This week's blog was supposed to be a reaction to the changes Stars recently announced changes to their loyalty program. The gist of it was that while the dismay of high volume Starscentric grinders for whom rakeback represented a large portion of their income is understandable, Amaya's only real responsibilities are to their shareholders, and in fact the grinders who chose to play only on Stars for years are a big part of the reason Stars are now in such a powerful position dangerously close to monopoly. If any good comes of this, it will be to persuade poker players as a group that giving any one site so much dominance is not good, and that competition in the marketplace is vital. I was going to go on and give advice on the other sites and what's worth playing where, but that will have to wait until another blog since of course no sooner do I decide to write a blog about playing less on Stars than I go and chop the Supersonic.
It had been a frustrating Sunday to that point. I had built a lot of stacks but not converted anything and even my bread and butter satellites had gone bad. I took a really annoying beat in a Microgaming satellite when I was 2/5 with three times as many chips as 3/5, I flopped the nut straight against the chipleader who had slightly more than me. He didn't seem to realise we should be avoiding confrontation on ICM grounds with two packages up for grabs, and decided one pair was enough to call it off with. To my horror, I saw his one pair turned into runner runner house. Now I really wasn't feeling great, and was thinking of skipping the later stuff. Thankfully I've been doing a lot of work of my mental game recently, specifically rereading Jared Tendler and Tommy Angelo, and listening to Jared's podcast, as well as that of Eliot Roe and Dr. Tricia Cardner. The mental game is one area I haven't put a ton of work into down the years, primarily because I genuinely think it's naturally one of my strong points. But even if that's true and even if (say) I'm in the top 10% of players as far as mental toughness goes, there's always room for improvement.
So my initial "Screw this, I'm running crap today, everyone's getting it in horrible against me and getting there, I should just quit for the day" feeling lasted but a few seconds before I used the Tendler technique of injecting logic along the lines of "You're a professional, you should welcome the willingness of other players to get it in bad. It's going to happen on Sunday more than any other day with all the weekend warriors, which is why Sunday will always be your most profitable day, so forget about how you are running in this infinitesimally small part of your overall sample and just focus on playing as well as possible".
I don't really remember too much about the early stages but I had a stack pretty quickly and ran well all the way to the final table, which was 100% reg with some real beasts. When I saw the final table, I decided I'd happily chop at any point so I had the Deal option clicked throughout. Generally my policy is I will chop with other regs but I rarely if ever actively ask for one. When we got headsup I OPRed my opponent quickly and saw he had similar lifetime record to mine so I didn't think either of us had much edge. And in that game in particular, it being so shallow, I think it makes sense to chop. He had a big chiplead though so I guess he went for the quick kill first. When that didn't happen he must have checked Deal. Pretty much the easiest chop ever, neither of us insulted the other by haggling for more. Very similar script to my WSOP final table in Vegas now that I think about it. Laddering to headsup with a massive deficit but hanging on long enough to chop, then snap losing after the chop seems to be my specialty.
This was my second biggest online score ever, after my Super Tuesday chop described here. On that occasion, my beloved wife brought me crashing back down to earth when I told her about my result when she woke up:
"I cashed in that tournament. It just finished"
She looks at me a bit confused as to why I seem pretty pleased with myself.
"85 hundred. Wow! Great!"
"No. 85 grand"
Good enough for a squeal it seems. After said squeal though, her face suddenly looks slightly disppointed, and she says
"But it's only dollars, right?"
On this occasion, the conversation went thus:
Me: Good morning my love. I chopped a tourney on Stars for over 36K
Beloved: Stars? Is that a dollar or Euro site?
Supersonic is one of the final tables Stars makes available on the replayer so if you want to watch an old nit ladder to headsup then hang on for a chop, have a look in the next day or two before it disappears. Be warned though: the entire final table took less time than the average time it took Zvi Stern to fold preflop on the WSOP main event final table. I'm toying with the idea of making a series of videos on ICM and making it as definitive as I can and this would probably be good material for the series (on a side note: if you think you'd be interested, let me know. The more people I know are interested the more likely I moved this from my Want To Do But Never Get Around To Acually Doing list to my Actually Gets Done list).
Besides that result I've been doing very well online since I got home from Malta, and turned what was looking like another lacklustre year online by my previous standards into a good one (assuming I don't do my proverbials between now and year end). I have two more live trips planned. First up, a few days in Edinburgh next week for UKIPT (where I will be selling action for the High Roller: watch my Twitter for more on that if you're interested). After a week back home I then head to Prague for a couple of weeks to take in the WPT, Eureka and EPT.
I watched the WSOP main event final table in its entirety, something I've done every year since the November 9 was introduced. I love it: for poker players it's almost our Christmas, complete with loud obnoxious relatives (in the form of all the elite players who take to Twitter to berate the players and ESPN commentators). While I thought McKeehan was an extremely worthy winner (he played by far the best), and respect to Blumenfield who gave a great account of himself, I thought it was overall the most disappointing and lowest standard final table of recent years. Most recreational players I know who watched found it pretty dull fare, but as I said on Twitter, if you think that was dull, wait for the one where they spin the wheel at the start and find they're all playing for 2 dollars.