Friday, December 31, 2010

Bob Battersby does his civic duty

I was intending my last blog of the year to be a review of the year (still under construction) but I ended up getting a bit of a result in my last live outing of the year, the Fitz EOM, so I figure that's worth blogging.

The cliff notes I guess are started bad but then played optimal push/fold and flipped well. Drifted down to 6K in the early going before I got it all in with kings on an 8 high flop against an even shorter stacked Barry Donovan. I was 99% certain my hand was good at this point given the way the preflop and flop betting went, I thought Barry's range was virtually all draws. As it was his monster draw (flush and double belly buster) was actually favourite over my hand but my good pal Albert Kenny on dealing duty came through and managed to root two safe cards for me out of the deck for turn and river. I then bounced up and down a bit thanks to a combination of winning and losing against some short stack shoves until I shipped J8o in the sb into Tom Kitt's A7 in the BB and spiked a jack. You know you're running good when you win one of those against Kitty and it was the first of a few Dokings on the night. The most memorable Doking was against the legend that is Bob Battersby. One minute we were chatting amicably about online poker and he was telling me he only plays cash online now and is up 40K this year on William Hill, next minute I was shoving 63s from the sb into his very short stack in the BB just after the bubble. For an old guy his chips didn't half get in fast as he had ace 9 but of course an upside down nine popped out to send him reluctantly and noisily to the rail. He hung around for the rest of the tournament pointing me out to any new punters who might not be aware what an utter donkey I am. Very civic of Bob as I don't play often enough in the Fitz these days for all the regulars to realise the true depths of my donkery.

I started to get short relative to the blinds when I found a perfect reship spot. Paddy Hicks opened in mid position and AT looked plenty good enough in the SB to send my 20 bigs into the middle. Paddy more or less snapped with A3o and I held. Afterwards the other Fitz regs expressed surprise that my AT was ahead. How does Paddy still get away with it? He's been robbing their blinds and antes since 1953 with rag aces, face rags, suited conns and all sorts of spanners and still when he raises in there for the 100th time that night, guys are folding decent aces and pairs behind.

Near the bubble I played one hand which I probably would have played a lot differently earlier in the year. Utg opens for 3x (range 88+, AJ+ I think: he was limp calling with smaller pairs) and I find KK just behind. Any raise commits me against all the relevant stacks and with tons of trigger happy reshippers behind I elected to flat for a number of reasons, mainly hoping to induce a squeeze. Everyone else folds, the flop is A72r, and utg unexpectedly open ships. My first reaction is that can't really an ace can it now, why would he ship to fold out everything worse? There's no hand I can have he beats that has more than 3 outs so he doesn't need to protect his hand. So I call obviously. But then I thought hang on a second here, this is live, weird shit goes down all the time. Is he really banging it in with nines or tens hoping to gets jacks plus to fold? Or is he thinking oh look, there's my ace, bang it in. One of the biggest mistakes I see players both good and bad making is to think that other players think and play the same way you do when quite patently they don't. Just because I wouldn't think overbet shipping an ace would be the way to go here doesn't mean he wouldn't. I also remembered a conversation I had with James Browning in Galway recently where he talked about physical reads and the extra edge they give you live (at the time I remember thinking I've stopped paying as much attention to them as I used to, probably to my detriment). So I looked at this guy and my gut said he wasn't bricking it at the prospect of a call. So I folded, showing him the kings to try to get him to show, which he did (AQ). Soul reads ftw.

A little while later I picked up my only other real hand of the game, aces. I opened for my std not much more than a min raise and the BB tank banged it all in with QT. Flop was a rather sweaty KJx but I held. This got me out past 20 bbs for the first time and I felt good about pressing on until I came a cropper against Jay Renehan blind on blind. I raised AKs in the SB and Jay jammed over my cbet on a 7 high flop. I was getting almost 2 to 1 on the call so it wouldn't be the worst call ever. I had a runner runner flush and a runner runner straight so if I think my two overs are both live and good I'm priced in to call, and Jay can have drawy air here too, he certainly banging it in here with 2 overs and a flush draw. What tipped me towards the fold was it was pretty much all of my stack, I was under no immediate pressure to gamble, and there were likely to be much better spots.

On the final table I claimed a few more short stack scalps. Three handed Jay's son had half the chips, and me and the other guy were about the same. I got crippled blind on blind getting it in with fives v nines, but after a treble up I was threatening to get back into it when I get in with AKs against the same guy's ace ten, but the flop sucked: Atx. Can't really complain though as I ran really well to get that far. I was also extremely happy with my performance: as I said before I think my live game dipped a bit this year at times in comparison to my online game. It became too easy to write tournaments off thinking "ah sure I make more in an average week online than I'd get for winning this yoke" but you should never be going into any game giving less than your very best. Early on in my career Nicky Power joked that if I went two or three tournaments without a cash I thought I was running bad and didn't know what was happening, and it's true I've basically never had a sustained bad run live to date and I do genuinely feel that live the edge of the better players is so humongous that you can sustain itm ratios and ROIs that would be impossible online. John Eames said to me once good players should be cashing 35-40% of the time live and I think he's probably right.

Basically after a few lacklustre live performances I hauled myself into the front office, sat myself down, and gave myself a serious talking to about how you have to try to give every live outing 100% and you shouldn't be turning up if you're not going to. I've put a lot of thought into the differences between live and online, and what they mean for how you should play live. After that kick up the behind, I think I'm back to where I'm at least as good a live player as I am online.

One experiment I tried in this tournament tried to capitalise on the fact that I seem to find it easier to click into the zone online. When I looked at my hole cards, I immediately visualized them as they'd appear on my screen at home, and visualized the tables and players similarly as their on screen equivalents. And yes, before anyone says it, I'm quite aware of the fact that I'm a nutter :)


make sure u don't accidently click the all-in call button in your head when you're playing live...happens to me all th time!nice blog and good luck in the new year!

LOL, cheers, good luck in New Year


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