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About AJKHoosier1

  • Birthday 07/01/1986



  • About Yourself
    Proud member of Doyle's Room's Brunson 10! Join now @ [url]www.DoylesRoom.net[/url] MTT video instructor @ [url]www.PokerXFactor.com[/url] Represented by PokerIcons; [url]www.PokerIcons.com[/url]

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  1. It is common knowledge in the poker community that the game is rapidly becoming more and more difficult to beat. Information is becoming available to the entire community that never used to be, through websites, poker schools, forums, etc. The average player today is stronger than the average player yesterday, and will be weaker than the average player tomorrow. However, there is more to this evolution of poker than just the improvement of the players; the game is changing, and those players that are best able to recognize and adapt to these changes are those that will be most successful throughout their poker career. There are many plays and concepts that as of recently were considered advanced that have now become standard. A good example of this would be the re-steal or "squeeze" play. A year ago, it was a lot safer to try and steal the blinds from late position. Nowadays, the average online player is far more aggressive than ever before. It has gotten to the point where one shouldn't be raising weak hands from obvious steal spots - the button, cutoff, etc - if the stacks aren't right, because the odds of getting re-raised are far too high. This is the current stage of evolution that online poker has reached. Perhaps you've heard someone say "the re-steal is the new steal". This is a perfect illustration of the evolution of poker, and the winning player must be able to adapt. If 3-betting has become a standard play in online poker, then the obvious adjustment would be to either open less, or 4-bet more. As the general community begins to catch onto this, the game will once again evolve. In a year, maybe you'll hear someone say "the re-re-steal is the new re-steal!" This is not to say that we should be expecting every hand to be 8-bet preflop in a couple years- the evolution of poker strategy moves in cycles. Recently I was playing a tournament with a friend watching by my side trying to learn. There was a spot where I picked up KK preflop with 15 big blinds, and a well-known player opened in front of me. Instead of just going all-in, I re-raised to about 2/3 of my stack. What I told my friend was this: A little while ago, it was standard to make this kind of re-raise because most people feel it looks stronger than just reshoving, meaning it was done mostly with weaker hands. Nowadays, most people recognize this, and consider that sort of re-raise to be weaker. So, I am making it with KK to convince him that I am trying to make my hand look stronger and induce him to play with me. This is a great example of the "cycle" of poker strategy. Just by putting this concept in this article, I am helping to disseminate this concept throughout the entire community. Eventually, perhaps even soon, most people will agree that one should re-raise in this fashion with big hands because it "looks weaker." This also means that further down the line, people will recognize this and that style of re-raise will be considered most likely a big hand, like it used to. Confused? You probably should be, but this is just one example of many of the cyclical evolution of poker strategy. In my opinion, the main difference between fields in live tournaments and online tournaments is the "stage of evolution" that poker has reached in each arena. The evolution of online poker happens more rapidly than that of live poker, because those that are playing online are also most likely to be visiting the myriad places online that expedite one's improvement as a player. This is not to say that "online players are better than live players," just that the skill sets and concepts that are important or widely accepted in each arena differ, sometimes drastically. With the popularity and size of major poker community forums, it is easy to see how information from expert players can trickle down through the ranks faster than ever before. Since the weaker players are being scolded for their bad plays and instructed as to how to play the hand next time, often by the same people, the community "moves together" up the ranks of poker skill. Slowly but surely, people conform to the playing styles of the top players. In the ranks of strictly live poker players, information and poker conversation generally goes just from one person to another. I don't need to explain how massive amounts of information spread online faster than in any other environment. With the influx of online players into these major live tournament venues, the evolution of live poker will probably be catching up very soon. Instead of just adapting to "keep up" with this evolution, one must be adapting to stay ahead of it. Rather than conforming one's play to the same style as everyone else, the most successful players will be changing in ways that will keep them ahead of the curve. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize these signs of evolution as soon as possible, so that plans to develop a counter-strategy can take place as soon as possible. The old guard is fading and the game is changing - you can either be left in the dust, or you can adapt and thrive. Good luck! Cutty: The game done changed... Slim: Game's the same, just got more fierce. -The Wire ---------- * Alex AJKHoosier1 Kamberis is a Contributing Writer for PocketFives.com, and is currently ranked #8 in the world at online tournament play. For more poker-related content, visit our Poker Articles section.
