Friday, February 26, 2010

OK I'm Back

No poker to report, but I had a great time on my mini-vacation. A friend and I took a little snowboarding trip to North Carolina. I don't think she enjoyed the snowboarding quite as much as I did but she did enjoy the drive through the mountains and seeing all the scenery and snow and such. The ski area was pretty small, but that's to be expected in the southern Appalachians. The people were super friendly though. I'm pretty sure nobody's reading this crap, but if you are and you're looking for a place to ski in NC check out Wolf Ridge.

On a semi-pokerish note I did pass through the famous/infamous G-Vegas on my way. Seemed like a nice town from what I saw of it. I may have to ride up there and look around next time I visit my sister in Charlotte.

Anyway, still 5 SnGs to go and then back to the cash games, I'll probably start playing again tomorrow.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

5 to go

Got in 2 more sit n gos yesterday and played a matrix tonight. The matrix was actually alot of fun and I did well (1st, 1st, 3rd, and 6th for 1st overall, 3.06 total cash) Played about 30 hands cash the other day too and was up a good bit there, about 2 or 3 bucks I think.

I sharkscoped myself since I've been doing the SNG thing, and I was a little disappointed. My Full Tilt was really bad. But I looked at my graph and most of that is the early stuff from when I first started playing real money. Here lately my graph for Full Tilt SNGs is on a sharp upward slope. My skill rating was much better on stars, 77 if you care, but I need to opt in to be able to see the full picture of my numbers over there. It should be better though because that's where Ive done the majority of my play for the past 6 or 8 months, which is about when I started not completely sucking and started actually winning at lower bi tournaments and SNGs. Maybe they're jut softer over there? Maybe I just need to play on PokerStars? Worth considering anyway, we'll see.

I played the matrix because while I was on shark scope I took a look at the tournament finder and it said the $1 and $10 matrix tourneys were the fishiest. I guess they were right, or I'm just that awesome. Probably the former I would guess. I'll probably try to squeeze in some more of these in any case. Once Ive got the bankroll situation straight the $10 ones should be serious money makers if they're that fishy.

Weaning myself off the vicodin now since I've passed the kidney stone. I'm glad to have the stone gone but I sure will miss that wonderful fuzzy feeling. And there's no more snowboarding on the Olympics. So I should be finished with SNGs and back to the cash grind shortly. I'll post all the SNG results and bankroll numbers then.

Also, can anyone tell me why the hell I have to wade through ice dancing to get to the events I actually want to see? There are 9000 fuckin channels for Gods sake, can't we figure something out here? Short track is still awesome though, like NASCAR with blades and no rednecks, sweeeet.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quick update

Haven't played much in the past couple days. I've had a kidney stone so I've alternated between being in a very distracting amount of pain and being whacked out on vicodin. Neither of which are much good for ones poker game. Also I've been getting ready for a snowboarding trip up to NC, hope I pass this thing before then. And of course I've been watching the olympics too, mostly the speed skating and snowboard events but some of the other stuff too.

In between pissing blood and walking around in a lovely fog I have managed to get in 12 sit n gos, mostly single table with a couple 18 and 45 players thrown in. I know I really shouldn't be playing right now but I'm actually up a little over 2 bucks to 36.47. My tournament game was a little rusty and I made a couple of mistakes early, but now that I'm back in the groove I've been playing pretty well.

So, 8 more SnGs before I go back to the cash game grind. I should be able to squeeze those in in the next day or 2. I've enjoyed playing tournaments again for a bit. The same silly atc foolishness and really strange/bad play going on, but thats to be expected considering I'm playing the $1 level. I'll post again when I've played all 20 and evalute the situation before going back to .01/.02.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Short Track, Rush Poker, and Human Frailty

Next to the snowbording events, short track speed skating is the greatest winter sport ever. Rush Poker however is evil. And I am very, very weak.

Took a couple days off because I'm very disappointed in myself. Ok, I'm not really that disapointed, I've known me 32 years and pretty much expect me to do dumb shit pretty regularly. But I did think it best to take some time to think about things.

