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, 29 November 2010

Shortish Session

Just over 1000 hands played for a buy-in return. Played pretty well overall but butchered one hand:
Full Tilt - $0.25 NL RUSH - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

BB: $25.00
UTG: $14.67
UTG+1: $31.89
MP: $36.17
MP+1: $32.44
Hero (LP): $27.49
CO: $29.17
BTN: $29.23
SB: $27.80

SB posts SB $0.10, BB posts BB $0.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero has Ac 3c

fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $0.75, CO calls $0.75, BTN calls $0.75, SB calls $0.65, BB calls $0.50

Flop: ($3.75, 5 players) Tc 4c Th
SB checks, BB checks, Hero checks, CO bets $1.50, fold, SB calls $1.50, fold, Hero calls $1.50

Turn: ($8.25, 3 players) 2c
SB bets $4.30, Hero calls $4.30, fold

River: ($16.85, 2 players) 8s
SB bets $9.10, Hero calls $9.10

SB shows 9c Jc (Flush, Jack High)
Hero shows Ac 3c (Flush, Ace High)
Hero wins $33.30
Yeah, basically super nitty call on the river; while my opponent was playing around a third of hands pretty passively he would only conceivably continue on the flop with TT or 44 or random flush draws. Those random suited connector type flush draws make up a far larger percentage of combos than TT or 44 so I should have shipped immediately on the river. At the time when I was thinking about the combos I included 22 or 88 which would actually be really unlikely holdings. So I missed out on around 2/3 of $11 worth of money :(
So, I'm playing pretty well but still making mistakes. However I feel that every session improves me as I see and play more and more hands so my confidence is growing pretty quickly. In just over a year I've grown my bankroll considerably, and I think that I should be ready to play some hands at 0.25/0.50 FRNL Rush in the spring. Really looking forward to that, and hopefully my development does not plateau. GL!

Rush Week

Just logged in to get some hands in for Rush week. Player pools seem to have increased by around 20% on normal across the limits for Rush poker cash games, and from my first 100-200 hands the games appear to be really juicy. Just a quick heads up, moneyz to be made! GL

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Posting sooner than expected...

...because I just won an $11 Rush tournament for $423!! Awesome result, awesome feeling. I think that could be the best I've ever played in a tournament, not just because of the result but I won some big pots by hand reading as well as I have ever done. I think I timed my gear switches to perfection too; when I was short on the money bubble I managed to stay alive stack wise by picking my spots; doubled up a couple of times until I had a way better than average stack and by this stage we were on the final table bubble. This was when I started opening every hand that was folded to me and re-stealing in good spots; I must have grown my stack by over 100% during this stage and then was chip leader at the final table. The table conditions were not too great to be honest, most of the chips were sat in the two spots to my immediate left. But luckily those players were much too passive and by the time a couple of levels had passed the situation wasn't as bad and I was able to switch gears and loosen up again. When it got short handed the players were not adjusting either so I returned to a loose aggressive style. Overall, I can't think of any spot I messed up. Very happy, since that result has increased my bankroll by about a quarter! I may get addicted to tournaments if this run good continues...! Here are two pots that I played (pokerhandreplays seems to be broke, sorry):

Full Tilt - $11+$1|1000/2000 NL RUSH - Holdem - 8 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

BTN: 9,076.00
SB: 14,758.00
BB: 54,837.00
UTG: 23,770.00
UTG+1: 26,021.00
Hero (MP): 60,561.00
MP+1: 36,360.00
CO: 44,617.00

BTN posts ante 250.00, SB posts ante 250.00, BB posts ante 250.00, UTG posts ante 250.00, UTG+1 posts ante 250.00, Hero posts ante 250.00, MP+1 posts ante 250.00, CO posts ante 250.00, SB posts SB 1,000.00, BB posts BB 2,000.00

