(11) TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY...
If you pitted Phil Gordon, Phil Hellmuth and Huck Seed in a fight against Freddie Deeb, Jerry Yang and Tony Bloom, who would come out on top? Would the shorties be able to bite a few ankles, or would they simply be squished in a matter of seconds by the beanpoles? If they can defeat them in double quick time, then the tall dudes can head home with their head held high, safe in the knowledge that David doesn't always beat Goliath without a pebble and a sling. However, what if the midgets cause them some problems, throw a few missiles from distance and gradually grind their oppenents into a fit of frustration. The Triple Towers may win in the end, but they'll have a few scars to show for their troubles, and will ultimately be asking themselves, "Was it worth it?"
This is the predicament that has faced me recently, and it is one that I was previously unaware of. Up until now, I've been focusing my attention on the players that sit with a minimum of $80. They tend to be very poor players on the whole and will often donk off their chips within seconds. However, the other day, I came across a chap who had his war face on and was battling harder than normal. After 100 minutes and a long see-saw battle that saw him double up on two occasions, I finally despatched of him and collected his $80 that I felt my consistency and unrelenting focus so richly deserved.
However, when glancing at my final figure, I noticed that I was inexplicabley down for the session. I double-checked my buy-ins, what he sat down with, individual hands and so on until I suddenly spotted the rake stat on Poker Tracker. A quick run through the stats and it would appear that even though I'd cleaned him out, I had in fact ended up with a defect due to being raked circa 100 bucks. The only winner was blonde poker, which although I work for them, is actually quite demoralising when considering nearly two hours of my life was sent hurtling down the kazi.
At this point, it suddenly dawned on me why most of the regulars refuse to play anyone who sit with less than, say, half the maximum buy-in, because if they don't beat them within the hour, they're probably going to go away with diddly squat, and that's assuming that they do indeed felt their opponent. It's not unreasonable to think that the chap with $80 is a decent player, and may double up and cause havoc for the more experienced player. The odd thing is that if this does happen, and they do reach the dizzy heights of two or three hundred, then you might as well play them given that each hand, rake, etc is independent. It's a part of mathematical theory that I will never fully comprehend.
Now I know what damage the rake on heads-up can do, I'll certainly be more selective with who I play. For a start, I've assigned a new label to my opponents, that of Shortstack Grinder, which will act as a warning that my opponent sits with the minimum, or thereabouts, yet is either a relatively accomplished player who can grind it out with the best of them, or someone who simply won't ship it in within a few hands. Many players still do the latter, so I won't be giving up on the shorties just yet, I just have to ensure that I nip it in the bud as soon as I identify my opponent as one of those duck posteriors.
On the flipside, and to dispel the theory that the Jack Strauss sky-scrapers of the online $2/4 heads-up world aren't always the mutt's nuts, I played one hand yesterday against someone who sat with $400 and doubled up instanlty when he paid off my Flopped set of Deuces with Ace High. He turned a flush draw, and that was enough for him to ship in three hundred or so of Americas finest. Fortunately, he didn't make his flush (that, if anything, would have tilted me), but he did score a pair of fours, although I thought it best not to exclaim "You hit!" at the end of the hand.
To play or not to play... that is the question. The answer? Well, I'll still take on all comers, but be sure to scarper as soon as I detect that it's not a +ve move to play them. By the way, I think Hellmuth would still get beaten up by the shorties; I can just picture Freddie Deeb and Tony Bloom grabbing a leg each and chomping away at eleven bracelets worth of flesh.
biggest pot won: $800.00
biggest pot lost: $145.68
time at the table: 2hr 2min
profit = $287.94
blonde poker account = $3,676.88
$1,323.12 to go before the tax man goes away
Days played = 11
total time played = 36 hrs 33 mins
current $ per hour = $68.80
current $ per day = $216.80