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, 25 September 2010

Heater; Concentrating on Fat Value

Currently enjoying a very nice little heater. At the moment I'm really trying to concentrate on value betting my strong hands and not bluffing much; I'm also playing a bit tighter than I was. I've cut certain hands from my button steal range so that I'm not stealing quite so often. I'm sacrificing a little bit of edge but should see more hands which will balance this out. Also out of the blinds I'm playing very few hands, a range tighter even than my UTG raising range. A range like {99+, AQ+}. These are things that I've had to do as I feel that I was spewing by playing too many hands. So my VP$IP has dropped from around 14-15 to around 12%. I don't see this as affecting my hourly significantly though and makes post flop play much easier overall. I can just autobot a profit, very nice thank you. One thing Id recommend is really focusing on what your opponents ranges are preflop. I have two standards of play; when I'm tired I tend to just play level one, and bet if I have a hand and fold if I don't. But when I'm playing my best poker I'm thinking: "Given my relative hand strength and villains range what is my best play?" - and this improves my decision making no end. There is a clear correlation between winning and losing sessions and thinking in one way or the other. Anyway just a quick update on my progress and adjustments that I'm making. GL

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Cardrunners, TableninjaFT

Hey, well the grind continues. Cardrunners have really been churning out some good videos lately. It seems that my knowledge is expanding all the time which can only be good. I also think that playing loads of hands is improving me too as I see so many situations patterns become discernible. Certain flops make more sense than they did before and so forth. So I cant wait for my next heater basically, should be fun :)

I've just purchased the AHK program tableninjaFT which I'm using to help me multi-table faster. Basically I just played a 40 min session at a rate of 1200 hands per hour and I think that on average it will be between 1100 and 1200. This is an increase of about 10% which doesn't sound a lot but any time we can increase volume and therefore return on investment by 10% it's a good thing. I think I need to be aiming to play 50000 hands per month in future as a minimum. If I can return to winning ways (around 2BB/100) this would translate as $200 per month and then adding in rake-back I should push earnings of $300. Doesn't sound like much but this would allow me to comfortably play 25NL in no time at all. I'm still worried about taking shots as a down-swing of several buy-ins would really hurt at that limit. If I had another $1000 to play with though I think it would just feel like 10NL. And $600 a month extra income would be awesome if I could somehow beat that limit too. Anyway, this is all speculation, I must grind on. GL!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Rush Update

Going to delay the strategy post I spoke about as got a busy few weeks and Id rather spend the time grinding. Im not really qualified to post strategy anyway, lol.

Right, played over 35k hands more or less (since my Rush renaissance) and roughly break even now (excluding bonuses and rakeback which puts me in profit); I think that the break in (Rush) play that I had has made me rusty but the last few sessions Ive felt good again. Tonight though I made a horrendous mistake and that turned a potentially good session into a break even one. At my best Im sure Im beating this limit for a decent clip but the odd big mistake is really hurting me. I guess that my profitability will ultimately hinge on whether I can cut these errors from my game.

Every now and then I hear someone talk about poker and feel totally outclassed. This happened again today when I watched a video on Cardrunners by a pro (alias ronfar3 - worth a PTR lookup). He spoke of many things that I now have a fair grasp of, but then when talking through hands I realised that there were many spots where Id assume one play when there were better alternatives. I intend to watch that video again to try and learn some more. Its good to have a new ceiling to strive to reach. Gl all

Monday, 20 September 2010

Link Post

... check out this variance sim, and there seems to be other tools on the site - some downloadable - that look good too, haven't had chance to check them all out but looks promising. GL

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Solid Session

Just played a good session, felt that I played very solidly without any huge mistakes. The last few times I've played I've made a concerted effort to focus entirely on my opponent's range at each stage in the hand. For a while I was trying too hard to balance my own actions. Unfortunately this sometimes meant that I was thinking too much about my own hand strength rather than villain's range, leading to bluffing in spots that were probably not good for doing so and betting in spots where there was no value (thereby unnecessarily turning my hand into a bluff at times). Now that I've returned focus to range reading, things have started going pretty well. That isn't to say that I'm not doing things to improve my balance in certain situations, I'll sometimes see spots that look good for a raise with hands that are slightly too weak to call and this has been going well. But overall my strategy has returned to a more fundamental outlook and it's helped me to play better.