  2. When I prompted the PocketFives community for ideas on what topic this article should encompass, I received a wide variety of suggestions. So wide, in fact, that the only common thread amongst these contributions was the urge to better one's self as a poker player....surprising, I know. However, in reading all of the requests for strategy discussions and bankroll-building techniques, I wondered if some were missing the point of what it truly takes to become a success in the poker world. At the danger of oversimplifying things, for the purpose of this article I'm going to divide the growth of a poker player into three steps or categories: Beginner, Student, and Professional. These levels signify not only the developments of one's skills on the felt, but also the broadening of poker's impact on one's life. Each step contains a new, increased set of poker-related concerns, along with necessary areas of self-evaluation. Beginner New to poker in every sense of the word, the beginner is a poor player on the felt and is typically disinterested in poker in general. Typical concerns for a beginner include little more than recreation, and poker has little to no impact on their life off the felt. The more important poker becomes to someone, the better they are likely to become at it, and vice-versa. In other words, if the beginner is to advance as a poker player, they must either have natural talent ("Hey, I keep taking my friends' money!") or a natural passion for the game (*$#%, I hate when my friends take my money, I better start figuring this $#!& out."). Having one will typically bring on the other, and that is when the next step is taken. Student The vast majority of those reading this article will most likely fall into this category. The Student has a true desire to improve as a poker player, perhaps even with thoughts (or dreams) of one day "going pro." This is the level during which self-evaluation is perhaps most important. Poker-related concerns grow rapidly, and the game begins to have a serious impact on one's life off the felt. Typical concerns for the Student include finding a niche (choosing between games and game types), building a bankroll, and, obviously, improving as a player. However, there are many equally important concerns that sometimes go overlooked. One of the most important (and underrated) determining factors in the success of the Student is his or her open-mindedness, both in terms of willingness to learn and also being able to look at the "big picture." There are countless message board posts by Students hoping to make it big that go something like: I'm going to start out 8-tabling .25/.50 NLHE. I figure I should be able to earn $X/hr, and if I play 50 hrs/week, that means I can earn $2600X this year! It certainly sounds convenient, but even if all goes well and that "dream" rate is achieved, these Students often fail to take a bird's-eye-view of the situation by analyzing the non-financial effects that their budding poker habit might have. These include, but are not limited to; physical atrophy (being in bad shape), limited social experience/free time (especially when coupled with a "real" job or classes), poker-related emotional swings, loss of sleep, etc. Also lost in the mess of bankroll building and hourly rates is the need to continue studying the game. In order to be successful, the Student must recognize that their grasp of the game isn't nearly what it needs to be in order to achieve the desired level of success. Just as time is designated for play, it must also be designated for study. The Student must find a way to incorporate all of these factors (and more) into a self-evaluation far deeper than just bankroll and other "on-the-felt" concerns. This will lead the good Student to finding ways to better balance one's life and incorporate poker in a more productive way. It will also prevent those who can't handle or don't enjoy the "grind" from completely immersing themselves into a world that isn't for them. Every so often, a good Student (or a bad Student who gets lucky) will achieve a level of success that sets them apart from the rest. Unlike the common perception amongst long-time grinders that the low-stakes beginning of a poker career is the most difficult part of all, it is my opinion that this next stage is the most rigorous. Professional Making up a very small fraction of the poker community, the Professional is that player who has achieved a level of success in poker where it has indisputably become their main source of income. Professionals must be able to support themselves strictly from their poker career. At this point, many of the player's initial goals have been achieved, and key concerns have drastically changed. One "new" problem that arises as a Professional is motivation. A good Student typically doesn't have this problem, because their goals are so clearly outlined, and their long-time dreams are so clearly not-yet achieved. There is no real reason for a good Student to become complacent as a poker player, other than simply becoming burnt out by the necessary hours of commitment. For the Professional, it can often be difficult to "get up" for the standard daily routines of a poker player. After a big win, after a brief downswing, after months of seemingly nonstop play, it's easy to see how poker can lose its initial charm that drew the player into the game. People often fight an exhaustingly long time for a dream and become so eager to feel like they've "made it" and done all there is to do, long before that is truly the case. You'll often hear the reasons why one dreams of going pro being something like, "I can sleep as late as I want and make my own schedule!" or, "I get to travel whenever I want, and I'll make lots of money!" These are often ideals that look a lot nicer or more glamorous from the outside. Sleeping in every day quickly turns to, "Damn, when did I start setting my alarm for 2PM?" Travel becomes exhausting, money leads to loss of perspective....the list goes on. This is certainly not to bemoan the life of a professional poker player, which is undoubtedly one of the "easier" career paths one can be fortunate enough to undertake. However, this is an attempt to explain that as you develops as a player, you must be wary of these unique problems and newfound concerns as they develop. Professionals also face many of the same concerns as Students, such as lack of physical activity, a cluttered social life, high stress, etc. The most successful pros are not always the best players, but the ones who are able to recognize and adapt to the ways in which poker has begun to dominate their life - a necessary prequel to success. There is genuinely no way to become a great player without investing countless time, emotion, and brainpower. Because of this inevitability, many of poker's so-called benefits become major life problems - for example, if making your own schedule leads to being excessively lazy and/or asleep all day, then you are not truly a success. A recent PocketFives article by Lenny Sharlet posed the question, "Is online poker +EV for the average player?" In my opinion, the answer to whether poker is "+EV" for you resides in your ability to maintain and adapt to the negatives that come with it. If the extraneous "costs" of a poker career, listed throughout this article, outweigh the benefits it brings, then it is time for real self-evaluation to occur and changes to be made. I may be a few weeks late in popping the champagne, but in the spirit of New Year's resolutions, I urge all of you to look deeply at the ways that poker has affected you, make a firm decision as to who you truly want to be, and do whatever you can to achieve that. Hopefully I've provided some guidelines as to real-life concerns that can arise as a result of a developing poker career. Being aware of these issues as they affect you is a major step towards the success in poker that we all aspire to achieve.
