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12/05/2010 No. 85
he Guardian Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Wed 12 May 2010
How do you play trips against a solid player?

The Spring Championship of Online Poker (Scoop), which is currently under way, has caused international posters on the poker forum 2+2 to accuse each other of unfair advantages when it comes to time difference.

A New Yorker looks jealously at Los Angeles, complaining, "the east coast is sick of being up past midnight without being close to the final table."

Ha!, replies Europe. Over here, we can be knocked out at six in the morning and not even be in the money yet.

The fact is, online tournaments with massive fields (some of these Scoops have 25,000 players) can be 26-hour marathons; that is a hugely difficult challenge whatever time you start.

In my opinion, all the long events should be split over two days, with no "day" longer than 10 hours. I would also like to see some earlier start times for Europe. But as things stand, if you want to play these tournaments (where $22 can net you $55,000), you need to know that they are as much a test of physical endurance as of poker skills.

A good diet and regular exercise will always improve your staying power. You need to sleep in the afternoon before the start. You should stock the house with fresh fruit, cold drinks and a dinner (or breakfast) that will provide proper nourishment yet can be collected from the kitchen in a five-minute break. You need stirring music to recharge your brain in the small hours.

At 5am, in a Scoop event last week, I raised and called a reraise with AQ of hearts. My opponent checked a K-high flop; I moved in, and he snap-called with AK. Good trap. But it is not one, I think, that I would have fallen into, if I hadn't been so goddamn tired.
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