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.

Monday, 30 August 2010

I Lied.

OK I'm bored just busted a few tourneys and decided to post again. (FAIL). But this one will be positive. (YAY). OK well rather than rest on my laurels and hope that my nitty strategy brings my downswing around I've been working on my tournament game. I have reopened the tournament player's bible (Kill Everyone by Nelson, Streib and Lee) and have started reading again. It's so easy to forget things that I've read once I go back into cash games. Well, this time I'm serious about tournaments so I'm determined to improve. So I have a lot of work to do. It will take me a long time for my strategy to absorb everything that book has to teach but if I concentrate on this one game (90 man KO) then I think that taking relevant lessons and applying them to this structure will pay dividends in the long run. So, whether I'm on a downswing or I truly suck my game should be better tomorrow; and then the day after. ETceterA...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Up (down) date

Hey all, hope you're running well. OK I don't think that I should continue to post run bad stuff so I intend to stop blogging for a while. Basically at the moment I'm just trying to grind a few hundred of these $3.30 90 man KO tournaments and see how I get on. I have less than 350 buy-ins now but that should be plenty to mess around with. It is my honest opinion - and I'm usually pretty objective when it comes to poker - that I'm running very very poorly at the moment. I continue to work hard with SNGWiz and review my hands so hopefully I will eventually cash a few times and then I'll begin posting again. If that doesn't work out I'll get some coaching or maybe quit altogether. I do tilt in these tournaments but I sit towards the better end of tilt management which is one of my strengths and I don't think I've made hardly any bad plays caused by it during this barren stretch. I really do believe I've played well enough to certainly break even. Anyway, this will be my last blog post for a few days and maybe weeks (unless I give up on tourneys and go back to cash I guess). So until I blog again, good luck all. Right, I have some grinding to do. GL!!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Mip; Splosh. Mip; Splosh.

More buy-ins lost. Poker tracker still believes I'm winning chips at 6 BB/100 but I'm beginning to wonder if it might be some sort of mistake. I'm still getting absolutely smashed by the rest of the field. Am I really this bad? Guess so. Well I have just under 400 buy-ins left for the three dollar tournaments. Anyone want a prop bet that I'll be busto by Christmas? OK I know MTTs are sick variance and that's what I signed up for, so I'll post when I next cash. Which could be next year. GL!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

More 90 man tournaments

Cashed in a couple more now and things seem to be getting back to some sort of parity. I've still lost a good bit of money in them but I'm chipping away. It seems obvious but these tourneys are a game of two halves. In the beginning, there was value. Most villains are really bad and will not fold; once we are near the final table though game conditions completely switch poles and we can now pick up loads and loads of pots by moving all-in - the extra ante money especially makes this ludicrously profitable as opponents suddenly don't call enough. I'll post another profit by position picture after I've played a few more but suffice to say the numbers are converging nicely. So which is the better proposition, micro tournaments or Rush? I think I could be earning more at Rush to be honest since I'm playing more hands. But I'm also too proud for my own good and want to prove to myself that I can beat these now. I don't think I'm sacrificing too much money and would be incredibly proud if I could turn my tournament record around. GL

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Two Cashes at Last!

I'm still way down in these (90 man KO tournaments) but volume is the key word. It has helped me a lot to just think of them as a cash game and although I've only played a couple of thousand hands or so my numbers are converging on what I believe are some realistic win rates. I think that a good MTT player could win more than 0.05 BB/Hand (given that the field is ridiculously weak in these). I've no idea how that usually translates into ROI as I've never seen a comparison made, but the important thing is that if we are playing a strategy that is returning a chip EV profit of more than 5 BB/100 then there should be gross profit to be made. For those interested - the picture shows profit by position where the top number is the button, the next the cut off etc and the two lowest numbers are the big blind and small blind from top to bottom. As far as my game in these goes, I think that I'm strongest with a short stack and when I'm relatively deep but I struggle between about 13 and 25 big blinds deep. The reason is that late position raisers are playing a very wide range but they will rarely fold when I shove. I guess that just means that I need to shove a merged range with good aces, broadways and pocket pairs. Early game strategy can also be tricky; there's so much ridiculous post flop play going on that it just pays to play fit or fold IMO. If we hit top pair we're getting paid and an overpair is just a gold mine. So playing a tight range with big aces and pairs should make shit loads of money. A plus is that these tourneys are pretty easy to play so I may start to 8 table or more. Playing 4 at a time at the moment is very manageable. Well, I'll continue to enter these tournaments where I can and my goal is to play 30000 hands or more after which I'll post a detailed analysis of my strategy and leaks. GL

