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.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Worried about volume so...

Back to Rush, but I'd still like to play a few hundred of these KO tourneys so I think I'll begin to five or six table (four Rush plus one or two KO). If that's too much I'll drop to 3 Rush tables. I'll still be playing plenty of hands. Not much more to say but this week has been busy and I've hardly had any time for poker but I'd like to try and get through 20000 hands this week. Will post results at the end! GL

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I've played a few more without much more luck, but I'm really determined to learn how to play these games well (MTTs). Unfortunately it really feels that all the cash experience I've recently gained is fairly useless now. In the last tournament with about five fish marked at the first table I raised AA to 500 chips at 25/50 blinds (yes you read that right) with an eff stack of around 3000. 3 players called. One of them donk shoved as an overbet, and I called to see an eight out draw. Now, I think the call is correct giving all the garbage these players do this kind of thing with but in my full ring cash hands raising to 10 big blinds would be utterly ridiculous strategy most of the time. So in other words, I'm pretty much learning these games from scratch. The good news is that I have a decent knowledge about poker, so hopefully as long as I try and make the best chip EV plays and I'm right often enough, and I begin to improve my ICM on the bubble I will see a profit. I'll be using the 'position' tab in poker tracker as my main indicator of how I'm getting on, and the good news so far is that I've only clocked around 1100 hands in these tournaments and of course coming from grinding cash I'm well aware that I can get no indication of profitability from that few. As for the title of the post, I'm determined to be a winner at these now. I proved myself at 10NL cash and now I want to prove myself at $10 and under MTTs. GL!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

First Final Table for $27

So I finished a final table for $27, the first cash that I've had so far. I made a significant mistake today though and cost myself some equity by reshoving with 22 versus a player who wasn't raising a wide enough range to justify the move and it cost me one buy-in. I've no idea how I'm going to fare in these games - well hopefully given the terrible opposition - but making mistakes like these makes me no better than them. Anyway, general notes on these games:
1/ Villains put way too much emphasis on the KO money, and consequently call very widely. There's not much we can do about this other than play very tightly and just try and steal pots where we can and value bet the hell out of our big hands. Standard preflop raise sizing is useless, with our big hands we need to be raising to a size that allows us to get the money in with two streets of betting post flop. The reason being that the fish will stack off with a lot of junk and draws. We miss value by allowing them to fold those busted draws on the river. So if the pfr is 8xbb or something then that's a good size. The villains still call!! Set mining is very good, but I've yet to work out how much we can risk for it to still be profitable. I suspect somewhere around 200 chips (with 3000 chip effective stacks) but I'll let you know if I discover any more on this.
2/ So we want to be a NIT during the early phase of the game. However, when antes come in the pot becomes very bloated preflop. I found that I was able to steal a lot more aggressively without anyone really figuring out that I'd switched gears.
3/ On the final table there seemed to be tons of chips flying about, so I think that nitting up again to move up spots is a decent strategy, but we must stay competitive and not let our stack dwindle away to nothing since we want to maintain a decent chance of winning.
Right, well I've played 8 so far at -$17.00.

Monday, 26 July 2010

First few games...

Didn't go well, I won maybe $3 in knockout money but didn't final table at all. But I am not disheartened, I'm very excited about these tournaments. The play must be as bad as I've ever seen since I've played poker! I'll need to do some work with sngwiz on shove fold spots as I'm very rusty in this area, but the villains are here to gamble. Last tournament I isolate shoved with AJs over a liberal stealer and the SB (a giant 50/33 whale) called with K4s to knock me out. This is just one example of tons and tons of terrible poker, and now I am beginning to think that these games are likely to be more profitable than Rush, despite it's benefits. Anyway, that's all my play for the evening. I just need to crunch some volume now and I'm utterly convinced that 50%+ ROI is easily achievable in these games. Which means that I could make a living playing $6.5 buy-in SNGs. That's just so sick it's unreal!!! If I get time I might post a few of the best (meaning funniest) hands after the first 20 or so games. It's great to be back in games where implied odds and value exist in abundance again! OK, four games down, 96 to go in the Debanks mini series. Let's hope I start winning some flips from now on!

