advice and free money... and I can't tell which is more valuable, honestly. Most of their info is kinda basic, but they have lessons for all skill levels, and I've been through them all a few times now, and I'm not going to dismiss their role in the successes i've seen lately.

If you go through the lessons and take the quizzes at the end and score in the top 1,000, you qualify for a satellite sending the top 100 of that tournament to a $5000 freeroll. There are 20 different lessons you can go through. They start in a staggered nature, about every 10 min or so. Yes, this does get a little scary when they all start popping up on you. And since we're all powered by the Pod, that means you'll be deep in a lot of them, giving you ample time to work on your multi-tabling skills. lol

Now, you won't need all 20 shots to get into the freeroll. There are a ton of sitouts... most people don't even realize they're entered in the satellites... and as soon as you get to the top 100, you're done. You'll probably get in on your first one, but the practice is good and there's some marginal benefit to keeping players out of the 5k freeroll (every addition seat you win is one less player in the final) and learning some of the players you might be playing with in the final. But as soon as you win your first one... you can just quit the rest, which is up to you.

Anyway... today is the last day to qualify by watching the Sit-N-Learns and taking the quizzes... and apparently you can do it every month... and they don't change the quiz answers. I've found the easiest quizzes are the PLO Quiz with Brandon Adams, the Power of Position Quiz on cash games with Bill Edler, the Rebuy Tournaments Quiz with Michael Gracz and the Sit N Go quizzes by Aaron Bartley and Howard Lederer. Most of the quizzes at the current time don't even have 1000 entrants. So, just completing the quiz will qualify you for the satellite.

Everyone here should get in on the Full Tilt Academy while they can. If you're a cash game or SNG player, they're basically rewarding you for what you're already doing. I still can't believe they're just doing all of this completely for free.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

posted by James - 4:47 PM

I finally hit my fifth different MiniFTOPS Satellite to qualify for the final freeroll... and I did it in PLOEOB! Are you freaking kidding me? I didn't even realize that's what I had signed up for, but it was just $0.75+.15, so i just went with it. And I took that sumbitch down! I had never even played the game in more than a freeroll before... It's so party time!!

Update: I just looked and only 123 people have qualified for this so far... How freaking cool is that? Only 2 other players that I've played with have qualified as well. And 45 of us are going to get a payout from this freeroll. Pretty good extra little bonus.

Update 2: Isn't that just how it is... when it rains it pours? It took me quite a while between my fourth satellite and my fifth satellite to qualify for the final freeroll... and then I picked up two more today. One in a NHLE 1r1a and then Stud 8/b. I've only played a Stud 8/b tournament maybe twice for money... and both of them I've cashed in. This one was a big time grind... we were four-handed for 30 minutes with only 3 seats awarded. I was short stacked going into the final table and then into four-handed play with two players extremely deep (20k+). One of them played like a complete renob and ends up busting in fourth while the other just sat out and let me third-base him, which kept me afloat for quite a while.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

posted by James - 4:43 PM

I have high respect and praise for Barry Greenstein... even though I was calling myself The Bear long before I knew who he was... I'll give him props for being THE Bear of poker. Here's a great interview from pokernews.com with him... pay attention to the bolded statement.

PN: On a recently-aired episode of “High Stakes Poker”, you alluded to a phrase that had come up over on Joe (Sebok)’s PokerRoad podcast -- “math is idiotic.”

Greenstein: Yes.

PN: The phrase is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but back in Ace on the River [Greenstein’s 2005 autobiography and poker strategy guide], you tell an interesting story about a hand you once played against a philosophy professor back when you were a student at the University of Illinois. It actually comes up in a section called “Misusing Mathematics.” It was a stud eight-or-better hand, where he had calculated it to be over 1,000-to-1 against for you to have had precisely the right cards [three low diamonds] in the hole to scoop him...

Greenstein: Yes, mathematically, with random cards, I shouldn’t have him beat. But of course, in that particular case, there wasn’t anything random about it. I had to have the hand I had, pretty much, to be able to raise him all in, because it was obvious that he had something like possibly a six-high straight, as I recall. I wouldn’t have called his bet with one card to go without a low and flush draw, and I made it and scooped him.

