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PSO's real mistake: The Open League has become boring to play for PSO Members

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PSO's real mistake: The Open League has become boring to play for PSO Members - Sun Jul 17, 2011, 05:30 AM
(#1)
Seth Gulch's Avatar
Since: Mar 2011
Posts: 9
Now here's the thing.

Last month the PSO league was to me:
- An opportunity to practice my poker and learn how to play correctly in a tactical and strategic way
- Playing PSO tourneys together with similar minded people
- A league where I could measure somewhat realistically where I stand and how I play
- An enjoyable experience, where I was looking forward to play a tourney almost daily (if time permitted) and probably two on each of the weekend days

This month the PSO Open League is to me:
- An endless opportunity to practice freeroll tourney play
- Tourneys where I find people playing something adhering to the Poker rules, but which has nothing to do with tactic or strategy
- A place where I found, after the first week of playing many tourneys, that I do not enjoy this anymore

Now, after some own initial „whining“ (as some would see it) I have tried to see this from PSO's and Pokerstars point of view and must therefore conclude:

- Pokerstars wants to make a profit (and that is a legitimate goal, no doubt about it)
- PSO has been put in place by Pokerstars to attract new players to make more profit
- Internet Poker is the product that Pokerstars is selling, one selling channel is PSO
- If I feel that the product is interesting and enjoyable then I will buy it (= I like to play Poker, Internet Poker makes it easy for me to do it and the price is right)
- If I feel that the product has become boring and frustrating then I must go somewhere else

Now the Open League has changed the league play for me from enjoyable experience to one where I start asking myself, whether I don't have something else to do, that I enjoy much more than grinding through those tourneys just to get into the Premier League (which may or may not be enjoyable, I need to find out first). I understand that a starting hand of AA is no guarantee to win a pot, as every pocket pair does not play favorable against multiple opponents. That's why you shove to let people know, you have “something” and only those people will call, which also have “something”. And that's why you don't slow-play AA. But being called all the time by three or more people amounts to the same thing (i.e. slow-playing) and that's why AA and the like get busted so many times. Probability simply tells you that you will draw dead too many times even with AA in such cases.

Nevertheless, like many others, I have found a strategy to make my points, but folding until the first 7000 have eliminated themselves from tourney, then waiting patiently for that one good hand to make enough chips to make into the money for the points and still knowing that the chance is high to bust out is not an enjoyable experience. I can accept it from time to time, but as a constant playing method it has become increasingly frustrating and BORING.

And that is in my opinion the real mistake of PSO: It has turned an enjoyable experience into a boring and frustrating one. Your product, PSO, has become unattractive. All is left is a promise, that the Premier League will be different. Therefore, like many others, I will try to see whether I can make into the Premier League. But if not, I am not going through this for another month. The product is not good enough anymore, not even if it is free of charge.

Last edited by Seth Gulch; Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 05:33 AM..
 
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Sun Jul 17, 2011, 09:53 AM
(#2)
jf70's Avatar
Since: Feb 2009
Posts: 88
BronzeStar
It was never enjoyable, the old way, at least not for me. Never remotely resembled the play in real MTT. I'd come from Intellipoker.de and if I could've gone back (even though I speak no German) I would have done so in an instant.

Freeroll play is shit, we get it. Everybody complains. Frankly if you've ever played a real medium- or high-stakes tourney you wouldn't, because a bad beat every now and again is much worse than losing because you can't get paid off with your good hands because your opponents are too good.

You're never drawing dead with AA vs any number of players. But yes, mathematically, you should fold AA if there are 2 or more people behind you. Most people can't accept that. Most people can't ever fold AA preflop, nor AK, nor AQ, and when they get called by 5 people and lose to 1 of them they go on long rants. That's just illogical. It makes much more difference if there are three all ins v two all ins than your starting cards, in terms of your % chance to win the whole pot.

Here is what anyone with any degree of intelligence realized about the old format after a while:
- The people playing most (and winning) were playing almost every tourney, i.e. they had insane amounts of free time and probably not much of a social life
- These regulars were playing the maths, i.e. folding every hand early etc. because it increased their chances of winning something at the end of the month. This was not poker.
- These regulars were thinking about the 20 VPPs in terms of how much money they needed to "spend" in order to earn them, and the profit they could make following such an investment
- These regulars were doing this month after month after month.

The new league format means a lot of people will be grinding for 150 VPPs every month. That means a lot of people will actually be playing the game properly and generating rake and so on, and PSO will be responsible for some of that growth. That's good. We're still going to get people with no social lives winning the league, which is okay. And we're going to be able to exclude the donks almost entirely from the Premier League, which is very, very good.

As for the Open League, I really don't see the point in complaining. You think they're going to make changes because you're bored with having to fold every hand until the first 7000 are out (which you don't, by the way)? Zz.
 
