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Articles by Alex Rousso
- The Guy Who Just Won't Shut Up (16/05/2013)
Occasionally we find ourselves sat next to a customer who’s such a pain in the arse, we wonder why we do it. I’m talking about The Guy Who Just Won’t Shut Up (TGWJWSU)
- Time to deflate the bubble? (26/04/2013)
There was a time when one of the biggest opportunities to exploit opponents in poker was on the bubble of a tournament. They had read once in Sklansky that it was rational to fold Aces and that had a nice ring to it.
- What Poker has Taught Me About Gambling (Elsewhere) (11/03/2013)
Readers of my column will have seen how, over the years, I’ve written more about the gambling side of poker, and become less convinced by poker’s success stories.
- Small raise or open shove from the button? (04/02/2013)
One of the trickiest stack sizes to play is15-20BB, or roughly 6-8M. It’s considered by some to be too big for an open shove, but small open raises can leave one with some pretty tough decisions.
- Exploiting Tournament Structures (17/01/2013)
Sometimes the very structure of a tournament gives a player an EV advantage over others.
- What's the rake in big blinds at each level? (04/12/2012)
This means that the higher you go up the stakes, the less rake you pay in relation to the big blind.
- Twitter Feeds and Table Draws (29/10/2012)
The Hendon Mob website recently added the option for players to include their twitter feed on their database entry. This presents in interesting quandary for players: to add it or not?
- Juicy Game? (02/10/2012)
Live poker tournament constantly evolves. Vegas during the World Series is a good place to assess the current mood. Whatever catches on there usually echoes through the poker world.
- Punching Myself Repeatedly in the Head (11/09/2012)
It's no secret that these days online games are much tougher than they used to be.
- A Free Man in Paris (02/08/2012)
Travelling abroad to play poker always has a double edge to it.
- Return on Investment (12/07/2012)
It’s a simple figure for how much you are expected to make on average per tournament, expressed as a percentage of the average buy in.
- The Biggest Leak: Social Media (28/06/2012)
The optimism was understandable... brave new world where exchange of information would bring about the apotheosis of human culture.
- Luck Horizon (06/06/2012)
The long run is longer than you think’ and ‘variance in some forms of poker is higher than in others.
- How to Get Rich Playing Poker, Part 2: Exploiting the Matthew Effect (11/04/2012)
Last month I looked at how to get rich playing poker. I considered there to be two ways. The easy way was, I admit, a bit of a con...
- How to Get Rich Playing Poker, Part 1: The Matthew Effect (03/02/2012)
This time, I'll tell you the easy way to get rich playing poker.
- Stringer Bell (06/01/2012)
It should have been a wake up call for us. Those silly people have some control over what we do, and they've been flexing their talons - ready to grab - for some while now.
- Marginal Hands in Shoving Situations (15/12/2011)
One situation every tournament player finds themselves in often is the decision to shove or not with a marginal hand.
- Bust Out Characters (17/11/2011)
Most poker psychology books point out that when you're at your lowest emotional ebb, that's when the real you comes out.
- Brace-aments are too Much of a Gamble (04/11/2011)
Brace-ament: n. Bracelet event which is essentially a crapshoot with an edge.
- How Profitable is Live Poker? (01/09/2011)
How much can pro players make playing live? At this time of year, many players heading off to the WSOP are looking to play in the live arena for a month when their day job is grinding online. Especially after Black Friday, live poker is more likely now to become their day job.
- Skill Game (22/08/2011)
"“Now that there will be fewer fish in the Main Event," went the reply, "perhaps it will be more of a skill game."
- Life Variance (12/07/2011)
You may have heard of "Life Tilt". This month I want to introduce a new term: Life Variance. I love poker terms which cross over into general life. They allow us poker obsessives to assert that our pastime has actually helped us grow as people.
- Predicting what happens next? Looks like it’s a bit of a gamble. (13/06/2011)
March 3rd could have been a momentous day in the history of online gaming. It was the last day New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could have vetoed a bill allowing internet gambling in his State. If he had not acted by the end of the day, the bill would have become law.
- Making Poker "Legit" (06/05/2011)
Can poker join the ranks of legitimate spectator sports?
- Tournament Poker Therapy, Part 3: Creating New Ways to Cope (04/04/2011)
We will look at the tools to help understand and develop solutions to psychological problems and weaknesses in poker. If possible, we’ll get you asking questions about how these problems became problems in the first place.
