Hello, and welcome to my online poker blog. I've been playing for a couple of years after being introduced by a friend, and since then I have grown a keen interest. I'm an amateur player currently attempting to improve and perhaps some day beat the rake!

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Just a short post as had an hour of spare time tonight, played a couple of nine player turbo SNGs. Just at the $7 level as I'm very rusty.

Any of you know what win rates are possible in these? Play seemed weak (though I got knocked out early in both).

Summary of my play, lots of folding followed by two unsuccessful reshoves.

I had 99 in the SB and shoved my stack in the face of a button raiser who snapped with KJo and I lost the race; and I had 66 in the BB and shoved over a small blind raise and was called by KK. Standard tournament fare.

The 99 hand might be worth looking at as I need the practise and we were 6-handed so a small amount of bubble factor/ICM tax should come into play.

For simplicity I'll assume this is a call decision and that the BB folds, and given the horrendous hand he called with let's assign a range of {22+, any suited broadway, ATo+ and KTo+; 15%}. With 99 I have 54.7% equity against that range.

Using this ICM calculator my bubble factor against the villain in question is roughly:
9.86/(18.03-9.86) = 1.21.

The pot odds I would have received facing a shove would have been 1345/1125 = 1.2/1, and dividing by 1.21 we want roughly even equity or better which we have with 99 as disclosed above.

In the real hand I had fold equity on top of this, though that's offset by the small chance of the BB waking up with a good hand but even so I think it's a no-brainer, as I had suspected at the time.
The more I work through examples like this the more intuitive the decisions will become.

Why have I turned to tournaments given I've played a million micro cash game hands as a small winner? Not entirely sure, I go through phases and at the moment it's tournaments. I definitely feel that I'm a fish in tournaments and it's a bit of motivation for me to get better - much as I used to strive to improve my cash game skills back in the day.

I suppose really I just want to sit in whichever games I fancy playing and be somewhat competent, as I no longer harbour any dreams of making serious money from the game.

Right ramble over, good luck at the tables.


Sunday, 1 May 2016


Hello internet. After a long hiatus I feel like I'd like to put in some hours again.

My personal life has stabilised and spare time has been somewhat freed by completion of a qualification that I'd been working towards for the past four years. So with increased spare time brings opportunity to play poker!

I sat in the PokerStars Sunday Storm a couple of weeks back, and it made me realise just how much I'd forgotten, and how rusty my play was. I defaulted to super-nit mode (my general reaction when feeling out of depth in a poker game).

An example, I raised in MP with AcTc and WCGRider shoved back with about 9BB. I was getting about 2:1 from the pot, but I was LOST in terms of how I should react. A player as skilled as that could be shoving with anything there, though given his limited fold equity I should probably assume a decent hand. We weren't significantly close to the bubble that the ICM Tax was too great, but I folded.

Actually let's analyse the hand while I'm thinking about it.

PokerStars Hand #152065620950: Tournament #1489909215, $10+$1 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XVI (400/800) - 2016/04/17 21:33:47 WET [2016/04/17 16:33:47 ET]
Table '1489909215 2488' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: 1Bentley123 (25511 in chips)
Seat 2: mathewholdem (8815 in chips)
Seat 3: badkali (13316 in chips)
Seat 4: tipchick95 (26392 in chips)
Seat 5: BankoBet (14180 in chips)
Seat 6: davini1972 (17614 in chips)
Seat 7: ircminator80 (25414 in chips)
Seat 8: ZoomathteTop (13337 in chips)
Seat 9: WCG|Rider (7398 in chips)
1Bentley123: posts the ante 80
mathewholdem: posts the ante 80
badkali: posts the ante 80
tipchick95: posts the ante 80
BankoBet: posts the ante 80
davini1972: posts the ante 80
ircminator80: posts the ante 80
ZoomathteTop: posts the ante 80
WCG|Rider: posts the ante 80
WCG|Rider: posts small blind 400
1Bentley123: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BankoBet [Tc Ac]
mathewholdem: folds
badkali: folds
tipchick95: folds
BankoBet: raises 1200 to 2000
davini1972: folds
ircminator80: folds
ZoomathteTop: folds
WCG|Rider: raises 5318 to 7318 and is all-in
1Bentley123: folds
BankoBet: folds
Uncalled bet (5318) returned to WCG|Rider
WCG|Rider collected 5520 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5520 | Rake 0
Seat 1: 1Bentley123 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: mathewholdem folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: badkali folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: tipchick95 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: BankoBet folded before Flop
Seat 6: davini1972 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: ircminator80 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: ZoomathteTop (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: WCG|Rider (small blind) collected (5520)

Initial pot $1920, I bet an additional $2000, WCGRider shoved $7318 ($6918 additional) so pot size is $10,838 and I must call $5318. Pot odds are 10838/5318 so 2.04:1.

