Tag Archives: FTP

Reflection after FTP Espana Grand Finale

I have a bunch of notes on NAPT and EPT Barcelona, but that post will be pretty extensive and I desperately need to regurgitate after last night’s FTP Espana Grand Finale bust.

A circle of skilled players of various backgrounds had begun an e-mail thread discussing the advantages/disadvantages of min-raising from sb in bvb battles. The conversation evolved quite thoroughly and would qualify for premium content for any respectable poker column. I won’t go into any detail on the arguments presented, but I will leave you with a reflective response on my end:

M: “You keep your opponent in more of a controlled environment, that can make him/her easy to read. Things just get way too complicated when you add that extra dynamic of how
they will react to that min-raise. It just seems to me that people will play more predictably when you 3x it in that spot.”

When I read this initially I was in the middle of the tournament owning souls and was still pretty much on Derek’s side. By the end of the day half the table formed a pact to take turns retaliating against me by doing some ridiculous stuff. I realize this thread began as a discussion of bvb battle and I’ve always discounted the advantages of making easier decisions. I have to admit now that there is definitely some merit to staying under the radar, which includes not raising too small to instigate. I guess I had an epiphany of sorts after my bust last night. I can win the majority of pots I play vs. weak players, but as even the most unobservant players realize this, they will either play better, be more spewy, or at least take thinner edges to counter this – their defense may even be exponential if you are of the opposite gender. In most types of tournaments there is an advantage to having players play predictably against you, and allowing others to assume you’re playing predictably against them.

I realize my statement probably makes most of you guys think, “well duhhhh”, and although I call it an epiphany it’s really more like a deja vu after bouts of amnesia. (Perhaps D, this is why K and M have way better tournament results than you and I!) It’s better to approach most fields as a wolf in sheep’s clothing rather than someone who is clearly antagonizing.

Guess who’s back

Are you there, blog? It’s me, X.

It’s been a long while since I last posted, and EVERYTHING has changed. I feel like I’m finally on track again after my huge derailment in April last year. I won’t get into details, but things were intense and dramatic. Depended on people I should’t have, realized some huge leaks in my game and my life, and have basically restarted from scratch.

Satelliting into the LAPC was great and I got to play with a ton of pros and aspiring players alike. Day 1 I was sitting to Eric Liu’s right and with a table full of cabbage patch kids, but I think I played well and ended the day off with a decent stack. My day 2 didn’t go as well, however, I had Phil Laak (not that he is a great threat) to my left and Elky at my table, who I ended up busting to in one rotation when I had AK and QQ vs his QQ and AK of which I lost both flips. I went back to T.o. for a little bit and got into swing trading with my stepdad. It was definitely a good time to be in the markets after the crash in March, and poker was put on the back shelf for awhile. I was able to completely pay off my student loans in lump sum, which was a huge load off my shoulders. Then a good friend of mine encouraged me to go to the world series, but unfortunately, my middle name is still Murphy and I got denied at the border because I didn’t have a return ticket (I wasn’t sure how long I’d be in Vegas/L.A. for). The border guard then had the nerve to ask me for my e-mail so he could “let me know when to come back next so I can get across”(!)

So realizing I’d be stuck in T.o. for at least awhile longer and having found a new interest in finance, I hastily enrolled in the CFA and then studied 300+ hours of material of which I had no prior background. I took my level I exam in December and am still waiting anxiously for the results *fingers x’d*

With more market money my family went on an amazing cruise with Royal Caribbean. We visited some beautiful islands, and I spent a decent amount of time playing e-poker there against fishy tourists. The rake was really ridiculous and most people bought in shortstack so results weren’t anything to brag about. After that, I have my connected friend to thank, who helped me tremendously the next time I was in L.A. Unfortunately it was evident my frazzled circumstances leaked through to my game, as I was really uncertain whether to continue pursuing the poker path due to making what appeared to be ridiculously easy money trading at the time, and it was evident I was forcing things to happen rather than just playing well and letting things unravel naturally. I did, however, enjoy playing in the media event at the Bike’s Legends of Poker in their new tournament room, and got to meet some celebs and nice people.

Another huge thing that happened was me meeting someone I really connected with at the tables. Ironically, it was his consistency to take my money (he always had position on me heh) that inspired a lot of our early conversation. This person helped me regain perspective on my goals and encouraged me to start playing online again and seriously study the game. My past few months of success there have him to thank.

So I’ve been back in T.o. since September, initially studying like 5-8 hours a day and playing for 2-3 hours. When my nose is in my books, I think to myself that getting a “real” job in finance will be rewarding and stable. Then I am reminded of the neverending 9-6 grind and I give thanks that I am able to maintain a decent winrate at poker with rakeback so I don’t have to. It’s not the best trait to have, but I also work immensely harder and am more thirsty for success when I am desperate. When I got back from L.A. the second time, I started going on 2+2 more, opened a new rakeback account, taught myself PT, and was able to book a couple of wins in large MTTS to immediately get myself back on my feet. I was especially proud of taking down the PS Battle of the Planets monthly triple shootout, since I had saved my entry from being on the SNG leaderboard like 2 years ago.

Initially I was nervous about how I would do in cash games online, since live players generally have infinite tells and tendencies that are highly exploitable and unavailable online. I was also aware that the online world was much more difficult for similar stakes, so I am really glad I was able to overcome that skepticism with objective results. These days I’ve been playing 9-12 tables of NL100, with the exception of today – they just came out with RUSH poker…it’s definitely been a thrill to play. Unfortunately since I’ve started playing online, my desire to play live is practically nonexistent, but I’m sure once I do again, I’ll feel right back in my niche. Another benefit of online play is, I never have to consider feeling like I’m being exploited because I’m a girl. Even though my FTP name is very feminine, players automatically assume I’m a guy and it doesn’t give me the opportunity to level myself 🙂

Also started talking to a great MTT player who went to my school who I’ve known from awhile back and have learned some valuable lessons on pushbotting and grinding MTTS. I think it’s important to diversify and have lots of tools and skills in my arsenal. He’s been really helpful and is also encouraging me to continue pursuing this poker path against the possibility that when I got back to China in Feb I will like it too much and settle there with a “real” job.

So that’s the summary of the rest of 2009 since my last post. I’m a lot more objective now, and I am dedicating more time and resources to meeting goals and deadlines. I’ve realized I can’t just wade through situations hoping for the best; it’s up to me alone to make shit happen. I have definitely also learned to value money more, and be more careful of whom I keep close to me.

Finally, I’d like to offer my condolences to the people of Haiti in the recent Earthquake. The private island of Labadee where our cruise stopped was beautiful, and I am very saddened by this tragedy. I am, however, very touched by the response from the international community, even the poker sites, for their efforts in contributing to the cause. I am uncertain yet as to how much I will pledge (even though tbh I’m not a huge advocate of monetary donations anymore), but since there’s really no other way I could help, it’ll probably be a % of my earnings for the week.