Monday, 23 August 2010

Learning a Valuable Lesson

My last post was inspired by a decision I made while distracted with something else. I glanced at the screen and noticed the action was on me at the final table in the small blind, and I'm well below average chips but not necessarily desperate yet. However looking quickly at the blinds and the pot size I decided that it was one of those any two card shoves versus the tight big blind player and quickly pressed all-in. It was only after a second glance that I noticed that a giant whale - someone who had limped over half of the hands in an 80 hand stretch without a single preflop raise - was also in the pot UTG. When he SNAP called with A2s to completely dominate my random garbage and knock me out I was obviously seriously dismayed. So this teaches a valuable lesson:
When playing on the money bubble or at the final table we must be totally focussed on the action and what each player is doing. If we become distracted then mistakes will be made and at this stage in the tournament that's where the EV mistakes are the biggest (by ICM). So from now on I'll make sure that I have 110% concentration on the job in hand and especially when there is less than 20 players left. To aid in this I'll take ludicrously over the top notes on every player, the hands they're showing down; their pre flop and post flop tendencies - everything. If I cannot be totally absorbed in the action then I'd be better off doing something else. At the end of the day the only thing that's going to get me out of this bad stretch is to play well and put in volume. There's no point undertaking the latter unless I'm taking care of the former. GL!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Going to Have to be Mentally Tough

... in order to overcome my demons in these games. I know MTTs can have brutal variance so I should treat the current run as standard. But I have begun to make some questionable decisions at times due to slight tilt. I must be strong and just treat the hands like a cash game. Just make the best chip decision available at the time; I can improve my ICM at a later date. It's crazy but I've become angry and determined to become at least a break even player in these now. I am well over-rolled for them so I intend to continue playing until I cash enough such that I am at least break even or I will go bust instead! Surely a 20-30 game OTM streak cannot become a 300 game one?!! (statistically possible but if it happens I'm quitting for good)

Now that I've calmed down after making the last spewey move, back to realism. I've only played around 2500 hands so far and though I haven't run great, comparing this run to the bad runs I have had in cash (30-50k hand losing stretches) it's a ridiculously small sample. So I will just continue to play and not worry about the actual cash return until I've played 30k hands or more. :) I hate variance lol


Continue to run pretty bad in the tourneys I play in. I always check over a session afterwards in SNGWiz to see if my endgame play is accurate, and while I make mistakes they don't happen much. Today I played six tourneys and only made one large mistake and a handful of very small ones (like failing to shove 42s from the button with about 12bb for example). But the rest of the field are absolutely throwing their chips about without any regard for anything pretty much, so it's difficult to play many hands. The hands I do play are good hands and I play them hard and fast. I'm pretty sure from an absolute chip EV point of view that I'll get tons of value from the top of my range and that this strategy will make chips in the long run - and therefore cash too. But starting my MTT career with so little ITM spots is depressing indeed. Oh well, I will continue to grind as the only way I can cheat standard deviation is with volume. The statistics I'm just going to focus on are those shown in the picture. It is here where I'll find out if my strategy is making chips and it appears to be currently despite the lack of actual tournament cash winnings. I'd eventually expect to be making good returns from every position not in the blinds, losing a little in the SB (because shoving into the BB is so profitable) and then standard about -0.25 in the BB. I really really cannot see how I will not make money but unfortunately my confidence is shot and my heart is struggling to listen to my head. GL

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Some 25NL FR Rush and 0.25/0.5 Limit Rush

Ok so I am going to begin to take some shots at 25NL, playing 2 tables for a thousand hands at a time and no more; setting a stop loss of two buy-ins. Just played my first round for a tiny profit; in many respects though I'd say that play seems weaker at this limit than 10NL. I know this is probably not true but I found the 10NL games to be very nitty whereas this session there was a lot of aggression but it wasn't good aggression. More the nonsensical over the top stuff. So my style at first is going to be very nitty and I'll be betting for value the vast majority of the time and releasing to any aggression without near nut hands. I'll be mega exploitable but hopefully I'll do enough to break even while I find out who the regs are so that I can begin to open up. Then it will just be a process of studying the database after a few thousand hands to begin to identify some leaks and how the level plays in comparison to 10NL. Wish me luck, I know that I'm good enough to beat 25NL I just need to find the correct strategy.
I also played some limit poker today, just for something different. I've heard it's a great low variance way to make tons of rake-back money. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be enough limit Rush games that fill for this to be worth further research. Anyway, good luck at the tables.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Brutal Swings

