Friday, 21 October 2011

MCC Melbourne Cup Weekender & some live poker observations

Next weekend is the Melbourne Cup Weekender, to be held at Melbourne Chess Club (and Fitzroy Town Hall). I will be the arbiter for the event, which will be my first FIDE rated event as arbiter, and another step towards the FIDE Arbiter title.
The event starts on Friday night & has two rounds per day over the next four days, finishing on the Melbourne Cup public holiday Tuesday. Jack Hughes is the assistant arbiter for the event (he was another who passed the arbiter's seminar earlier in the year). The time control for the event is 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move (Fischer time control), and there is the potential for norms (although I think it will be unlikley in a large single-division swiss). At present there are a few IMs entered - Sydney's George Xie, Brisbane's Stephen Solomon & Canberra's Andrew Brown, as well as some strong players from Melbourne & interstate.
Depending on the availability of an internet connection at the venue (MCC should be fine, but I'm not so sure about the final day at Fitzroy Town Hall), I hope to provide some sort of coverage of the event on the blog. Ideally, this would take a form similar to what Carl Gorka has done for some of the Monday MCC events, with hourly updates, possibly including interesting positions. Something else that I may consider is daily video updates (possibly following the model of the Doeberl Cup), but again I think much of that will depend on how much time I have available, both during the event as well as at the end of the day after the games have finished.

In other news, the Ticket to Ryde series will be continuing in the coming days, and will hopefully be finished before next weekend. I had even recorded episode 5, but had some problems with the audio, so will need to record it again. In the last week I've helped run two interschools finals (the Secondary & Girls finals), as well as getting back into playing some live poker, in the absence of teaching work (casual work is generally reduced at this time of year as year 12 teachers are available to cover absent teachers & this makes more financial sense than hiring a casual teacher for the day).

The poker has been going well & I feel as though I am generally playing well, with the number of moments of stupidity & mistakes in general, happening far less often than they had been previously.
Some things I have noticed about the $1/2 no limit holdem games generally at Crown:
* The standard of play varies greatly across the player pool
* A vast majority of players don't like folding when they have put money in the pot, so you can use this to extract value from your big hands
* Conversely, the ability to bet/fold, particularly on the turn & river, is a very useful skill to have. Players generally don't raise the turn or river unless they have a big hand (typically 2 pair+), but will often call with weaker hands, so you can extract value from marginal hands & find out fairly easily when you are behind.
* Assigning hand ranges can often be difficult, as many players will play literally ANY two cards, regardless of position, raise sizing, number of players in the hand, etc. This is useful to keep in mind on later streets ... when you think someone wouldn't call a bet and a raise on a flop of K84 with a 6 in their hand when the board runs out 57, a hand like K6 or 86 (particularly SOOTED), is most definitely in a large number of people's range of holdings.
* Tilt is a major factor influencing winrates. 2 outers happen, people call when they don't have the odds to do so ... but you shouldn't let it affect future hands. If I lose a big hand from a bad beat, I think briefly about what I might have been able to do differently & then get on with the next hand.
* Related to this, if you notice a player at the table who is obviously upset by a hand, you can then use this to your advantage to try to extract money from them when they are playing badly.
Maybe a future poker-related video could be about live play ...

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