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Finish What You Start: My last shot at Monte Carlo & Checkmating Violence April 19, 2010

Posted by Jennifer in : chess,poker , trackback

This weekend I gave a simultaneous exhibition at a 24-hour “Checkmate Violence” marathon, organized by After School Activities Partnerships and sponsored by PECO. It was a 20-board clock simul where I had 45 minutes for all the games, and my opponents had 25 minutes. Very tough to win 20 games in 45 minutes, but I was happy with my final tally of 15:5. I certainly got a great cardio workout, completely canceling out my decadent Friday hoagie and mozzarella sticks dinner :)

It was also interesting to watch Mayor Nutter play chess against a 9-year-old girl from the program. Normally when political figures offer to speak at a chess event, they only make the ceremonial first move. But Nutter took it very seriously and ended up playing the entire game, which lasted 45 minutes. His aides, who were impatiently watching said it felt like it took 4.5 hours. See the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer and look for some moves from the actual game on my CLO blog.

In another example of finishing what you start, I played the last chance €215 Ladies Luxury Poker Club Monte Carlo direct qualifier. I was seriously considering not playing because it may be hard to get to Europe in the new few weeks due to the volcano. But it just felt wrong to play so well in the first six and reject my final shot especially since I’d won a super-sat into it. Also I want to support stars’ efforts to promote women’s poker and it’s hard to find a $300 online tournament with such good value.

In the start of the tourney, I felt a little distracted and call-ey. But during the middle and end, patience, math and some luck ( I got kings at a good moment) came to the fore and I final-tabled with an average stack. Two €3500 packages were at stake and there were three consolation prizes for 3rd-5th of €530 Euros (about $700). Sadly I mini-bubbled for 6th (the big bubble is obviously third). The hand I busted on was pretty trivial. I had sixes on the button with a M of 10, was called by the shortest stack in the SB with AJs and lost the showdown, ace on the river :( Lost another showdown for the rest of my meager stack and ended up with the sub-consolation prize of €10 Euros! I did have some interesting hands earlier in the event like this one against the most aggressive player at the table:

I’d bet/fold against a lot of the tight players in ladies events, but against this player, my plan was bet/re-raise all in, since she’s perfectly capable of raising here with air. She did checkraise/fold so it worked out well, but later I wondered if my play was clearly +EV or if I was overestimating her range.

Speaking of aggressive female players, I bought the James McManus tome, Cowboys Full on the history and culture of poker and read two articles on WomanPokerPlayer.com, HeSaid and SheSaid summing up his thoughts on the supposed lack of female ability in No Limit poker tourneys. The main argument is that women are too risk averse for high stakes poker. I find this very oversimplified. Patience and bankroll management are also very important poker skills which women may have more cultural aptitude for. It’s not clear that these are easier to learn than aggression. Often the testosterone pumped men tend to be the worst players of all, garbage raising machines. I think it would be much easier to teach a peaceful woman to push T9o on the SB with a short stack than to teach an egomaniacal dude to fold most hands out of position. The argument that women are ill-suited for NL poker smacks of a foregone conclusion, “women play poker less than men and don’t cash as often,” so let’s explain why that must be the case, ignoring the fact that tons of “aggressive” male players have lost their shirts on poker. Poker is not just about how much you win, but also sadly, about how much you lose. Otherwise, we’d all be rich.

I played a lot of online poker in March and April and felt I learned a lot, but I’ll be taking a break till my yearly WSOP/National Open trip in June to focus on other projects, such as promoting the 2010 US Chess Championships in Saint Louis. The event will feature a 10K guaranteed blitz Open for just a $40-50 entry fee. Hope to see you there!

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