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, 28 February 2010

Back to Basics

Im not good enough to grind the 20s yet. I admit it, while my hand reading is improving pretty quickly I have played a few games and my play isnt terrible, but the opposition is stronger on here than Absolute and Ive lost a good percentage of battles so far. Ive been using the limp stab method with some success, its not my natural style but Im enjoying the challenge. Without the aggression, it becomes a game of hand reading. This is where Im weakest. So despite the poor start to my full tilt career Im quite excited (in a strange kind of way) that I still have sooo much room for improvement. This means I can get my head down, learn some more, play some more and eventually hopefully become a good player. So ignore the last post, Ill be grinding the tens instead (on regular speed) until I have played a few hundred games. I found two tabling tricky too - as Im tired - so I shall make sure Im fresh in the head before I do it again. Of course the hand reading needs to be spot on and also instinctive for two tabling to become easy and Im not there yet unfortunately.
Im going to try and stick to the following principles for the next few weeks:
1/ Concentrate on creating good pot sizes on the flop so that committing with good hands becomes trivial.
2/ Continue to focus on hand reading well.
3/ When making a commitment decision on the flop (or later) decide whether getting all-in versus that opponent is +ev. Do not - like I did in one pot earlier versus a passive opponent - shove with top pair weak kicker after being reraised. Horrible mistake given that if we get all-in here against a tight passive opponent were crushed.
I look forward to the challenge of learning to beat these games. GL :)

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Playing plan for the coming weeks

I'm in the process of shifting my Absolute roll over to Full Tilt. Have won decent money, grew a $50 deposit into $300 over the course of a few weeks. I'm going to top up to $500 and play the $22+1 HUSNGs and two table so that I can achieve 8 games per day and therefore achieve bronze or silver ironman status every month. If I have a bad month I'll top up to $500 again with disposable income. The point of doing this is so that I have targets, and that I am motivated to meet them. I don't expect I'll be a winning player but the more post flop poker I play with what I know, the better I think I'll get. It's all about playing volume from now onwards and hopefully I'll be slightly better than break-even. Playing 20-25 days (8/day) will be 160-200 games per month which will yield $43 - $54 of rakeback every month. I'll invest ftps in 600ftp sngs to win $26 tournament tokens that I'll either use to play mtts or cash in depending on my mood. I'll use Ironman medals to buy up more $26 tokens. So this is where my focus shifts from study to actual playing hours. Wish me luck! :)
I'm still mixed about this. Preflop raises at the first couple of levels produces stack to pot ratios that are not ideal for pairs, I think this is a good reason why the limp stab style is so effective early on. But when we get shorter, I think switching styles to play more aggressively would def pay off, esp since we'd have cultivated a passive image by then and prob win several sets of blinds pretty quickly until villain adjusts. For the first two levels, then, I'll limp every hand (including big pairs) and play poker post flop. After this, 2.5x raises will give a good pot size for committing with top pair or big draws. I'll let you know how I get on, but try and keep results posts to a minimum except maybe a weekly update, and if I have anything else interesting to discuss, or any individual hands I'll post them too. GL

Friday, 26 February 2010

More on Rush. Strategy?

It's so easy to get lost in Rush, just play for endless hours... Well, tonight the games seemed extraordinarily nitty. I don't know if this is a typical characteristic but I was able to raise any two cards from the hijack through to the small blind and win the blinds a crazy amount of the time. It was ridiculooous. I made like $5 in just blind stealing over 500 or so hands. Unfortunately I ran like shite in the cards/showdown department. I'm not bothered, two hands I committed the stack as huge favourite and got sucked out on. I honestly don't care when that happens, I know my equity is good. The only thing that annoys me about poker is that I get outplayed way too much for my liking. But I've improved... The day will come when I can hold my own. It's coming... I can feel it coming in the air tonight...
for those who play rush, I wouldn't be afraid to loosen up a little, at least from the Hijack, cutoff, button and small blind. So many players just click the quickfold button it's just way too easy to steal the blinds. If you can do this and more or less breakeven with the money you win/lose from the blinds, then all you need to do is get value from your hands and you'll make tons of money. It's this simple!

