Monday, March 29, 2010

I’m Freeeee…..Free Rollin’

Over the weekend Selene De’Celeste, the originator and owner of Eve Online Hold’em (EOH) ran a free roll tournament with a prize pool of 1 billion isk to the top three spots.

For those unaware, a free roll poker tournament requires no registration fee or buy in, it’s free! Selene asked a small favor from the Eve poker community in exchange for putting up the billion isk prize. 20 people needed to make a post on the official forums supporting EOH. I must admit a great deal of surprise that it took the EOH Poker channel with over 130 people therein more than 30 minutes to get 20 posts on the forum supporting poker for isk.

It is possible that a lot of people aren’t paying close attention to the chat in that channel and therefore missed to call for support. It is also possible that a lot of Eve poker players couldn’t be bothered to open an ingame browser and type of few lines of positive feedback for a unique and incredibly popular game within a game.

Regardless, eventually the community came around and the first 50 people to register in room 23 on Poker Mavens got a 3 in 50 chance at the money. Third place was awarded 200 million, second got 300 million and first place took a full ½ billion down in isk.

The typical one table tourney on EOH begins six handed with 5,000 chips and 50/100 blinds. This is a decent chip to blind ratio for a fast six handed table. Sadly the structure for the free roll was a definite crap shoot with 1500 starting chips and 50/100 blinds elevating every 10 minutes. To be fair, the owner and bankers running the poker room gain nothing in terms of monetary benefit from a free roll. The owner puts up the whole prize pool and there is no juice.

Juice is the portion of a tournament players’ buy in that goes to the house for expenses and profit. So the benefit to the house for a free roll is purely getting more players onto the other tables and in this case some enhanced advertising to boot.

I didn’t last long at all in this free roll. With such a short starting stack the opening 10-20 hands will often dictate whether you’re in or out of this kind of tourney. I got all my chips in with pocket 5s vs Agent25 holding A8 offsuit. Ace on the turn and curtains for me in 46th position.

I did rail the final table but I left my notes at home (blogging from work for the win). According to my sketchy memory the final five consisted of Nuke (EOH banker) with a big stack, Agent 25, Clixor, Unreal, and Zuter. I do hope I’m remembering the names correctly. There was quite abit of back and forth with Nuke open shoving his 25-30k chips into the 500/1000 blinds fairly often. This kept the pressure on the other players by denying them any cheap chance to see a flop. Eventually, Nuke’s aggressive play led him out in 5th and after saying it would happen when there were 6 players left, Zuter busted out 4th on the money bubble. Unreal took third place. Agent25 and Clixor battled back and fourth over fewer than 20 hands with Clixor rivering the winning 500million isk and Agent25 grabbing 2nd place.

Overall it was a fast fun free roll. Probably the best kind. Grats to everyone and thanks to Selene for putting up the game. And thank you to the EOH community for supporting the cause.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cooperation as a weapon

Cooperation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about poker or pvp. I think its fair to say the word conflict might be a more prominent describer of those activities. But the saavy warrior on the felt or in a pod will use every edge she can get to win every challenge.

C-MAC, my new corporation, conducted a pos take down in hi-sec last night as part of an ongoing merc contract. We used a small fleet of about 15-20 battleships in a remote repping configuration to rapidly put a small tower into reinforced. The mission itself is not so unique or noteworthy but the nuances of how it went and why are important.

Cooperating with others in a hostile environment is a common theme in MMOs today. Raids, Battlegrounds, Clans/Tribes/Guilds and for EVE: fleets. These are the areas in which we participate together with like minded people to reach a common goal.

There is room for solo activity. And some prefer it. But most would agree that there is a synergistic enhancement of fun and progress when working with others toward a common goal. You can do more with a team than without.

How does cooperation apply to poker? Some might think of collusion, that is, working with one or more other players by passing information and acting in a coordinated manner to take advantage of the non-participating players at a poker table. Cheating.

But this is not the most common form of cooperation in poker. What happens more often (and what you as a player should be working to improve your skills at) is understanding other players goals and tendencies in given situations and using them to work together towards a common end.

