WSOP history

In my last post I wrote about satellite tournaments. I will continue to write a bit about the subject in this post to. Satellite tournaments or online qualifiers as they also are called have contributed largely to the popularity and development of poker.

In 2003 Chris Moneymaker won a buy in to the World Series Of Poker Main Event in an online satellite. The World Series Of Poker is the poker counterpart to World Championship in football, and the Main Event is the most prestigious tournament in the tournament series. In 2003 Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event and became the first world champion who had qualified via Internet. The next year the interest for World Series Of Poker had increased enormously. In 2003 there where 839 buy in into the Main Event, in 2004 it had increased to 2576. A really impressive growth, and it would´t stop there as you will see.

The following years the entries kept increase and in 2006 it reached it´s peak level at 8773 buy in. To me it´s clearly how the success of Chris Moneymaker made both poker, satellites and live poker highly interesting to a large number of people. I and many others use to call these years a poker boom because suddenly everybody started to try to play poker and tv started to braodcast pokerprograms. In Sweden we always nominate a product or service to the christmas gift of the year, and in 2005 the poker set was selected as the gift of the year.

Since the record year in 2006 the participation has decreased and there has been between 7319 and 6352 buy in in the Main Event since then.

This was a little story from the poker history that explains a little about the satellite tournaments contribution to live poker development. I am really interested in the history of poker and likes to read and listen about big and small events from the past.

For me one of the highlights in poker history was when the swede Martin Jacobson became the World Champion in poker after he won the World Series Of Poker Main Event in 2014. It was a really big moment for all swedish poker players I think.

I also remember the first big one for one drop tournament in 2012, it was a charity tournament with a buy in for $1 000 000! By then no other live tournament had have such a bug buy in. The Big one for One Drop was one of the WSOP tournaments in 2012 and 11,1% of the buy in was donated to the organisation One Drop. I don´t remember how many players that bought in to the event, but it was many enough to get a first prize at over $18 000 000! Also that a new record that I think still stands strong.

The winner of that huge first prize was Antonio Esfandiari. One of the most well known poker players in the world. I wonder how it feels like to win a great sum like that. I mean, normally the first prizes varies between $50 000 – $10 000 000. Will you still feel that you have won a lot of money, or will you compare it with the $18 000 000 win and think your recent win is to small and pointless?

Anonymous poker and live tournaments

I think I have recovered from my loosing session the other day, both mentally and financially. After a discussion with a friend that plays poker I got some tips and a confirmation that I played those AA hands right. It felt a bit better after the conversation and I continued play the day after.

I have mostly played low stakes cash game in the last days, to try the new tips and to get my self confidence back again. I have also tried anonymous poker again, but I don´t enjoy it. It´s not fun when you can´t identify your opponents and then learn how they play and take advantage from it. The only time the anonymous game suits me is when I make a really embarrassing mistake! Then it´s a relief that no one knows that it was me who did it and I can just sneak out of the table and join in again as a completely new player.

Speaking of embarrassing mistakes, I hate to win a pot when I don´t deserve it. It makes the whole thing even more awkward when you win despite all odds.

The best thing is therefore to not make mistakes that can lead to embarrassing situations and that´s of course what I always strive for. In the next couple of days I will revert to my normal stake level, and I hope it will work out well.

I also think that I will try to play some satellite tournament for Unibet Open. It would be fun to play a larger live tournament but whitout paying the whole buy in by myself. For you who doesn´t know what a satellite tournament is, it´s a tournament where you can win a buy in to a big tournament, it can be either a live tournament or an online tournament. If you win a buy in to a live tournament you often win a so called tournament package. The tournament package often include hotel, travel money and buy in to the tournament. The buy in to the satellite tournament is much lower than the buy in to the live torunament. Thanks to these satellites people who can´t afford to play in live tournaments can get the chance to participate at a smaller expense.

There are satellite tournaments for many live events. You can for example play satellites to qualify for European Poker Tour tournaments, to WSOP and the Grand Live tournaments. Look what your poker site offer or keep an eye on the poker news sites that reports about interesting online qualifiers. I use to read pokersidan.se to keep me updated on special offers and interesting satellites. They also have interesting fact articles about poker that are worth reading if you want to start playing poker or need to go back to the basics again.

Loosing streaks

Today I´ve been playing a lot of cash games and I eventually got so frustrated that I had to stop playing. I got into an unthinkable loosing streak that made me crazy. I lost three times with pocket pair of aces for instance. And after a while I was so tilted that I thought ”oh no, not pocket aces again!”

I think it´s both frustrating and fascinating in the same time. It´s fascinating how little it takes to affect the psyche and begin to doubt in things that you generally are very certain about, like how you play AA for instance. I can just imagine how hard it must be for professional players or professional sportsmen when they have a downswing, regardless if it depends on bad luck or their own mistakes.