  3. In the sales world, the phrase "Always Be Closing" (ABC) has become a staple of how to deal with potential customers. In other words, do what you have to do to win over the potential buyer, but always keep that ultimate goal in mind. ABC means that every course you take in your interaction with the customer needs to, in some way, be working toward that final victory: the making of the sale. In baseball, the closer is the relief pitcher that a team saves for the end of close games, to seal the deal. Often times, the closer is the pitcher on the team with the best stuff; Mariano Rivera's devastating "cutter," Trevor Hoffman's vicious changeup, and Jonathan Papelbon's 98 mph heater. These men are saved for the end of games because of the baseball adage that the game's final three outs are the hardest to come by. In other words, these men are successful not only because of what they can do with a baseball, but because they have the mentality to come into the game in only the highest-pressure situations, day in and day out, comfortable with the world resting on their shoulders. Sometimes, they'll be taking the mound the day after blowing a crucial 9th-inning lead and watching the highlights all over SportsCenter. The best closers become the best by being able to put these failures behind them not eventually, but immediately, and keeping complete faith in their ability. The average individual is incapable of dealing with the sort of pressure and emotional fatigue that this entails, but that's what makes a closer a closer. In tournament poker, a "closer" is that player that really turns their game on when the pressure is greatest and the money jumps are biggest. There is no way to understate the importance of closing tournaments; it is often said that the best players make their money not from cashes, but from top 3's, big wins, the times when they really had that Eric Gagne mentality and just shut out the competition. There are few events in poker more satisfying than putting the hammer down at the end of a large-field tournament. However, while World Series bracelets and large chunks of cash can definitely make someone a poker celebrity, it is not how one deals with winning that brought them to that success. In a game where one card can so easily be the difference between wild success and total failure, it can be easy to wonder, to dream about, or worst of all to dwell upon "what might have been." The ranks of failed poker players--and those ranks are numerous--are filled with those who couldn't handle this, and instead of "manning up" and returning to play their A-game in the next tournament, either made negative changes to their game--changes based on previous results instead of optimal play--to try and avoid this heartbreak, or quit altogether. There is no true sports analogy or comparison for the luck element and certain uncontrollable situations that can arise in poker. You're going to run KK into AA, you're going to take a river two-outer for the chiplead, you're going to get hero-called by bottom pair when you bluff a man you read as weak; that stuff is going to happen. There are almost infinite ways to bust out of a tournament, and only some of them involve playing badly. The best players realize this and don't let specific situations or lost pots automatically change the way they think, or more importantly, the way they play. They won't start looking to fold kings, they won't spend the night crying over a bad beat, and they won't stop making the same aggressive plays that got them where they are. This does not mean that when a great player does make a mistakel, as they all do, that they don't try to learn from it. Much like Mets closer Billy Wagner might review the game tape to see what part of his mechanics made him hang that curveball, a poker player needs to be able to analyze key hands where they may have played less than optimally, and then figure out the best way to adapt should a similar situation arise again. The interesting caveat when it comes to poker is that it is often much more difficult to recognize the difference between a mistake and a good play with a bad result. A bluff that doesn't work, a resteal that gets caught, a call that turns out to be incorrect; these are not necessarily mistakes. Just because Wagner gets an inside fastball knocked out of the park to lose a game doesn't mean he won't be back out on that mound throwing that exact same pitch with a one-run lead the next day. And, you can bet he didn't spend the 24 hours in between bemoaning his fate, questioning his ability, or drawing up plans to change the delivery that made him into one of the game's elite. Instead, he spent that time deciding what he may have done wrong (if anything), figuring out how to fix it (if need be), and putting any doubts or disappointment behind him the next day. This is the mentality of a closer.