Pre Flop: (5000.00) Hero has Ks Qd

fold, fold, Hero raises to 5,000.00, fold, fold, fold, fold, BB calls 3,000.00

Flop: (13000.00, 2 players) 6d 6s As
BB checks, Hero checks

Turn: (13000.00, 2 players) 2c
BB bets 2,000.00, Hero calls 2,000.00

River: (17000.00, 2 players) Qc
BB bets 6,000.00, Hero calls 6,000.00

BB shows 5s 2s (Two Pair, Sixes and Twos)
Hero shows Ks Qd (Two Pair, Queens and Sixes)
Hero wins 29,000.00
Not much difficult here, I have the best unpaired hand and his turn bet sizing makes calling mandatory. Similar story on the river.
Full Tilt - $11+$1|3000/6000 NL RUSH - Holdem - 3 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

SB: 78,238.00
BB: 122,909.00
Hero (BTN): 68,853.00

SB posts ante 750.00, BB posts ante 750.00, Hero posts ante 750.00, SB posts SB 3,000.00, BB posts BB 6,000.00

Pre Flop: (11250.00) Hero has 5c 4c

Hero raises to 12,000.00, fold, BB calls 6,000.00

Flop: (29250.00, 2 players) 7c Qc Jh
BB checks, Hero checks

Turn: (29250.00, 2 players) 9s
BB bets 18,000.00, Hero calls 18,000.00

River: (65250.00, 2 players) Qd
BB checks, Hero bets 38,103.00 and is all-in, fold

Hero wins 65,250.00
In this hand I didn't want to be check shoved on, so I decided to see if I could realise my equity by taking a free card. Villains' turn bet just seemed weak by the size and timing. I wonder if raising all-in might have been better than flatting... I might have folded a few hands that had decent equity. However calling getting obvious odds to draw to the flush and then he quickly checks the river. I'm now convinced he has nothing so an obvious shove.

Well chuffed, GL all!

PS just started following James Atkins' blog, and he posted a brilliant spoof video that made me cry with laughter (not sure who the original creator is):

Free Moneyz at Full Tilt

Should play a few thousand hands this week, I'll be attempting to manage 100 ftps per day from Monday to Sunday so that I can get free $50 cash. The promotion is called Rush week, and I like free money. Might try and play a few Rush tourneys as well if I get free time. Will post more later in the week.

Monday, 22 November 2010

I must have pleased someone today...

Just a quick session, and a very quick four buy-ins won. Sick hand coming...

Actually pokerhandreplays reminded me that I had non trivial equity in this hand because aces were outs too, but still. Nice suckout, huh? It wasn't until I just reviewed the hand that I also realised villain open raised to 8bb. The flop shove was a ridiculously large overbet as well, and I can't ever fold trips top kicker in that spot. So looks like I may be enjoying a heater for the first time in a couple of months so I need to play as much as possible and enjoy it while it lasts! GL

Sunday, 21 November 2010

EEEEEgggh - OOOOOORrrgh - Donk Betting Tilts Me

So just played another couple of tournaments after that horrible play I made, and again I raise from the button get flatted and quickly donked into and I have top pair. Now I know there's only a pot sized bet left so decided that I'd let him donk off with his entire range on the turn. The board was AQ9r and the turn was an innocuous 5. So I snap called the turn and he had pocket 55. WTF????!!!! I seriously need to develop a sound strategy for donk betting, it tilts the hell out of me.
OK, so how does a fish think when he sees a flop and decides to donk? Well, either he thinks his hand is good - no matter what it is - or he thinks making you fold is the way to win at poker. He is not sophisticated enough to know that it's better to let his opponent bet a wide range by checking. On the flip side, there is very very rarely ever a fish that will also donk his strong hands - they love to slow play - so we can almost always put only pairs and bluffs and draws in his donking range, which gives us a capped range. In this instance it makes sense to bluff raise often when we have equity. If we do not have equity it is difficult because if he thinks his hand is good he will not fold. This includes draws. In the final table instance earlier my raise was bad because I was bluffing against a big stack that had me covered and I was risking too much by shipping (by ICM maths) given I only had 25% equity or so when called. It would have made more sense to float and get the money in if I hit on the turn.
I think it is also useful to evaluate donk betting using timing. If a habitual donk bettor thinks before betting I find that it's usually a made pair or draw type hand and the very quick bets is often a pure bluff (a premeditated action) or sometimes a low pocket pair that is being turned into a bluff.

Raise or fold with nothing - tend to raise if his preflop calling range is wide
Raise with big hands - make him pay for draws or get value from pairs that won't fold
Raise with good draws - fold out his random shit and build a big pot for when we hit
Call with medium hands (inc. implied odds draws like the final table hand) - let him continue to fire with his whole range, and raise when we hit

Anyway, sorry for the rambling strategy post, this was more to do with getting some tilt off of my chest rather than a proper strategy article. But if you are struggling against donk bettors post a comment with your observations. GL

Some Goals for the Week

Going to try and play ~100 games of Rush MTT this week at $4.40 a go. Simply as an exercise to see how I get on. I'll post a graph at the end unless I run horribly and give up like I normally do on a challenge I set myself! Seriously though, if I just concentrate on numbers and don't look at results I should be able to get to 100 no problem at all by 4-6 tabling. This is a really small sample size in truth so providing it doesn't go terribly I may extend the run to Christmas and try and do five hundred or so. I've seen some good ROIs on the forums so if I can somehow make $1 a game that will be a nice increase to the bankroll. In those times when I don't have a spare hour and a half I'll still play some 25NL cash to keep myself warm to those games too. Hand histories? Oh, go on I might do that too.

Edit: I think I just made a pretty big final table mistake with seven runners left. I was second in chips and there were two very short stacks, so I should just have tightened up and waited for them to bust and move up in cash spots. The ICM didn't justify me taking any risk at all given how much equity I had locked up. But this player kept calling my raises and donking half pot every single flop. I had folded until the incident but then got a rainbow board with two overcards and gutshot and shipped over his donk. This time, he had an overpair and it held up. I think I let tilt and recklessness get the better of me. Pretty disappointing. Must take more care in final table spots!!!

Rush Tournaments versus 90 man KO

Hey, just played another session of Rush tourneys. The most striking thing to me is that there is so much money at the final table. All it takes is one FT finish per session to break even whereas in the KO tournaments money is taken out for the bounties and consequently ROI is determined with wins being the predominant factor. This tells me that variance is likely to be higher in the KOs. So I will continue to play these for a while. They seem pretty simple, just playing a tight aggressive game with a focus on stealing later on. There seem to be a ton of players who donate money early on to the prize pool and also contribute dead money when the blinds get higher by limp folding a wide range. Standard tournament fishiness. Hopefully if the good cards continue and my strategy is sound - as I have always believed it would be in these weak player infested SNGs - then I can bring my sharkscope record back into profit over the course of a couple hundred of these tournaments. Wish me luck and I'll post a graph once I've played a decent sample. GL!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Rush Poker MTT SNG Win

Played a few of these this afternoon, they look really really terrific in terms of profitability; added to this is the fact that you can play so many hands and it's a win - win situation. I quickly played several tournaments within the space of two to three hours and ended up cashing in two, winning one. I adopted my standard full ring cash preflop strategy, although I think in future when multitabling I can afford to play like a mega nit raising like 7% of hands and opening up and stealing from CO through SB. Then as soon as the antes come in it's time to up the aggression and steal like a maniac. These tournaments do not look quite as soft as the 90 man KOs but are still much weaker than the typical Rush cash games. IMO these micro Rush tournaments are probably at least comparable to cash. So I may invest some time into these now while the full ring cash is going poorly. That cash boost for such little investment has propelled my bankroll back up very nicely.
All that is left for me to do is tidy up my HUD as it's messy at the moment and I also need to sort out tableNinja as half way through the session I had aces but when the mouse hovered over the table the betting slider spazzed out and didn't allow me to bet. So while the time was ticking down I had to quickly turn it off so I didn't fold. After I've fixed this I will six to eight table for four to six hours at a time and see how I get on. I played 14 tourneys in the space of 2.5 hours including the win which was an hour and 40 minutes long.
So let's assume a lower end estimate of 20% ROI so 44c per tourney plus 11c rake back then if I can play ten tourneys on average per hour the hourly is about $5.50. Doesn't sound like much but I'm very confident that we can do better than that ROI at this limit... Anyway, ramble over, check these games out - they're good! GL


So, a little off subject I know. I think the coming Ashes series could be really competitive and close - but if it is, then I cant see me getting much sleep lol. I think our squad looks at least equal to the Australian team but home advantage must still make them favourite. Come on England!

