Archive Jan 2008: Bond18

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The JJ Diaries (By Bond18)

Authors Note: After having read Ansky’s inspiring post I realized too long had I stood by and done nothing about the online cheating situation. I decided to take the initiative and do what I always do in these situations, make fun of everyone and everything involved. I give you ‘The JJ Diaries’, enjoy.

First Entry, January 01, 2006: I’ve decided at the start of this near year that I, Josh “JJProdigy” Field, online pokers best donkamenter, should keep a diary to track my tournament success. I’ve had a wonderful 2005 and I really feel 2006 is going to be a break out year for me, I’m going to win thousands in tournaments, get my braces off, and maybe just maybe break the five foot mark without having height enhancing shoes. This diary will log the people I meet, the tournaments I play, and everything that happens in my daily life. Talk to ya soon diary!

February 12th, 2006: Today started out wonderful. I fired up the Sunday tournaments and logged in my forty-seven accounts into the Party Poker Sunday major. One of my accounts, ‘Ablackcar’ managed to take down the win for $140,000! : ) ! Unfortunately, near the end of the tournament some ass wipe leaked onto to 2+2 that it was me on the account! Luckily I came up with an incredibly clever explanation, it was my grandmother playing on the account. I think it’s the perfect explanation, I mean whose grandmother doesn’t play online poker? Everyone 80+ I know is online non stop, using phrases like “IMO” “TTYL” and “LOL donkaments” in their daily lives. Surely all those stupid idiots on the forums will fall for this.

February 17th, 2006: They didn’t fall for it. Those big mean jerks took all my money! Like Party Poker really needs the money more than I do!!! God this is so totally unfair, I run sooooooo bad. I’ve had $180,000 confiscated, been demoded on 2+2, and all my friends won’t talk to me anymore. What could I possibly have done to deserve this? I mean seriously, multi accounting is not that big a deal, white collar criminals steal from their companies all the time and their friends never stop talking to them! Well from this point forward I will make those assholes pay for what they did to me. I’ll multi account and account buy on such an enormous scale I’ll have 80% of the entries in every Sunday major online! I’ll buy every account at the final three tables and check raise myself for the rest of the tournaments! I’ll show those stupid investigative assholes who the fucking man is! Or is it whom the man is? My computer is putting that little green squiggly line under who. Fuck it! I’ve got tournaments to play and/or buy!

August 8th, 2007: So I haven’t written in here for a while, but I guess it’s pretty hard to do when I’m 87 tabling so often. Getting new accounts has been going perfectly, and I’ve got GB ‘slave boy’ Mantis, as I like to call him, to set everything up for me. He’s a good little bitch and I throw him a bone of knowledge every now and then, though I don’t think it’s helping. Today I had my biggest success so far, one of the various donks I back, Plattsburgh, went deep in the FTOPS 300 rebuys. Watching him play before I took over made me wonder what the fuck I was thinking backing him, but once he got deep enough to interest me I ‘took the controls’ if you will. I crushed those donks and showed the bastard ‘Menlo’ who the real tourney superstar is, even if he never finds out about it. I ended up winning $209,793 for the first, my biggest win, and there’s no chance it gets confiscated this time. I’m such a genius, it’s beautiful. God, now if only I could break the five foot mark already!

December 22, 2007: I realized today it’s getting pretty close to my 18th birthday and the PCA. I can’t wait to play live poker and destroy all those stupid donks, too bad I can’t buy anyone’s stack deep in the tournament. It occurred to me that there might be a lot of people really pissed at me in the poker community, so I should put something up on the forums to try and pacify the masses. I wrote this nice long rambling post where I’m all like “oooh yea, I was young and stupid, and I like, totally love the game and shit. I’m like really sorry or something. Probably. I won’t play online again for at least, you know, like a week or something.” All those fucking idiots will totally buy it. I posted it myself over on 2+2 but I had to have ‘slave boy’ throw it up on P5’s since they banned me. I’m pretty sure they’re gonna welcome me back in with open arms. Anyway, I should go ten account the nightly $150 now, bye diary! Write to you next time in the Caribbean!