PN: It was funny rereading that, and thinking of the phrase...

Greenstein: Yes, I think of it more as not that “math is idiotic,” but that math is misused a lot in poker.

PN: It makes idiots of us. Or it can.

Greenstein: Right. So many people cite the math. And we have this all the time. If you go on the Red Pro forum, I had a big argument over there with... I’ll call them the “internet kids.” You know, sharp kids, good players. Daniel Kelly, Jimmy Fricke... real respected, obviously smart kids, and good players. And they will all do some mathematical figuring of when things are plus-EV and my whole argument is to say, “You guys are missing poker things that can allow you to give yourself a greater EV than your mathematics is giving you.”

And I see this recurrent theme among the young players who think they’ve figured the game out, but a lot of times it’s getting in their way. Because in live poker there’s so much more that you can go on beyond the mathematics, especially when you are playing against weak players where you can exploit them. I think a lot of the young players are missing this, and I think that we’ll see over the next couple of years, as they get better, the better ones will wake up to not be hampered by their mathematical models which are actually getting in their way sometimes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

posted by James - 4:38 PM

Somebody asked me about short stack play in tournaments, here was my advice. You should send me your thoughts as well as any other topics you'd like to discuss.

When I'm in a tournament where I'm short stacked... and I've been in tournaments where I'm one of the leaders but everyone is short basically, such as a turbo... I try to pick off limpers... especially limpers who have medium stacks and can afford to fold. A guy limps from early position or middle position and i'm in late position, sometimes I don't even want to see my cards. I just want to shove... not get cute, not care what I have. Just shove and pick up not only the blinds, but the antes and that limp... don't understimate how much value there is in those pots. Any player with a premium hand in that situation isn't limping with a medium stack, they want to get as much value as possible and limping won't do it.

Also, if they make a sizeable raise and they have a stack where they still could fold... and you have a big hand 1010+-AQ+... You also want to shove there. Lock out any action after you and put yourself at a good position to pick up that pot with as little confrontation as possible or either double up or eliminate a competitor.

posted by James - 11:40 AM

By the virtue of quick fingers and low players on FT ATM, I was able to register for a 180-man Main Event Round 1 Satellite... and I took that sumbitch down! Made a mockery of the final table. Hit a full house with my favorite hand and got a guy with a top 3 chip stack to bluff at me for all his chips. The 7-4, baby! Come on, you know you want to play The James!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

posted by James - 4:32 PM

I don't know if anybody actively tries to complete the Iron Man Challenge, either by qualifying for a certain amount of FTPs per day over a certain amount of days, or by earning at least 1 FTP every day for a month. I'm interested to know what people think of this. I play usually at night after I get home from work, so i've found it very easy to accumulate a point a day since I just make sure I play on FTP every other day right around midnight on server time. I did the same thing when FTP did their Take 2 promotion and was able to make an easy ~$25 or so when I'm a horrible cash game player. I basically played two tables from 11:55 to 0:05 every other day and cashed out when I was done and racked up way more than the amount of points necessary.

I have another issue that kinda goes along with the Daily Dollar I played yesterday. I looked at my Iron Man calendar and it shows that I earned 200 yesterday. I'm just wondering if they give that to the people who make the final table in this tournament or something? I really have no idea. The only other thing I could think of is that they did that because of the system crash from the night before. I'll include a screen capture so you can see what I'm talking about.

I'm interested to see if anybody from here has actually paid attention to doing this to qualify for the One-a-day Iron Man 2k freeroll. If you are a West Coast player, this because even easier because of the day switching over at 9 pm and not having to stay up until midnight. I'm almost certain I will take the freeroll entry over the medals unless something comes up where I couldn't make the tournament.

posted by James - 4:29 PM

Making another Daily Dollar run tonight... already cashed 35k avg=27k... 191 out of 737. Just put a sick beat on a guy who flopped bottom set when I had top two and I rivered a fh.

