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.

Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 Round Up and Goals for Next Year

In terms of my playing time so far, this year has been a reasonably profitable one. My entire playing bankroll (as I don't withdraw funds) is now at $2000 and two thirds of this was won this year. I have put graphs elsewhere in this blog so I will not reprint them here but I'm very happy with the year's profit. There have been ups and downs (of course) but to end the year with well over $1k profit over 200k hands of cash and a few hundred tournaments represents a good return for me.
Finding the Rush games was the biggest plus this year. For the first time I was able to put in decent and necessary volume at the micros, gaining necessary experience. Most of my profit came from Rush 10NL full ring and I also won three Rush tournaments recently which pushed my tournament profit back into the black after having a torrid few months previously in the tourney format.

2011 - What Next?
I have recently been playing quite a few Rush tournaments. The standard of opposition on average is very poor, and so in terms of softness micro and small stake tournaments seem to be better than cash games. However they require a time commitment. Even Rush tournaments can take up to two hours at a time. I also struggle to play more than two tourneys currently as I don't find many decisions automatic as I do in cash. So for this reason my playing volume is only a maximum of maybe 10 tourneys a day at the moment and I don't believe this is enough. So should I return to Rush cash games? Well, I think this is the most likely course for me in the coming months. But Full Tilt changed the rake structure recently and this has taken away a significant portion of rake back profit; something that has made those games less inviting to me. I will need to make an important decision in the next couple of days. The one goal that I do have is to achieve consistent and high volume of play. If I go the cash game route I'd like to play 500000 hands next year and if I choose the tournament route at least 6000.
To any and all who read or have ever read or will ever stumble across this blog, I hope you all have a very happy new year!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Two Final Tables

Boosted the roll by about $50 in total, disappointed to bust without making the top five spots where all the money is but meh. Going to make a lot of money from these, I'm sure. In a normal tournament playing T4s is a mistake. In a Rush tourney, it is a massive mistake as you're using up time when you could be being dealt the hands that make the most money (i.e. the top 10% or so). Yet this is one of the hands I saw an opponent play today. And many many more ridiculous hands like it. I'm beginning to up my estimate on potential ROI in these now that I've seen this. I think I should be aiming for about a third. Opponents are that terrible. Just now an opponent who had around 5xM open limped in the CO then tank called my shove from the SB with ATo. I'll be here all day if I recount the massive mathematical mistakes villains are making. Beating these should be trivially easy. Once again though, I need the volume to prove it. So if I can achieve my ROI of 33% over the thousand games then I should make around $1500 by the end. Good money that, so back to the grind. GL

Monday, 27 December 2010

$4 Rush On Demand

Hey. I'm going to keep you updated on my progress in the $4 Rush On Demand tourneys that usually run with around 250 players. So far my progress has been very good, but I have certainly ran well recently. I would expect a barren stretch to be around the corner, although so much villain play is truly dreadful so cashing is not that difficult. I'm going to try and play as much as I can until I reach a decent sample size; 1000 games I guess. This will probably take 2-3 months of playing. I have much more bankroll than I probably need for these games but since I consider myself a novice tournament player I think that this is necessary until I prove myself here - like I did at 10NL. I'll likely spend a little time at the Rush cash tables too, but these games seem at least as profitable currently and deserve some time IMO.
As for the few games tonight, I made one bad call but otherwise think I played OK. The most recent tourney I busted in 11th against a good player who reshoved on the final table bubble against my AA button raise and his A9 smacked trips on the flop. Disappointing since that double up would have put me in the top three with a great chance for a good finish. Never mind, that's tournament poker. I feel that there is a huge room for improvement in my tournament game and I look forward to putting in some hours. Hopefully after another 950 games the graph will still be in profit! GL

A Couple of Tourneys Tonight...

Will update later on. But been so busy the last week it's nice to finally get some time back for poker. GL

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Frustrating day, but not a bad one...