December 28th, 2007: Well I guess it was kind of obvious from the last entry that something went wrong. That stupid “wafflecrushing” asshole Shaundeeb went and started a campaign to get me banned from the PCA and those cocksuckers over at PokerStars listened to him. I bet he doesn’t even care that I cheated, I bet he only did it cause he’s worried having me there will cut down on his equity cause he knows I’m the best fucking donkamenter. God, what is a ‘wafflecrush’ anyway??? Instead I’ve decided to head to Australia for the Aussie Millions, where I hear they ride kangaroos to the casino! So cool, I can’t wait!

January 8th, 2008: So I arrived in Australia today, it’s so exciting! I can’t believe I finally get to play big live poker and prove to the world just how good 87 tabling makes you. I get to play in the $1000 rebuys tomorrow, which I feel I should naturally do well in since being able to rebuy is pretty close to having multiple accounts. Wish me luck diary!

January 9th, 2008: I played in the $1000 rebuys today at the Aussie Millions. Early in the day Pokernews interviewer Amanda Leatherman pulled me aside and asked me to do an early interview. She asked me some really tough, sweat inducing questions like “What’s your favorite color?” and “How old are you? Like 12?” I thought things went pretty well and was getting kind of a vibe, so at the end of the interview after they turned the camera off I decided to ask her out. Unfortunately she said she has a policy of only dating men taller than her. So unfair, she’s probably just making excuses, she’s like totally a lesbian or something. I ended up getting seated next to this really talkative and annoying 2+2 mod ‘Bond18’. He wouldn’t shut up about “You shouldn’t cheat anymore, if you don’t this’ll all blow over” blah blah blah blah. I was way too busy being lost in the eyes of Anna Wroblewski, I mean she plays poker, drinks like a sailor, and I think I’m a half an inch taller, what’s not to love! I also got to meet that stupid fuck head Shaundeeb who greeted me with “Hey asshole.” God, what a prick.

January 14th, 2008: So I got invited by Bart Hanson, Joe Sebok, and Gavin Smith to join them on an episode of poker road today. I thought the interview went really great and it went down a little something like this…

Bart: So today we have Josh ‘JJprodigy’ Field with us here today. Josh, thanks so much for coming on the show. You’re the best man, like, I totally love your work. We’re so appreciate of you to come here and you seem like a totally cool guy.

Josh: Thanks Bart.

Bart: So can I get you anything. Coffee?

Josh: No that’s okay.

Bart: We could order you some food, or have one of the masseuses come over and relax you a bit, knead those aching shoulders.

Josh: Nah, I’m okay.

Bart: Or if you like we could have Gavin suck you off.

Josh: Oh yea actually that’d be great.

Bart: Gavin, get to it. Not like you say anything intelligent on this show anyway.

Gavin: Sure thing Bart.

Bart: So Josh, let’s talk about what made you famous. I hear you got caught multi accounting and then just recently came out and apologized for it.

Josh: Yes, yes I did.

Bart: Wow, that must have been very tough for you. It took real maturity to come out and apologize like that. Is there anything you’d like to say to our listeners about the whole incident?

Josh: Yea, I’m probably really sorry about all this. Like totally, my bad here people. Now if everyone could just get the sand out of their vaginas and chill out about this whole thing, not like I’m the only guy whose done it, then I think we can all move on.

Bart: Very well said Josh, Joe, your thoughts?

Joe: Oh, I really don’t know much about this sort of thing.

Bart: You don’t know much about anything do ya Joe?

Joe: Not when it comes to poker Bart.

Bart: Gavin, your thoughts down there?

Gavin: Arh beh dos gahs who toff bah abot youf didy too.

Bart: I think what Gavins trying to say through his obstruction is that he imagines everyone who’s come out and criticized you has probably multi accounted in their day as well, haven’t they Josh?

Josh: Oh almost certainly, like, totally. I’m pretty sure like 90% of 2+2 and P5’s is multi accounting in their spare time, I mean how else do you explain the Stars Million getting like 7000 entrants, do you know 7000 people who play poker?

Bart: Your right, I do not, great point there Josh. Your thoughts here Joe?

Joe: I, I don’t really know.

Bart: Okay then Josh, thanks so much for coming out on the show today. I think you’ve really proven what a stand up guy you are. Is that about it then?

Josh: Nah, give him another minute down there.

