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Old 01-14-2016, 03:37 AM   #1
Buzz
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Andrew Barber's well

A man visited a village, and was told
"If you have any questions, shout them into the well and they will be answered, except on Sundays"

"So what happens on Sundays?"

"It's your turn to go into the well."

Hi Andrew. Thanks for agreeing to host a well. Will you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your WSOP experiences?

Thanks.

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Old 01-14-2016, 05:02 PM   #2
mrroyboy
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Welcome Andrew
Hope we learn a lot from you.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:06 PM   #3
sjappie
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

who are you on stars ?
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:17 PM   #4
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Thanks, guys. Busy day at class, but I have some free time now.

Well (haha), I'm currently a PhD student in Economics at UC-Santa Cruz. This is my first year, and I decided to go back to school in 2012 shortly after Black Friday when I saw the writing on the wall that poker was no longer a great way to make a living. In addition, I was craving the intellectual stimulation and sense of purpose that poker was no longer providing me.

To go further back, I believe my join date is in the spring of 2006, right around the time I was graduating from Cornell with a degree in engineering. I am so thankful that I didn't discover poker earlier because I might not have graduated because I barely graduated as is -- I really hated engineering. Anyway, Cornell had a lot of great poker players, so I played home games with several people who were active in the forums and crushing online, and one of them introduced me to SNGs, which I found very appealing because of their basis in math. I devoted a lot of time to mastering them (which I would say has paid dividends in understanding MTT ICM theory) before quitting to pursue a job in Sacramento, California.

I lasted 5 months before I was laid off because of the financial crisis, and I was at a crossroads: move back home to Illinois and search for work or give poker another try. I went with the latter and have been very fortunate. I started playing live (there were plenty of places to grind in Sacramento) and dabbling a bit online. I played SNGs, MTT SNGs, and MTTs online and both cash and tournaments live.

Not long into taking the plunge, I discovered that I really hated the variance of my online grind and wanted something a little more stable. I had played some Omaha 8 in an underground game in Illinois, so I decided to mix in some 2-4 and 3-6 shorthanded O8, not really knowing what I was doing. To say I crushed is an understatement. IIRC, I think I won like 3k in 2 weeks of playing those stakes. I wish I had had Omaha Tracker at the time because I'll always be curious how hot I ran. Regardless, I seemed to "get" the game as well as anyone else and slowly moved up stakes. I think I went from 2-4 to 75-150 in a little under 2 years. During this same time I began playing more mixed games and mixed game tournaments, and judging from my results, I'd say this seems to be where I have the biggest edge.

Fast forward to last summer, I had accepted my admission to UCSC and realized that this would be my last full WSOP (I had been every year since 2009) because of school constraints, so I decided in March/April that I really wanted to go out with a bang. I rededicated myself to the game and tried to ensure that I was prepared as I could possibly be. I was in the midst of a physical fitness prop bet (I had to run a 6 minute mile before June 1st, down from 9:30 in November), so I felt that my diet and exercise were as good as they had ever been. With regards to poker, I set studying goals and worked on a list of games or leaks that I thought needed attention. I became a huge fan of Tommy Angelo during this time and firmly believe that with edges shrinking, mental toughness is the easiest/best way to separate yourself from the field in 2016. Having done everything I could to ensure that I had the best series possible, I travelled down to Vegas. 6 cashes and 1 bracelet later, I am so happy that the work I put in over the years really paid off.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:17 PM   #5
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by sjappie View Post
who are you on stars ?
I was abarber1 on Stars and barber on FTP. I haven't played on either since BF.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:18 PM   #6
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

