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, 29 January 2011


Things going well, I'm currently enjoying a heater. The Rush games seem really terrific at the moment for some reason. There are times of the day when the regs seem to overcrowd the games but most of the time there's tons of weak players. There are also tons of bad regs who play a reasonable/semi-spewey preflop strategy and a very spewey post flop strategy. Winning money in these games is still entirely about getting value when you're good and folding when you sense you are beat. Value bet big and bluff small. I suspect the semi lags who are trying to win as many pots as possible are really losing a lot of money. If anyone watched my game strategy, they'd probably think I was the weakest most passive player ever. My strategy has so many holes it's ridiculous, but it seems to fit the current state of 25c Rush poker.

Here's an excellent article that you should read [thoughts on balance and rush], I think Citizenwind has a deep understanding of the game and thankfully is willing to share his knowledge. Tap this resource if you have any desire to get better.

Despite doing well currently I know that there are huge areas for improvement in my game and I will be tapping resources like the CW videos and cardrunners. I will never stop striving for improvement. GL

EDIT: One other thing I meant to say, my bankroll has improved such that I have enough to move up now using my criteria. However, I want more sturdy evidence that I'm beating this limit and 35k hands is not enough. So I'll probably be looking to go over to 0.25/0.50 sometime around April. Much looking forward to that, there's a general consensus that a winning strategy at 0.10/0.25 should work up there too.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Winning Microstake's Poker (IMO)

1/ Play a superior strategy
This is much tougher than it used to be as the standard of play has improved. BUT there are still winning strategies out there, and many of the winners share these strategies on the forums. Read, learn and profit.
2/ Keep a cool head at all times
Each hand is merely a single result in a broad strategy. If someone lets these individual results affect their decision making, not only are they showing naivety about the mathematics but are turning what could be a good strategy into a mediocre or poor one. Who cares that your KK got sucked out on? As long as you play a superior overall strategy to most of your opponents you'll win. Forget the individual results and concentrate on the long term.
3/ Play within a good bankroll structure
I use a strategy of moving up at 50 buy-ins for the next limit and down at 90 buy-ins for the limit below. Simple, a little nitty for some people but it protects my investment and makes sure that I can concentrate on getting through volume.
4/ Play volume
This has been my biggest weakness in the past, but Rush poker has changed this forever. I can now play serious volume, up to around 50000 hands per month. That's a lot of poker. Volume is variance's enemy and nemesis; variance cannot beat volume, EVER. Play a winning strategy, keep cool, play volume and make money!

An element of strategy
The part of my strategy that has improved the most lately is my understanding of how conditions change during a hand. For example, you notice that a loose raiser from the button folds a lot to 3-bets and you decide to pull the trigger with Ac7c. We have already deduced that this play should make an immediate profit. However, our opponent actually calls. Now what? I used to just make an automatic c-bet and would often spew off half my stack or more running some bluff. But this is usually bad; against his continuing range the hand does pretty poorly, so it's best to continue when our equity improves on the flop e.g. flush draws, top pair etc. The fact we're check folding the flop most of the time does not make our first raise bad. Know when to give up on a bluff.

Way too early for me to be preaching strategy I know, sorry. GL

Monday, 24 January 2011

Quick Link

In recent posts I have talked about Verneer's quest for $200 to $10000. He is currently experiencing a downswong and the recent posts are hilarious. Check the thread out and show your support, he's a big micro/small stakes winner who gives a lot of free advice and knowledge out. A good man who deserves to run good again!!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Quick Note

Last post I spoke of some adjustments I was going to make, they boiled down to the following:
1/ Play more dynamic ranges from the CO through to Small Blind
When it folds to me in these positions I will now look at the HU display and decide whether I have enough fold equity to make the hand profitable. Previously I just had a fixed range which was playing into the hands of liberal 3-bettors.
2/ Look for more light stealing (3-bet and 4-bet) opportunities versus liberal late position raisers
If anyone is 3-betting you to death when you steal there are two adjustments you can make. The first is steal less often, the second to call or 4-bet more often. I have begun to do a little of both these things. Not enough to create a leak, but just enough to help.

