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 one of my graphs).

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.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Mistakes in the $5 HUSNGs

OK, so I've played nearly a hundred games now. Just thought I'd try and come up with the biggest mistakes I think the opponents are making against me. I may improve this post at some point by using some hand histories as examples. For now, I'll just try and explain...
I have lost count of the number of times I've got to showdown and thought : "why the hell hasn't villain bet for value there?!?". Now, some of the time I'd have folded to a bet. But other times I've been left thinking : "thank god he didn't bet there". This is mistake number one. Any time we have a hand that stands to get called by a weaker one a decent percentage of the time we need to bet to get value for it.
This is trickier to explain. Basically you often get maniacs who have watched Phil Ivey raise with 72o and think they should be betting/raising/jamming with any two cards all the time. My favourite type of player. It's often hard playing these guys when the cards don't come your way, but when they do the matches can often last just a few minutes. Easy money. The lesson: When playing poker ranges need to be balanced. What I mean by this is that the hands we bet for value (those hands where we think villain will call with weaker) should not generally be outnumbered by our bluffs. If all your plays have more bluffs in than value bets then you'll be giving money away time and time again. I'll give an example: Often players will bet every single flop after they've been the preflop raiser. Against weak opponents this is actually correct. But against someone who knows what they are doing you'll get reraised/called/played back at LOADS if you do this and just lose money. I generally like to bet when we hit (about 1/3 of the time) and also bluff about a third of the time and check/fold the rest. This way the balance between our value bets and bluffs is equal.
Calling/Folding too much
This is actually another case of balance. Some players only carry on on the flop if they hit some part of it. I played someone tonight who was calling a huge range when I was raising my button and then folding almost every flop to a continuation bet. So I changed my strategy - against someone who folds too much we can break our rule of balance and bet every time. I raised 3xBB every button and then c-bet every single flop half pot. I won pot after pot and by the time he finally hit a hand had hardly any chips to extract value with. This is actually quite a difficult habit to address. It needs study and hard work to learn when to fold and when to play back. The other inbalance in people's play is calling too much. This obv sounds like a contradiction but what I mean is that these villains will call most flop bets with any two cards. Their psychology is "it's not costing much we'll see another card". What they're doing is allowing a good player who notices to stop bluffing (or at least lower the ratio of value bets versus bluffs considerably). Now every time that villain calls the flop bet he'll be giving hero value for his hand. It's also possible to come up against players who have a mix of these two leaks. EG a large % of profit in cash games is currently made from players who call with too wide a range on the flop and then ditch to a turn bet. So good players have started to continuation bet (barrel) two streets with their entire range to exploit this imbalance.
Well I'd actually planned to write more... but realised that all of the mistakes can usually be classed as imbalances of one kind or another. So for the rest of our poker career, we need to spot the exploitable imbalances in our opponents play and taylor our strategy to get the most from them. GL

Saturday, 30 January 2010

No posts for a while

Have been busy with work and other non-poker life. Played three games tonight, 2/1 down unfortunately. First player was pretty crazy, was reraising me from big blind 70% of the time. The sample was pretty small but it was becoming clear his range was pretty wide for doing this so I shoved with AJo (over his reraise) and got called by QQ. It's quite possible that villain was getting alot of good cards and that I got it in light here, but after villain had reraised the last 4/5 hands in a row I think that my shove is standard. The most recent two games were against the same player. Unfortunately for me his all round game seemed to be pretty strong. I was pretty much holding my own but lost the first game to a cooler and the second he seemed to up the aggression and I conceded a smallish chip lead and the blinds got pretty high, then I got it in as favourite but lost. I'll try to avoid that player in future. I'm certain he can't play optimally since he's in the $5s but there are better opponents out there. Sorry if these recent posts have been mediocre without much other than results etc I'll try and post something interesting if I think of it in the next few days. GL all