So here's what happened. I had played a pretty solid session earlier in the night, 422 hands, up 2.21, totals 3371 and 48.73, thats -0.186 per 100 if you care. Anyway the short track semis were over and the luge came on. I don't really care too much for the luge, and if that wicked crash couldn't get me interested it's not gonna happen. So I went to read some emails and do some non poker internet stuff until the short track awesomeness started back up. My first mistake was opening one from Full Tilt. My second mistake was checking out the rush poker. "Five bucks just for playing a few hands?" I say to myself "Can't be that bad, I'll just play careful and I should at least break even, I've been meaning to take a look at that anyway." Ya, I know, I'm a dumbass. So I get in the .05/.10 NL game and am dealt KK, first hand, no shit. So the whole playing cautious thing went out the window pretty quick. I'll spare you the bad beat stories but I lost with AA and the aforementioned KK in about 2 min befor gaining back a little ground. That damn game is like chocolate flavored meth. I managed to break free eventually but still lost 19.28 altogether. BUT I GOT MY FIVE BUCKS SO SUCK IT FULL TILT!! Again, yes, I'm aware I'm an idiot.

It's not the money that bothers me. I've been known to blow more than that on tequila shots in a slow hour. It's the complete and utter lack of discipline I showed by playing not only a whole new game, but one for which I was not properly bankrolled. Yes, my live bankroll is about a hundred times my online roll, yes I can just make a deposit, thats not the point. The point is that this whole little exercise was supposed to be about training myself to have the discipline and patience to not only not force things at the table but to PLAY WITHIN MY BANKROLL.

Maybe its the 2NL that's making me crazy. OK, to be fair the crazy is mostly hereditary, but 2NL is extremely frustrating. So I think I'm going to take a break from cash games and play a few SNGs. I think 20 of the $1 variety should do it and be ok on my bankroll. Who the hell knows I may even make a little money.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Clawing back up, slowly

Played 873 hands today. Once I had good notes on my first two tables I opened up a third, I find it helps me not play as many speculative hands pre-flop and dosnt really effect my decisions post flop. Managed to scrape back up to 46.52 after being down to around 40 from yesterdays disgusting run. So yesterday and today bring total hands to 2949, that's a little over a tenth of the way to my minimum for this level. Hopefully these swings will even out soon and I will actually have positive numbers in my win rate for a change, btw its -0.29 as of right now.

So a little positive progress today anyway. Made back around 3 buyins. I'm staring to get used to some of the crazy shit people do at this level. And I've found a better number of tables for me. All good things. But damn this is frustrating, I should be able to beat this level with no trouble at all. Variance, I hope. I'll hold off on making any judgements about needing to make changes in my game till I hit 25k hands.

Sometimes I hate his game

Yesterday was disgusting. Lost 7 buy ins before I won some back, and only twice was I behind when the money went in. Those two were top two pair vs bottom set and JJ vs QQ on a ten high board. The other five I was a huge favorite when the money went in, nut straight lost to runner runner flush, Aces cracked by QQ and K4o both on the river, nut flush lost to full house on the river. The whole thing was pretty disgusting. But I managed to keep my cool and not go nuts and I gained back a good bit of it. I'll combine the hand and bankroll numbers with tonights session.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Afternoon session

Not too bad this afternoon, gained back a little ground but not quite back to even. No really remarkable hands except one where I ran my AJ into JJ "defending my blind", that was pretty stupid of me. Otherwise a pretty good session overall. Running totals: 1676 hands, bankroll 54.63, -.02 per 100 hands.

Bar tournament tonight so no more playing online 'till tomorrow.

A little better

Ok. I had a nice long walk around the yard, a cigarette, and a little chat with myself. I reminded myself that I want my opponents to play like idiots because that's what gives me their money in the long run.

Sat back down for a short session and managed to grind back a little over half a buy-in. 286 hands total this morning, bankroll down to 51.76, that's a -5.66 loss this morning, that and last night put me in the red through 1297 hands. Still a really small sample but kinda not fun anyway. That brings my win rate to -0.24 per 100 hands. Still, that's only down 1 1/2 buy-ins from where I started so not really a big deal. I'm taking a nice long lunch for fity cent wing day at Pizza Hut and then maybe I'll play some more this afternoon.

