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.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Careless ICM Mistakes

I just played a couple of SNGs off the back of some Spin&Gos, didn't run great but didn't tilt and played some decent poker overall.

However after playing the Spin&Gos I failed to switch mentality from chip accumulation (these tournaments are winner takes all so no ICM comes into it). So I made a couple of pretty basic (though I guess forgivable) ICM mistakes.

First mistake I called a Small Blind shove with A6o. The SB had a big stack of 7246 (after blinds) and I have 818 left with the folded Button on 876. Now I know the SB has a wide range here, but roughly speaking my risk factor is about 2.2 due to there being another short stack in the game so my pot odds translate from 1.6 to 0.7/1 so I need to be a 58% favourite and I don't have those odds even against a 100% SB shoving range with A6o unfortunately.

A little later and my situation has improved, this time I have the button with 1576 and the SB is sitting very short with 296 and the BB has 6828 (all after blinds are posted). The presence of the micro stack makes my risk factor very high against the big stack, so I need to be careful. I pick up QQ and I should just shove as I have a 10bb stack and this would be ICM correct. However - still thinking in terms of chips - I decide to min raise to try and induce something silly from the BB who obliges by shoving. I quickly call and he shows 45s, but I'm knocked out on the river - gifting my equity to the tight and rather patient SB.

My pot odds were 1.6/1 pre-flop, but my risk factor was a huge 4. So pot odds become 0.4/1 so I need 71% equity against the BB shoving range. With QQ I don't think I ever have that, even knowing he has hands like 45s in his range!

This is just a reminder that ICM decisions can be difficult and while I continue to play SNGs I need to be better in extreme situations like these.


Friday, 24 March 2017

Spin & Gos

I was awarded a handful of Spin & Go tickets as a deposit bonus, it's been a bit of fun playing short handed in these and I managed to cash a few too. Always nice to get free ROI from depositing money!

Now when these first came out I instantly dismissed them as being a business cash generating exercise to exploit gambling and that there would be no value there, but I think I was wrong.

On first glance, you have three players that sit down and put in, say, $1 each and then play for a $2 prize pool most of the time. Which just seems like an easy way to lose money quickly. However the prize structure is actually equitable, 8% rake is taxed from the buy-in but thereafter all prize money is distributed fairly, as the following table illustrates. Sum up the third column and you get the contributions of the players for a single Spin & Go (less rake of course).

I've used prizes from the $1 Spin & Go games here but it looks like they just scale with buy-in, so this should be equally true for other stakes. 
Prob x Prize
Win %
It's also tempting to think "well surely in order to get full ROI from these games we need to cash big sometimes, and 1,000,000 to 1 doesn't look like great odds to me". Well this is partly true, and there may well be better uses for one's investment if we can't put in the hours or play the number of tables required to pick up the larger prizes.
However these games may have more recreational players than others; those gambling for a big payday. Referring back to the table above, 99% of the time we'll be playing for $2, $4 or $6 at these stakes. If we can cash 40% of the time then we can make 6% ROI without even taking the larger prizes into account!
It is certain that good regulars will have looked at the maths and will know all of this, so it's likely that there are Spin & Go specialists playing these games.
I'm not sure what win %s are realistic in 3-handed Hypers though I saw a HUSNG professional do very well in Heads-Up Hypers a few years back. I suspect 40% is manageable at the lower buy-in Spin & Gos but this would require quality short handed and heads-up play.
Anyway, I was foolish to dismiss these out of hand, and as I'm only a recreational player these days, I might play a few for fun!

This link explains it all much better than I did!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sunday Storm & Other

Played in the $1m Sunday Storm on Stars, lost a couple of medium pots before getting the chips in as favourite but losing my stack well away from the money.

Stars seemed to be teeming with players of all standards, I hope the game has reached some kind of equilibrium after the boom during the last decade and decline following the US federal action against the online games.

Meanwhile I'm playing a few SNGs now and then to convert some T$ I had accrued in Full Tilt and build up my cash bankroll. I may begin to sit into the Zoom games again at 25NL Full Ring when I've done this, though it would be interesting to know if anyone continues to beat them at a decent rate.

Assuming I more or less break even in the SNGs (where my ICM knowledge is limited) I should have about $750 to invest in Zoom or around 30 buy-ins. This offers enough cover should I drop a few buy-ins off the bat. I'm bound to be rusty.

I'll also try and watch my stack size carefully. When I dipped back into Zoom last year I made a mistake in a big pot which crushed my confidence for a while though I'd been playing well to that point.