Monday, 25 January 2010

Running Good at the Minute

3/3 tonight against two crazyfaces and a tight passive. Really feel I'm getting a handle on these games and obv getting nice cards is allowing me to run them over. In the $5s on cereus now I'm 75 games 17% ROI and $66 profit. 25 games until we move to the tens :)
I'm wondering when I should do this. I'm getting alot out of one tabling at the moment and really concentrating on trying to make the best play at the time. I'm convinced that alot of this stuff will become second nature eventually - but I'm not there yet. OK here's the plan - until my sub with HUSNG runs out in March I'll continue to do about 50% study 50% play on a single table. Once it expires and I've pretty much exhausted HUSNG.com other than one on one coaching I'll up to two and go for volume for a while. Maybe by the summer I'll have played a couple thousand games. If I can keep up the dollar a game win rate that will be a nice return!
Post Flop Play
My favourite part of the game. It's amazing how badly alot of the micro stakes players play the later streets. Usually they are either grossly overaggressive and we can trap or unbelievably weak and will fold pretty much everything other than top pair. It's funny though, I remember playing heads up a few years ago and getting totally run over like these players and feeling totally out of depth. Alot of cash game play and poker study since and my postflop game has evolved considerably. I'm pretty sure I am exploitable versus a good player but I am beginning to grow in confidence and belief and really look forward to the battle. From reading what alot of the better players say the standard of play does not seem to substantially increase until $50+. I'll let you know if this is the case but if it's true - I can look forward to earning some good coin.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

A few games tonight

lost a buyin overall I think. Despite this, I'm pretty happy with the way I played, I generally kept the aggression up - value towned myself a couple of times but overall think that I bet where I had fold equity when bluffing or got good value from made hands. The players I ran into though were unfortunately fairly loose aggressive types except for one who I bet to death basically. I don't think there's alot of equity to be had from playing LAGs as this is the style best suited to HUSNGs. However, getting used to playing them is certainly something I need to address. Thankfully, they don't appear to yet outnumber the weaker players. Also, other than one player who just seemed to know exactly what I was doing - I was never getting run over. This is hugely important I think in these games. Make sure we don't give away chips to LAGs and pwn any weak players. Against the lags I am also trying to balance my ranges so that I'm not giving too much away. Much to be learned, but happy with my progress so far. GL.

Friday, 22 January 2010

What Would YOU Do?!!!!!::@@{{PP??

Villain was C.R.A.Z.Y. But I'd like to know if you think I played this hand correctly. Answers on a postcard.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Sick Player

Not bad for a months wages. To those that believe that NLHE is no longer profitable... Look at this graph. The player is croixdawg. This is my inspiration for carrying on, the graph is so linear already. How is 15% ROI possible at those stakes???!!! Clearly it IS though, or there'd be more visible variance in the graph. Man, you are looking at $1m+ yearly profit at this rate. Anyway, enough of the envy. Well played Croix, GG the world. Back to my books, lol.

Evening's play

Played OK. Made a few mistakes, but also thought I played some hands really well. I am also amazed at how stupid I am sometimes. Just noticed the 'advanced search' tickbox on sharkscope so was able to filter the $5 only HU games from the $10 - which I've run terrible in so far. The graph looks much, much better from my perspective. I felt I was beating the $5 games and this shows I have so far - tho still a very small sample obv. The ROI figure is 15% which is very good, and probably above my true expectation. I think what I'll do is play on until 100 games at $5 and then put some more funds in to give me 20 buy-ins for the $10 games and move up levels - providing I'm still beating the $5 games for a good ROI by that point. So that's a goal I can aim for - 32 games to go.
Things I've noticed about the $5 regs
They tend to come in one of two 'packages'.
1. Loose calling range pre, very tight range to continue on flop. My strategy against these players is generally raise good hands, limp weaker and c-bet/stab at most flops. This is allowing me to build chip leads before the blinds increase.
2. Loose calling range pre, loose calling range post. Now I'm still raising my good hands and limping weaker ones, but c-betting/stabbing only at those boards that I have some equity in. Say a gutshot and back door flush draw or better. This way villain sees I'm still bluffing some of the time so this allows me to get loads of calls when I have made hands.
Obv my overall strategy is a little more complex than that, but this is a real pattern I've started to recognize in most of the opponents so far. The biggest mistake I'm making is paying off the first type of player when I have something like top pair. I really think their range for continuing is so narrow that top pair weak kicker is a fold to any kind of aggression from this player type. Players like this do NOT adjust, and they do NOT exploit either. I folded a couple of decent hands against one of these players tonight which suggests that I may have learned this lesson at last... GL


