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Wall Street Variety Hour

I spent last night playing a live HORSE tourney at the Wall Street Game. It was my first time playing a HORSE tourney (that I can think of), and while the results were good, I still have my doubts about some of the games' adaptability to limit tournament play. I'm looking at you, stud games. It seems like whenever I play a HORSE tourney, particularly online where it is more common, the somewhere around the second time we hit the Stud games, the tourney can quickly devolve into a limit version of pushmonkey poker. Basically, after 8 levels (the first round of H, O, R, S, E and after the next two levels of H and O), the limits usually are high enough that if you are still near your starting stack, the Stud games are like a wrecking ball. Since there is an extra round of betting (5 instead of four rounds, like in Omaha and Hold'em) and the extra round is for a big blind and it takes a while to get a made hand, there is just way too much of a luck factor. If you get a good starting hand, you raise until you are all-in and then hope that the rest of the cards come your way.

This isn't really a complaint as much as it is an observation. The obvious solution is to accumulate chips early, but in many tournaments, particularly single table events, it is all too easy to just tread water, trading hands with your opponents, until you are still at a starting stack an hour into the event. That's practically what happened yesterday. By the time we were up to the 300/600 level (10,000 starting stacks), no one had touched their six $1,000 chips. In other words, no one was even at a half-stack. Granted, this may be more specific to our particular tournament due to the caliber of play or plain old luck, but it still felt odd when I realized that the first hour plus of play really was just a warm up session, followed by the crap shoot that accompanies high blinds.

Let me make this clear, too: The problem was not the structure. Jamie did a great job of picking a structure that saw us at the bubble at 10:30 to 10:45 pm. Granted, we all hovered at about the same size stack, but I think we easily could've wrapped up the event by midnight....if we hadn't agreed on a four-way chop. I can't speak for everyone, but it definitely felt like the chop was due to the tediousness of play after a while, rather than the desire to cut a good deal. I think we all accepted that four-handed with even stacks, it could easily be another 45 minutes before the bubble breaks, depending on how play went, and then from there, it could very well be a literal lotto game.

One possibility: a PL or NL HORSE game. I know that most players are not used to Stud games as NL or PL, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact, those games used to commonly be played NL or PL, so it isn't even unheard of. Of course, that may make for a TOO QUICK game, seeing as how some people (read: me) play stud games.

One thing that does deserve a big honking dose of respect is the sheer variety of games available at the Wall Street Game. At the WSG alone, I have had the opportunity to play:

.25/.50 NLHE
.50/1 NLHE
1/2 NLHE
3/6 HORSE
4/8 Omaha 8 Limit
.50/1 PLO
Single table NLHE tournaments (both in a league set-up and as a one-shot)
Two-table NLHE tournaments
A HORSE tournament
and a slew of other mixed games.

It's hard to find a decent NLHE home game nowadays, so to find this treasure trove of games is a sheer delight. In fact, I've said it before, but these other non-Hold'em games bring me the excitement I first felt when learning NLHE. I still love NLHE more than the rest, but if it was all NLHE all the time, I think burnout would be a lot more possible.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 11:16 AM,

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