Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I'll dig out some interesting hands and post them up tomorrow. hopefully I can find something I totally screwed up. ;-)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Along with the coaching available, we are looking to have weekly strategy articles on various topics. Stop on by the forum and check us out.
Poker Coaching by jojobinks and TheMightyJim2k
Monday, December 10, 2007
- had 7 year anniversary with Katy this weekend. Had an excellent dinner downtown, then drinks at a pub, followed by a horse drawn carriage ride. After 7 years I love her more than ever, and she still laughs at me. It's a good match.
- Saw Beowulf 3D last week. Special effects were un-freaking-believable. If you haven't seen it you have to see it in 3D before they take it out of the theatres. The movie was good (not great), but it is 100% worth the ticket price if you see it in 3D.
- Played a ton of hands this weekend. I play NL good and win lots of moniez. In limit I run like crap at 10/20 to negate running great at 5/10, and am just over breakeven for the month. Overall having a good month.
- Got pissed this afternoon. Tilted for a few hands. Banged head on desk about 5 times (literally). Sang christmas carols at the top of my lungs. Proceeded to run and play better and recovered losses +$250. ship the masicistic luckbox.
- The Bengals, Bills, and Patriots all won. Yay for teams I root for in the NFL.
- Duke basketball is the shizzle. We are good enough to play with anyone in the country. If you are on our schedule you better get ready.
- baseball is going well. Threw twice this week. worked out a couple of times. discussed some tryout plans with Tom. I really got to ramp up the effort though over the next 3 months.
- I'm getting ready to start a coaches for hire forum on ChipTalk with the legendary jojobinks. If you are a CTer and looking for some help with your game give us a look. We will likely be posting free strat articles every week as well.
that is all. new post with some interesting hands coming soon...
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
If you are looking for rakeback on FTP it would make more sense for you to go through one of the big boys that can offer you a higher percentage, so let me know if you are interested and I can refer you to one of them.
Also. If you are looking for some serious coaching I'm available for LHE cash (full ring and 6max), and also am looking into doing some NL coaching as well. I feel confident offering my services for all low-mid stakes LHE games online, and low stakes NL games online. If you are interested please contact about rates.
So I just finished playing a 750 hand session of 1/2 NL. I had a modest 1 Buy-in win, but I was really happy with how I played overall. I lost one hand where I got it all-in pf with AK against a good LAG who held KK for 100bb, and I lost a 75bb flip where I flopped top two against an opponents OESD and flush draw (obv we got it in on the flop). Despite those hands I still made a buy-in and felt really good about my play.
one thing I think I'm getting much better at is making thin value bets on the river in NL. In spots where I can get a call from a worse hand that might be looking to pick off a bluff. Below is a spot where I think I make a god v-bet that unfortunately didn't get called. When the villain in this hand c/r the flop I was pretty sure he either had a K or a set. I call because I have a flush draw that I rate to get paid if I hit on the turn, as well as the fact that the A's might be outs.
The A on the turn improves my hand, but not so much that I would ever want to raise the turn. The reason being that I'm going to blow away all the Kx hands that are betting into me, I'm going to lose value against flush draws that are drawing dead and may fire the third barrel (or we'll get it all in if we both hit on the river), and finally I'm in big trouble if I raise and he has a set.
On the river his check really really looked like either a spade draw that gave up, or Kx that wasn't sure what to do. I had planned on calling a bet of half pot or less on the river, probably folding to a shove. However when he checks I know that I likely have the best hand, and but I might be able to extract some value from a good K hand that think I could be bluffing. I decide to make a 1/3rd pot size bet that is big enough that it could be a bluff, but small enough that it actually could get called. Villain in the hand thought for about 45 seconds before mucking which reaffirmed my read of Kx.
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is MP with As, Qs
UTG folds, Hero raises to $7, CO folds, Button folds, SB folds, BB calls $5.
Flop: ($15.00) Kh, 2s, 6s (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $12, BB raises to $40, Hero calls $28.
Turn: ($95.00) Ac (2 players)
BB bets $64, Hero calls $64.
River: ($223.00) 2d (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $85, BB folds.
Final Pot: $223.00
Hero mucks As, Qs.
Outcome: Hero wins $220.00.
this hand was an interesting one:
so the player in question was a TAG who played about 17/15. I 3-bet because he is opening enough hands that not everything in his raising range can either a) call or raise against a pf 3-bet OR b) doing anything other than c/f most flops. When he called I put him on a AK or AQ or 88-TT. I guess hands like KQs could be in his range, but for the most part it is big unmade hands like AQ or a middle pkt pair.
