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All right, well first off, as promised I am off the   "OMG I can't believe you called me with that and caught on the river kick"

Today was a magnificent day, definitely in the eyes of most.  I also will be revealing a tactic that I use as well to arm yourself with a superior weapon for combating the animal kingdom here in the PSO league.

First off, the first bleary eyed game of the day was off to a horrid start.  Card dead, getting out flopped, and out turned at every corner.  But I played paitently, with NO distractions this time.  I was at work and the boss is on vacation, so completely quiet office room, and stayed afloat, just dead in the water, so to speak.

At 440 chips, things started to turn around.  I was at a table long enough to get a good read on all my opponents, and it payed off 50 times over, literally.  In no time I was up to 20K chips.  The real kick in all this?  I got the company of one JjesterShark for the duration all the way through to the final table.

I was also joined by 111Dan and Hubris, and dear god watch out for Hubris, that boy knows his cards.  He may be a newcomer, but he came to the final table as chip leader, and eventually went on to win it after fluxing a bit.  

My killing blow was shoving into KK on the bb with 88 after a 3rd player out of position with a smaller stack raised.  The KK bb had me covered, and it was over from there.  Granted, I actually had to leave work and go home, so I was a bit hurried, but either way, not a bad call, just didnt expect the surprise KK.

I still took 4th, and I consider the morning tourney one of the harder tourneys as there are less players, better players overall, and if you play on luck, chances are you won't be playing very long.

The next tourney I played in was the 4th tourney of the day (after opting not to play in the 2nd and 3rd, as I salavated over the 1700 mark) and it was your standard avoiding landmines until the bubble tourney, take pots if and when you can.  Playing conservatively and paitiently got me all the way up to 106th, when I ran into yet another KK bb landmine with my QQ.

The final tourney of the day (which I almost didn't play, but the kids were in bed already) is where my story takes an interesting turn.

First off, midway in the tourney 111Dan catches up to me, and eventually shoots me and another player the info for Suited Aces, which I had heard about, but never really looked into on the forums.  I thought that was very cool that a higher ranking player would remember me and shoot me the info, going out of his way to do it.  Much respect back.

Anyway, near the end of the bubble, I had the pleasure of fasteddie, who is ranked very high up in the top 50.  Obviously he has had about the same luck I had because we are dead even with chips, and I have been card dead since the blinds were 400, minus a couple of instances of AJ off, but I DO NOT trust those hands that close to the bubble.  See the topic of categories of hands, and my personal rule is if I am within 100 people of the bubble, I drop everything one rank, except for AA and KK.

But magically, the two of us actually survive the bubble, and then fasteddie lives up to his name and chips up.  So I am now low stack, and I am still not catching cards, and it looks like I am done for.  But I think thanks to the encouraging words of alexhatter, I was like a cockroach surviving nuclear blasts.
(Okay, bad analogy, but it works in this case)

I am all in due to ante with J3 spades, a whopping 55 chips.  There are 4 other players in besides me.  The flop contained a 3, but lots of red cards.  So I figure I am done.  All check, the turn, no help to me, all check again.  The river, no help to me at all, but a very horrid board all around, and the 3 is the low card.  All check but the bb who throws a bet in, and is folded to.  

He's holding A high.

I can't believe it.  So 1 out of 10 chip ups completed to get back in this thing, I now have about 500 chips.
One hand goes by, and I catch another unlikely hand, KK.  So I scream BANZAI and toss all my chips in.

I had multiple people call me.  Amazingly enough the one player that had an ace didn't catch.

I am now up to rank 105.   2 out of 10.  Alexhatter is still rooting me on.

But alas, luck cannot last forever, and the big blind comes around to call, and fortunately I get to check because of no raise and see the flop that puts me on the dark side of nothing.  Fold.

The small blind comes and I get a standard 3x out of position, I figured A-rag, or even A suited, so I just can't do it with K4 off.  Fold.

So here comes my button, it is a magnificent 78 suited.  Well, I read somewhere that pros play these cards when short stacked, and I have enough to call a bb with some left over, barely.  BB checks, and in we go.  (Mistake on his part as I found out later on, but I wasnt going to argue, he probably was a bit wary considering that I am not going under easily)

7 Q 10, but not my suit.  BLAH.  So, I am forced to check, as it is likely that my opponent has a Q.  But my opponent, who has me covered 4 times over, hesitates.  Then pushes in 1 bb which is enough to put me all in.

