Welcome

Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's my graph).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.



Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sunday Storm & Other

Played in the $1m Sunday Storm on Stars, lost a couple of medium pots before getting the chips in as favourite but losing my stack well away from the money.

Stars seemed to be teeming with players of all standards, I hope the game has reached some kind of equilibrium after the boom during the last decade and decline following the US federal action against the online games.

Meanwhile I'm playing a few SNGs now and then to convert some T$ I had accrued in Full Tilt and build up my cash bankroll. I may begin to sit into the Zoom games again at 25NL Full Ring when I've done this, though it would be interesting to know if anyone continues to beat them at a decent rate.

Assuming I more or less break even in the SNGs (where my ICM knowledge is limited) I should have about $750 to invest in Zoom or around 30 buy-ins. This offers enough cover should I drop a few buy-ins off the bat. I'm bound to be rusty.

I'll also try and watch my stack size carefully. When I dipped back into Zoom last year I made a mistake in a big pot which crushed my confidence for a while though I'd been playing well to that point.

Will try and make my next post a little more interesting and include a hand history or two.

GL

Friday, 10 March 2017

Micro Time Tourneys

Hi all,

Just playing a few tournaments at the moment and trying my hand at the PokerStars 'Time Tourneys'.

It seems to me that these attract a large number of gamblers and casual players given the number of bizarre hands people are getting all-in with before the time runs out.

Given that the equity is shared out to the remaining players based on stack size should it not work like the bubble of a tournament when time gets short? Unless I'm missing some obvious mathematics, if you have a strategy that is chip winning on average and you obey basic bubble risk management I'd be surprised if this didn't equate to a nice ROI.

Of course at higher stakes I imagine these are full of ICM experts but at the Micros should be solid money here. Not to mention these are pretty damn fun to play!

If anyone else has thoughts on these or if my maths is way out please post below!

GL

Edit:

I've had a chance to look at these more closely, and actually, I was making a foolish mathematical mistake as it seems that the ICM isn't required at all and time is only relevant when thinking in terms of 'hourly' win rates.

The prize money is distributed calculated on your % of chips as a % of total chips in play. So it's just a cash game dressed as a tournament. I can demonstrate the maths with a simple hand that I misplayed just now.

PokerStars Hand #167394871397: Tournament #1843138363, $2.00+$0.20 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level III (300/600) - 2017/03/10 19:32:44 WET [2017/03/10 14:32:44 ET]
Table '1843138363 7' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: MrSmacks (2560 in chips)
Seat 2: AlwaysFoldAc (13020 in chips)
Seat 3: seikopiet (10180 in chips)
Seat 4: kushnerev A. (9240 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 5: BankoBet (2900 in chips)
Seat 6: pedrojam (6200 in chips)
Seat 7: ShellShark1 (2380 in chips)
Seat 8: vestjyden54 (8540 in chips)
Seat 9: pavlovsdoc (15820 in chips)
MrSmacks: posts the ante 60
AlwaysFoldAc: posts the ante 60
seikopiet: posts the ante 60
kushnerev A.: posts the ante 60
BankoBet: posts the ante 60
pedrojam: posts the ante 60
ShellShark1: posts the ante 60
vestjyden54: posts the ante 60
pavlovsdoc: posts the ante 60
kushnerev A.: posts small blind 300
BankoBet: posts big blind 600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BankoBet [8d 8s]
pedrojam: folds
kushnerev A. has returned
ShellShark1: folds
vestjyden54: folds
pavlovsdoc: folds
MrSmacks: folds
AlwaysFoldAc: raises 1200 to 1800
seikopiet: calls 1800
kushnerev A.: calls 1500
BankoBet has timed out
BankoBet: folds
*** FLOP *** [5c 4d Js]
BankoBet is sitting out
BankoBet has returned
kushnerev A.: checks
AlwaysFoldAc: bets 11160 and is all-in
seikopiet: folds
kushnerev A.: folds
Uncalled bet (11160) returned to AlwaysFoldAc
AlwaysFoldAc collected 6540 from pot
AlwaysFoldAc: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 6540 | Rake 0
Board [5c 4d Js]
Seat 1: MrSmacks folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: AlwaysFoldAc collected (6540)
Seat 3: seikopiet (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: kushnerev A. (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 5: BankoBet (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: pedrojam folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: ShellShark1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: vestjyden54 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: pavlovsdoc folded before Flop (didn't bet)
I'll give you a moment to stop laughing at my fold...

