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.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

25NL Rush So Far

A single buy-in down after 9k hands but such a small sample I'm not going to worry too much about this yet, I'm just aiming to get to 50000 then do a game check up - I'll post my findings here. Until that point (end of July?) I'll just keep to my strategy and try and play each hand to the best of my ability and won't play any crazy spewey lines weighting my philosophy heavily towards value betting and making good folds. Hopefully this will still be good enough to make money at this limit. I've noticed light 3-betting increase a fair bit, so I'm going to cut down my steal % but simultaneously increase my 4-bet range. I'll see more variance this way but I can't let people 3-bet me to death. I may have to learn to call and play 3-bet pots IP but this is a skill I don't have yet and will need to do some research first. The weakest part of my game is calling bets and then playing post flop. Once I've called a bet pre, I too often revert to a fit or fold mentality and this isn't good poker. The problem with playing back in this spot is that our range becomes bluff heavy and this just doesn't feel right to me; also so many players fire two barrels now that floating is prob close to a break even play these days. I'm having my greatest success at the moment by not flatting any bets except with the top of the range that I will not 3-bet. I'm having some success with this strategy but nothing that is making a huge difference to my winnings. Anyway, much improvement required but I'll wait until the 50K hands and go from there.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

First session of 25NL (Rush)

Went pretty well, I'm not sure if it was time of day or what but there seemed like a lot of casual players with 50-100 buy-ins (but not full stacked). Two of these players stacked off lightly against me so hopefully this is a sign that there are still tons of weak players at this limit. I noticed quite a bit of light 3-betting to late position steals so I'm going to need to find a strategy for steal/4 betting that can counter this somewhat. I just played two tables and went for a low variance style where I'd be extra picky with the boards I'd c-bet on and pretty much just played entirely for value. I'll stick to these things over the next couple of days and maybe add tables towards the end of the week. I should be able to make around $100 rakeback a week once I four table so as I said before assuming a break even strategy I'll be able to move up to 50NL some time in late summer and sooner if I win some money from the limit. I should probably try and get some HUSNGs in soon too as I'm out of practise and I think they will end up making me more money than Rush once we reach a certain limit. I was toying with the idea of trying 6-tables or more, but I think it's better for my game to play less as I have more time to think things through. However at some point the money I'm making might become such that playing more makes sense. For now, I'll stick to four. OK, think that's all I had to say. I'll try and make the next post a little more interesting. GL at the tables!

Friday, 25 June 2010

xxx 10NL, I'm going to miss you xxx

Yes... It's just about time to move up to 25NL. I'm not saying I'll never play 10NL (rush) again, but I need to test myself at a higher limit now, and I've earned enough money at 10NL to know that I need to give it a shot for better or worse. I'll begin with two tables and increase once I get comfortable with the new raise sizing and working out the stack sizes etc. The best thing about Rush for me is the hands you can get through. Not just because you can destroy standard deviation very quickly, but because you get so much experience very quickly. In the last couple of weeks I've really felt that I was working people out. This time next year I could have played a million hands of poker. That's crazy stuff, I owe the inventor of Rush a beer. He/She has potentially improved my development time by five fold. Thanks! Anyway, onwards and upwards, huh?

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Two hands that didn't go my way

Didn't play this hand particularly well I don't think:

Villain was playing a very tight range so putting him on all the pocket pairs, there are no weaker hands that call my check raise. At the time, I decided that I'd check raise with the intention of 3-barrelling all - in should he call. I was going to represent a set and try and fold out {TT-AA} as well as any overcard 'air' in his range. I'd not normally do something like this with a hand like 88 but the extra equity (8 outs to straight) gave me 38(ish)% to actually be ahead by the river versus overpairs. I felt this extra equity may have made the play alright. I'm not sure. However when we hit our straight it's necessary to bet for value. After the second call I was pretty convinced that he had some sort of overpair which is why I shipped on the river. I think this value bet may have been too thin. I'm going to put this hand through pokerazor at some point and find out. I feel that a check call may have been better on the flop but I'll let you know. Second hand just standard but a shame my straight didn't hold up.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hi. Running well, and confirmation of an idea