I'm still not used to the frequent 4 buy-in up and 4 buy-in down swings that happen very quickly in Rush. It's all very standard but def suffered from bad variance in the last session. $40 down which is a shame. There were a couple of pots that I lost that I could have found a fold but again - as I've said before - the line didn't make sense unless they had something ridiculous like quads (and yeah, they did lol). Lost two buy-ins to flopped sets in three bet pots versus my overpair on dryish boards - standard. The other big pots involved hands I bet for value but had to fold to aggression when passive opponents just suddenly woke up and showed strength. One pair is no good then, sir. Anyway, just a quick frustration rant to let off steam. Crazy crazy session. Gladly it's not very often that we run into so many strong hands consecutively. Will play again tomorrow. Was thinking about what my next step should be as far as poker is concerned. Whether I should just take some time out now and just grind as much as possible up until Christmas and then take stock again. I'm gradually fixing leaks but there are still a few, I feel that I should be winning more than 2BB/100 at 10NL and it's kind of frustrating that I'm not. Still, $5 an hour (inc. rakeback) is decent return for doing something I enjoy with absolutely no risk attatched. I should attempt to move up to 25NL at some point as I have enough bankroll to sustain me but I'll likely make it a gradual step up. Play maybe 500 hands at 25NL and the rest at 10NL every day for a while and see how I get on. I'd like to set myself a further goal of playing 50k hands per month which should easily be achievable providing I'm not a lazy bumtard. GL

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I love Heaters... I also love Reckless Players...

Tonight's session, including the following pot. It's just crazy stacking off 180 big blinds here versus my range but I'm not complaining! Incidentally, I just might have got away from them if he'd five bet shoved preflop.

Monday, 16 August 2010

C-Betting Success

Quick disclaimer: I'm talking exclusively about 10NL Full Ring Rush poker.
Over the last 185000 hands my flop c-bet success rate is 49%. Given that my standard c-bet size is 75% of pot then I can bet my entire range if my opponents fold more than X = 0.75/1.75 = 42.9% of the time. Since my opponents are folding a good deal more than they should, it is probably profitable - given this conclusion - to c-bet on the flop a very high percentage of the time. OK nothing new here we all know c-betting on the flop is profitable. But tonight I decided to create a statistic in Poker Tracker 3 which told me what my turn c-bet success % was and over 185000 hands my average turn c-bet success rate is only 33.8%!! I did not expect this at all. I expected to have somewhere around a break even number, maybe around 40%. This tells me that once my opponents have caught a piece of the board, they get very stubborn. So firing a turn barrel should therefore be very value heavy; top pair good kicker or better and strong draws only. Recently I'd been barrelling a pretty wide range and it's obviously not profitable to bluff a lot on the turn unless we have good equity. So the strategy is : Bet a huge bluff heavy range on the flop and a small value heavy range on the turn. But beware, because there will be regulars who know all this already and will float you on every flop because they know that you'll define your range on the turn. GL!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Break Even Day

I played tons today - as evidenced by my numerous posts - break even overall, won 3 buy-ins in Rush but lost it all in tourney buy-ins where I didn't cash a single time. I'll certainly admit I made mistakes in the tourneys but only a couple and even then when the stacks were shallow. I ran it all through SNGWiz and I played largely mistake free in the late stages of the tourneys so I'm still convinced that over time I should show a profit. I guess only time will tell, as my sample size is way too small currently. In the cash games I felt really good, I didn't lose any money to the red line in over 3000 hands so I must be improving... The rest of the money was just ABC value bet - bluff - fold when no good. One conscious thing I tried was to really raise a wide range when there was a $6.76 43/10 sort of player that limped preflop. It has paid off so far. Anyway I'll play lots more tomorrow and post my results here. GL

90 KO Possibilities

This is the graph of pro MeatBuoy for the 90 man KOs at the $3 limit. They are obv pretty profitable. Wish me luck!