What these changes have done is alter the slope of my red line by a fraction. As Sklansky (and Meteoric ;)) said poker is a battle for the blinds. Any time we can fight for and win a little more of the blind money it will make a difference to our win rate and that appears to be the case in my game. I think these adjustments will probably add around 1 ptbb/100 to my win rate which could make the difference between breaking even and making a tidy sum of money. My graph is beginning to look better, if you factor in the four buy-ins that I'm running beneath expectation then I should be very confident in my strategy and where it will take me over the next few weeks. As I said before, I have a long busy work week and I'll try and play as much as possible but I think it will only amount to 5k hands or something like that. GL

Thursday, 20 January 2011

10k hands for week done... More break-even-ness

Small win for the week but not good enough to be honest. It's good to get to my hand target as I know I won't likely get a chance to put in any volume on Saturday so I won't feel under pressure to get there tomorrow night. I can just play as many hands as I feel like - probably around 2k or something like that.

Leak Fixing
Now, I'm happy with much of my play but there is an area that I need to improve on and I think it will have a fairly large baring on my profitability. For the last 20k hands or so I've had a fixed preflop range from each position. I'm not sure why as I was much more dynamic at 10NL... I guess I just wanted to keep it simple while I was settling in. While I will likely not change much in the blinds or early positions I think that having too static a range in the CO and button is a mistake. I am raising trash from the cut off despite there being loose 3-bettors behind - which is costing me money. There is good evidence in my database that this is true as those two positions should be my biggest winners but are not. I will focus on this part of my play for the next few weeks, and I think that my winrate depends on me succeeding.

One of the top micro/small stakes Rush players citizenwind has just published a video series to youtube that looks good. I'll look to see what he is doing differently and adjust my game accordingly. GL all!


There is a lot of discussion in forums about loose players versus tight players. It is always the tight player who is mediocre; despite the fact they are winning for 4ptbb/100 they cannot be 'good' because they are tight. I have never worked out whether the people that write off the tags and nits are genuinely good loose players or just loose fish who think that they're good. I suspect it is the latter.

Consider a heads-up game without blinds. We have a loose aggressive player and a tight aggressive player who both play optimally both preflop and postflop. Who would win? I hope the answer is obvious... the tight player wins because his hand distribution has an equity advantage. In this example I think it would be foolish to call the tight player better (even though he wins in the long run) because both players are playing as well as they possibly can (optimally). [Note that if we had blinds this would complicate things because now we should assume that the looser player will win more of the blind money on average to compensate somewhat for the card disadvantage.]

My point is that being 'good' in this game does not have anything to do with being loose or tight. There are good tight players; there are good loose players. I'm convinced that the good tight players could play a profitable loose style and the loose players a profitable tight style if they chose to do so.

As far as this relates to my game - and the evidence suggests that I am just a break-even player at the games I'm playing in currently - I have seen strong evidence that a similar preflop strategy to my own can bring big returns in this game. This implies that I am doing some serious things wrong post flop. I certainly agree with this implication and I'm currently playing as much as I can in order to try and bring my game up to the next level.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Good Session

Just finished a good session and so this week it looks like I'm making good progress. If only if I hadn't spaz mis-clicked yesterday I could be over $100 in profit... :(
I have a $30 rake back payment due as well so all looks like it's moving along nicely so far in my quest to beat this limit.

I have just altered my hot keys slightly so that I can keyboard shortcut some more useful bet sizes. I now have 1/3 pot, 1/2 pot, 2/3 pot (default), pot and 1.5 x pot. Hopefully with some more experience I can learn to use the different sizes well and maximise EV.