Thinking of trying a different game for a while...

The last few weeks have gone great for me, I must admit. Confidence in my ability to beat micros (cash) has sky rocketed now. I've made around $800 (including rake back) over about 150k hands so I can mathematically say that it's almost certain I'm a winner there. It's only 10NL I know, but it's a start and $800 is good money in most people's eyes. But I watched an MTT video earlier where the instructor (MeatBuoy, FT) recommended the 90 man KO SNGs on Full Tilt. His ROI in these games is over 100% which suggests a very soft playing field. By my calculations this means that if I could just do half as well in those tournaments I could be making around the same hourly as I'm making at 10NL Rush but with a fraction of the investment. So I may try to play a bunch of these, maybe six at a time in the $6.50s where I could potentially be earning between $12 and $20 per hour. I think this would be more than my hourly at 25NL Rush and again - much less investment. The draw back would be the lost earnings from Iron Man medals and rake back along with the decrease in playing experience over time. I'd still like to get 1m hands Rush before next summer so this is likely to be a small foray into tournament play unless I do really well. Tell you what, I'll set myself a personal challenge:
To play 100 $6.50 90 man SNGs. If I make $300+ I'll move up to the $12+1 90 man SNGs and play a further 100 games there. If I don't, back to Rush! First session about to begin.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Improving (Again)

Just finished watching the Matthew Janda series on bet sizing (cardrunners.com) and have learned an awful lot from it. Not only have I fixed a few leaks, I've begun to realise just why we should be following bet sizing conventions; that is, we want to be able to get stacks in when we have a good hand. This is why in a single raised heads-up pot we need to be raising at some point after the flop in order to achieve this. So now my goal is to begin to work in all this knowledge to my game over the next few thousand hands. I must begin to raise a little more often in position both on the flop on wet boards and turn on dry boards. I also need to be check raising on both streets some percentage of the time too. This is so that I can get more value from big hands. The bottom line is that I've learned new concepts and have improved my knowledge of the game; things that will increase my win rate from now on. GL!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Making a distinction between winning and losing sessions

I've seen a gradual increase in my win rate over the 150k hands I've played at 10NL (Rush). There are a couple of reasons for this I believe. The first is experience; the more hands you play given some set of knowledge the better you become since you experience more examples of those concepts during play and the repetition of these situations allows you to improve the way you play in those situations. So I'm really excited about getting through hands now, and I don't really care any more how individual sessions go providing that my graph is still moving upwards and I'm getting through volume as this is making me a better player. The second reason for my increase in win rate is that I'm having more sessions playing my 'A' game compared to my 'B' game. I think the difference between the two is the times I sit down and just play my cards:
"Oh my pocket sixes missed again, I fold"
- and the times that I pay less attention to my cards and more on my opponents ranges:
"Well, villain is playing 11/10 with 3% 3-bet and has flatted me in late position. His flatting range includes middle pockets pretty dominantly. I have pocket sixes and although I'm turning my hand into a bluff I think that two barrels on this Kxx board will make the best hand fold very often so, I BET!"
- This example is really simple but it's thought processes like these that differentiate those times where I feel the best and the times I'd be better off doing something else. The good thing is that the good sessions are getting more frequent. It's probably a case of habit, the more I think on the second level the more natural it becomes. Hopefully by the time I've played a million hands it will have become second nature instead of something I have to really concentrate on doing.

PS I love the Mercury Music Awards, they've tuned me into so much good music over the years. Currently loving 'The XX' and 'Foals' albums.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Back up and running

Fitted new power supply, all working properly now so back to the grind!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Finding New Things Out...

