July 2007
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A World Champion Speaks

In just three weeks time I’ll be playing the first of four tournaments I plan to enter in the Orleans Open.  Three no-limit Hold’em poker tournaments, and one fixed limit folly.  My backers may be wondering what I’ve been doing in order to prepare for the fixed limit event.

Fixed limit tournaments are quite rare – The Orleans has two $40 limit tournaments in their normal weekly schedule, but they’re the only ones in town that I know of.  I’ve never played one live before.  I’ve played a few online, but mostly by accident on Party Poker, where they still insist on labelling fixed limit as simply "Hold’em" and you’re meant to remember that the default format for a poker tournament is fixed limit.  The infinitely more popular no-limit tournaments are labelled "NL Hold’em" and pot limit is marked "PL Hold’em", so I guess the distinction is there.  But given that even the times I’ve intended to enter a limit tournament, I’ve ended up at a table with at least half the players not wanting to be there, they might consider making a simple change for the benefit of many of their players.  Oh, never mind, I just remembered who we’re talking about…

From what I remember, the first few hands always go like this:

Raise raise cap call call call call call.
Bet raise raise cap call call call call call.
Bet raise raise cap call call call call call.
Bet raise raise cap call call call call call.

The sound of half a dozen players trying to bust out so they can start again in a different tournament that they actually want to play.  But even after all that action, the losers still have 80% of their starting stack left.  And so the pattern begins again.

You never know, it might be just the same as this in a $540 festival tournament, but I doubt it.

I’ve not really found anything lately, but I’m still on the lookout for some limit tournaments I could try online.  I want to find a tournament with a decent sized field (I remember playing in a field of just seven on Empire a while back) and one where the players do actually want to be there, so I can get a feel for how the dynamics of the game change as the limits increase.

In case I don’t find anything suitable in time though, I can always keep in mind the strategy employed by the youngest ever World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Steve Billirakis.  He won Event #1, $5000 World Championship Mixed Hold’em event – which alternated between no-limit and fixed limit every 30 minutes – aged 21 years and 10 days.

In this interview with Phil Gordon from the Expert Insight WSOP Podcast, Billirakis revealed (obviously I’m paraphrasing) that he is an arrogant rich kid who was desparate to get onto TV playing poker as soon as possible after his 21st birthday, without having – or thinking he might need to have – any idea how to actually play a game that made up 50% of this tournament.  Sadly, he got very lucky.

LOL dickaments.

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"I don’t have much experience playing limit Hold’em, so I pretty much avoided playing limit Hold’em"

Oh, if you still want a piece of my action, I only have 5% left for sale, and it’s going on eBay very shortly if I don’t shift it!