15/12/2008

Getting the Job Done

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

My recent foray into large MTT’s has proved educational at the very least if nothing else (certainly hasn’t been profitable yet). But I have struggled at the outset and breaking clear of a cash game mentality isn’t easy. But then again neither is chopping and changing poker forms either, something that I adamantly proposed that you should not do in one of the very first articles that I ever wrote for this site about specialising.

But the past two tournaments have been far better and now I am sitting and waiting more and not panicking when I fall behind the curve. I have done a rapid reading of Harrington’s books recently and they are good stuff but then you don’t need me to tell you that.

But I am starting to have my doubts about the Zonal M system, I am not saying that it is rubbish (far from it) as anything that Dan writes is of a very high quality. It’s just that I think it does leave players feeling pressured into doing something too soon.

Once you get beyond the leading few players, the rest of the field tends to be very condensed and it only takes a couple of good pots and you are seriously back in contention to not just cash but to actually go very deep and even win the thing. But I didn’t want to make this article about online MTT’s but just felt that this was a good way into my actual point.

What it shows is that there is a very large amount of adapting that needs to be done in order to transfer success from one online environment to another. But it can be done and all it takes is a little work and perseverance. But this metamorphic state is present with us every single day in online poker. It isn’t noticeable on a day to day basis just like night turning into day cannot be identified on a minute by minute basis.

But over the years I have encountered some colossal changes not just in the poker world but the gambling world full stop. But even the arrival of the UIGEA pales into comparison with the arrival of the betting exchanges a few years back and probably the abolition of betting tax as well.

It is why I am not a big fan of betting systems however intricate they are because they are all vulnerable to this constant metamorphosis that is inherent in the world of gambling. But one of my recent articles and posts caused a bit of a stir with certain people recently but this does highlight certain fragilities with regards many poker players and people who make money from betting full stop.

To quote a line from Gene Hackman in the movie “Crimson Tide”... “You don’t just fight battles when everything is hunky dory”. Applying this line to poker simply means that you cannot have it all your own way all the time and to expect it to be so is for want of a better word... naivety.

But there has been much said about the ever growing numbers of minimum stackers that are present online and many people have views of these players that probably rival their views on child molesters and rapists. But what you have to remember is that these players are playing this way for numerous reasons. Firstly they are obviously risk averse but why should a person who was risk averse be forced into playing deeper when they obviously do not feel comfortable in doing so.

You cannot assume that if this player was forced into playing deeper that they would continue to play poker at all. One of the problems that all online cardrooms face is in getting the huge numbers of play money players off those tables and actually playing with real money.

A problem that they face is overcoming a certain type of mindset and I will use my partner here as an example. She makes business decisions every day of every week for thousands of pounds but yet she baulks every year come Grand National time at the sheer thought of putting a fiver on a horse (I refuse to walk into a bookies and place a bet on her behalf for any less than this).

What this means is that risk aversion is dominant in a large percentage of the population and even those that may actually be using far greater amounts down other areas than they would be risking by playing poker or in this example, betting on a horse. But casinos need punters who walk through the door and only risk twenty quid and betting exchanges need the large numbers of punters who wager tiny amounts for the simple reason that they create liquidity and with it profits.

What would you rather have, ten million potential poker players all playing for play money or would you prefer those ten million players actually playing the game but minimum stacking? But minimum stackers are not hard to beat, they are on the whole, risk averse players who are playing to a system most of the time and it isn’t hard to pin down their ranges.

There are actually serious potential consequences for sites taking action against minimum stackers because you are actually risking reducing the liquidity and not increasing it. People play poker or gamble within their own individual comfort zones and they shouldn’t be dragged out of that just because a few players moan about it who want everything their own way and would prefer novice players to be playing deep stacked so they can earn more money. Well guess what... you don’t just fight battles when everything is hunky dory so live with it.

About the Author