Monday, August 30, 2010

Preparing to Return

After four weeks without poker, it can be a little hard to get back in the swing of things. You might think taking a month off would refresh my poker juices and have me chomping at the bit to get back to the tables, but the truth is I don't think about the game at all when I take time off. I'm going back to work in two days, though, so I figure I should get my mind back to thinking about poker a little. I'm reading a surprisingly good book called The Full Tilt Tournament Poker Strategy Guide, in which different authors each write one or more chapters. Authors include Chris Ferguson (which is why I got the book), Ted Forrest, Gavin Smith, and Howard Lederer. Although it is billed as a tournament guide, many of the chapters can be applied almost directly to cash games. I just finished a really useful chapter by Andy Bloch that includes lots of nifty charts. One of them completely trumps the interesting but completely impractical "Sklansky-Chubokov" numbers found in No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller. Bloch's numbers are similarly interesting and impractical, but slightly more practical and thus slightly more interesting. Basically, both try to give you an idea of when it's better to go all-in rather than fold if you are heads-up and your decision is binary (push or fold). Bloch's other charts include the win percentages of every hand when up against a random hand or a top 10% hand, as well as some other hand ranges.

Anyway, I'm hoping this book will pique my interest in returning to work on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Keeping the Props

Last year I took almost three weeks off in August. This year I'm taking the whole month off. The Bike's big Legends tournament is in August, and they figure they don't need the props because they'll have plenty of players this month. The big news, though, is that we'll all be coming back at the end of the month. There had been rumors swirling since late June that we were being let go, and it was assumed that this would happen by August. In the middle of July, they called us to a meeting, and I think most people assumed we were going to be told when our last day was going to be. Instead, they told us we'd be keeping our jobs, but they wanted to emphasize some of the prop rules, such as no soft-playing and speaking only English at the table.

After the meeting, everything seems like it's back to normal, including the soft-playing and the Mandarin-speaking. The only thing that really changed is that a few props started looking for jobs at other casinos, and I suspect the Bike will lose at least one of their better props. It still seems like there's a decent chance the management will change its mind again and let us go in a few months. If they do, it wouldn't be a disaster for me; I could go back to playing on my own and take more time watching the baby. For the time being, I'm targeting September 1 as my return date.