Watched a mate DRAskew final table the $5 rebuy yesterday where he finished eighth, and it reminded me that I miss that aspect of tournament play. The final table and playing for big money for first place... I'm going to need to slip in some tournaments I think among my schedule and see if I can't drop a big score. GL!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

My Humegamungous Leak

Hey, the games I am playing in at the moment are a complete and total push over. The vast majority of players are playing a complete fit or fold strategy. However, one thing that I keep doing time and time again is becoming suspicious against aggression. It might be the first time I have been raised in a few hundred hands but Ill still bluff catch to showdown. This is a huge leak, my opponents show big hands the vast vast majority of the time in this spot. Tonight a tight regular over a couple hundred hands called my UTG raise, check called my c-bet on a 654 then donked pot on the A turn and again on a random river. I should immediately have identified this line as one that someone with a set would take given that the A is a scare card and I would likely check back hands that would also call a bet. But instead I thought that the line looked really bluffy so I called down. If I had paid attention and not been so suspicious then you can see that its an easy fold. Making these sorts of lay-downs are critical for improving my win rate at this limit. My leak is suspicion.
Bets are very rarely raised at all at this limit. So when we are raised and end up folding, we are not being exploited. If we were we would need to defend our range. But in spots where we are not being exploited, we can just play our hand face up. Over the next few thousand hands I am really going to play extra cautiously in spots where opponents are not regularly exploiting me. In fact, I can currently only think of three spots where villains are printing money against me.
1/ Stealing my blinds
2/ 3 betting my wide late position opens
3/ C - betting against me a ton
In any other spots, my actions should be polarised based on my hand strength I think. Anyhow, rant over and good luck at the tables!
PS update your blog Mr Askew - good to see you back in the games!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Good Evening

Just finished a pretty long session, think it was around 3 hrs. No results as I am no longer checking them in order to protect myself from short termism. As a guess Id say it was probably break even at best. But this is a good thing, as I am increasingly sure that this is actually where my ability puts me. I am enjoying the sessions more now that I am just concentrating on the individual hands and not worrying about whether or not I finish in profit. Tonight, there were three spots where I played for stacks with good equity and my hands did not hold so I'm sure I ran beneath expectation. Will play some more tomorrow I expect.

Have begun to play a little Chess again for the first time in years. I used to be semi-obsessed (but rubbish) at the game when I was a young teen but when I headed off to uni I stopped playing completely. Well, I discovered the online resource www.chess.com the other day (God if only I had had this when I was younger) which is a brilliant website for Chess enthusiasts and it has rekindled a small flame in me. Knowing how little I know about the game, I'm realistic and Ill never be a good player but I may start playing again so that I can get a bit of competition going in my life. There is a certain beauty in Chess; in its endless patterns and symmetries.

Finally, onto music. There are two records that have dominated my play time recently and they are:
Foals - Total Life Forever
The National - High Violet
Two brilliant albums that I haven't been able to get enough of. I got the Foals record after their Mercury nomination and then found The National album on iTunes while browsing randomly.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Really enjoying the 25NL Full Ring Rush now that I've settled in. Not recovered my losses but holding my own better than before. I am still two tabling and just making sure I make my decisions as good as possible and continue to make copious notes. I think this is a good thing because when I was playing four tables at once note taking was something that often made me time out and as a consequence I rarely would. Every time I make notes on a hand I feel it helps me to internalise that situation and it's outcome making me a better player. The more hands I play the better I feel about my game. I really have come a long way in just a few months. I just need the results to demonstrate the truth in this!

It seems that the WSOP coverage has padded the playing pool with fishier players; seriously though, I am not sure why I was ever scared of playing this limit. There are only maybe a couple of players I have played pots with that I would consider competent post flop players. There are plenty of TAGs who play fine preflop but then just have no clue about post flop concepts. Evidence that I should make money... I just need to log the hands. Two tabling gets me through about 600 hands per hour so hopefully by Christmas Ill have a decent sample to show you all.

