Jamie Burland: Take the value!

It’s a pretty safe bet to say that poker has gotten progressively tougher over the years. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the increased overall standard; the popularity of coaching and training sites, black friday and the global recession have all had a huge impact on player’s skill levels and bankrolls. With this in mind it always surprises me when I see players constantly leaving food on the table.

Two things I’ve learned as a poker player are that value pie doesn’t really taste of much and landlords do not accept payments in Sklansky dollars. Even so, we must always try to avoid being results oriented and focus on the idea that if we keep getting our money in good then in the long run we will show a profit. I wouldn’t stop flipping coins with you if you were offering me 11/10 just because I lose the first ten in a row. I might inspect the coin a little closer and maybe insist that we start using one of mine but it would be madness to turn down those odds in the face of an unfortunate run. 

Overlay alert

The latest WCOOP and FTOPS series’ have just finished and every night the guarantees in these tournaments were smashed by players flocking in their thousands to try and hit a six figure score on a Tuesday afternoon. Why then, during iPoker’s iPOPS series have the prize pools regularly not been meeting their guarantees? If a tournament looks like it might have overlay, shrewd poker players should be bending over backwards to get in the games. Instead I’m seeing them pass up this free money and make excuses about the software not being up to scratch. The opening event of iPops High had a $60k overlay at a buy-in of $150. The best way to look at this is that 2,000 people have paid to play this tournament, but 400 have decided not to show up. Another way to think about it would be that you are paying $150 for a tournament ticket worth $187.50, or simply adding 20% to your ROI regardless of your skill level.

The standard of play is also a lot softer on iPoker. Aside from the fact that there are less grinders, most of the skins on the network have their own casino and sportsbook attached too, which attracts a lot of recreational gamblers into the games. 

$500k not out

In other news, I’m very proud to be able to report I have finally achieved my $500k badge on PocketFives. For those that don’t know, PocketFives is a neat online forum/community which also tracks your various online screen names’ lifetime cashes and puts you into a ranking system so you can always look to see how you’re getting on compared to your fellow grinders. It’s not perfect, as it tracks cashes not profit, but it’s still a reasonable indicator as to who is currently bossing the online scene.

The ranking system uses a sliding scale so it weights your most recent results more than results you had six months ago so overall it is at least a good indicator of current form. I’m constantly using its search facility when I’m on the back end of a session to see if any of the players on my tables have a profile and if so how much experience they have.

Another lesser used function of the site is the ability to go back through the most successful players’ old posts in the hand discussion forums. One development that’s helped the top players advance faster than the average is the fact that there is less of a tendency to discuss strategy in an open forum anymore. Players now swap Skype details to talk about hands in private so that their wisdom isn’t freely available. I’m in the same camp and understand the sentiment, ‘If you’re good at something, don’t do it for free’.

There is, however, still a whole load of information out there so for those of you who are open to doing a little bit of homework there’s some lovely posts and thoughts by some of the game’s brightest minds – you just have to work out their screen names and then you too can find out things like the postflop musings of Sam Grafton or how Jake Cody approaches playing A-K preflop.

iPOPS with Jamie
Started grinding: 18 November 2013
Still grinding: 26 November 2013
Total buy-ins: $632
Total cashes: $$1,829
Total profit/loss: $1,197
Total no. of tourneys entered:
Biggest cash: $1,200 (25th in iPOPS-1H $300,000)
Tilt factor: 3/10
Soundtrack of the day: Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem

Jamie Burland writes every month for PokerPlayer magazine, available on iTunes here.

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