Thursday, 25 February 2010


ok there's been alot said about this new game recently and I won't say much more. But what a nit's paradise huh? I started out pretty poorly, I was still in heads-up mode and not used to the playing dynamics. I played too loosely and bleeded chips. But thankfully for me I tightened up and got my poker head on. Most pleased with the following hand. Snap called the river with second pair because his line was FOS.

Pretty gutted that I spewed off chips with bluffs now because I've pretty much realised that showdown equity is the way to make money in rush. Make sure you bluff rarely, and only in small pots. The rest of the time hand read well, and play ABC. I don't want to start playing cash again full time, I have improved so much in HUSNGs that I'll stick with those as my main game but rush will be a nice way to entertain myself for an hour or two now and then. GL

Full Tilt Rakeback

Well, well. A while ago I posted on here that I was told I couldn't get FT rakeback. Well checking my emails today I have one - out of the blue - saying my account now has fully automated rakeback. WTF but pretty awesome huh? :O ... :D And now I have a problem. Well, not much of a problem really... I just calculated possible ROIs from both sites (Absolute and Full Tilt) including the rakeback and they're pretty identical given a certain win %. I can also use pokertracker on FT. The software is good and I can use the utility table ninja to help me to multitable... I think I may be switching sites pretty soon... On the down side my Absolute screen name pwns my fulltilt one. Nevermind, shit names are forgettable so this might actually help me... I'm pretty ecstatic right now truthfully. I always wanted to have a serious go on full tilt but other than that amazing promo they ran last September where they gave away $50 for just playing I was always jealous of the players earning RB. Now I'm not sat at an instant disadvantage and can just play on the second biggest site with rakeback without worrying about games filling or anything at any stake. AWESOME! I might even try a little bit of rush tonight and see what it's like lol. GL

Stack Size Mistakes

Looking back over my recent hand histories, I noticed two spots where I folded top pair when reraised on flop, flatted then villain smashed the betpot button on the turn. Both were dangerous boards and I think I made correct folds in both instances. But I think my major mistake was playing a post flop pot with a top pair sort of hand where the ratio of the pot to the stack sizes once we reach a flop is not good for us should we hit. I could have made a big mistake by folding the best hand to a strong draw in a big pot. So this is adding more fuel to the part of me that thinks I should start playing a limp stab style so that I can develop my hand reading skills and also so that I'm not making big mistakes by 1/ folding the best hand in a big pot 2/ getting the money in as a dog in a big pot. Generally if we're only ever making mistakes in small pots then we shouldn't be doing alot wrong. Once the stack sizes come down a bit then we can start raising as we'll be able to commit our stack much easier on favourable boards. So, how do we disguise our hand? When I raise most buttons it's easy for villain to make mistakes as my range is disguised. If I'm going to limp every pot I need to do this with strong hands too, so that villain never knows what I have and we can then build/control the pot size as needed.
Another little trick I'm going to start using is a rule of thumb for commitment decisions. Usually my thinking goes like this: " I have top pair let's get it in!! "
What I should really be asking is this: " Given the stack sizes and my opponent, will my hand be ahead of his range should we get all-in? ". If the answer is yes, we can raise. If not, it's better to take a passive line or if the hand is likely to end up with a stack decision we should just fold.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

shi**y couple of days play

Got totally run over in a few of the games. Concentrating really hard on board texture and villain tendencies and I'm so sure I was making decent decisions, but it just feels like I've become completely tight passive. I've really tried to reign in the bluffs since I tend to do it too much but I still run a couple on occasion when the boards seem dryish or are paired, but keep running into hands when I do. It's just so difficult when the flops keep coming connected and suited and we have hands without any equity. When I do occasionally c-bet these boards it's just a waste of chips since I always get called on them. So I end up blinding away, but all the time I'm just trying to make the best decision available, and the one I think will make me the most (or lose me the least) chips at the time. Just so frustrating when you reraise a calling station with AA, commit yourself by betting a third of your stack on the flop, shove the turn and find he was playing 72o and called the flop with bottom pair only to two pair up on the turn. Disgusting play! Anyway, I'm looking to invest in flopzilla so that I can do some more work on flops and how various hands hit them, and otherwise improve my strategy for this v. important HUSNG street.