Today I discovered another way of making money at poker; that is, by buying a piece of - buying shares in - another player's poker investments. www.parttimepoker.com is the biggest website where you can not only buy shares in other players but also get yourself staked as well. I obv have much to prove to the world regarding my poker ability; achieving 2 BB/100 at 10NL FR Rush shouldn't be difficult and this is my only claim to fame currently. However, I can begin to invest my bankroll in other players, and this will ensure that when I cannot play the 'roll is still growing. This is something I'll begin to do immediately although my current bankroll will only allow me to invest up to around $30 each time unfortunately. Still, in time my money should grow and I'll be able to buy bigger shares in better players eventually.
My second goal with this information is to eventually get staked myself. This will allow me to begin to play in bigger events and at higher stakes without the huge risk involved in putting up the entire buy-in myself. However what I need to do first is put in enough volume so that I can show potential investors that I'm worth a punt. To this end I intend to try and do the following things:
1/ Play 1 million + hands of Rush poker making over 2 BB/100
2/ Play 50k hands 50NL HU cash making a profit
3/ Play 2000 tournaments (of varying sizes but bigger than a single table) profitably
4/ Play 1000 HUSNG small stakes as a winner
If I can achieve these things - and it will be tough, I'm sure - then I'm pretty certain I'd be able to get backing and then things should spice up a little. For now, I must try and achieve goal 1. I've nearly reached 200k hands where I'll post graphs and things. I don't think I'll get to a million hands until next year so there's a long old way to go. Best get started! GL

Monday, 19 July 2010

Poker Workaround

OK I dug an ancient PC out of the cupboard and managed to get Full Tilt up, but the old bird is unreliable as hell so I think I'll stick to 2 tables max. But the fact that I've just spent four hours sorting out an old PC (that is louder than the planes going overhead) just to play poker surely means I must have some sort of problem.............

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Phuket :(

The fan in my power supply died this afternoon as I was four tabling Rush. I'm only about $20 short of my target before moving back up but now I can't play until Thursday when the new PSU arrives which tilts me immensely!! Life beat and life tilt!
So I'm going to spend some time reading forums on the parent's laptop and watching cardrunner vids to work on my game. Frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it. So I doubt I'll blog much for a while. Read an interesting post about a prop bet between PrimordialAA and Skates where Primo thought he could beat the super turbo husngs for 3% ROI over 2k games. Interesting stuff! The thread is here
Anyway, GL all and I can't wait to get back into the games

Friday, 16 July 2010


Hey, returned today and have had no poker for an entire week! Naturally I just played 1k hands and it went OK and I feel refreshed and ready to grind out some more now. I'm looking to move back to 25NL once I've won $50 more which would put my overall profit from Rush back at $400 in total.
A Blueprint for my Poker Development
Last year I spent some time working on my play on the turn and river and I think that I improved a lot there. This coincided - no coincidence - with my first few months of winning poker after 3 years playing the game. However, I still feel that I'm pretty weak on these two streets and I'm going to spend some more time looking at my play there to try and improve. I'll start by looking at the river. I think this is the easiest street to master because it simplifies to a function of value betting or bluffing versus showing down. I think it's important to start there because any play on the turn is affected by the EV of our expected actions on the river. I made a start this evening where I found examples of situations where I'd made bad value bets and bad bluffs on the river. I'll continue with this work over the next month or so. If I can become even better on these streets then I can only see my win rate rising.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Barren Spell Continues