I've been a member of Cardrunners for a long time and learned a lot from the videos there. A Rush player called Alvin Lau has been doing some research using a large database of players. It appears from his research that the most optimal style in Full Ring Rush poker has a VP$IP of around 10-13%. That is not to say it's impossible to make other styles work if you're good but I was pleased to hear this evidence being a player myself who sits around 13%. His philosophy is that its not wrong to be a nit if you're a good one. He has a Rush win rate of 3BB/100 over 300k hands at $1/$2 playing 12% of hands so he should know!

For my next post Im going to do something a bit different I think and try and do a little bit of a strategy post on river play. Until this year I always had trouble distinguishing between a value bet and a bluff and bluff catchers but now it makes complete sense for some reason. I'm going to dig out some hands from my database and be very critical of my river play and try and explain the difference between bluffing and value betting and see where I got it right and wrong.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Good Volume Today...

but it was a losing day. I didnt lose a huge number of buyins but enough that its affecting my confidence. Looking back through the session, I think I made some really good folds and picked my c-bet and turn barrel spots well but nothing seemed to come off. Ive been through downswings before and so Im not going to worry until Ive played a lot more volume but the seeds of doubt have been sewn. I made some mistakes today, I stacked off twice preflop against two very loose players and ran into big hands; I also ran a couple of ambitious bluffs that didnt come off (although I think given my thought processes that they should have been profitable). However what I will likely do is cut out the fancy play stuff for a few thousand hands. Give up a couple more pots on the flop in exchange for some more value hopefully. Anyway, it felt great to play loads of hands again so Im not going to stop playing Rush any time soon. I had a few interesting spots, and Ill try and dig them out and post them tomorrow but until then, gd night and good luck!

Tough Start

20K hands, about 4 buy-ins down. This has been absorbed by the fast $50 bonus that I earned very quickly but still I'm not happy with things. I've been looking at my game and I'm not doing much differently to before so I'll continue to play and re-evaluate after 50k hands or so. It could just be a downswing but it feels like there is a lot more aggression than I found previously, even players just turning weak pairs into bluffs. There seems to be pretty liberal floating going on too; I know my strategy is deliberately very one barrel heavy so I'll need to defend against floats on boards where it looks like villain is FOS. The best way is probably to check raise bluff now and then. For example this hand:

In a game that is so nitty, win rates are likely to be very small. Hopefully this is just a downswing and Ill return to winning ways before the end of the month. GL

Monday, 13 September 2010

Coming to a Realisation

When I started grinding a lot of Rush back in the spring I played a lot of hours in the space of a couple of months. 200 odd hours for a return of about 700 bucks. This isn't very impressive in terms of win rate and such, but what is significant is that since that time I've played very little Rush with the bankroll staying completely stagnant. If instead, I'd have just played another couple hundred hours I could be $700 richer by now. I'm not knocking the games I have played, they should be profitable in their own right but with (full ring) Rush the standard deviation and therefore variance is very low at around 30 BB/100. I still want to become a very good tournament player and so I will continue to play a few here and there. But my primary goal in this endeavour is to earn as much money as I possibly can to supplement my daily income, not to worry about people sniggering at my sharkscope graph. So I really must play more hours of Rush; as much as I can, really. I owe it to myself. Starting from now. GL

Saturday, 11 September 2010

tilt scream....


I'm so fed up of how I'm running in the 90 mans. I'm playing a solid strategy and everyone else is playing like they don't know which button is which. But despite this, I just cannot seem to get a hand to hold especially when we get to the deeper blind levels. It's begun to drive me completely mad now. I thought I'd illustrate with a picture. At those deeper levels it's pretty much push fold all the time, and I'd expect (since villains call so widely) that my wsd numbers (won at showdown) would converge upon around 50%. As you can see, the vast majority of those numbers are below 50, some way below 50%. I included the vpip figures just to illustrate how we need to loosen up once the antes kick in. Again, I'm winning hardly any of these all-ins come that stage. I don't know whether I should just stop playing tourneys or just play as many as it takes until these numbers begin to converge more realistically. Full Tilt need to press my boomswitch soon as I'm getting seriously fed up!
In case you were wondering about the earlier blind levels, the numbers are pretty standard like my cash game stats. I'm usually going to showdown after post flop play as a favourite and the numbers reflect that. But as soon as I reach the level shown in the pic... DOOOOOM

