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Posts Tagged ‘vic champs’

State Of Origin Thoughts

August 28th, 2010 Poker 21 Comments »

State of OriginI was fortunate enough to once again be a part of the State of Origin event during the Vic Champs last week. The event is in its third year and always attracts plenty of hype and lots of debate.The Tassie boys did very well as the underdogs to cause a few upsets, and sneak two through to the final table. Unfortunately we were unable to win the overall teams title, but we should be proud of a very respectable 3rd place finish. I ended up 3rd in the individual event which was also pleasing after having arguably the most ridiculously tough seat ever seen in Australian poker history, with the two best young players in this country in Jarred Graham and James Obst to my direct left.The event itself seemed to lose a little momentum this year after the ACT were unable to get a team together and New Zealand were left scrambling for numbers. Queensland also picked an average side, but at least they brought a few cheerleaders along to add some glitz to the whole affair. There’s been lots of talk about what we need to do to get this event right. Here’s a few quick thoughts:

* Team selection is a big issue for some states. It’s not a problem for others. I think some responsibility needs to go back to Crown on this one. Crown, along with PokerNetwork to some degree, are the only independent moderators in this debate. Select the right captains, and everything should flow from there. Most captains should have an awareness of who their players are. If they don’t they may be the wrong choice as captain. Crown should select captains, communicate to them about a list of potential players, based on PNW rankings, online rankings and past results, and this can be communicated on PNW early on in case there are some others who would like to nominate for a spot. From there, ultimately I think the final decision needs to lay with the captain. It’s their responsibility to choose who should represent their state. There’s no need for committees. Why should a committee have the right to decide that X should play ahead of Y? It would just create a potentially explosive situation if the state thinks the committee chose the wrong person. Select the right captain and help in any way possible, but ultimately leave the decision with them.

* Crown needs to work more closely with the smaller states and territories to ensure they get a team together. Who the hell was behind the territories team? I spoke to two “notable” players who would’ve been happy to represent NT but they weren’t asked. To leave NT/ACT on their own and expect them to show up on the night with a team is pretty poor.

* The format. The shootout works, to a degree. But it’s flawed on two accounts. Firstly, the result is often decided before the final table, leaving many teams without any chance to win. Second, the format is too conducive to collusion, soft play and team play to manipulate the results – something that is just not a good look in poker.

On the final table I was in a situation three-handed where NSW needed to ensure that I survived to have any chance of winning the team title due to the points system. NSW needed SA to bust in third place, and then NSW to beat me to claim victory. What did this mean? Well, it meant that NSW could not afford to eliminate me or it would flush $28,000 down the toilet! Great! So when Grant Levy raised, I would shove over the top relentlessly, in the knowledge that even if he had pocket aces, he really couldn’t/shouldn’t call in case he eliminated me. Fantastic for me. Terrible for the game. As it turned out, Grant made a strange call with pocket sixes to end up busting me anyway, putting the whole theory out the window. Grant shouldn’t have to be in a situation where he needs to fold pocket aces to manipulate a result, so I guess credit to him for just playing the tournament straight up with integrity, even if it meant costing the overall team prize.

At the start of the final table, only NSW and SA had a shot to win. Last year NZ had it wrapped up before the final table even started. It’s hard to build the hype when no one gives a shit. The World Team Poker format seemed to work well and I would like to see something like that adopted – but only at the final table.

Here’s my State of Origin proposal:

Day one remains the same, as a points format shootout, with cash awarded to 1st and 2nd.

Then on day two every team is represented on the final table, with each team having one single stack. The size of the team’s starting stack is determined by the number of points earned by the teams on day one. The ratio of points to chips can be worked out later. The points are then thrown out the window, and every team plays it out until one winner is crowned. But wait, it gets better.

The final table will be 8-game format, and each member of the team will be nominated to play one of the eight poker disciplines. I think this format has it all! Those who do well on day one will be advantaged, every team can still win, there will be 64 players hanging around to build the hype and rail the action, it’s a true test of all around poker skills and every player will still be involved in the game on the final table. It will also boost the prize pool for the teams since there will be no individual prize monies won on the final table. You can potentially give team cash for second.

