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Playing Poker Inside a Goldfish Bowl

How hard can it be to continually make money in the nosebleed games on Full Tilt Poker? I reckon it must be pretty damn hard to do it year in and year out. If it was that easy then people like Brian Townsend wouldn’t have been found guilty of multi-accounting (sorry Brian but you did get caught).

But when you are literally playing poker in a goldfish bowl with the entire world peering in from the outside then you are simply there to be shot at. One can hardly turn anywhere in the online poker scene these days without seeing Isildur1 mentioned. Whether it is Viktor Blom or not is academic. Years ago when everyone was going overboard about Tom Dwan, I said that there would be people out there plotting to get him.

If you want to use Dwan as a yardstick for a minute, he is labouring under one huge disadvantage. Namely anyone can not only see his play but they can plot strategies against him. All players have weaknesses, sometimes it takes certain situations for those weaknesses to show themselves. You show me a poker player without a weakness and I will show you someone who isn’t human. Seeing as it is human beings who play this game in the nosebleeds then this means that they have weaknesses……period.

So you are basically there to be shot at so it isn’t any surprise that Isildur1 initially took Dwan for a huge sum and others besides. I think the mistake that he could make would be hanging around too long. As I write this I hear that Brain Hastings has won over $4 million from Isildur1. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter who you are. If you are playing in the nosebleeds then you are going to be facing the best in the world……the best at what they do.

You simply cannot continue to dominate these players for long periods, they are world class for a reason and as soon as they suspect that they are losing without variance being the reason then they will step back and adjust to whoever is taking their money. If I went into play these guys, I would probably plan it for at least six months. If it is in fact Viktor Blom, this will be exactly what he will have done although the time spent watching will differ.

You formulate the plan and who that plan can work against and if you have the bankroll and the game then you go in with this plan of attack. In this way you can possibly win a huge sum very quickly and especially if you happen to run above expectation. I would cut my playing time to one month at the most and then I would be gone from the games. The players would be analysing my game very closely and plotting strategies against me.

Seeing as they are world class players and the fact that I am essentially weaker than them then the process of shipping any winnings back would begin! There is a world of difference between being better prepared than someone and being better than them. I think that players in these games get stale not by becoming weaker players but by their opponents figuring out their style.

If the best online players on Full Tilt Poker played each other over one table then how much EV would there be? I think that the margins are wafer thin but I think that there is value in targeting these guys as an unknown in these games and then hitting and running. That could be very hard to combat for even the very best on that site.

But I feel that you need the discipline to run sooner rather than later because people like Dwan, Antonius and Ivey etc. will adjust and come back very hard. Personally I would play in these games maybe once or twice a year for a month at the most and spend the rest of the time watching and looking for weaknesses. Obviously this is all hypothetical because I wouldn’t play in the games at all as the first six figure negative swing would lead to me dying from a heart attack, but you can see my point here.

Many of the established pros were forced into changing their games all because of under the table cameras. Yet these guys can have tens of thousands of their hands examined in the minutest detail….now that’s a tough way to make a fantastic living.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson can be seen at www.pokerloco.com/thedean

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