Let me preface my comments by admitting that INTERNETPOKERS (Haseeb, aka Dogishead) is a much better poker player than I will ever be. He is likely a better writer, more intelligent, and also more prone to hyperbole than I am. But given all that, when I look over the recent history of Isildur1 playing durrrr, Patrik Antonius and numerous other high stakes players, I don't see the decline of western civilization. In fact, what I see from my lowly perspective is more a tale of ego, riding the rush, adjustments to new styles of play, and issues of bankroll management and stop loss. I don't see a transatlantic rivalry. I don't see usurping some longstanding hierarchical hegemony. I don't see the loss of heroes. The battles will continue...
I come from a fundamental training site perspective. What I mean by that is certain fundamentals are taught, that if you follow you can prevent complete failure. If you follow the guidelines you are taught you can manage your playing effectively. Any serious deviation can cause significant peril.
1. Establish a stop loss. It can vary depending on how many tables you play and how large your bankroll is (e.g. 3, 5 or 7 buy-ins in a particular session or day).
2. Only play a level if you have X amount of buy-ins. (Loose to conservative guidelines in cash games vary from 20 to 100 buy ins). If you drop below that level you should move down to a level you do have the appropriate buy-ins for.
3. Remove your ego from the equation. Put your money in plus EV spots and play through the inevitable variance. Any player can beat you on any given day. Accept some days aren't yours, regardless of how you play.
It sounds very basic and pedantic, but it applies to all players at all levels. If all three principals are taken to heart by each player, the Isildur1 vs. durrrr and other high stakes player's matches don't become the stuff of major forum gossip.
Certainly dropping 30 plus buyins at the highest levels available online doesn't comport to those guidelines. And yet, if you look back only a few months ago, durrrr took the same roughly $3 million from another Scandinavian player (Martonas). Patrik lost a couple million initially, only to win it back and more last night, including the largest ever pot online of over $878k.
In fact, as we speak, Isildur1 is playing 7 $500/1000 NLHE heads up tables against durrrr, Phil Ivey, and Patrik Antonius, while durrrr is also playing Brian Townsend in $300/600 PLO.
I have to give credit to Isildur1 for reinvigorating the high stakes games that have suffered for large portions of 2009. He is a brash young talent. As I watched last night, his game was very much one of patterns. He hasn't reinvented the wheel, only introduced some new twists and angles to an aggressive game. For instance, while I watched last night, he liked to take away positional advantage by 3 betting from the big blind. He liked to continuation bet roughly 65% of the pot out of position. If he's in position and has the betting lead, he liked to continuation bet 85% of the pot on the flop and turn and if unraised, he usually bet pot on the river. From my amateur perspective, I guess that polarizes your calling range, as people are less willing to call down with marginal holdings. He will do it with a wide range of holdings and last night it was costly as he donated heavily to Patrik Antonius. In the end, it is just about adjustments. The best players will eventually make adjustments and if he doesn't counter adjust he will lose the edge he's had in the last few weeks.
INTERNETPOKERS' blog makes for better reading, but I think the lessons to be learned from these ongoing high stakes battles are more fundamental and less sensational than his observations. My heroes aren't ones of a geographic or generational basis. They are ones who impress me by their creative play, hard work and doggedly responsible management of the resources they are fortunate enough to accumulate.