I think that interview is going to be a real hit and do a ton to repair my reputation on the forums. Now with the main event coming up hopefully I can solidify my reputation as a player by making a real run at it!

January 15th, 2008: Well, unfortunately I busted in the main event today. I really thought I was gonna make the best of this one, and I tried to buy back in with a fake mustache and glasses but the staff got suspicious and I just ended up running for it before they processed the buy in. I guess it’s back to the online game for me, and with the FTOPS only a few weeks away I think I’ve got a very bright and rich future ahead of me. Until next time diary!

Things it took me a while to learn part 14, Playing a Chip lead/Big Stack

Authors Note: Some of you may notice that part 13 in this series is missing. Part 13 is on the topic of ‘ranges’ and has been finished. Long story short P5’s offered to pay me for articles and I’m A-okay with selling out as long as it doesn’t compromise integrity. So enjoy part 14 while I go blow my money on an unnecessarily expensive shirt.

Classic poker literature circulated an enormous amount if misinformation about playing a chip lead or big stack. Many wrote that when you have so many chips you should avoid confrontation since it’s ‘unnecessary’ and ‘you have time to wait.’ Yet again, strategy like this is complete bullshit. In situations without sizeable $EV considerations you should never pass up + cEV situations, regardless to the size of your stack (yes there are occasionally spots you (although there are occasionally spots where you would pass up a marginal, high variance spot if it means it would cost you later +cEV spots but that’s another discussion.) Proper chip lead strategy means being able to find what +cEV and +$EV situations exist that could not exist if you had a smaller stack. Many of the best players intentionally take gambles early in order to set themselves up for having a larger stack later in order to create more +EV spots because they are aware of this concept.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that the size of your stack doesn’t give you a license to do just anything. During a hand the most pertinent detail is still what effective stacks are. For example, if you’re on the CO with 80 BB’s and all three players behind you have 15-20 BB’s, your opening range shouldn’t really be that much different as to when you have 15-20 BB’s as well. Will there be a difference in some spots? Sure, but it won’t affect things nearly as much as some other situations. Let’s take a look at how things change when having a big stack at certain stages of the tournament.

Early Game: Say in the first couple levels you’ve run well and stacked two or three players. You’ve now got one of the largest stacks in the tournaments and are the chip leader of your table. How does this change things? To be honest not all that much. Stacks are still quite deep and nobody’s strategy has changed all that much. There’s no antes and there’s nothing for you to gain by ‘applying pressure’ or anything like that. Very often in situations like these effective stacks will be still very deep and people are playing in a fairly straight forward manner, so getting highly creative solely for the reason that you have more chips will likely result in spew. If you get a large stack and come up against another large stack on the table it’s more important to have a good grip on deep stacked play than have any illusion that you’ll get a ton of extra folds just because you’re both big. Cash game experience will help in situations like these, though they are mostly rare.

Mid/Late Game: At this stage having a large stack begins to be important. When the average stack goes under 50 BB’s (and will soon get considerably lower) and when antes come out you now have some power. To be honest before antes come into play my open raising standards don’t really loosen that much based on the size of my stack, but once they do having a large stack will make a considerable difference. Just how much you loosen up of course still depends on factors like image, players behind you, stacks behind you, etc. My opening range is going to be a little bit looser compared to having say, 25 BB’s, but not necessarily an enormous amount. When you’re on an 18 BB stack it’s better to resteal someone with 20 BB’s than someone with 80 unless you know for a fact the guy with 80 is opening very loose due to his stack size. However, when you’re the big stack it’s the other 15-20 BB stacks who need to be cautious with restealing on you.

One thing that does change considerably is my 3 betting of other large stacks. This is a valuable weapon in the arsenal because
A. Very few players are capable of 4 betting light.
B. Very few players cold call reraises (especially if you do it to players when you have position.)
You should watch for which kind of players will 4 bet light and which will just call reraises light, but most are making a push/fold decision based on whether they think their hand fares well against your 3 betting range. I especially think there is some merit to 3 betting stacks in positions where they wouldn’t expect it. For example, 3 betting an active but not maniacal player who’s opened MP1/MP2/HJ with 45 BB’s when you have 75 BB’s and position behind him can be very good and deceptive since he’s not anticipating a lot of resteals when opening from these positions, especially if you’re not too late behind him.