So giving some rough ranges to my opponents and assuming a call puts me all-in (which it effectively does) lets assign me 30% equity in a four-way pot. The prize pool is $522 and there were 261 players hence 783,000 total chips in play. At the start of the tournament each player's stack has equity of 3000/783000 x $522 = $2 or $0.0007 per chip.

In the hand, my expected value if I fold is (2240/783000) x $522 = $1.49 and $0.0007 per chip.
If I call, it is 30% x ((1440 + 8960)/783000) x $522 = $2.079 so it's a very easy call in reality.
The $6.93 stack if I won would be worth $0.0007 per chip.

Chip value never changes so it's essentially a cash game with loose players.

As a caveat though, rake is steep at 10% in these tournaments so whether the general looseness compensates for the high tax I'm not sure.

But I enjoyed being able to play for a fixed time, so I might dip into these again. Anyone with a decent understanding of pot odds should do OK.

*************************************

As a general update, I don't play much any more, just when I feel like it. So I'm certainly not a winner any more, but it's kind of refreshing to play for fun (as I did once long ago) without putting loads of pressure on myself to play mistake free poker.


Saturday, 6 August 2016

More Hypers

Good afternoon, what a lovely day.

I've played a few more hypers, after running poorly to begin with and dropping several buy-ins I have placed in a few now to bring me nearly back to even. To be honest if I can get through all of my T$ at about break-even the exercise will have worked out exactly as I hoped as I'll be building a decent micro 'roll again at that point.

I'm really happy with my play overall, I've played pretty well and only found a few small ICM mistakes - and I've seen opponents make plenty so I actually think these are probably beatable.

When I've got through my T$ I'll post a bit more about results and see if there are any semi-instructive hands to go through.

I'm tempted after a few more of these to up the number of tables and try to get a bit of volume in. I think I'm probably making fewer ICM mistakes than others at this limit so hopefully can make a small return, though I'd need to do work at higher buy-ins to remain a winner I expect.

Update (edited with corrections):
Just made my biggest ICM mistake, so going to post it so that - hopefully - I learn from it!

 PokerStars Hand #156942445770: Tournament #1637170203, $6.71+$0.29 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level V (40/80) - 2016/08/06 18:31:00 WET [2016/08/06 13:31:00 ET]
Table '1637170203 1' 6-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 4: TexassRanger (990 in chips)
Seat 5: Me (1214 in chips)
Seat 6: Karganeth (796 in chips)
TexassRanger: posts the ante 8
Me: posts the ante 8
Karganeth: posts the ante 8
TexassRanger: posts small blind 40
Me: posts big blind 80
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Qc Js]
Karganeth: raises 708 to 788 and is all-in
TexassRanger: folds
Me: calls 708
*** FLOP *** [7d 2d 6c]
*** TURN *** [7d 2d 6c] [9d]
*** RIVER *** [7d 2d 6c 9d] [3d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Me: shows [Qc Js] (high card Queen)
Karganeth: shows [Tc Th] (a pair of Tens)
Karganeth collected 1640 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1640 | Rake 0
Board [7d 2d 6c 9d 3d]
Seat 4: TexassRanger (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: Me (big blind) showed [Qc Js] and lost with high card Queen
Seat 6: Karganeth (button) showed [Tc Th] and won (1640) with a pair of Tens

I have both players covered, but my pot odds are terrible so this should be a fold all day. Against the smallest stack I wouldn't expect my bubble factor to be huge here, it's just those pot odds.

