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Online Poker News Archives - December 11, 2005

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Copyright 2005 Chicago Tribune

December 11, 2005

In poker, a reputation can mean everything

Author: Steve Rosenbloom

You make a bad move, you lose your chips, you beat yourself up about it.

Been there, played that.

But wait. You might be surprised to learn that good things can come out of bad plays.

So says Barry Shulman, the publisher and chairman of Card Player magazine and author of "52 Tips," a sharp book on hold 'em. Shulman has won a World Series of Poker gold bracelet, but says he has made plenty of bad plays and has found a way to make them pay off.

His thinking comes from the concept of table image.

That is, how you define opponents at the table -- loose or tight, can he be run over or will be defend his blind?

But listen up: Like it or not, you also are giving off a table image.

In this case, Shulman knew that his reputation included making some wild plays and bad moves. The first step is knowing your table image. The next thing is taking advantage of it.

Early in a $25,000-buy-in tournament at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Shulman drew pocket 10s. Three other players met the big blind, including pro Sam Grizzle, who held 9-4 of spades.

The flop came 10-9-4, two clubs. Shulman hit top set.

The board also showed a straight draw and flush draw. Many people prefer to slow-play a flopped set, hoping to check-raise or string along opponents to build the pot.

But Shulman bet out, which, given that many people would slow-play his holdings, must have looked like a play by someone with a draw. So, an opponent with two pair likely makes a bigger play at the pot.

"Sam thought he was pretty sure I didn't have three of a kind," Shulman said, "so he put in a hefty raise with two pair. Not a giant raise because it was at the beginning of the tournament, but a good-sized raise. We still have tons and tons of chips left.

"Because of my reputation, it allowed me to move all in. Most guys wouldn't have gotten all in at that point and gotten a call. The great thing was, I got a call by the combination of betting it out and having a reputation of kind of being a crazy man.

"I've earned the right to have people call me. I don't need to bluff anymore. I've earned the right to get called. So I get called a lot of the time."

And Grizzle called him, only to be shocked to see he was drawing to a miracle.

"He had virtually no outs," Shulman said. "He had to get two running nines or two running fours to beat me, and that didn't happen. It doubled me up in the first hour. It was a $50,000 pot when we were playing $50-$100 blinds.

"They say every hand you play is a function of all the rest of the ones you've played in your life. I got that call as a combination of a lot of things, including a lot of the bad plays I've made in my life. There's something positive out of bad plays too."

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