Well I've laid waste to that 13 buy-in downswing now and made a tidy sum more. The time is fast approaching when I really need to move up to 25NL. I have a little money that I may top up with to give myself around 60 buy-ins for that limit. If all goes well I could be in the 50NL (Rush) games by the Autumn. I am certainly running well over the last 10K hands so I should wait until things have settled down again before I make the leap.
Becoming a NIT again!
For the last 50K hands or so I'd loosened up in an effort to improve my play and also my BB/100 rate. But something I touched on a few weeks back has resurfaced - a pro poker player mentioned the $/hr vs. BB/100 as far as it concerns Rush poker. He basically confirmed my earlier suspicion that we may be losing $/hr by playing too loosely. In other words the more we fold the more we'll see aces. So I have begun to nit up again. Not as tight as before, but more than lately. It suprised me today how much I noticed the big hands at my tables. I'm allowing myself the chance to get them more often by cutting out marginal raises. It's a balance that needs to be struck, and I think I'm pretty close to optimal now. GL!

Monday, 21 June 2010

My First Beautiful Royal Flush

Don't think I played the hand very well, though I think the initial flop reraise is fine; however once he's 3-bet he's pretty much got AK or better and my equity is only around 40%. But if we assume he's actually folding to a shove some of the time, and occasionally shows up with a weaker flush draw I think that given there is dead money in the pot getting it in isn't too bad. I think my bet sizing for the reraise could have improved the situation. If we reraise to $1.7 or something then his 3-bet will likely have been smaller and more inclined to include some bluffs. Anyway, meh. The turn made my day.
EDIT: Ran some scenarios with pokerazor, the shove over his 3-bet is actually a small mistake (20 cents or so) giving him the range {AK, 22, JJ, AA, AJ, A2s}. The initial reraise is fine since his range is assumed to be wide at that stage. But I'd have been better probably just calling the 3-bet given that I was getting OK odds and very likely to win a small bet on a future street when we hit. Note also that it's only a small mistake due to the stack sizes (150bb); if we had 100bb effective stacks then the shove over his 3-bet would have been +EV and the correct play. Oh how the different variables change things. I hope that some day I'll know all of this well enough during a hand so that I can maximise my winnings.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

So, there's not much variance in full ring then right?

Until today I'd suffered a horrible 13 buy-in straight down free fall over the past two or three days play. I've recovered several buy-ins now and feel much better about it, but it's crazy stuff. What I need to do is attempt to move my game forward and improve my poker so that I'm not such a marginal (1.3 PTBB/100) winner. This would make the swings less intense, although I feel I've dealt with them pretty well so far. I'm certainly one of these people though who needs plenty of buy-ins. If that was a third of my 'roll I'd have been seriously frustrated but 10% is hardly anything. The biggest leak I have is my turn aggression. I generally play very passively there but I'm sure there's loads of spots where villain's ranges are weak where I could probably take the pot away. I often double barrel, I don't think this is the problem, but if I could just win a few more pots there it would make some difference I think. Anyway, just a short post. Not much interesting to say but it sounds like Rush is very beatable (at least up to 100NL) where it's possible to win between $50 and $100 per hour which is amazing (obv). I'll have to work seriously hard if I'm to join the winners ranks there though. GL

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Not playing great, running even worse!

The original limp was actually a misclick as I nearly timed out after playing a hand on a different table. The rest of the hand just sucks.

