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.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

49k Hands Update

OK, so I haven't quite got there yet (50k hands) but will likely complete it later on tonight. In truth I got caught up in other things this afternoon when I had planned to play the hands. I thought I'd make this post now as I have 20-30 minutes spare.

Well it's gone really well over this small sample of hands. I certainly think that I've run above expectation so my win rate is higher than it should realistically be. I'm not sure how much higher though, as I'm also pretty sure that I'm beating the games. The reason for this is that I'm getting loads of value from my made hands, and I'm also controlling my losses when I don't go to showdown. Both of these things are indicators of a winning player. First up, the graph. You can see the insane heater that lasted between hands 20k and 37k.

So I'm really pleased with this, although obviously that must be tempered by the fact that my boom switch has been permanently pressed. There will be meagre times at some point in the future for sure. As for moving up to 50NL, I decided to put it off until I'd played more hands (see previous post) but I will reach my threshold for moving up with another 7 buy-ins of winnings.

I've read a couple of posts lately that suggest that it's a pretty big step up to 50NL from the fishy 25NL limit. If this is true then I expect that I'll have to work pretty hard to improve my game when I'm there. However with a little bit of table selection I don't expect to have too much trouble bedding in. All I expect is that I won't get my way so easily and that fewer hands will get paid off - a diminished return but not a negative one.

General Thoughts on Beating 25NL Full Ring

I'd say that the key points for beating 25NL would be to learn how to value bet and value bet size properly. The open raise and c-betting set up alone should win enough dead money to compensate for a good chunk of blind losses, so profit comes from value at this limit.

According to poker table ratings I'm playing a little more aggressively at every point in the hand (preflop, flop, turn and river) than the biggest winners are at this limit. All I'm doing extra is bluffing a little when I've got equity. The people who are making money here are using value to make their profits; no more, no less.

I'd also encourage players to try and learn to play the correct ranges from each position. For example, there are some fairly decent regulars who are folding a vast number of hands from the big blind when I open raise from the small blind. It's a situation where they could play any two cards given their odds, position and my range - but they're just letting me steal the dead money.

Finally, other than the most obvious spots (c-betting) players generally only bet or raise with big hands. So it's possible to make some pretty sick lay downs. If you have a bluff catching hand alone and are facing heat, there's nearly never enough bluff combinations in most players' ranges to call. I learned this lesson the hard way. If you can maximise value from your best hands and fold good but not great hands when facing heat, you'll make a shed load of money when you go to showdown.

Some Other Stats

I've opened up since my Rush days, 18/15 is quite a loose style for full ring. Again, according to poker table ratings it's a little looser than the bigger winners at this limit (by around 10% or so). My 3-bet stat is quite low at 3.7 and I'd prefer it to be higher than this and while I look for good spots, there are a lot of players who just will not fold preflop and so I usually concentrate on 3-betting for value. I also think that players are prone to turning hands into bluffs preflop where they are better served by calling with them (TT vs UTG, for example). I think that I go to showdown a little more than I should too, and I'm yet to decipher why this is. Perhaps the fact that I don't c-bet as much as most players has an effect.

Well, 50k hands since June is not enough to make me an expert so take my advice as you will. But given the information that I have and what I've seen, I think it's pretty sound. I will continue to try and play my best over the next 50k hands, for better or for worse and do another update at the end. I'd expect - barring some serious run bad - that some of them will be played at 50NL. GL

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