Thoughts about continuation betting

Good evening, wondered if anyone had any thoughts about randomising our c-betting patterns. Really good players will not need to do this as they should hand read well enough to decipher ranges and most villains will not be doing this very well. But against thinking players I've too often felt that my play has been totally transparent and therefore I've often been played back at when bluffing obv dry boards or paired boards etc. The reason being is that my ranges obv contain too many bluffs to be believable. Well, how about using a suit or suits in our hole cards as a randomiser against these players so that we are c-betting every type of flop some percentage of the time as a bluff and therefore making our ranges difficult to decipher? Here's how it would work.
c-betting draw heavy boards
My standard approach at the moment is to check fold if we have a dangerous looking board and I've missed. But if I flop a strong draw or made hand I'll always bet. So my ranges are completely transparent and a thinking player will pretty much run me over on these flops. So, it must be necessary to at least c-bet them some small frequency as a pure bluff - even if the play has small negative expectation - since this will make villains less sure the next time we bet one of these boards. So, what if we randomise the times we bluff this board by only doing it when we have a heart as one or both of our hole cards (something that will happen a quarter of the time)?
c-betting dry boards
We should be betting dry boards pretty often since they hit our opponents range much less. But if we do it every time we become extremely exploitable to check raises or float leads etc. On the same theme, maybe we could c-bet those times we hit and the rest of the time if we have a red card as either hole card (so half the time). We hit a flop about a third of the time so this means we'd be betting at 2/3 flops but not more. This is much less exploitable than doing it to every dry board.
Is it really necessary?
In truth probably not, especially at the micros. But the next time I feel I'm being run over I might start randomising my play in this way and see if it helps. GL

Monday, 22 February 2010

Found a great little piece of free software....

called HoldemViewer and it's available for free download from www.holdemviewer.com. Please, I haven't checked it for adware or such so you should scan it first to check that it's safe. Basically you can use it to help visualise ranges of hands that your opponents are playing certain lines with. It's hard to explain without going into it alot but I highly recommend you muck about with it. If someone is raising 50% of their buttons I want to know what sort of hands are in that range. With this tool, I can do this. It's been a great help tonight already! I see myself getting tons out of it. A word of advice, I find the best category of hand ranking to be the Sklansky - Malmuth Groups, as this tends to focus on hands people like to play rather than those that win more overall when number crunched.
So how's my play going?
Well, the tens are creeping ever so slowly towards break even ROI (I'm up to -3% now from -50% at one point, lol) which is great. Tonight I was sat by a good player who was 3-betting (reraising) over 30% of the time. So I four bet with 55 and he shoved - for those not familiar with fourbet maths, you pretty much can't fold any pair after four betting versus a wide range. So I call and he's got JJ. So I lost that first one, but if someone is reraising you a third of the time, 55 does really well versus that range. But I think the fold is ok too, with calling the weakest option. With the stack sizes, there wasn't enough chips behind us to setmine. The four games that followed were all pretty bad players, and I was fortunate enough to get some hands. Against pretty weak players and given the right pot size you just need to maximise your equity and shove any good hand - even if it's an overbet. Twice I did this and got snap called by some pretty dreadful garbage. So the motto is, if weak villain shows any strength in a pot and we have a good hand, BET BIG! Anyway, hope you get something from the software I recommended at the top. GL all :)

Sunday, 21 February 2010


0/2. First villain was super aggressive calling station - if that makes any sense. Unfortunately the only way to play these villains who never fold and keep mashing potpotpotpot is call down lightly. I value towned myself a couple of times unfortunately with second pair type hands and then lost a flip at the end. Frustrating opponent to play. There's no finesse, no thinking just constant aggression and even when we try and play back they won't fold. Frustrations, it's a shame because just one hand is all that you need to stack players like this. Never mind. Next game I lost through stupidity really. Again villain was aggressive but his play was overall a much better quality and we had a good little battle which I enjoyed much more. I made a mistake though by calling a large bet - I had top pair and the only hands he could really have were a set or bluff. So I called and he had a set. I could probably have been more patient as while he wasn't as terrible as villain 1 there was still plenty of leaky play there to exploit. Oh well, that's all for tonight. I'll only tilt if I play any more now. I think I've reached a point of understanding thanks to HUSNG.com where I should probably look to grind games for a few months now. If I'm still terrible at the end of it I can look for coaching to address any remainding leaks.
Daily minimum playing reqs
So, if I'm going to get through some games I'll try and figure out a realistic goal. I think I could currently play min 6 games a day if I continue to single table. So I should target 180 games a month. I'll look for some positive ROI at the $10.50s over 500 matches or so before I even consider moving up in stakes. So I'll be hanging around these tens for a while yet by all likelihood.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Further Thoughts About Winning Poker