I had more to write in that first post, but I was worried that it was getting a little longwinded.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:20 PM   #7
sjappie
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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I was abarber1 on Stars and barber on FTP. I haven't played on either since BF.
tx
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:23 PM   #8
Hero Value
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Hi Andrew.
Are you playing online these days? If so where and what?
What are you best games? Both in skill/ability, and relatively vs the fields?
Was it you that was dancing at some point at the WSOP this year?
Also, enjoy my money from the 10k horse event this year .
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:31 PM   #9
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Hi Andrew.
Are you playing online these days? If so where and what?
I play some Bovada, but thankfully I live near San Jose where my hourly is higher.
What are you best games? Both in skill/ability, and relatively vs the fields?
Split-pot games, in general. O8 and S8, more specifically. This would be true in skill and relative to the field. I think I've had insight into these games that I haven't exactly seen from others, although I think my ideas have been stolen over the last couple years from friends and opponents.
Was it you that was dancing at some point at the WSOP this year?
You have never and will never see me dance at the series! I maintain a low profile throughout the summer, but I did cry like a baby after I won.
Also, enjoy my money from the 10k horse event this year .
I promise I enjoyed yours less than Bleznick's.
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:43 PM   #10
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by abarber View Post
Could you say a bit more about that insight/ideas into those games that you haven't seen from others? Or some examples?
And I assume that when you're talking about O8 there, you mean just FLO8? Do you play much NLO8/PLO8?
And nice one re: Bleznick's money.

(and btw we can't quote you when you answer like that.)
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Old 01-14-2016, 06:53 PM   #11
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Sorry. Hopefully I'll work out the kinks. I have devoted much of my time to FLO8 and would love to write a book on the subject when the time is right. I have an interest in PLO8, but only tournaments since I think edges are biggest in this format and they don't require the time investment cash requires.

The conventional wisdom regarding split-pot games is to play hands that can scoop, right? So for years, the mantra has been "Go low and hope for high." Well, if everyone else is doing that, the best response is to play hands that exploit this tendency, i.e. high-only hands. This has its limitations of course, but it is always on my mind when playing split-pot games. Additionally, I think about clean/dirty outs and re-evaluating equity based on action more than anyone else I've ever met, and this is almost untouched in the split-pot literature/videos.
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Old 01-14-2016, 07:09 PM   #12
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Oh, I shouldn't have left this off the first post since it's super important, but this summer i discovered effective altruism, and it now governs most of my financial decisions, including the decision to give a large portion of my win to effective causes.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:20 PM   #13
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by abarber View Post
Oh, I shouldn't have left this off the first post since it's super important, but this summer i discovered effective altruism, and it now governs most of my financial decisions, including the decision to give a large portion of my win to effective causes.
Interesting. But poker seems pretty anti this, given how it's such a selfish game. Other than of course donating % of winnings to charity. So does it cause you to play poker less or consider giving it up?
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:35 PM   #14
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Thank you for doing this. And keep giving cool links on twitter, much appreciated, too.

Do you care about optimal play, 1-a defensive frequencies and stuff like that, or your style is more like a hardcore handreading/adjusting to usual and specific tendencies?

Do you flat from non-blind positions after a single raise, and if yes, do you think this may be GTO or is simply a higher EV line against the current field? Same question on openlimping from early positions, which some big crushers (Ashton, Luneau) do regularly and other, arguably even bigger crushers, just never ever do.

Will probably have many more technical questions, but this may bore people to death. One non-technical question: why you did not return to Stars after BF? Multitabling online omaha8 is fun, could have given it a try.

Send me a PM when the time for writing a book is right if you need any statistical samples on contemporary online from 2-4 up to 75-150 I played about a million hands, and will probably not return unless Stars do something with their effective rake.
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:43 PM   #15
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Hi Andrew. Good to hear the studies are going well and congrats again on your success last summer in Vegas.

What have been your most memorable experiences playing live poker and your toughest/favourite opponents to combat against?

What advice would you give to people for them to be successful at the WSOP?

Do you miss the thrill of competing and what are your future plans?

All the best.
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Old 01-14-2016, 09:42 PM   #16
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by Hero Value View Post
Interesting. But poker seems pretty anti this, given how it's such a selfish game. Other than of course donating % of winnings to charity. So does it cause you to play poker less or consider giving it up?
I have a Robin Hood approach to the game now. I try to win so that I can do more good with the money. It's almost a moral obligation at this point. FWIW, there are many in the poker community that have joined this movement, most notably the REG organization.

