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.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Approx 20k hands in to new DB

... and like I blogged before, I've turned off all of the winnings columns in hold'em manager so I have no idea how much I've won, if indeed I have won anything at all. All I'm focussed on is the 100k hand goal and when I'm there I'll have a look. It's really liberating just focussing on a hand target rather than worrying about the money. I highly recommend this approach:
1/ Upload enough funds so that you can ride all but the worst of downswing (I had 40 buy-ins for $0.10/$0.25)
2/ Set a hand target (100k hands for me)
3/ Try to play each hand as well as you possibly can
I really do feel a lot more freedom now I'm doing things this way. At higher limits I'll have to be a little careful - I don't want to destroy my bankroll - so I'll play smaller blocks of hands at that stage, maybe 20 or 30k.

I think moving up is a constant refinement of strategy. The only reason people get stuck at a limit is bad habits. I have the advantage of being very self critical and this helps me to constantly poke holes in my game; to always be on the look out for how the better players do things and then try and figure out why. There's a reason they don't play like I do, and it's very likely the same reason they're playing $1/$2+! GL

Friday, 25 March 2011

Mistakes. Meh.

Just made a pretty horrible $20 mistake by overplaying a set in a spot where I'm almost never called by worse. I'm not sure what happened, I either just misread the board for no flush, my concentration was taken by a different hand and I autopilot stacked off or for some reason I discounted the back door flush. I can't really recall why I shoved so I think it's prob a case that I misread the board. So it must go down as a multi-tabling mistake.

They say that poker is a battle of mistakes. If you can make less mistakes in spots where your fellow players do then that's where your profit will come from. While I don't think I make many massive mistakes, this definitely qualified as one. Disappointed because the rest of the session went very well.

Lessons to be learned:
1/ Before sticking stack in double check the board!
2/ Use the auto sit out button if two or more hands develop
3/ Make less mistakes

... or BUM for short.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

PSHHHHHHHH!!! (A.K.A Relieving the pressure...)

I think that the small success I had last year is actually inhibiting my ability to play my best game. I think that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to perform well at my current limit and because it's not going my way I'm getting frustrated very quickly.

I began to play online poker regularly not as a way to make money but out of enjoyment. I believe that I have lost sight of this in the recent few months. Of course it's enjoyable to make money, but at these stakes it's not a significant amount that I'm wagering so who cares if I run below EV? I just need to get back to playing for fun and studying for the same reason. So that I can sit down in any reasonable game and be one of the better players at the table and get satisfaction in that fact alone.

I'm going to attempt to transform my attitude about poker back to it's previous state; to go and play the next 100k hands without looking at results and just enjoy mixing it up post flop with good and bad players alike. To this end I will not put any graph up until those 100k hands are up and will do a complete and comprehensive analysis at that point. Until then, I'm flying blind folks. GL

Edit: The following hand was so ridiculous I found it hilarious. I hope you enjoy my pain :)

NL Holdem $0.25(BB) Replayer Game#29275277782

Hero ($30.16)
ichiman ($24.40)
Ohalothar ($32.07)
matse2000 ($14.13)
bailiron ($8.64)
rudd4y ($25)
Juakinetasfull ($25)
riosss2 ($25.71)
GETnTHIS ($48.73)

Hero posts (SB) $0.10
ichiman posts (BB) $0.25

Dealt to Hero 2d Ac
fold, fold, fold, fold, fold,
fold, fold,
Hero raises to $0.75
ichiman raises to $2.75
Hero raises to $7
ichiman calls $4.25
FLOP ($14) 5d Tc 3d
Hero checks
ichiman bets $6
Hero raises to $23.16 (AI)
ichiman calls $11.40 (AI)
TURN ($48.80) 5d Tc 3d Ts
RIVER ($48.80) 5d Tc 3d Ts 4h
ichiman shows 2s 6d
(Pre 27%, Flop 30.2%, Turn 15.9%)

Hero shows 2d Ac
(Pre 73%, Flop 69.8%, Turn 84.1%)

ichiman wins $46.36

My play was based upon his stats over around 30 hands which were very fishy. He'd 3-bet most of his hands so I felt he could be playing any two cards. My read was correct.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Horrible Frustrating Session

God this game is NOT treating me well this year. Poor session, I was intending to show the hands but another small HEM gripe is that I could not put the hand histories into poker hand replays nor display them here without showing my screen name which I'd prefer to keep anonymous. I could go through and delete it but that's too much effort. So I'll provide a brief summary instead.