Bubble: Playing the big stack at bubble time is one of the true pleasures of tournament poker. In spots like these you can bend the rules of stack sizes and position against players who to a degree value the bubble. There’s certainly a difference having the chip lead on the bubble of 100r and a 50 FO, but both still allow a level of aggressive creativity.

On tournaments that play tighter on bubble time you can open an enormous range of hands, especially if the table doesn’t show willingness to fight back. On some tables opening 50% of hands (or even more) can certainly be profitable. I’m willing to raise into a number of resteal likely stacks with a wide range of hands I can’t call with because often their resteal range will be reduced. I’m also watching keenly for other active medium-large stacks to three bet or flat call wide pre in order to make their lives hard post. A few examples of how I may get creative that sort of ‘breaks the rules’.

Example 1:
Hero has 70 BB’s. Villain has 33 BB’s. Hero is CO with 75s, villain is MP2. Blinds 500/1000 with 100 ante. The tournament is on or near the bubble.
Preflop: Folds to MP2, MP2 opens to 2700, folds to hero, Hero 3 bets to 7600.

Now, being in position here as well as on the bubble we can make a small reraise that doesn’t commit ourselves for his stack but still puts a lot of pressure on him. I’m normally not 3 betting people with a 33 BB stack light, but when you get an opportunity like this on the bubble and don’t have an insane image, go for it.

Example 2:
Hero has 70 BB’s, Villain has 25 BB’s. Hero is button with QTo. Villain is HJ. Blinds 500/1000 with 100 ante. The tournament is on or near the bubble.
Prelfop: Folds to HJ, HJ raises to 2700, folds to hero, hero calls.

This isn’t really a standard preflop call. However, the villains stack is too short to 3 bet so that option is out. Instead, consider calling wide in spots like these and making more moves post. On a bubble you’ll even get a higher % of players simply check folding to you. Also consider semi bluffing a wider range of flops. There are some various obvious semi bluff boards like KJx, J9x, 789, but in this spot I’m always jamming over a C bet if it comes 89X, 7JX, J8X, 786 and considering a float on Axx or Kxx type flops.

End Game: A lot of playing the big stack in the end game comes down to being highly player observant (as is important with any end game situation.) What kind of opponents are willing to gamble as opposed to just trying to move up the pay ladder? Which villains are playing higher than normal (use OPR people) and which are in their comfort zone? You need to find a balance between aggression/table control and spew.

If we talk strictly about the final table in terms of end game we can get into more specifics. First of all, if you want to continue to play highly aggressive I recommend doing it having just entered the final table and picking on medium stacks whenever possible. This is because the bottom few spots of final table pay outs are often still pretty small. However, once there’s about ~6 left, players have moved far enough up that they’ve secured a decent score and aiming for first suddenly becomes realistic.

You need to be aware that in final table situations cEV and $EV begin to diverge. I’m not mathematically knowledgeable enough to bring out equations or give you an exact point of gambles you should and shouldn’t take (though perhaps I’ll ‘write’ a future article where I simply employ MikeJ to do exactly that) but I can give a fairly obvious example:

If you’re at a final table with 50 BB’s, the other chip leader has 50 BB’s, there’s a medium stack of 25 BB’s, and two short stacks of 5 BB’s you need to have a very significant edge to get your stack in against the other chip leader. You give up a ton of equity if you bust to him, and playing a marginal +cEV spot verse him is going to be massively -$EV over the long term.

Once you get very deep having the big stack allows you to open a little lighter but overall you’re mostly playing a game of effective stacks. You should be aware of the stacks and players you’re able to pick on and which methods of doing so. Against small stacks open shove when appropriate. Against medium open raise into them a lot and semi bluff more post. Against big stacks three bet pre and put them in an awkward spot.

Alright then, that’s all I have for now. As always if you have questions or want me to elaborate more on something feel free. I’m doing nothing but online for the next couple months so I’ve got plenty of time around here.

Book Review: Kill Everyone, By Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib and Kim Lee

When Lee Nelson asked me to review his new book ‘Kill Everyone’ I got a little worried. I thought Lee was a nice guy, but I also thought that most of the poker literature out there was very sub par and despite Lee’s prolific success couldn’t be sure his would be any different. I didn’t want to offend the workings of a nice guy, but I also didn’t want to lie if I found the book off base or misguided. A few weeks later and I’ve now finished the book and am glad to say I don’t have to worry about offending anyone or lying. Also, let me clarify that I am not being paid to write this or given any real incentive to give a positive review (though I did get a free book out of it, so I guess if you want to be a nit about it I got paid.)