So, I have had a good run, and I declare that I am pulling the "eh, what the hell" move and gg and gl to all.  Sure enough, he has a q, but not what I expect...  AQ.  So if that was a respect play to allow me to fall on my own sword, tyvm.  Much appreciated.  I am done in 108th, high enough to get into the next bracket, and securing my 1700 ranking!!!!!!

But advice specifically to that player:  Remember, always always ALWAYS cover the short stack pre-flop and make them risk it all if you have even a semi decent hand like that.   Don't slowplay or they could catch on you.

A lot of you I seem to meet on the felt, and your kind words are warmly appreciated.  Sort of reminds me of the line in the movie with Orlando Bloom, Kingdom of Heaven, where the Arab says:

"Your enemies shall know of your quality, before ever you meet them."

With that said, here is my tool for help with staying alive.  When you are at the table, if you get a chance, go to the main lobby and open the PSO website.  Look up your opponents.  It's a tool, it's there, and it is NOT cheating.  Pro players know about their opponents from years of playing against them, or they are instantly wary of a large stacked unknown player.  The same can be said of the PSO player, except YOU have an advantage.

When looking up a player, rank is not everything.  Rank and the NUMBER of games played is.

The reason for this is, I would be less scared of a 7K ranked player who has played 20 tourney rounds, than I would be of a 8K ranked player who's played 10.  The reason for this?  Variance.  It is incredibly feasable that you take a bad run, even 10 games worth when you first start.  This is the "adjustment" or honeymoon period for most new to the league games.

A player with NO rank, is the most dangerous kind of player, because short of playing hands with them, and watching them play, they might as well be the invisible man.  You more advanced players know the full extent of how dangerous this is.

So what do you do when you look up a player that has played 20 games or so, and is ranked low? 

Make a note of it.  I personally note any player below 2500 rank and 20 games, AFTER the first week of the month.  The game and ONE week points are CRUCIAL. 

If you do it too soon, whether from time elapsed from the start of the month, or the you may not have an accurate note, and then all of a sudden you get pissed that you are losing chips to a noted player.  The first week of the month is really the turning point, because if you are ranked below 2500, you have a TON of legwork to do to catch up, and the player aiming for the top 100 will often fall short.

Next, look at their games.  If you see a lot of negatives, and only a few positives inbetween, I personally mark anyone that scores like that and has 4K rank or lower with the Donkey stamp.  What you are looking at is the average statistical results for someone who shoves, plays loose hands, and either gets burned or takes it all.

For someone with 5K, 6K, or 7K rank, they get the Donkey Extreme stamp.  There is only one excuse why you have more than 20 games played and your rank is still that low.  You are a donk, and not a very good one either.  Accept it, learn from it, or just continue to mess around like you have been.  I have a note of it now, and I will be making a withdrawal from your chip stack at some point.

Okay, so how does this help you win?  It should be extremely obvious that if you make a mark on a lower ranked player, or even someone ranked above you, but below 2500 rank, and they have an ungodly amount of chips on them, you simply just need to be paitent, and watch for the mistakes they make.  Then put yourself in a position to profit from it when the opportunity presents itself.

So what do you do with the other players.  Quite simply?  Nothing if they are ranked 1K or above.  These are not easy marks no matter where you are ranked, or how high above them you are ranked.  Even cote, utica and scorpie would not dismiss a 1K player, or make them a mark.  Trust me I know.

You are marking the players that have a tendency to play loosey goosey or have weaknesses that you need to be looking for.  Thus, the MARK. (Mark is a term used most often in con jobs, similar proceedures apply here, as you most likely will have success conning/bluffing them out of their chips with superior game play, and/or having a better hand)

What I personally do is everyone ranked from 1500 to 2400, I give them the semi-donk stamp.  So when I see the the note circle light up, I look, and see semi donk.  Which means be wary to me, and I may want to look for an easier mark before tangling with them. 

Of course, I update my notes everytime I look at players at my table, and if I see a semi donk stamp on a player ranked higher than 1500, I know that it is a safe bet to take the note circle off them.  I encourage the same proceedure for all of you.

The other thing is this.  If you see one of your notes on marked player who still ranks horrid, but has a REALLY REALLY big chip stack in relation to everyone else at the table.  Focus your playing on that, test the waters a little of that big stack.  Figure out the chink in the armor.  Soon enough, that stack won't be so large anymore.

If you have read all the way down to this point, you are a dedicated reader, and I thank you.  You have also picked up a very valuable tip, and one of the ultimate weapons to defend yourself and stack with....


Thanks for reading!

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