Ok, I'm a little drunk but I thought I'd share an idea or theory with you and add a little logic to try and back it up. Please, please tell me if you disagree and we can start a deeeeebate.
Play on later streets is less significant than play on earlier streets.
A few years back I studied computer science and was introduced to decision trees.
Every time we play a hand, the global EV is a sum of the EVs of each possible decision branch. As the tree of different plays branches out from preflop onwards, the actual EV towards the very ends of the branches becomes pretty insignificant in terms of the global EV. This is because the actual probability of finding yourself in that position is very small by that stage. I hope you're with me and I'm not actually insane. (in truth who really thinks as much about poker as me? maybe i am actually a nutcase... :() The point is... If we can find an edge preflop or on the flop it's huge compared to those we can find later in the hand. So... if we want to win at poker we need to concentrate on exploiting the imbalances inherent in villain's play at the earliest moment in the hand. I'll give some examples:
1/ villain never folds preflop... we value bet relentlessly with the top of our range
2/ villain constantly folds to 3-bets.... we 3-bet relentlessly with our entire range
3/ villain never folds to 3-bets.... we 3-bet relentlessly with the top of our range
4/ villain calls every bet preflop and folds to almost every c-bet... we raise every singe hand (100%) and c-bet every single flop (100%)...
This is where the most of our profit comes from. Forget situations, if you can find a significant imbalance in your opponents play preflop or on the flop then you will make money from him :) Drunken post over, I need another beer..... GL

Good evening

Had good cards tonight and won 3/3. Two players were quite "crummy" - remember this word from the 80s? I love getting big pocket pairs against these villains, because they don't give you ANY credit when you raise. So, 3-bets galore get the money in thankyou very much for your buy-in sir. The other player was an 8% winner over 1000ish games and when I found this out at the start of the game I played pretty poorly for the first few hands. I really do need to learn to have confidence in my game sometimes. To be honest I didn't deserve the game, I spewed about 800 chips by calling a little loosely on some dryish boards with second/3rd pair. But in a pot when I was short I turned the nut flush on a checked paired flop and he'd slow played trips - this allowed me to double up and then trap him one hand with KK before managing to win the flip. I really need to give villains more credit early on in a game before we get a read that he/she is bluffing out of line. If it means we get run over for 20 hands before adjusting this means we'll likely lose alot less than 800 chips. I hope I get a chance to play this villain again however, with a little work I think I could create a good strategy to counter his. There were certainly imbalances in his play, as there were in mine during the game. This is how the battle between two thinking players begins :)
Further thoughts?
I didn't play the limp stab style tonight really. There were passages of play where I did when I felt it was necessary to switch gears but the rest of the time I played more aggressively. I think I'll just incorporate this gear into my overall style and go from there. A big edge in poker comes from players calling too lightly (preflop) and folding to most c-bets. If we're always limping I feel that I'm missing out on exploiting this imbalance. Sure, if this leak doesn't exist in a villain we need to find another one to exploit and limp stabbing might be it. But I think I'll begin a match by establishing if we can use this simple trick, and if it doesn't work move onto other strategies.

Friday, 19 February 2010

How'd the new style fare?

