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!

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!


Monday, 28 April 2014


Playing a bit of Zoom, running pretty well. Just the 32BB/100 over 1500 hands. Sustainable obv...

Anyway, I sometimes forget how much fun Zoom/Rush poker is, and after playing nearly 1m hands of it, I think I probably burned myself out a little. But perhaps I can dip in a little more often than I have been lately.

I still think I can beat these micro/small stakes tables, and I also still think that a determined player could make good pocket money from the Zoom games.

I blame the Americans leaving the market for the stagnation in player standards. [Disclaimer: My observations are limited to two limits over a small number of hands, so my comments are pretty lol, but I'll keep going anyway :D] There's no doubt that a large number of the significant poker strategy developments were pioneered by talented US players that have now been denied the internet game. From the point of view of someone who used to crave new theory and used to watch hours of videos on GTO strategy, I think it's a shame. From the point of view of someone who is returning to playing somewhat after a near two year hiatus, it's quite pleasing!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mission Week

As we all know already, Stars are the only reason Poker is still alive and kicking (and perhaps once again growing?).

Anyway, their latest brilliant idea - the Mission Week - is currently keeping me at the tables.

For those not in the know, it's a reward system whereby a player opts in to a challenge level (even the 'hard' level is not difficult to achieve). Should the player achieve his/her challenge then they are awarded with a ticket to an All-in Shootout tournament. This basically amounts to a raffle for free money since there is no requirement to actually play cards.

In other words, on top of the existing VIP scheme, Poker Stars is giving additional rakeback. And while I haven't done the maths to figure out how lucrative this is for regular grinders, it feels like great value - and for a bit of a lottery degen I can't get enough. And judging by Star's impressive traffic of late, it looks like I'm not the only one enjoying their new promotions.

Long may it continue!