Damn F-ing Fish Donkeys

Fuck this, I'm taking a break. The same asshole sucked out on me twice with the same hand, the powerhouse Q9s, fuuuuuuck!!!!! Then some other mouth breathing idiot shoves with nothing but overs, I call with two pair and he runner runners a straight. I'm going to smoke. Session results too depressing but I'll add them into the daily total later. Shit damn son of a bitch fucking idiot assholes!!!!! There I feel better.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Wow. Tough night, suckouts everywhere. And every time I got a high pocket pair somebody had a higher one. Gross! I don't think I played badly, just a rough night.

Down -3.04 for the session, 542 hands, saw 27% of flops but I think that's so high because of passive preflop play at alot of my tables letting me see free flops from the big blind. I'll keep an eye on it though because that's awfully high. This disgusting session brings my running total to +3.62 through 1011 hands, .36 per 100 hands.

Oh well, tomorrows another day and there's a new NCIS on tonight so its all good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick after dinner session

Played a little over an hour, 138 hands. Nothing really notable except that the players at this level are really really bad. Was starting to have trouble focusing completely so I quit for the night. +2.39 for the session, bankroll now 61.66, rate is 1.42 per 100 hands through 469 hands. More tomorrow.

The Start, Finally

Ok, mark you calendars. Today I begin my climb back up the poker ladder, and this time I'm doing it right. Even if it kills me.

I deposited $50 at Full Tilt and I will be starting with .01/.02 NLH. My actual starting balance is $55, apparently I had 5 bucks I didn't know about. So I'll need to make $45, 22.5 buy-ins, before I move up to .02/.05. Regardless I'm going to take my time moving up. I've set the minimum hands at this level at 25k, it'll probably take longer than that. I'm going to set a 50k hand minimum at .02/.05 and will continue raising the minimum hands per level. This should help keep any short term variance from letting me move up too fast.

I will only move up in levels when I have more then 20 buy-ins for the level I'm moving to, and if I fall below 15 buy-ins I'll move back down. I will play (to the best of my ability) solid, patient, disciplined poker. I will analyse my opponents, and my own game, and adjust as needed. I will pay attention to the task at hand and if for any reason I am not playing my best game (tilt, tired, drunk, whatever) I will stop playing. I will spend time each day studying the game. In other words, I will make a real and serious effort to do all the things a good poker player should do.

Just finished a short session. 2 tables .01/.02 NLH, 332 hands, saw 23% of flops, won 7% of hands pre-flop, +4.27 for the session, 1.29 per 100 hands. Nothing all that memorable except one hand where I played JJ like a total dumbass. I need to be more patient, that's the whole point of dropping all the way down to this level, to force me to be patient and concentrate on making the best possible decision. I may play some more after dinner if I'm not too tired.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Decision on where to start

I've made up my mind about where and how much I'm going to deposit to re-start my online poker journey. Since I said I was going to begin at the beginning, and because I know bankroll management is one of my major issues, I'm depositing $50 on Full Tilt and starting at the absolute bottom of the NLH ladder, the dreaded .01/.02 tables. I think this will help force me into proper bankroll management habits and teach me some patience (always an issue with me). Also I may pick up a few things on the way up that I otherwise might miss. Since the goal here is to improve my game, I think overall this is the best way to go. I know the money will build dreadfully slow compared to what I'm used to, but that's part of the point.

NCIS marathon tonight and Super Bowl tomorrow so I'll probably start play on Monday. I'm committing to no less than 25k hands at .01/.02 no matter what. If anyone actually reads this garbage it'll be up to you to keep me honest. I'll be posting session and running totals for every session so I cant cheat.

Cash Game Recap

Played at my usual 1/2 NL cash game last night. Pretty rough way to make 45 bucks. Tough first table with alot of strong players, about two thirds of whom I recognised. No real memorable hands at this table just a bunch of regulars not getting too far out of line and passing money around. The only bright spot was when a guy I didn't know got pissed because I called his all in for $52 with a flush draw when I was getting the right odds to make the call. I love when people get mad at me for playing correctly.

