Monday, January 23, 2006

Tea for the Tillerman

For no particular reason, today I was browsing through the pokerstars tournament database and noticed Tillerman for the first time. Tillerman, a Brit by the name of Iain Girdwood, was one of the top Blizzard RTS pro-gamers in the world. He was also notable in the Blizzard RTS community because he also put out very good commentary on Warcraft III replays (content really is king in the entertainment industry...). During my WC3 days, a substantial amount of my learning in the middle tiers came from watching WC3 replays commentated by the likes of player/commentators like Tillerman.

He made the jump to poker about 2.5 years ago which he chronicled in this post. As an example of how he is not one to do things halfway, check out his poker library.
It is amusing, but completely understandable, to read his timeline of clearing $100k within the first 6 months when taken in context of the absolute pitance that world class pro-Blizzard-RTS-gamers make (even if they are willing to move to South Korea, lol). It wouldn't surprise me if the 95th percentile online poker player can outearn the 99.999th percentile Starcraft/WC3 player by an order of magnitude. Such are the cruel injustices of life; ya gotta be where the money is.

The top level RTS pro-gamers are amazing in many dimensions. An obvious carryover is the ability to micromanage very quickly and efficiently, which translates in online poker to extreme multitablers. They can rapidly execute a large number of actions without making any mistakes. Another very helpful skill the pro-gamers have is an incredible ability to quickly adapt efficient strategies and counterstrategies. Blizzard, the game creator, would frequently be tweaking the game; making "balance" changes that affected the huge number of variables involved in the game. The patches would be released pretty often, sometimes about once a month and sometimes more frequently. In short order, the top level players would grasp all of the complex effects of the interdependent changes to devise new optimal strategies and counterstrategies. I've always been in awe of this ability.


Getting back to poker: Tillerman went almost exclusively through the NL ring game route, albeit very quickly. He wrote a simple post about earn rates in NL ring games, Tillerman's 5% (and 7%) rule.

The threads related to earn rates at the 2+2 forums define a range of between 7-10PT BB/100h (PT BBs == 2x the big blind) as a good-great range for the $100NL game, and somewhere between 5-7PT BB/100h for midstakes NL.

DoubleAs has been a long time successful NL ring game player (in relative main-stream poker blogger terms), and Eric has increasingly been talking about his refocusing on NL ring games.

In my spare time, I'm thinking of trying to work my way up a few levels at the NL ring games. I took a shot at 8-tabling $100NL and was able to sustain 7PT BB/100h for about 11k hands. I would like to get comfortable significantly multitabling the $200NL soon.


Another thing that would be fun to try is the significant mulitabling of SNGs, a-la-pokernerd. I tried out 4-tabling, and it seems managable. Ideally, I would do this at Stars to level up in the VIP thing, but a substantial limitation is the inability to use autohotkey shortcuts due to the damn focus stealing.

I'll probably have to put in some substantial LHE hands this week at Party to hit my VIP promotion target (due to the puny number of VIP points I accumulated during my $100NL side experiment). I'm already seriously violating one of my resolutions for this year to decrease the quantity of play in favor of higher quality. At least, I have not been playing tired...

Why isn't there ever enough time???!!?


Only played one MTT this weekend, the $500k guaranteed at Party. Busted ~1000/3300th when I pushed my shortish stack with JJ and ran into AAs.

Again, the structure of this tournament is so much more forgiving than the corresponding Stars event (which again increased this week to 4074 entrants!!). I won exactly 0 hands in the first 4 levels. I won 2 hands in level 5 - winning the blinds on one, and then having everyone fold into my BB in the other. In spite of this, when I made a stand to play my first major hand more than 90 minutes into the event, I still had something like 6x bb - still very short, but enough to get some breathing room after just one double up.