When the flop comes down I am pretty much way ahead or way behind of his range. If he has a K it is likely with a better kicker, and if he has a small pkt pair he is drawing to two outs. Since I only have one over card to worry about, betting the flop to protect my hand is not an issue. A player like that would c-bet this flop with top pair every time, and I know he would expect me to. But I figure all I do if I fire on that flop is fold out hands I beat, and get c/r'd by everything that beats me. So I check through becuase it makes my hand look super weak, and I think I might get some suspicious calldowns.
the turn is the perfect card for me. It makes it much less likely he has a K, while at the same time make it look very unlikely that I have a K. Plus it is the perfect card to get a call from 88-TT. On the turn I decide to make a pretty weak looking half pot bet, that can easily get called by a small pair.
The river actually worried me a little. If villains turn calling range is 88-TT, then 1/3rd of that range just two-outed me. Also he could have been trying to trap on the turn with AK or KQ, but I seriously doubt it (ie I think he would lead at the turn about 100% of the time with those hands). I decide that a small value bet is likely to get called by 88 or 99, and I can fold to a big c/r from this somewhat predictable player. A big bet never gets called unless I'm beat, and I don't want to put a ton more money into the pot and then fold with trips.
I v-bet for about 1/3rd of the pot, and he calls with the 88. I smile.
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is Button with Jd, Kd
MP folds, CO raises to $7, Hero raises to $24, SB folds, BB folds, CO calls $17.
Flop: ($51.00) 7d, 2s, Kc (2 players)
CO checks, Hero checks.
Turn: ($51.00) Ks (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $25, CO calls $25.
River: ($101.00) Th (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $36, CO calls $36.
Final Pot: $173.00
Hero shows Jd, Kd (three of a kind, Kings).
UTG doesn't show.
CO mucks 8s, 8d.
Outcome: Hero wins $170.00.
The month is going pretty well so far. Up about $900. There are a lot of good promos going on this month so there is probably an extra $500 or so in money I can make between my affiliate and site promos.
Oh and for those that didn't see my post on chiptalk, I went deep in a 32k freeroll yesterday (6k for first place) and despite being among the top three in chips for most of the tourney I busted on a stupid stupid stupid play. I had just gotten my first AA of the tourney cracked by 77 in a hand that would have moved me from 3rd place and 8k behind the chip leader to leading the tourney in chips by 40k or so. After building up from 10th place back to 5th by stealing blinds an antes about 4 times I opened up K8s from middle position. Unfortunately I mistyped my raise amount, and instead of raising to about 12k like I wanted to I only minraised to 6k. The loose aggro BB obv calls getting like 4-1 pf. We see a K64 two spade flop and he donks out for the pot. I've seen him play very aggressive with a ton of hands in 3 orbits so I feel like I need to protect my hand against a ton of the draws that are in his range. So I make a potsized raise (a little over half of my stack) and he shoves pretty quick. I have to call getting a little better than 3-1 on my money. He flips up K4o. I want to puke. I miss my 6 outer on the turn, and my 9 outer ont he river. He would have folded preflop if I don't misclick, and I would have still been in the tourny in 5th place with 22 left and a terrific table image. Instead of battling at the final table for my share of the almost 20k left in the prize pool I go home with $170 bucks. I bang my head on desk repeatedly.
on a good news front I went and bought a christmas tree on sunday afternoon. I real live scotch pine. Its a beautiful tree. About 6ft tall. Fits perfectly in our living room. I got it in the stand and moved into the living room on sunday afternoon while katy was out, and then we decorated it on sunday night (katy did most of the decorating). We named it Oliver ;-). It is our first real christmas tree since we've been living together (3 christmases). Oliver is one thirsty tree though. I've had to put 4 huge cups of water in his stand already. I'll take some pics and post them up for my next entry.
also if anyone once me to write an entry on anything particular: limit, nl, baseball, my favorite tv shows, or whateva, just post in the comments.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
So November came and went and I didn’t blog for the last two weeks (I know totally standard). The reasons are two-fold. First I was waiting till my grind week finished before posting the wrap up, but then I ended up not having enough free time to address it before I went home for thanksgiving. While I was home I wasn’t playing as much, and I really didn’t feel like explaining the blog to my folks so I just figured I would wait until I got home.