I had one inevitable hand where I got all-in with a pyranha - an aggressive fish - who was playing most hands and I had KK versus AJ on a J44r. KK no good. Two other hands I think a better player would have found a fold. One hand I 3b a loose passive fish and I had AA, and he called. Board ran Ts7d3d and he called the c-bet, turn came 6 and at this stage I'm convinced I'm up against JJ-KK and so I committed myself by betting the turn. He shoves over my bet and I puke. By this stage I've put well over half my stack in so I called, but even given how much money I'd put in - the stats I had on villain suggested he played very passively post flop and I think I could have saved the $10 and folded.

The final hand was kind of interesting, but I definitely think I should have saved a bet. I 3-bet a hijack raiser with 8s9s. I think this may have been a mistake as villain showed a tendency for calling in his stats. Once I noticed this after the flop which was Td6d2d monotone I decided not to put any more money in but on the turn I hit a straight with the 7s. Villain checked to me for the second time so I thought I could value bet the straight. The river paired the ten and suddenly he leads pot into me. At the time I had ruled out flushes assuming he'd bet these on the turn. I really couldn't decipher a reasonable range but villain's general passiveness should have encouraged me to fold but again I called and he indeed showed a flush.

So twice this evening I called a passive player on the river who'd shown extreme strength with a bluff catching hand. I don't know how many times I'll need to say it in this blog until I learn the lesson but... Against a passive player who takes an aggressive line, we SHOULD NEVER BE BLUFF CATCHING! Hopefully one day I'll learn this lesson. If I don't I'll be at this limit forever. GL

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Now using Hold'em Manager as my database program. As far as the HUD goes, it's not as sophisticated as Poker Tracker because it's only possible to have one box displayed by an opponents avatar (unless I've missed something); with PT3 I was able to split the stats up and display them in three separate boxes which made the display a lot tidier. Still this is a small gripe because I find the filters and analysis portions better.

Yesterday I discovered an awesome freeware screen capture program called Flashback Express and I'm going to start using this resource as an aid to improving play. I made a capture earlier with me commentating over the top and I found that it helped to explain out loud every decision that I made. After watching again I was able to spot a couple of mistakes too. I may also embed one or two of these sessions in this blog so that everyone can see how horribly I play. Might be interesting to get some critique going to help me to improve. I'll provide updates on this idea in the future. Now, time for a couple thousand hands I think. GL

Friday, 18 March 2011

Hmmm Hold 'em Manager?

I'm thinking of changing my database/HUD option to HEM and starting the new database immediately. When I purchased poker tracker 3 last year it was the solution that offered the most stability and accuracy over the Rush format and it has served me very well (certainly well worth the $). However, now that HEM is it's equal in Rush games and considering all of it's extra functionality (not to mention the other apps that can be used with it) I definitely think that it will be worth buying.

So the first 90k hands didn't go great. If you see the updated graph to the right, I ran over ten buy-ins under expected value in all-in pots. It's often argued that this EV curve is misleading - and this is probably true. But in full ring play a big part of profitability is found in the money made from big pots. So if we're often getting all-in as favourite but not winning (as has happened to me so far this year) it can have a large negative effect on win-rate. Still, as one of my poker playing friends keeps telling me - at least I've still made money.

One more advantage to using HEM is the ability to put rake-back as a line in the graph - one thing missing from the pt3 curve I have displayed. Over the last ten weeks I've probably earned $250-300 on top of the profit displayed there. This obv makes a huge difference to the money I've earned. And another reason why I should stop grumbling.

In an earlier post (when things were going well) I spoke about a desire to move up to $0.50/$1.00 by Christmas. I now believe this to be too lofty a goal and so my new objective is to turn a profit over the next 100k hands and if I can I'll move to $0.25/$0.50 and spend the rest of the year learning to do well at that limit. Anything higher I can look forward to next spring and beyond, there is very good money to be made at the next level. Between $15 and $30 per hour for a decent winner there.

OK, so I'm going to treat this as a new start and look positively ahead from now on. GL all.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Update and Stuff

So, the last three sessions I've made decent money but I had a 16 buy-in downswing before this small recovery - my worst yet across limits. I'm being far too results oriented at the moment and I think it's time that I started a new database. Running under EV has made me feel like I deserve to run good, and that's a terrible mindset to have. For all I know before I started using databases I ran several buy-ins above expectation and now it's just balancing out! What I will do is see out the 100k hands and then I'll update the pic at the side with a screen shot and start the next 100k hands in a new pic above it. This will be a good way to track my progress and see if I'm improving or not. I'm around 90k hands at the moment so I'll start the new db next weekend.

The downside to doing this is that I'll lose the player info I've acquired. Still, it will force me to play very straight forwardly and this might actually help. Anyway, GL!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Thinking About Improvement

So I have inevitably started thinking about trying to correct some of the mistakes I'm making during play. An example of a spot where I get stuck is calling with weak but often best hands and then face further aggression. Something like facing a second barrel from a button raiser (who is stealing 50%) on a K773 (two flush) and I have JJ without a card of the flush suit. I cannot usually decide whether to just give up which seems weak, call again which invites further aggression especially on the tons of river cards that I hate or raise which is turning the hand into a bluff (since he's not likely to call with anything weaker bar flush draws).