As a side note, I constantly have to re-evaluate the opportunity cost of my time because I worry that it would be better served trying to educate more people about effective altruism.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:13 PM   #17
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Why do you think this summer was your last WSOP? I am a professor myself (Political Science), and feel like one of the big advantages of academia over other professions is the flexibility, such that I am able to go to Vegas for a few weeks every summer. I didn't even start playing poker at all seriously until grad school.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:32 PM   #18
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by BadSeed View Post
Thank you for doing this. And keep giving cool links on twitter, much appreciated, too.

Do you care about optimal play, 1-a defensive frequencies and stuff like that, or your style is more like a hardcore handreading/adjusting to usual and specific tendencies?
I believe I can play the majority of the HORSE games GTO, but still have some LHE leaks; however, I do some unorthodox stuff/hand read versus some opponents when it's appropriate.

Quote:
Do you flat from non-blind positions after a single raise, and if yes, do you think this may be GTO or is simply a higher EV line against the current field? Same question on openlimping from early positions, which some big crushers (Ashton, Luneau) do regularly and other, arguably even bigger crushers, just never ever do.
I flat tons of stuff after a single raise, and yes, I do think it's GTO AND highest EV vs nearly all players. Open-limping is something I try to do with a balanced range of low-only hands and high-only hands with a few exceptions. One of my goals in Omaha 8 that I haven't seen other people stress is "How can I make sure that my hand is not face-up?" Faceupedness is a concept that is very specific to split pot games, and I think about it a lot when I play/coach.

Quote:
Will probably have many more technical questions, but this may bore people to death. One non-technical question: why you did not return to Stars after BF? Multitabling online omaha8 is fun, could have given it a try.
I think my reasons were twofold. First, I don't think I was willing to pick up and move for a job, especially since I had just done that 3.5 years earlier. Second, I think that I didn't want to admit that this had become my profession. Until this summer, I think that I had always been in denial about my livelihood, and leaving the country was quite a commitment.

Quote:
Send me a PM when the time for writing a book is right if you need any statistical samples on contemporary online from 2-4 up to 75-150 I played about a million hands, and will probably not return unless Stars do something with their effective rake.
I certainly will. I don't want to give away the playbook just yet, but I am certain that it would change the way the game is played.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:34 PM   #19
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Why do you think this summer was your last WSOP? I am a professor myself (Political Science), and feel like one of the big advantages of academia over other professions is the flexibility, such that I am able to go to Vegas for a few weeks every summer. I didn't even start playing poker at all seriously until grad school.
UCSC is on a quarter system, and the spring quarter goes until mid-June, so I will have to miss the first half of the series for at least a couple years. I do think academia pairs really well with poker, so I don't see myself quitting anytime soon.
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Old 01-14-2016, 11:58 PM   #20
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

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Originally Posted by Giffordonian View Post
Hi Andrew. Good to hear the studies are going well and congrats again on your success last summer in Vegas.
Thanks, mate.

Quote:
What have been your most memorable experiences playing live poker and your toughest/favourite opponents to combat against?
My very first 10k O8, I called down Mark Gregorich with A-high OOP all three streets and was good. The look on his face as well as everyone else's at the table was priceless, like "Who the **** is this kid?"

Another fond memory of mine is playing with Mike Sexton and hearing his fantastic stories about Old Vegas. He's quite the storyteller.

I really like playing against the guys who are thinking at very deep levels, such as Mike Gorodinsky, Matt Ashton, John Racener (this guy is sick), George Danzer, etc.

Quote:
What advice would you give to people for them to be successful at the WSOP?
Have to get away from "standard" thinking. If ever there was a place to play exploitatively, the WSOP is it. In addition, I think very few people take themselves completely seriously during the WSOP. This last summer was my first where I didn't drink (until after the HORSE, obv) and got up well before start times. These things matter. I had a long conversation with Jorryt van Hoof about the value of meditation and yoga this summer, and I think this is the future of poker. It's becoming more and more expensive to not play your A-game 24/7, and this can only happen if you're optimizing your time away from the table.