Let's introduce some ICM Tax, let's say 1.2 (this is just a guess because we're not that close to the money, I'd love to know if there is a way to accurately determine this figure for large field tournaments if any of you know without calculating ICM for thousands of players!). Now our odds are 2.04/1.2 so 1.7:1 which implies equity of 37% required by our hand against his range.

If he is shoving 88+, AJs+, AKo, KQs my equity is 35.7% so my fold is good. Any wider though, and I've made a mistake. So it looks like my decision was probably good, but it was pretty close.

The point though is that I had no idea during the tournament of whether I should have called, and I really need to brush up on this sort of thing now that I feel like playing again (working through examples like above should help).

In the end I finished ITM and tripled my buy-in so fairly please with the result though I'm certain I made pre-flop mistakes.

My goal over the next few weeks is to learn how the top hands fare against given ranges. There is an excellent table in the book 'Kill Everyone' by Nelson, Streib and Lee that gives these odds and I'll make that my starting point. Once this knowledge is learned it will just be a case of application at the tables and hopefully I can record some small-stakes tournament results.

I'll keep you posted, and hopefully get this blog running regularly again.


Sunday, 28 June 2015

An evening of SNG play. [Updated]

Hi reader,

As ever my busy life has not allowed me much time for poker lately, but I will play a few $10 SNGs tonight as I have some tourney tickets to use. Hopefully I will cash a few and get a reasonably even return for the tournament dollars, though I think I'm at best break even in these games.

I have very little knowledge of the correct shove/call/fold ranges but I think I can probably come close to break even play as long as there are fish in the games, and I base my play around detailed player reads and cautious regard of stack sizes. In other words I'll do no more than two table!

I will post an update at the end. Probably once I've dropped several buy-ins....

Well, a little lame but I was distracted and only played one tournament in the end. But I did win it! I ran extremely well to be fair.

Notes about the $10 SNGs:
* They do contain players that play sub-optimally, of the usual kind:
             Loose passives
             Tight passives
             Loose aggressives
* I think there is value in these games if a player was dedicated enough to learn the late game ranges.

* I also think it's possible for an experienced cash game player to build regular early tournament chip leads with skilled play and then play reasonably solid in the late game and win money in the long term.

So in summary, I'll probably play a few more of these and use up my tickets.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Big pot... Didn't go my way. What do you think of my river shove?


OK, so just got out of a session and it was defined by one large pot.

My thinking for a typical opponent on the 4h6hKcJcKs river with trips is that most players would just shove their very best hands out of position here as they'd be afraid that I'd check back for showdown and therefore lose value where I'd also call a river bet. So I weighted his calling hands towards vulnerable trips types like KQ - which most villains at 25NL would probably call my river shove with.

So it was a thin value play which didn't go my way. I put a couple of ranges into Stove and it seems that there was value here if villain is calling with KQ, especially if I'm right and the river check was an unusual way for someone to play such a strong hand. It's just a shame it didn't go my way - but that's thin value bets for you. You lose the pots nearly half of the time.

So are there any better players out there who would have given different ranges here? Has play improved so much that regulars are snap folding KQ in this spot? Would love some input.

By the way, to justify my pre-flop call, it was just a stack size thing. I didn't want to get all-in with large effective stacks so decided to play a pot in position with a hand which probably dominates much of his 3-betting range.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

To build a roll (again)...

Good Evening.

So a few days after my last post I find myself with a brand new swish laptop with PokerStars and Poker Tracker 4 ready and operational!

Just played a few hands and lost a buy-in or so, mainly due to some loose passive who limp called a 5bb raise UTG w/ 47dd - winning obviously versus my AA in MP. Villain turns trips when I'm pot committed. Far from being pissed off though, this gives me hope - there is still sub optimal play in these games!