Just trying to play my hand fast and hope villain stacks off lightly. UUUUUURRRRGH, Wrong Answer. Actually not sure my line was the best, but I felt that by checking the turn I could prob win an extra bet on the river from a pocket pair.
I've just filtered my database for hands where I called on the river and I've lost over $200 in this spot; it's clear that when our villains are betting on the river in (10NL) Rush poker, it's with a hand better than a pair most of the time and almost never a bluff. I could save myself alot of money in this spot. I lost another buy in today when I was tilting and four bet shoved 88 preflop from the BTN into a BB who had been 3-betting around 20% of the time over my sample. AA, obv. I'm in a better frame of mind now so will play some more, and try to respect villain river bets a whole lot more.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The hard work begins

Just had a 3-buyin loss session, which I was expecting since I'd won like 7 on the trot or something. It could have been better but I tried a three street bluff versus someone I viewed as a tight passive and believed I could get to fold their top pair or draw range on a brick river after I'd double barrelled. Didn't work out but I'll have to look at the hand closer to decide for sure if my river bluff was correct. The main thing is that I've loosened up with a view to practising what I was talking about in previous blog posts about learning to count combinations. I may have to cut down on tables to get good at this; I'm very determined to get good at this process. Let me elaborate a little:
Say we have KTo on a K95r and c-bet a loose passive who calls. He is playing around 30% of hands, so he could have maybe a few hands with a king in, lets say KQ, KJ or KT which numbers 2x4x2+2x3 = 22 combinations, and some suited connectors for gut shot draws: 67s, 68s, 78s; TJs, TQs, JQs; all for 24 combinations in total. So the draws and made hands weigh up pretty equally. But now say another K turns, his range now has 24 draws but only 11 made hands. So our best betting line may no longer be to bet the turn but to check back and allow the draws (which make up most of his range) to bluff the river once they miss. I'm convinced that this is the way the great players think about hands during play, and it's a thinking process that I'm determined to mimick. But it's hard work, it will take alot of time and hand study for this to become easy to do but it's work that I'm very prepared to do to ensure that I realise my ambition of being a tough NLHE player. GL

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Enjoying a Heater; and Where I want my game to be...

Hi, I'm currently enjoying a great little heater; a little like that 10K one I had near the start of my 10NL Rush expedition. It's great when the money is flying in. Of course I'm awaiting the inevitable dry patch that must surely be around the corner. It's kind of weird, but I'm reluctant to try 25NL (despite meeting my criteria for moving up) because I know that I'm due a downswing. On the flip side, I might win several buy-ins at the next limit before it begins. I know that I should probably forget future possiblities and just play poker, I'm just scared of undoing all of the great things I've achieved over the last two months. Christ, one could go crazy thinking of probabilities so much. Anyway, I will take my shot sooner rather than later. I'll probably start with two or three tables and use a low variance style until I get used to the limit. I think the greatest bit about my results so far is that my confidence has grown immensely. Now that I can mathematically say that I'm very likely to be beating this limit (10NL) it's given me so much more confidence in my play.
Future Progress?
Where would I like my game to be? Well, the next step for me is to learn to count combinations quickly in real time during play. The reason for this is that being able to do this well will give me the ability to accurately forecast equities during a hand. All that would then be required is to know exactly how the different betting lines and villain actions effect us allowing me to make the best EV decision every time given the information I have. I have this image in my head of exactly what I'd like to be able to do during a hand. If I could achieve that, then I don't think there would be many players I'd fear playing in the world and then, that would be when I'd be able to make an awful lot of money.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

