Ringer takes control on the PokerStars Big Game

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 25, 2011 Posted in TV Poker | No Comments »

I’m pretty certain that when they came up with the idea of a “Loose Cannon”, as the PokerStars.net Big Game calls the online qualifier that appears on the show, PokerStars was not expecting an Italian semi-pro to come in and out agro the pros, which is precisely what Italian Massimiliano Martinez did on the latest episodes of the Big Game, winning an astounding $163k!

If you’re familiar with the name Massimiliano Martinez it’s because in between the taping of the show, and the show actually airing, Martinez won the Italian Poker Tour (IPT) $2,000 buy-in Main Event in Nova Gorica, which netted him $100,568. Martinez then went on to Las Vegas and the 2011 World Series of Poker where he cashed four times, including a 10th place finish in the $5k 6-Max NLHE tournament, and a 110th place showing in the Main Event –both wins good for over $50k.

So since appearing on the PokerStars Big Game, Martinez has won nearly $220k in tournaments to go along with his $163k from the Big Game.

Although Phil Hellmuth would disagree with the next statement, Martinez played very fast on the Big Game –which is precisely how the Loose Cannons should play! If you’re sitting in a game where you are at the least slightly outclassed in terms of talent, and playing on someone else’s dime, you should be willing to get your money in marginal spots, even if you’re taking slightly the worst of it.

Phil Laak described Martinez perfectly, saying he was either: genius bordering on the edge of disaster, or disaster bordering on the edge of genius. And Laak was far closer in his thinking than even he probably imagined. It seemed to me that Martinez knew some of his plays were slightly negative EV –and under different circumstances he probably would have passed—but given the structure of the game you can see why it’s correct to play a short-term strategy in what is usually a long-term game.

The Big Game pits an online qualifier against a short-handed table of poker stars and celebrities –usually 4 superstar players and a rich business mogul or poker playing celebrity round out the field. The qualifier –the Loose Cannon—is staked $100k and can keep any profits he or she has earned after 150 hands of play. The game is pot limit pre-flop and no limit post-flop which prevent massive overbets pre-flop by the Loose Cannon, and the Loose Cannon MUST play all 150 hands.

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