Lee Nelson and crew are entirely aware that in writing a book about tournament strategy they are treading in the shadow of Dan Harrington and his three tournament volumes ‘Harrington on Hold’em’. Are there moments of overlap? Well sure, as is the case with any informative poker literature, but Nelson and crew find ways to address some newer topics as well as some topics more thoroughly. I debated how to write this review, and writing it like some form of book report seems pointless and gratuitous. What seems more appropriate is to list off ideas covered in the book and how I felt they were addressed:

What did they cover well?

Stack Sizes: As I’ve written of before, I think the end all of tournament strategy lies in evaluation of stack sizes and their influence on the action. Nelson uses ‘CSI’, or chip status index, the stat that Harrington refers to as ‘M’. Nelson discusses what stack sizes are appropriate for raising what ranges of hands, and how ‘relevant stacks’ (what we online call ‘effective stacks’) are the determining factor in stack size decisions between multiple players. He also outlines numerous rules for what % of your stack you can play for with what holdings. My favorite part of this section is the ‘unexploitable resteal’ charts that list hand ranges next to CSI based on villains perceived range. He also addressed what Skalansky referred to as the ‘gap concept’ more thoroughly, discussing what calling vs raising ranges should be with again, more thorough charts.

Equilibrium Play: This concept, what most online players would likely call ‘unexploitable play’ delves into the idea of making plays that are mathematically optimal. The concept is first heavily detailed by looking at shoving ranges according to CSI. The section can seem mathematically esoteric, which is fine since Nelson doesn’t ask that you memorize the math, simply understand the math behind the ranges. To simplify everything Nelson and crew come up with what they call ‘The Power Number’ (PN), a straight forward equation that allows you to simplify the math behind push/fold situations and attain a high level of accuracy.

Prize Pools: Next Nelson and crew talk about prize pools and structures. One difficult aspect of tournament play is determining when cEV diverges from $EV. In order to address the topic Nelson pulls out the sit-n-go standby, ICM (Independent Chip Model.) Again, the reader is exposed to some fairly elaborate math, though luckily for those unaware the book provides the web address of a free ICM calculator. In this portion one of the more interesting aspects come up as the team addresses the idea of the ‘bubble factor’ and how the divergence of cEV and $EV can be calculated and how it affects pot odds situations in bubble scenarios. One highly interesting aspect of this tournament is the graphed bubble factors of both the 2006 WSOP ME and the Stars Sunday Million, giving the reader a visual representation of how bubble situations effect the $EV of their decisions.

Sit-N-Go play: The book also covers, and has special portions devoted to, Sit-N-Go play. Seeing as I haven’t done any serious SNG play in four years I feel fairly unqualified to address the topic in detail. Either way the book still addresses what is obviously the highly important aspects in detail; bubble play, equilibrium steals, stack relevance, and cEV as opposed to $EV.

Short Handed/Heads up Play: Here ‘Kill Everyone’ provides the best break down of the math behind short handed MTT situations I’ve seen so far. Short handed and heads up play in the real world is so often an ‘it depends/player dependant’ kind of situation. KE does it’s absolute best to take out the variables and provide relevant information to the kind of stack sizes you should be playing what kind of ranges against villains. On pages 179 through 188 are some excellent charts detailing what kind of hands should be called, folded, and reraised with in shorter stack situations. It’s as accurate a break down you’re going to get in a situation so cumbersome to discuss. The book then discusses more deep stacked play and the kind of hands we need to be playing and with what type of consistency we should be continuation betting.

Were there any omissions?

Two things stuck out at me as omissions that should make some material for perhaps a third book in the series.

A. Hand reading in post flop play: That’s not to say by any means that the book is devoid of this kind of information. On the contrary there are some example hands that Nelson has played where he breaks down his thought process, his reads on players, and explains why he takes the action he does with effectiveness. Also of relevance is the section on tell reading. However, reading hands in deeper stacked post flop situations (which is a highly complicated topic that is often more relevant in cash game strategy) still seems like a good topic to cover more thoroughly in future works.
B. Hand Exercises: As Harrington had for his volume three a work book or hand exercise section written by Nelson and crew would be of real use and getting some practice for the applications/ideas presented in the book would be a very good idea in my opinion.

