Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Climb Every Mountain

I'm not sure there has ever been a more appropriately named site than Everest Poker.

On the face of it, the standard of play is so laughably bad that it should be a joy to play on. Unfortunately for me, finding a successful style is proving a real mountain to climb.

Adaptability is an important weapon in the armoury of a serious player. The cry of 'I can't play against these donkeys' holds no water with me.

When trying out a new site, I think it is important to recognise there is a learning curve to be negotiated, no matter how competent a player you may be considered to be.

That said, there are definitely certain styles that are more simple to combat than others.

I had a great deal of success playing against Tribeca players. On the whole they were pretty loose and many were prone to some fundamental, and predictable, errors.

Overvaluing TPTK, inability to fold a flush draw no matter how bad the odds, unable to fold overpairs, getting too attached to Ace-rag on an Ace high flop.

Basic stuff, which made them fairly easy to put on a hand range and exploit their weaknesses.

Everest Poker brings a new challenge, as the players are much less predictable, and prone to making moves that are so off-the-wall they might be interpreted as world class if they were coming from a good player and selectively deployed, instead of machine gunned throughout the session by a 48%/28% lunatic.

Aside from re-reraising all-in for 100BB with QTs, I've seen limp-minimum reraising with ATo in a multi-way pot, reraising all-in pre-flop with KJo, and an unbelievable amount of check-raising on the flop with hands like middle pair or bottom pair with an Ace kicker versus pre-flop raisers.

Already I've been forced to modify my style by tightening right up and making sure I'm ready to go to war with any hand I play in a big pot.

I've also recognised that position is often not for stealing pots, but is solely for taking free cards, due to the insane amount of check-raising.

The problem this week is I've been running my big hands into monsters, and losing most of the more marginal ones.

Setting an opponent all-in for a big chunk of chips pre-flop with 99 isn't something you'll often find me doing, so it's good to be proved right when my opponent calls with KJo, and bad to see that J hit the flop.

When a series of these confrontations go the wrong way, it's easy to allow ones vision to be coloured by the red numbers on the spreadsheet, and revert to that familiar wail of 'I can't beat these idiots', but longer term this has to be a profitable game to be in.

It shouldn't take great poker to beat this game, but it will take discipline and good bankroll management. It will also take commitment to play a lot of hands and fight through the swings and troughs which are inevitable in such a wild game.

So far I've had several troughs and only a few mild upswings, but I know that some night soon I'm going to sit down and nail a four or five buy-in win by playing exactly the same way I've played recently.

When not participating in the game, I've been pondering the reasons behind the distribution of playing styles being so fundamentally different to other sites.

My suspicion is that the multi-lingual software has to have a large bearing on it.

The US focused English-only sites certainly attracted large numbers of foreign players, but many of them were Scandinavians or Western Europeans who often speak English to a standard that would shame a native.

Thus they would be perfectly capable of consuming the 2+2 back catalogue with little difficulty.

As we move further east, English proficiency tends to be not quite so widespread, so I'd imagine people would tend to get their poker education from other sources. I'm sure there will be some Polish or Russian language poker sites, but I suspect You Tube snippets and WPT episodes on satellite TV are more of an influence.

Which is good TV, but not conducive to a winning long term cash game strategy. A lot of the moves I've seen might be good poker when it's six-handed and the average stack is 15BB, but ten-handed with 100BB in front they are just plain crazy.

If my analysis is correct, let's hope they don't start showing High Stakes Poker in Kazakhstan anytime soon!

No comments: