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.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Short Update

Hi, so I've played a few more hands this week and I'm sure now that I'm not going to be a long term winner in this format if I continue to make as many mistakes as I am currently. These aren't tilt induced mistakes, they are a consequence of not having sufficient knowledge of the flop and turn equities in different spots. This is good and bad.

Bad because I'm no longer beating the games (in all likelihood). How can it be good? Well it confirms my suspicion that if I merely continue to play full ring then I'm auto-piloting and not improving my game at a sufficient rate. Making all of these mistakes in the 6-max games will - over time - almost certainly improve my play in every department because I'll have a much greater knowledge of the necessary equities. Most of the mistakes are flop and turn all-in calls where I should probably be folding instead.

I think so far my mistakes might well have cost 2-3 buy-ins over around 8k hands, which is a significant amount. So I will continue to play and work hard to improve my knowledge. Eventually the losing/break even curve should begin to turn back into a nice upward line.

I don't think I'll be blogging as much from now onwards, but that doesn't mean I'm not still playing. Just that instead of blogging, I'll be using that valuable time to study instead. GL

Edit: Have just bought Ed Miller's new e-book on hand reading and will put up a review at some point.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Well I'm beginning to settle in a bit better into this format but I'm still making too many mistakes. My non - showdown curve has improved to around half a buy-in loss per 1000 hands which is more in line with what I achieve in full ring. Unfortunately I have also lost money at showdown over the sample so the sum is a total 4.5 buy-ins of loss. I'd expect that if I improve my play and start running better that I could probably beat these games. It depends on how much money can typically be made at showdown; in full ring I was earning about a buy-in per 1k hands (giving me $12.5 'profit' per 1k hands). I'm going to need a much bigger sample (and to run better) before I know for sure though so I'll keep plugging away.

The games are very aggressive, and in many instances recklessly aggressive. For someone who relies on showdown winnings for profit, it's quite difficult to play against these fish sometimes because they just blindly bet away. But with each session I'm seeing tons more interesting spots than I was at full ring so I'm definitely enjoying the change. I think that I'll need to work hard to eradicate leaks from my game to make it work.

I'll try and play a long session tomorrow and perhaps dig out some hand histories where I messed up (there'll be several I imagine). Until then, GL

Thursday, 20 October 2011

I think I suck at 6-max!

Yeah made a few more mistakes yesterday, and I plan to put in another session later. The question is whether to go back to full ring where my strategy is clearly profitable or to try and develop a winning one for this format. There are advantages and disadvantages of both: I can grow my bankroll taking one path and yet I won't be growing my game; the other path could potentially make me a much better player.

The problem I see at the moment is that I'm losing much more money to the red line (albeit small sample size) than at full ring. Whether this is typical or not I'm yet to find out for sure, but at full ring I lose about half a buy-in every thousand hands which makes it ludicrously easy to make a profit - going to showdown and winning a buy-in per thousand hands or more is pretty easy at full ring cash.

Well my current desire is to continue with 6-max. I may end up banging my head against a brick wall and just giving up and going back to FR but I think I need to try and make the correct adjustments to win. So I need a proper sample size really. Over the weekend I'll get my second monitor set back up and set the other up for a ten table layout (that should get me back to 1k hands per hour). Then I should quickly clock up a reasonable sample size. I somehow think that this isn't going to be easy :S!

I had a huge suck out yesterday. A loose aggressive cut off opens and I 3-bet with AKs. We are both 150bb deep and he 4-bets to about $6. I expected to get almost his whole range to fold to a shove so that's what I did. However he snap calls with AA. The flop gives me just a back door flush draw which miraculously comes in by the river. Thinking about my play in the hand in general, it seems quite a risky strategy to 5-bet shove AKs for 150bb. But if he's only calling with {KK+} - probably a reasonable assumption then there are only 6 combos of those hands in total. I probably need about half of his range to fold to make a profit (a pure bluff would need 80% folds but when I'm called by KK+ I win 23% of the time) which means I need a further 6 combinations of hands to fold. This definitely seems reasonable. But perhaps flat calling preflop is better when we're this deep.