100K Hands Post

Hey, well I've finally reached 100000 hands for 10NL Rush poker and I'm pretty pleased with the way it has gone (see graph). It's not that impressive for 10NL, my win rate was only around 1.5 BB/100. But despite this I've finished winning just shy of $300 so far and about $200 rake back on top. So $500 in two months. I'm absolutely chuffed with this result, I've learned so much as well as made some coin too. The biggest downswing was around 11 buy-ins. I remember being fairly down at the time but I knew that since my opponents were making so many mistakes that I just needed to ride the wave. Despite this I know that my game is far from where I'd like it to be, even reading some twoplustwo threads today I've gained insight into the way I should be hand reading while playing. At the moment it's kind of easy since micro fish play so transparently but as soon as players begin to play in a more aggressive and balanced way I'm going to need all of the combination maths memorised. But enough of that for now, that's a goal for the future. I'm going to lower my bankroll requirements for 25NL I think and use a 36/40 structure. That is, move up at 40 buy-ins and then drop if we fall under 36 for that limit. So I'm around $50 away from moving to 25NL and then the learning can begin all again :)
Goals at 25NL
If I can break even at that limit then it should take around 10 weeks to earn enough rakeback to move up to 50NL, so my goal should be to play another two months or 100K hands at that limit before taking the plunge at the first serious stakes I'll ever have played - 50NL. I predict that I'll have my first serious problems when I get that far and I'll need to work hard to improve. But I enjoy a challenge, and I know that my understanding is at a high enough level that with a bit of work I can be a success there. GL!

Poker Nightmares?!!?

I woke up yesterday really pissed. The hand had been brutal... On the river with the effective nuts versus a deep stacked fish who obv liked his hand. But I just couldn't decide on a bet size. Unfortunately in my desire to get the bet size just right I had not noticed the timer running down. As soon as the auto fold happened and my hand hit the muck I screamed and then bit my knuckles until they bled... Browsing my pokertracker hand histories has no record that this hand ever happened. So the question is... Have I begun to have poker nightmares?!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Little Piece of TwoPlusTwo Gold

Microstakes Fundamentals (.pdf)
Excellent primer written by a twoplustwo player called MonkE. I had no input.
I've known these things for a while now, but this is such a good little mini e-book that I think that anyone who is struggling would benefit from reading it. GL

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Hi, just thought I'd post how I've been getting on recently. The last 20-30K hands I've been pretty much breakeven. I'll try and explain why I think this is...
For the first 50K hands I'd been playing a very nitty style, only VP$IP with hands that rated to be better than villain's range. To this effect I was only 3-betting or folding (a strong range) to a previous raise and open raising a distribution that rated to be best based on the number of players left to act. It ended up having me playing around 11% of pots and had me winning at a rate of around 1.5 BB/100. But around the end of last month I decided to loosen up a little and have been playing all the pocket pairs from every position at the table in a basic fit or fold style. This strategy has earned me money overall, but my win rate with the pockets has actually fallen from it's previous level. Now the sample is pretty small but I've actually been losing money by playing every PP from UTG and UTG+1. This has contributed extra money to my redline losses which is now cancelling out my profit from showdown winnings. Because the sample is still small, I'll continue to play these hands but I'm aware of the potential leak and so I can eradicate it should these hands continue to be a drain on my win rate. Of course I could adapt my strategy so that I'm playing less of a hit or miss style, but the problem with doing this is we'll often be pure bluffing a crap hand without position. We're also usually in a multiway pot. I'll keep you posted.
Another thing I've been doing is playing more suited aces. These have been faring better but probably due to three factors:
1/ Card removal (less chance villains have big hands)
2/ Implied Odds versus Sets, Weaker Flushes and Straights - players hate to fold them!
3/ I've had good variance with these hands so far
Again, I think I'll continue to play them for now but I think this could be another potential leak and I'm ready to remove them from my EP strategy if this is proven.
ON the plus side, I've been much better with the blinds recently and now my total BB and SB losses are about 0.3 BB per hand which I'm perfectly happy with (at least for now). My goal is to now try and increase my winnings in the later positions and this will be where my profit comes from.
One way I plan to do this is to begin to include a range of hands (suited connectors?) that I flat IP preflop and then raise c-bets on good flops as a bluff. It doesn't have to work very often to be profitable and I think it will work with a very high frequency versus the tons of microstakes one trick ponies. I must be careful when deciding to double/triple barrel but the reraise on it's own should show a good profit against most players at this limit. I think that's everything... Rush is allowing me to pick apart my game like never before. I love studying my stats... What a sad little fuck I am! ;) GL

