Monday, July 31, 2006

It was a good run

Man, I wish I had written about my good run before it ended. I can't capture the same winning feeling now that the streak is over.

From the eight-day period ending last Friday, I won at least a buy-in a day. I didn't lose my stack except for once. Suckouts only happened when I was on the happy end.

Playing at 2/4 NL, I won 12.49 PTBB/100 over nearly 4,000 hands, which I'm pretty sure is a hell of a good record.

That's all for now! It was fun while it lasted. Back to the grind...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Running it twice

Every once in a while on High Stakes Poker, the pros will run a hand twice to mitigate their risk and increase the chances of them chopping the pot.

One such hand came up between Sammy Farha and Mike Matasow in which they agreed to see all five community cards twice. Farha had AA and Matasow had TT.

At one point, Daniel Negreanu said something to the effect that running the community cards twice didn't matter in the long run.

As counterintuitive as it seems to me, he's right.

I would have thought that running it twice would help the underdog more than the person who's favored in the hand.

If I'm Farha and I hold AA vs. TT, the bullets have an 80-20 advantage, according to Two Dimes.

Courtesy of a random post that I found in a search:

Expected Value (EV) calculated for this situation (lets assume 88) when you run the cards once:

AA: (+$1000) * (0.8) + (-$1000) * (0.2) = +$600
88: (-$1000) * (0.8) + (+$1000) * (0.2) = -$600

Expected Value (EV) calculated for this situation (lets assume 88) when you run the cards twice:

AA: (+$1000) * (0.64) + (-$1000) * (0.04) + ($0) * (0.32) = $600
88: (-$1000) * (0.64) + (+$1000) * (0.04) + ($0) * (0.32) = -$600

The expected values are the same but when you run it twice, AA will lose his $1000 only 4% of the time and win $1000 64% of the time instead of losing his stack 20% of the time and winning 80% of the time.

It's merely just a way for a favorite to lessen his chances of losing his stack.

Agh! Math defeats my intuition once again.


In the HSP hand, Farha's Aces hold up the first time through, but Matasow hits a Ten on the river of the second board to chop the pot. He looked excited enough to crap his pants.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Oh Party, what are we to do with you?

Party Poker has done it again with its Monster promotion.

The largest aquarium on the net seems determined to make as many decisions as it can for the sake of short-term profitability at the expense of long-term sustainability.

The Monster promotion takes an additional 50 cents in rake from hands at many of the site's tables. That money is then allocated for a series of freerolls.

Essentially, the 50 cent Monster bonus amounts to a 50 cent increase in rake.

But is that bad for the game? Fish like dumb promotions, and I like fish.

The problem is that an additional 50 cents in rake hurts the low-limit players the most because it disproportionately devalues their winnings. An extra 50 cents in rake is going to cut into the winnings of a microlimit player much more than a higher-stakes player.

In the short term, the promotion will work as planned: fish will enjoy the chance to win a jackpot through a freeroll, and they won't even notice that their winnings are less because of it.

In the long run, more fish will go broke that otherwise may have survived, which is not good for the poker economy. My profits come from bad players, and the quicker they lose, the less potential I have to win their money.

New players and fish make up the base of poker's future. Some of them will improve, some will get lucky, most will lose. Whatever happens, poker sites need a steady stream of new customers to retain or grow their market share.

Here's what might happen:

Losing players will go bust faster, blame Party Poker for their misfortune and take their business elsewhere or quit online poker entirely. The repercussions will be felt from low limits to high limits.

No one wants to play at a site they consistently lose at.

Party has long had the best ring game selection, the most consistent fish and some of the fastest tables.

It also has terrible customer support, disrespect for its clientele, a B.S. stance on rakeback, unappealing software, bad promotions and a disinterest in the best interests of the game.

I'm curious to see how long it will take for Party's games to dry up and for players to find a better site to play at.

Maybe it will take a long time. I'm probably overreacting.

After all, fish don't care about rake.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poker is a fad

I don't know what's up with these people.

Under the gun? Min-raise. Late position after two limpers? Min-raise. Open on the button? Min-raise.

It's like a disease. Everyone's doing it.

I probably shouldn't complain, because I don't think it's an effective move except in rare situations, which means I am directly benefiting from fishies' repeated and ill-advised mistakes. I benefit every time my opponent screws up.