Transferred after about 2 hours to try to find a softer table. It helped but I was pretty card dead, I may as well have folded all my small pairs and suited connectors preflop because none of them hit. Two hands from this table stand out, one is an example of an edge that I have live that I don't have online, and one is a good example of a hand where I was able to put my opponent on a very narrow range right from the start using things I could just as easily have used online.

In the first one I just made an instinct read on the guy. I'm not sure what gave it away but I just knew he'd fold if I bet the turn. He had limped from UTG+2, it folded to me in the cutoff and I raised to 10 with AJo, the big blind and the limper both called. The flop was Q 8 6, it checked to me and I bet out 20, the BB folded and UTG+2 called. I don't know if it was the way he bet or what but I knew he'd fold if I bet the turn. I don't remember what the turn card was or if I even looked at it, he checked, I bet 45, he folded. This is a good example of the kind of read I just can't make online.

The other one came down to paying attention to my opponents betting patterns and using that information to help make my decisions in the hand. I may have played it the same anyway, but the added information made me alot more confident, and that's always a good thing. I had been paying close attention to the guy on my immediate right as he seemed to be one of the strongest players, he was definitely one of the more aggressive. I got involved in a big hand with him where there were 2 early limpers and he made it 10 from the button. Since this is a pretty standard move for an aggressive player with a pretty wide range of hands, I made the call from the small blind with Kh8h, one limper folded and the other called. The limper only had about 65 behind, I had about 185 and the button had us both covered. The flop came down Kc 10h 8d, the short stack checked and the guy on my right bets out 50. This probably would've screamed TPTK anyway, but because I had been watching him I knew he had a habit of underbetting the pot with his really strong hands but overbetting with his good but vulnerable hands, so I wasn't worried about him having flopped a set and really only needed to be concerned if an A or Q came out. I smooth called because I figured I was best at that point an not very vulnerable, maybe I should've raised but I wanted the other player to call too (or thought I did at the time anyway). As it happened she came over the top for the rest of her stack and we both called. The turn was a low unsuited card and opponent bet out for 80, it didn't take me long to come back over him for the rest of my stack as I was 90% sure he had either AK or KQ, and was also sure he'd have to call 40 more right there. He did have AK, but the short stack had K 10 to win the main pot. But I took down the side pot with my 2 pair and was pretty happy about the way I'd played the hand despite not scooping the whole pot.

This is something I need to do more of, both live and online. I need to pay closer attention to my opponents and look for patterns. If I cant use physical tells and "feel" online I guess that's the next best thing, and so it's something I need to concentrate on.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Online Donkament

Just a quick post before I run off to my live game. Played the $1 rebuy donkfest on full tilt yesterday just to get back in the feel of playing online after my break. I did ok for my first one back, about 600th out of around 4500. Really only remember one hand I thought I couldve played better. I raised 3x the BB from the cut-off with 99, the big blind was the only caller. He checked it to me on a A 10 6 rainbow flop, I bet out about 2/3 the pot and he called, turn was a 4, he checked and like a complete idiot I checked behind, river was a 7 and he made a pot size bet, I used all my time before I folded and the asshole showed me a pair of 7s. I shouldve trusted my read and not been so cautious, I shoudve bet the turn, I was sure he wouldve bet the flop with an A or 10 and I shouldve been more confident. Oh well, lesson learned. Off to the dog track for some live 1/2 NLH.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bar tourney

As I said in my last post I play a local bar tournament on Wednesday nights. I've debated whether or not to keep playing this tourney as the quality of competition really doesn't do much to improve my game. But I keep going because its fun, I get to have a few beers and laugh and cut up and not take the game so seriously. And if you're not having fun then whats the point? In any case 3rd out of 30 last night, stayed pretty card dead and never really saw an opportunity to make a move. Sometimes it goes that way when the blinds go up fast enough to make a 30 player event last 3 hours. No really interesting hands, all just basic tournament stuff. Don't know if I'll be playing live tonight as the weathers supposed to be gross and the games an hour from my house, I may just stay home and read.