Friday, 10 September 2010

Good Session; Three Leaks

Hey, just had a great session. It started poorly, it was one of those periods of play where villains just played back every hand. I was probably just running into hands. Normally though, this tilts me and I end up playing back when I shouldn't but tonight I was pretty disciplined. I didn't play really well but decently enough. Then all of a sudden I had a bit of a rush and won a couple of buy-ins including the following hand which I was very proud of:

Basically 150bb deep I hate the flop reraise. But the board was really dry and it didn't make a lot of sense for someone to raise a set on that board unless they think I get really sticky with the better pairs in my range. Given that I have top pair and therefore blockers to set combinations I decided to call and I was planning to blocker bet the turn and fold to a reraise on that street. When the turn paired the board though I became more confident with my hand. Now with only 5 set or quad combinations and very little draws I decided that I was probably good enough of the time to check call both the turn and river. Luckily it turned out this time :)

I think that there are three particular areas of my game that I can improve:
1/ C-betting too much on the turn. Over the last 15K hands the pattern has continued that opponents fold way too much on the flop but once they've called the flop, rarely give up on the turn. This is a sign that players only continue on the flop with a pretty strong range. Unfortunately I think that I barrel the turn too often. If my opponents rarely fold the turn after floating the flop then I really need to ONLY be betting for value on that street. I'm currently doing it more often than this.
2/ I don't think I raise c-bets enough. The vast majority of players at these limits c-bet most flops with their entire range. They don't look at texture, they just blast away blindly. So it stands to reason that raising c-bets should be insanely profitable.
3/ Defending my range. My fold to flop c-bet has come down from around 48% to 45% which is a good adjustment but I'd still prefer it to be a little nearer 40% so I need to find more places to defend my range. I've already mentioned raising c-bets but this includes flop calls.

Anyway, the work continues and I'm enjoying the game more than I ever did. GL!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Refocusing and Tonight's Play

Hi all. Recently I feel that my knowledge has expanded to a new level, but unfortunately I haven't really played enough to verify that this has actually improved my play or not. So to find out I'm not going to do any more learning for a while and just grind grind grind. Tonight I played a session of cash (10NL Rush) as well as a few of the 90 man KO tournaments. I really thought I played well despite finishing down. I was focused, and felt like I was playing game A. Just unfortunate that this didn't translate into winnings.
I'm about to set up a second monitor. When I play the tournaments I find 6 tabling to be very easy so I'd like to try and ten or twelve table and see how I get on. I need to maximise my volume to smooth out the very high variance. I've been looking at a few high volume MTT players on sharkscope and a 100 or so game downswing is pretty common so I'm not at all disheartened; if my current strategy can make me 2BB/100 in nitty full ring Rush I expect a similar strategy - and a good knowledge of push fold maths - will translate into bigger profit in micro (donk filled) MTTs.

Recently I've been working really hard on defending my range more so that I'm not such a fit or fold weak pushovertard. I've learned a lot from my study but tonight I went back to just concentrating very hard on refining my opponent's hand range and basing my play on that. There were plenty of spots where I was able to use my new found knowledge but I wasn't spending the whole time looking for excuses to play back. All of a sudden the good spots stood out while the rest of the time I could just play ABC. Only time will tell but I expect that playing in this vane will get me a good win rate in both of my current chosen games. Hopefully time and volume will verify this. GL!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Leaky Improvement?