I also played a couple of pots with cardrunners pro Verneer (TheXC on Full Tilt) as he was at the tables grinding for his $200 to $10k challenge. Nothing much interesting, my heart started racing in a blind vs blind situation when I c-bet 78s on a 367r out of position - there was quite a long pause and I was anticipating having to face a raise from a good player with top pair but he folded. Phew.

Happy with my game currently apart from a couple of dumb mistakes I think I'm playing as well as I have ever done. Back to the grind!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Catastrophic Error (mis-clickaments)

For the last 15k hands or so I have had the right mouse button assigned to the call button. It has allowed me to play quickly and efficiently. However a short time ago I raised AKo from middle position and got open jammed on. Having played quite a bit of Rush now and after hearing other players' thoughts on the forums this is AA almost all of the time. But as I moved my cursor to the table and began to press the space bar (which is my fold hotkey) I accidentally pressed the right mouse button. 7% equity in a $30 pot. This is the first big mis-click I have made in poker and it will probably have a massive effect on this weeks results. As a consequence of this huge mistake I have now unassigned the right mouse button and will have to manually click the call button in future. Really disappointed as I feel that I played well aside from this. It will likely take me a week to recover the losses. The only positive to take from this is that it happened to me on a table when I was $30 deep. On a different table I had $55 and villain would have covered that. So I spewed off a buy-in, and I've learned an important lesson the hard way. GL

Monday, 17 January 2011

Not a good idea to play when tired....

Fortunately for me I realised this about 500 hands in and stopped. Right after I called a bet thinking villain was all-in (I have the nuts) and then realised he had money left behind (albeit only a couple of dollars). Made one other big mistake when villain turned his hand face up pretty much on the turn and then when the top pair card (which I thought he had) paired again on the river I called a pot sized shove when I should have folded. Playing when tired is something I'm going to have to try and avoid from now on.

There was a TableNinja update today and it's fucked up my method for multi-tabling which semi-tilted me too... I wonder if that dodgy call had anything to do with it. Anyway the issue is that now I can no longer use space bar as my quick fold shortcut - it does not work. Only clicking the quick fold button now does it, and I think this has slowed down my hands/hr. Annoying when you have a good system you are comfortable with and a little update takes it away. Hopefully this will be addressed. If not, I'll just have to get used to using the quick fold button again.

Another thing, I called two 3-bet shoves when I had AA earlier and both didn't hold up. So that's the second week when I'm a fair bit under all-in EV. I'm due a heater methinks... GL!

EDIT: After checking the TN forums today I've realised that the hotkey implementation has had a small change which requires adjusting a setting in the software but I now have my quick fold space bar back :) Happy now.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Good Start

This weeks poker off to a good $64 start, I'm running well and villains still suck thankfully. I think that $20 an hour is sustainable at 25NL FR Rush which is pretty gross easy money. More than I earn in my real job!! Only time will tell if I come anywhere close to that estimate though.

A leak in my game that needs fixing is that in early position once I'm 3 bet I am only continuing with KK+ which makes it ludicrously profitable for villains to 3b bluff me. I haven't noticed a great deal of them doing it, just one or two. I must choose a couple of hands to use as a 4b bluff. AK maybe?

Other than this, villains are still monkeying around when I decide to continue on the flop. I definitely agree with Verneer that a selective flop strategy is best for this limit. I think people auto assume that you're c-betting your entire range these days and call wider than they should. This characteristic massively favours a value heavy flop betting range. I am currently c-betting just under 60% which seems pretty good to me - and on the turn betting around 40% which seems a little low. I really need to find more situations to fire a second barrel.

Anyway, hopefully the heater continues for a while yet. I'll begin to take some shots at $0.25/$0.50 Full Ring Rush once I reach fifty buy-ins for that limit. That will be in the not too distant future hopefully. GL

Saturday, 15 January 2011

15/01 Weekly Round-Up

I rarely use the expected won line as I think it can often be misleading. However in this weeks case, there have been a few examples (including those from the last post) where I've got the money in good but not won the hand. So I'm using the line to show that I think I've had a really good week and I'm happy with the way I'm playing. I have been running at about 13.5/11 which is nitty but reasonable.