I know for sure that I'm a little too passive on turns so I'm going to have to begin turning some hands into bluffs on this kind of board. I think JJ is going to be best a little too often to make raising better than calling but a hand like 88 or 99 can get better hands to fold, hands with equity (overcards etc.) to fold and also gain value from draws enough of the time to probably make it a profitable play. This sort of spot is something that I should pick out of my database and spend some time studying. The unfortunate thing is that the little time I have for poker I feel that I should use for play. I have time off in April so I'll try and use that week to work extensively on turn play - it's easily my weakest street and if I can improve there I can see my winrate improving greatly.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Frustrations Mount Up

Terrible run continues, and also struggling to control tilt. This is the problem from having a stretch of a few tens of thousands of hands running so far under EV, it's much more difficult to cope with the downswings since I have nothing to fall back on. At 10NL when things went more smoothly, I was at least able to say... Well, I've already won 25 buy-ins, should easily ride this out. Well, since I've only won 15 buy-ins (and should be 30) I could easily go on a downswing and wipe all of that profit out - my biggest downswing across limits being 15 BIs so far. So my decisions are currently being driven by fear and frustration which is bringing the quality of my play down.

Today I started the session in good spirits and feeling and playing pretty well. But as the onslaught of negative equity situations continued I just lost control. One pot I massively overplayed 99 on a low board against a terrible opponent and another I hero called a river line that made no sense when I should have held my discipline and folded (since villain was very straight forward). At this point emotion completely took over. Luckily for me I understood what was happening and I decided to stop playing and vent on here. I think that I prob tilt spewed two buy-ins in total including those hands just discussed so I guess I should be happy that I was able to stop it so soon.

The question becomes, how can I keep up the volume and my control while the poor run continues?
- I'll play shorter sessions and have more breaks
- At the mere hint of tilt I'll need to sit out for 20 mins or so
- Play some sessions back at $10NL
It really is a horrible feeling, I'm so glad I don't play professionally right now as it would be having a massive effect on me away from the tables. I hope that my blogs over the next few weeks will give some idea about what it's like to go through a poker recession the way I am.

Of course it could be that I'm just not a winning player. The evidence I have though - my success at 10NL and the positive upwards EV line in my database - is that I should be beating this limit comfortably. After another 100K hands (or ten weeks play) I will know one way or the other.

One more thing, earlier today the software froze again. All week it had been playing fine so I decided to try Meteoric's suggestion about switching router channels. Well I did, and it seemed to improve the FT response - so thank you sir. I would never have thought of that other wise. GL

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Welcome Back Mr. Debanks

Let us remind you what the DOOMSWITCH does.

:( Need I say more?

Quick shout out to Meteoric for helping with internetz, check out his blog by following the link.


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Everything seems to be working again.

So I uninstalled Full Tilt and then downloaded it again because I had performed a disk defrag when I bought the new router. Doing this seems to have got things working again; I just played a 1k hand session without a hitch. So thankfully after a couple of weeks of very short frustrating sessions I finally seem to have Rush poker back. So I will restart my 10k hands per week target as of Sunday and until then get back into the groove. It's amazing how a little time off can make you feel very rusty.

The session didn't go great, two big set under set pots where to be fair I could prob have got away from one of the hands saving myself a $14 river bet and I lost a race blind versus blind AKs vs. QQ. Never mind, I don't really care because at least the software problem seems to have been solved. So hopefully more frequent updates and I'd really like to up the quality of my posts as well. More frequent hand analysis and stuff like that. Anyway, GL

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Full Tilt problems and other distractions

... mean that I have not put in hardly any volume over the past week. The Full Tilt client is lagging really badly during play to the point that it's unplayable. Not just because I keep timing out of hands but also that I'm rushing my decisions while I am actually connected. So I need to quickly find a solution to this and get my volume going again - this will be critical in my desire to have reached $0.50/$1.00 by the turn of the year. I believe the problems lie with the modem/router upgrade I have recently acquired and the need to set some firewall rules. So far any that I have tried have not worked so I may end up using my PC as a DMZ during poker play only. This is a far from ideal and potentially risky work around though, and for that reason I have moved $2k from FTP into a bank account and will only keep a maximum ~$1k in the client for now until (or if) I get to higher limits.
So a distinct lack of posts for a long time, and I have hardly played either. But the ability to earn money at poker, even small amounts is a huge bonus for someone who is low paid like I am in the difficult financial climate we are in so I owe it to myself to put in that volume. This week will see my return to the v-felt. GL