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Sun Jul 17, 2011, 10:04 AM
(#3)
Brizer73's Avatar
Since: Dec 2010
Posts: 270
Good post jf70 - i enjoyed that. B
 
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Sun Jul 17, 2011, 01:08 PM
(#4)
Cairn Destop's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,477
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jf70 View Post
Here is what anyone with any degree of intelligence realized about the old format after a while:
- The people playing most (and winning) were playing almost every tourney, i.e. they had insane amounts of free time and probably not much of a social life
- These regulars were playing the maths, i.e. folding every hand early etc. because it increased their chances of winning something at the end of the month. This was not poker.
- These regulars were thinking about the 20 VPPs in terms of how much money they needed to "spend" in order to earn them, and the profit they could make following such an investment
- These regulars were doing this month after month after month.

The new league format means a lot of people will be grinding for 150 VPPs every month. That means a lot of people will actually be playing the game properly and generating rake and so on, and PSO will be responsible for some of that growth. That's good. We're still going to get people with no social lives winning the league, which is okay. And we're going to be able to exclude the donks almost entirely from the Premier League, which is very, very good.

As for the Open League, I really don't see the point in complaining.


Now as you know, the old hedgehog cannot play the league. Still, I feel compelled to comment about the old format since some of your assumptions were not universal.

1 --- Yes, players who played the most had the best chance, but that didn't guarantee a money finish. My job allowed a lot of free time and I enjoyed the competition. Nobody ignores a social life if that life is more compelling. Turning off the computer never proved to be a problem for me.

2 --- Folding every hand in the early stage worked in the first month or two. We had one player who signed up for every game, never played, and made it into the top one hundred. They tightened up the scoring system and that system put him below the top five hundred. Part of the birthing process. Those who played for the monthly prize knew finishing in the top twenty percent gave one positive points. To accomplish that goal, you had to play. As anyone knows, folding in the early rounds is smart since you are avoiding the maniacs. It didn't mean you never played early; you had to know when the odds favored you.

3 --- You find nothing wrong with the site attempting to generate a profit, so what makes such a calculation for the player unreasonable? If you read my bankroll thread, the cost to benefit analysis is what kept me an active member. I knew I could consistently earn a minimum $15 from the league, and usually I made the $30 range. My goal became keeping my actual cost below that number, which means profit.

4 --- I would consider that the highest compliment. If a player can consistently finish in the money, and make a profit while doing it, they earned it. I did it every month once I became active, and had an excellent shot at the $50 prize before Black Friday. Did you note the change? First it was the $5 prize, then the $15 prize, next the $30 prize, and then a push to the next level. That is progression, which is a sign of improvement. The best players did this consistently, and I wasn't even worthy of polishing such player's chips.



And now for the new league, it is time for the birthing pains. Players should be patient as it might take a few months tweaking this promotion. With almost 100K players, I'll not be surprised if the Premier League doesn't double in size. Giving recognition to the cream of the freerollers, and an incentive to go active, is why PokerStars formed the league. I'll admit that the idea of playing cash games never occurred to me until I joined the league. Wonder how many of these freerollers will have the same epithamy.

Yet I notice the league has some financial concerns. Under the old system, we had 15K players and a minimum of twenty VPPS. That supported the system. The new version has more than six times the number of players, but the VPPS has increased by more than that magnitude. This makes me wonder if there are an insufficient number of active players to support the prize structure, which is why they established a higher prize level. As you said, encouraging more activity makes logical business sense. If setting the bar at a higher point generates more revenue for the site, it is a successful move. Players should be running a cost benefit analysis too.

I'm glad you said "almost entirely" when discussing the donks and maniacs. Though this is only my guess, I wouldn't be surprised if the inner donkey comes out in the last ten days of the Premier League. Players who anticipate demotion will have nothing to lose and can take a perverted sense of pleasure if their maniac play denies a good player a higher finish. And who knows, perhaps the crazy plays might reverse their position and eliminate a better player. I'll be watching for that type of comment sometime after August 20th.

You are so right about the Open League. There is no sense to complain. Those who don't make the cut this first month will have to adapt to the new system. If you can learn the how to play in a freeroll full of the crazies, and you can successfully make it into the upper five hundred active list, you'll earn the right for the Premier League. The league player needs to focus on the road, not the ultimate goal. That will come if you deserve it.

In a way, I'm hoping the Americans can come back soon. I'm looking forward to earning that place in the Premier League. It might take time as I'll be sans a bankroll, but it would be an accomplishment worthy of any quality player. Until then, I'll lurk. Best of luck to all our members.
 
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Sun Jul 17, 2011, 03:36 PM
(#5)
jf70's Avatar
Since: Feb 2009
Posts: 88
BronzeStar
Cool post Cairn thanks.