Thanks to this experience I now understand the importance of mental training. I think everyone can benefit from it, not just the professionals. I also think it´s good to stop playing when you get frustrated because you won´t take good decisions when you are out of balance. Just calm down and gather new self confidence before you continue playing.

Poker shall be fun, and it´s not fun when you start to get irritated and loose your temper. Then it´s better to leave the table and to do something else. Maybe a chat with someone that have been in the same situation can help, then you can discuss and analyze the game and maybe get help to make up new strategies for your game. Such a conversation can also lead to a confirmation that you actually played your hands well and that bad luck is to blame, then you can get back you confidence again.

You can also do something completely else that removes your thoughts about poker like having a nice time with your friends, watch a movie or go for a walk.

If you plan to take part in a tournament or a big game I think you shall prepare with mental training. Martin Jacobson the world champion in WSOP Main Event 2014 prepared throughly before the final table. He trained both physically, mentally and at playing poker. He took the tournament very seriously and prepared like a real sportsmen. His efforts paid off when he won the Main Event and cashed in $10 000 000 in prize money. It was the second largest first prize in the history of WSOP, the biggest win is $12 000 000 and was won by Jamie Gold in 2006.

A good advice and mental preparation is to visualize the tournament in a positive way in your mind before the tournament starts. Imagine how you play your best and how it feels, hopefully you will then start the tournament with positive feelings and self-confidence.

I think I will return to the poker tables tomorrow and hopefully my loosing streak is over by then. But now shall I relax with a good book and think about something else.

Odds in poker and blazing cannon

Counting odds is a important part of poker, if you want to win consistently. The odds helps you to make a decision if your a favour or not in a situation. If you don not know the odds but other players do, then you will not win as much over a longer period with many hundreds hands.

If you want to know your odds to win a pot in an all in situation you can use an odds calculator. You can also use it to calculate the odds for a specific hand afterwards. There are a number of different odds calculators to choose among, but they are quite similar and often easy to use.

Just type in your own cards and your opponents cards in the calculator to see what odds you have to win the pot. If there is cards dealt on the table, type them in as well to get the odds. It´s important that you type in the exact color and card value to get it right.

Often when you look at live poker tournaments via live stream you can see what the players winning odds are in a hand. A great way to see how you can utilise the odds in your favour and when to bet or not bet.

If you want to know what odds your starting hand has there’s also information about that. On the Internet you can see lists with the odds for various starting hands, this is perfect for beginners. Learn the odds and use the knowledge to your advantage when you play. At this site you can learn a lot about poker, both about odds but also about strategies which is important when you play.

You can also find information about the odds for getting a specific hand. The odds for getting a Royal Straight Flush is 649,739:1, or 0,000154%, or in other words very unlikely! You have much greater chance to hit a straight, the odds is 254:1 or 0,3925%. You can see all hand odds in the chart below.

Hand Distinct Hands Fre-quency Probability Cumulative probability Odds
Royal flush 1 4 0.000154% 0.000154% 649,739 : 1
Straight flush (excluding royal flush) 9 36 0.00139% 0.0014% 72,192 : 1
Four of a kind 156 624 0.0240% 0.0256% 4,164 : 1
Full house 156 3,744 0.1441% 0.17% 693 : 1
Flush (excluding royal flush and straight flush) 1,277 5,108 0.1965% 0.367% 508 : 1
Straight (excluding royal flush and straight flush) 10 10,2 0.3925% 0.76% 254 : 1
Three of a kind 858 54,912 2.1128% 2.87% 46.3 : 1
Two pair 858 123,552 4.7539% 7.62% 20.0 : 1
One pair 2,86 1,098,240 42.2569% 49.9% 1.37 : 1
No pair / High card 1,277 1,302,540 50.1177% 1 0.995 : 1
Total 7,462 2,598,960 1 0 : 1
Soure: Wikipedia

Poker odds is one of the most important things to learn for a player that want to be successful over time. If you frequently play when the odds are against you then you will loose money sooner or later. But it’s not only about the chance to win, there is also something called pot odds, and the short explanation of pot odds is that you take the pot size into your judgement weather you should bet or not. A big pot can make it worth betting for example. Read about pot odds here if you want to learn more.

Now to something completely different. I want to tell you about the minigame blaze poker that appears in the blaze poker once in a while. Blaze poker is the fast poker in microgamings pokernetwork. When Blazing Cannon is activated in the Blaze poker you come to a special game after you have won 20 raked hands. In this special game you fire a cannon towards a house of cards, if you shoot down golden cards you win between €1 – €100 in cash! The Blazing Cannon makes the fast poker extra fun according to me. But you have to watch out, it´s easy to start chasing winning hands to get to the minigame instead of playing good poker.

If you are interested in fast poker, i recommend you to try the blaze poker when blazing cannon is activated.