Out in 35th... $20 cash... made a bad play... still almost got there, but he hit a four-card flush to cripple me. Another deep run without a huge score... but I keep getting deep in it. Thanks for the people who sweated me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

posted by James - 4:22 PM

Sorry, but I kinda wrote this in two parts...

So close... yet so donktastic... finished 9th in the Daily Dollar on FTP tonight. I wish I had said something here... I was twittering my butt off, but it was hard to keep up with everything and play my game... which I was doing pretty successfully... until the end.

Made the final table. Third in chips to start... got into a hand with the chip leader and I was done. He had a nut flush draw on the flop and he called my all in with it and hit his kicker to beat my pocket pair. Yeah, I turned $1 into $110... but I don't need to tell anyone in here how much money I left on the table. Amazed by my play until the end... I was down to 700 in chips when it was 60-120 and made amazing moves the whole way through... moves i usually don't have in my arsenal... but I can't be satisfied by this.

I have this ridiculously bad feeling that this is just another hot streak I'm on, but even when I've done that I've come up with a couple massive victories. Right now, I'm getting lots of medium-sized wins and deep runs in massive multi-tables that only lead to mediocre returns comparatively. I'm kinda worried that it's not going to last much longer, and I won't have the big score to show for it.

I feel a lot better about it this morning than I did last night. Also... I had been trying to complete the Chris Ferguson Bankroll Challenge on Full Tilt Poker Academy and the win put me over the "Increase your bankroll by 25%" requirement! So, even though I swear I should have been over that a long time ago with all the satellites I had been winning and HU SNGs as well, the 9th-place finish definitely pushed me over that. So, now I can move on to a new challenge!

In case anybody hasn't discovered the Full Tilt Poker Academy, if you're a SNG or Ring game player and you're not using it, you're missing out. They reward you for what you're already doing. If you play ring games and SNGs enough, you can easily earn Tournament Tokens through playing there as well as all other kinds of merchandise, etc. And if you were looking to take a stab at playing ring games, they'll definitely teach you good strategy. Unfortunately, they don't have any that are geared toward MTT or satellite players, but I would think they would in the future.

Some other advice that I'm seeking... the win definitely pushed up my possibilities as far as bankroll management. I've always been content to grind at the lower levels, but I've always known I've been playing well under even uber-conservative bankroll restrictions (i.e. playing in the Daily Dollar, which is just ridiculous value). Do I loosen that up and play a little bit higher now just with a restriction on how much I could lose before I return to the lower levels again?

It's always hard to want to change something that is working so well. And I'm not sure I would be ready for the jump in play level from freerolls, $1-$2 MTTs and SNGs, occasionally $4 after rebuys are considered, to say $8-$10 MTTs and/or $5 SNGs.

Also, something I found hilarious... I follow my progress on sharkscope often... and my ROI graph always used to go from the lower left corner to the upper right corner in a straight line from my $1 ROI to my $2 ROI. I haven't played at enough other levels to have them on there... and now this morning, it goes from the upper left corner to the lower right! Just interesting to look at.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

posted by James - 4:36 PM

I am almost exclusively playing the satellites on FTP right now. Whether it's the 750k, Brawl, Double Deuce or miniFTOPS sats... the play in them is so very, very weak to where you can even make it in games that aren't your best. And since in some of them you can make it to the end without ever even getting put on a short handed table. If you can acquire a big stack by the end of the tournament, I've yet to find any player in these games that can handle any type of aggression from a big stack. You just brutalize them after that.

When you combine the FTOPS sats with the Satellite challenge where you get freerolls for how many different FTOPS events you qualify for... the satellites are the best value on FTP right now.

I've been able to build up quite a few T$s because i always cash out right after I win one of these and if I decide to go back later and play, then I can do that... but no reason to keep putting cash out there in the mean time when I've got the value of that satellite I can use.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

posted by James - 4:19 PM

This is something I've thought would be interesting for the sites to do... maybe once per year open it up so we could see the notes other players wrote about us... not revealing the ids of the players, just what the notes say and when they were said. I think it might help players who play a lot, especially at lower limits, get better and see whether your image, or the image you want others to have of you matches up... and make necessary changes to your game. It's something I've been thinking about for a very long time.