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, 29 March 2012

Playing some SNGs

Just lately as well as playing some Zoom I've been in the tournament mood, and have been playing some SNGs ($3.50 18 man games). Now that I've cashed out most of my bankroll the micro level sit n go tournaments seem like a pretty good bankroll builder judging by the sharkscope graphs and the general playing standard that I've come up against.

The positional stats page in HEM shows that I'm making a lot more money (in terms of bb/100) from each position than I do at cash and I think that this is a combination of the weaker standard and a good slice of run good. I actually believe that I could end up with a win rate somewhere between 5 and 10bb/100 (chip equity of course) in these games which should get me a decent ROI. Of course ICM is more important, but it's much less easy to judge how I'm doing in terms of tournament expected value. However I am checking my hands after each session and I don't think I'm making nearly as many mistakes as my opponents, which is all I need to do at these stakes.

Right now (over a very small sample size) I'm cashing in each of the money places around 7.9% of the time which would net me about 30% ROI if these figures were sustainable but I don't think that they are. The following chart shows the projected ROIs for a few of these different frequencies (note that this isn't the total ITM frequency but the average frequency for each of the four cash positions).

Avg Cash Place % ; ROI ; $/Tourney
6 ; -1.8 ; -0.06
6.5 ; 6.4 ; 0.22
7 ; 14.6 ; 0.51
7.5 ; 22.7 ; 0.79
8 ; 30.9 ; 1.08

I don't think much over 8% or 30% ROI is possible (although I'd love someone to prove me wrong) but I think around 7% should be sustainable over a large sample size. Given that I play around 9 per hour this results in a potential earn of around $4.5 per hour not including rake back. I think that this is better than I could achieve at penny stakes cash (even in Zoom) so I'm planning to get through some decent volume at this format and I'll put up a thorough stats post once I've played like 500 or something. Hopefully my guestimates are somewhat accurate because that's not a bad return given the tiny investment.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Back to Full Ring

Well since around October I've been playing mainly 6-max poker on and off because I wanted to try and improve my game. However now that Zoom has arrived, I'm going to go back to the full ring tables. I'll try and explain why briefly now.

Over the sample of hands I played at 6-max since October, I've lost money. It's only 44k hands but quite a few buy-ins (18 or 12 with all-in EV adjustment). I've played nowhere near the number of hands I need to find my true win rate at that format but never the less the signs aren't promising.

Full ring standard deviation is smaller than at 6-max. If you've followed my blog at all, you'll know that downswings affect me emotionally. Any steps that I can take to soften that blow is going to be very helpful because in Zoom I'm going to be playing more hands and thus, downswings are going to happen more often.

Finally, whenever I look on poker table ratings at the bigger winners the majority seem to make their money at full ring tables. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps, since the training material out there is mainly focussed on 6-max those games have become tougher than full ring. Or perhaps it is because full ring is raked less than 6-max (go to buyhands.com and look at the daily or monthly rake graphs). PTR released a report last year that showed that the distribution of winners at 6-max was smaller than at full ring.

I do have unfinished business at 6-max still, and when I'm employed again perhaps I'll have another go. But for now I'm going to go back to the format where I've made money in the past and try and continue to do so. GL

Friday, 16 March 2012


So I'm going to be a card playing degen again. Just burned through 1500 hands in about an hour, similar to the rate I was achieving on FTP. I didn't run that great, but there were enough people donating that I still made a decent profit for the session.

Cutting out all of the waiting time is of such huge benefit, that's why I used to play so much Rush. You can really focus on playing strategically well. I find that I enjoy playing normal tables, but it just seems to take so long to get a decent sample of hands. And every time I try and 10+ table to try and get more hands/hour I find that my decision making is affected too much.

There are no HUD displays currently. This is having the effect of making me tighten right up and focussing on strict value. I'm very reluctant to 3-bet people with no reads unless there are indicators of a weak player (less than full stacked bronze star, eg). Hopefully HEM1 will get an update very soon because I'd rather play with a HUD just to make the reg battles a little easier.

I noticed that I earned quite a few FPP points during the session. I wonder what sort of VIP level I can reasonably attain in a month now - Gold star may be within my reach. I anticipate that once this format is rolled out for higher stakes there will be more players attaining supernova elite and supernova in a calender year. Also I should be able to get a few more milestone bonuses this year which is obviously great.