Just realised that I missed out on a bonus on pokerstars. I read somewhere that all the extra bonuses they offer during the year makes up for the smaller rakeback deal for micro/lowstakes players. Shame, although the competition is probably generally stronger than Absolute it would be nice to play there. I'll continue with Absolute for now and maybe move over later in the year. I'll need to prove that I can beat these softer games first I suppose.
Learning is going well, still seem to be picking stuff up which is hopefully going to help me to become a winner. I'm encourage by some HUSNG blogs written by a couple of players who are a little ahead of me in their development. Looking back over the last few months of posts shows them starting off in the games I'm in currently and quickly moving through the limits as their knowledge and skill has improved. Their statistics show them to be able to beat higher stakes games with ROI of 10% sometimes. This is an amazing return on investment. If I can achieve anything close to this it would something I'd be immensely proud of. Of course they have been able to put in alot more volume than me and I cannot even beat the $5 games yet. So there's still much to be done at my end. GL, and GG.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Results not great this evening.

played three, lost three. Basically, although I don't think I was on top of my game, I didn't think I played that badly so it's prob just negative variance. Some hand histories below. I've picked a few out and will put a brief analysis after each one. Hope you get something from them, likelihood is that I made huge mistakes. I've picked one pot I won and one I lost from each:
Game One

best player of all three, seemed decent (with deeper stacks). When he was short he didn't play shove fold so probably exploitable there but otherwise played solid. Ok, I min raised pre because I was getting reraised loads, I could also have limped or folded. However villain was giving up enough to c-bets to make min raising preferable IMO. With the game flow I felt that I'd be check raised alot on this board so I elected to check back and delay c-bet the turn - much as I would with QQ or a weak Ace. We hit our miracle out and villain leads. At this point I think if he has an ace or a four he cannot fold to a raise given that our line would make no sense, but I don't think his bluffs would continue since we'd look committed. I decided to let him fire his bluffs again on the river and then raise all in. The actual river is puke city. The one card I cannot raise all-in to. If he'd bet much more I think I'd have folded, but I felt there was enough bluffs in his range to call so I did and was right (for once, lol).
Not sure there's much value in showing any other hands from this game tbh, the only other big hand we had AQo with a slight chip deficit and shoved our button with about 12 big blinds and villain called K7o and turned a full house. His call was pretty dreadful generally but I'd shoved a ton of buttons so maybe he thought I was shoving any two which would make the call OK.
Game Two
Second match and I made two significant mistakes. First off, villain was loose passive but in the sense that he'd pretty much fold everything unless he had a hand and raise only the good ones. I spewed my chips away in two pots.

So despite my read I still couldn't get away from my hands. In the first one, I just felt that I couldn't fold my top pair. However, during this game villain had NEVER bluffed. He was betting rarely and the rest of the time he was checking or folding. His aggression was about as low as I'd ever seen in a player. So we can at LEAST put him on a ten here, if not much better. So why do we raise? Almost all of the time on this board villain would likely check it back so we should just have bet any card lower than a ten on the turn and folded to any heat. Yes this makes me exploitable but villain wasn't good enough to do that. The same thing happened with the second hand. At the time, I just thought he'd have raised a jack on the flop and felt my king kicker was likely good if villain had a weak six. But given my player read, I'm never good here so again I made a bad call despite the strength of my hand. Sigh, Oh well. I think I'll learn from these types of mistakes the most so I'm glad it happened. Last game villain was a loose aggressive calling station hybrid. Betting at most cards but also never folding to a raise. I'd played pretty well to keep myself in the game despite being card dead and this hand happened.

