Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Open Letter to a Blogger
Recently a rather high-profile poker blogger, having been felted by me several times in recent blogger tournaments, wrote a scathing post (no -- not the "lightning: fucking idiot moron cocksucker ... etc" post -- the other one) regarding my victory in the recent BBT5 invitational tournament. This blogger, whom I shall refer to as "Pancakes" (not his real name nor his familiar online name), was upset not only by a risky play I made that led to his exit from the tournament, but but also the manner in which I played, in general, and won hands -- or as he phrased it, "played Keno all night long got a fucking once in a lifetime blow job from statistics and lucked his way into a seat he probably did not deserve based on his play." The point of his post was that he would not congratulate me on my victory, writing "So congratulations? Really? I think I will save that for someone who deserves it."

After careful consideration and keeping in mind that I work as a professional educator, I thought it only fitting that I should attempt to educate this poor, misguided soul. I, therefore, present my best attempt to save this player from future embarrassment.

An open letter to Pancakes

Dear Pancakes:

Greetings, fellow poker blogger. Your recent post regarding my play in the last BBT5 invitational tournament demonstrated a profound lack of understanding about tournament poker play, my intentions and methodology in winning, and poker in general. My goals are to assist in bringing the sweet smell of success into your life, aiding in your comprehension of the human condition, and perhaps even helping you get within spitting distance of a final table in one of the remaining BBT5 tournaments.

First, I will assist you in understanding what I wanted to accomplish in the tournament. I do not know if you ever set goals for yourself, but I do. My goal was simple: Be one of the last two standing and win my seat into the Tournament of Champions. I did not want a deep run. I did not want to merely cash and make the final table. I wanted top two or nothing.

Now, people familiar with my recent history could tell you that my usual tight play was not bringing about the desired goal. It was time for a change. The plan was straightforward: Accumulate chips early, take risks when necessary, build a stack able to withstand a few bad beats, coin flip losses, and poor decisions, and play aggressively. If these tactics led to my demise, so be it. There would still be a few more tournaments -- other chances.

It seems obvious that my early tournament call of your pre-flop shove while I was holding A-Q sooted was beyond your comprehension. You wrote, "CALLING AQ into a 3-bet shove is like bending over and saying "Give it to me up the ass".. I mean the range for that shove is AA-JJ AK. So most of the hands your (sic) up against your (sic) totally fucked."

Here is what you are missing: I was playing against you. I would not make that call in those circumstances against most bloggers. Your previous play in this tournament (slow playing AA, delighting in taking my chips, using position to raise me several times) and your previous history in my massive lightning database told me that most likely your range of hands was anywhere from A-rag to a middle pair to almost any pretty-looking hand. AA, KK, AK? I thought not. If you regard yourself as a tight player you will probably find little company in that particular assessment. I believed that I either had you dominated or was in a coin flip situation. Given the tournament plan I have already graciously shared, I decided to take a risk. If I was correct I would either be a big favorite or be flipping for my tournament life. If I was wrong I was gift wrapping you a ticket to potentially go deep. I was correct in my read. I was a 46% favorite to win the hand. An excellent question, however, is why you would move all in on a 3-bet (you raised to 300 and I re-raised to 700) against a well known tighty. Shouldn't you have considered folding or possibly calling?

The assessment was correctly made, the risk was taken, the outcome fell in my favor. That is poker.

You might wish to review a post made by a blogger known as sirfwalgman, who on May 11 posted:

Excellent Quote

I got this from The Grump.

Phil Laak, in his exit interview from the 2010 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, after losing on a river two-outer.

If you can't take the pain and just laugh about it, then you can't make it in poker.

sirwalgman occasionally -- about once every six months -- posts things worth reading, including maniacal rants. You might wish to check out his blog. A maniac -- indeed!

Pancakes, you might wish to actually review the complete hand histories of the tournament so as not to misrepresent some of the actual hands as mentioned in the second paragraph of your post. Your statement that I "consistently called huge bets on Axx boards with Queens for significant parts of his stack and gollleyyyy if that Queen did not show up three times." was not correct. Your assertion is somewhat accurate with one particular hand, but we will never find out the alternate ending to that particular hand since the poker gods were gracious and gifted me a Queen on the river.

Something you do not appear to understand, unless I am mistaken, Pancakes, is that poker is a game of skill and of luck. It is a game of percentages, of reading players, of taking risks, of knowing when to push and when to put on the brakes. Good does not always triumph. The person who has the best chance of winning a hand percentage-wise does not always win unless the percentage is 100%. We all take nasty beats. It is part of poker.

Perhaps you also could benefit from a review of the 2009 WSOP. Champion Joe Cada should have ended up in sixth place when he two-outed Jeff Schulman with 3-3 vs J-J -- one of numerous times throughout the WSOP when things did not go quite as one might expect.

And yes -- I was fortunate a few times late in the tournament when an underdog hand won. The point, however, is that luck is needed to win, and I created much of my own luck with my play. You have focused on a small number of plays in a tournament that featured hundreds of plays and lasted over six hours. I played very well. I also made some mistakes, however, as we all do. A few times I was lucky to win a hand despite being behind. I was fortunate to win, as we all know that anything can happen at the final table. We have all (well -- most of us) experienced the disappointment of playing great poker, yet losing a coin flip or suffering a bad beat. In the past I lost one BBT tournament by losing a coin flip while heads up. I lost another when I took a nasty runner-runner beat heads up when I was a huge favorite. It happens.

