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Head-Phones and Plastics


Head-Phones and Plastics

To win any tournament nowadays you need a lot of luck and you need to be running well. In the past it may well have been enough to avoid bad luck in order to do well but, not any more.

There are now so many good players that can play well and even the bad players tend to be aggressive, if nothing else, that you now need a significant amount of good luck to make it to the significant pay positions.

It would be great if there was some way to measure how well you are running so that you could either stay at home and watch TV or enter the biggest tournament you could find and afford to play.

Recent results can be a good indicator but “form” can change so quickly you just never know.

In Ireland recently I went back for day two and had an unfortunate omen of having my name miss-spelt on the official chip counts as “Paul Kackson” and my day 2 ended up right down the toilet. In the London GUKPT could there be a more negative omen than to be seated next to the person who would undoubtedly be right at the bottom of your list of players to be sat next to.

A Camp Bouffant hair-styled individual who never stops talking and primarily talks drivel repeating each mind numbing sentence 7 times in case you missed one of the other 6 excruciating episodes, if ever there was a good reason to wear head phones this was it. (Please note I have no issue with campness or a bouffant hair style these adjectives simply accurately describe the individual concerned and I have no problem with what he may choose to do himself when nobody is looking).

What made it worse was that he actually had a pleasant demeanour and he was inoffensive in what he said, though that did not reduce the tortuous experience of having to listen to him and paradoxically it would feel insincere to ask him nicely to be quiet when really STFU was what you really wanted to shout.

He started to tell me, in camp broken English, about some journalist that he wanted to beat in the streets of Berlin so to at least get some enjoyment back into my life I decided I could take advantage of the very likely probability that he would not understand everything I said nor appreciate the tone and inflexion of what I was intimating. Not politically correct I know but not many enjoyable things are.

I asked him to confirm that he wanted to hold down the journalist and give it to him hard which the players around me found quite amusing somehow choosing to associate this innocent comment with either his general campness or his bouffant hairstyle or both.

Ironically he was wearing earplugs which he claimed was because the noise of the chips irritated him which I found quite bizarre as the clatter of chips seemed remarkably soothing. I suspect his earphones were a cunning business ploy and had I stayed in the tournament long enough I am sure he had an accomplice waiting to pounce on the table and sell a previously acquired job-lot of such earplugs to the other players at the table.

He was very tight, in the card style sense, but still managed to check call James Demseys’ attempted 3 barrelled bluff and afterwards mentioned that beginners like James did not realize how experienced he was. Perhaps he will visit James in Brighton and give him the benefit of his experience.

His droning went on and on and he seemed to assume that I was very interested in everything he had to say. The reality was that I would have been happy to receive a punch in the face so that I had something more pleasant to think bout.

I did not last long in the tournament after, with blinds at 100/200, an opponent managed to get 8000 chips into the pot, with virtually no fold equity the hand was played, holding pocket twos. He had apparently “read me” for a “big ace” and to be fair he was close in that I actually had a big king, two of them in fact. He was rewarded for his fairly accurate read with a two on the turn.

If he had been a “flairy boy” I am sure he might have spouted some rubbish about hand ranges and that he was “ahead of my bluffing range” as many of them do when they don’t know what to do or don’t know why they took the action the chose and feel the need to justify it.

It actually seems that several legitimate concepts have been hi-jacked by “Plastic Poker Players” who can not actually play but like to talk a good game. They always feel the need to justify their actions, particularly when it gets them into trouble.

Players often have limited information on which to base a decision and may choose to go with what they feel is a “long term wining play”, a perfect victim for the PPP’s as the “long term” can never be determined at the point the action is taken based upon it.

This concept is also a favourite of the lazy players (This obviously excludes recreational players and those simply having fun) and those that maybe do not have the intellect to properly analyse the information available to them. After all if in any given situation it was correct (if you knew your opponents hand) to make what you would otherwise consider a “long term losing play” then you would surely make that play in that instance.

The “long term winning play” strategy should primarily be used where all other information is not sufficient to enable you to make a reasonable determination as to the strength of your opponent’s specific hand. If you are unable to do that then go to the much more vague, but valid concept of what is likely to be a “long term wining” action.

The PPP’s simply bypass any attempt to analyse their opponents likely holding and make the action they wish to make and if they feel the need to justify it, as often they do without any encouragement, say something that includes the words “long term wining play” or another valid concept that they like to hi-jack “hand ranges”. They also use this to justify their actions as they are usually, regardless of their or your hand, “ahead of your range”.

The many quality young players that now inhabit the tournament circuit use these concepts to refine their actions and they are fearsome opponents to encounter.

It is important to ensure that you can quickly identify these real players from the plastic ones.



Wed, 23rd February 2011

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