Well, up 2/1 tonight. The game I lost I got the money in chip lead + fave and bricked. The style doesn't feel natural, limping so much preflop feels weak to someone who is so used to preflop aggression. However, I've no doubt about this style's affectiveness; we're basically exaggerating our post flop edge I feel, and while in general we're winning smaller pots we're also not having to get the chips in so marginally. It's a totally diff mindset from being the betting leader. When I'm playing my normal style, I'll be reading boards for good c-betting opportunities, or multi-barrel bluffs etc. When we limp in, we're not continuation betting any more, just stabbing on dry boards and the rest of the time, instead of representing a range of hands we're trying to calculate villain's range of hands. I loved this new approach tonight, and the new way of thinking. And despite hardly ever raising, villains were still quite happy to call big raises when I had my preflop monsters. Easy game, lol. I think I'll continue with this style as it will help with my hand reading no end. Once I'm used to it, I'll then have two approaches that I can call on at will during play. I may even mix it up and use both gears against the better opponents. GL

Durr me. AKA more thoughts on betting

I've just read a discussion on betting where several top players were of mixed opinions about why we bet. It came from the following argument:
We should bet when we can either get called by a weaker hand or make a stronger hand fold
I was always of the opinion that this was good advice, especially for river play. The challenge is to find an instance where this is wrong and therefore disprove the argument. I found one such instance that occurs when I was mucking about in pokerazor (as I occasionally do... and should probably do much more judging by the discoveries I often make). Counter bluffing can be profitable and does not fit the previous axiom. I ran a scenario where I wanted to test raising a river against a villain with a range that is largely bluffs. If we have a made hand but one which will never get called by weaker then raising the river is always inferior to flat calling unless villain is bluffing all of the time - when the raise equity is exactly equal to the calling equity. This is pretty obvious, if we have no equity to gain from a weaker hand calling then there's no reason to raise. This is the fundamental principle of value betting, and I knew this already. But often reraising the river still had positive expectation. So if we have no hand at all (no showdown value) then we can reraise bluff profitably. So there are situations where it's profitable to counter bluff. In this case, we're obv not value betting and our bet is not intended to fold out a stronger hand. I still think the argument is good advice though, but it should not be viewed as universal truth.

What's that?... Plan B?!

Ok, just watched a video by a player who likes to limp a very wide range (including big hands) and then makes assumptions about villain's hand based on his preflop action and plays the flop accordingly. It's a small ball approach that I've read about a few times - also employed by some mid stakes winners like fydor_8. The most interesting aspect is that in the forum topic about the video, it was suggested that every player should be able to play multiple styles well in order to counter act the strategy that your villain is employing. My natural style is fairly aggressive and I like building pots with hands that play well. But against villains who are very bluffy and overbet aggressively I don't think my style works out very well unless we hit flops pretty hard. So I think that I am going to teach myself this small ball approach so that against opponents like this I can keep myself in the game by conceding small pots until I pick up a hand worth going with. At the moment (if I miss flops) I'll find myself around 1000 chips quite quickly and this is where I panic and get the money in light - as I did last night. So, for the next few matches I'm going to work on my plan 'B' and learn to become a small baller. Hopefully then, I'll be able to get away from spots where I get frustrated and get the stack in where my equity is unclear. At the end of the day, HU money is made post flop so the fewer times we have to get the money in marginally the better.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Just lost three games and going to invoke my stop loss rule now as I don't think I'd play +ev in any future matches tonight. Really frustrating, as every opponent seemed really bad. A 3 buy-in downswing is nothing but I kind of played like a dickhead; not many mistakes, but three crucial ones when it mattered. I think I play the worst in the 20-40 bb stack size period. First match villain was just raising almost every time I put a bet in. Overbets too, so I just had enough and at about 1200 chips I decided to make a stand with A3o and ran into QQ. I was about 30BB deep at this stage and against someone who'd reraised so often I considered my hand to have decent equity. If I'd continued to blind off I'd have ended up making a stand much shorter with almost no equity left in the game anyway. Sigh, so first idiot beats me. Second player was a little better but seemed recklessly aggressive - but I was totally card dead in this game and limp reraise shoved A7s as he'd been attacking my limps pretty often. I thought he'd have a range of broadways most of the time and equity be good but got snap called by AT and bricked. Now, I think I could have actually folded this hand as villain had committed himself with the raise. But I felt his range was wide enough that my equity was ok against a calling range. Last game I was doing ok against a pretty straightforward player but called down three streets with top pair (paired board) despite villain betting large each time and my instincts telling me I was crushed - he obv had trips. I think I'll learn a valuable lesson from this game actually, so might not all be bad. Facing this type of decision on the flop my thought process was "I can't fold top pair top kicker on this board surely?" - but I'd had earlier reads that villain's betting sizes were polarised based on the strength of hand. Thinking back on his bet timing too was a pretty big giveaway. I don't mind calling one street, but on the second the danger signs should have flashed. I felt on the turn that I needed to either call two streets or fold. And in hindsight based on all the information it was an easy fold.
Where do I go from here?
Well, one of my biggest strengths is that after I've played so horribly I tend to work some more on my game. So that's where I'll start. Day off tomorrow, I'll try and get a good nights sleep and get up and watch three or four videos and print off some stuff and play again tomorrow afternoon. I feel that these $10 games are going to be a real challenge. Here's to putting in some hours and coming back and pwning :) cheeers and GL!