90 Man KO Tournaments

Sample size very small but I've been running brutally in these IMO so far. It could be that my strategy sucks, but it's my gut feeling that I'm running below expectation so far. I'm not going to give up since the fields are so weak but it's going to take me a few months of playing until I rack up enough volume to be able to realistically critique my play. Just thought I'd out some frustration on here. My strat should not be too spewey; I'm certain I'm doing the right things: tight early, aggressive on the bubble - so I just need to ride the variance. I'll stick to the $3 tourneys though for now - I'd been playing a couple of $6s and $12s as well. But I think sticking to the $3s will ensure that I am not potentially hurting my 'roll with a flawed MTT strategy.

Defending our Range

Basic pot odds - in a range vs. range situation when one player bets he's giving himself odds to win the pot. If his opponent folds more than X % of his range in that spot where X = Risk /(Risk + Reward) then he can bet his entire range and make an immediate profit. Suppose we're the other player, we obv cannot allow villain to bet his entire range profitably so we must not fold at least Y % where Y = 1 - X. Right sorry to mash all that stuff out again it's pretty fundamental. But I think recently in my play I'd been neglecting the second part. My database shows that in HU pots I've been folding to c-bets around 43% of the time and I think that this is too high. I'm being exploited on the flop so I need to find a solution to this. One is to play back more, another is to tighten up. If we call with less speculative hands then we'll be able to defend our range much more easily since we'll have good hands more often. Trying to keep the betting lead the vast majority of pots I play in is allowing me to take advantage of people who are not defending their range enough while I'm not making the same mistake. The downside is that I'm consequently a gigantic humongous NIT.
Another thing I've noticed in my database is that set mining with the following hands {22-66} is losing me money in heads-up pots, especially out of the blinds. When I filter the same hands in multi-way pots they do just fine. So the moral? - overcalling to set mine in a multi-way pot is fine but calling heads-up is not. Of course turning these hands into bluffs some of the time may compensate for this but I'm not good enough to find these spots just yet so it's probably better for me to cut them out of my HU calling range altogether.

I've just looked at some more stats in my database. I filtered for flops where I put out a raise. Three figures stand out :
1/ W$WSF - the amount of time I won money when I saw a flop is massive at around 75%
2/ WTSD - the amount of time I went to showdown is around 35%
3/ W$SD - the amount of time I won at showdown is around 60%
The conclusion to be drawn here is that I have been value betting much more often in these spots than I've been bluffing. I touched on this before where I spoke about playing too fit or fold on the flop. Now this is fine at these limits where it's clear I'm being paid off when I do raise here entirely for value. However, I think that I'm missing out on some no showdown winnings so I need to do some work to find some spots where I can put out a bluff raise or two more. The goal is to sacrifice some showdown winnings (since we've got plenty to work with) in order to hopefully win more no showdown winnings. This should also allow us to get paid off more often when we have the goods. GL

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Micro Red Line

Well, my red line (or bluff winnings) has been improving lately and it's due to several adjustments I have made.
1/ Continuation Betting : I have been c-betting around 80% of the time with a success rate of around 50%. It's profitable to c-bet our entire range if opponents are folding this much. So I have returned to c-betting very very often. I will not forget the more refined c-betting strategy as this will help me at higher stakes.
2/ Varying bet sizing based on position : Raising smaller in LP defends against light button and blind 3-bettors
3/ Becoming more aggressive on the flop and turn : Flop and turn raises get loads of respect in rush poker. So we need to - at the very least - have a 1:1 ratio of value to bluff raises and I think that a 2:1 ratio would be profitable at these limits. So I've been doing this more often with great success.

Can't think of any more at the moment - the other adjustments are likely more subtle. But know this : I'm playing more hands now; a 16/13 sort of style and it's making a healthy difference to my win rate. When the sample size is bigger I'll post more. GL!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I Sense Improvement!

That Janda video (last post) has made me begin to see a poker hand in a completely different way. I have begun to view my entire betting line as a product of my entire range rather than my specific hand. This is going to allow me to move away from the fit or fold mentality for good. I can't give too much away but in the coming months and with practice using flopzilla and more combinations work I think I'll become a pretty tough opponent. In other words while my first 200k hands have been working on my 'offence' - value betting - this new approach will focus on my 'defence'. I'll begin to try to play in a fairly balanced way and once I've got this down then I can begin to push villains around in certain spots where I feel they have an imbalance in their strategy. I've often heard it said that balance is not necessary at micro limits. This is true - and I've proven it by winning over 200k hands using value betting alone. But that does not mean we should not try and improve. Playing a fairly balanced strategy allows us to navigate the streets without being overly exploitable. This means that opponents will not be able to push us around which should allow us to increase our win rate. This will take a lot of work - which I'm thoroughly looking forward to undertaking.
Last night I played a short session - around 1k hands - and for the first time in a long time I had a positive red line curve. I'm not naturally aggressive but playing the board based upon my range has allowed me to start to play back in spots I'd never have thought to before. It could have been variance, but if I can continue in this vain then I'll do a big post with a couple of graphs and some statistics from my database and try and illustrate the improvements. I guess this was one of those 'aha!' moments for me, and hopefully I can now play better and maybe, just maybe move up.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Wow a penny has dropped...