Monday, 7 June 2010

The "Gimme Your Money" Rush Poker Betting Line

It goes a little something like this... umcha umcha umcha umcha umcha... OK, there's a consistent betting pattern that happens in Rush poker. We raise in early position, c-bet the flop and again on the turn and villain (who has position) raises small. This is always, absolutely always two pair or better. And the great thing about this is?!... This betting line allows us to play perfectly. If we have air we fold. If we have a draw, we have odds to call and then donk shove the river when our draw hits. They'll call a vast amount of the time making this spot insanely profitable. Here's an example of this philosophy working perfectly:

As a corollary to this, it's best to two barrel with your good draws and great hands only. Checking good hands like overpairs and top pair allows villain to bluff some % of the time whereas if we bet we're usually not getting value from worse.
Good luck at the tables :) Simon

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Thoughts on Rush Preflop Raising

OK, I let off some steam on here yesterday after getting all-in preflop and running into an overpair. I've now filtered my database of 81000 hands for pots where the money went in preflop after a 3-bet followed by a 4-bet. It has happened only 19 times, that's only 19 times out of 81000!!! The hands that I've got the money in with are {AKs, AKo, QQ+}. Only two of those hands are winners.... Yes, just {KK+}. Based on this then, we can obv only be getting value from KK+ when the money goes in. However what this also tells me is that there is a gigantic gap between these players' opening ranges and their 4-betting ranges, so 3-betting should be ridiculously profitable. At the moment I'm only 3-betting around 5% of the time, I think this should be more like 10-15%. Over the next few thousand hands I'll begin to increase this number and see if I can make a little bit more money. In truth the cards don't really matter, we're just bluffing to exploit an imbalance. However it will help if I have cards that will flop well sometimes and allow me to stack off. Finally, I'm going to stop getting it in with anything other than KK+ preflop.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

I hate my run bad :(

but I'm beginning to wonder if the 10NL FR rush games have the peculiar property that people will only get it in with AA/KK preflop. In which case it makes sense to play only AA for stacks. The last couple of days (using a QQ+ 'get it in preflop' strategy) have had me running into overpairs time and time and time again. So I'm wondering... If this is a true game condition, and I have four bet someone with KK, and they know that it's unlikely I'm doing this with anything but QQ+, why should they shove anything but KK+? In which case no hand can call a shove other than AA mathematically. It sounds stupidly nitty to fold KK preflop, but I just played a hand where I four bet and he five bet jammed. I LOLed and absolutely goddam fucking KNEW he had aces, but because I've read : 'oh you can nevvvvver evveer fold kings preflop...' I clicked call. Fuck off, if I think my opponent has aces I will fucking well click fold with KK from now on!! LOL. I think at the end of the day, I should trust my reads. If it means folding KK preflop then from now on, I'll bloody well do it. GL

Friday, 4 June 2010

Suited Aces? O'RLY?

The suited aces have been doing well for me over the 80k or so hands I've played. They average approximately 19 ptbb/100 so far which is excellent profit. For this reason I'm going to loosen up a little and experiment by including them in my early position range as well. What are the properties of these hands that makes them nice hands to play?
1/ We flop at least a back door flush draw around 55% of the time (all numbers computed from Pokerazor)
2/ We have a good double barrel hand around 45% of turns that we see
3/ These hands benefit from good implied odds versus weaker flushes (we all know the fish love to play SCs)
4/ If we notice someone light 3-betting us these hands are excellent candidates for four-bet bluffing - of course light 3-betting is rare at 10NL though.
Of course the draw back is we will often be dominated when we flop top pair.
Once I've got through some serious volume and can analyze these hands more objectively with positional data too I can then start to cut some of them out if they are not making money. I'll post the results here at some point!
This is when playing a suited ace becomes easy:

