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Collected observations and notes on poker and life..
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My first Premier League games this month seemed to go well and I quickly earned enough points from some respectable finishes to move up to 200-300 in the rankings.

It seemed a relief to be able to play for a change and have my raises respected. I found the open league difficult because it demands such a degree of minimalism that my survival method involved actually playing as little as possible: any sort of action apart from folding seems to leave you vulnerable and it becomes an exercise in minimising the points of contact you have with the game. If all goes well you end up making it into the final 1/16 of the field having had only 2 or 3 skirmishes where the objective is to get in and out as quickly as possible and each time seems like a coin flip over which you have little control.

I noticed the change in my stats too as I was able to play with more aggression and I even started making a few 3 bets here and there, defending my blinds occasionally and once or twice even attempting a steal. Play like this in the open league would have been suicidal and 3 bets were generally not possible anyway because everything is just shoved from the start. The Premier League is deceptive though. The open league provides discipline a bit like a strict parent: it forces you to lift your game by immediately punishing careless and bad play so you have to stay on the straight and narrow. The Premier League on the other hand provides discipline in the same way life itself does after leaving home and becoming independent. You are allowed to do what you like to an extent but the freedom is illusory because now the consequences of your actions occurring a little further down the line begin to reveal the real reason for those annoying rules that you had to follow as a kid.

I of course thought my game was developing and maturing in the apparently more forgiving environment.  The idea as I now see it is that you are supposed to have learnt self discipline by the time you start playing in the Premier League as it's not obviously imposed.  The reason why it is treacherous is that it's not really freedom to play that you are given, it's actually an indefinite length of rope for you to hang yourself with.

The hand below saw me out of the latest game after only about 15 minutes. A9s is not a hand I would have played early in an OSL game, not even to defend the blinds.  In the Premier League, if you don't defend the blinds to some degree with hands like this it seems to me like it would be exploited pretty quickly.  I feel that what I did wrong here was I lost initiatve and control and subsequently found myself committed.  I should have had a clear idea of how far I wanted to go with the hand if the flop gave me a flush draw (and a pair with weak kicker) as now it seems obvious I was up against a set and should never have put so many chips in.  I see now that I was lucky when I hit the flush on the turn but it was not the right play.  In my opion, the winner of the hand plays it even worse as they were't trying to draw to a full house, they only had 2 pair which looks very vulnerable not only to flushes being hit but by the set which usually already had them beaten.

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