Friday, January 11, 2008

On Procrastination...

First, Kat's got the latest Eh-Vegas deets up. Go check 'em out, I'll wait.

So you're coming, right? The igloos are all cleaned, the polar bears have been shooed away, and the seal hunt should be very productive. Remember, the pups are the most tender. You should see the strippers too. After the 17th layer of furs is off... HAWT!

Man, you are so gullible. It's not like that at all here. They only wear 10 layers. It's not Winnipeg. The Canadians are laughing now. The Yanks are scratching their heads and/or bellies in confusion. Replace "Winnipeg" with "Fargo" and you'll get it.

Basically, it's 1:39pm, and I can't believe it's not 3 yet. I'm avoiding work. Funny that. I've already ranted about the Leafs and given out Ballet info. So what to write about? Poker maybe? Can't say I really have much new to say on the subject. I'll randomly take some words and see if I can come up with something poker-related.

Wow.. that was interesting. "poker monkey esso spectrum analgesic" is not a very useful Google search.

But it did have the word "ante" in the top result. Let's go with that. I promise nothing revolutionary, but you never know what might strike a chord.

Back in "the day", when all I knew about was draw poker (let's say I was 12 or 13), the ante was king. I'd never heard of a "blind". You tossed in your chip to play the hand. It was the way of things. Phrases like "penny-ante" or "ante up!" made sense.

Then I discovered Hold 'em (let's say I was 25 or thereabouts... yah, bit of a run of ignorance in there), and was introduced to the blinds. I was very confused. Small blind? Big blind? How could you tell the difference? It's totally unfair that I have to pay but nobody else does. This makes no sense! That lasted about 2 orbits. But where had the antes gone?

Then I found out they come much later, and then only if you play tournaments. Again, I was confused. Why do we need antes now? Blinds were working just fine. Now you want MORE of my money when I might not even want to play my cards? WTF? And why is this only sometimes? How come some places don't have an ante? Again, after sitting and thinking for a moment, it all kind of made sense.

Nothing should open your eyes to tournament structure more than the introduction of antes. They change the game profoundly. The number of orbits you can survive drops drastically as you're now adding at least 225 chips per orbit you have to pay out on top of the blinds. Say it's 100/200/25. 3000 chips, instead of being an M of 10 at 100/200, is now an M of 5.7. You'd better hurry up and play Mr. tighty-pants.

But as with most things in poker, you're paying this extra price for something in return. In this case, it's everyone else's antes. Watch the table tighten up as people realize they stack is less healthy than a level before. If you're live, the confusion of having to put in that extra chip plays a deep psychological role as well. People tighten up. Position's value just increased tremendously. Steal those antes and blinds. So much dead money in the pot without anyone playing a damned thing. If you're playing online, the confusion is replaced by ignorance and apathy. People don't even realize an ante is being taken from them then, and don't adjust their play accordingly. Again, an opportunity for some steals and draws to pay off huge.

Pay attention to your bet-sizing when the antes kick in too. 3x the BB without antes means someone outside the blinds is looking at calling 3:2 odds of the pot. Once antes kick in, that same 3x bet means that same person is calling just over 2:1 for the pot. That's no small difference in pot odds. Ignorance of this fact can lead to missed opportunities for the caller and seemingly bad beats against the raiser.

What antes SHOULD do is open up the aggression. If it's a blogger game, this means you have to weather push-n-pray bingo until stacks get consolidated into larger amounts. If it's a bigger tournament, it means fighting against selective aggression from the 1 or 2 players who are paying attention. In reality, antes tend to open up the weak/aggressive divide even more. The tight players will make moves at pots with hands they're willing to see cards with, and will ramp up the aggression with solid hands only. The loose ones will go with ATC based purely on position or the play at the table. Weak players will fold themselves into oblivion and lie down to reraises with anything other than premium cards. Aggressive players will be the ones taking advantage of this. Again, the amount of dead money in the middle of the table makes risk-taking far more worthwhile for some. Stealing a couple pots pre-flop will do wonders for your chipstack. Enough that if you get caught once in awhile, you can afford to recoil back, hissing and clawing.

If you're a shortstack when the antes kick in, this is your time to fly up that ladder. The chips you're losing every time you don't play are far more valuable than they are to the big stacks. Remember, the increased pot sizes means your fold equity has just dropped dramatically, so take advantage of what little you have. Hmm.. fold equity. That's another post.

So antes. Love 'em or hate 'em? Personally, I like them fine in a slow structure, but they absolutely suck in a rapidly-escalating blind structure, where you're already looking at a low average M with no end in sight. 10-15min online, or 30 min live and antes are okay by me. Less than that and you're just flipping a coin by the end.

Wow, that's far more than I expected to write about a random poker topic.

Right! Procrastination... I'll get to that later.

4 comments:

BamBam said...

Bam-Bam quickly checks his blogpatrol and WTF ???

With the crap that people are finding Bedrock with, how is it possible that it was not site #1 after "poker monkey esso spectrum analgesic?"

Propping on weirdest get there... happens to be a sick hobby for brudder Carson and I.

Oh yeah, I was gonna' say something about the post.

Aaaaah.. I'll get to it later!

BamBam said...

Da-da-daa-da-da.. GO-PACK-GO !!!!

The Poker Grind said...

bounty tourney tonight on full tilt , 10PM EST , password is thepokergrind , try to make it

The Poker Grind said...

bounty tourney tonight on full tilt , 10PM EST , password is thepokergrind , try to make it