So Tuesday I made it a goal to write another entry, but then I just kept putting it off. Then Thursday night I went down to Foxwoods again (lol the games are so easy +$530) and then I had to grind for 4 hours yesterday afternoon in order to maintain my VIP elite status on AP (ship the bonus monies).
So I ended up having my second best month ever, just under $6k with another $2k or so in RB and bonus. The interesting thing is that I actually won more money playing NL2 than I did playing limit, and in about half as many hands. I think I ran decent in NL, but nothing spectacular. Frankly I find the games much easier than limit games, and I think I’m going to play more NL this month with a goal of moving up to NL4 by the end of the month. Because the vip points are worth less on FTP than AP I plan on playing NL exclusively on FTP and playing limit exclusively on AP. Obviously if the limit games are fantastic on FTP or if I feel like playing deep-stack NL I might switch it up. But that is my plan.
I didn’t reach my goal of a five-figure month, but that was purely because I didn’t play enough hands over the thanksgiving break (and at the beginning of the month). I only played about 23k hands and I had hoped to hit 30k for the month. I am really working hard on game selection and only playing when I am focused, but I am sure I can find more good spots to play especially now that I will be playing NL half the time.
The Foxwoods trips was fun the other night. Got there about 10pm and played NL2 for about 2.5 hours to start the night. I bought in for the max ($200) and had to play tight. I actually had so-so seat at the table, but then it quickly got better as a couple of the players to my right really opened up. Basically I just played super nitty since my stack size really didn’t let me tangle in the frequently raised pots (typical raises were $12-15). I had my stack up to about $250 after I won a pot where I limped in the cutoff with T9o the flop was 998 with two spades. A fairly aggro player who had bluffed a couple of times before lead at the pot from early position for $12 (pot was about $26 then) and I raised it up to $36. He thought for a short time and called making the pot about $75. The turn was an off-suit J giving me an OESD to go with my trips and he checked. I was pretty much positive I was ahead so I bet $65 and he folded after a lot of thought.
About 12 hands or so later I am in the HJ and I see QQ. The same loose aggressive player (but seemingly not an idiot) raises from EP to $15. He has raised fairly frequently but I don’t think he is raising with total trash. I decide I need to raise enough to charge the small pkts and suited connectors, also because if I don’t reraise I’m going to induce 3-5 callers and be playing QQ purely for set value. I make it $45 to go and a loose but decent player with a really big stack calls on the button. The EP initial raiser then makes it $135 to go. I ask him how much he has and it around $280 or so and after thinking for about 45 seconds I muck. The button thinks for longer and then folds. The EP player then flips KK face up. The button says he had QJ (lol) and I tell him I had QQ. They believe me but are pretty surprised at my fold. Obviously if the guy with KK had a smaller stack I would have gone with it and he would have won a nice pot. But when a non-maniac live player 4-bets preflop into a tight player’s 3-bet and a bigstack cold-call you can pretty much assume he has AA or KK. I actually would have had to think longer if he had shoved because then AK might have been in his range. But as played it reeked of AA or KK. So the hand cost me $45, but I saved $200 thanks to his raise. If I was him I probably would have either called and open shoved any non A flop, or just moved in. As played his bet folds out pretty much all hands but AA. So he really isn’t making any money with that bet.
I later won a decent pot when I raised 77 from the SB to about $6. I was just trying to build a pot so I could win big if I hit a set. However when the flop came 864 I really figured to have the best hand so I bet out for $20. I got one caller who had a med stack and was fairly loose. The turn was another 8, but I figured he would have raised with an 8 on the flop (he was one of those players who wanted to find out where he was at) so I fired another $35 into the pot. He thought for awhile and said he was thinking about raising, but in the end he mucked what he claimed was a 6.
Then I stacked the guy from the KK vs QQ hand (he was tilting from bluffing off $280 while playing the 72 game with some guys at the table) when I raised to $15 pf with QQ. I got 6 callers ($90 pot) and lead out for $75 on a 985 flop. I planned to get it in if someone raised, sets be damned because I just didn’t have enough behind and certainly couldn’t just check the flop. The tilting guy thought for a long time. Remarked that I was the tightest player at the table, no one had seen me SD a hand, but I always bet everyone out. He said against anyone else that he would already be all-in. He thought and thought and thought. At this point I put him on TT, A9, or a pair and a gutshot. Basically I was really really hoping he shoved. He did for about another $40 and I of course insta called. The turn and river where unimportant and he flipped up K9. He muttered some stuff and walked off. Two hands later I picked up AK in the BB. The player two to my left open raised to $17 without looking at his cards (his friend dared him) and he got 4 callers (about $90 in the pot). I made it $90 to go and everyone fold. Once short stack though for awhile about going with his 97s but decided to muck. At that point I was up to about $500, but I had busted most of the loose money to my right. I was sitting with three big stacks to my left who were all fairly loose aggressive competent players (not good but not bad). Needless to say my seat was horrible to be playing a bigstack especially compared to the normal live action at Foxwoods. So I got up and took a break and ate and orange I brought with me while I walked around the casino.