I began the week having not put in serious volume at Rush poker since November and I was obviously rusty. I suffered from fancy play syndrome and ran a couple of big bluffs against unknown players and made a couple of dubious hero calls. But I also did not run very well. Since making the adjustment of playing tighter, less fancy and less suspicious things have improved a lot. I have also (despite the suck-outs) ran pretty well to go with that. Hopefully this will continue into next week.

A break even week, but one that I'm pretty pleased with. GL

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Multitabling - the benefit of TableNinja

Around November time I purchased the AHK tool TableNinja for helping me to play Rush. At the time I wasn't putting in a lot of volume so I've only just realised it's full potential. I have improved my hands/hr from around 1000 to 1200. This may not seem like much but if I can start to beat this limit then an increase in (hourly) win rate of a fifth will prove to be significant in the long run. Highly recommended!

Played around 6500 hands so far this week so on course to hit my 10k target. It's been a week of two halves really, first half I was very rusty and also suffered from some bad variance; the last two sessions I've played less fancy (read better) and also benefited from some good variance. Overall then about half a buy-in down so still looks like I'm not quite there with my strategy yet. But I don't think I'm far off. Mainly because of hands like the following:

I hated life on the river here, I was convinced he'd rivered Queens full (with a club draw to explain calling down) but against unknown players once I've put in that much of my stack I'm never folding; if I've been trapped or sucked out on then whatever, cooler. If villain and I had been a lot deeper and he'd shoved here I might have considered a fold, so there are situations where I think his play is fine. But when I'm pot committed here it's foolish to say the least. Right, going to fire up some more tables for a bit and play a few more hands now. Will post a complete weekly update over the weekend and will also strive to do this from now on so that it rounds off everything nicely and gives me something to blog about. GL

Ouch, tilting now and time to quit :(

Full Tilt - $0.25 NL RUSH - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

CO: $9.11
BTN: $27.56
SB: $5.64
Hero (BB): $28.30
UTG: $15.21
UTG+1: $26.25
MP: $27.38
MP+1: $36.99
LP: $9.60

SB posts SB $0.10, Hero posts BB $0.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero has Kh Kc

fold, fold, fold, MP+1 raises to $0.85, LP calls $0.85, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $3.50, MP+1 calls $2.65, fold

Flop: ($7.95, 2 players) Td 2s 5h
Hero bets $4.75, MP+1 calls $4.75

Turn: ($17.45, 2 players) 9d
Hero bets $8.75, MP+1 raises to $28.74 and is all-in, Hero calls $11.30 and is all-in

River: ($57.55, 2 players) 4c

MP+1 shows 4s 4h (Three of a Kind, Fours) (PreFlop 20%, Flop 12%, Turn 5%)
Hero shows Kh Kc (One Pair, Kings) (PreFlop 80%, Flop 88%, Turn 95%)
MP+1 wins $54.68

Full Tilt - $0.25 NL RUSH - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 3: http://www.pokertracker.com

SB: $46.35
BB: $27.31
UTG: $30.88
Hero (UTG+1): $27.75
MP: $10.01
MP+1: $25.46
LP: $43.33
CO: $14.93
BTN: $1.10

SB posts SB $0.10, BB posts BB $0.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero has Kh As

fold, Hero raises to $0.75, fold, MP+1 raises to $2.00, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero calls $1.25

Flop: ($4.35, 2 players) 6s Kd Kc
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $3.00, Hero calls $3.00

Turn: ($10.35, 2 players) Jh
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $7.00, Hero raises to $22.75 and is all-in, MP+1 calls $13.46 and is all-in