Oh well, for the time being I'll continue to donate to the 6-max games and blog some more about the experience at some point over the weekend. GL

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

More 6-Max

Haven't had much time to play over the last few days but just put in a quick session. I definitely feel that I'm not as good at this format as full ring, but there is also tons more post flop play so in the long run I think that I'll be able to improve more by sticking to 6-max over full ring.

There were two spots where I think that I made big mistakes. One hand I floated a CO c-bet on the button with A6dd on a JJ3r (back door flush draw) but didn't realise that the pot was multi way (two over callers). It's possible that I can win the pot later in the hand some of the time being that I'm in position on all of the other players but I'm sure it's a -EV call. The bigger mistake came on the turn when villain double barrelled a Kd. Sure I have the flush draw, but many of his big hands don't care about the flush or indeed many of the flush cards that may come out. Plus, I doubt my ace outs are any good against a double barrel range on that board texture. My equity (unless villain was a total spewtard) was probably around 10-15% and I needed 28% or better.

The second hand was a bit more tricky, and could possibly be chalked down as a cooler. I turned trips with AT on a AJxA after check calling a loose CO range on the flop (from the big blind). So I donk led for quite a small bet, thinking that weaker could call or I might get bluff raised. Villain raises so I call (I def think calling one street here is fine as my opponent was quite aggressive and may think I'm FOS). On the river (a king - and there are no flushes out there) I checked and villain bet just under pot. I just felt that folding would be a bit weak. However it seems a stretch that any player at these stakes would bluff 30% of the time on that board. I think that I should have folded.

So I need to make sure I continue to do plenty of hand reviews after each session, and perhaps eventually I'll become a winner - because frankly, I don't think I'm playing well enough to be one currently. GL

Friday, 14 October 2011

$25NL 6-Max

So the last couple of nights I haven't felt sharp enough to play the higher limit so I played some 6-max $25NL. This is a fairly new experience for me, I haven't played six-max games for a couple of years. But I think that it would be really good for my game to play more of the format in general as I'm playing more hands and more flops. I haven't had a very good start, ran 3 buy-ins below EV tonight but I think that I largely played decently (except for one spaz call in an all-in pot where my odds weren't as good as I thought they were, meh).

I'll likely play a few thousand six max hands now, and as ever I'll post a few interesting ones here. I'm reasonably confident I can beat the 6-max games as I'll be playing so much post flop poker, but until I've played more volume I'll not know for sure.

I played 6 tables at a time, and there were instances where I found it difficult to keep up. God knows how Nanonoko does 24 at once for hours a day (and still annihilates the games). On the other hand though, I was playing more hands per hour compared to Full Ring so if I can make it work, I'll likely have a better hourly rate.

Anyway, GL.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

First $50NL Full Ring Session, plus Hands

So I played the first session this afternoon. I'm going to stick to playing at those stakes when I'm not feeling tired and when other outside influences are not involved (alcohol, noisy house, bad mood e.t.c). The rest of the time I'll still be at 25NL so this will be a gradual move which I think should enable it to go more smoothly. There were plenty of fish that I found at my tables, so with a little selection I'm really confident that I can make it work there.

I'm going to try very hard to ignore my results. I have enough 'roll that I should never need to reload so I just plan to play a bunch and just look at individual hands and try and find mistakes and improve my play including bet sizing and overall hand reading ability. I will keep half an eye on my overall bankroll balance because I plan to move up if I reach $5k. I don't imagine that will happen until the spring at the very best though (if it even happens at all). So consequently I'll do a lot of hand discussion on this blog but there won't be any results until I have a meaningful sample.

Some Hands

NL Holdem $0.50(BB) Replayer Game#68911228241

uneedwater ($50)
petka000 ($40)
tenyente ($50.25)
Sh1ft0r ($54.30)
Hero ($51)
Argon81 ($39.25)
B__hnemaker ($50)

uneedwater posts (SB) $0.25
petka000 posts (BB) $0.50

Dealt to Hero Jh Jd
fold, fold,
Hero raises to $1.50
Argon81 calls $1.50
fold, fold, fold,
FLOP ($3.75) Ah Th As
Hero bets $2.50

Villain was not playing fully stacked and although I didn't have any stats in the HUD I assumed he'd be a weaker player as a result. When out of position on the flop I prefer to bet a merged range, even though this bet doesn't fit the typical value betting axiom. There are still Tx hands plus draws that could call though.