  4. While I feel that your best of flop plays would be electing to raise your opponent's bet, I suppose I can see the merit in electing to call in its stead. By doing so, we can first glance upon a turn, which we hope to be a pleasant card for us. In addition, our hand, which is in fact quite strong, appears to our villain to be weak. Such deception! However, while you may convince me, perchance, that your best flop play is the calling option, there is little doubt in the expanses of my mind that your optimal play once we've reached the turn is to raise! Not only does this reap the obvious benefit of maximizing the absolute value of our hand, there is quite a good chance Mr. Mitchell will take an overly-aggressive, less-than-optimal line henceforth. I must say, gentlemen, we are, after all, discussing the dynamics that exist between two individuals for whom public perception would label them quite aggressive indeed! I am confident that the decisions you'd made on previous actions over the course of this hand will make it awfully unlikely that your opponent will be able to correctly determine your hole cards. Through his analysis of the hand, Mr. Mitchell will undoubtedly take note of the fact that we elected simply to call on a flop that all would agree is rather coordinated, and will view our raise on the latter street as simply unbelievable. Fortunately for our prospects of winning this hand, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Mitchell would choose to pass on his option to raise prior to the community cards being dealt, mostly because of your devil-may-care image in the community in regards to your pre-flop decision-making . If, by the grace of his Almighty, Mr. Mitchell happens to be holding a queen and a jack, or a three paired with another, yet still choose to bet out against his pre-flop aggressor, then he is truly a blessed creature. I should also note, before parting, that while the large nature of our opponent's bet on the ultimate street is certainly reason for fear, we must be true to our courageous nature and call. The course of the hand to this point would provide no other option.
  5. Just wanted to post here like I did on 2p2 that i am not exactly proud of this, and think i could've handled myself much better.
  6. Yesssssssss! Can finally stop clicking the refresh button on the updates. So excited, can't wait to watch the FT on Thursday. GLGLGLGL Steve n DFish! Such a sick final 6.
  7. I take it all back - I do kinda love these. Tournies are still prty soft (as long as you pick your spots and avoid a cpl of the most reg-heavy tournies) and although it doesnt do most people any favors equity-wise, it definitely makes things more interesting/fun, especially at the start of the day. it also makes some mid-stakes tournies about 100000x more playable. basically, if you're smart, and stay within your means, METs are dopeness. still think it sucks that theyre taking over the FTOPS with it, just because i'm kind of a purist, but that ftops ME is gonna be absurd.
  8. No one is debating that he was lucky, and if you'll read the other thread all about that 75s vs AK, I wasn't easy on him at all. I just try to be objective regardless of results, or how something looks at first. a) the 32o checked through on the turn. He just RRd pre, cbet the flop, checked the turn (to give up im sure) and bet the river when he got there b) the 82o... to be honest i'm guessing he was really surprised that sowers did anything besides fold or reshove pre there (i know i was), so I don't think his holdings were very relevant given the stacks. given that, you can assume it must not have been that bad of a spot to put on some pressure. c) if he hadn't had such a big stack at the start of the FT, I'm sure he would have played much differently... the whole point is that he came in with an uncommonly huge CL, and played accordingly. I do think it's a little surprising that all the 3-betting with total rags was as effective as it was at a table that clearly knew what he was up to, but million dollar FT's tend to affect people... I'd imagine. :(
  9. This is a really, really poorly applied analogy, but I guess I understand your point...
  10. Just like being lucky doesn't make you a good player, it also doesn't make you a bad one. He wasn't getting much slack if any for some plays people perceived as spewy, even those he got lucky on. Of course there are some hands from the FT you could nitpick at also (as someone else said I think maybe he benefitted more from a fuller table, which seems counter-intuitive for such a lag player), but I don't think anyone with a brain would say he played anything but very well for the most part throughout the whole FT.
  11. Congrats to both, and Sowers for a great run! I know Daize got a lot of heat in that other thread (myself included) but obviously he played a great FT. Ship 2milly! Also, coming from someone who never watches poker on TV, while I was at ESPNZone yesterday I was definitely cutting to ESPN2 more than a couple times during the Bulls/NFL games (even though the people I was with tended not to appreciate this). Thought the live coverage was really cool and extremely entertaining. Hope it did well enough to do it again.
  12. lol - I definitely think some people need to "p the b's" on their emotions in this thread. I'm not against this because I'm a "nicer" or "more benevolent" person than Gags (obviously that's true but totally unrelated). I'm against this because I think it hurts my bottom line - that's all I care about as far as the policies of any poker site, and I'm sure that's all 99.999% of you care about also. I just also happen to think that it hurts everyone else's bottom line too, which means I'm fighting the good fight, and that Gags/Dean are evil!
  13. Since I'm not an expert on all the technical stuff, and you're probably getting a ton of good advice on all that anyways, I just wanted to say that a lot of financial professionals, be they accountants, investment brokers, even bankers, just flat out do not want to work with online poker players. Whoever you work with, you need to be COMPLETELY up front with them about exactly what you do, and if they aren't happy to be working with you, then find someone else.

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