No Mercy Monday February 1

Once Upon a Time: Long Live The Dinosaurs!

The last time we heard from Isabelle Mercier she was lecturing us on the importance of patience. And there is definitely not a better sequence to that topic, than going through the gaps between the old school and new school of poker.

Maybe you were spoiled by the title of this story, but I humbly have to admit that I am a dinosaur in the poker world. You know you’re a poker dinosaur for a fact when: 

  • For you, Black Friday is not synonymous with a fun day for inexpensive shopping, but a nightmarish day (April 15, 2011) that turned the lives of professional players upside down. Read more about that here.
  • Maybe you played online poker when 99% of the world didn’t know it was possible.
  • You played in the biggest online buy-ins during the Paradise Poker era at $ 50 USD per buy-in max in NLH cash games.
  • Plus, you were playing live tournaments BEFORE Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event and gave thousands of fans like him hope and envy to come and play at the green tables.
  • You participated in the creation of the very first PPL (Professional Player League) created by the late Chip Reese, a league that unfortunately never saw the light.
  • You saw people smoking at the tables, and not only around the ACF tables but also in the Bellagio poker room.
  • You saw Phil Ivey signing his first autograph in the middle of the streets of old Vegas.
  • Perhaps, you know Courchevel, not as a French city and ski resort, but as a variation of poker.
  • Finally: you knew Bruno Fitoussi with short hair. 
Poker Dinosaurs
Picture from the PPL draft day with Captain Doyle Brunson.

Poker Years Are Different From Regular Years

Well, ok, I’m not old at life (quadra is the best). Still, in the poker years, I’m old! A few players know it, especially the younger ones, but in the same way as to know the “human” age of a dog you have to go through an equivalence table, you have to do exactly the same thing for the poker players.

In the poker years equivalent, I am 75 years old. I will have the modesty not to reveal to you Doyle Brunson’s (author of legendary poker quotes) age in poker years, but I can tell you that we are in triple digits for Texas Dolly! 

Nonetheless, being a dinosaur isn’t just about being on the poker circuit for years, it’s also the way to approach poker, to play, to adapt to new things. For example, it’s been several years now that I’ve been attending debates around the theme “Play exploit vs play GTO (Game Theory Optimal)”.

Two camps clash amicably on the subject and opinions are very divergent. For a whole generation, mostly younger people, we have to admit, playing GTO is the holy grail, the absolute goal.  

When I started out in poker, no one was talking about GTO. At the time, everyone was playing “exploit”. Obviously, we knew the math, the implicit odds and the probabilities, but we were still far from all the analytical complexity that can be generated by software like PioSOLVER.

Old School vs New School

At that time, I was very close to the brilliant Paul Magriel, a backgammon master and above all a game theorist who brought a lot to poker and even invented the way to estimate the depth of his stack taking into account the blinds AND antes.

You can be M-20 (big stack) or M1 (in deep sh…). I am a dinosaur because I continue to use this way of estimating my stack. Though, I know very well that most players only count in BB nowadays, without worrying about antes.

However, I still believe, that calculating the M is more accurate, but hey, that’s another debate. 

The one between the GTO and the exploit is very polarizing. And as is often the case in this world, the answer lies on the grayscale and not on the 100% white or 100% black boxes.

Improve your game with GTO, take into account the notion of ICM when the time comes, but knowing how to forget all that when the exploit option makes more sense to win more chips.

While waiting to dive into the latest theoretical trends, the dinosaur will open tables on CoinPoker, the platform where we play in cryptocurrencies and which I have the chance to represent. Finally, if I am to be a dinosaur, I will be the Cryptosaurus! 

Meet me at the tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today.  

Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier 

WPT Winner & OFC “Progressive” World Champion 

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