Argon81 calls $2.50
TURN ($8.75) Ah Th As 6d
Hero checks

I think betting has now become too thin, and check calling would likely be a better play which is what I had planned.

Argon81 checks
RIVER ($8.75) Ah Th As 6d 8d
Hero checks
Argon81 bets $8.50

Now I think I make a mistake. I'd expect most players to bet trips on the turn, but some would 'trap'. The bet sizing indicates a big hand, although there are plenty of aggro villains that would bet big to try and make me fold. Given that I knew nothing of villain (who later turned out to be loose passive) and that he'd checked back the turn I don't hate my call, but I think I prefer a fold.

Hero calls $8.50
Hero shows Jh Jd
(Pre 71%, Flop 12.5%, Turn 0.0%)

Argon81 shows Ac 6s
(Pre 29%, Flop 87.5%, Turn 100.0%)

Argon81 wins $24.50

NL Holdem $0.50(BB) Replayer Game#68914382385

Guliver1983 ($20.25)
funex700 ($50)
Kuzya85 ($55.15)
dosases ($40.85)
mecha0117 ($50)
Katochek88 ($19.25)
Sappuku ($92.05)
Hero ($123)

Guliver1983 posts (SB) $0.25
funex700 posts (BB) $0.50

Dealt to Hero Ad Ts
dosases calls $0.50
fold, fold, fold,
Hero raises to $2

villain is loose passive, so this is pretty standard isolation raise in my opinion.

fold, fold,
dosases calls $1.50
FLOP ($4.75) 4d 6c 3d
dosases checks
Hero bets $3

At this stage villain had folded to bets on the flop every time he'd seen one so far, so I thought that betting was going to be immediately profitable.

dosases calls $3
TURN ($10.75) 4d 6c 3d Kc
dosases checks
Hero bets $7

A good scare card to double barrel, even against a loose passive player.

dosases calls $7
RIVER ($24.75) 4d 6c 3d Kc Kh
dosases checks
Hero checks

I think that I should bet this river again. Against a player who knows combinations theory (in other words a good reg) this would not be a great third barrel card as they'd consider it unlikely that I actually had a king in my hand now that the second one has appeared on the board. However against a loose passive player who is likely to have plenty of random draws in his range I think that it would have made an excellent card to bet again. I'm certain that it's profitable, and I'm also certain that it would have worked in this hand too.

dosases shows 2s 2d
(Pre 51%, Flop 71.8%, Turn 86.4%)

Hero shows Ad Ts
(Pre 49%, Flop 28.2%, Turn 13.6%)

dosases wins $23.55

Final interesting hand, I'm very pleased with the way I played it. I extracted every last ounce of value. Again, villain is loose passive.

NL Holdem $0.50(BB) Replayer Game#68913143058

sven1969 ($65.80)
Hero ($75.65)
RigaStyle ($52.55)
Kanycmo4ka ($15.85)
KotSk8er ($19.25)
witka10 ($52.80)
Kobern ($24.95)
Japaneko ($34.75)
89rhino89 ($50.80)

sven1969 posts (SB) $0.25
Hero posts (BB) $0.50

Dealt to Hero 7d 7h
Kanycmo4ka raises to $1.50
fold, fold, fold, fold, fold,
sven1969 calls $1.25
Hero calls $1

Calling seemed correct given the weaker player in the hand. If he had not called in the small blind, I'd have folded 77 here.

FLOP ($4.50) 7s 8c 8h
sven1969 checks
Hero checks

BAAAAAM! That's the way to smash a flop. I think checking is OK, I'm targeting the times that the pre flop raiser has an over pair and will likely call a check raise. If I lead, I might induce a raise from the pre flop raiser if he has a good over pair (QQ+) but otherwise he might call with 99-JJ, and fold all else. I think that getting 99+ and air to bet first (plus the small blind calling with a wide range) gets me more money in the long run.

