View Full Version : 2+2 Q&A Ramblings From A Mad Man (Long)

04-29-2002, 09:34 PM
Although I took notes on almost every question at Friday's seminar, they seemed to have vanished faster then money down a rake hole. Hope I didn't leave them in the Antiqua B meeting room at the Mirage. Oh well, what follows will have to be from memory alone. If you spot an error, feel free to correct it.

My wife and I get there about five minutes before three. The Antiqua B room is about twice the size of last year's St. Kitts room. There are already over 100 people in the room already. We grab a seat before they are all gone. As I look around, I see many faces I recognize, from various card rooms around town (Las Vegas). I say hello to old friends and then the Q&A begins.

Soon the room is full beyond capacity.

Mason starts off by stating that just like last year, they don't have anything pre-planned for discussion. It's pure Q&A for the next couple of hours, so let the questions begin.

David and Mason mention that Linda Johnson (The First Lady of Poker), seven-stud guru Rick Greider (Teacher of Champions), and an executive from "True Poker" are in the crowd of people today. I believe they state that Mr Greider was instrumental in David Heyden's stud growth (Heyden is widely considered one of the best stud player's in the world).

The first topic discussed was about bankroll. While there has been a lot written about this topic, both in the books as well as the forums. A couple of things stood out for me that I was not aware of.

1) Sklansky's statement that 1 out of 100 sessions (on average) should be the start of a 300 big bet loosing streak.

2) The statement that the 300 big bet rule of thumb, is for a starting bankroll, not a working bankroll.


The next guestion was about how to play AJ in early position. This actually brought up an interesting situation. Vince Lepore said he plays it almost always in EP in his games. Sklansky said he folds it about 100 out of 100 times in EP in his games. He (Sklansky) also said that he tells his students to always fold it in EP.

On the one hand you have one of the 2+2 forum's most heralded posters saying he almost always plays it from up front. On the other hand you have the most celebrated analytical mind in all of poker saying he tells his students to always fold AJ from up front. To be fair to Vince, I must mention that he stated that he himself is not an expert of the magnitude of an S or M. He still is a pretty sharp guy, with a lot of poker smarts.

Anyway, Mason tied it all together by stating that although AJ off-suit is a group 4 hand, it is the worst of the off-suit group 4 hands. That even though the book says "In early position in a typical hold'em game, if you are the first one in, or if there is only a call to your right, be prepared to play only those hands in the first four groups"; Mason points out that AJ is at the lowest spectrum of playable hands. Therefore you don't give up much by always foldig it. Sklansky also adds that in the low limit games where it may seem best to play it up front, the higher proportioned rake may negate it's success there as well.


With the talk of AJ in the air. It reminded me of a thread between Mason and Jim Brier where they had a friendly discussion about the merits of KJ.

I remember Mason saying something about KJ being the biggest sucker hand in all of hold'em (maybe not his exact words, but you get the idea). Anyway, I asked Mason if he could elaborate on that thought. He replied that most players get trapped so bad with this hand and play it from start to finish so poorly, that for most players it might be best if they never played the hand at all.


Someone asked what non 2+2 authors S&M think are any good and they both said Bob Ciafone and Roy Cooke. When asked about McEvoy's books, Mason said he's not a big fan of his book's. He said that the Razz section of the stud book written by Linda Johnson is good, but the seven-stud (high) part by McEvoy and Stern is awful. He did say some nice things about McEvoy's tournament book. As a matter of fact in GT&OT Mason states "I think it should be read by all serious tournament players".


Okay, I asked Mason a question. I wanted to make sure I asked David Sklansky a question as well. In his book POKER, GAMING & LIFE, Sklansky has a chapter called "For The Studios Player".

It lists ten games from best to worst for the studios player to learn and conquer through study and books. Lowball draw was the best one on the list, while no-limit hold'em was the worst. Seven-stud and limit hold'em were ranked 8th and 9th, with only no-limit hold'em being listed as a worst poker game for a studious player (without a lot of "card sense") learning the game.

My question for Sklansky. O/8 is not listed. If it were listed where would it be located on the list?

As a side note, I always thought that O/8 would be near the top (as a good game for the studious inclined) of the list. But I wanted to hear what poker's foremost theorist had to say. Sklansky says "Near the top of the list!" Maybe of no interest to anyone else, but of much interest to me. Glad I came already.


A few questions about playing on-line (Sklansky says "True Poker" is safe, for he is a consultant), a few questions about tournament play, a few more bankroll questions.

If you don't already have Sklansky's new tournament book, you should go get it ASAP!

There was a good discussion about the "System". Followed by the "Gap Theory".

Last year Sklansky gave a great dissertation on the gap theory and of course this year it is in his book.

"There is a very important general principle understood by all good poker players. That is, you need a better hand to play against someone who has already opened the betting, then you would need to open yourself"............."The difference between the hand you need to call an opener with, and that with which you would open yourself, I call the "GAP".............."

In tournaments the gap is often extremely high. Says Sklansky "Believe or not, This one stategy adjustment, along with otherwise good play, accounts for about half of the extra success top tournament players have, compared to good side game players who don't increase their "Gap".

There you have the "Gap" in a nut shell.


Expert hold'em player Barry T asked David Sklansky about a hand Sklansky played in 7-stud high/low ("regular" I believe). It was 4th street and a raising war broke out with Sklansky having 4,5,6,8 and one of the greatest players of all time having A,2,3,8.

I hope I have stated it correct for I don't have my notes :-(

Anyway, in the heat of battle how did Sklansky know he had the best of it?

Sklansky said that he had a "Super" card in the deck (any 7) that he could hit. while his opponent did not. Also, if the 4,5,or 6 (or /images/glasses.gif paired, that would be a big advantage.

I found this analysis to be most interesting. I'm glad Barry asked that question.


PokerBabe(aka) asked Sklansky if he "chops"? When Sklansky said he does "to keep the game friendly", the crowd broke out in laughter.


World class poker player Howard Lederer had mentioned at last year's WPPC, that he believes a player should just fucus on one game exclusivly, until they reach about the $80-$160 level. Then work on a second game.

S & M have said that it's important to be good at many games for there may be a tough game of say hold'em, while a soft stud game is being played on the table right beside it.

Someone asked what is the best game to learn first. Vince says stud. Mason says hold'em. Mason makes his points in his essay "Which Game Stud or Hold'Em?", in his book POKER ESSAYS 3.

Sklansky says he first learned split pot poker but feels it is important to learn all poker games.


Sklansky says if you do a lot of betting on the flop, you can't be making a lot of fold's on fourth street (turn), or your more astute opponents will capitalize on this flaw in your game.

There was a lot more (when to fold A2 in O/8 pre-flop, what to do when seated at a table with Scotty, Bono, Jesus, and T.J., etc.), but this post is already getting too long. Maybe a good thing I can't find my notes :-)

Thanks to Mason, David, and Donna for having it. I learned a thing or two and met a lot of nice people. Hope to see a lot of you next year!

Good Luck


04-29-2002, 09:48 PM

04-29-2002, 10:09 PM

04-30-2002, 01:03 AM

04-30-2002, 01:17 PM
This is great. I am going to print it out and keep it in my "poker binder."

Thanks for the detailed report for those of us that couldn't make it our there.

04-30-2002, 06:36 PM
thanks...enjoyed the info..gl

04-30-2002, 11:13 PM
Thanks, Howard!

I enjoyed reading your notes. This is exactly what I had in mind when I asked Pokerbabe to share her notes with those of us who cannot participate.

Good post!