River: ($51.27, 2 players) Qd

Hero shows Kh As (Three of a Kind, Kings) (PreFlop 43%, Flop 93%, Turn 95%)
MP+1 shows Qs Qh (Full House, Queens full of Kings) (PreFlop 57%, Flop 7%, Turn 5%)
MP+1 wins $48.71

Two 5 percenters in a hundred hands, I feel like I'm paying the price for running so well in those tourneys over Christmas...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Reminder of Microstakes Philosophy

Just watched an excellent video over at Cardrunners by a player called Verneer who is undertaking a $200 - $10000 challenge this year and is beginning by playing micro-stakes Rush. Further to the comments I made in the last post about my play being far too fancy for these limits, I was given good solid evidence that a nitty pre AND post flop style can be very succesful down here. This is a player who won at stakes much higher than this and he is advocating a very tight hit or miss style of post flop poker with evidence (50K hands) that it works. So, I will take a leaf out of his book; learn some patience and turn down the aggression a tad. Bet when likely to be favourite and let villains call too lightly and bluff too widely. Will post some results over the weekend. GL!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Yesterday, I was Shit.

Back in the days when Wimbledon football club graced the top division of the English league the team would give a t-shirt to the worst player from the previous game to wear during training. It said something along the lines of this post's title. Well yesterday, that player was me. I intended to post hand histories but I need to get to bed so I will delay that - although I think it will be informative if I do post them.

A large portion of the session I played reasonably well but I made two big mistakes.
1/ Ran a large bluff against an unknown
2/ Called a large overbet on the river from a loose passive who had shown weakness throughout the hand.
In the first case, I picked up good equity on the turn so played a check raise (I stand by this play, with the equity I had bluffing should be fine against 90% villains) but then when I missed the river after opponent called I bet out again. I think this is too fancy without reads. After my opponent has shown the ability to call a bet verses a super strong line then it's unlikely that he'll fold the river. I could and should have saved a 50bb bet.
The second hand was even worse. A weak passive player called my EP raise in the BB then donked out with a min-bet on a low uncoordinated board. I had an over-pair with JJ so I raised for value and the villain called. The turn was a card of a higher rank than the board but not jacks and villain bet the minimum again. Like 0.25c into a $5 pot. This time, seeing the value getting a lot thinner I decided to try and get another bet in on the river. So it came a 3 and villain shoves for 3xpot. So often against this type of villain it's either a slow played hand or one that's got there with the dealt card and I made a mistake and called. Sure enough, the weak passive had rivered a set.

It's very easy to be results oriented when looking back over a session, but this is two mistakes in big pots. That made the difference between a 5ptbb/100 win-rate for the session and a -5ptbb/100 win-rate for the session. I believe that I have the knowledge to beat this limit but I will not realise that equity until I cut out the mistakes in the big pots. So I need to be less suspicious and less fancy. It's an easier game at this limit than I'm making it! GL

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Goal Revisions, Back to Study

Hey, I have formally decided to switch my focus back to full ring rush cash games because I am not able to meet my volume criteria by focussing exclusively on the tournaments.

The graph for my last 40K hands shows that I am not doing particularly well at the $0.10/$0.25 limit, which means that I need to work on my game again. The good news is that the tournaments have boosted the bankroll by about a third and I am now comfortably 'rolled for that stake and can give it a proper go without being close to my nitty drop down threshold. So I can forget about the money and just focus on playing as well as I can.

My goal from an earlier post was 500,000 hands this year and for now I think I'll keep this figure. That's a miserly 10k hands per week playing goal which I should easily achieve despite full time working hours. In fact, I should probably target double that but for now I'll stick to ten and see how I get on.