Kanycmo4ka checks
TURN ($4.50) 7s 8c 8h Kd
sven1969 bets $3

Unfortunately the flop gets checked through, but a great result when the loose passive player bets. There are plenty of 8x and Kx combinations that I'd expect him to have so raising is mandatory. The pre flop raiser has so little money behind that I don't expect a raise here to scare away any hand he might have with a King in it so I don't think calling has any merit at all in this situation.

Hero raises to $11.50

I think that I should perhaps bet a little more here, maybe $13 - $14. It makes it easier to extract value on the river.

Kanycmo4ka folds
sven1969 calls $8.50
RIVER ($27.50) 7s 8c 8h Kd 3s
sven1969 checks
Hero bets $62.65 (AI)

My best play of the night. Villain's stats are 40/10 pre flop, so he likes calling to see flops. On the flop he only folds to c-bets 30% of the time, and he never folds to 3-bets after raising pre. In other words, he loves calling. So I maximise expected value on this river by betting all-in, even though it's a huge over bet.

sven1969 calls $52.80 (AI)
sven1969 shows 4s 8s
(Pre 33%, Flop 23.0%, Turn 15.9%)

Hero shows 7d 7h
(Pre 67%, Flop 77.0%, Turn 84.1%)

Hero wins $130

I think this hand shows how important bet sizing can be. If I'd have taken a standard 3/4 pot bet size, I'd have missed out on half a buy-in. This makes a huge difference in the grand scheme of things and it's the area that I'm working on improving the most at the moment.

Right, so a good start so far and my play is improving steadily. I think that I'll end up beating this limit, but to be sure I need volume. Will post some more hand histories once I've played another session or two. GL

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Back! Ready for some Poker

Had a pretty awesome couple of weeks, Sis back from Canada and a short holiday to the South coast. So now it's back to the life grind (crappy job) and the struggle to make a second income with poker.

On the first subject, I've decided to invest in training of some form in an effort to get a better job. I'll probably look at some Microsoft certification or perhaps doing some lower level accounts course. In the current climate I don't think it will be easy, but it makes sense to me to invest my money in something since it is just losing value sat in a bank account making nominal interest. And since the stock markets and banks are currently a shitty investment I can't think of any better alternative than this.

On the second subject I'll play a few thousand hands of 25nl to get back into the swing of it and then try playing some hands at the next limit. I'm really beginning to wonder if this game continues to be worth this time and effort. Sure if I can improve to a level where I can make $5k or more per year as additional income I think that it is. But currently scratching around at 25NL is not where I'd hoped to be by now. Well, I'll give it another year. If I can honestly say (come summer '12) that I'm not beating the games for a sufficient second income then I'll gracefully retire and focus instead on self improvement and career development. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Interesting Full Tilt Poker News

So there's some promising news on FTP. We know who the investors are - a successful and serious group. They are now in talks with the US DOJ in an attempt to reach a fair settlement. For the first time in many months it seems that perhaps FTP can be redeemed.

50NL Work
So shortly I will be making the next limit my new home. I'm away for a week but when I get back I intend to deposit some funds and move up. I've looked at a few players recently who have displayed a pretty large drop in win rate after moving up from 25NL. I've also heard that it's a more difficult limit to beat (while intuitively this makes sense, I wouldn't expect a great difference in the decent player/bad player ratio - and the rake is better).
So as well as the work I continue to do on ranges and expected value I'm going to re-evaluate my ranges from each position, putting my overall style a little tighter than it is currently. The reason for this is that I expect to face more aggressive 3-betting at the next limit and at the moment I only 4-bet around 12% of the time on average. I'd prefer this to be more like 20% and tightening my early and mid position opening ranges a little will help with this.
I also intend to try to spaz out a little less with the thin bluffs (a couple of which I described last post) and stick to the very obvious ones and to continue to improve the value part of my game. I think there are areas where I can play more aggressively for value (check raising top pair good kicker versus short stackers for example). And as I've repeatedly said before, my bet sizing leaves a lot to be desired.
You'll be glad to know then, that this will be my last post for a while (unless there are serious Full Tilt Poker developments I guess). So, GL!