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.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

When I hand read well/When I hand read poorly


Just played some Zoom, played a really good session until the last hand (had to quit as I was gutted).

I can't help but think that I wouldn't have made that kind of mistake when I was playing regularly, but before I explain let's look at a hand I played well tonight so that it's not all zoom and gloom.

PokerStars Zoom Hand #115533679195:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/04/30 21:54:02 WET [2014/04/30 16:54:02 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: simdiggity ($29.16 in chips)
Seat 2: player_musa ($15.43 in chips)
Seat 3: angelAA315 ($30.43 in chips)
Seat 4: kajos_126 ($78.16 in chips)
Seat 5: robgomes ($28.61 in chips)
Seat 6: BmwSport888 ($80.72 in chips)
Seat 7: crazyfrancis ($26 in chips)
Seat 8: Me ($29.76 in chips)
Seat 9: syglaej ($12.50 in chips)
player_musa: posts small blind $0.10
angelAA315: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Js Qh]
kajos_126: folds
robgomes: folds
BmwSport888: folds
crazyfrancis: folds
Me: raises $0.50 to $0.75
syglaej: folds
simdiggity: calls $0.75
player_musa: folds
angelAA315: folds
*** FLOP *** [6s Qs 6c]
Me: bets $1
simdiggity: calls $1

I don't think it's that thin despite my poor kicker, as most combinations of perhaps 77 through JJ might call a c-bet, and even worse sometimes. I don't know much about my opponent, although over a small sample he seems somewhat competent.

*** TURN *** [6s Qs 6c] [Kc]
Me: checks
simdiggity: bets $1.50
Me: calls $1.50

His line doesn't seem that likely. There are very few feasible hands that can value bet here, like KQ or quads really. Plus something about his bet timing seemed off: In other words I had one of those gut feelings that he was trying it on.

*** RIVER *** [6s Qs 6c Kc] [4c]
Me: checks
simdiggity: bets $3
Me: calls $3
*** SHOW DOWN ***
simdiggity: shows [8s 8d] (two pair, Eights and Sixes)
Me: shows [Js Qh] (two pair, Queens and Sixes)
Me collected $12.27 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $12.85 | Rake $0.58
Board [6s Qs 6c Kc 4c]
Seat 1: simdiggity (button) showed [8s 8d] and lost with two pair, Eights and Sixes
Seat 2: player_musa (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: angelAA315 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: kajos_126 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: robgomes folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: BmwSport888 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: crazyfrancis folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Me showed [Js Qh] and won ($12.27) with two pair, Queens and Sixes
Seat 9: syglaej folded before Flop (didn't bet)

For the rest of the session I felt that I played so well, and then to misread the board (well, make a terrible call)...

PokerStars Zoom Hand #115534863338:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/04/30 22:19:19 WET [2014/04/30 17:19:19 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: ercan008 ($49.61 in chips)
Seat 2: Badger4515 ($25.71 in chips)
Seat 3: Me ($29.60 in chips)
Seat 4: space311 ($23.05 in chips)
Seat 5: CrunkPIMP ($35.89 in chips)
Seat 6: Vedmegatko ($25.71 in chips)
Seat 7: tigriskem ($59.13 in chips)
Seat 8: jr_stroke ($98.36 in chips)
Seat 9: lepa308 ($31.06 in chips)
Badger4515: posts small blind $0.10
Me: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Me [Ac As]
space311: folds
CrunkPIMP: folds
Vedmegatko: folds
tigriskem: folds
jr_stroke: folds
lepa308: folds
ercan008: raises $0.50 to $0.75
Badger4515: folds
Me: raises $2 to $2.75
ercan008: calls $2
*** FLOP *** [7c 6s 5h]
Me: bets $3
ercan008: calls $3
*** TURN *** [7c 6s 5h] [7d]
Me: checks

My opponent is a semi - lag over a small sample and seemed to like playing turns so far. So the check was designed to allow him to bet - and I think he probably would have with his air and draws, so when he checks back I should assume he's got 'something'.

ercan008: checks
*** RIVER *** [7c 6s 5h 7d] [9h]
Me: bets $5.50

My plan to induce the turn fails, so I tried to seek thin river value. Unfortunately I misread the board and didn't see that it was a gut-shot four-straight. When he shipped I just figured it extremely unlikely that he's got 99 (and I ruled out any flop set due to his turn play) and I snap called. Of course the extra 6 combinations of 88 that I didn't consider would probably have swayed me into choosing the correct play - which I'm sure was to fold. 

