Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adjust Like Caesar


In the year 52 B.C. the Emperor Caesar fought and won one of the most epic battles in early military history.   The battle for the Gallic town of Alesia.

Alesia was seated perfectly at the center of opportunity for expansion.   Expansion, that meant power.

At war with the Gauls for many years prior to this, Caesar saw Alesia as an opportunity to strike a death blow to the Gallic tribes he hated so greatly.

The metropolis itself was a heavily fortifified, hill-top town-center, surrounded by river valleys that would provide a perfect epicenter for regional domain.   Take Alesia, Caesar reasoned, and he could take out the Gauls for good...

But how to go about this?  

Alesia......?   A virtual fortress, oooozing of defense.......?    Seated way up on a hill, almost as high as a mountain...?

A formal frontal assault would have been hopeless, a literal up- hill battle with nearly 0% chance of success.   Surely a slaughter in the making, this strategy...

And the same for a distanced attack using aerial weapons.   For to get within range to launch and fire upwards, meant that the Gauls, having only to fire downwards, would have been in range of them almost 10 minutes beforehand.

And so Caesar mused on....   And he mused, and then he mused a bit more before he decided upon plan...   A plan that was as devious, as it was genius.

Caesar would conquer Alesia by "not attacking" the city at all.   At least, not in the literal sense of the word.    Instead, Caesar hoped to force the Gauls into surrender by starvation.

He considered....   There were about 80,000 Gallic men garrisoned in Alesia.   Together with the local civilian population of another 200,000 or so, this should not take more than a matter of months.    A-ha...

But!   To guarentee starvation, Caeser realized a complete perimeter blockade of the city would be needed...   100%  no gaps or weak spots, nothing left un-defenced.   Total unadulterated wall- style pallisades.   Locked In.   Trapped.    No food, no water.

So, without delay, Caesar ordered the construction of an encircling set of fortifications called a circumvallation around Alesia.  The details of this incredible feat are known from gatherings of Caesars own notes...

"We shall construct henceforth... about 11 miles of 14 foot- high fortifications.   And this line, shall be followed in-wards by two more fourteen-and-a-half foot wide ditches, each of them 14 -and-a-half feet deep...  

(some rather colossal shit being built here.   seriously, with hand tools... )

he continues...

And these (ditches) that are nearest to their fortification (facing Alesia) are to be filled with water from the surrounding rivers to be used as a moat.  And these fortifications will further be constructed with mantraps and deep holes in front of the ditches, each regularly spaced by flanking watch towers and staffed by artillery units...."

Working around the clock Caesar's troops built the 11 mile wall in only 19 sunsets.   And so the waiting began...   The wait to starve Alesia, then plunder her remains and possess the ultimate position for rule.

So.... ok?  I hear ya.   Time to get to the point right?   Why are we talking about Caesar in a poker blog?   

Well frankly,  I feel like sometimes conquering our new casino is a bit like Caesar's campaign for Alesia.   With the variables you have to put up with...    The short-buyers mainly.    But also the players that are so God Forasaken awful, you really have no idea whether your top pair is good.   Should I value bet this.....?    Or....?

And you cuss, as the idiot next to you wins a $500 pot with K,7.    Is it really that easy?

If this was a CPMG cash game would this somehow be easier?    Everyone has stacks there, everyone has multiple buy-ins.    You can just....     fire away.      But not here it appears.   It's a constant pair of hand- cuffs hampering your every move.

Take for instance the imaginery K,J of spades we've just picked up here.   Imagine with me... 

In position, nice.    A multitude of limpers on over to us...   what do we do?  

Suited broadway cards must be played, and played for a raise!

But....   The small blind.    With his 62 damn dollars, he'll push on a wim.    Idiot.   All-ins.   You have to play pots against big stacks to make money!    But you can't call the idiot's shove with K high for $62...?   Right...?

Noooo.   What we do want is Mr. $400 in there.   Now him we'll play with for a nice little raise.   Look at those stacks.    Yum!     A nice 9,10,Q flop with him having top two would be perfect!

Except the fucking SMALL BLIND KEEPS SHOVING every time we try to set- up this little scenario.   <----  it makes me fuming mad just thinking about it.    

This new casino...     The riches it contains, but look at the monthly results for many of us!   Disgusting.    Are we just running slow?    Are we playing bad?    Are we playing right, but need to tweek an area or two?   Where the fuck are the results!   Sherlock?  Watson?   You boys seen any results lying around?

How can we adjust?    What can we change damnit!?

How can we loot this modern day Alesia we've got here... ?      
What if we could just starve them out?   Like Caesar did, right?     Build our wall.    Sit and wait.   A one strategy cure all!   Then just rake in the winnings every trip downtown!    Hurray!

However.     It wasn't that easy in Caesar's case either.

Because just 9 short days into the starvation campaign of Alesia, a Roman scout rode into camp with dire news.    It appeared a roaming legion of Gauls  (60,000 of them!)  were thundering their way towards them in defence of Alesia.   And by the scouts estimation...  they would be upon them in only 15 days.  

Not.   Good.   News.

Caesar was FURIOUS that this rogue army might spoil his plans and rescue Alesia.   (very much like we get furious at rogue shortstacks.  we've got the phat stack trapped over there in Alesia ripe for the busting, and we can't even bump a pot up to 8 bucks without interference!)

But Caesar wasn't about to have his plans ruined by these unaccounted- for fiends....

And so...  Setting forth a murderous pace, Caesar ordered a second wall in the other direction to protect he and his troops, this one nearly 14 miles long...!     Nearly 3 miles longer than the 1st.    And this newer 14 miler would have to be built in 5 less days than the recently completed shorter one...  

Now, people tend to associate ancient history with a textbook, unintentionally miniaturizing things out of portion and reality, but seriously...  next time you step outside, look at a patch of grass and think about the amount of time and energy it would take just to plant two  20 ft.  tree trunks parallel to one another, at a depth of 5 ft. deep.   Let alone 14 miles of the shit, with 15 ft. pits in front of them!   

But Caesar was unwavering.   He stuck to his guns,  and he adjusted.

One wall to keep the people of Alesia at -bay to a food source.....   And one wall to keep 60,000 cavalry troops from coming to their rescue.   

So there also are we.  Because that's what it feels like sitting downtown a lot of the time.  Trapped between two armies.  The yummy stacked Alesians on starvation/ mistake watch, and the Shorties attempting to jam their shit stacks up our asses.

And unfortunately, there is no one strategy cure- all like some folks dream of.    It would be nice....

But I think if we concentrate 110% on our situations, really use our reading skills when people look at their cards, and we stick to our guns...

The winners will emerge, having adjusted like Caesar.


  1. I guess I'm in the minority but I don't mind the short stacks they are either old people with obvious hands or young ethnic players looking to hit top pair with bad kickers and shove with little risk to my stack - i attack them and they usually fold or they shove in with little chance of winning post flop - just me that's what i've seen - i like that they can't cripple me and shove with any small pair

  2. I see what you mean... But you can't make no money either!