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, 5 May 2016


Just a short post as had an hour of spare time tonight, played a couple of nine player turbo SNGs. Just at the $7 level as I'm very rusty.

Any of you know what win rates are possible in these? Play seemed weak (though I got knocked out early in both).

Summary of my play, lots of folding followed by two unsuccessful reshoves.

I had 99 in the SB and shoved my stack in the face of a button raiser who snapped with KJo and I lost the race; and I had 66 in the BB and shoved over a small blind raise and was called by KK. Standard tournament fare.

The 99 hand might be worth looking at as I need the practise and we were 6-handed so a small amount of bubble factor/ICM tax should come into play.

For simplicity I'll assume this is a call decision and that the BB folds, and given the horrendous hand he called with let's assign a range of {22+, any suited broadway, ATo+ and KTo+; 15%}. With 99 I have 54.7% equity against that range.

Using this ICM calculator my bubble factor against the villain in question is roughly:
9.86/(18.03-9.86) = 1.21.

The pot odds I would have received facing a shove would have been 1345/1125 = 1.2/1, and dividing by 1.21 we want roughly even equity or better which we have with 99 as disclosed above.

In the real hand I had fold equity on top of this, though that's offset by the small chance of the BB waking up with a good hand but even so I think it's a no-brainer, as I had suspected at the time.
The more I work through examples like this the more intuitive the decisions will become.

Why have I turned to tournaments given I've played a million micro cash game hands as a small winner? Not entirely sure, I go through phases and at the moment it's tournaments. I definitely feel that I'm a fish in tournaments and it's a bit of motivation for me to get better - much as I used to strive to improve my cash game skills back in the day.

I suppose really I just want to sit in whichever games I fancy playing and be somewhat competent, as I no longer harbour any dreams of making serious money from the game.

Right ramble over, good luck at the tables.


Sunday, 1 May 2016


Hello internet. After a long hiatus I feel like I'd like to put in some hours again.

My personal life has stabilised and spare time has been somewhat freed by completion of a qualification that I'd been working towards for the past four years. So with increased spare time brings opportunity to play poker!

I sat in the PokerStars Sunday Storm a couple of weeks back, and it made me realise just how much I'd forgotten, and how rusty my play was. I defaulted to super-nit mode (my general reaction when feeling out of depth in a poker game).

An example, I raised in MP with AcTc and WCGRider shoved back with about 9BB. I was getting about 2:1 from the pot, but I was LOST in terms of how I should react. A player as skilled as that could be shoving with anything there, though given his limited fold equity I should probably assume a decent hand. We weren't significantly close to the bubble that the ICM Tax was too great, but I folded.

Actually let's analyse the hand while I'm thinking about it.

PokerStars Hand #152065620950: Tournament #1489909215, $10+$1 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XVI (400/800) - 2016/04/17 21:33:47 WET [2016/04/17 16:33:47 ET]
Table '1489909215 2488' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: 1Bentley123 (25511 in chips)
Seat 2: mathewholdem (8815 in chips)
Seat 3: badkali (13316 in chips)
Seat 4: tipchick95 (26392 in chips)
Seat 5: BankoBet (14180 in chips)
Seat 6: davini1972 (17614 in chips)
Seat 7: ircminator80 (25414 in chips)
Seat 8: ZoomathteTop (13337 in chips)
Seat 9: WCG|Rider (7398 in chips)
1Bentley123: posts the ante 80
mathewholdem: posts the ante 80
badkali: posts the ante 80
tipchick95: posts the ante 80
BankoBet: posts the ante 80
davini1972: posts the ante 80
ircminator80: posts the ante 80
ZoomathteTop: posts the ante 80
WCG|Rider: posts the ante 80
WCG|Rider: posts small blind 400
1Bentley123: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BankoBet [Tc Ac]
mathewholdem: folds
badkali: folds
tipchick95: folds
BankoBet: raises 1200 to 2000
davini1972: folds
ircminator80: folds
ZoomathteTop: folds
WCG|Rider: raises 5318 to 7318 and is all-in
1Bentley123: folds
BankoBet: folds
Uncalled bet (5318) returned to WCG|Rider
WCG|Rider collected 5520 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5520 | Rake 0
Seat 1: 1Bentley123 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: mathewholdem folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: badkali folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: tipchick95 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: BankoBet folded before Flop
Seat 6: davini1972 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: ircminator80 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: ZoomathteTop (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: WCG|Rider (small blind) collected (5520)

Initial pot $1920, I bet an additional $2000, WCGRider shoved $7318 ($6918 additional) so pot size is $10,838 and I must call $5318. Pot odds are 10838/5318 so 2.04:1.

Let's introduce some ICM Tax, let's say 1.2 (this is just a guess because we're not that close to the money, I'd love to know if there is a way to accurately determine this figure for large field tournaments if any of you know without calculating ICM for thousands of players!). Now our odds are 2.04/1.2 so 1.7:1 which implies equity of 37% required by our hand against his range.

If he is shoving 88+, AJs+, AKo, KQs my equity is 35.7% so my fold is good. Any wider though, and I've made a mistake. So it looks like my decision was probably good, but it was pretty close.

The point though is that I had no idea during the tournament of whether I should have called, and I really need to brush up on this sort of thing now that I feel like playing again (working through examples like above should help).

In the end I finished ITM and tripled my buy-in so fairly please with the result though I'm certain I made pre-flop mistakes.

My goal over the next few weeks is to learn how the top hands fare against given ranges. There is an excellent table in the book 'Kill Everyone' by Nelson, Streib and Lee that gives these odds and I'll make that my starting point. Once this knowledge is learned it will just be a case of application at the tables and hopefully I can record some small-stakes tournament results.

I'll keep you posted, and hopefully get this blog running regularly again.