November 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Not the musical. The WSOP version. I viewed the final table. Wow! Was kismet the controlling factor. There were poker intellects involved; they were just in hiding.

A while back I had a wizzing contest with a wise ass kid poker journalist over a hand. He kept going on with what amounted to a blind steal against a player that was all in. He was actually behind when he bet -- stealing the side pot. Joe Cada is the penultimate example of why you don't want to do that. There was another player that chip and a chaired his way to the final table.

Ivey played a tight (old man's?) game. I've been watching him on The Million Dollar Cash Game and it is a different player. He'd have probably been 'himself' if he hadn't come and gone as one of the short stacks.

Darvin Moon's version of being table captain is only going to win one amateur night at the Bijou. He failed to read the risk:reward portion of that chapter. He evidently felt slighted with remarks always being the ABC guy. But, he managed playing heads up in decent fashion and had Cada – the acknowledged heads up maven – on the ropes. Cada even remarked he played well in a way that appears almost genuine.

I suppose I could find something nice or not so to say about every player; but, why bother. We seldom remember who finished second and never remember third which was the Frenchman who might have played best overall. He'd probably have done the WSOPE some good in getting those insecure Frogs to the tables without a waiter's apron over their bellies.

Overall the table proved the race doesn't always go to the swift. There wasn't as much apparent acumen involved as some may wish. Short play is playing the player and using the stack you have properly. That doesn't come across as genius or perfection at the best of times. Discernment becomes less about the card and that skill doesn't lend itself to great report cards.

Did I take anything away from all this? Not really. We're all smarter than the players when we see the hole cards. If your idea is to actually learn something, watch EPT or WSOPE or A or whatever the next pack of letters is that they throw in the soup that lets you watch the final table in real time.

What you'll learn about is that boring tournament viewing where you almost never see a showdown is to learn something that doesn't come across well in books. That is risk:reward. We get the pieces from books but they are like an IKEA cabinet – unassembled. The final tables bring together those who managed to fit the pieces without the instruction manual being provided.


This may be the best informational blog I've done. Not that there is a high standard in that. If you watch some of those www.PokerStars.TV final tables you will improve your understanding in a way that transcends whatever knowledge you started with. Viewing the final table with hole cards really masks all that as we've just seen.

You'll get a grasp that I haven't been able to find any other way. Daniel Negreanu tries to explain it as well as any and still doesn't get it all the way across. Tournament play is -EV for almost all. It is a harder way to show a profit than any of the other options. But, if you understand how to manipulate risk:reward you'll do better than the pack. You'll finally be forced to all that A-game or level thinking crap that a big part of it; but you'll have put yourself – with a nice stack or not – at a point where that is the part where it now and finally takes presidence.

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