I’d also love to see a heads-up format included on day one. Unfortunately HU is just too hard to manage for the tournament staff and the logistics just don’t work.

* One of the other major problems was the lack of hype on the night. How about someone on the microphone to announce some action? Stir up the pot a little. Let everyone know that WA have three guys busto already. Crown will really miss Mike Tarr in this regard as he’s a gun on the mic. Last year we had Ted Whitten do the shuffle up and deal honours. Mike or Jonno would always announce the final table action. This year nothing. The above mentioned format will certainly help to build the hype on the final table.

* Multiple SOO events around the country, at this stage, is not a good idea unless PokerStars or the casinos are prepared to invest money into the event. It’s hard enough for Tassie to get eight guys for this event, and it was too hard for NZ and ACT/NT. How do you expect them to afford to travel to multiple events? Won’t happen, unless there is money injected into it to cover costs.

The State of Origin is a tremendous concept that works perfectly for Australia. We can really make this concept our own, as the players are definitely supportive and love playing it. Get the format right, add some hype and who know where it could potentially go?

Mate vs Mate, State vs State

August 11th, 2009 Poker No Comments »

Someone asked me the other day which tournament I get most excited about. To be honest, once you’ve worked or played at enough events, they all become pretty similar. That may sound a little unappreciative, but the fact of the matter is that most casinos in the world look the same on the inside.

However I was able to come up with an answer to the question posed at me.  The event I actually get most excited about is the State of Origin event at the Vic Champs. This may sound like a strange choice, but this is a unique event which I am very passionate about. I’m proud to be representing my state, I’m honoured to get the opportunity to play against the best in the country, and I love the friendly rivalries that have formed in the event’s short history.

After numerous emails with team captain George Mamacas, we were both somewhat concerned about getting together a strong team. Finding eight solid Tasmanian poker players is a harder task than it may sound. Fortunately I came in contact with a couple of guys online and George knew a couple of other locals, and we were very content with the team we were able to put on the park. We played a home game together as a little training session and I knew we were in good shape after a hand that went down within the first 10 minutes. I opened from UTG, there was a 3-bet, then a 4-bet. I folded my A9, the 3-bettor folded (what he said was weaker than A9) and the 4-bettor showed QJo. Nice!

I was very happy with my table draw as there were plenty of sharks to avoid in this field. I drew Tino Lechich and Eric Assadourian and was happy that they were both two to my right. I’ve seen Tino play a lot and expected him to be very aggressive, while I always seem to draw Eric in any major tournament I play, and while he talks big, he plays very snug. Two to my left was James Honeybone who I knew as being a solid player, but I’d only played with him once online. From the early going he appeared to be happy to sit tight which was good. It quickly emerged that the two players to watch out for were Stevan Lackovic from WA on my direct left and Dominic Olm-Milligan from QLD who was three to my left. These two guys were young and aggressive and I quickly thought they were the threats on the table. The value was definitely NT/ACT and SA. The SA guy was on my direct right, and quickly proved to the room why SA are A) the worst players and B) the worst blokes of any team in the event.

In the first level I picked up pocket aces under the gun and made a standard raise 3x raise. Both NT/ACT and SA called. The flop was JT5 rainbow and I fired a c-bet. NT/ACT called in position before SA put in a decent check-raise. At this stage I didn’t know much about SA but check-raising over two players felt very strong. I was worried about JT or a set as there weren’t too many other draws other than KQ that would c/r, and I had two of the aces that KQ would need. I could reraise here, and in hindsight if I realised he was such value or we’d started with shorter stacks I would have, but since we had 20k start banks and we were on the first level, I didn’t particularly want to stack off here, so I flat-called. NT/ACT called behind. The turn was another brick, like a deuce, and SA fired out a bet of 1,500. Not a huge bet, but it felt strong into two opponents when out of position. I wasn’t about to fold yet, so I called and again NT/ACT called behind. The river was a 9 and if SA would’ve fired a standard bet of 3-4k or so here then I would’ve folded my aces, but SA fired a weak 1,000-chip bet. I’m not folding for 1k so I call, and NT/ACT raised his eyebrows and gave up his hand. SA genius tabled J-9 for rivered two pair and started celebrating with his idiot SA buddies like he’d just discovered the cure for cancer. WP sir.