Example: Three players see a flop after some initial raising. One player is rather short stacked. The other two are relatively deep. Everyone seems to like the flop as the first deepish player bets out, the short stack player goes all in and the third player calls.

Here is the cooperation part: the first player doesn’t know for sure what the other two have. He wants to see this hand to the end. So he can re-raise and hope to push the third guy out or he too can call and see the turn card. That’s what he does.

The turn is a blank. The first player checks to the third guy (remember our short stack guy is all in and waiting to see what happens at the end of the hand). The third guy can check or bet out.

At this time, any more money that goes into the middle will go into a side pot between the first and third players. #2 is all in and the main pot is all he can win. Unless player #1 or #3 is certain they can beat the all in player and the other deep stack, there is a lack of pot odds to drive further betting.

The two remaining players will often ‘check it down’. This is cooperation. They are protecting their remaining chips and not putting themselves at greater risk by starting a new pot.

All good poker players discuss hands, strategy, lines of play, etc with other poker players. This interaction enhances the skill and development of all participants. This might not be the optimal approach if there were only 10 poker players in the world but with a field as large as poker currently has, working on your game with others is a great cooperative tool.

Whether it is poker or pvp, cooperation is a tool that needs to be honed and sharpened right along with aggression and sublety.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poker and Mercenaries

The long lost blogger returns! Once again I am jacked into the pod and leaping between stars. For many months I was exploring the very visceral and exciting world of Darkfall. Great game. Reminds me of EVE a lot.

But, as Letrange reminds us about EVE and the Eagles, “You can checkout any time you like; but you can never leave.”

Speaking of Letrange and AMC, I have retired from Worm Hole industries and found a new position with Costolle Military Assistance Corporation (C-MAC). This is a mercenary corp with a lot of pilots I’ve flown with in the 22nd Black Rise Defensive Unit (BRDU) and old friends from Faction Warfare in Draconis Combine.

Now, I’ve never done merc work but I have to say – it suits me. And here is why: it is business. And I enjoy business. I like having a clear focus and plan and purpose as I go about my activities. There is a definitive measure of success and an obvious pathway towards growth and progress.

As a matter of fact, merc work reminds me of poker (what doesn’t?). In poker you measure success by the upward mobility of your bankroll. Each session is a campaign, each hand a battle. You’re not taking that guy’s chips because you hate him, it’s just business. And business is good.

In C-MAC, when we are preparing for a new contract we do a lot of homework, intelligence gathering, review of standard operating procedures, detailed planning for upcoming operations, etc. This is a lot like the reading, data mining, and networking you might do before a big tournament to decide upon the best approach given your game and your opponents.

When we engage in hostile operations, C-MAC does so with the right amount of force in the right place at the right time in order to disrupt or destroy the maximum amount of enemy assets as possible. In poker, you put the right amount of chips at risk in order to influence the decisions of your opponent and to extract as much value from each hand as possible.

I am happy to be working with a new team of professionals. There are some poker players amongst the group as well!

Poker Updates: Full Tilt has a new game called Rush Poker. Now, I avoided trying this for quite awhile because I figured it was some kind of soft gimmick that wouldn’t help my game. But it is really a great tool. Here is how it works: you start at a normal table with your normal buy in; say $.10/.25 NL. You post the big blind and the action starts. If at any time you fold (or even click the fold button prior to the action coming to you) you are IMMEDIATELY moved to another table with a brand new hand.

What this means is that you can see an incredible number of hands per hour. In live poker you are lucky to see 30-40 hands per hour. At a normal online table you can see around 100+ hands per hours. If you multi-table you can get up to 500-600 hands per hour but your attention is split between each table and your expected value (EV) / Return on Investment (ROI) will drop.

In Rush Poker you can see well over 500 hands per hour (sometimes up to 800/hr) all on the same table. You do lose the ability to get reads on your opponents because they change every hand but you gain the ability to rapidly fold away the vast majority of mediocre hands while waiting for the best EV hands available. It seems to be a good tool for reinforcing solid poker practice. BUT! If you have leaks in your game this type of poker will amplify them and cause you to lose more $.

I haven’t been on EOH in awhile. I need to get my account unlocked and the chip stack refilled to see how things are there.

That is all for now.