Will try and make my next post a little more interesting and include a hand history or two.


Friday, 10 March 2017

Micro Time Tourneys

Hi all,

Just playing a few tournaments at the moment and trying my hand at the PokerStars 'Time Tourneys'.

It seems to me that these attract a large number of gamblers and casual players given the number of bizarre hands people are getting all-in with before the time runs out.

Given that the equity is shared out to the remaining players based on stack size should it not work like the bubble of a tournament when time gets short? Unless I'm missing some obvious mathematics, if you have a strategy that is chip winning on average and you obey basic bubble risk management I'd be surprised if this didn't equate to a nice ROI.

Of course at higher stakes I imagine these are full of ICM experts but at the Micros should be solid money here. Not to mention these are pretty damn fun to play!

If anyone else has thoughts on these or if my maths is way out please post below!



I've had a chance to look at these more closely, and actually, I was making a foolish mathematical mistake as it seems that the ICM isn't required at all and time is only relevant when thinking in terms of 'hourly' win rates.

The prize money is distributed calculated on your % of chips as a % of total chips in play. So it's just a cash game dressed as a tournament. I can demonstrate the maths with a simple hand that I misplayed just now.

PokerStars Hand #167394871397: Tournament #1843138363, $2.00+$0.20 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level III (300/600) - 2017/03/10 19:32:44 WET [2017/03/10 14:32:44 ET]
Table '1843138363 7' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: MrSmacks (2560 in chips)
Seat 2: AlwaysFoldAc (13020 in chips)
Seat 3: seikopiet (10180 in chips)
Seat 4: kushnerev A. (9240 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 5: BankoBet (2900 in chips)
Seat 6: pedrojam (6200 in chips)
Seat 7: ShellShark1 (2380 in chips)
Seat 8: vestjyden54 (8540 in chips)
Seat 9: pavlovsdoc (15820 in chips)
MrSmacks: posts the ante 60
AlwaysFoldAc: posts the ante 60
seikopiet: posts the ante 60
kushnerev A.: posts the ante 60
BankoBet: posts the ante 60
pedrojam: posts the ante 60
ShellShark1: posts the ante 60
vestjyden54: posts the ante 60
pavlovsdoc: posts the ante 60
kushnerev A.: posts small blind 300
BankoBet: posts big blind 600
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BankoBet [8d 8s]
pedrojam: folds
kushnerev A. has returned
ShellShark1: folds
vestjyden54: folds
pavlovsdoc: folds
MrSmacks: folds
AlwaysFoldAc: raises 1200 to 1800
seikopiet: calls 1800
kushnerev A.: calls 1500
BankoBet has timed out
BankoBet: folds
*** FLOP *** [5c 4d Js]
BankoBet is sitting out
BankoBet has returned
kushnerev A.: checks
AlwaysFoldAc: bets 11160 and is all-in
seikopiet: folds
kushnerev A.: folds
Uncalled bet (11160) returned to AlwaysFoldAc
AlwaysFoldAc collected 6540 from pot
AlwaysFoldAc: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 6540 | Rake 0
Board [5c 4d Js]
Seat 1: MrSmacks folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: AlwaysFoldAc collected (6540)
Seat 3: seikopiet (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 4: kushnerev A. (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 5: BankoBet (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: pedrojam folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: ShellShark1 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: vestjyden54 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: pavlovsdoc folded before Flop (didn't bet)
I'll give you a moment to stop laughing at my fold...

So giving some rough ranges to my opponents and assuming a call puts me all-in (which it effectively does) lets assign me 30% equity in a four-way pot. The prize pool is $522 and there were 261 players hence 783,000 total chips in play. At the start of the tournament each player's stack has equity of 3000/783000 x $522 = $2 or $0.0007 per chip.

In the hand, my expected value if I fold is (2240/783000) x $522 = $1.49 and $0.0007 per chip.
If I call, it is 30% x ((1440 + 8960)/783000) x $522 = $2.079 so it's a very easy call in reality.
The $6.93 stack if I won would be worth $0.0007 per chip.

Chip value never changes so it's essentially a cash game with loose players.

As a caveat though, rake is steep at 10% in these tournaments so whether the general looseness compensates for the high tax I'm not sure.

But I enjoyed being able to play for a fixed time, so I might dip into these again. Anyone with a decent understanding of pot odds should do OK.


As a general update, I don't play much any more, just when I feel like it. So I'm certainly not a winner any more, but it's kind of refreshing to play for fun (as I did once long ago) without putting loads of pressure on myself to play mistake free poker.