When I came back I didn’t feel like playing NL so I found a $5/10 limit game that was playing with a kill when there was a $100 pot. After a pot of $100 the next hand would be played as $10/20 game with a $10 dead blind from the guy who won the pot (for those that haven’t played with a kill). At first I walked by the game three times and couldn’t decide whether or not to sit. It was the deadest game in the casino with 7 old guys who weren’t speaking and looked like someone had stolen their dentures. But I saw that their was a lot of loose limpers and check-calling going on, and I quickly noticed that the best seat at the table was open. I could sit to the left of all of the goofy limpers an to the right of all of the tighties that would actually fold pf. I hit some hands and played decent and won $230 over the next 2 hours. My biggest win was when I limped 87s in the CO in a kill pot and then proceeded to spike the nut straight on the turn (with a flush draw no less). We got 2 bets in on the turn and another bet in on the river (amongst 3 players). Then the next hand I was the kill and I got dealt AA (woooohoooo) but lost when a guy with AK hit his gin KKT flop. He actually checked the river after c/r’ing the turn, and thus missed at least one bet against me. I probably could have folded to his turn c/r, but he had made some screwy plays and I really didn’t want to muck in a big pot. If I had spiked the case A on the river some fire works would have gone off because the other player had the QJ (would have made a straight) and I would have the nuts boat against the second nut boat. I tried to talk the table up and loosen the players up, but nothing was happening. Needless to say it was a super easy game, and the only mistake I think I made was missing a river bet with KK when a guy bluff raised me on the turn and I didn’t donk into him (he had bottom pair or something) on the river.
Plan on making a couple more trips to Foxwoods this month. The games are super soft, the drive isn’t too bad if you avoid rush hour traffic, and it is a nice break from online grinding.
That is all for now. December started off well. I played like a big dumb LAG on some 5/10 and 10/20 tables on AP and got up $700 over about 450 hands. Going to play some NL on FTP now. Rooting for OU against Missouri in the Big 12 championship game because I want to see OSU in the title game. Whoever ends up playing against WVU I will be rooting for, because I hate those classless hill-billies with a passion.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
FullTiltPoker Game #4206004206: Table Michael (6 max) - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 13:36:25 ET - 2007/11/17
Seat 1: MORONESSA ($409.60)
Seat 2: CheckZilla ($26.95)
Seat 3: Tjuus_Tjolk ($0), is sitting out
Seat 4: Rocket42tc ($317.30)
Seat 5: gawyn ($197)
Seat 6: themightyjim ($290.25)
Rocket42tc posts the small blind of $1
gawyn posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to themightyjim [Qs Qh]
Tjuus_Tjolk stands up
themightyjim raises to $7
mytibt sits down
mytibt adds $80
MORONESSA has 15 seconds left to act
Rocket42tc raises to $28
themightyjim has 15 seconds left to act
themightyjim raises to $75
Rocket42tc raises to $122
themightyjim has 15 seconds left to act
themightyjim has requested TIME
Uncalled bet of $47 returned to Rocket42tc
Rocket42tc shows [Kh Kc] a pair of Kings
Rocket42tc wins the pot ($152)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $152 Rake $0
Seat 1: MORONESSA didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: CheckZilla didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: Tjuus_Tjolk (button) is sitting out
Seat 4: Rocket42tc (small blind) collected ($152)
Seat 5: gawyn (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: themightyjim folded before the Flop
it is nice to know that I was right, but it would have been nicer if I didn't have to lose the $75 ;)
new post coming tonight. recap of grind week (I know I know I was going to update more) including what went well, and what I screwed up. Hopefully some interesting hands to post up as well.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I should get a decent amount of TV time, as in you can see me behind Nick Schulman's shoulder in the audience. However I left right after it got down to 3-handed to go play some poker myself.