I got frustrated today while playing which is unlike me. The poor stretch of hands has continued although I've made some money back since dropping back to 10NL. The good news is that I have a $50 Rake payment due tomorrow and have very nearly cleared a $100 bonus. This should top my bankroll up and would allow me to move back to 25NL if I so wished. But I think I'll wait until I have won 5 or so buy-ins more at 10NL before I try again to rebuild some confidence.
Bet Sizing
I have been experimenting with bet sizing in various spots based on the things I've recently learned. I'm thinking of standardising my 3-bet sizing to around $1.30 which is an over-bet to most standard pre flop raises. The problem with re-raising to around a dollar is that villains are only making a small mistake by calling to set mine against my pretty tight 3-bet range. But with my new sizing they have to call around a dollar to win 9 more and calling just to set mine here is a big mistake even if we go all-in with over-pairs or top pair every time. Once we do over-bet here then we can also bluff more often. So I'm going to start 3-betting to around $1.30 with a range that is polarised between {QQ, AK} and some low suited connectors. The thing I've first noticed about this strategy is that players float less. They tend to either 4-bet or much more often just fold. This is the correct adjustment since I am now denying them implied odds to set mine. It just becomes a strong range versus a mediocre range with two pot sized bets to come post flop if they call (and some still do).
The second adjustment I'm making is reducing my PFR size from a pot sized bet to a 3x raise and making it 2.5x from the CO and button. This is a defence against light blind 3-bettors and should increase my blind steal profit margin. It also allows me to call with implied odds versus villains who (like me previously) had not been sizing the 3-bets correctly.
Last Blog for a Week
It's holiday (or vacation) time and I'm going to a caravan in the middle of nowhere for a week with my fiancée. I will have no opportunity whatsoever for poker and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it. I do have a book on pot limit Omaha that I shall try and get through but that's it. I'm sure I'll be itching to get back to the tables when I come back. Whatever, I hope the cards fall better for you than they have for me over the last 30K hands or so. GL

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Running Poorly

Lost a few buy-ins this week and I think I'm going to drop limits until such time that I can arrest the decline and claw my bankroll back a bit. I haven't taken a huge chunk from it, maybe about 15% but it's still beginning to affect my decisions which is a good sign that I should move down for a bit. I'm due a $100 bonus that should help so hopefully I can pull things around nice and quickly. I'm sure I've made some good folds and got maximum value where I could and that the two pair hand is pretty much the only significant big pot mistake that I've made. A sure sign that I'm not running that well is that three of the biggest losers on the button during those 20k hands are AA, KK and QQ. Anyway, during my first 100k hands I went through two significant downswings and this one isn't as big as that just yet. If the poor run continues then maybe I'll have to reevaluate my game but until then I'll keep on grinding and hopefully turn it around.
The only barriers preventing me from winning at poker are a winning strategy, keeping cool under pressure and volume. GL

Learning New Things

Hi, well after a disappointing session I always like to self improve and I studied a couple of videos on www.cardrunners.com and spent some time with the poker EV tool pokerazor and I have some new insight into a number of things especially regarding betting frequencies and sizing in relation to flop texture. I feel this new knowledge will help me a lot for the rest of my poker playing days. I can't really give too much away - sign up to cardrunners and watch the Matthew Janda series on optimal bet sizing - but I'm now aware of tons of things that I didn't know before and also understand overbetting much better than I did. Another thing that I've realised is that when studying betting lines it's very valuable to look at indifference. This is where villain is indifferent between calling and folding and is the point where we maximise our EV versus an optimally playing opponent. I'd read about this before but just now I ran a few simulations and I actually found some pretty cool points where villain becomes indifferent between calling and folding. Anyway this may not make much sense, if not then I'd highly recommend watching the series to anyone with an interest in game theory and optimal play. In real life of course villains do not play optimally so we should be playing exploitatively. I do however think that having a basic strategy that is fairly optimal should be fundamental for any player. After all, we can't exploit until we've spotted villain's leaks.
Cashout Tournaments
Full Tilt run these tournaments where we can cash out some of our chip EV part of the way through a tournament. I haven't played enough of these yet to know how many players do cash chips out but I think I'm correct in assuming that every time someone does they are just throwing dead money at the prize pool. In this case I'm pretty sure that playing these tournaments could be ridiculously profitable if we never use the cashout option. I'll let you know! GL

Monday, 5 July 2010

Making a Huge Mistake

I've just played the grossest of hands. I turned two pair on a pretty innocuous board so I fired a PSB so that I could shove on the river for maximum value. Suddenly a hand distracted me on another table and while I was looking at that hand I just shoved on the other table without looking. What I hadn't noticed is that the board paired on the river and my hand was suddenly useless and I was now just bluffing. Unfortunately villain called with his top pair become two pair and my chips moved over to him. This demonstrates two points:
1/ Multi tabling means we make more mistakes
2/ While it's very important to make plans for future streets we must examine the board texture to make sure that our equity hasn't drastically changed once we get there.
I actually think that I'd have sometimes got folds from some parts of his range with that bet but it's still a big mistake and one that will take a lot of time and hands to correct. Back to the grind.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Understanding Betting for Protection

