Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Play Money, the Bane of Poker Today

Well well, you’ll never guess who finally qualified for a Monthly Tournament! I suppose the finally may be too strong a word, after all, making it in one of two isn’t all that bad. I guess I’ll finally get to see if the fact that there is a nice little sum for the winner if that will have any effect on peoples play, but I doubt that it will.

I can never get over hearing how people will play crap to the river making big calls all the way down because it’s a “free game.” And every single one that I have asked if they play on-line always say yes, and that they rock on the play money games on Stars, Party, UB, etc. In short, they play the same way all the time because they play nothing but free games or the occasional $5 or $10 game. When they play in Vegas or up in Milwaukee, they go to gambol and their variance (I trust a few of their reports) is consistent with that.

And every one of them also makes the claim that if they were playing for real money they would play differently. That is something that I just have to question, after all, there is money at the end of these games, up to $50 in the nightly’s and up to $500 in the monthly’s, but because they do not put money down to play, then it just doesn’t matter how they play. Funny thing is, when you sit down with them to play a $5 or $10 game, they play the exact same game because now it’s “only $5” or “only $10.”

Free games and low buy-in games should be played the exact same as a $100, $1,000, or $10,000 (pick whichever one would make you think) game. These games can be the perfect chance to learn and study your game, to develop your game, and work on your presentation and reading abilities all with minimal risk to your bankroll. Even better, if you want to work on a different style of playing this is also a perfect opportunity. But alas, most people prefer just to gambool, after all, it’s free. Put some money in their hands and they will be so accustomed to playing a J2o that they will have no option but to play it, after all they rule in those free games!

So far it has worked for me. I have made it to the last two or three tables every time but once this month and almost doubled my final table showings. I have been working on my play, the amount that I bet relative to my position and who’s at the table/in the hand. I’ve been working on learning how to read people, by far my weakest skill at this time. Because of all the loose aggressive play at the tables, I’ve had to learn how to play tight and yet still play enough to build up a nice little stack to carry me along as the blinds go up.

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