Not much I can say really, other than 'nice call' I guess. Kind of sums up the evening, didn't destroy myself but made some pretty big mistakes. But I still believe that I'm not doing that badly. I've not come across another player that I've felt is destroying me or the game or doing any of the things I've learned especially well so I'm certain it's only a matter of time before I start making money. If not, then coaching will be necessary. I'll prob buy some anyway to be honest, I am a poker knowledge freak. Probably my biggest strength - I can't stop reading/watching/studying. Every time I see something new it fascinates me. This is why I believe I'll one day beat these games. Because the players that I know whose thirst for knowledge is as big as mine are a very very rare breed. GL

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Good Evening

Hi there, played four games tonight (won 3, lost 1) and was really trying to focus on villain's range instead of my own hand. In every game I was able to build a chip lead and the villains would get pissed off and chuck it in light. Every player was very very fit or fold post flop. It's such a huge advantage playing against players who are so weak when there are cards on the table. So, I'm happy. My outlook is always different though after I've had a good session so will look to review at some point. Personally though I think I had an excellent evening. I didn't rush any decision; I didn't do anything rash. Very pleased with the way I played. I now have enough - once again - to try the $10.50s.
This is obviously something that I've known for a long time to be important. But without seeing it done rationally I'd always been a little too passive for my own liking. Just check some of my first posts in this blog and you'll know what I mean! Now that I've seen aggressive HU players and understand the logic behind certain 'moves' it's really helped my game in this sense. The last several HUSNGs I've played, I've been so aggressive it's probably made me a few hundred chips every time. GL

Lack of Volume

I don't think I'll truly know much about my winrate until I address this problem. Basically I'm still one tabling to improve my allround playing skill. I think this is best while I'm still learning so much from HUSNG.com. Eventually - maybe next month - I'll need to start getting through more games by playing more and multi tabling. I think I'll start with two during Feb and maybe add a third if I'm comfortable with it. I'd like to play roughly ten games per hour so that I can be getting through 100+ games in a week. The problem currently is that while I believe I'm playing ok mostly, probably well enough for a small positive ROI, there's no way that I can know that playing only one or two games a day. Variance can obv be very large over small samples so for all I know I could be a -14% ROI superfish. So, when I think I've taken all I can from the HU videos I'll play a few months with two or three tables and just try and get through some volume of games. Afterwards I'll review and take necessary steps to improve such as coaching, other training sites etc.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Sigh, just played another $10.50 game and again built a big chip lead and got the money in in a dominating position AJ vs QJ and villain sucked out. So got head down and continued to work hard but villain either began to get hands or upped the aggression a little so stacks were fairly even when I flopped a gutshot straight flush draw and raised a flop lead all in. I was SNAP called with top pair weak kicker giving me about 47% equity and we didn't hit any outs. Again, I think I made some good decisions throughout this tourney and got the money in where we can't ever fold in this spot and didn't hit. So every time we seem to win enough money in the 5.25 husngs to give the 10.50s a go our luck bricks and we have to make up two buy - ins to have another go. Sigh again. Nevermind, we'll keep going and eventually hopefully hit some good cards and burn a few buy - ins into the next level. Remember that scene in Castaway where Tom Hanks can't quite get through the swell to get out to sea until he crafts a sail? That's what playing these 10.50s feels like. The sail I need is obv a good bit of luck. Will keep trying.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Turning Hands Into Bluffs

For a long time I'd believed (probably through misinterpretation) that bluffing when we already had some hand was not a good play. Often this is actually correct, but over the past few days I've seen several examples of situations when it is actually best to bluff despite having a hand that might win some percentage of showdowns.
If villain plays his hand in such a way that his range becomes transparent and we have any hand that fares poorly against that range; and if we have fold equity by betting or raising then we can turn our hand into a bluff.
The critical thing here is ranges and how our hand fares. Here's an example of a hand I played earlier:

