Thursday, June 3, 2010

Part IV: Courting my new girlfriend... WSOP 2010 Event #3 - Level 3

Level 3 Blinds 50-100

Mike Caro was right when he said in Doyle Brunson's Super System 2 - players who just won a pot typically play tighter. This is especially true if you just came from behind. The psychology behind it? Its like having a new girlfriend that you are into. You don't want to lose something you just found. You want to do your best to act responsibly and take care of her. In a sense you become infatuated with your newly found chips. You want to look at them. You want to count them. You are not excited to throw them in the middle just yet.

Of course there are players who play aggressively to try and create rushes, but in general I'm prone to fold to someone coming out aggressive after they just won a pot. In these situations I will consider playing only the loosest of players, or the double killers, looking to find a rush. If you have some decent poker players to your left the fold equity might lend some value to this kind of aggression (especially if you feign to suddenly lose interest in your new chips). If your left is full of calling stations who think myopically, you might as well just give your chips away.

After my good fortune of chipping up I became infatuated with the fact that I was, for the first time, over my starting chip stack. I tightened up and courted my stack for a while.

For me, waiting for a premium hand was of great value. I got to watch what all the other wolves did when fighting for the meat in the middle. I think that is what makes tournaments so much more interesting than cash games. Tournament players are far more aggressive at fighting for chips with sub-optimal hands than cash game players. In a sense they are trained to play such away because the mounting blinds and antes forces them to kill or be killed. It is a style that will get them slaughtered by the patient predators waiting for them at the cash tables.

Because individual tendencies are amplified during tournaments, they are much more fun to watch and make profiling players easier than in cash games.

Eventually seat #9 (post-flop elephant) was eliminated in a very elephant like way...calling his chips away endlessly. Seat #3 did a similar job, busting out when he eventually pushed his short stack into a limp-call from Sklansky who managed to keep a fire going for a little while longer.

Seat #9 was replaced with a big stack (around 8k) and a big ego. He was incredibly rude and berated the dealers endlessly. I have to admit some of the dealers at the WSOP were pretty awful. You did have to police others, and the dealer to make sure that things were done fairly and by the rules. There was a definite feel to this massive scene of poker players and inexperienced dealers of it being, in essence, a giant free for all.

Seat #6 seemed to shift gears to tight play as well, while Seat #1 and seat #9 started colliding. Seat #9 , was especially despicable in my eyes as he was the loosest and most aggressive player I had seen thus far. Watching these two wolves fight for meat was fun and valuable for level 4. At one point the two of them (both with stack >6k) had built close to a 3k pot with Seat #6 having top pair and crappy kicker and seat #9 winning with a garbagey bottom 2 pair, that he made on the river. It was fun watching seat #1 steam, looking for revenge by playing back even looser than usual at #9. Something I was to take advantage of later in level 4.

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