I honestly believe these games are well beatable for a good hourly rate and I have seen solid evidence from a tight player that backs this up over a good sample at 100NL. I play around 12-13% of hands so I definitely qualify as a tight player. All I need to do is improve my post flop playing ability and the $ should flow. So, back to work and time to get my first session of the week done :) GL

One other thing, I'm going to start a new database for this years endeavours so future graph posts will likely not include the displayed portion.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

More Tourneys, a Little Cash

Played a small amount of tourneys tonight and a few hands of cash too (25NL Rush Full Ring) finished doing OK. I think I'll continue to do this - play tourneys when I have a period of time to do so and then in the small periods when I can't just load up four tables of cash. Not much else to say to be honest, I will try and set a resolution from now on to stop posting so much results crap and make it a little more interesting. Following this post...

Back to Normality

Hours have finally returned so some sort of normality so will hopefully kick on with my MTT effort. Was hoping to play a few yesterday but the dog was very ill - to be honest I thought he was a goner but after getting medication he improved a lot, thankfully. Just played five tourneys but busted all out of the money spots. One tourney I was poised to double up into the top five chip positions with about 70 runners left with AA versus 55 on a dry rainbow board (no 5) but he hit the two outer on the river. Now that people have returned to work the volume on full tilt is not what it was so they are loading slower than I thought they would. But I still want to put my effort into these games so I'll just have to play as many as load up in my time span. Going to spend two to three hours tonight playing so will likely take a break until then to get some other things done. GL

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Rush Tournaments

I just thought I'd post a few thoughts about these tournaments. I'm running crazily well in them at the moment. I know for sure there's a down-swing around the corner so I'm readying myself as we speak. But... I can highly highly recommend the $4 ROD tournaments; they are full of fish. How can so many players not get that playing half of your hands is a huge mistake?

I'd absolutely love to see the ROI of some good players who have played decent volume in these as I'm sure it would surprise a lot of people. They are different to normal MTTs so I would not be at all surprised if the difference between good and bad players is magnified by the Rush structure leading to better ROI than normal. Until sharkscope allows us to filter this format I guess I'll have to continue to speculate.

The playing field seems to reach around 350 a go at the moment and so prize money is very good at the final table for very little investment. Villains seem to bust very quickly too, it feels like I make the money a huge % of the time - although this is probably just the fact that I'm experiencing a heater.

Well the next few months will give me answers about the true value of these games. But I think they are very beatable, probably the best choice of game for micro stakes players in my humble opinion. It's as simple as playing like a nit early on and getting tons of chips from the big hands and then knowing the short stack maths well. Lastly remember to change the ink in your printer because when you're printing money this easily you don't want to run out! GL

Saturday, 1 January 2011

First Big Cash of 2011

~$300 chop for second place in a $4 Rush on demand. Final table was terrible for me to be honest and I'm amazed I came out of it with such a big cash. The whole table was loose aggressive pretty much and I was totally card dead and had no re-shove fold equity a large percentage of the time. However just by sitting tight and waiting for the occasional spot to keep my stack alive I was able to climb a few spots when other players busted. When it got short handed I then stepped on the pedal and was able to get heads-up with stacks even. My opponent asked for a chop and I decided just to take it at 50/50. In retrospect I wonder if I should have played on as I think I had an edge, but he wasn't terrible and I was getting tired so it could have been the best decision in the end. So, 2011 starts on a good note. I hope it continues! :) GL

Update on 2011 goals

I think that I'm going to follow the tournament route for the immediate future and maybe revise this after a month or two. At some point I will return to cash to improve my post flop play and hopefully become profitable in games up to 100NL but I think that I could potentially earn a lot of money from micro tournaments providing I can put in the volume. To this end I'm going to begin four tabling from now on, focusing on the $4 and $11 Rush on demand tournaments. My DB tells me that my average tourney time is about 35 minutes so four tabling should get me through eight per hour on average. So putting aside a couple of hours per day to play should get me to my target of 500 games per month.
The disadvantage of four tabling is the decision making which I discussed earlier. The only way I'm going to be able to combat this weakness is by working on my game and reviewing sessions. So I need to improve my knowledge as I go along. Here goes!