the pricing tail
as previously mentioned, I have been slogging away at Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Fooled by Randomness. it is a great should be buying it NOW!

sunday's New York Times had an article that blends with some of Taleb's ideas. a great read, even for the TLDR crowd.

bonus was reaching the end and seeing Michael Lewis wrote it. guy is a badass.

enjoy the article.
posted @ 11:47 AM CST [link]efforts are necessary but highly insufficient...everything's determined by the exception
linky linky

after i watched this interview in June, i went and bought both Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan. i was waiting to make a post on Fooled By Randomness till i finished it, but last night brought it back to the front of my mind...and here we are.

i know that on 2+2 both books have been reviewed and lauded. but i pretty much discounted that until the interview above. now, much like what is on 2+2, i cannot recommend the author enough - and i haven't even finished the first or started the latest!

anyway, i mention this b/c last night i gathered with roughly 700 of my closest friends and enemies to play in the $28K Guarantee on Full Tilt. by the time we made the money, it was around midnight and i was in the top 20. the entire tournament was going well; i was playing great poker and even more important, i was getting cards and not getting unlucky. i actually felt like this was it: i was going all the way. it had been a great tournament to that point.

after the money bubble burst and the break, i was moved to a new table. unlike my previous tables, there wasn't just one bigger stack, but two or three. real poker was about to begin. with the blinds at something like T500/1000 with an ante, effective stacks for us big stacks were roughly 50BB. in the small blind, the cutoff plus two limped, i completed, and the big blind checked his option. three to the flop, the CO+2 had me covered by a small margin and the BB had about half our stacks. flop brings two hearts, something like 9h-4h-Kx. i am first to act and have K-7, no heart. generally, in this situation, i am not contesting this pot. i have a big stack, i have just arrived at this table and have zero reads. any real bet is pushing me out. i know that may seem like weak poker, but i am looking to gain a few hands on this new table before i go nuts. completing my SB was an attempt to see how the table handled limpers. i wanted to see if the BB was going to give me problems in the future when i started to punish his blinds. so anyway, i check, the BB checks, and CO+2 bets a little over $1K - this is roughly 25-30% of the pot, a very small and weak bet. right away i am thinking about his range: two hearts, maybe a pair and flush draw, big pocket pair that was limped - anything is possible. i figure here i am getting the right implied odds to call: i am looking for another king or seven and i might even bluff the scare card if a heart comes. the BB calls also, so the pot odds and implied odds are through the roof. the turn brings a king and i am first to act. here, i am looking check-raise. if CO+2 has a flush draw, my check-raise will kill his action. if either of them has a big pocket pair or two pair, it is going to get all in. i check, BB checks, and as expected, CO+2 bets - again weak, like 1/3 the pot. i actually like the bet: i am thinking it is a blocking bet for a big pair or a pot-building bet if he is drawing to the hearts. i do have some worries: what if he has AhKx? would he limp that? i dunno. He also could have a set of fours, maybe even nines. so i am torn and to be honest, when i check-raised, i did not know what my plan was if he called or rerasied. i didn't have enough time to think that through and figured i would cross that bridge shortly. i raised the CO+2's bet by almost three times. i am looking at pot control and wanted to leave myself the chance to fold if i needed it. the BB insta-folds and to my surprise/consternation, the CO+2 min raises me. shit. does he really have AhKx? does he have a set of nines or fours for the full house? just a flush draw? FMITGA, i have no fucking clue. i guess i played this poorly and now with roughly T18K behind, i am looking at shove or fold. i didn't consider smooth-calling and maybe i should have. i decide that the flush draw is most likely and i push. he calls and flips KJoff. crap. i bust out in like 71st.

i am still kinda shell shocked, not that i lost a ton of money or was playing for millions as first prize, but more as i didn't expect a better king and now that i know what it was, i don't know how to fix my error. could i ever have gotten away from this? i mean, i know if i played better i could have - but right now, the state of my game - i play it that way every time. and i wish i didn't.

my game needs some serious work. shit.

posted @ 01:14 PM CST [link]i humanize the vacuum
no idea what Britt is talking about in the above line.

last night was the re-run of the BBT Donkament of Champions. 56 runners, a few no-shows. i took 3rd for $300. gotta like free money. big ups to Al, Mookie, Hoy, and Michael at i think the whole series was great and enjoyed playing. it certainly helped my game. and thanks to FTP. until the freezeroll, they really did a great job by us. refunding back the rake was more than fair, let's call it unprecedented. and as a mea culpa for the freezeroll issue, they kicked in an extra $500 for the reroll last night - so thanks FTP; we still love ya. now, can you increase the round times on the $24 and $69 tourneys? thx!

overall, i think my tournament play is advancing. firstly, just playing regularly has helped. the Full Tilt Tournament Guide has also helped. tempering my urge to shove, i.e. the ability to lay down hands and rationalize that is it right even if it feels wrong, is helping too. last night i laid down AK twice and AQ three times. each time it was the right read. marginal coin flips in early rounds, even in fast moving tourneys are -EV. but man it is tough to laydown jacks. just ask Waffles. heh.

of course, i have a long way to go. how long? i busted with presto three-handed. should have been a shove-move pre-flop. doh!

i think i have also rationalized that while improvement in cash games can be linear, in tournaments, it is necessary to have exponential growth. why? due to the cost and structure. in cash games you can and will buy-in repeatedly during a session. making an improvement in your game from session to session can be small, incremental and you will see immediate response, even if it is a small addition to your win. but in tournaments, an incremental improvement can and will be crushed by (a) variance and (b)structure. why do i say this? b/c the money in tournaments is in the top three spots; that is the grail. i feel (do others?) that struggling for a few hours to make a small amount back from my buy-in is a waste. i mean, i want the big first prize. not 698th. i guess what i am not saying very well is that tournaments are lotteries; the expectation is to hit the big score. so improvements need to come not 1x, 2x, 3-times spurts - they gotta come square, cubed....i dunno, something i am still kicking around in my head. maybe i am wrong.

and now a view into my real problems:
1. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
2. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
3. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
4. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
5. The Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide: Tournament Edition edited by Michael Craig
6. Your Worst Poker Enemy by Alan N. Schoonmaker
7. The Poker Tournament Formula by Arnold Snyder
8. Why You Lose at Poker by Russell Fox and Scott T. Harker
9. Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book: More Lessons and Hand Analysis in No Limit Texas Hold'em by Phil Gordon
10. Chances Are: Adventures in Probability by Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan

these are the books on my nightstand. i have a few others (5-6?) on the shelf in my office that are in hiatus. seriously, i have a book problem!

btw - for those discussing the cash vs. tournament players line, you need to read #8 on the above list. they make the argument in the same vein as Miami Don.

have a great weekend!
posted @ 04:08 PM CST [link]

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