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Monday, February 06, 2006 


Just got busted out the 500 buy-in, 20-man SnG at JGPT with my A-Joff against someone who called my all-in with J-Toff, getting the 10 on the flop. That's life.

After booking another SnG loss, i started to think about what was really wrong with the way i play. I honestly believe that i have been playing well and that i could, theoretically, play at a higher level (if i just had the roll) and still consistently get positive results. I just recently experienced a big month of losses, and am currently crawling my way back to regain the lost bankroll. It's a real grind, but i love what i'm doing so i dont really mind. It just gets pretty frustrating sometimes, making the right moves and going in with the best hand, only to get busted by a lucky draw.

it dawned on me that most of the RP tournament poker scene is based on a somehow flawed structure. Correct me if i'm wrong, but at the 5th level of blinds, average stack should not be 8-times the big blinds! i mean, it's all in or fold, cross your fingers and hope to hit the flop poker! It just sucks the skill element of post-flop play right out of the game. We have become so accustomed to playing "turbo" poker. 15-20 minute blinds, ridiculously high blinds increase structures, etc., that i'm afraid that we are not really preparing ourselves properly for a more international arena of poker. Successful online players, some of them making 6-figure incomes annually while still not even old enough to go inside a casino, are a very good source of valuable inputs and info that can help any aspiring player. Go to and be amazed at this 19 year old kid who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars online. Just by looking at his results and some other successful players, i realized how big of a fish i really am, and not just me, but 99% of the players i know too. The realization that man, we are so way behind in terms of experience, smacked me right in the head. It frightened me to think that maybe, just maybe, we have been doing it all wrong all this time.

I was doing some comparisons and research on poker tourneys and games, and i saw that in most big tournaments, at the final table, a "small" stack is about 10-15xBB. The average stack is usually 30-40xBB. I saw one tourney where a player had 105,000 in chips at the final table, the blinds were at 4000-8000, and he still considered it to be a "small" stack. Shouldn't that be the way it should be? I'm pretty sure that if the circumstances are like that, more skilled and experienced player wont have too much of a hard time going deep into tournaments and being consistent winners. I also believe that the notion that tournaments will last forever in a structure like this is false. Even if the blinds are small, it is still a NO-LIMIT game, and people will still get busted out the same. I believe people will even play more hands, and thus, result in more action and a more exciting, fast paced tournament.

I think we have to set up a tournament soon, and we will adopt a structure that we will get from one of the international tournaments out there. It's the only way to know, and through this, we will get a feel of how professional tournaments are played. I'm betting that tournament results will be more consistent and predictable. More skilled and experienced players will ITM more often, and the beginners will have a harder time cracking the games, don't you think?

We will try to adapt these structures in future tournaments, and we will see what kind of feedback we get from the players. I'm pretty sure it will be a positive one. I'm all for the improvement of the local poker scene, and i believe this is a step towards more "intelligent" gameplay. Hey, if you have ideas that you think can help our poker scene, go ahead and bring it up!

Till next time, May the edge be with you.

Bro, I really agree with you. I know that in the WSOP main event, each level is an hour long. Some say we really can't compare it to here because of their massive buy in. $10000 vs P500, but I don't agree with this.

We should extend our levels coz we dont have fast enough dealers to give us more hands by the hour. What's worse is that we often time deals ourselves. We have to give major time considerations for that.
I've been getting more than 75 hands per hour playing the 10 player SnGs over at Pacific Poker.

But it also got me thinking. Maybe the quality of play here is that bad as of the moment that people tend to play so many hands, and when the blinds increase, they already lost most of their stack. Could be....

Just my two cents

'...More skilled and experienced players will ITM more often, and the beginners will have a harder time cracking the games, don't you think?'

I completely agree with maverick's statement. Present tournaments are structured to weed out all noobs, fish, calling stations whatever you call them. Being a skillful and knowledgable poker player will have a greater chance of ITMing or winning the whole thing.

Indeed we are running turbo tourneys here in the Philippines and I would not deny that. I think, it is more practical to play turbos NOW with the present stakes. (Tourny fees are around 20k max) I wouldn't think it would be a good idea to run an un-turbo tourney (levels 60mins to 90mins long) at THIS time, because people would still prefer grinding at the ring tables because there's less variance... but tourney-wise we will get there soon.

I think that the two determining factors of a non-turbo tourney are the buy-ins & amount of players... again, we will get there we are still growing... hehe

I'm dreaming of the day when The Hyatt Casino Manila would run a 2-day NLHE tourney with 1000 people. hehehe its possible eh?

that day will come...

yeah youre right. The present stakes (500-1000 buy-ins, etc) do not make it worth the time to play longer.