Set is a pretty crappy 10/20 limit game. Not crappy because the play was good, but crappy because there wasn't much action. I got no cards, but KK was sucked out on once on the river, and I had top pair beat by a full house, who's cards I called on the end. I actually called out peoples hands totally dead on 3 times which kind of impressed the old folks.
I did finally make one nice play when I bluffed out 4 players with 7-high on a 65252 board. The last guy in the pot didn't appreciate it too much when I flipped up the nut low while raking the $220 pot in.
However that is where the good news ended. The table quickly broke except for a couple of folks who really stunk, so I gladly took the chance to play shorthanded with really bad players. It then got HU between me and a nice guy who I had bluffed out with the 74. Karma is a bitch they say, and it was certainly true. This guy proceeded to run white hot for almost an hour against me. He rivered a boat when I had the nut straight on the turn. He flopped trips and played them so passively he only made one bet on the big streets. He coolered me with top pair against two pair, and checked it down on the river (OMGZ). He rivered a gutter (he had a flush draw as well) to beat my two pair and just called my bet....with the nuts!. He didn't raise QQ pf, and then called on an AKxxx three spade board with the Qs and hit his flush (he was getting 2-1 on his call so he didn't quite have the odds lol). He also flopped a flush when I had the nut flush draw and called 1sb on the flop, 1BB on the turn, and then just checked the river. He could have c/r'd the flop and gotten at least 1SB more, he could have c/r the turn and gotten at least 1BB more, or he could have donked the river and gotten a bet if I had any piece of the board (which was very very likely based on the play of the hand). Instead he basically flopped the nuts, gave me a super cheap look at coolering him, and then made nothing on the big streets. Now that is what I call great POKAH! He also consistently referred to it as 1 on 1 poker, and proceeded to give me a few good pieces of advice. I didn't tilt in the slightest since he was a nice guy and I didn't want to be a jerk just because he was running good. I complimented him on his good hands, while silently thanking myself that he saved me at least 10BB or so with all of his horribly passive play. If this guy had started really playing aggressive, and maximizing his value I think I could have easily lost 50BB as badly as I was running. But he played so bad that it was really easy to get away from my crap, and never lose much in the cooler hands because the guy refused put in a lot of action (I guess he figured he was trapping LOL).
It was a little frustrating because if the cards break even I could have stacked this guy in a couple of hours. Instead I go down 35BB and some drunk joins the game and starts acting like an ass so we break it up.
$700 loss is no big deal, but it is a little frustrating when you lose it like that. It really makes me want to drive back down soon and play some more and make it back, but the 1.75 hour drive is a little much to be making it too often.
grind week is back on tomorrow morning. In order to catch up to my goal I'm going to need to play at least 2.5k hands tomorrow. That is a lot of poker, so obviously we shall see how it turns out.
I'll try to post with some more thoughts on the WPT event, and include some of my pics from the final table.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Had a great day at the tables today. Played a little bit of everything. A lot of 5/10 limit, a lot of 1/2 NL, as well as some 10/20 and 8/16 limit, and a little 3/6 HU limit.
Grind week totals so far after 28 hours:
- 2,034 hands
- 364 hands NL and 1670 hands limit
here is a NL hands where I played it much much better than I did last week:
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is Button with Qd, Qs
UTG calls $2, CO folds, Hero raises to $10, SB folds, BB raises to $18, UTG folds, Hero calls $8.
Flop: ($39.00) Qc, 3d, 6h (2 players)
BB bets $39, Hero calls $39.
Turn: ($117.00) 8h (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $35, BB calls $35.
River: ($187.00) Jh (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $65, BB calls $65.
Final Pot: $317.00
BB shows As, Ac (a pair of Aces).
Hero shows Qd, Qs (three of a kind, Queens).
Outcome: Hero wins $314.00.
the hand isn't a brag, since anyone can win money when the cooler AA with top set. But I avoided making a really big mistake of 4-betting a guy with a hand that is at best 50/50 against his range pf.
similar situation as last week. reraiser is extremely tight, and I think his range is JJ+ and AKs. I just called pf because I wanted to see the flop and how he played it. Obviously when I flop the set it just becomes a case of extracting max value. I thought for sure he would have just stuck the rest in on the turn and river, and I was trying to make really weak bets to get him to come over the top with KK or AA and maybe get some value out of a suspicious AK. I was trying to look as weak as possible, but obviously if he thinks I am on a total bluff then it isn't worth raising. I guess I made a huge mistake of not getting his stack on the river (last $20) but the fact that I didn't screw up pf (and 4-bet a super tight player with QQ) made me feel really good.
couldn't find any super interesting limit hands. I think I tend to see nearly every limit hand as standard since I've seen just about everything. Did river a royal though:
Absolute Poker $5/$10 Limit Hold'em - 5 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is SB with Jd, Kd
UTG folds, CO raises, Button folds, Hero calls, BB folds.