Firstly, with the effective stack size I'm not sure the check min raise was sensible. But villain had been folding a ridiculous amount of the time to aggression post flop so I felt I could get tons of folds and if we call a shove I'd expect flush draws to be in his range so we're probably not doing too badly.
By the river due to my reads on villain and the way he played I was convinced that his range was a weak pair like a 9 with a bad kicker or a four. When the fourth spade comes - despite that we have a pair of fours - I just felt that I could get any nine to fold other than those with a spade in. So here we put villain on a range that we knew beat our hand but had an excellent situation to turn it into a bluff. I don't think I'd have even considered firing this river in the past. It may still be a negative EV play, but the very fact that I've started considering more options during play should make me a much more dangerous opponent.

Play Tonight
Won three games but ran really well. Every time we'd grown a good chip lead by the time the money was going in. All three players played very "fit or fold" post flop so aggression was winning pot after pot. In fact there were many spots where I think I should have been more aggressive but decided not to go over the top with it to preserve some fold equity. Pleased with that and once again I have 202 dollars so will try another $10.50 game at some point.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

kinda sucks when...

kinda sucks when...
croixdawg and livb112 - husng specialists - have already made more than my yearly income by playing poker since Jan 1st. It's still Jan ffs!!! So, So sick.

Hey, not much play; much learned again

Just played a single game. I won't play any more I'm tired and early start at work tomorrow. I want to be able to put in much more volume eventually but while we're still learning to play these games I'm putting more time into studying so that I make the most of my HUSNG sub. Currently seem to be drinking up new skills with every video which is AMAZING. I'm not a great learner but making notes on these videos seems to be helping stuff to sink in which is great. And also seeing hands where concepts I've read about before are put into action is translating alot of that knowledge into new found ability - if that makes any sense. I think my biggest weakness is not giving villian an accurate range before making a decision. I've shown that in some of the mistakes I've posted. So I've taken to speaking aloud the word 'range' before every decision in the hope that it helps me to concentrate on what is the most essential piece of information for decision making. It's ludicrous how often I revert to the "I've got top pair let's get it in" mentality. At least I know my biggest leak but it will take some time to undo this habit which I've had for so long. As for the game I played, villain seemed decent but I basically tried a few things I've learned in the last week and it was all coming off. Every bluff, every value bet. It was just one of those games. I kinda sensed villain was pissed off by the end because I was winning so many pots with check raises, turn leads, donk leads etc etc. So I hit top pair when effective stacks were about 10bb and let him bluff his stack off. Prob the easiest game I've ever played but that's not a slur on my opponent but more an indication of the cards I was given.
Lastly, I reckon if I can become a winner in these games my post flop play will be so good I'll basically be able to sit in any game very confident that I have a solid edge. For that reason alone, the sub to HUSNG will pay me back many many times over I suspect.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Playing a Hand Poorly. I'm a fish.

Ok, here's the hand from last evening. My play is pretty badly thought through.

I think I was influenced by the play so far. He'd 3 bet me a quarter of the time, so I assumed he was doing it wide and that I could prob play the hand well post flop. However we hadn't actually played that many hands. So villain could just have been getting good cards. So the preflop call was loose. But the real mistake came on the turn. I don't mind my check behind on the flop; this allows me pot control and defends against a check raise which I'd hate alot. On the turn and river I could just call which saves me chips against better aces and keeps his bluffs in. When I raise, I guess I'm defending against draws but after he reships the call is one of the worst I think I've made recently. Against his likely range (good aces +) we are pretty much drawing dead. So, I suck. I think I had a mental block and just called without thinking it through properly.