- Tournament Poker Therapy, Part 2: Identifying Poker Pain (17/03/2011)
Understanding why the psychic pain might be there in general is the next part of the process. Ultimately, you want to find out how these processes apply to you.
- Tournament Poker Therapy, Part 1: Pain and Heather Graham (07/03/2011)
If tournament poker were a lottery where the prize was to spend a night with Heather Graham, the prizes would be as follows. Ninety-nine of the nights would end with you being punched in the stomach by Heather, and one would end with you sleeping with her.
- The Misuse of Pot Odds Pre-Flop (21/02/2011)
I think a lot of amateur poker players make this mistake. It concerns the belief that one has the odds to call a raise based on the textbook odds of one hand against another.
- How Prediction in Poker Should be Scientific, Part 2: WSOP Dream, WSOP Reality (31/01/2011)
Prediction is a funny animal. In the layperson’s world it works by picking just such a group of people, and if one of the “darts” hit, crowing about it, and if none do, just leaving it and moving on.
- How Prediction in Poker Should be Scientific, Part 1: The Octopus is Psychic (21/01/2011)
The issue of making predictions and covering success in poker has become a bit of a crusade for me. I've always wanted to inject a bit of scientific analysis into everyday poker commentary.
- Combating the LAGfish (23/12/2010)
In the good old days, categorising players was quite easy. As poker education became more popular, things got more complicated. New breeds of player emerged.
- Five ways to pretend to be good at poker (02/12/2010)
Being at the WSOP you can really play some poker. Without the distractions of everyday life back home.
- The Vegas Trip Simulator (15/11/2010)
Thousands of players will have flown in to Las Vegas from all continents in an attempt to immortalise themselves in the poker world. Around 50 of them will leave with a 2010 WSOP bracelet on their wrist. How many arrive thinking they will leave with one?
- Deeper Stacks, Shallower Pockets: a guide to the side festivals during the World Series of Poker (22/10/2010)
For the vast majority of poker players, going to Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker is unrealistic. Thankfully, in the last few years a number of side festivals have mushroomed up which in some way emulate the Series, but are for the much shallower of pocket.
- How to compare tournament structures (17/09/2010)
Over the past few years live tournament structures have definitely got better. However, it’s not always obvious what the benefits are.
- How does staking work? (03/09/2010)
Just how much cynicism and misunderstanding there is of our game. Whether JJ was a good bet or not, they (Dragon's Den) failed to realise that this was a business proposition like any other they see every day.
- Human donkey wins poker tournament - hard work and skill attributed to success (06/08/2010)
Poker pundits and hacks on the rail scratched their heads as the Brit ploughed through the field amassing chips with a truly awesome display of out-draws, donk bets which turned out to be good, and generally indifferent play that nonetheless managed to win Shetland the title.
- String-bet Nazis Must Die! (22/07/2010)
What a wonderful word “Jobsy” is. It’s a peculiarly British word. Not because being Jobsy is a peculiarly British thing to be, but because only the British would actually come up with a word to slag someone off who was being so.
- Is poker a young man’s game? (27/05/2010)
There’s an experience in poker which I want to put a name to. Let’s call it the Grinder’s Lament.
- The Vegas Spin Up (07/05/2010)
Bankroll management? Bankroll Schmanagement! That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned from running the seminars at the Bluff Europe Poker Academy.
- Dealer's Choice is the new Hold Em (23/04/2010)
If my column is anything to go by, some time after 2015 there will be no more fish left in the game.
- Running to Stand Still (05/03/2010)
In business it’s assumed that if you do not go out there and secure more customers, your turnover will decrease. There’s a kind of entropy in the competitive world which means that if you stand still, everyone else’s striving for progress means that you actually go backwards. By extension, in order to stay where you are, you actually have to try to move forward.
- The Hand "You Can't Get Away From" (11/02/2010)
I’d like to introduce to you a concept that I read about in Jeff Hwang’s new book, even before it has hit the shelves. I got an advanced copy of it by turning up to the Excalibur in Vegas where Jeff has been hosting a PLO game on the PokerTek tables there for the past few months.