Played tons of tourneys today, maybe 20-30. I didn't final table a single one, yet I finished 15-30 a huge percentage of the time - so much so that I think I actually broke even on the day. The frustrating thing was that I got to those positions so many times and then on the single flip I needed to final table I ran into a big hand, or I didn't win the race. Never mind, this is the nature of tournament play. Overall I'm pretty happy with my play. One thing I've noticed is that I seem to be falling behind the average stack somewhat once we get under 50 players. This might be because I was pretty card dead, or it might be that I'm not shoving widely enough from each position once I get short. It could also be down to my reshove weakness. I'm not afraid to get it in, but given a pfr % I find it hard to know which hands I should be reshoving for value and also which I should be adding as bluffs. I've never had a problem shoving any two cards to win the blinds but once someone has shown an interest I am very cautious about putting chips in. Oh well, more work to do. That is something that has never feared me, and I still think I'm better than 98% of players in these tourneys, so the money will come my way ;)

Rush On Demand Tourney Session

Played a few of these this afternoon. So far made one goofy shove when about 5M deep in the cut off with 32s, I should have picked a better hand I think given that the blinds were pretty loose. Oh well, I have to learn to concentrate harder, I find it easy to auto pilot in these and just see all the chips in the middle and just shove too wide. I think it's better to be too aggressive than too passive though so meh.
These tournaments are terrific, the quality of opponent is dreadful overall. There are just tons of LAG wannabes (40% vpip+ 35% pfr) - and providing we know our ranges we can reshove for value really widely, eg {66+, KTs+, KJo+, A5s+, A9o+} - that sort of range. Unfortunately this afternoon I found I was often in situations where I had little fold equity and was not getting many of those hands so probably got run over a bit in the blinds. But I never let myself get much shorter than 5M without making a move to try and double up or win the blinds. I think this is really important. Try and stay in the game where possible even if it means risking a gamble. Going to have a break now and poss play a few more in a bit. Would be nice to make a final table today but given that most of these have 200-300 runners in now by the end of reg that's expecting a lot I guess. By the way, if these start to go the way of the regular tourneys and numbers increase beyond 500 it may discourage me from playing them, but on the flip side a win is a bigger deal then.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

December Update

Hey, played basically zero poker in the last couple of weeks. My sister lives in Canada and has been visiting so I've used the time as a vacation. She sadly leaves tomorrow but after the weekend I've got a really busy week up to Christmas day so I don't think I'll be consistently playing poker until the end of the month when I should get some free days to put in some volume. My heart is in the Rush tournaments at the moment so I intend to try and play as many as possible in the new year. If I could play 1000 @ $4 and 25% ROI that will be a nice return and I should be able to achieve that in a couple of months I believe. If I can - and I often set goals that I don't see through - then I'll probably try the same thing with the $11 tournaments. At this point there's potential for good income so I could possibly make a few grand next year if things go my way. As always, you'll read about it here.

Just a note on my other thinking hobby - chess - after a long time out from playing I have realised just how poor I am now. After spending some time learning a little on opening play it's pretty clear that tactics (move trees that lead to positional or material gain) are my biggest weakness and so as long as I continue to play I think that that is where I'll be focussing all of my training. I'm using the tactics trainer at chess.com. Before I join the local club again I need to get better. Currently any decent club player would shit all over me, basically. So if poker doesn't take up all of my time in the next few months I'll hopefully be ready to play some over the board games by next Autumn when the season begins. GL

Thursday, 9 December 2010

US Legislation

I do not know an awful lot about this subject; just that a bill may shortly be passed which means the US poker players would face an internet poker blackout for 15 months, followed by taxed and regulated games along the lines of pokerstars.FR. I'm English but I'm worried about online poker. I have read some unfortunate brags on the twoplustwo forum boards from English players along the lines of : "we're not affected, we don't care, hahahah". I do not share this view and am very concerned about the future of this game. The way I see it there are two roads that poker could go down:
1/ The bill is not passed and the US Feds continue to squeeze the life out of US online poker until there is no longer US involvement with the online game. As the country that gave the game to the world this would be a huge blow. And what if the Feds somehow targeted Full Tilt and PokerStars resources such that player's deposit money suddenly became insecure - these companies would not be bailed out by the government but they'd face similar panic to the banks (mass withdrawal) and probably go under. This is a huge threat to the online game's very existence.
2/ The bill goes through - this appears to be the slightly better choice if it secures the legality of the two biggest internet providers. However, the world loses the US players indefinitely. US players, good and bad make up a third of the online poker player pool apparently (source twoplustwo - accuracy unreliable lol). I don't believe it would be good for the game to lose their participation.