But that doesn't stop min-raises from being annoying.

I don't alter my starting hand requirements ONE BIT against a min-raise, so the min-raise isn't forcing out worse hands. And any hand that warrants a min-raise would accomplish so much more with a full raise.

I think this is basic information here. Play strong poker, win lots of money.

I guess min-raises can work out well.

Like in that hand from the Mirage, where this dude min-raised from first position and I raised my pocket Aces from the button. He called and hit a set on the flop, and we both got all in. I hit my Ace on the turn.

See? Min-raises work out great! :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Even Steven

Quick! Useful information: Game selection and observed hand histories at Party.


It only takes a couple of good days to come back.

Even though the casinos haven't been that great to me (I'm looking at you, Sports Interaction, River Belle and BellaVegas), the poker tables have been fantastic. Now my bankroll is as good as it was the day I got back from Vegas two weeks ago.

My good run started with good play -- successful river bluffs, devious traps and bluff inducing checks. After winning a few hundred by making my own luck, the cards started coming in.

Suddenly, my big hands were paid off. My strong hands held up. One time last night, I flopped the nut straight and had two people push in ahead of me! Even though the board paired on the river, my hand was still good.

I think I'm starting to get the hang of this poker thing.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Not-Too-Distant Future

I cashed out today.

All the troops returned home. My 1st Battalion at Party Poker made a mass exodus to Moneybookers. All my money in the outer rim blackjack sites rushed back to the USS Neteller. Scattered change at Full Tilt, PokerStars and the Cryptos joined the evacuation.

In the background, pundits spouted bullshit on CNN. The headline on the bottom of the screen said, "Senate Bans Internet Gambling."

The party is over.

The fish are gone. The games are dead. The rakeback drip has been plugged, affiliates put out of business, shareholders ruined. The everday players have no where to go.

What am I supposed to do? I'm not going to keep playing in these dead-zone games, where the only opponents I'll face are the die-hard gamblers or flaky Euros.

I could just keep my money in my accounts. I could continue playing. But what's the point? This is the end of the good times. It's all downhill from here.

I'll still go to Vegas a couple of times a year. But it won't be the same. I won't have a real bankroll to speak of, and I won't be able to keep in practice without online play.

It was fun while it lasted.

Poker kept the boredom at bay, allowed me to support myself in South America, enabled some fun vacations while unemployed. It has been a nice source of emergency cash while I tried to build up my bankroll without end. I made some good friends.

Now what? Now nothing.

Now I go back to February 2004, to a time when the only poker I played was the Wednesday night game for $5. A time when slow-playing could fool anyone and that small buy-in meant more to me than a $1,000 day on the Internet.

My poker skills aren't worth much anymore. Like a foreign language, I won't forget the basics but the details will fade. What a waste of time.

I probably won't have much to blog about anymore. Thanks for stopping by.

I'm going to read a book.


I hope this day doesn't come. It's approaching frighteningly quickly.

A Fine Line

What a gambly couple of days.

I started out Friday with an experiment on the Rampage technique. It's a little bit random, but I figured I wanted to give it a try to get some short-stack practice and hopefully make some easy money at levels I wouldn't normally play.

I started out with $200 at 5/10 NL, doubled, and then took that $400 to 10/20 NL. Doubled there on a resteal attempt from the big blind with KTs, got called by AJo and hit a T. So that was a nice $600 in about 45 minutes.

Then I hit up some blackjack bonuses, at BellaVegas Casino,, Cinema Casino and River Belle Casino. I treated BellaVegas like a sticky bonus, tripling my $250 deposit to $750 on blackjack, but then got whittled down to $75 on American Roulette because it's one of the few games that clears the workthru requirement at 100 percent value. Stupidly, I misunderstood the vaguely worded fine print and didn't realize my play wouldn't count until the $250 bonus amount was credited to my account 24 hours later. I tried to treat it like a sticky once again the next day, but quickly busted.

On, the deal was that you get $200 on a $200 deposit. If I had been smart, I would have cashed out as soon as the bonus amount expired, but I didn't realize that was allowed. I ended up profiting $15 after I burned my bonus down close to my original buyin.

Details on these bonuses and many more can be found on scurvy's list of casinos he's been playing recently.