Monday, 15 February 2010

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrggggggh!! - lol

ok needed to let off some tilt, I decided to play one more game after the last post. Opponent was very loose passive. He played his hands face up yet I still managed to lose. Now the comforting fact is that it's poker and I'm never a big favourite over any player. However, I think my equity in this case was probably around 65 - 70% to win since he was soooo straight forward. I could narrow his ranges so accurately very quickly in each and every hand and twice managed to build up a 3/1 chip lead. The first time I got it in AK vs JJ and lost the flip, so I value bet my way into another lead and then made big mistakes in two pots to gift back the chip lead. The frustrating thing was that I changed my strategy on the fly and played a big pot with second pair - pretty recklessly based on the line I took - and also bluffed a pot with merely an open ended straight draw when again, I didn't need to build the pot due to stack sizes (if we'd hit we'd have won the match) and had no fold equity anyway. When looking back, I think I should just have stuck to my game plan - and so my crime was lack of patience. This is such a huge leak of mine, and one I must correct as soon as possible. There is every chance if I hadn't spewed these few hundred chips I'd have got the win I deserved with my early game play. Oh well, there's still tons of videos I haven't watched on HUSNG.com and I'll get to it right away. Tilt post over :)

3 games tonight

2/1 to the good. First and third players were usual crazy types and second player decent winner over good sample size - so that was quite an interesting battle. I thought he was a little too passive, he didn't c-bet an awful lot or even stab in limped pots but maybe he had me as a calling station, I don't know lol. One thing he did do well though was reraise my 'full of shit' stabs pretty often - maybe that's his style, looking for the airball plays and making reverse moves. Unfortunately the game didn't last long enough for me to start adjusting and doing this with made hands as well so that my ranges were balanced. Nevermind, wrote plenty of notes so hopefully if we play him again we can adapt better. I was also card dead which is a bit of a bummer if I can't win by betting at the dry boards either. The other players obv did some pretty crazy stuff but I managed to get the money in pretty good several times and fortunately I won.
I really think that my game has improved the most recently in the second level thinking box. That is, I've been making good decisions based on board texture and what I think villain's range is. However, as the second game showed I'm still really short when it comes to what he thinks I might have. Second villain either sensed I prob didn't have alot on those boards that he reraised on or he had a hand good enough to do this with. I don't think I'm terrible at this, I'll often play a bluffy looking line with a good made hand if I think his range might look me up and I'm definitely often thinking about balance but I def think this needs the most improvement. Hopefully though through experience this will become clearer to me. Anyway, ramble done. GL all

Sunday, 14 February 2010

chat?!... WTF?

yeah tonight I played and for some reason chat was back on. No abuse though, a couple of the players were quite fair and shared the usual nh and stuff. Trouble is, if I start liking an opponent, that also makes me play less than optimally against them. Kind of reverse tilt. My psychology changes to .... "ah, we'll let him have that one huh". The last player was the perfect example of this... He was tight and fairly passive preflop but played quite well post. So I adjusted (before the chat) to raise almost every button since he was letting me have the blinds so much. This is a standard adjustment to this type of player. However, he started joking about my rare limps and folds and it kind of made me tighten my button raising range. Just a little, but enough to blunt my edge somewhat. I'd love to make a network of friends on Absolute, but until I am confident enough in my game that I can chat and still play my best poker I think it's best I keep it turned off.
An update about poker... I'm going to head into the murky mire of play again. I've got through about 2/3 of the vids on HUSNG now and I think I'll try and balance playing the game with the remaining vids. Hopefully I can turn around my bad start to the tens within the next 200/300 games so I can move up to the twenties or thirties. I also want to target 300 games per month but this will only be possible once I start 2-tabling. I'm not quite ready for that adjustment IMO, so for now I'll try and do 150-200. GL all