- The Way of the Exploding Text Book (14/01/2010)
We’re breaking the first rule of Fight Club. Bluff Europe now has its very own Poker Academy, ever more training sites are springing up on the web, and there is now an established profession of “poker coach”. Opportunities to improve your game have never been so prevalent.
- The Evolution of the Las Vegas Card Room (20/11/2009)
For years playing poker only meant one thing. Whether it was the smoky back rooms of British spielers, or the gambling dens and river boats of the Mid West, poker was a game you played live. The next stage in the evolution of poker is...
- He flips over Aces, and the crowd goes wild... (26/10/2009)
A game of skill or chance? The talk of the US government reversing their decision which effectively banned online poker for their citizens has brought the question back to the fore.
- The Myth of Tournament Winnings (10/09/2009)
Being that I was playing mostly online, I was starved of information about my opponents. I remember how depressed I was at the vast numbers of players who would report, offhand, about how they had won the $100k guaranteed a couple of times.
- The Patience of Job (26/08/2009)
There’s a certain sense of inevitability about that next bad beat when you’ve had a run of seven beats in a row. You’re all in, the guy turns over a flush draw and you put your best sarcastic voice on: “I wonder if you’ll hit?” you say.
- Things to Do in Vegas When You're Dead (Tired) (05/08/2009)
I just flew five thousand miles, spent a couple of grand, and flew five thousand miles back again, not to mention spending four hours delayed in McCarran airport (thanks Virgin). What have I got to show for it? Nada.
- How Many Poker Player are Really Losers (23/07/2009)
The quote, admittedly a throw away comment, was that 99% of poker players are losers overall. Whether or not anyone really believes the figure is that high, it reminded me that most people vastly overestimate the percentage.
- Building the Raft While Staying Afloat on It (16/07/2009)
Bankroll management in your normal game can be a bit like a rollercoaster: the ups and downs are a thrill, but at least you know you’re safe.
- Die, Shortstack! Die! Part 2 (08/07/2009)
Why cash game players who deliberately employ a short stack strategy can be a pain in the bankroll?
- Please don’t Feed the Fish (02/07/2009)
Alone, in a room, miles from anyone, a man is glued to his computer screen. Two screens, actually. He is feverishly typing away at his keyboard, and if we look closely, we can see gritted teeth.
- Die, Shortstack! Die! Part 1 (24/06/2009)
The trouble with having a small dog is that when you’re bumbling about the house, the critter always gets under your feet. Small things can be a real terror. So it can be with small stacks in a cash game.
- Jerusalem Syndrome (10/06/2009)
The legend is that if you stay in Jerusalem long enough, a form of madness comes over you. They call it Jerusalem Syndrome.
- Five new kinds of tilt (28/05/2009)
It’s easy to record your results when you’re playing well. The trick is to record your results all the time.
- They don't believe you (08/04/2009)
I like this girl. There’s something she does with her hair; twists the edges of her fringe, then flattens them to make them stick; but then they bounce back up again. So far, she seems to like me too. I watch her as she lazily picks up her wine glass and brings it to her lips, takes a short sip, and looks up at me.
- Going Up a Level (25/03/2009)
What have they got that I haven’t got? Either as a railbird online, watching the celebs and poker pros tough it out at nosebleed stakes, or trying to look casual while staring too long at the high stakes area in the casino, you may well ask yourself that question. You may think as the thousands shift back and forth that these stony characters are poker gods.
- The Traffic Light of Tournament Selection (11/03/2009)
- I'd rather be Lucky than Good (04/03/2009)
You’re a genius. You’re averaging $100 per hour at cash games. You have a return on investment of 300% for tournaments. The phone is ringing, the magazines want an interview; you’re being touted as the next Gus Hansen. Trouble is...
- The Importance of Implied Odds in Big Bet Poker (14/01/2009)
At my home game a while back a friend caught me counting my chips when making a decision to call a raise preflop. It was one of those times when, lost in a friendly game, you haven’t noticed that your stack has whittled down and it’s way past the time to rebuy.
- Is the Money Disappearing Out of Hold'em? (06/01/2009)
An old timer at the Vic in London once told me about a game he used to go to in the Seventies. The workers from the North Sea oil platforms would be on shore leave for a few days and there would be a game greeting them. You can imagine the scene: burly men, pockets laden with danger money, and a few days of escape from their windswept home floating in the middle of the bitter cold sea.
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