Then on to real poker. I hit a slide by running KK into AA preflop twice, then receiving a couple of standard bad beats: flush draws that called all-in bets on the turn and hit, second-pairs that call all-in bets on the turn and hit a gutshot straight on the river.

Finally, things turned around. I started playing some of the most varied and accurate poker I've played in a long time. I don't know what to call it except Power Poker. My reads were spot on, my bluffs were effective, my draws with implied odds paid off. When I saw weakness, I bet big. When I felt a trap, I escaped while it was still cheap. Playing the players was effective, and my premium hands held up.

Since I started playing poker, my no limit game has been relatively unsophisticated because there's no point in outthinking idiots. But while there are still plenty of donkeys at 2/4 NL, every dollar becomes more valuable, and tight, standard play opens the door for aggressive players to manipulate your patterns.

It's a fine line between tricky poker and fancy play syndrome, but that edge is where I want to live.

It's funny. Earlier this afternoon I was questioning myself and thinking about taking a few days off.

But then I drank some yerba mate, got a caffeine rush and dominated the tables.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Donkin away

Stagnancy = poker death.

So I've been fooling around with my game again, which I can't ever resist when I consider new ideas. Unfortunately, when I make one change to my game, I have a hard time resisting other adjustments as well.

For example, I decided to change my initial open raise in NL cash games to four times the big blind instead of three times the big blind in all circumstances. My reasoning was that I'm a pretty tight player, so I could get more value from my hands if I forced my opponents to put in more money preflop.

I don't think that reasoning is flawed for a live game, but online I think it's probably a waste of money, for me at least. People easily adjust to changes in bet sizes and price their hands accordingly. I often found myself up against a better hand range than my typical holding.

I was seeing fewer people in the pot with not as many opportunities to make them make mistakes.

On top of that, I'm simply more comfortable with the 3X raise. It feels better, and it has worked for me for a long time.

Part of the problem was that I tried to loosen up my game at the same time that I tried to get more money in the pot preflop. I started open-raising with all kinds of marginal hands from MP if I had the opportunity. Sure, it's fun to get involved in more pots and try to outplay opponents postflop, but I think it's a more effective tactic in a short-term situation (like tournaments).

None of these attempts to diversify my game was severely detrimental, but I do feel they moved my game further from optimal play. At least I feel like I learned something.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I had it coming

Veneno had no trouble dispatching with this lowly poker gnome in or best-of-three heads-up battle.

For the most part, I got in with the worst of it and came out with the worst of it. Wasn't I supposed to suck out?

In the first match, I got her at a disadvantage and pushed her short stack all-in with T8s vs. KJ (I think). I hit a T on the flop, but then she hit her open-ended straight draw on the river. After that, I waited far too long to push in again and eventually had to push with any two. That didn't work well.

I got some revenge in the second game when Veneno tried to resteal preflop by pushing with 43s. Fortunately, I had TT. I think she may have just wanted to give me a false sense of security.

The third game was pretty one-sided. Veneno was able to stay aggressive and push me around until I pushed a one-card straight draw. She also had the same draw but with a better kicker, and that's all she wrote.

I made a few mistakes. The main error was that I was both careful and aggressive at the wrong times. At the early levels, I should have taken my time a little bit more and waited for the cards. Then I would have liked to have shifted gears with big bets. Instead, I played tight-weak. That's no way to win, especially heads-up.

It was definitely fun. I'll get her next time!

Friday, July 14, 2006


LAS VEGAS _ The Rio during the World Series of Poker is like the world's largest card convention.

Hundreds of players pack the enormous card room. The clatter of chips creates constant background noise. Famous players stroll in and out.

Down the hall, each major poker site has rented a room to show off their software and try to attract new players. At PokerStars' room, I ate a brownie and lunch. At Full Tilt's, I identified the eyes of four pros to win a shirt. In Doyle's Room, I registered to win a large cash prize. Ultimate Bet player Antonio Esfandiari gave Drew an autograph.

"A-K Sucks!" Esfandiari wrote in Drew's autograph book.

Out in the hall, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson chatted with some girls in knee-high socks.

I heard the cash games were very juicy. I can only imagine all these tourney specialists and satellite qualifiers sitting in ring games. Yum.