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Nearly Ready for some Voluuuuume

I think that I will have watched all the videos I want to by the end of the month and will then set myself some realistic goals regarding playing volume. I'll begin March by testing out two tables at a time and stick with that for a while. I think the average is about 20 mins for a game on absolute so two tabling should yield around 6 games per hour and I'll try and do 60-100 a week. I'm also going to use a bit of advice I read and after each game finishes try and recite out loud the inbalances in villain's play and how I should have exploited him (whether I actually did that in the game or not). The goal for this is that eventually my adjustments become instinctive rather than thought out - as they are currently. I'll also try and motivate myself by targeting a certain monthly FAME status level - Gold I expect. Will post more on this nearer the time. These are just vague goals at the moment which I will refine in the next couple of weeks. I won't be posting much until then as I'm working hard at watching these videos and making notes. Hopefully all this work will pay off and my results in March will reflect it. GL all

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Been busy this week and hardly played at all. Watched a few videos though, I'm trying to prioritise getting through all of the material at HUSNG before the membership runs out. Truth is though, I'll probably join again until the summer. I've got so much out of it, even if I decide that HUSNGs aren't the game for me, I've improved no end since playing them so why the hell not? One thing that's bothering me at the minute is the number of players out there that seem to know what they're doing now. It's clearly still possible to beat the games - according to the sharkscope graphs - but I'm wondering how long the edges will last. Nevermind, I still enjoy playing and I suppose there'll always be some % of recreational players to exploit at the lower limits. Any other thoughts on this would be welcome actually. Are the games going to last as a profitable endeavour? Should I start playing Razz? GL

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The tens

... have not begun too well. Opposition is not much better but I haven't been playing great. I'm going to get my head down and really try and concentrate on fundamentals.
1. Adjusting to player types
This is something I need to concentrate more on, the last two players have been loose passive types but I've continued to try and bludgeon with trashy hands despite that they're rarely folding. Against loose players I need to tighten my range a little and limp alot more. If they're raising limps alot, then merge my limping and raising range so we can limp call.
2. No fancy syndrome
When I've lost a few chips, I sometimes get desperate to make them back and end up playing an extravagent bluff and stacking off. I don't think these plays are ever horrible in terms of EV since we've usually got some fold equity but still, I probably need to show some more patience.
3. Value, value and more value
I've heard it said that it's possible to make a profit at micros by just value betting made hands. I think recently I may have got a little out of line with the bluffs and probably not got as much value as I should.
4. Frame of mind
I need to make sure I'm playing when my mind is sharp - so I'm not tired and can quickly and effectively work out my likely equity in a hand.
Overall I don't think I'm doing too much wrong but a little fine tuning and extra effort on each of these four areas should hopefully see me turn it around. I'll try and blog less for a bit and work some more on my game. GL

Friday, 5 February 2010

Move up when? and why?

Basically I've been trying to justify to friends why I'm moving up in limits after so few games (97). Edit: I've added the graph for the 97 $5.25 games above. I'm going to summarise my reasons for moving up in this post. There will be maths, and if I've screwed up - likely - then please correct in the comments and I'll go back over the workings. I'm currently playing the $5.25 HU SNGs on Absolute poker. These games are well within my bankroll (50 buy-ins). If you talk to anyone who plays HUSNGs they'll tell you that this is ludicrously nitty in terms of bankrolling for micro stakes HU matches, especially since I have disposable income from my day job that I can top up with every month. So why am I playing them and not the $10.50s or higher? Because I wanted to prove to myself that I can beat the limits from the base up before testing myself at higher stakes. Can I prove after so few games that I'm beating the $5.25s then? I can't prove it, but I can provide a compelling argument. Let's assume we're a break even player (ROI = EV = $0) then we should win on average 53% of the time.