Something you failed to acknowledge was that I was short stacked extremely late in the tournament -- down to only seven big blinds -- and I fought back to win the tournament. Mike Sexton, on WPT broadcasts, continually references some of what it takes to be a champion, including heart. I think I demonstrated it when the going was tough. You still had over 16 big blinds after the big hand we played. You had a chance to come back.

Finally, SmBoatDrinks stopped by my blog to congratulate me on my win. He took a bad beat from me at the final table when my A-Q outflopped his A-K. I am sure he was disappointed to go out that way. I appreciate his classy move.

So, Pancakes, there you have it. My plan was well developed and well executed. With a few misplays by other players, some good fortune courtesy of the poker gods, aggressive play, and a lot of heart, it worked.

In closing, remember that you help shape your future -- it belongs to you. In making your decisions, choose wisely, grasshopper. And as my wise old grandmother used to say, "And I hesitated." Or maybe it was an anagram of that ...

Most sincerely,



Blogger The Poker Meister said...

Who is "pancakes?"

Waffles will get over it. I had the same crap when I won the Mookie - in a similar hand before the final table where I called a shove with a pocket pair against AQ. I felt very strongly I was flipping at worst because my opponent had been very aggro. Point is: you can't please all the people all of the time. Don't let Waffles take away from the fact that you're going to be competing in the TOC. Good luck.

8:32 PM  
Blogger dbcooper said...

Lightning I am a firm believer in that you make your own luck. Sure sometimes things go awry but I love Phil Laaks comment. We all suffer from hands we should have won and win with hands that weren't the favourite going in. That's poker. If you can't suck it up and continue on then he is right poker is not your game. I think at one time the thought of quitting poker goes through all our minds when we suffer a bad beat or a bunch of bad results. Why do we come back?? It's because we love this game.

8:44 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

btw -- I'm just having a little fun at the expense of the breakfast guy. I don't worry about meeting anyone's standards except my own (and my wife's if it keeps the door open -- if you know what I mean)!

8:56 PM  
Blogger bastinptc said...

Something about when an educator resorts to sarcasm...

9:01 PM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I am glad you wrote this. I am not sure why I am always breakfast food but besides that.

I have never laughed harder than your assessment of my range. It made me laugh so hard. I am glad that my image is intact though. Someday you may be as good of a poker player as me and people will have the wrong image of you also.

I do like how you say that you did not make huge call off with QQ on Axx boards for substantial chips then you go .. oops I forgot.. I did! But um, ya, um, only once! Ya that's it.. and that AQ vs AK hand was not bad either dammit!!!! OH WAIT! WAIT! It was only half my hands really!!!

As for why I jammed you with my Jacks is I made a mistake. I overestimated your abilities in poker. I figured your A-rag would be folded in that spot. Obviously my read on your hand was spot on. Yours was totally off. I will downgrade my respect for you for the future so I do not try and get you to fold.

I will concede the point that other lucky donks have made it into the TOC so your in good company. I still refuse to congratulate you. I do however stand by my comment that your are a fine person.

9:15 PM  
Blogger crafty said...

Guys, please remember this fundamental truth: Arguing over the Internet is like playing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Lightning, best of luck in the ToC.

Please excuse my use of the word retarded in a pejorative manner.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Pancakes, I love that name. Either that or Mr. Sour Grapes.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Loved the (sic), by the way. Isn't your and you're grade school English?

10:16 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

@ lightning - good post, but man that was fucking long! I sort of glazed over the end of the pancakes letter. My attention span just isn't that long.

I dunno about "Pancakes" but I would congratulate ANYONE who gets a "fucking once in a lifetime blowjob". hee hee you guys crack me up!

5:43 AM  
Blogger Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

That was entertaining. Tournament poker is a 'sick' game. And as someone who loves them, I guess that makes me a 'sicko'. I think in just about every one of these BBT5 tournaments, I've been out-runned. It happens. It sucks when it happens over an over again. You know that this will average out in the long run, but the problem is, within the confines of a short series, it may not happen.

Good luck in the TOC.

7:39 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@ Josie -- Yeah, guess I screwed up and made it too long. I thought we could create more than nine comments with this level of blogger drama. But yeah -- I know it must be tough on you, reading more than one paragraph without finding your name somehow mentioned ...

he he -- more blogger drama? Muhahahahahaha

7:40 AM  
Blogger TanOrpheus said...

Congrats on the win mate, you deserve a bit of good luck.
Long may it continue.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Schaubs said...

That was good stuff.


Sucked in Crepes.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Dave G said...

Great Post.

Good Luck in the TOC

11:24 AM  
Blogger BamBam said...

If I ever read, "we'll call this blogger Thump-Thump" over here, we're going to have an issue!


GL in the ToC Light.

11:39 AM  
Blogger BWoP said...

Can we get Bayne to write a synopsis?

Just kidding.

I read the whole thing.

Where would we all be if we didn't have Pancakes to pick on?

11:47 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

In deep batter?

1:32 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Nobody even mentioned the anagram. I am disappointed.

1:53 PM  
Blogger The Poker Meister said...

"And I hesitated" = "I need this data"?

I can't imagine you'd be saying "Eat shit and die"

How rude!

2:05 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

viva la wawfuls!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

Very entertaining! We're long past due for blogger drama on actual pokerz. Moar, plz.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Lightning, for shame, you just violated rule #1 of poker.

Don't tap on the glass.

2:08 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

The informal Waffles/lightning blogger drama didn't work out quite the way I wanted. He still hasn't congratulated me, though. I will live. lol

2:52 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Well played, lightning.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I just read the joke re: Josie not reading it if she doesn't see her name. Damn, lightning, you are on a roll.

WP, again, good friend. WP.

5:23 PM  

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