Monday, February 26, 2007

In Reflection of the 2006 WSOP

In Reflection of the 2006 WSOP

2006’s WSOP was a lesson on the dramatic impact of variance. Variance, in simple terms, means that you will win a certain number of hands based on your holdings versus your opponent’s holdings over time. An example would be A-K versus Q-Q, which is basically a coin-toss situation. Math dictates that you will win with either hand roughly half the time, Q-Q being the slight favorite. Variance, however, could mean that you win with the A-K 20 times in a row, but over time, the Q-Q will slightly overtake the A-K in the number of times it wins. Variance also means that you could lose with the Q-Q versus A-K, a seemingly impossible and mathematically improbable number of times. And the bigger the fields, the more variance you will see in each individual tournament.Over time, it will even out, but it will always seem like you lose more times than you should in bigger field tournaments. The problem is that you have to survive many more coin-toss situations and survive against more draws than you would face in turnouts with fewer players.In this year’s WSOP, you had to negotiate record-breaking attendance and what seemed at times to be insurmountable odds. The number of coin flips and dramatic situations you faced increased over previous years. The luck factor also increased over previous years, simply because of the number of players in each event.

Combating big fields

A few years ago, pros talked about small-pot poker in their approach to the WSOP Main Event. Although it’s a sound theory, the problem with it in these enormous tournaments is that you will simply face too many situations in which your chips will be in jeopardy. This means that different tactics are necessary, unless you’re intent on leaving everything to chance, hoping to pick up huge hands when it matters.Odds say, however, that you will not pick up those hands exactly when you need them. That means you have to change your tactics and practice new things to combat the changing dynamics of these tournaments. Players are generally more aggressive now and aren’t afraid to gamble with you. They are overplaying their hands and overvaluing their holdings, forcing you into confrontation more and more. I can’t even tell you how many times players moved me all-in during the WSOP tournaments when I was sitting there with top set on a safe-looking board, only to beat me with some obscure draw. In a case like that, there is really nothing you can do but pray that your hand holds.To combat those inevitable situations, I feel you need to take risks early in a tournament, with the objective of getting chipped up to absorb the inevitable beats and drawing situations that players will force you into. This affords you the opportunity to make plays that your opponents cannot reasonably make. It also gives you the necessary cushion you will need to survive those situations where you are forced to go all-in to protect your hand or when an aggressive player puts you all-in while he is on a play or draw.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Changing Face of WSOP Circuit Single Table Satellite Events

The WSOP's decision to change the winner and payout structure of Single Table Satellites will dramatically effect the value of using satellite events to gain buy-in chips for featured events.

I am unsure if this is a change for the Rincon Event or if it is just sort of the advent of the impact that the anti-online gambling legislation is already starting to have on the World Series of Poker Brand. My gut feelings tell me this new program is the future

Now the standard level of play is to play down to the final 2 rather than going until there is a table winner. So now rather than playing to win, you are playing for position. A difficult feat due to the suck out factor and the small amount of starting chips.

In the first WSOP Circuit Event I attended, which was in Lake Tahoe last June, I was able to win about 1/3 of the Satellite Events I played which gave me a fairly good bankroll of event buy-in tokens. In other words, $1500 in buy-in chips cost me on average $400. Before when I won a $120 Single Table Satellite I won $1000 in buy-in chips and $100 cash. Under the new plan, first and second both earn 1 $500 buy-in chip and $50 cash. The same process was used for Single Table Satellites at the 2006 World Series of Poker and the September WSOP Circuit event in Lake Tahoe.

Under this new program winning one in 3 Satellite events as illustrated above earns exactly half as much as it did before. Simply making most single table satellite tournaments not a viable means for gaining featured event buy-in chips at WSOP Circuit Events.

The cash paid out to play the single table satellites, to gain chips just increased 100% thus making any featured event with a buy-in of under $1500, cheaper to just buy in to the event.

I won over $11,500 in buy-in chips from Single Table Satellite Events in 2006 between the June Lake Tahoe Circuit, The 2006 WSOP in Las Vegas and the September Lake Tahoe Circuit Event. My Total Cost $2600. This clearly illustrates the value of winning Single Table Satellites, before and their lack of value now. The same chips won would cost over twice as much starting cash outlay. Also simply the time to play that many satellite events to gain the chips is prohibitive at a Circuit Event as they only run for about 10 days and Single Table Tournaments due not run 24 hours a day.

I consider myself a fairly experienced Single Table Satellite Player with a proven success ratio and I believe this may be a terrible mistake for the continued success and growth of the WSOP Circuit Events.

All this being said, I had a great week of wins in other tournaments and cash games, so I can't say all was lost. Big Wins on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

I am also glad Harrah's Rincon has decided that Poker is not an after thought after all and has brought the Poker Room up to the standards of other Harrah's properties, something that they have taken years to do.

Watch for me on NBC early next month. The schedule will follow and be posted here as it becomes available and in upcoming commercials for online retailer XpressTech.

I am also in talks for a Poker based Reality Program on Satellite Radio. This Program will also be simulcast over the Internet and have some live call in contests. Details will follow when the contracts are inked and the promotions start.

I will also be promoting Sector Watches from Sector USA. If you see me, ask me for a Demo and I will give you a discount certificate off of your purchase of a Sector Watch from XpressTech. My Sector Watch is truly my favorite Poker Accessory.