Intro: This dude can play.
Of all the poker bloggers, few have a game more respected than Double A‚Äôs. Hell, we even linked to one of his strategy articles, and as you‚Äôve seen, strategy articles seldom give Wicked Chops Poker a chance to blatantly showcase hot girls. So that says something.
In our continuing Blogfiles, Double A‚Äôs tells us about his book, common rookie mistakes to take advantage of, and what it feels like to be the Day 1 chip leader at a WSOP event‚Ä¶
Das: I launched Double A’s in March 2004. I was convinced that I was going to succeed at poker and wanted to journal my thoughts and progress somewhere. I was an avid reader of Iggy, Pauly and PokerGrub so instead of just writing in a journal, I decided to follow in their footsteps and start a blog.
WCP: The strategy and hand re-counts on your site really stand out. What are some poker concepts that you learned or realized that helped you make a big "leap" in your game?
Das: When I first started out, I had read a lot of poker books so I was a tight, straightforward player. The key concepts that helped me improve my game from small-stakes to mid-stakes were using pressure bets to keep my opponents on their heels and honing my ability to get good reads on my opponents. When I’m playing well, I feel like I can predict my opponent’s moves and pick them off.
WCP: How do you get a quick read on players online, particularly early on after taking your virtual seat?
Das: I look for tendencies in their betting. Some important things to keep an eye out for are if they are willing to hang on to mediocre/good hands in the face of a big bet, if they bet draws and if they try to control the pot size by check-calling top pair. Those things help give me a better idea of how to stereotype their play along with the regular tight/loose – passive/aggressive categories.
WCP: You’re playing poker full-time now? And when did you start playing cards seriously?
Das: Actually, I have a real job and poker is just an addictive hobby. When I’m running well, my hourly rate is higher than my real job, but the variance of poker and the uncertaintly of its future keep me going back to the office. I only started to take poker seriously about two years ago. I bought every book that looked decent, read every article I could find on the internet and played as much as I could.
WCP: What is the most common mistake you see beginners make in tournaments? And ring games?
Das: The most common mistake I remember in micro-stakes ring games is players calling too much and not folding or raising enough. The most common mistake in low-limit ring games was calling with obvious draws on the flop. Although, it seems that flush draws are 2 to 1 on the flop, it is misleading because first, you’re only 4 to 1 to hit your card on the turn before you face another large bet. Then you’re getting 4 to 1 odds to hit your hand again, but 2 to 1 pot odds. Implied odds are low as well because if the obvious draw does hit, your opponent will certainly slow down and probably won’t pay you off as much as you think. Holding on to overpairs until the end and slowplaying too much are right up there.
The most common mistake I see in tournaments is trying to win the tournament in the first hour.
WCP: You had a fantastic showing at WSOP Event #43 (Editor‚Äôs Note: Double A‚Äôs finishing 12th and had the overall chip lead at the end of Day 1). What are your one or two best memories from the tournament?
Das: Thank you. I really enjoyed playing and talking with Men "The Master" Nguyen for the majority of the day. I was impressed by both his play and his attitude. My favorite memory was experiencing a period of about 2 hours where I couldn’t do anything wrong. I was running over the table with pressure bets and when I picked up a good hand, I busted yet another player. I felt that I outplayed several B-list pros that were at my table chipping up to grab the chip lead of the tournament. Another great moment that I’ll never forget was walking out of the Rio.
My friend "curzdog" looked over at me and said, "Dude, you’re the chip leader of a WSOP event." I was in a bad mood from taking two bad beats for good sized pots and that statement let the situation sink in and the bad beats were all but forgotten.
Das: I played a lot of hands that I’m proud of. The best series of hands was pushing people around and forcing them to fold better hands. I did that a lot and was able to chip up a little bit at a time. The move that took the most courage was one where I raised in the cut-off with A2 and got called by the big blind. The big blind bet out on the flop of KJ2. I read weakness (he had a look on his face like he was stealing money from his mom’s purse). I pushed all-in and put my tournament life at risk for about three times his bet. It would have been an easy call if he had anything. He quickly mucked.
The worst hand I played was my last one. I had a brain cramp and thought the action was on me. I pushed in my short-stack, but the action was still on [all-time great Erik] Seidel. He was going to raise, but changed his action to limp. Since he limped instead of raised, my action stood and I was forced to play my hand against what was going to be an UTG raise. If I had waited my turn, I would’ve been able to easily fold to Seidel’s raise.
WCP: So Seidel knocked you out?
Das: Yeah, that asshole. Kidding. He’s a nice guy.
WCP: Tell us about your book…
Das: The book is called Poker Hacks and will be published by O’Reilly as part of their Hacks series. The hacks series of books are basically 100 essays about the subject that you won’t find in other books. I’m attempting to follow that paradigm with poker by writing about subjects that you won’t find in any other poker book. There will be material about poker strategy from a new perspective, insights on software tools like Poker Tracker and some other important information that most players will find very useful. Some of the most popular poker bloggers have agreed to make contributions to the book. The poker world will be lucky to have a book with advice from people like Hank, Iggy, Otis, Pauly, Nick Momrik from 2 Hole Cards, and Grubby.
WCP: Now that you‚Äôre an author, are there one or two books that you applied concepts from that worked (for you at least) more than the others?
Das: Pot-Limit and No-Limit Poker by Bob Ciaffone helped my game the most.
WCP: Give us your dream six-person table to play with…can be living, dead, or ficticious‚Ä¶
Das: I’m tempted to mention some of my favorite people, but I’d rather buy them a drink rather than play poker against them. My ideal table would be full of the best players in the world that also like having a good time while they play. Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Caro and Sun Tzu (after a year or two of poker training). We’d all have very deep stacks and play NLHE for days.
Harmen and Ciaffone would be on the waiting list.