wcoop update station
I’ve spent the past few weeks in kind of an odd cycle; for me, that means something, considering my definitions of “normal”. I’ve been feeling kind of strange, sleeping consistently oddly short durations, and ontop of all this I’ve had some weird computer issues come up lately.
I’ve been having computer problems for a few weeks now, maybe a month. My computer was freezing up every 30 minutes or so for a duration of anything from 5 to 45 seconds – 5 being ok, but 45 certainly not, especially when facing river bets with the nuts, resulting in costly timeouts (these cost me about $3000 in the last week of August alone). I took some steps to fix it (I thought), identifying the supposed problem as a HD error, repairing then disabling said HD, all to no avail. The new HD is having a similar issue only worse with different symptoms; the main problem is that the freeze now is telegraphed by sound failures, and it seems to be permanent and only fixable by restart, not lasting 5-45 seconds and recovering as it was. These freezes only seems to happen while I’m playing poker.
I’m not really sure what the cause is now – my jury-rigged setup of disabled components and the like haven’t solved any problems or helped to clarify what they even are. The setup is under warranty, but I just don’t have time during WCOOP to sit for hours with dell support while they go through all the tests only to tell me they have no clue and have to send someone/parts/have the machine sent back. So far, the only thing I’ve been able to do to prevent freezes is to restart every 90 minutes or so. If the restart button was replaced with an entry console requiring entry of 4-8-15-16-23-42 I believe I’d be able to legally change my name to Desmond…so I guess there’s one upside to this.
WCOOP is underway, likely the slowest, deepest tournament series in terms of real-dollar value in the world (even (somehow!!) better than any of the DEEPSTACK/MEGASTACK/other appropriately capitalized tournaments). At this point in my career, $200 tournaments with super long levels and a zillion bbs strikes me a little bit as structure overkill. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good slow structure, especially a deep one… I just think doing it on $200 events is a tad silly, especially when compared with similar live tournaments. Here’s a quick, highlight comparison between the $500 WCOOP event and the $5k WSOP event:
The two events are pretty damn competitive – I’d even give the nod for better structure to the $500 WCOOP for early stages, and probably mid-stages too – especially when taking hands/hr into account. The 5K WSOP event is probably a better-structured tournament deep (due to having 3 days to finish the tournament and all), but the fact that the two are so competitive strikes me as…wrong. Maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth – maybe I should be thanking Pokerstars for developing these great structures and instead write angry posts about live events being too fast (”look how this “PRESTIGIOUS” event’s structure compares to this online (SNEER here) tournament!”).
Be that as it may, I think the WCOOP events should be on average a tad faster ($200 on Sunday going 1pm-8am?). The WCOOP sunday prize pools are huge and deserving of a very good structure – which this certainly is, if not great – I just think they might be a little TOO good considering the buy-in. However, I understand Stars’ view that this is meant to be truly prestigious, a “championship”-caliber event with a “championship”-caliber structure, and that all who enter know what they’re getting into – and frankly, the huge fields suggest Stars might be onto something here. In the end, if the option is to have it this way or not to have it, I’ll gladly take it – I just wish the buyins were a notch or two higher. But, Stars’ll say, don’t worry, JCarver! We’ve got just the cure for your deep-stack slow-structure high-roller degen needs. Oh really?
This leads me to my so-far-biggest gripe I have had with WCOOP thus far. If you don’t know, Pokerstars made a bit of an inexplicable decision in regard to the $10K WCOOP to use the same structure as the 2-day $500 WCOOP event taking place on the same day. Same starting stack, same structure, same level length…that is, until it removed the 25-50 level the day or so before, leaving it to start at 30-60, making it FASTER than the $500 WCOOP. Huh?
3 hours in, 210 players remained of the starting 300. In a $10K. Full disclosure : I myself was out in 40 minutes, my fastest-ever departure from a 10k (so clearly the structure was SHIT !!), but the fact is, the structure was just inappropriate for a $10K tournament. You really can’t add more levels (besides 25-50), so unless you want to increase time of levels (doubt stars does), the last option is to increase starting stack to 15 or 20k. I’ve yet to hear an explanation for NOT making it deeper/slower – in a WCOOP series defended as a “championship” I can’t understand why PS would make such a big event paced this way. The players don’t want it, it doesn’t benefit PS in any way (probably no rake gain either way, if anything they’d get more people for a better tournament)… I just don’t get it, and hope Stars corrects this for future high roller events.
In a final stars gripe, in yesterday’s 4-max WCOOP, I faced several tough decisions early on (something that’ll happen quite often in a structure like this, effectively a 200bb+ deep shorthanded poker game for at least the whole time I was in) and used most of my time bank up early. By about the 6 hour mark I had 0 timebank remaining. I knew this was going to be a problem as I’m fairly deliberate (in my defense, burning 180sec of timebank over 8 hrs of super-deep 4max poker is hardly unreasonable). The non-regenerating timebank issues have been called out by the community as something that must be fixed – that’s pretty well known, and I’m not going to hash the argument out here.
The silly thing is when this pairs with another fairly unknown not-understandable decision by stars to have the default action when facing no action and timing out to be a fold. That’s right, if you are first to act postflop facing no action, have no timebank, and are thinking about what to do and don’t act in time, your hand is FOLDED. This happened yesterday:
PokerStars Game #32578277718: Tournament #200909012, $200+$15 USD Hold’em No Limit – Level XVII (400/800) – 2009/09/07 20:52:38 ET
Table ‘200909012 100′ 4-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: Taknapotin (207131 in chips)
Seat 2: Giant_kill (182236 in chips)
Seat 3: ArbahChamesh (66092 in chips)
Seat 4: lordhuttyx (80973 in chips)
Taknapotin: posts the ante 100
Giant_kill: posts the ante 100
ArbahChamesh: posts the ante 100
lordhuttyx: posts the ante 100
Taknapotin: posts small blind 400
Giant_kill: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***
ArbahChamesh: raises 1200 to 2000
lordhuttyx: calls 2000
Taknapotin: raises 6800 to 8800
lordhuttyx: calls 6800
*** FLOP ***
Taknapotin: bets 9500
lordhuttyx: calls 9500
*** TURN ***
Taknapotin has timed out
Taknapotin is sitting out
Taknapotin has returned
lordhuttyx collected 39800 from pot
I mean, really? This isn’t a new policy – just one I’ve never really experienced before firsthand. Why not just check? I absolutely don’t understand this “rule”, especially when there’s not even a countdown timer a la FTP’s where you can see your time about to run out and know you have to make a decision NOW (FTP’s system default, fwiw, is to check). On stars, though, there’s just one 14 second warning and then nothing else to indicate a pending timeout. Seems pretty dumb to me.
In other news, I finally finished the West Wing in its entirety this morning. What a great show and a refreshingly awesome final season to close it out. Between that and having caught up on Burn Notice, I don’t think I have any shows that I’m in the process of watching that aren’t live. Can’t remember when the last time that was. I have a few new shows sitting around to be watched when I get around to it – Big Love, Californication, and Oz.
For now, I’ll be shelving TV and the like to continue focusing on poker for the next few weeks, and maybe beyond that. More on that in the next post – I’ve been challenged to a pretty huge prop bet – my biggest ever, by far – a fun, tough, high stakes challenge that I just might end up taking. We’ll see. Good luck to all for the rest of WCOOP.
edit: thanks to cory dowd (!!) for catching errors in the wcoop/wsop comparison table.