Questions and Answers
you have a poker related question just send it by
e-mail to guywest at ozmium dot com dot au (written
long-hand to avoid spam)
following answers were provided by Andrew LeRoy,
a Melbourne based poker expert.
a BSc in mathematics from Melbourne University, Andrew
is well versed in the probabilities and calculating
skills required to play high level poker. He is one
of the minority of strong players who are equally
comfortable in both cash games and tournament play
and can often be found playing Holdem at Melbourne's
finished second in the Crown Series 1 in 2004 and
third in the Melbourne Pot Limit Holdem Championship
in April 2005. His profile can be found on the Australasian
poker site pokernetwork.com
Q. Do you know much about
Joseph Hachem and what are your thoughts on his win
in the 2005 World Series main event?
A. Yes, I've played with Joe.
He is a very good tournament player. Tight and tough.
Excellent judgement. Also an absolute gentleman. He
is a true champion for that alone.
His win is beyond comprehension. The
implications are large. We have to accept that the
'very best' poker players are not much better than
the 'very good' players when it comes to competing
in a multi-table tournament format. If you want tournaments
to run more to form you need single table Heats/Semis/Finals
with large chip stack to blind ratios and long levels.
Unfortunately in multi-table play, chips won from
poor players are worth as much as chips that are hard
won, and players who get lucky keep their advantage
all the way to the final table.
The vagaries of the normal distribution
curve have a large impact on multi-table tournament
results. In a Heat/Semis/Final format they would be
greatly reduced. You might get a soft heat or a lucky
draw out, but next round you start even again against
a stronger group of players.
Also 10 handed v 2 handed and everything
in between requires a large number of adjustments
and much more skill is required to cope with those
than just sitting back and waiting for AA, KK, QQ
and AK for 3 days at a 10 handed table! (I'm being
a bit facetious here, but a Scandinavian player did
just that in the 2004 WSOP and finished around 14th
of 2000. I mean, the guy was clearly a fish and got
a looong way.)
To wear sunglasses or not to wear
Q. At the top level it seems
that some players wear sunglasses or caps to cover
their faces and others don't. It would seem that if
it is a real advantage to conceal your eyes that all
the pros would do it, but they don't. What is your
opinion on such accessories?
A. I wear sunnies and a cap.
The cap stays on and the sunnies go on when I'm in
a multi-way pot. The fact is you don't get bet into
as much when you are in position and wearing sunnies.
However, the main use of sunnies is
so that my opponents don't see me watch
them watch the flop. I point my head
at the flop, but my eyes watch my opponent.
Caps reduce the light levels from
above and as such have a pacifier type effect. The
main use of the cap is that when you look at your
hole cards your opponents can't see your eyes. The
peak obstructs their view. Also the forehead is a
very reliable muscle group in regard to tells and
the cap covers it.
Poker table talk. Is it allowed?
Q. At Crown Casino in Melbourne
I thought I heard a dealer reprimand a player for
asking his opponent in a hand whether he wanted to
be called. This sort of table talk seems to occur
regularly in TV televised games. Do you think it is
illegal (as the Crown dealer did) or do you think
it is just part of the game?
A. You can't talk about the
hand, as in the actual cards you hold. You should
be able to ask if a player wants a call. If you can't,
then you can't. Just ask, if you think it gets you
a read. At worst you will be reprimanded and you will
have to desist.
If it's illegal to talk where you
play then just cut out your chips like you are about
to call and gauge how your opponent feels about it
that way. Also, it's never illegal to ask the dealer
to count down the opponent's stack. Just watch him
react to the question. Again, sunnies help. Your head
is facing the dealer but your eyes are watching your
Editor's note: It is only
illegal to talk about the actual cards during a hand,
as it might convey advantageous information to another
player still in the pot. The 'talkers' may may fold
at some point but the comments may have given information
to someone still alive in the pot. That's why it is
also very poor form to show any emotion about the
flop or subsequent cards, even if you are already
out. It may be possible to guess what you held and
this could provide crucial hints to players still
involved in the pot. If for example the flop came
K K 5 and a folded player banged his hand on the table
and yelled out, "unbelievable, I knew it",
it's fair to assume he held either a king or a pair
of 5s, which could be very useful information for
of the remaining players.
The merits of poker software as
a playing aid.
Q. There is a lot of poker
software for online play available now, from histories
of potential opponents' results to software that calculates
all the odds for you. Do you think it is too much
of a disadvantage to play online without software
aids? Are there any you consider indispensable?
A. If online play is your bag
there is some great software to assist. Poker Tracker
is such a product and seems to be the one that most
use. There are others though, so check those out too.
There is no doubt that such products are worth the
Apart from anything else, the types
of info they track get your mind thinking in the right
direction. For instance it tells you how each starting
hand is performing for you, and from various positions
and against various numbers of opponents. This gives
you insight into the nature of the value of each hand
and helps you 'plug your leaks'. It tells you how
many hands you played, and how many your opponents
have played, again with starting hand details.
Also betting vs raising & folding is also tracked
for all players.
This gets you thinking about how to
beat the opponents. Are they loose or tight.
Are they passive or aggressive. After
the session you can add all the loosies and
the passives to your Buddy list and
sit with them next time they are playing at the site.
You can also avoid those players Tracker tells
you are tight & aggressive.
Personally I don't use such software.
This is because my focus is on live play and I want
to maintain the discipline of tracking these things
for myself. But if I decided I wanted to sit in a
room and play 3 or 4 tables at once for a living I
would set it up so that I could use the statistics
to good effect. It really is like having an assistant
or spotter who is watching the game in detail and
advising as required.
There are literally hundreds of players
grinding out a living in the low stakes internet games
using this methodology. Essentially these 'Multi-table
Grinders' are Rocks who play AA, KK, QQ, JJ, and AK.
Note who in your game is barely playing a hand and
don't call them without a Group 1 or 2 hand. Give
action to the live ones who play lots of hands and
by so doing you will profit by about 2 Big Bets an
hour. The multi-table grinders are only making 1/3
to 1/2 a BB an hour using their formularised approach,
your advantage is that you are fully present.
If you want to improve your game,
play one table at a time. Use software, but only consult
it after you have formed solid opinions of what is
occurring by your own observations, then see how accurate
you were. Nothing substitutes for paying full attention,
but there is no doubt that tracking software is worth
the purchase price.
is one of the biggest poker rooms in the world and
you will always be able to quickly find the game and
limit of your choice. Don't waste your time on small
poker rooms that have not achieved critical mass.
Great interface, clean games and generous player points
system. Sign up bonus for new accounts.
Poker is another one of the giant poker rooms
where you don't have to wait for ages for your game
of choice. One of the reasons I love playing at Pacific
is that the games often seem to be of a relatively
low standard. Some sites boast lots of famous players
and pros, but if you just want to win money then Pacific
is one of the best sites around. Good new account
bonuses, nice interface, super fast dealing and clean
games make this site one of the best.
©2008 Ozmium Pty Ltd. All rights reserved