And this was weeks before the main event was scheduled to start. I heard some people say the World Series hadn't even picked up yet!

It's the biggest poker event of the year, with larger fields even than in the last few years. The poker boom is still going strong, and there's no better place to get a feel for the action than at the Rio.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Post-Vegas tilt

Sure, you got drunk. That's the best excuse in the world for losing. No trouble losing when you got a good excuse. And winning! That can be heavy on your back too. Like a monkey. You drop that load too when you got an excuse. All you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for yourself. It's one of the best indoor sports: feeling sorry for yourself -- a sport enjoyed by all, especially the born losers.
"The Hustler"

Gah, teh Internet poker is getting its revenge!

Oh, how quickly I forget the differences between Vegas and the pixelated land of fast action and bad beats, where the average level of play is a little higher and the term "tourist" is more derogatory than factual.

The first two days back have been atrocious, where I've quickly erased all my Vegas winnings and then some.

Unfortunately, I have no one but myself to blame. I jumped into a 15/30 6-max game on Monday, reasoning that if I just single-tabled with some fish I'd be fine. And while that logic isn't completely off, it neglects the idea that I should be playing my best game, which is no limit (at least for now).

Then on Tuesday, I played some serious donkey poker at the NL tables where I was a bit too aggressive and a little tilty. I took a break, came back, hit a set, and lost to the nut flush. That was enough for me.

So ... nothing's new under the sun. There are ups and downs, and I hope I'm getting better at avoiding the downs. Although after these last couple of days, I begin to wonder if maybe I'm destined to tilt every once in a while, thus erasing the steps forward I thought I had been making.

But that's just negativity talking. Shit happens, but it usually doesn't last long. The main thing is that I stopped playing when I realized I wasn't at my best.

Hell, it's a two-day losing streak. I shouldn't even be complaining after how good I ran through all of June and the beginning of this month.

Note to self: quit bitching and just play gut.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Three Hands

I just had to show those creeps and those punks what the game is like when it's great, when it's really great. You know, like anything can be great -- anything can be great ... I don't care, bricklaying can be great. If a guy knows. If he knows what he's doing and why, and if he can make it come off. I mean, when I'm goin' -- when I'm really goin' -- I feel like...

... like a jockey must feel. He's sittin' on his horse, he's got all that speed and that power underneath him, he's comin' into the stretch, the pressure's on him -- and he knows -- just feels -- when to let it go, and how much. 'Cause he's got everything workin' for him -- timing, touch. It's a great feeling, boy, it's a real great feeling when you're right, and you know you're right. It's like all of a sudden I got oil in my arm. Pool cue's part of me. You know, it's a -- pool cue's got nerves in it. It's a piece of wood -- it's got nerves in it. You feel the roll of those balls. You don't have to look. You just know. Ya make shots that nobody's ever made before. And you play that game the way nobody's ever played it before.

"The Hustler"

LAS VEGAS _ The Mirage owed me.

It's a nice poker room -- It's like an ancestor of the Bellagio and the Wynn. A place that definitely wasn't built so Doyle and Chip could get rich. A place that was built for the poker player.

The under the gun player min raised to $10, a middle position player called, and I peeked down at the prettiest pair of pocket rockets. I raised to $40, and both players called.

The flop came 7 high, it was checked to me, and I bet about half the pot. The under the gun player check-raised me all in, and I called.

He flipped over 77. I was dead.


When I busted out of the blogger tourney, I headed to Bally's and sat in a $1/$2 no limit game. After an hour of folding and watching fish swap their money, I was down $7. That wouldn't do.

So I walked back over to Ceasar's and bought into the $2/$5 no limit game.

Four players limped, and I popped it on the button with AQo. Two players called. The flop came QJ7 rainbow. I bet, and the under the gun player called.

The turn paired the board with Jacks.


In the first hand, I suffered a good beat!

The turn brought an Ace, a magical two-outer, a 22- or 23-to-1 shot of catching up when way behind. I scooped in a large pot.

In the second hand, I checked the turn, hoping to induce a bluff, or, at worst, minimize my losses to three Jacks. When the villain bet the full amount of the pot on the river, I called pretty quickly, nearly positive that he was bluffing. He mucked his cards without showing.

I've already written about the third hand.