Lifetime Favourite Hand no#1, OBV. GL!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Tale of Two Days

yesterday I lost $40 over 8000 hands. Today I won $50 over 4000. This is the way it goes sometimes, I was pretty demoralised yesterday but resolved to play as well as I could today to try to ride out the downswing. I also adjusted my strategy somewhat. I did a little bit of research and there are a few things I could be doing differently and I'm trying to take it all on board and adjust for the better. The first is stealing the blinds more often to try and offset playing a few more weaker hands out of position. The other is trying to see a few less showdowns. I hand read fairly well for these limits but even so I think I'm not saving enough river bets which is chipping at my profit somewhat. Another thing I tried to do today was some work on equities. My thoughts had been clouded somewhat recently as there are so many reasons for betting written about online: Protection, Value, Bluff, Semi-bluff, Blocker etc etc. In reality the EV equation is pretty simple and I think alot of people over complicate things. Of course using the EV equation we can certainly justify those reasons for betting listed above, but I prefer to think of things in a simpler straight forward way. Betting really can be narrowed down to two things; betting for value (where our equity is better than villain) or bluffing (where our equity is worse than villain). Betting for protection is just value betting where villain's equity is a little closer to ours (hands with draws usually hover around 33% equity versus a made hand). Semi bluffing is just bluffing where our equity is a little closer to villains (ie when we're in the 33% equity player's shoes). Anyway, I'll spend tomorrow morning working on some of this and maybe pick some hands from my database to revise with. Once I can quickly figure out decent betting lines based upon equity I think I'll become a much better player. GL

Further thoughts on Rush

Yeah, I played a few thousand hands yesterday using the tighter style; what I found was that the blinds were eating up a significant portion of my profit. I did not take the blind frequency into account when thinking about folding for deals. I still think the argument has some merit but it's likely only to be of small significance. I also ran pretty terribly, the only way we could really test the theory would be to play 100K plus hands using a standard semi lag style, and the same number using a nitty style and then compare hourly win rate. If our nit was only making 1 ptbb/100 than our 3 ptbb/100 s-lag but had a higher hourly then we could verify the theory. But I'm not intending to go down that route, I'm attempting to create a robust solid full ring style and so I'll ditch this experiment for now. The more marginal spots I put myself in the better player I'll become. After yesterdays spew fest I'm going to do a little bit of leak finding and then grind a few thousand hands this afternoon. GL

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Rush folding theory - the commodity of TIME

In a normal poker game, it often pays to play marginal hands since when we're playing fish they give away so much equity post flop. However, often this profit will be small in the long term on average. If we fold these marginally profitable hands we have to wait until the next hand anyway and so playing is obviously superior to folding which has an equity of 0.
In Rush poker, there is a property that exists that does not affect strategy in any other poker game; that is, when we fold in Rush we are immediately dealt another hand. We don't have to wait until the current hand has finished.
Consider being under the gun at a full ring table. We have 22. This is a marginal spot at best in normal poker games, but when we play UTG in Rush this is where our average time spent playing a hand is going to be highest. Therefore it is also the spot where we'll be using up the most potential deals should we decide to play our hand. So we need to take into account the profit we are losing by using up time and deals and the chance of being dealt a strong hand. It is my gut feeling that this equity of folding (not to be confused with folding equity) should have a bearing on strategy.
Playing Rush optimally is likely to include exaggerated positional play. Blind stealing is likely to be valuable still, but the further away from the button we are it is likely to be better to fold in marginal spots and see more deals. I think that (providing we are a winner) folding has some positive average equity that needs to be factored into our decisions. Overall I think that we should be playing tighter than in a normal poker game for this reason and also that position is crucially important.
In Summary...
1. When making a decision we must balance the average profitability of our particular hand with the extra deals we are using up by playing it. Therefore tighter play is probably superior to looser play, both pre flop and post flop.
2. The earlier our position at the table the more time and therefore deals we'll be using up on average. So marginal early position spots should probably always be folds. Button and CO stealing will likely still be profitable though.
If anyone disagrees with my thoughts please share. In particular if it can be shown that folding to see more deals has only a very small positive expectation then most of what I've said can be discounted.