Last week, I asked Above the Law readers to give me their best poker advice. I’ll be in a tournament this weekend at Caesars Palace – Atlantic City, sponsored by Stockings and Bonds. Click here for the details.*
As I said, my main motivation — aside from the $30,000 prize pool — is to stick it to the investment bankers and hedge fund types who put their chips on the table. But it would be nice to have another legal type down there to chill with. Harrah’s is raffling off a seat at the table. The winner will get: the buy-in, a room, and access to the Stockings & Bonds After Party at Dusk. Sign up here.
If you do win, you’ll want to check out the best poker strategies from the ATL community…
Many commenters and readers responded to my question on what I should wear:
Wear something big and loose enough to hide your shame.
Screw you, guys.
Oliver people’s OP-523 sunglasses (in silver with blood red lenses), Jeans, blue suede Taryn Rose lofers (of course without socks), oversized Hawaiian shirt, and a half smoked (but unlit) Cohiba Piramides hanging from your mouth.
Thank you! Was that so damn hard? But I think wearing sunglasses while playing poker is cheating.
I also asked for some advice on how to deal with heads up play. When it gets down to two people, I generally lose my rhythm. This obviously isn’t a problem with cash games, but in a tourney, it’s been my killer. Here’s what ATL readers and commenters had to say about the problem:
If you’re really struggling in heads-up, you should try something with more risk and more reward to make up for your poor play. Try to never call pre-flop. Only raise. You might get re-raised into folding every time your opponent has the cards and you don’t, but over the long run it’ll win you a lot of blinds and a lot more money when you have the cards. Your opponent will also be aware of what you’re doing, and he’ll make mistakes trying to beat it, usually by re-raising too aggressively. It’s not a perfect strategy, but it often works for people who suck in heads-up.
I like this strategy. I generally avoid calling anyway because, well, I’m not stupid. This strategy is essentially saying: “You suck at this, put it in the hands of the poker gods.” Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky?
Of course there are other ways to go about it:
I usually start off pretty passive heads up and try to figure out how my opponent is going to play it. Does he want to be the aggressor, or is he content letting me be the aggressor. If he is the former, I want to make sure that he’s not bullying me around. If he’s the former, I want to come in playing position and firing off bets preflop for 3-4.5 times the size of the blind. If he wants to come in, make him pay for it. If you’re the aggressor it makes him think twice about raising and overall, I think it becomes easier to gauge what his hands are.
Typically, heads up, I will see a lot of flops heads up. But I want to see them on my terms, meaning I want to be the aggressor.
The problem with being the aggressor, heads up, is that I’ve most likely been very aggressive to get myself into a one-on-one situation. The last dude standing, he was the one that didn’t buy it. So how I am going to bully him now?
Of course, thinking/over-thinking this way is probably why I end up not winning tournaments.
My other big problem is dealing with frat boys. Those guys will be ubiquitous at the event on Saturday, and they’re so annoying that I sometimes get distracted by them. ATL people had a number of anti-frat boy strategies:
To keep the frat boys at bay pay some call girls to distract them and hang on you occasionally. Or, if you have friends who are strippers [or] working girls maybe they will do it for free.
Didn’t I mention that Stockings and Bonds girls will be giving massages to the players? I’ve already priced in the focus advantage I’ll gain because I’m married.
To ward off the frat boy hypnosis, listen to an iPod or something like that.
Yeah, but it’s hard to aggressively bet when the iPod shuffle rolls over to Phantom of the Opera or something similar.
The typical frat boy will be aggressive and cocky. Play conservatively against him. Wait until you flop trips or hit a nice straight or flush on the turn, maybe even high pair with a nice kicker. You know you’ll have him beat. Then, the trick is to talk a little shit. When you know you have the better cards, then you act a little cocky. After the river, make a solid bet, or raise him if he’s already bet. Then tell him that you already know he’s going to fold. Say it with the confidence and condescension of the most annoying gunner you can remember from your days at HLS.
This will piss him off and force him to make a lose/lose choice. If he folds, then you have the mental edge because you told him what he would do and he did it. You smirk, take your chips, and make him feel like you bitch slapped him. If he can’t handle your condescending prediction that he will fold ( and this is likely) and he calls or raises, which is the better deal for you, then take him for everything. The point is that when you know you have him beat, talk shit and you’ll get either a mental or financial edge.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Smack talking is what I do professionally. I can totally pull this off.
There was one question I didn’t think to ask, but readers had very strong opinions about the issue nonetheless. What kind of biographical information should I share?
Are you going to tell them you are a lawyer? People will openly hate you (you’re used to that) but secretly respect you (you’re not used to that). Good move on net.
Well, technically I’m not a lawyer anymore so …
Make sure everybody knows that you work for ATL and that’ll you’ll be taking notes and blogging about it later. Some whores will try to be flamboyant to make it onto the web, while others will be completely thrown off their game fearing you’ll humiliate them by name.
That just might work.
I can’t wait until you tell everybody that you went to HARVARD and some state school meathead makes it his personal mission in life to sodomize you on the table. I hope that clip makes it to YouPorn.
In any event, thanks for everybody who sent in advice. Except for the You Porn guy. Feel free to add other thoughts in the comments. I’ll let you know how it turns out on Twitter.
Earlier: Poker Open Thread: Seeking Advice
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