MZone Report – Poker Calculators For Tournaments

Up until recently, there wasn’t a single poker calculator that was designed for tournament play and of all the software I have tested over the last 2 ½ years, this struck me as somewhat fascinating. The fact is, online poker has thrived because of new players signing on after watching WPT or WSOP reruns.

Both of those shows ushered in new television celebrities the likes of Gus Hansen, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Moneymaker. As a result, hundreds of thousands of players took to the poker sites in search of ring games. Not. They came because of the tournament action and qualifiers that could, for a s little as a couple bucks get you on a final table on television vying for millions!

These players need help at the game, and many software designers obliged with poker calculators. Using poker calculators however often meant you had to adapt the information it provided while playing tournaments because tournaments and ring games are completely different strategies.

I was in a forum recently where players admitted using two different poker calculators to help compensate for tournament structures. Those players who are using two poker calculators are welcome at my table anytime. Too much of a good thing can make you a geek in this case, and it will take away from your game.

Regardless of all this, the bottom line in tournaments is that the only history you should be focused on is the recent history. Any particular player can take on many characteristics during a single tournament (never mind hundreds). Too much past data not only takes your attention away from the game but skews it into thinking how credible your opponent’s hand may or may not be.

I prefer keeping things in a simplistic display with hard core data that reflects what has transpired RECENTLY – as in the last 10 hands or so. I think Tournament Indicator does this better than anything on the planet right now.

The only stable period where long term stats MAY be useful is in the first 2 or 3 levels. However this stage is more reliant on hole card strength anyway. Once your table has reached a variance in MZone stacks, well then long data term is all but useless. You don’t need it, and you don’t really WANT it either.

Rather than be reliant on profiling, I strongly feel that reading opponents has more to do with what they are “feeling” at a game critical intersect in the tournament. If I can get an inkling on that player’s feelings, I am much, much farther ahead than looking at historic data collected at different tournaments and ring game levels from long past.

Poker Book Report Wars: Arnold Snyder Challenges David Sklansky

Arnold Snyder is not new to gambling, but he is a new writing force in the world of poker. Having recently written a ground breaking tournament poker manual, he has ignited a debate of old school verses new school, aggression versus conceding, and blunt force betting verses the fear of losing. With the publication of The Poker Tournament Formula, Snyder has captured a loyal and expanding audience of strategy-hungry tournament players that contribute to Snyder’s online forum like packs of wolves, frequently taking frisky bites at the old school tournament thinkers.

Collectively, those thinkers are represented (at least ideologically) by David Sklansky the resident professor and writer of Tournament Poker for Advanced Players. This book, now several years since its first publication, and before the boom, put into motion the tight-early and tight-aggressive strategy that simply made common sense of hold’em tournaments. This strategy is guided in nature by the Gap Concept described in Sklansky’s book as “you need a better hand to play against someone who has already opened the betting, than you would need to open yourself”. Even modern superstar writers like Dan Harrington and Phil Gordon use this in their strategies as well, so you know it has to have some merit. As such, it is not unusual to find that squeaky, tight-aggressive player at numerous final tables that has got enough playable cards during the tournament to have survived to the final table.

Survived is the key word here, as he (insert any Sklansky drone) is rarely among the chip leaders. Further, rarely does the player return to a final table, because the basic tight strategy of relying on enough quality hands also has to be fused with having them actually win pots, and hold up throughout the tournament. As Snyder points out with much experience, it is those “quality” hands he gets kicked out of tournaments playing, as opposed to position plays with weak holdings.

Where Snyder feels The Gap is a completely misguided concept is in the smaller buy-in tournaments that many players participate daily, in local casinos, regional events and online poker sites. Snyder feels that this is a lucrative segment, as many players may never have a bankroll big enough for $10,000 and $15,000 entry fees for the WPT and WSOP. However, if you play these smaller tourneys the way Snyder plays them, you will soon enough be able to pay for a $10,000 entry fee!

Snyder breaks these smaller tournaments down, and categorizes them into a skill level based on the chip and blind structure combined with the amount of entries. Depending on the skill level and patience factor of the tournament, your strategy is going to be radically different than anything Sklansky would recommend. The underlining of that strategy is based largely on position play, and pressuring your opponents, who have likely missed the flop as much as you have. This is executed in spite of your hole cards, not because of them. Snyder’s wolves say this strategy works it sheer numbers in large part because of the Sklansky type tournament opponents who know nothing more than to fold out of position or out of flop weakness.

Both writers have forums and both have supporters, and it is interesting to hear some of the challenges put forth from the Snyder Wolves – “specific mistakes in Sklansky’s and Malmuth’s advice”, “I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the “Gap Concept” and why it’s wrong.”, “Waiting for Sklansky to speak”, ” The burden of proof was Sklansky’s, and all he did was add to his errors”, “Sklansky’s “proof” is a perfect example of his incompetence at poker logic” and on and on. This is juicy stuff!

All I can say is, between the two of them, someone has got to know what is going on here! All we want to know is how to win a bloody tournament! It seems to me that elements of both strategies are needed to win tournaments. Take a look at players like Daniel Negreneau, Erick Lindgren, Gus Hansen, Greg Raymer or Gavin Smith. They have often made some amazing lay downs to aggressive opponents, but I more often see them playing stuff like QJos, 57s, KTs and even more rubbish hands to not just one raiser, but two! These guys truly understand, like Arnold Snyder, that if you laid down like Sklansky does, you are just not going to see many final tables. By the way, have you seen David Sklansky at a final table recently?

All of the above tournament players, who are definitely more tuned into Snyder’s slant have won big, and won often. Yes, I want some of that.