Monday, 11 January 2010

good and bad day :S

the play
not great to be honest. First game played the 10.50 and it didn't go that well, I think I made a loose call in a big pot with top pair (ace) and ran into a set. My kicker was bad, villain was very quick with his shove and it was hard to see a weaker hand other than a complete bluff shoving on that board and I didn't have him as a bluffy player. Bad call, even though we were getting 2/1 with top pair. He only ever does this with Ax+ I'm sure so we suck sigh. Then a couple hands later at 30bb deep I was insta reshoved after raising 3x with A7o and should have folded but made a frustrated call and I was dominated. Again, rash play. I'll never beat these games until I eradicate these leaks. But oh well, I'm learning from these mistakes I think - we'll get there. I'm determined we will :)
the learning
learned some great stuff tonight from a video I watched at HUSNG.com. Sometimes when watching a vid I have a mini epiphany and something makes sense for the first time. I kind of had one of those moments tonight. It's based on the transparency of a villain's range and turning our hand into a bluff. Really interesting stuff. I'd always thought that doing that (turning our hand into a bluff) was bad. But I guess as with most other things, there will always be exceptions. Another lesson learned :) Shame that my game is not up to speed with my understanding of the game. Maybe my decision making skills are poor. Meh, will continue to play and hope I start to remove the errors from my game. I HATE being a break even player at these stakes. I WILL BEAT THESE GAMES!!!!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Played OK tonight

Didn't do anything rash today. One hand was pretty close, I shoved on the flop in a 3 bet pot when villain was pot committed with a flush draw and overcard, we were 20bb or so deep. Now against his most likely range (top pair +) we're about 40 percent so with alot of the chips already in the middle I think it's pretty straightforward getting it in. Especially since this player seemed quite good - therefore allowing for some of his range to be bluffs despite him looking pot committed. Ran pretty well but I don't think I did much especially spewey, just bet value where I could and bluffed when I had no showdown value and the board was good for doing so. One thing I did for the very first time today was pay attention to game flow. One hand I had AJs and for the first time in like 20 hands I was 3 bet. Previously I think I'd just have stuck it in and crossed my fingers. But this was so likely to be a very good hand I just mucked and moved on. I also made some pretty good hero calls and mucked a couple of times despite getting great odds. The more I play the more confident I feel with reads and stuff so once again, I can see real improvement in my game. I just hope that my rash streak stays away so I can begin to grow this money instead of hanging about at the same sort of level. I should post a hand history or two at some point - will try to do that after work tomorrow. After tonight's play I have enough BR to take a shot at the 10.50s. Wish me luck :)

Friday, 8 January 2010

A critical piece of advice that I'd forgotten...

Something just occurred to me as I bluffed my way out of yet another husng. Ok, this time I was playing a winning player and in a pot I'd 3 bet preflop I checked a dangerous looking board. I thought that this would likely make villain check back most of his range fearing a check raise and basically polarize his bets to either made hands or bluffs allowing me to check raise all in with a good amount of fold equity. He insta called my check raise (again with overcards) with the bum end of a straight. I was suprised that a winning player had made the call preflop to be honest with low suited connectors, but meh. I just remembered something that vital[myth] over at cardrunners once said. It's better to make mistakes in small pots than big ones. I think that my biggest handicap is running too many creative bluffs in large pots. We obv need to do this occasionally but I just lost a ton of chips in 2 out of 3 games by running bluffs in big pots. At these stakes players give you chips when you have the hands so why give it back when they do? This is where alot of low stakes profit comes from. Note to self: THINK TWICE before doing this again. From now on I'll try to make sure I have at least a few outs before attempting something like this, and tend to play the more weak route if I'm playing a big pot. This is obv losing me some EV but by keeping myself in these games for longer I'll surely make this back when we have a hand and villain pays us off. At least I know I'm capable and have the courage to go through with a play like that. This will likely hold me in good stead when we move up in limits.
So all of this means...
I still have an AWFUL lot of work to do on my game. I feel that I play so many hands well but undo all the hard work with spewy plays. Maybe this will leave my game with experience under my belt. Maybe I just need to work extra hard on my game to cut these errors out.
Final Conclusions
Often thoughts about the game pop into my head. Just now I remembered something I'd noticed from my pokerazor analysis. Later street play effects the preflop EV of taking a certain line with a hand less and less the further we are from the start. So shoving on a river or folding might have a huge difference in EV in a vacuum looking at that street, but look at the preflop equities and they do not change a huge amount. So if we are losing a little bit of equity in some hand on the turn or river by folding over bluff shoving it's likely not effecting the overall EV of that hand that much - and we've probably played it pretty well until that point. So if we sacrifice that nominal piece of EV and villain gives us equity in a future pot that more than makes up for it. It's often said in poker that we need to take every little bit of EV we can. This is true. But mistakes on later streets usually cost alot of chips so if in doubt, it's not going to be a big mistake just to fold usually.

