Preparing for the final table with Darus Suharto

As many of you now know, my mysterious reference last week was about Darus.  Eirc “Rizen” Lynch is his coach and one of the things he did in preparation was to assemble a talented group of poker players to simulate the final table.  Somehow I slipped in by association.

I’ll say more on Sunday about what we did to prepare, after it is too late for any of the players to Google it.  In the meantime, I will say that Darus is a really nice and friendly guy.  He has a self-depricating manner that should come acorss well in interviews, but he is actually a very good thinker about poker.  We did a variety of exercises to help him prepare and I think we were all impressed with his play.  One of my favorite moments actually centers around a hand that he misplayed.  There was some discussion at the table about it, but not a lot.  After he left, some of us were talking about the hand and our impression that the way he played it was the wrong way to go.  We were a little troubled that he didn’t seem to see it.  When he arrived the following morning, the first thing he said was “I’ve been thinking about it and I really think I played that 99 hand wrong yesterday.:  This told me a lot about him.  It was really the only hand I think he misplayed over a 12 hour day and not only had he figured that out, but he had turned it over in his head and addressed it with us first thing.  I feel really good about his level of preparation and I think that the conditions at the final table set up very well for him.

It also turns out that he is quite an accomplished shuffleboard player.

There was a funny moment early on.  Eric was describing how each player at the final table plays.  The idea was that we should represent players who use a style similar to our own.  When he finished describing the style of David “Chino” Rheem (which as you probably know is pretty wild — Chino loves to play a lot of pots, splash around and apply pressure to the other players) everyone immediately points to me and says that I play like that.  Heh.  The funny thing is that I don’t think that I do, but I know why they think so.

It was phenomenonally interesting to play in the style of someone else.  Eric had a number of very specific reads about how Chino plays.  He told me I had to always do some things and never do some other things.  Some of them were things I was very comfortable with (Chino likes to attack flops that he knows probably missed the other guy’s range, even if it didn’t hit him) and some of them were things I personally have never done.  As a result of trying to play in a very specific way, I found myself in situations that I would never be in when I played as myself.  It was fascinating to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  I also got a much better appreciation of what is difficult for a plyer like Chino and what isn’t that difficult.  I realized that some of the situations where I attacked players like him actually were easy to deal with and that there are other situations where it is actually really hard to be a guy like Chino.  I’m pretty sure I can play more effectively against him now that I used to.

By Nsidestrate

I'm a hard-core limit ring game poker player who is becoming a degenerate sports bettor. I'm sure it will all make more sense if you read on.