Hanson is calling the new show “Deuce Plays” (a title which I’m not too sure about), and it follows pretty much the same format as his previous show, with Hanson having lengthy interviews with various guests. He may be primarily interviewing Deuces Cracked pros and instructors on this new show, but as was the case on PRR, the show is still focused on middle and higher stakes cash games.
(Incidentally, it appears PokerRoad will soon relaunch the Cash Plays show with a new host, Jeremiah Smith.)
As someone who plays almost zero no-limit hold’em (particularly cash games) and certainly doesn’t even come close to playing the stakes Hanson and his guests usually play, I probably shouldn’t find Hanson’s show as interesting as I do. I always somehow find the shows compelling, though, and I think I probably pick up certain tidbits that are of use now and then.
The most recent show (the 2/24/09) features poker pro and coach Tommy Angelo, author of Elements of Poker. I believe it is the first of a two-parter. Some of you might have heard Angelo on the Two Plus Two Pokercast back last August (episode 36), where he was a big hit. If you haven’t read his book or heard him before, you might check out the new show as a good introduction to some of Angelo’s ideas.
Anyhow, like I say I shouldn’t really care for Hanson’s show but I do. Case in point: A couple of weeks ago Hanson had Sean Nolan on as a guest (the 2/10/09 episode), and about 20 minutes into the show the pair were discussing the relative merits of 20-tabling $5/$10 full ring NLHE games versus playing four $25/$50 six-max. tables. What business do I, a guy who generally sticks to playing just two or three limit hold’em games at once, have listening to this debate?
Still, like I say, I’m listening. And frankly, several of the factors that Hanson and Nolan focused on in their discussion -- variance, relative skill levels of opponents, theoretical differences between short-handed and full ring play, and so forth -- are relevant to all of us, no matter what limits or games we’re playing.
One other interesting item came up on that show with Sean Nolan -- really, this was the whole reason I decided to mention Hanson’s show. At the very beginning, Hanson talked about how six months ago he was struggling a bit at the $10/$20 no-limit hold’em tables at the Commerce Casino (in Los Angeles, where the LAPC is currently winding down). In order to “retool” his game decided to move back down to the $5/$10 NLHE tables (a 150-big blind capped game), which he found “a world of difference” with less variance and, apparently, less difficult competition.
“Then I watched your videos,” he told Nolan, referring to the instructional vids Nolan had created for Deuces Cracked, “and then I put in about 80,000 hands at $0.50/$1.00 full ring (which is 100NL).” That’s when Hanson said something I found fairly provocative:
“I think that a $0.50/$1.00 game [online] is way tougher than $5/$10 no-limit [live].”
He asked Nolan for his opinion and he essentially agreed that 10-to-1 ratio sounded “about right” when comparing the relative toughness of online and live play. I recall Isaac Haxton making a similar claim on PokerRoad Radio -- I believe it was last January (the 1/5/08 show) -- where he also suggested something like a 10-to-1 ratio between the skill levels online and live.
I wrote a post a good while back concerning the whole online-vs.-live thing, so I thought I'd make this one a sequel. As someone stuck in a part of the country with no live poker, my live experience has been quite limited and thus I can’t comment with any authority on this issue at all. Additionally, there are differences between the way limit games and no-limit games are played that would likely make it problematic simply to apply the same 10-to-1 ratio over on the limit side.
But are these guys right? Is the difference in skill levels that huge? Are $0.50/$1.00 games online as tough as $5/$10 live?