I Play Badly

Ok, just played a tight passive player and inexplicably had a rush of blood to the head and shoved with two overs on a dry board. Now, the reason is that for my 3rd c-bet in a row I'd been check min raised. I grew frustrated - bad poker - and thought that his range must now be wide enough for me to have fold equity. He obv insta called with bottom set and I am terrible. Thinking from the point of view of villain, I was winning so many pots from him from small ball aggression every time he has a good hand and check min raises he is trying to get me to spaz out. Min bets have often had that effect on me and once again it worked. But I need to remember the reason that they do that play - to get action with their good hands. I'm sure they bluff with some frequency but the best ev play is just to continue small ball. Any time this type of player makes a pot building play most of the time it's because they want to play a big pot. I MUST stop falling into their trap. GL

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Game Review #50

Ok, thought I'd start something called the game review. I'll discuss the last 50 games and try and decipher any progress I've made with my game during that time. Here's the graph; as you can see, a few exciting upwards trends but every time crashing down to earth with a three/four buy - in loss. Basically, the graph suggests that I am currently only break even in these games. That's certainly something that could be true since I've only just started studying these games and my knowledge is at the primary school stage so to speak. So basically I'm pretty happy with that. I'm not getting pwned by these players and feel pretty happy so far with my game at this early stage.
Knowledge Gained?
I went around a friends house the other day and sat with him during a micro stakes cash game. I found myself offering alot of advice and realised how much my knowledge had improved recently. Similarly I sat back in a cash game a few days back and pretty much ran over the entire table using the new knowledge I've learned.
Bet Sizing
I think I'm becoming better at bet sizing, realising that implied odds play an important role on early streets and that putting villain on a hand range should determine bet sizing on the river. I'm still way short of being good at this but I used to just auto bet 3/4 pot so def an improvement in this area.
The hidden cards video really showed me how important board texture was to determining how successful a bluff would be. Understanding how much showdown equity we have also helps us to make the decision as to whether we should bluff or not. Finally it helps alot if we can represent a hand. If we float on some board with a gutshot but then one of the lower cards pairs we have loads of fold equity by then raising. But this wouldn't usually be good with a hand that might have some showdown value anyway eg a pocket pair.
Less Weak Play
I am also playing looser post flop by counting my outs and considering pot odds more. I'd never previously counted back door outs or played gutshots at all so I'm much less easy to run over now. It's added some unpredictable play to my locker which was much needed. Also learned to always use effective stack sizes to help with decision making. God I could go on and on thinking about it. Maybe I'll just leave it at that for now. I think those are the main points.
Wow, despite only breaking even in the last 50 games I feel my poker game has improved probably as much as it ever has since studying these heads up vids. If anyone wants to launch their poker game to the next level I really recommend HUSNGs to do it. Now, reflection over, must get back to learning some more. GL all

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

I am such a dumbfuck

Ok, so you turn the chat bubble off by ticking the box by "allow chat bubble" in the client window options? Well I'd never have thought of that. I thought that was for... Yeah I know, I'm fucking stupid. That's why I'm crap at poker. LOL ;)

Dealing with Abusive Players.