Quote:
Do you miss the thrill of competing and what are your future plans?
I get a decent amount at Bay 101, and I'll continue to play a few events during the summer, but I think I'd be the first to admit that I am probably happier playing less poker. Live poker has really worn on me in recent years; I've had to play with some really unsavory characters since I don't get to play too big in California (people definitely get classier as you move up in stakes -- this is one of my favorite things about the 75-150 and 150-300 games over the summer).

My future plans? I want to save the world. I have a game plan and a playbook. I'm going to try to make as much money as I possibly can, so I can give away as much as I can. In addition, I'm hoping to leverage my PhD in economics to do research in the field of effective causes. There is a need for economic analysis to determine the returns to various interventions.
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:28 AM   #21
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

How much to pay for u to coach me @ mix games?
10k bracelet aside. Have you won more @ nlhe/mix?
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:33 AM   #22
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Quote:
Originally Posted by abarber View Post
I have devoted much of my time to FLO8 and would love to write a book on the subject when the time is right.
I'd love to read it.

Quote:
Additionally, I think about clean/dirty outs and re-evaluating equity based on action more than anyone else I've ever met, and this is almost untouched in the split-pot literature/videos.
Would you (could you) be more specific regarding "dirty" outs in Omaha-8?

For example, suppose Hero's hand is
A,6,Q,4, the flop is
2,5,T, and the board after the turn is
2,5,T,Q.
What are Hero's clean outs and what are Hero's dirty outs?
What are the clean outs worth and what are the dirty outs worth?
Or am I looking at things from an oblique perspective?

Thanks.
Buzz
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:49 AM   #23
Hero Value
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Quote:
Originally Posted by abarber View Post
I believe I can play the majority of the HORSE games GTO, but still have some LHE leaks; however, I do some unorthodox stuff/hand read versus some opponents when it's appropriate.

I don't want to give away the playbook just yet, but I am certain that it would change the way the game is played.
You believe that you have solved GTO solutions for all Stud games? How/on what is that based on? Have you just run tons of sims? If so, in what, PPT? Especially for 3rd with ante structures I think it's very tough to find GTO solutions in all 3 of the games. That would be impressive.

You're certain that the way the game is played will change everywhere? FLO8 at all stakes and levels? That's a pretty bold claim. Can you give some more info on that like how you think it will change?
Quote:
Originally Posted by abarber View Post
UCSC is on a quarter system, and the spring quarter goes until mid-June, so I will have to miss the first half of the series for at least a couple years. I do think academia pairs really well with poker, so I don't see myself quitting anytime soon.
Nick said that last year was your last WSOP, but you will still play some of the series for the next 2 years? And then continue playing it after UCSC?
Thanks.
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:50 AM   #24
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebet33 View Post
How much to pay for u to coach me @ mix games?
10k bracelet aside. Have you won more @ nlhe/mix?
$100/hr. That's a great question. I think it's probably NLHE by a small amount. My Omaha/mixed game play is mainly in Vegas, whereas I play NLHE year round.
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Old 01-15-2016, 12:55 AM   #25
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Re: Andrew Barber's well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
Would you (could you) be more specific regarding "dirty" outs in Omaha-8?

For example, suppose Hero's hand is
A,6,Q,4, the flop is
2,5,T, and the board after the turn is
2,5,T,Q.
What are Hero's clean outs and what are Hero's dirty outs?
What are the clean outs worth and what are the dirty outs worth?
Or am I looking at things from an oblique perspective?

Thanks.
Buzz
I'll say that much of this is related to multiway pots where determining equity is more important. People tend to play certain hands more aggressively than others, e.g. nut low plus a FD is played more aggressively than just one or the other. If multiple are peeling wet board for multiple bets, you can infer that they are typically sharing outs, which can only serve to improve your equity if you're going a different direction. That info can also be beneficial if you have one of the hands that is competing for the same outs. Does that make sense?
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