Overall thoughts?

First of all let me say I really think this book is for people on the intermediate to advanced level. The math and terms in the book are likely a bit to esoteric for the inexperienced, so odds are they should start elsewhere, perhaps with Nelsons first book ‘Kill Phil’ or any other numerous publications for novices. Nelsons book reads like a meld of Skalansky and Harrington, very heavy on the math though with the application and explanation to understand how it’s relevant to the topics it’s evaluating the worth of. There are more charts and graphs than in your average math textbook, but all of them are useful. Can very advanced players learn something from this? I would say so, especially when it comes to having a very precise idea of shoving and reshoving ranges in a concise manner if you haven’t spend hours upon hours toying around with sit-n-go power tools. The book isn’t the easiest read of all time, but the information inside easily warrants that.

All I Want For Christmas and or New Years

It’s a bit late for Christmas wishes but there’s something on my list that can only be got in January, a win in the upcoming Aussie Millions. I’m not talking about just the main event, I’m not quite that greedy, but a win in any event would really start 2008 off on a great note.

Despite everyone in poker thinking the WSOP is the most important series of tournaments of the year (and financially, it is) the most important for me on personal level is by far the Aussie Millions. I’ve got a long history with the series that goes a little something like this:

2005: I won an Aussie Millions package on party poker at the age of 20. It was my first time outside North America and I was automatically entered in the World Speed Poker Championship and main event. The speed poker tournament was run in a semi-shootout structure where at 36 players we broke to six tables of six where the winner advances. I got heads up in my semi final with Sweedish player Michael Thuritz who gave me a sick 15% swap deal (especially since he had chip lead and was much better player) and it was over in two hands. Michael went on to win and promptly hand me $15,000 AUD. In the main event I busted after about four hours and headed home thinking I had the brightest future in the world.

2006: After having a good summer 2005 I suddenly had a huge downswing in the latter part of the year. By the time Aussie Millions came around I had to mooch a stake off friends, and eventually entered my long term backing arrangement with Rob, which having recently been dissolved turned out very well for all parties involved. In the second event I played, a $1000 AUD NL tournament, I managed to make the final table and get half the chips in play with four left. I already covered what happened in my bad beats post sometime ago (I took four straight suck outs AIPF including KK<KQs) and ended up busting fourth, but I’d bailed myself out financially with the $19,200 cash. I didn’t end up playing the main event, as I didn’t have the money and my backing with Rob wasn’t for anything of that magnitude.

2007: I was hiding out in an apartment in Shanghai without internet due to an earthquake having been banned from Australia for three years. Great times.

2008: I can’t lose at live forever can I? Everyone’s coming down and it’s going to be a really awesome social time as well as having a fairly diverse tournament schedule, some of which has had a structure improvement thanks to my complaining.

Anyway, I haven’t been writing much lately. After Sydney I got home and my schedule was pretty messed up for a while, and I was playing very inconsistently and not well. After a week of this I told myself I needed to refocus and have since final tabled a number of tournaments with a few wins including taking down the Full Tilt 50/50 for $9550 the other night.

I did my math with Timex recently and it turns out I am now over $108,000 in make up. I feel like my live play has really gotten a lot better lately with considerably less spew so I think if I put in some volume I’ll be able to turn that around. I haven’t been playing much of the big stuff online for him since I’m often not up in time and on days I don’t sleep great I’ll never play the big tournaments. Still, as far as I know Timex is not unhappy with backing me and I think at this point whatever experience in the live arena he’s ‘paid for’ should get a good return over the long run. I’m very happy playing under Timex since he basically lets me play whatever I want (outside something insane like the $100,000 tournament during the Aussie Millions etc etc) and doesn’t apply any serious pressure to play things I’m not in the mood for. The 40% on my end is entirely reasonable, and since I just enjoy having the chance to play events all over the world I’m really not that bothered by the make up or anything like that. The Aussie Millions starts in three days, perhaps I can wipe it out all at once…

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