So the situation is this, I have about $240 on Stars left, and a load of Full Tilt tickets that need cashing in. Probably $300 worth or so. The result is that I'm going to start at $25NL full ring Zoom and attempt to crawl my way back up to $50NL (I'll move back up when I've got $1000 in the cashier.

Wish me luck! This will be a long and probably painful process, but last time I played somewhat regularly I had a lot of fun with the game and this blog so let's get this going again.

I have no more reads - the database is new. To be fair all of the old info is probably way out of date anyway but I'm fascinated to see what the playing pool is like these days once PT4 starts to get some statistics again.

Small warning - I'm still hugely busy so this will likely be made up of a 30 minute to an hour session in an evening every now and then, but I enjoyed the last few hands and it would be nice to see how much my game has held up / deteriorated in my absence from the tables.

I'll try and convert those FT tickets to $ somehow and then update with the bankroll, and then as usual post graphs and hand histories to track my progress. The first goal is obviously $50NL and then we'll reassess - I think that will take long enough. And it's quite possible that my edge has permanently disappeared. Whatever happens though, I'll try and appraise my performance objectively and honestly and perhaps we can all learn something.

Talk Soon!


Friday, 16 January 2015

Good evening 2015!

Hi interspace.

Nothing is worse than a blogger who does not post, so for that I apologise. Life is still very busy, and it's rare that I get a moment to play or post these days.

Work is still progressing well, I almost have a fully fledged career now. Just got to get through my finals and I'll have a profession to call my own. My sincere hope is that when that happens, I'll have weekends and evenings back for my hobbies - in particular poker. I'm not sure how much effort would be required to become a winning player after such a long break but when I do play the odd hand these days, I still find that I remember the old ranges and think about hands somewhat logically - my fear is that the rest of the field has advanced so much that my knowledge is no longer my edge, but has become widely adopted and practiced.

Part of the reason for my lack of play is my current setup. I still have an old PC that has served me well for several years, but I can't use it later at night due to it's location. Basically in the odd late night hour that I might play a few hands I only have an iPad - and while I can and do play poker on it, there's no HUD or database software. So I can either play standard ring games and take notes (difficult on an iPad) or just play read-less at Zoom. Even choosing the former option does not allow me to easily analyse hands after the occasion, so I just don't often choose to play.

Perhaps I could invest in a good quality laptop and use one of the database licenses that I have for it. If I had a fast laptop set up to multi-table Zoom with a HUD - that I could boot up quickly at 10.30pm for an hour or two - then I might be tempted to play more often. Watch this space!

Another part of the problem is that I'm playing quite a lot of chess. I'm not an expert, I'm probably about 'B' grade by USCF standard, but I used to play tons of chess when I was young and I still find the game fascinating. And it's easier to play on an iPad than poker!

Anyway, to any who still check in on me - I hope you're all doing well.


Wednesday, 30 April 2014

When I hand read well/When I hand read poorly


Just played some Zoom, played a really good session until the last hand (had to quit as I was gutted).

I can't help but think that I wouldn't have made that kind of mistake when I was playing regularly, but before I explain let's look at a hand I played well tonight so that it's not all zoom and gloom.

PokerStars Zoom Hand #115533679195:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/04/30 21:54:02 WET [2014/04/30 16:54:02 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: simdiggity ($29.16 in chips)
Seat 2: player_musa ($15.43 in chips)
Seat 3: angelAA315 ($30.43 in chips)
Seat 4: kajos_126 ($78.16 in chips)
Seat 5: robgomes ($28.61 in chips)
Seat 6: BmwSport888 ($80.72 in chips)
Seat 7: crazyfrancis ($26 in chips)
Seat 8: Me ($29.76 in chips)
Seat 9: syglaej ($12.50 in chips)
player_musa: posts small blind $0.10
angelAA315: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Js Qh]
kajos_126: folds
robgomes: folds
BmwSport888: folds
crazyfrancis: folds
Me: raises $0.50 to $0.75
syglaej: folds
simdiggity: calls $0.75
player_musa: folds
angelAA315: folds
*** FLOP *** [6s Qs 6c]
Me: bets $1
simdiggity: calls $1

I don't think it's that thin despite my poor kicker, as most combinations of perhaps 77 through JJ might call a c-bet, and even worse sometimes. I don't know much about my opponent, although over a small sample he seems somewhat competent.