In keeping with my begin at the beginning theme for this little adventure I've started re-reading Sklansky and Miller's "No-Limit Hold Em Theory and Practice". This and Super System are the basic foundation of good NLH strategy so this is where I've returned. Just in the first couple of chapters I've noticed several things that I used to do but have gotten away from for whatever reason. Especially putting my opponent on a range of hands and narrowing that range with each new action, and thinking about what range he should have me on based on my actions in the hand. Not sure why I quit doing this as its a pretty basic skill of good poker players. I guess when I'm playing live I can usually get a good enough feel for whether I'm ahead or behind without using this so I've gotten lazy. So this will be the first thing I'll re-incorporate into my game.

If I play tonight I'll post about it tomorrow, otherwise I'll post thoughts about my reading. I'd write a bit more today but I may have overdone the beer last night and I have a bit of a headache.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Because I'm pretty sure bankroll management is one of my biggest issues, and because I think it's probably best to begin this little expiriment at the beginning, I plan on starting with no more than $200. According to all the standard bankroll management advice this means I should be playing no higher than .05/.10, so thats what I'll be playing to start. Also, because the whole point is to concentrate on improving my game I will be playing no more than two tables at a time. I'll be posting the running total with every session post, and if I move more from my live bankroll to online, for whatever reason, I'll post that too.

I still havn't decided whether to just put it in one of my existing accounts (Full Tilt and Pokerstars) or to take advantage of better rakeback and bonus deals elswhere. I'm looking at Cake Poker, Absolute Poker, and Doyle's Room as possibilities. All three have great rakeback and bonus offers and I've read several places that the games on these networks tend to be a little softer than the two major sites. Softer games and a little extra cash couldn't hurt. But again, the goal is to improve my game, so maybe the sites with stronger competition would be better.

I dont know which I'll do yet, but I've got a few days to decide. I'm playing a local bar tournament tonight and will be playing live 1/2 either Thursday or Friday night, so this decision will be made either Thursday or Saturday. In either case I'll post my live results and any relevant thoughts between now and then.

Statement of Purpose

Here's the thing, I have had terrible results at online poker. Don't get me wrong I've had some good results thrown in, I've won several 45 player sit n gos on both Pokerstars and Full Tilt and a 180 player sng on Pokerstars. But overall my results just aren't what I think they should be, especially in cash games. This is the part I cant figure out, I'm a good (profitable) live cash game player, in both 1/2 and 2/5 NLH, but for some reason it just hasn't translated to my online play. I'm not bad at the lower buy in tournaments, but I bleed money in the cash games. I've taken almost two months off from poker, live and online, and done some serious thinking and reading. I've come up with a whole slew of reasons why this might be happening. I could be playing too many hands, I may be having trouble with not being able to see my opponents, I know my bankroll management isn't what it should be, maybe I don't have enough of a grasp on the mathematical aspects of the game (I thought I did), and a whole pile of other possible factors. So that's the purpose of this space, to help me organise my thoughts, keep me honest, and possibly help out others with similar issues.

I know it's kinda cliche, but I play exclusively no limit hold-em. (Its a little bit cliche to have a poker blog these days too though, so whatever) I've considered learning some other games, like pot-limit Omaha. But as part of my little soul searching experience these past couple months I decided that since I pretty much suck (online anyway) at the game I'm best at, it would be completely stupid to not work on my NLH game first.

So that's my plan, and I'll be sharing everything about the effort here. Results from every session I play, both online and live, with notes on important hands and any mistakes or good plays I think I made. I'll also discuss whatever poker books or strategy websites I'm reading, what I think about them, and what advice from them I intend to try to incorporate in my game.

So read along as I try to figure this out if you want, please comment whenever you agree or disagree, and maybe we can all learn from my mistakes. I will try to post session results and notes immediately after the session, which should result in at least a short post being up here every day, though I may skip a day here and there. Longer posts about more complex thoughts and whatever else I ramble about will most likely be once or twice a week. While I plan to try and stay on topic, I know better than to think I will. So be advised that I may get completely away from poker and ramble about politics, work, tequila, women, and various other random stuff, I apologise in advance.