Those are the only three big hands I had all weekend. It was all I needed. One suckout and two premium hands holding up.

When your good hands hold up and your bad hands don't cost you, you're bound to win some money.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Steam vents at Volcanoes National Park

LAS VEGAS _ After a delicious steak-and-wine dinner at Binion's steakhouse, our crew headed to the Excalibur to drop hammers and bluff all-in against bloggers.

I had been looking forward to the game, where I could play against players including metsfan, absinthe, biggestron, Shane, Veneno, JoeSpeaker, Zeem and many others. Hell, even David Williams' mom, Shirley Williams (who I had played with before in Vegas) was there.

But many obstacles stood in our way: the waiting list was pretty long, the floorman was treating everyone like shit, there was no guarantee I would get into one of the tables I wanted, and the Excal poker room has been moved to a more crowded and noisy area of the casino.

So we walked over to the MGM Grand. After chatting with glyphic for a minute, I got a seat in what looked like a loose, jovial 2/5 no limit game. Daniel sat at the table two seats to my left a few minutes later.

There was this one dude in the four seat wearing a Full Tilt jersey.

Helixx walked by our table and filled me in -- that was tiltboy Perry Friedman!

Despite the presence of a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, we were clearly at one of the best tables in the house. Most everyone was drinking, telling some hilarious dirty jokes and kidding with the flirty chick at the table. I asked this guy to my right, Carlos, who had won the Ken Shamrock UFC fight earlier in the day.

Carlos asked if I was a UFC fan, and I told him I watch it when I can.

"Do you like Matt Hughes?" he asked. "He'll be at this table in a few minutes. We reserved it for him."


I got up to tell Drew that Hughes was coming, and when I got back, Daniel had doubled his stack. He had gotten all-in preflop with Aces against AK. Hell of a start.

Meanwhile, the table was rocking. Perry and the gang were cracking the table up with double entendres aimed at the chicky, the drinks kept coming and the game stayed juicy.

From the hijack, Perry raised to $20, and it folded around to Daniel in the big blind. He tossed out a call. The flop brought 10-3-3. Daniel checked, Perry bet, Daniel raised to $100, and Perry pushed.

Daniel called, showing the Snowman Taterlegs (83s) to take down a big pot. Perry showed AT, and he couldn't believe he had been beaten by such a crappy hand. That's the power of SMTL.

Then Daniel ordered a beer. If he's drinking at the table, I know it's so on.

I didn't have to wait too long for my chance to join the "bust Perry Friedman club." I called a raise in a six-way pot with pocket Twos and hit a set on the Jack-high flop. Perry bet about $55. I asked how much it was to call.

"That $55, and the rest of my stack, because I'm pot committed," he said. He only had about $75 more in front of him.

I just called and got the desired result -- one of the remaining players behind me pushed in, Perry called, and I called. Perry had something like second pair with a couple of backdoor draws, and the other player showed JQs for top pair. The turn brought a Q, but my three of a kind held up to take down the big pot.

Fishies came and went, Perry rebought, and the table was still going strong when I left. Hughes didn't show up, but I had a blast at one of the most enjoyable tables I've played at in a long time.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I was in this bar last week and I ran into this guy I've met a couple of times. I swear I didn't even bring poker up, but he was talking about how addicted he was to his Playstation poker game (not sure which one).

Turns out, this guy had called in sick to work before because he had stayed up all night playing poker for fake money.

"Dude, I got up to like 2 billion in chips," he said.

"Man, if you're missing work in a fake money game, that's pretty sad," I said.

A couple of days later, some co-workers were talking about gambling. Most of them seemed to think that poker -- like all gambling -- is an unwinnable game. I spouted off some line about how you aren't playing against the house in poker, but mostly I kept my mouth shut.

Then, riding in a car with a photographer to an assignment, he asked how much I expect to make in Vegas. I told him it's a kind of pointless venture to anticipate how much money you're going to make because it's impossible to know. I gave him the old saying about how poker is all luck in the short run and all skill in the long run.

"I don't think I could deal with that," he said. "It seems to me like it's all luck all the time."

Sometimes I want to yell, "How bout these Benjamins."


I'm in the San Francisco airport now waiting for my connecting flight to Vegas. Almost there!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Aggression Frequency

The problem with Aggression Factor has always been that it doesn't give you enough information.