A few minutes later I tangled with Stevan Lackovic in a blind battle. I limped with A2 and he raised in the big blind. Usually I avoid calling OOP in marginal spots like this, but it was early and we were deep, so I called and flopped big on the A26 flop. I checked, planning to check-raise but he checked behind. I didn’t know what to make of that, but sensed it was strong rather than weak. The turn was a ten and I again planned to check-raise but he fired a big pot-sized bet. I decided against letting the pot get out of control and just called, figuring I’m either way in front or way behind. The river was a brick and I check-called his half pot bet. He showed AT and raked in the pot. Again if I was shorter I would’ve probably lost my stack, but since we were deep I was able to lose minimum. I probably didn’t play any street of this particularly well, but I guess I should give myself some credit for making a good read.

Soon after we tangled in another blind battle where I raised K4o and then checked a 679 flop. A king fell on the turn and I fired turn and river for value and he called and turned over KQ. Sigh.

It just seemed like nothing was going right. I was down to about 12,000 and needed to pull something to recover some chips, when a really interesting hand went down. I believe the blinds were 100/200 when James Honeybone raised in early position to 600. Eric Assadourian called on the button and I had 5c4c which is a nice hand to call in a multi-way pot in the big blind. The flop was 923 rainbow which again looked like an innocent flop. I checked, Honeybone fired 1,500 and Assadourian called. I had an open-ender and plenty of options as to how to play this hand. I put Eric on a middle pair like sevens or eights, while Honeybone could’ve had a similar hand or maybe he was c-betting with overcards on a dry flop. The flop was so dry without any real draws, so I felt like I could take down this pot with a raise as I’m really only representing a set since my image is tight, and if called I’ve always got eight clean outs unless they have aces. So I decided to raise. With about 11k or so behind, I could raise a standard amount to 5-6k, but since that committed over half my stack and since there was already around 5k of valuable chips in the pot, I decided that a shove was my best play to take it down there and then. James cringed, tanked and folded what he later said was pocket sevens, and then Eric went into the tank. This really had me worried. If Eric is tanking then he must have a real hand. Suddenly the sevens I put him on started to feel more like tens or jacks. I really felt like he was going to call, but after a good few minutes he folded and I scooped a nice pot with my draw. Eric then started talking about how he was laying a trap for James, and later told me that he’d folded pocket kings. I couldn’t believe that I’d forced him to fold kings. In his spot I don’t mind the flat on the button, but since he under-represented his hand so much, he probably has to make a crying call here. I dunno, it’s a tough spot he put himself in.

Unfortunately that hand was about my highlight of the evening. I couldn’t find too many good spots, and after a few raise/c-bet/folds I was back down to 10,000. I doubled up with KQs versus Tino’s pocket sixes, but after that the blinds snuck up and I found myself back down to 10BB’s. I stole the blinds once, but when I tried again with 98ss I was called by Stevan’s AK and it was all over. I was out in 5th on my table.

The other boys also didn’t have much luck, and although only one guy failed to score points for his 7th place, most of the others finished either 5th or 6th for minimum points. Andrew Scott was going pretty well before busting out in 4th, so our lone hope was captain George who played really well to win his heat and book us a spot in the final. By that stage the Kiwis had dominated the events to win three of their heats to have a virtual lock on the trophy and team prize. George battled valiantly in the final to finish 4th, as the Kiwis teamed up to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Once again this was a great event to be a part of, and while I landed another sick pot against Eric for the 2nd year in a row, I was disappointed not to finish stronger and cash. All the boys are looking forward to next year where we will definitely be more than competitive once again.