Analysis:
Bubble factor against player 1 is ~ 1.3.
Pot odds / bubble factor = 1.18/1  /  1.3 = 0.91/1 so I need equity of ~53% required.

My opponent needs to be shoving 65% or more of his hands here for that to be true, and I don't think that is the case.

Lesson learned: Just because villain is relatively loose, and the bubble factor is low doesn't mean I can simply ignore pot odds!

More Hypers

Good afternoon, what a lovely day.

I've played a few more hypers, after running poorly to begin with and dropping several buy-ins I have placed in a few now to bring me nearly back to even. To be honest if I can get through all of my T$ at about break-even the exercise will have worked out exactly as I hoped as I'll be building a decent micro 'roll again at that point.

I'm really happy with my play overall, I've played pretty well and only found a few small ICM mistakes - and I've seen opponents make plenty so I actually think these are probably beatable.

When I've got through my T$ I'll post a bit more about results and see if there are any semi-instructive hands to go through.

I'm tempted after a few more of these to up the number of tables and try to get a bit of volume in. I think I'm probably making fewer ICM mistakes than others at this limit so hopefully can make a small return, though I'd need to do work at higher buy-ins to remain a winner I expect.

Update:
Just made my biggest ICM mistake, so going to post it so that - hopefully - I learn from it!

 PokerStars Hand #156942445770: Tournament #1637170203, $6.71+$0.29 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level V (40/80) - 2016/08/06 18:31:00 WET [2016/08/06 13:31:00 ET]
Table '1637170203 1' 6-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 4: TexassRanger (990 in chips)
Seat 5: Me (1214 in chips)
Seat 6: Karganeth (796 in chips)
TexassRanger: posts the ante 8
Me: posts the ante 8
Karganeth: posts the ante 8
TexassRanger: posts small blind 40
Me: posts big blind 80
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Qc Js]
Karganeth: raises 708 to 788 and is all-in
TexassRanger: folds
Me: calls 708
*** FLOP *** [7d 2d 6c]
*** TURN *** [7d 2d 6c] [9d]
*** RIVER *** [7d 2d 6c 9d] [3d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Me: shows [Qc Js] (high card Queen)
Karganeth: shows [Tc Th] (a pair of Tens)
Karganeth collected 1640 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1640 | Rake 0
Board [7d 2d 6c 9d 3d]
Seat 4: TexassRanger (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: Me (big blind) showed [Qc Js] and lost with high card Queen
Seat 6: Karganeth (button) showed [Tc Th] and won (1640) with a pair of Tens

I have both players covered, but my pot odds are terrible so this should be a fold all day. Against the smallest stack I wouldn't expect my bubble factor to be huge here, it's just those pot odds.

Analysis:
Bubble factor against player 1 is ~ 1.24.
Pot odds / bubble factor = 1.32/1  /  1.24 = 1.06/1 so I need equity of 48.4% required.

My opponent needed to be shoving 45% or more of his hands here for that to be true, and I don't think that was the case.

Lesson learned: Just because villain is relatively loose, and the bubble factor is low doesn't mean I can simply ignore pot odds!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Some hyper-turbo fun

I have some tournament $ I'd like to try and transfer into cash to boost my bankroll, so I've been hitting the 6-max hyper turbos at the $7 limit (this gives me plenty of buy-ins to allow for some variance).

So far my decision making has been reasonable, though I haven't run very well and only cashed once so far.

It's basically a game of ICM, and I'm not sure there's any profit in it - but if I come out close to break-even then I'll be pleased.

It's quite nice to be able to burn through a few tournaments in an evening, so I may investigate if these games can be beaten. If I find that they can be, and if I can build a degree of competence, then I could potentially multi-table... But we'll see.

If you have any experience with these, let me know!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

SNGs

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.

Simon.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Poker

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.

Simon.