Someone told me that the biggest jump in standard at micro/small stakes is at 50NL. If I am not deluding myself about my ability in comparison to the competition at my current limit then hopefully I will have enough bankroll to move up come spring time and then it will likely take me another few months to adapt to that limit. If there is a significant jump in playing quality I may consider getting coaching for the first time. I think that I should now always have an edge on level one and sometimes level two thinking players but would get destroyed by any deeper thinkers than this, so that would be where coaching comes in I guess. Anyway, hopefully in the not too distant future I can post a winnings curve and silence my self doubts once and for all. GL

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Less Hands/Hour

- I've made the decision to play two tables and make a lot of notes instead of playing four and getting hurried with decisions sometimes. This is basically decreasing my hourly win rate but I think that the fact that I will improve quicker will compensate for this in the long run. I can really try and decipher ranges and then when I'm wrong learn better from my mistakes. This measure is only going to happen while I am still very unsure about my win rate at this limit. If I can get to a stage - like in 10NL - where I have very strong evidence of winning over 100k hands or more then I'll begin to four table again until such time that I decide to move to 50NL. Of course this is speculation and I may actually lose my poker bankroll. But after a couple of good sessions and the utter belief that this limit plays no better than 10NL I truly think that I will make money here. And after a couple of good sessions I'm wondering if I'm now on my way out of my recent down swing. Only time will tell! GL

Saturday, 6 November 2010

No Results, just Play Time!

Hey, well the last couple of days I have completely ignored session results and just focused on trying to play as well as I can. I really like this disassociation as its helping me to play better and not tilt if I have a couple of losing sessions in a row. As it stands, most of the time I'm not sure if I finish the session up or down and that's a good thing - because it doesn't matter what results are like in the short run! I can then objectively look at a few hands from the session and decide if I played them as well as I can. But on the other hand I do need to check my bankroll occasionally. So, I will try and check my balance just once per week and providing it's not dwindling alarmingly do a full analysis of my play at the end of the month. So I will never know how well I've got on until that time. Hopefully Ill have a reasonable sample of hands then to have a look at and the individual session results will become meaningless. I can just concentrate on playing as well as I can on a hand by hand and street by street level. GL

Friday, 5 November 2010


The last couple of sessions I've made some mistakes. I had a critical look back and while overall my play was pretty sound there were a couple of spots where I ignored Baluga theorem and therefore cost myself the best part of a buy-in over 2000 hands. This is extremely significant in terms of profit. {Baluga theorem says that turn raises from straight forward players mean hands better than a pair}. There was also a spot where I called down a donk bettor on a paired board because the betting didn't make sense with any hand but the player had trips. Not sure if I could have found a fold here, maybe. Anyway the overall point is that I am still making significant mistakes and that I must begin to iron these leaks from my game if I ever want to beat this limit.

I intend to stay at 25NL now; while I may occasionally drop back to 10NL for various reasons my main game will be Rush 10/25c Full Ring and all the work I undertake in the next year will be with the goal of finding a winning strategy for this limit. Of course I open up the possibility of burning through my entire existing bankroll. This is no small sum to me, a few hundred English pounds. But I believe this is a risk worth taking. There is little point in continuing to smash 10NL as the hourly is very small and while the extra money would be significant by the end of the year, it will take a lot of man hours to earn that cash. GL

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Haven't played much at all, but when I have it hasn't been winning poker. The problem with having tons of losing sessions in a row is it seriously de-motivates you from playing. Fortunately I've still managed to learn a few things in the last couple of weeks despite the lack of serious play. Today for example I was reminded of how we make money at poker; the concept of reciprocality. I am 110% confident that I am playing situations better than most of my opponents at 25NL are, so therefore (given sufficient volume) I will beat this limit - just as I beat 10NL. At least, this is what I keep telling myself. My hand sample is still ridiculously low but if I get to a point where serious questions are being asked about my ability then I will either:
1/ Get coaching
2/ Quit for good
At the moment I'd still back myself (maybe 1~2) to pull the results around but those odds will change fast with every extra losing session. GL