Well I'm back in Rush and clearing the bonus and I'm noticing some improvements in my game. Firstly over the last 8k hands I've been break-even unfortunately and this is probably a result of not having played much Rush for a while. As a consequence (and to verify that adjustments in my game have not contributed more leaks than they've fixed) I intend to really grind for a while. Not just to clear bonus but to play a meaningful sample of hands again. After this I'll be able to objectively analyse my game and decide on the next step to higher stakes. I believe that I've improved my thought process during a hand. Instead of looking purely at my two cards I'm thinking about it as part of a range. This may not seem like much but it's leading me to play less weakly post flop. Occasionally it is tricky to balance the need to play strongly and not give villains too much value when they have the top of their range and this is possibly a leak I have created from beginning to play back more. However I'm now winning just over 49% of hands after seeing a flop and this is an excellent result. If I can keep this up then I'd expect my win rate to rise. Only volume will verify this of course.
AS for the tournaments I will continue to play them when I have a spare 3-4 hours. I ran deep a couple of times in the last session and this has clawed back some of my losses. Still a long way to go though, and I'm beginning to realise how much volume is needed in MTTs to actually get a realistic ROI: I'm guessing that you probably need hundreds of final table finishes. Still, I'm determined to regain some sharkscope dignity (lol) so I'll continue to play these games which seem so so soft.

Friday, 3 September 2010

FT Bonus

OK so FT just waved $50 at me so I'm going to have to play less tournaments and grind some Rush again in order to clear it by the 24th. I haven't actually played for a few days I think I needed a break as tourneys still going pretty badly. I think I probably need to adjust strategy somewhat and definitely burn through more volume but for now - back to a game that I can beat. I'll play mainly 10NL Rush and mix in a little 25NL occasionally for a laugh. As soon as the bonus is cleared I'll be back at the tourneys. Since I'll be playing a fair bit again unfortunately that means that I'll probably be blogging random crap. I'll prob pick a few hands and do detailed analysis on them and may even talk about them on here which could be fun as my fishiness is outed for the world to see. Ah well, until then GL!
EDIT: Well, it only took me 1200 hands (or a little over an hour) to clear the first $5. Easy money huh? Just play 12k hands they give you $50. It's a hit on the rakeback, sure, but it's a better deal so you should always take it. I found that I've loosened a little as my confidence has grown and I've found a lot more spots to float/raise lately since doing the hand analysis. Suddenly spots where I just folded before have started to look juicy for a raise even after studying only maybe 20 hands. So I shall continue with the study as it's obv making a big difference to my play.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


I have reached a point in poker now where I'm coming across ideas that seem to contradict things that I've learned before. In the past I learned about pot odds. If we are not getting odds from the pot that our equity requires then we should fold. But recently the Janda video along with some more equity work I've undertaken has shown me that to be unexploitable, we need to defend with a range that often contains hands that do not conform to the pot odds axiom. In other words despite the pot odds we need to be playing a certain amount of our range regardless, even when the equity is insufficient for certain hands. This is causing me a lot of problems currently and may eventually stall my poker development. In particular I studied a couple of hands where each player's ranges were so weak on average by the turn that in order to defend against exploitation each opponent had to include some combinations of ace high in their calling ranges over two streets to showdown. I've seen videos of the great players and there's a recent Jungleman vid that has possibly the best hand I've ever seen played at poker. But during play I find it almost impossible to bring myself to make such thin calls. A lingering habit of my fit or fold days? Or a poker ceiling that I may never cross? Who knows, but the next few weeks may make or break me as a poker player. Just as I'm beginning to realise the true depth and beauty of poker I have also just realised that my eyes may never be good enough to truly appreciate it.

By the way, that link is seriously worth watching. My jaw never fails to hit the floor. Good luck Durrrr, because Jungleman can play. No shit!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


You know occasionally you stumble across something that's just so awesome you cannot believe it? While browsing the iPhone app store earlier I stumbled across a poker calculator that claimed to be like pokerstove. Well, it's better than stove, and I've used that program for years for equity calculations. PokerCruncher
So, for pennies you can have a program with you at all times to run equity calculations. Not only this but the software has a complete thread on twoplustwo where the developer - just one bloke - is taking suggestions and implementing them in free updates. So I paid two quid for a ridiculously high end poker app which should pay for itself in... uh... maybe a hand at 10NL? I'm not a member on twoplustwo so I cannot thank the author personally. But it's the steal of the century for any serious poker player, and very highly recommended. :)