Right, first up, just deleted my last tilt inspired post. Was thinking of keeping it since it might bring amusement in the future but there really was nothing constructive or interesting to read. The short story is I had a chip lead over a player and for some reason the chat was coming through despite being checked off in the options. I really don't like sledging and it tilts me. I then lost a largish pot to concede the lead which resulted in gloating homophobic abuse. I fired a few barrels back but then suffered a total cold deck and lost. The abuse continued. The worst thing about it is this idiot is a marginal winner, shocking to think that someone like that can beat this game.
Motives for Abuse
For my money, there can only be two reasons for this abuse. One, because they are insecure about their lack of knowledge of poker - a trait that I should welcome - or two, they use the unethical psychological edge as an extra weapon for profit. I think in the case above it was a mix of the two. My opponent didn't play that well, but I can easily see how making his opposition play badly all the time gives him a consistent long term edge which encourages him to continue to fire.
Why the Abuse Tilts me
Mainly pride I think, I've invested alot of time into learning to play this game and the development of my overall knowledge. When I start getting criticised it hurts my pride. I have also been brought up to play games fairly; to shake an opponents hand at the end of a chess game; to smile and say well played when beaten at darts. I play every single sport and game in the right way. When I come across some nasty punk who plays unethically or nastily even, it goes against everything I've ever been taught. Finally, I love seeing the bad guy lose. Especially when he's playing me. It somehow seems wrong if someone can play so underhandedly and still win. So what do all of these things have in common with each other?
In the game of poker, all of these things are completely irrelevant. As I've said before, heads up poker is simply about making as many chips as possible against each and every opponent over thousands of games. Villain can be Male/Female, Nice/Nasty - it doesn't matter what they are we just need to play as well as we can. We'll lose plenty of games to the nasty ones and need to forget about it. There is a well known group of high stakes players who use sledging to upset their opponents. These are hugely knowledgable players and they see it as extra profit only. They are totally ruthless because all they care about is making money. Personally I view abuse or sledging as unethical and am upset that I let myself do it last night. What's it ever going to achieve? All that will happen is that nearly half the time I'll lose the match and be even more tilted afterwards.
Dealing with it
This one is easy. If the Absolute client is broken, I need to play a different site until it is fixed so that I can make sure the chat is off completely. Since I have no interest in sledging - and especially hearing it - the best option is to turn off chat altogether. But there will come times when for whatever reason I do hear it. The best defence will just be to say well played and bite my tongue. My reaction was poor last night and also unnecessary. I can see much more value in letting Mr Angry shout and abuse while I am like a brick wall of cold emotionless ice. Isn't this what a poker player should be?

Monday, 4 January 2010

A Game of Incomplete Information - and I'm a Fish.

Much work to be done on my game I think. I'm really trying to make the best decisions but I seem to get it wrong fairly often. Maybe that's a property of heads - up poker. In a game of incomplete information we just have to use the smallest details; the slightest timing tell or the slightest bet sizing difference to deduce a reliable range that villain could have. But sometimes they just show up with something completely different and it makes me question my judgement and ability. But I must remember we are at the very start of this learning curve and game essentially. So I will try not to worry too much about mistakes at this stage. Continue to play, continue to learn. That's all I can do, and hope it makes me play better and make better decisions in future. GL

Friday, 1 January 2010

How to Fold the Second Nuts on the River.

... but before you think I'm a durrrr like genius, I timed out while trying to size my value bet lol. Subsequently though I deduced villain was SO passive that he/she could easily have had the nuts here. Or a set, which is what I thought it looked like at the time. That's why I was very tilted after this happened, but very proud that after a couple minutes of shouting "FUCK" at the screen I got my head down and won the bloody game anyway.

Edit: Putting villain on such a strong range, really the value bet size should have been trivial - all - in. What was I thinking? :)