Postflop Aggression Factor provides a ratio of bets and raises to calls. (It's calculated as [Raise Percentage + Bet Percentage]/Call Percentage). It's more a measure of how rarely someone calls than a way of telling how aggressive someone is overall (because folds are excluded from the equation).

But postflop Aggression Frequency, a newer statistic available in PokerAce HUD's layout manager, accounts for every possible action except for checking (because the action of checking isn't necessarily a passive play -- it could represent a check-raise attempt). The formula is (times bet + times raised)/(times bet+ times raised + times called + times folded). It's expressed as a percentage instead of a ratio.

I took most of this information from this 2+2 thread.

It seems like Aggression Frequency is a more accurate way of characterizing a player's tendencies, and I started using it tonight. I think I like it a lot. I've placed the Aggression Frequency number directly next to where Aggression Factor is displayed so I can see both at once.

It's useful to know if someone will raise on 90 percent of his actions (in the case of a maniac), or if someone rarely raises and has a high Went to Showdown Percentage (in the case of a calling station). I love finding better metrics.

In other news ...

Vegas is going to be awesome! Hopefully with the way I've been playing recently, I've gotten a reputation as a donkish idiot. That's what I'm going for, anyway.

I will show most all of my bluffs if I'm playing with bloggers. I will play the Hammer stronger than Snowman Taterlegs. I will go for silly trick plays. It'll be fun!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Vegas coming

First off, doubleas book has been published. My copy is already on the way. I bet $23.99 it will be great.

Vegas will be a lot of fun this weekend. I wish I didn't have to deal with work days in between now and then. I'm telling myself that I'm going to take it easy and spend some time just hanging out when I get there, but I know from experience that I'll end up at the tables most of the time. I definitely want to drink and meet people, but I will really enjoy playing with some of you too.

I'm staying at the Sahara, which will require me to make much use of the monorail, which I like. I imagine my time will be divided between the Excaliber, MGM, Sahara, Bellagio, Wynn, Treasure Island and whatever other casino comes up. Those are the ones I definitely want to make it to, though.

Here's my hope: I want to hit it pretty big as soon as I sit down and then allocate part of that money to try and get even luckier. Like if I win $1,000 right off the bat, I might try to spend some of that money on winning some blackjack, roulette or craps. I could treat it like a sticky bonus.

But that probably won't happen. Even if I get off to a good start, I probably wouldn't let myself blow much of the money on -EV games. Probably.

I plan on playing whatever games come my way. At a guess, I think my time will probably be evenly split between limit and no limit. I want to play no limit games between $200 and $500 buyins, and limit games between 2/4 up to 20/40. I might not play $20/$40. We'll see.

It's been almost a year since I was last in Vegas. That was a great trip, after I had just returned to the States from Chile. I'm ready to get back.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Harrington, Vol. 2

Was it good? Yeah, "Harrington on Hold 'em, Vol. 2" was good. But I haven't suddenly started winning a lot of tournaments after reading it.

The first 119 pages deal with making moves, which is actually my favorite part of the book. Harrington talks about bluffing preflop, continuation bets, probe bets, squeeze plays, semi-bluffs, check-raise bluffs and dark-tunnel bluffs. This section is really informative because it seems like other books don't go too much into the details of bluffing.

The rest of the book is spent on inflection points and the concept of M, which has been popularized to the point of over-saturation in poker tournaments. That's with good reason; the concept of the move-in zone is basic and essential end-game strategy.

So all that is well and good, but I still don't seem to do well in multitable tournaments except on occasion. I suppose that's perfectly natural, because the chances of making a final table are proportional to the number of entrants in the tourney. Still, I haven't had a major cash in a tournament in a long time, and I've never final tabled one of those damned Full Tilt guaranteed tournaments. I would have thought I would have been able to do that at least once by now.

I guess I'll have to be patient.

What am I doing wrong? Here are some possibilities: I'm unlucky, I'm too tight, I'm too loose, I'm a donk at the wrong times, I don't get a good feel for the table, I try to play too much of a cash game as opposed to a tourney game, I don't have enough faith in my tourney skills or I worry that if I play too many tourneys I'll lose my feel for the cash games.

Eh. I'll get there eventually. I make my money at cash games anyway.