The only thing I'd like to add is this: playing the PSO is a good way to practice MTT play risk-free, and playing it for the sake of learning is a good idea. But playing it for profit doesn't really make sense to me ... I mean, if you think about how much time you spend playing (or half playing -- I guess we all multitask a bit) the League, all the rewards but the top 3 spots or so seem kind of paltry. In terms of an hourly rate, you'd be making far, far less than 1 dollar per hour, even if you make the $ 50 payouts.

Anyways. Hope the US does come back soon.

PS - my theory is the inner donkey won't come out. too much effort in registering for every tourney then playing stupidly .. it's the whole freeroll tab debate. top 1500 of 100K means these guys will be good.
 
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Hi - Mon Jul 18, 2011, 07:01 PM
(#6)
SpaceHiker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 35
BronzeStar
Hi, nice posts.
I would like to add some comments too.

The former league was where I started to play poker last year.
From brainless all in bingo donkey I made it to #2 in the last month of the old era. I could learn and improve my game step by step. I could meet many good players at the tables on my way, who helped me with advice.
This new format completely loses this dimension. I cannot imagine I would learn anything if it was like this from the beginning.
I agree its really boring now. The survival is more important than collecting chips. Just sitting there and keep folding hands like AK, JJ, QQ just because there are already 3 all ins in front of you and another 3 donkeys behind and waiting for the rare situations where you have some fold equity (in some tourneys it never appears lol).
The worst thing is. that once you get into Premier league, you have to play every month to stay in the top 1000, otherwise you have to go through the donkey misery again lol.
I think there might be a solution to these problems. Just to add one more level. Something like Advanced League for the top 5k players from the 100k "donkey" League.


For this
- The people playing most (and winning) were playing almost every tourney, i.e. they had insane amounts of free time and probably not much of a social life

I agree. The number of tourneys to get into top 10 depended on the rate of "bad beats" and lost coin flips in the late stage of the tournaments. It was quite high for me last month. And on the luck in the end of month. Upswing at the right moment would have helped a lot lol.
For the social life. When you like some activity and you want to be good at it, you have to give up on something else. That is always a problem. But it is everybody's own choice what he prefers.

- These regulars were playing the maths, i.e. folding every hand early etc. because it increased their chances of winning something at the end of the month. This was not poker.

I would not say it was no poker. The survival was more important than collecting chips and you had to adjust your strategy to that. Playing position, situation and leveraging fold equity was more important than the hands. It was a good practice for that. And the described above was not the right strategy to make it. The folding depended on the situation. Of course if someone raised 1/3 of your stack preflop the first hand of the tournament, folding hands like AK or QQ or even KK in the end of the month was not a bad idea. (At the beginning of the month I shoved these early many times.) When there was a chance to play a good starting hand without getting pot committed and getting it cheap to the river I always tried, even early. Even in the end of the month I had to do a few risky moves early in the tournaments to make it to the top (Once the donkey inside me decided to c-bet missed safe flop with the rest of my stack. I did not believe that player would hit that or call with something like middle or bottom pair. Of course he did lol. I hit my 3 outs and was safe. If I had not I still could have tried to play more tournaments to make up for it.


- These regulars were thinking about the 20 VPPs in terms of how much money they needed to "spend" in order to earn them, and the profit they could make following such an investment

I did not need to spend any money to get 20 VPPs. I could even earn few bucks getting them.

- These regulars were doing this month after month after month.

I took a break in May as the beginning of the month did not go well.


it's the whole freeroll tab debate. top 1500 of 100K means these guys will be good.
Or 1500 tight passive NITs who have the patience to run the clock until the red every hand lol. Just joking.


Hope we meet at Premier League.

Good Luck with your game
Space

Last edited by SpaceHiker; Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:38 PM..
 
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Tue Jul 19, 2011, 03:00 AM
(#7)
Andy8334's Avatar
Since: May 2011
Posts: 62
I can agree with both sides of the argument here.

For me personally I have found this month a good opportunity to practice being really tight and selective in the hands I play. Sometimes I still get a bit loose or make the right call and lose - but as we all know thats poker anyway.

I think one of the main things I can take away from this month so far is that, after almost 3 weeks of play, I have been as high as 200 and as low as 1000 but I have managed to stick in the top 1k throughout. When I consider the possible field is 100k this has given me a bit of a boost and belief in my own abilities.

This in turn has transferred itself to my play in the cash tables. I am way past the 150 VPP mark this month and I am showing a nice little profit into the bargain just by playing the micro tables.

I guess overall I have managed to see this as a bit of an opportunity to practice what I learnt in the earlier leagues and to try it out against a real field. The incentive to do well in each game because of the end of month rewards makes the games more interesting and challenging than I have found in the Hubble Freerolls.
 
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Hi - Tue Jul 19, 2011, 04:58 PM
(#8)
SpaceHiker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 35
BronzeStar
Just noticed PokerStars has added the alternative qualification for the Premier league.
Probably had read my thoughts before I published them.
Its not exactly what I meant, but a good solution too.
Well its not for free, but that's probably the only possible solution to the problem I described above.
Space
 

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