Even if the straight wasn't possible, I still think it would have been right to fold. Perhaps I was over-confident after the earlier read, but river raises tend to be even more dangerous than turn ones. I can't remember the last time I caught a river raise bluff.

ercan008: raises $38.36 to $43.86 and is all-in
Me: calls $18.35 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($20.01) returned to ercan008
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ercan008: shows [8d 8c] (a straight, Five to Nine)
Me: shows [Ac As] (two pair, Aces and Sevens)
ercan008 collected $57.30 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $59.30 | Rake $2
Board [7c 6s 5h 7d 9h]
Seat 1: ercan008 (button) showed [8d 8c] and won ($57.30) with a straight, Five to Nine
Seat 2: Badger4515 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: Me (big blind) showed [Ac As] and lost with two pair, Aces and Sevens
Seat 4: space311 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: CrunkPIMP folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Vedmegatko folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: tigriskem folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: jr_stroke folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: lepa308 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

So I played a great session, but then one hand that has probably wiped out every cent of profit I've made since my return. 

Perhaps if I played more I could eradicate that sort of mistake from my game and become the solid reg that I once was. And maybe if I ever get enough free time to devote to poker again I'll try to regain that standard. 

For now though, I don't have enough time because of my career. But I won't stop playing and I'll share my mistakes - and I'll try not to get too upset about it!


Monday, 28 April 2014


Playing a bit of Zoom, running pretty well. Just the 32BB/100 over 1500 hands. Sustainable obv...

Anyway, I sometimes forget how much fun Zoom/Rush poker is, and after playing nearly 1m hands of it, I think I probably burned myself out a little. But perhaps I can dip in a little more often than I have been lately.

I still think I can beat these micro/small stakes tables, and I also still think that a determined player could make good pocket money from the Zoom games.

I blame the Americans leaving the market for the stagnation in player standards. [Disclaimer: My observations are limited to two limits over a small number of hands, so my comments are pretty lol, but I'll keep going anyway :D] There's no doubt that a large number of the significant poker strategy developments were pioneered by talented US players that have now been denied the internet game. From the point of view of someone who used to crave new theory and used to watch hours of videos on GTO strategy, I think it's a shame. From the point of view of someone who is returning to playing somewhat after a near two year hiatus, it's quite pleasing!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Mission Week

As we all know already, Stars are the only reason Poker is still alive and kicking (and perhaps once again growing?).

Anyway, their latest brilliant idea - the Mission Week - is currently keeping me at the tables.

For those not in the know, it's a reward system whereby a player opts in to a challenge level (even the 'hard' level is not difficult to achieve). Should the player achieve his/her challenge then they are awarded with a ticket to an All-in Shootout tournament. This basically amounts to a raffle for free money since there is no requirement to actually play cards.

In other words, on top of the existing VIP scheme, Poker Stars is giving additional rakeback. And while I haven't done the maths to figure out how lucrative this is for regular grinders, it feels like great value - and for a bit of a lottery degen I can't get enough. And judging by Star's impressive traffic of late, it looks like I'm not the only one enjoying their new promotions.

Long may it continue!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Victoria Coren Mitchell EPT win


Congratulations to Victoria Coren Mitchell on winning her second EPT Poker Tour title.

This is such a terrific result, not just for her but for Poker as a whole. To have such a credible and likeable personality achieve a feat such as this can only be a shot in the arm for our much-maligned pastime.

Well played, very well played.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hand histories

So to get back into the swing of things, a couple of hand histories.

The first demonstrates my rustiness, and the second is much more standard. I will post the history and then a little discussion afterwards. If you hate my play, please comment below!