OK, so until HEM1 or PT3 get an update that at least allow the import of played hands I'll likely stick to normal games (although I'm itching to get back in the playing pool already LOL). And once HUDs are available I'll be putting in a lot more volume again. Then perhaps I can set myself some reasonable goals in terms of the number of milestones I'd like to achieve this year, and a suitable limit to grind (probably 10NL to begin with).

I can't wait for it all to settle down. I've clearly missed the Rush games!

Edit: Looks like PT3 have their import/HUD working for Zoom now. I have seen no information about HEM1, but the developers mentioned they're testing for HEM2. Luckily for me I used PT3 back in the days of FTP so I do have a HUD solution. Zoom FTW!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

FPPs burning a hole in my pocket... BlackRain79 e-book

I've been wondering for a while what I should do with the 17k of FPPs that I've got in my Stars account. Well, today I did a little research and found an excellent article by the player BlackRain79. Basically recommending the 235fpp 6-man hyper turbos as a very good way of converting them to cash for micro stakes players. Assuming a near even playing field (reasonable since they are hyper turbo tournaments) the value per fpp is $22/6/235 = 0.0156 which is an excellent conversion rate.

The potential downside to this is that the money is provided in tournament $ or T$. Apparently it's possible to exchange T$ for cash at 99.5%. But I don't have an account on 2+2 so a better option for me is probably to play micro stakes tournaments. I should at least be average standard in any that I play and so it's quite possible that I will do very well out of the FPPs. I haven't yet picked the tournaments that I want to grind, probably specific small field SNGs where I can easily learn the necessary ICM.

Also while doing this research I came across BlackRain's e-book (follow the link above). It looks quite good and is being sold for a very reasonable price. I may just get it. If I do then I'll provide some more feedback on it's quality.

OK that's it, just thought I'd put up what I'd found in case any readers had spare FPP to spend. GL

ZOOOOOOOOOOM! Play money only currently but soon to be 2NL. I expect my playing volume to increase significantly once the problems are ironed out and the HUDs begin to work again. Plus positive rumours about FTP are surfacing, so perhaps online poker isn't quite dead just yet.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Entire Full Tilt Playing History

Hi, after the last blog I decided to import all of the hands that I played at Full Tilt into my current database so that I had a realistic idea of my long term results. The graph is below. It does show that I was beating those games for a small win rate (1.8bb/100)over a pretty significant sample of hands (400k).
I actually won $768 (NOT including rakeback) in a pretty even mix of 10NL and 25NL.

I've looked at the maths, and there's about a 97% chance that this means I'm a long term winner. Unfortunately it also means I'm likely only just beating the games. This would explain the fact that I go through some quite severe variance sometimes. In truth, I'd not expected the combined results to be this good and it's given me some confidence to begin to put in some more volume, starting from now. This will be easier once FTP reopens and Stars releases Zoom and I can get back to easily doing 1k hands per hour as I was before.

Disclaimers must come of course, these hands were played from approximately the summer of 2010 up to Black Friday last year. The games are likely to have changed somewhat since then. But with some table selection, I don't see a reason why I can't continue to win at 2bb/100 over a similar sample.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Life Changes

Hi there. I haven't had a great deal of time for poker lately. My regular life is in a little bit of turmoil right now as I'm out of work (it's a long story, I resigned from my last position).

I've played a few thousand hands at 10NL 6-max and it's gone better than 25NL so far. I've been sitting on only 4 or 5 tables at a time and just playing what I'd call ABC poker (concentrating strictly on value and not running many bluffs, plus not hero calling turns and rivers very often). I've only won two or three buy-ins but I'm actually a further ten buy-ins under all-in expected value so in reality if the all-ins had been going my way it would certainly class as a heater.

My goal for this limit is to try and get through 100-200k hands and then reassess my game. Unfortunately due to the current employment situation, there is likely to come a time in the next couple of months where I'll have to cash out almost everything (I've already taken out $1k) and move right down to 0.01/0.02. So I'll try and play as many hands as I can (in between driving lessons) before then.

Part of me honestly considered trying to make a little money from poker to tide me by for a while, but that is a pretty considerable risk given my recent results. Furthermore, my family has been hugely supportive so far and are supporting me until I find more work. If I start playing poker endlessly I think the good will would soon run out. If things were different and I could have shown them considerable volume as a winner then perhaps I could have made a case, but sadly I cannot.

So until things smooth out I'll definitely play some poker but I'm not sure how much will be possible. As a result, I wouldn't expect an update for some time. Perhaps when I'm a 2NL reg I'll find something to put up, but until then good luck!