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Poker from the Rail: Activating Boomswitch in 3…2…1…

Posted by Seth Shafer & filed under Featured, General, Popular.

Adding “Play more poker” to your list of New Year’s resolutions is a pretty easy one for most poker players to stomach — as opposed to cutting out fried chicken from your weekly diet or going to the gym at least five four three two times a week — but it actually made its way on to my goals for 2012.

The combination of living in the US and having dwindling online poker options and quitting my corporate day job in late 2010 to report on poker tournaments around the globe led to me writing many thousands of words about poker but precious little time to play poker myself.

A final table finish in one of the Rio daily deepstack tournaments at the 2011 WSOP got the poker juices flowing again, and moving to Malta with my wife in late 2011 suddenly opened up the opportunity to play online again.

How Does This Online Poker Thing Work Again?

While I prefer playing live tournaments, my old live poker bankroll was decimated in the process of moving to Europe so it was going to be back to grinding away at the online tables as far as trying to spin up a bankroll big enough to take a seat at the PartyPoker Premier League tables with the likes of Tony G and Erik Seidel.

Unlike Chris Ferguson and other players who have successfully built up a healthy bankroll from freerolls and microstakes, I just don’t have the patience to pull that off these days. I get impatient when anything on PirateBay takes more than 10 minutes to download, so yeah, grinding the micros wasn’t going to be the ticket.

The compromise to myself was give myself a couple of €100 bullets to plunk into an account, with absolutely no attempt at good bankroll management. If I busted those, then it’d be nose to the grindstone as using the last €100 bullet in a responsible fashion.

Jesus Wept

I can’t even remember where the first €100 deposit went, only that it was gone pretty much in the blink of an eye and a haze of monkey tilt playing various MTTs and Sit n Gos with buy-ins from $5-$25. Yeah, yeah, I know; putting that much of your roll in play in any one tourney makes Jesus weep — among other things these days — but

With a cheery cry of “Reload!” (or perhaps some other choice muttered words) the good folks at Moneybookers/Skrill merrily whisked along another €100 for me to donk off quickly skillfully play into a handsome sum.

Activating Poker Boomswitch

Things immediately got off to a much better start the second time around, with a 3rd place finish worth $445 in a $4,500 NLHE deepstack tourney. Despite donating about half my starting stack in the first orbit I manage to right the ship and finally get things going, coming into the final table as the short stack but laddering up when the runaway chip leader jammed any two cards for the first 20 hands or so and knocked out half the table.

Just a few hours after that score I had a dream run in a $22 NLHE 6 Max tourney, once again short early but catching fire midway through and never looking back, holding the chip lead virtually the whole way en route to a win worth $869. I pretty much relentlessly bullied the field from 30 players on and had the good fortune of some very soft tables that allowed it without much resistance.

At times I struggle and manage to out-think myself when it comes to big stack play — easing up when it should become obvious to anyone that I’m min-raising 90% of the time so I can’t be holding much — but not this time, reminding myself to constantly pound away until someone made a real effort to stop me.

Big Stack Poker

Sure, you’re going to have to fold in some annoying spots when you keep 3-betting with hands like 84o or opening for a min-raise with J2s but all the uncontested pots you take down when your opponents meekly fold add up quickly. Like any success in life, there’s a lot to be said to finding what works and banging away at it until someone or something makes you stop.

Some smaller scores since then and a nice run at the nosebleed $50 NLHE tables has me sitting at just over $2,000 at last count. Which, ironically enough, is an adequate bankroll to actually play the tournaments and cash games I’ve been sitting in with little fear from the evil side of variance.