PokerStars Zoom Hand #114013817064:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/03/29 18:26:57 WET [2014/03/29 14:26:57 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: yanoji ($36.68 in chips)
Seat 2: izmailov13 ($24.75 in chips)
Seat 3: gabi_igna ($76.80 in chips)
Seat 4: J@sonB0urne* ($14.35 in chips)
Seat 5: ho8888 ($26.76 in chips)
Seat 6: Hero ($25.70 in chips)
Seat 7: dellbono ($10.08 in chips)
Seat 8: Infoc ($17.77 in chips)
Seat 9: donald543210 ($26.79 in chips)
izmailov13: posts small blind $0.10
gabi_igna: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Qh Ah]
J@sonB0urne*: folds
ho8888: folds
Hero: raises $0.50 to $0.75
dellbono: calls $0.75
Infoc: folds
donald543210: folds
yanoji: calls $0.75
izmailov13: folds
gabi_igna: folds
*** FLOP *** [Jc Ts 9h]
Hero: bets $1.50
dellbono: folds
yanoji: calls $1.50
*** TURN *** [Jc Ts 9h] [8h]
Hero: bets $4.25
yanoji: raises $6 to $10.25
Hero: calls $6
*** RIVER *** [Jc Ts 9h 8h] [Qc]
Hero: checks
yanoji: bets $17.45
Hero: calls $13.20 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($4.25) returned to yanoji
*** SHOW DOWN ***
yanoji: shows [Kd Qd] (a straight, Nine to King)
Hero: shows [Qh Ah] (a straight, Eight to Queen)
yanoji collected $50.50 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $52.50 | Rake $2
Board [Jc Ts 9h 8h Qc]
Seat 1: yanoji (button) showed [Kd Qd] and won ($50.50) with a straight, Nine to King
Seat 2: izmailov13 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: gabi_igna (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: J@sonB0urne* folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: ho8888 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Hero showed [Qh Ah] and lost with a straight, Eight to Queen
Seat 7: dellbono folded on the Flop
Seat 8: Infoc folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: donald543210 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

I don't mind the c-bet, I don't expect much to fold but I have plenty of equity myself against most ranges. 
The turn is where I question my play. I think I'm getting good odds to call, because I assume I'm chopping some of the time, plus I have flush outs. Would you give a villain such a wide range in this spot?

The problem with calling though is that I end up pot-stuck, and getting 3/1 on the river against an unknown opponent I didn't feel that I could then fold. 

I guess I'm wondering whether I should just have shipped on the turn if I was never folding the river anyway. If I assume he's never folding to a turn shove, I think I need to be good around 40% of the time or more for it to be OK. I think that that's probably true (unless the games have improved so much that opponents are only ever raising the nuts here). If this was against a known competent opponent I could have called the turn and then folded the river I think, but I just didn't know enough to get away this time.

PokerStars Zoom Hand #114012447626:  Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2014/03/29 18:01:22 WET [2014/03/29 14:01:22 ET]
Table 'Whirlpool' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: gepapar2823 ($5.21 in chips)
Seat 2: fasarias ($25.39 in chips)
Seat 3: GrijzeWolf38 ($21.17 in chips)
Seat 4: sturm14 ($28.05 in chips)
Seat 5: Schneider028 ($47.88 in chips)
Seat 6: Sharckogogo ($36.68 in chips)
Seat 7: UnBent022 ($30.26 in chips)
Seat 8: damobookie ($29.64 in chips)
Seat 9: Hero ($25.78 in chips)
fasarias: posts small blind $0.10
GrijzeWolf38: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Qs Js]
sturm14: folds
Schneider028: folds
Sharckogogo: folds
UnBent022: folds
damobookie: folds
Hero: raises $0.50 to $0.75
gepapar2823: folds
fasarias: folds
GrijzeWolf38: calls $0.50
*** FLOP *** [Qc Jd 3d]
GrijzeWolf38: bets $1.50
Hero: raises $4 to $5.50
GrijzeWolf38: raises $14.92 to $20.42 and is all-in
Hero: calls $14.92
*** TURN *** [Qc Jd 3d] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [Qc Jd 3d 8s] [2h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
GrijzeWolf38: shows [5d 4d] (high card Queen)
Hero: shows [Qs Js] (two pair, Queens and Jacks)
Hero collected $40.53 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $42.44 | Rake $1.91
Board [Qc Jd 3d 8s 2h]
Seat 1: gepapar2823 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: fasarias (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: GrijzeWolf38 (big blind) showed [5d 4d] and lost with high card Queen
Seat 4: sturm14 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: Schneider028 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Sharckogogo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: UnBent022 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: damobookie folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Hero showed [Qs Js] and won ($40.53) with two pair, Queens and Jacks

Straight forward I think. He's not playing with a full stack so I assume he's a weaker player.

I'd expect most villains to 3-bet at least QQ and maybe JJ, and then probably check any sets back to me a large proportion of the time. So ruling the really strong hands out I'm probably either facing the same hand, or some kind of draw so I raise the flop lead happy to play for stacks.

To conclude, I think I'm going to make posts like this more often. To just play a few hundred hands and post the larger pots - if only to keep this blog going which has now got a fair bit of history.

Anyway, good luck at the tables all!