I just watched possibly the greatest instructional video I've ever seen on NLHE. Matthew Janda Video
Seriously if you do not subscribe to Cardrunners and are a struggling player then you really need to consider the investment - especially while Matthew Janda is producing material like this. I don't think I'll ever view the game the same way again.

On my poker, I have just come back from an exhausting stag weekend and have not played since Thursday. But I'm itching to get back into the games now that I have reached a new level of understanding. GL

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I need sleep...

Work at 5am. But I just wanted to shout out to meteoric because he gave me a link to a thread where a 2+2 poster called RedJoker delved into some game theory stuff. Now, just recently I've become seriously interested in game theory; it may not make me any more profitable but coming from a maths background it really interests me. RedJoker advertised a link to leggopoker - they don't have too many videos but the quality of instructor looks pretty high so I'm going to sign up for a couple of months and see what I can learn. The game theory stuff looks pretty good :). GL all

Monday, 2 August 2010

Buy-in Won

Just finished play for the day, managed to claw back a buy-in; I had managed to almost clear the deficit but then things started going badly again. Despite this though I think I played another great session, and the only hand that I played poorly was a bit of a cooler. I think I should have got away from my hand but at the time I could not. Let me explain... I flatted an unknown players UTG raise with AKo, and a 30/26 player flatted in late position. On a KK9dd board the original raiser checked and I put out a pot sized bet. LP raised pot - but then UTG flatted. At this point, I think that I should have folded but I somehow convinced myself that there was enough flush draws and kings in LP player's range (a player who was very loose and aggressive) that I could stack off. In spots where there are so few combinations of hands that beat me I'm very reluctant to fold... Often correctly so. But this is the exception I think. Anyway, I'll continue to try and play my best and hopefully beat the break even stretch I'm experiencing and be back at 25NL in the next few weeks.

Frustrating Session

Just lost four buy-ins. Pretty frustrating so I just sat out to whine on here. Basically I felt like I played super well, I made some big folds when cards came out that really improved villain's ranges and destroyed mine. Also made some great value bets and bet sizing to get stacks in before being sucked out on when already pot committed. This is all totally standard, villains are just realising the little equity in the hands that they had. Oh well, I'll prob play another couple thousand hands later and see if I can get sucked out on some more ;). It's a useful point to remind myself that down-swings are essential for poker's profitability. My goal is simply to make sure that those down-swings are less than the upswings. This happens where we find folds where villains can't and where we find extra value (or folds) where villains can't. Simple as that!
Varying Bet Sizing by Position
Can't remember if I posted about this but recently I've started raising smaller from the Hijack Cut-off and Button positions. This gives nothing away about my range, as well as allowing me to lose less in the positions where I'm most likely to face a 3-bet. Opponents play no differently using this 2.5x raise size than they do when I open to 3.5x so we're saving 1bb every time we have to fold. It's working really well for me currently.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Got My Grind On

Should easily reach my target this week (20k hands). Really feel in the mood for volume. My bankroll growth has stagnated due to the busy few weeks I've had but now I'm going to try and play 20k hands per week until the end of August and hopefully I'll be solidly 'rolled for the 25NL games soon. My style in Rush has settled around a 14/12. Very nitty but pretty optimal for Rush I think. I'm currently winning at around 2 ptbb/100 over 160k hands - this could obv be better but it seems to be improving as I gain more experience and knowledge. If I could some day replicate this at 50NL or higher I'd be very happy. A long hard road ahead though. I'm still playing the 90 man KO tournaments but not running particularly well I don't feel. I'm probably making some mistakes though. My sharkscope is looking awful at the moment, so I really need a couple of good cashes in these tournaments soon. I enjoy playing them and they're well within my 'roll so I'll continue to have a go at them and hopefully translate volume into profit.