I have recently improved my understanding in regards to betting on the earlier streets.
We are on the turn. The pot is $100, and we have 77. Villain has KJo and the board is 3c6dQs2s. If we fire out a pot sized bet and villain folds every time then our EV for making this play is $100 dollars. If however we decide to play the pot more passively and try to showdown then if we check down to the river our equity is now only $86. Basically when we bet we have made him fold out his share of equity in the pot. It would be incorrect for him to call since he's not getting the right price to draw to six outs. If we decide to check down though he gets to realise this equity. So when we fire we are betting for protection and this is another reason why aggression is so critical in this game. Notice that we are never getting called by weaker hands when we bet, nor are we making better hands fold so this is neither a value bet or a bluff. Listen to very good poker players talk about their decisions and they'll often talk about folding out equity share. That's the same thing as I demonstrated here. For this reason I think that play on the flop and turn should be a lot more aggressive than play on the river. River play simplifies to value betting or bluffing only. My game is currently very passive on the turn and I'd like to increase my aggression there. This new understanding should help me to achieve that.

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Hi, well I'm still break even over 15k hands now at the new limit. I'm happy with this so far because I'm earning around $100 rakeback per week so I'm still growing the bankroll. However, being a break-even 25NL player is not what I want. On a positive note, my statistics are converging upon the numbers that I had at 10NL with one exception. For some reason there's a seat in middle position where I'm losing 5 ptBB/100. This is pretty ridiculous and I'm putting it entirely down to variance. If this number was converging like the others I'd certainly have good profit by now so it looks like the strategy I was using at 10NL might still be a small winner at this stake. It's not where I want to be though, I should have better statistics in the late positions. Only making 10-15 BB/100 from the button is not good enough for me. I also think I could be losing less from the blinds although I think this is the part of my game I'll address later on. My immediate goal is to earn enough in the button and cutoff to offset my sb+bb losses allowing my profit to come from the other table positions. Achieving this first goal will require a lot more playing experience I feel. But if I can get there then I'll certainly have enough confidence in my game ready for my transition to 50NL.
Long Term Goals
This is something I've been thinking about lately. Some day I'd love to be playing tons of HU cash because it's the purest and most skillful form of poker IMO. But being only a part time player, I think that Rush will always provide a better opportunity for making money. Maybe once I reach 50NL I'll attempt to find a balance where I grind out a couple hours of Rush per day before getting into some HU cash games for another hour. Well, this is all speculation. I must get my grind back on. I have a week at home now where I'll try and play as much as possible. Then I have a week off so I'll forget about the game and return refreshed afterwards. GL at the tables

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Value Heavy Betting Lines

Hi, right well it's time I got my inner LAG out and started making some more bluffs in position and getting my aggression frequency higher on the flop and turn. Basically whenever I have a set in position I either 1/ Raise the flop - this move gets millions of folds 2/ Raise the turn - this move gets even more folds. The problem is that the only time I ever make these moves currently is when I have a strong hand. Good players however will often bluff raise the flop and turn. We shouldn't really talk about balance in the micros because it is not necessary. I do think though that against a random player it is probably far better to have a bluff heavy range when we do these things than a value heavy range because these moves always get tons of respect. Furthermore, once the regulars know that I can bluff raise IP on the flop and turn they will be more liable to pay me off once I have a set. So what sort of strategy could I use? Well I'll call IP with all of the low pocket pairs and play pretty fit or fold with them. But I'll also call with some suited connectors {65s-T9s} and play these far more aggressively. I'll look to double the amount that I'm raising the flop and turn and see how it goes. I'll prob be more likely to float with equity and raise without on both the flop and turn if that makes sense. Lastly I know that these are things that good players do anyway, but I've only been learning to value bet properly so far so it's about time I began to learn how to wield position more effectively. Wish me luck!