BUT STILL, it would make sense to at least get a feel of how a real tournament is like, and sometimes a 1500 or 2000 buy-in 2-3 table game with a 15K-20K first prize is, at least for me, worth a whole day of my time. hey, thats more than a regular months' salary here!

grouch, you really cant compare online to live dealing. hands per hour at a vegas table (based on what ive read) can be up to 25-30hph, while online play, being computerized, can deal up to 100 hands per hour.

we're gonna have a game soon, substantial pot, 3-4 tables, and a structure that will reward the best player. you guys better come play hehe.

May i weigh in here as a guy who can be (perhaps correctly) accused of running turbos (well, not as turbo as some others but that's another story).

Let's look at the reality of the current infrastructure. Up until the Airport Casino opened up its doors to tourneys, we as a group have been constrained by one major factor.


When we played outside the casino environment, we could usually be found in backyards, condos, and later, hotels. It's kind of tough to run a mid-to-large-field event in a day. Extending level times to, say, 60 minutes was and to this day has been a non-starter. My five-table tournaments easily push six hours or more.

Of course, the other option is to step our levels more conservatively, giving skill a larger chance to shine within the tournament proper. But that beats us back into the reality of having to battle time. I for one believe that my structures are among the least aggressive out there, and attempt to give skill ample opportunity in the early to mid levels to triumph over luck (understanding, of course, that short-term luck and variance are more pronounced in tournament settings than they are in the ring). But because of time (and hence, cost - remember, for some of us organizers, there is no real money in delivering tourneys - we have to step it up at the late levels.

I've always structured my Texas Hold'Em tourneys to end roughly around the level at which the BB is equivalent to the starting stack. So, for example, at a 1K starting stack, I try to shoot for the end of the tourney by the time blinds are at, say, 500/1000. Often the vagaries of play will push it past that, but not much. I generally give 50xBB as a starting stack to give people room to play at the early stages. After the BB=starting stack point, i'm not afraid to get agressive with blind increases because the intent is to end it, and end it soon.

Having said all that, I would love for the day to arrive when we can run a large (300+) field, two-or-more day event with a structure that massively favors skill over luck.

The necessary conditions for this are:

1. Time: the facility/casino will need to allow two or more days of tournament activities

2. Buy-in: Must be comparatively large to entice players to commit two days of their lives.

3. A guaranteed prize pool: to increase the chances of strong seat sales.

When I, as one little voice in the wilderness, can find those conditions, you can rest assured that you guys will get your wish ;).

maybe 15 minute blinds are just too much hehe.

my argument about time is that maybe people tend to play too tight and just hang on for dear life instead of going in there and playing real hands of post-flop play. we should just try it, see what will happen, in our next tourney. maybe same strucutre of blinds, but 45 min levels? or slower increase of blinds, at 25-30 min levels? it's still considered turbo to most, but here that would be relatively long levels.

i say i'm willing to spend a day of my life to win what could be a months salary here in the RP.


I don't mind turbo SNGs... ;) ;) ;) muwahahaha

The structures aren't all that bad, i mean, they ARE turbo games and we know that, and skilled players still have an edge, although very slight.

I'm just really more concerned about not gaining enough experience on the level of play that i want to achieve. I see players like mishca or barb, who are "pros" in their own right, have no problem cracking the ring games or the SnG's! But they have years and years of experience in an international level as compared to most of us.

It's just a realization that i might have been doing it wrong and not improving my game all this time that scares me. And i see almost EVERYBODY else doing the same things, and over estimating their abilities and skills. I even showed zeejustin's website to some players and i got comments like "grabe ang swerte nyan ah". i just saw how far behind i, along with countless others here, was, compared to the "real" world of poker.

off topic post but i need help. everytime i post a new article on my blog, it overwrites the previous one. 3 post na yata yung nawala sa blog ko. anybody know how i can fix this?

keep studying bro... like what ka-ernie says... KNOWLEGDE IS POWER... and like what Chauncey Billups said, if you wanna be a CHAMPION, you gotta work hard like a CHAMPION.


help with the posting!

i cant post anything new coz of the problem with the blog.

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  • The best poker I've ever played has always entailed peace. A relaxed comfort. Eyes open, ears open, radar up. Absorbing my opponent's every message. Taking them as they come. Not mixing what those messages are with what I want them to be. It's like an aerial view. A view from above the myriad luck-dependent reactions of those many people who never gain such a peace. And when you gain that view, that peace - when you'd rather have the truth, no matter how disappointing, over a false hope, no matter how desirable - then you're a player. The hand you're on slips into a stream of thousands of other hands, no one of which, because of your lofty view, seems unduly important, no false fearful emotions rise within you. When you gain the peace of lofty perspective, you're a player, and when you're a player, you're free.- from "King of a Small World" by Rick Benett
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