First let's calculate variance of a single trial (and I'll include the sums so I can quickly spot errors - hopefully):
0.53*(4.75^2) + 0.47*(-5.25^2) = 24.9125
=> standard deviation = 4.99
The standard deviation of 97 trials is 4.99*(square root(97)) = approx 49
The mean $ won over 97 games is obv 0 and so using a confidence interval of two standard deviations from the mean our upper and lower profit bounds are -$98 < mean < $98 (For those who don't know probability this is the range within which our profit should fall 95% of the time, given a normal distribution)
My current profit is $101 in these games, which would happen no more that 5% of the time if I was only a break even player. This is therefore strong evidence that I'm actually a winner.

The fact that I currently have an ROI of 20% suggests I may be doing better than just beating the games too. But without a bigger sample I just won't know. Also, because I'm so overrolled for the $5.25 games and might be harming my long term winnings by playing at those stakes, I think there's a compelling case to move up now - which I'm going to do. Once the stakes start to become a little more tasty I'm going to start using stricter confidence intervals before moving up limits since there is more risk involved. GL
P.S. All the probability maths and much more can be found in Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman's 'The Mathematics of Poker' book.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Timing Tells

This is something I've posted about before, but it's amazing how effective these are in HUSNGs. I try to disguise my own actions by waiting 3/4 seconds before acting but the vast majority of opponents do not do this. It's not something I'm really accomplished at but over the next month (other than study HUSNG videos) I'm going to obsessively memorise any tips from any piece of literature about this I can find (and there are tons of articles online if you search for them). Anything that can help us to define villain's range will give us a big edge in these games. The tells I'm currently looking for are these:
- a quick 3-bet is usually strong. Often however the idiots in the games I play will insta min 3-bet so not only are they turning their hand face up often, they are giving me the implied odds to call and drill a flop.
- instant call of c-bet is usually weak
- instant check from bb is usually weak
- insta c-bet is usually a premeditated action and his range will contain loads of air.
- quick river bet is often a bluff
- fast bets are usually weighted towards bluffs
- slow bets are usually weighted towards made hands
- a delayed check is often someone considering a bluff but thinking better of it and therefore often a weak holding
These are but a few, and I'm sure I'll learn many more in the weeks to come. The other major tell is bet sizing but I'll leave learning about this until after the timing tells have become second nature. GL

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Been looking over my stats so far. WSD is won at showdown % and WWSF is won when saw flop %. The first figure tells me how often I win the hand when I go to showdown. In other words it's a reflection on my hand reading skills. So far I have 56% which I'm very happy with. I have no real benchmarks with which to compare this other than my cash game results where the % was smaller at around 53-54%. The second stat tells me how many times I win after we see the flop. I think I remember posting before that in cash this % hovered around 46% so I was probably giving up too much on the flop and playing too hit or miss. In HUSNGs however, this now stands at a very healthy 55%. I think that having two good figures like this for these two key stats is really where my ROI is coming from. As we rise through the limits and come across more aggressive players I'd expect both figures to drop -obviously- but hopefully we can maintain a 50%+ figure for both. GL

Monday, 1 February 2010


3/3 again. Good points: I seem to be consistently (overall) earning myself big chip leads through exploitation and decent hand reading. I truly believe that this is where heads - up SNG profit lies. If we can out think our opponents and consistently build a chip lead in the games, this is constant solid profit. I'm convinced this is how the professional HUSNG players make the money.
Bad points: I'm running as good as Usain at the moment. I class it as a bad point because this distorts the true picture of my current game skill. I THINK that I am playing well and doing lots of things right, but I also admit that I'm hitting some good flops and generally winning the majority of coin flips overall. Anyway, I'll enjoy riding the crest in readiness for the inevitable drop.
A huge positive is that recently I don't remember making any huge spewey plays. A couple of times tonight I was itching to call but I felt villain would make big mistakes later on in the game and these decisions were close so I folded. And obv I was proved correct in these instants as I went on to win the games. I also haven't made any crazy shoves for a while. I think this is as a result of my increased awareness of balance. EG when out of position I'm not just check jamming draws as I used to, but check calling as I would with top pair or a slow played set. In other words I'm trying to keep my range untransparent and keep the opponent guessing. GL