twoplustwo legislation threads

Two dark paths ahead for online poker IMO. I'll be watching developments closely.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Lesson in Patience

Hey, this post is an update on my overall recent multi-table tournament play (since my huge improvement at the end of last year). A few posts ago I was playing quite a few of the 90 man KO tournaments and felt I was running terribly; but knowing how much ROI is influenced by tournament wins I said at the time that I would keep the faith and hopefully the results would come around. The first pic on the right is how I had been doing in those KOs at that point. The second picture is after the recent three wins that I have been lucky enough to have. It just goes to show the huge difference in results that can occur very quickly over small tournament sample sizes. I would totally expect given that my database has me winning around 4 BB/100 in tournament chips overall that I am a winning tournament player and I may try and expend some energy playing more volume to provide more evidence of this. And hell, winning tournaments is fun!

Monday, 6 December 2010

I am a luckbox.

Just won another tournament for $150 so the bankroll just took another healthy injection. But seriously, I'm running so well in them at the moment it's ridiculous. Although before this heater I had a dismal 800 tournament stretch so maybe it's just balancing out? At one point I sucked out on someone and for the next few hands I played with them there was a pause before they made their move. I didn't have chat on so couldn't see what was up but pretty sure I was copping some abuse lol. LOVE IT!

The tournaments I played tonight were the On Demand Rush tournaments. Everything about these games ticks the profit boxes. They have good prize money and attract poor players. They have late registration - I can't see the advantage in buying into an event with a smaller than average stack. They are Rush, so we can pick our spots better than in a normal tournament format. Going to play a lot of these in the future!

Cleared $50 for Rush week too by four tabling 25NL for an hour a day this week, so that's cool. Played OK, I think my micro cash strategy is a steady earner now so I should really put in more volume - my biggest weakness is laziness.

OK so a slightly short slightly drunk update. Hope you run as well as me :)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Turn Check Raises are Awesome!

Hey, I've been trying to develop my flop and turn strategy to get more aggressive and balanced. When out of position check raises on the turn are a really underused weapon at these stakes. One statistic that stands out from my database is that once villains call a flop c-bet they only fold the turn about a third of the time. I also suspect (although I don't have the stat to hand) that with most of their range they will bet the turn when checked to. So... Turn check raises are therefore awesome! We can make their life hell with hands that they don't want to fold. I have stacked two to three players now with sets after check raising the turn. Of course if opponents are going to start check back pot controlling the turn we'll need to start over-betting the river but this is another story... Try it, I like to balance the check raises with spots where I have 17-20% equity like with flush draws and straight draws. I think this should prevent villains getting an easy ride. GL!

5/7 days Rush week completed so far...

Should earn the $50 reward on Sunday which is very nice, ship the free two buy-ins. I'm aware that the recent rake change has cut my rakeback pretty significantly; hopefully they plan to give out more bonuses as some sort of compensation.

I just went back and looked at some of my old archives from the middle of last year. I think I was six tabling double or nothing tournaments back then. How completely and utterly boring that must have been! Then I discovered HUSNG.com and playing heads up tournaments leading up to Christmas last year led to a huge improvement in my post flop hand reading skills. This year though was the year I took a huge step forward, and I have Rush poker to thank for it all. What a brilliant invention, and for me and probably many others it has changed online poker for good. I really cannot believe why Stars didn't take up the idea when it was offered to them. I hope that other sites adopt this format because FT could use it's monopoly to relentlessly squeeze more money out of it's clients until it becomes questionably profitable. Until then and while it's still super juicy, I'm loving every hand (and so is the bankroll)!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Run Bad and Turn Barrelling

Just lost the last couple of sessions for 2.5 buy-ins. Basically coolers mostly where I was sucked out on and then villain hit when I had too much money in the pot to fold, except for one hand where I saved myself $12 as it was absolutely clear I was dead in the water, even though I was getting 4/1 or something. Oh well, I will continue to play and hopefully things will go good again.

I need to work on my turn barrels. I am trying to pick those spots where my equity improves, but I just don't feel that I'm betting the turn often enough after c-betting so I need to work on my game and do some study to improve my frequency here. Anyway, run good for me!