*** TURN *** [6s Qs 6c] [Kc]
Me: checks
simdiggity: bets $1.50
Me: calls $1.50

His line doesn't seem that likely. There are very few feasible hands that can value bet here, like KQ or quads really. Plus something about his bet timing seemed off: In other words I had one of those gut feelings that he was trying it on.

*** RIVER *** [6s Qs 6c Kc] [4c]
Me: checks
simdiggity: bets $3
Me: calls $3
*** SHOW DOWN ***
simdiggity: shows [8s 8d] (two pair, Eights and Sixes)
Me: shows [Js Qh] (two pair, Queens and Sixes)
Me collected $12.27 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $12.85 | Rake $0.58
Board [6s Qs 6c Kc 4c]
Seat 1: simdiggity (button) showed [8s 8d] and lost with two pair, Eights and Sixes
Seat 2: player_musa (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: angelAA315 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: kajos_126 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: robgomes folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: BmwSport888 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: crazyfrancis folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Me showed [Js Qh] and won ($12.27) with two pair, Queens and Sixes
Seat 9: syglaej folded before Flop (didn't bet)

For the rest of the session I felt that I played so well, and then to misread the board (well, make a terrible call)...

PokerStars Zoom Hand #115534863338:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/04/30 22:19:19 WET [2014/04/30 17:19:19 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: ercan008 ($49.61 in chips)
Seat 2: Badger4515 ($25.71 in chips)
Seat 3: Me ($29.60 in chips)
Seat 4: space311 ($23.05 in chips)
Seat 5: CrunkPIMP ($35.89 in chips)
Seat 6: Vedmegatko ($25.71 in chips)
Seat 7: tigriskem ($59.13 in chips)
Seat 8: jr_stroke ($98.36 in chips)
Seat 9: lepa308 ($31.06 in chips)
Badger4515: posts small blind $0.10
Me: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Ac As]
space311: folds
CrunkPIMP: folds
Vedmegatko: folds
tigriskem: folds
jr_stroke: folds
lepa308: folds
ercan008: raises $0.50 to $0.75
Badger4515: folds
Me: raises $2 to $2.75
ercan008: calls $2
*** FLOP *** [7c 6s 5h]
Me: bets $3
ercan008: calls $3
*** TURN *** [7c 6s 5h] [7d]
Me: checks

My opponent is a semi - lag over a small sample and seemed to like playing turns so far. So the check was designed to allow him to bet - and I think he probably would have with his air and draws, so when he checks back I should assume he's got 'something'.

ercan008: checks
*** RIVER *** [7c 6s 5h 7d] [9h]
Me: bets $5.50

My plan to induce the turn fails, so I tried to seek thin river value. Unfortunately I misread the board and didn't see that it was a gut-shot four-straight. When he shipped I just figured it extremely unlikely that he's got 99 (and I ruled out any flop set due to his turn play) and I snap called. Of course the extra 6 combinations of 88 that I didn't consider would probably have swayed me into choosing the correct play - which I'm sure was to fold. 

Even if the straight wasn't possible, I still think it would have been right to fold. Perhaps I was over-confident after the earlier read, but river raises tend to be even more dangerous than turn ones. I can't remember the last time I caught a river raise bluff.

ercan008: raises $38.36 to $43.86 and is all-in
Me: calls $18.35 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($20.01) returned to ercan008
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ercan008: shows [8d 8c] (a straight, Five to Nine)
Me: shows [Ac As] (two pair, Aces and Sevens)
ercan008 collected $57.30 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $59.30 | Rake $2
Board [7c 6s 5h 7d 9h]
Seat 1: ercan008 (button) showed [8d 8c] and won ($57.30) with a straight, Five to Nine
Seat 2: Badger4515 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: Me (big blind) showed [Ac As] and lost with two pair, Aces and Sevens
Seat 4: space311 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: CrunkPIMP folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Vedmegatko folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: tigriskem folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: jr_stroke folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: lepa308 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

So I played a great session, but then one hand that has probably wiped out every cent of profit I've made since my return. 

Perhaps if I played more I could eradicate that sort of mistake from my game and become the solid reg that I once was. And maybe if I ever get enough free time to devote to poker again I'll try to regain that standard. 

For now though, I don't have enough time because of my career. But I won't stop playing and I'll share my mistakes - and I'll try not to get too upset about it!