777; Why is Number Seven Lucky?

The Lucky number seven is often associated with gambling. But where did the Lucky Number seven come from? The number seven is not Lucky in all cultures, for instance in Chinese the number seven is not Lucky at all and is sometimes considered unlucky. This is why Boeing Aircraft Co. did not sell a lot of 777s to the Chinese.

After all the last thing you would want to do is get into an unlucky aircraft right? An interesting point would be that according to the NTSB the Boeing 777 has a perfect safety record believe it or not. Maybe he really is lucky and maybe that is a reason to fly it? But superstition and numerology aside why is 777 considered so lucky in the Western World?

There are web sites such as 777.com and you guessed it; it is an online gambling web site, that makes sense right? Lady Luck is considered 777 and most casino slot machines payout on 777. In the Bible Joshua marched his army around the city walls for seven days and he was accompanied by seven priests carrying seven trumpets. On the seventh day they circled Jericho seven times and shouted, then the walls fell down. Some believe that the wall could be said to represent lies, injustice and agree. And therefore a life without it is lucky. Interesting that a biblical connotation would turn into a symbol for gambling.

Nevertheless, in Western societies we think of 777 as lucky. Many believe that 777 symbolizes health, a clear conscience and connection between body and soul; clarity if you will. Perhaps it does, perhaps the Chinese are right and the number is no more lucky than any other number and actually not as good. Nevertheless today we think of 777 as lucky. Numbers and numerology are fascinating and the myths and legends behind them even more so. Please consider this in 2006 and good luck!

Sports Betting Systems and the Psychology of a Winning Sports Bettor

If I had a nickel for every forum title I read that started out something like “Can you really make money betting sports?” I would be the richest man on the planet. Fact: If every bettor lost all the time there would be no sports betting market. It is that simple. I am a winning bettor. I don’t have to pick the paper up anymore and study statistics all day. It took some hard work to achieve this status. If you are tired of losing money and want to start making profits, keep reading.

Let me provide you with some basic statistics for the sake of the discussion. There are over 6 billion people in the world. Lets say only 3 billion are adults. Of those adults, only 10 percent bet on sports. That is 3 million people that bet sports. Of those 3 million people, only 2 percent actually make a living betting sports. The other 98 percent lose money. That leaves 60,000 people in the world who profit from betting sports for a living! These numbers are extremely conservative; it is estimated that over 200 million people ALONE will bet on the Superbowl in a given year. Not only is it possible to make a living betting sports, it happens every minute of everyday to real people just like you.

I have identified three crucial issues that keep amateur sports bettors from turning professional and turning profits in their sports betting careers.

1. The single biggest problem with those who lose money betting sports is a lack of discipline.

2. The second biggest problem is non-application of any substantial sports betting systems to keep you consistent and on target.

3. The third issue is thinking like the typical square bettor and not like the bookmaker.

I will address all of these fundamental betting flaws and give you a glimpse on how a winning sports bettor thinks and acts.

One of the best ways to lose your shirt over the long run is bet chasing. Scenario: You thought you had the lock of the century last evening with the first game. You lost that bet on some unbelievable nonsense, maybe a back door cover in a game that was long over for both teams. You got angry, saw the next game of the night coming up and impulsively doubled your bet for game two to cover your losses from game one. Then, since you had no real system in place to keep you in check, that game ends up a loser as well and you are now down big. Everyone has done this, and I am no exception. This is the lack of discipline I am talking about. You will lose some nights, just like your 401k will lose value some days. It comes with the territory. Bet just that one game and if it loses, cut your losses there and tomorrow is a new day.

There are tons of sports betting systems that exist, but some are very good if you have the discipline to follow them verbatim. Most sports bettors do not have the time, patience, or inclination to hypothesize, test, analyze, retest, and apply sports betting systems. This is why most sports bettors lose over the long haul. There are professionals who do have systems in place and are happy to share those systems with anyone who thinks they have what it takes to follow the system. You MUST have a system in place that keeps you on the winning path. Betting random games night in and night out without proper research is no formula for success. It is fun, but it is a money loser and that is not why you are here. You are here to become a winner. Remember, you will lose some nights. You will lose and losing is not fun. With a sports betting system in place that has been proven to win, over the course of your investment you will make money. How much you make and how often is entirely up to you applying discipline and consistency to your sports betting systems.

Think like the bookmaker. It has been said that books are only concerned with having an equal amount of bets placed on both sides of the same game. That way, with the vigorous factored into the game, the bookmakers earn a small profit regardless of who wins the game. This is a half truth. Yes, this is one way books make money. If you think that books won’t bait you into thinking a line is too good to be true, knowing that you, the general betting public, will pounce on that bet (a sucker bet or a trap bet) I have a bridge in San Francisco to sell you CHEAP. The real money for the bookmakers is in those games that are bet heavily on one side (and subsequently lost) by the general public. If a line is too good to be true it probably is. The bookmakers know the public loves the favorite. They also know more about tonight’s games than you could possibly research. They know you don’t have the discipline to stop while you are ahead (or down for that matter). They know you have no clue what sports betting systems give you an advantage. They also know that you think like an amateur bettor. This is precisely why you are not making money.

In my betting career one of the affirmations I would continuously rehearse was to never, ever think like the general betting public. Zig when others zag. It became so much more than just that but it was a start. The next thing is to trust the individuals who have paved the path before you. Put a system in place and follow it with precision and accuracy. Those sports betting systems exist and are being used every day. Over time, you will win. Winning translates into profits. Start winning and you will be able to do things in your life you couldn’t have dreamed of before. People every day are winning consistently betting sports. This should be you.