Flop: (5.00 SB) Qs, 2c, Ad (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets, Hero calls.
Turn: (3.50 BB) Qd (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets, Hero calls.
River: (5.50 BB) Td (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets, Hero raises, CO calls.
Final Pot: 9.50 BB
Hero shows Jd, Kd (Royal flush).
CO mucks Tc, 8c.
Outcome: Hero wins 9.20 BB.
villains play in this hand is absolutely hilarious.
in other news a friend who occasionally writes for All-In magazine is heading to the WPT final table at Foxwoods tomorrow to cover the event. He invited me to ride along, so I gladly accepted. I'm hoping to play for a few hours while I'm down there. I would love to play the 10/20 limit game, but my friend doesn't play quite as high so we might have to go for the 1/2 NL game.
should be a fun road trip. I'll try to take some pics and write up a trip report to post on here.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It has been a pretty crappy month so far, and while that is to be expected from time to time, it is always frustrating when the first third of a month has gone by and I have little to show for it.
I'll look for some hands to post tomorrow, maybe something that will make me think and improve my game. Feel free to add comments.
Also got bluffed out of a big pot with the best hand (argggh) and ran bad at 10/20 while running good at 5/10 (arrrgggh). So overall not a great day.
But after I busted out of the tourney and got really pissed, I went and worked out for awhile. Cleared my head, and then hung out with my gf some. We watched some Scrubs, and now I'm feeling much better.
In fact so good that I've decided to declare this "Grind Week"! My goal is to play 15,000 hands this week. That is an average of 90 hands/ hour for 7 days. Assuming that I spend 30% of that time sleeping that means I need to average 127 hands an hour for the week. Attainable? Probably not. But it is a good goal to shoot for anyway. I want no more than 5k of those hands to be NL (since it is easier to multitable) since I really want to work hard at the limit tables.
so let the grind begin. update to come in 12 hours or so....
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Poker is going fairly well so far this month. Although I’m no pleased with how many hands I’ve played. I’m right at about 6k, and I should be to 8k by now. Planning on trying to get in 6 hours tomorrow to get caught up. I guess other things just easily distract me (TV, girlfriend, working out, laundry, video games, etc), and also I don’t like playing in bad games. Typically if the bad players get up or go broke I get up to. I just don’t see any reason in fighting over pots with good regulars, and just paying the rake.
Here is a recent NL hand that I thought I played horribly:
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is BB with Qs, Qd
UTG raises to $8, MP folds, CO folds, Button calls $8, SB folds, Hero raises to $35, UTG raises to $75, Button folds, Hero calls $40.
Flop: ($159.00) 5h, 2c, Jd (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $125 (all in), Hero calls $125.
Turn: ($409.00) Th (2 players)
River: ($409.00) 7h (2 players)
Final Pot: $409.00
Hero shows Qs, Qd (a pair of Queens).
UTG shows As, Ac (a pair of Aces).
Outcome: UTG wins $406.00.
The villain in question was basically unknown, though seemed weak tight through 20 hands or so (only played 1 hand and raised pf). When he 4-bets me pf I can narrow his range down to JJ-AA and AKs. The problem is that I just couldn’t bring myself to fold QQ pf getting 3-1. I have 43% against this range pf, so the call isn’t horrible. Especially because I know if I spike a set I will get the rest of his stack 100% of the time (almost giving me correct implied odds). The problem is that on the flop I only have 22% equity against his range, and his bet is screaming I have KK or AA. I think the flop was an easy fold, and in retrospect pf was probably a fold as well. This player is probably not very likely to 4-bet pf with less than QQ, so I am probably totally crushed. I thought I played this hand horribly, and it cost me a buy-in.
Overall though I feel as though I’m playing NL very well. My winrate is very solid, and I’m quite comfortable 4-tabling and still playing a 32/22 type style (after 2k hands this month). It is providing me a nice break from when I don’t feel like grinding limit. The money is also much much easier in NL, since you can really just pick on the poor players and punish them for all of their mistakes. In limit you can only maximize your advantage to a certain extent, since you have to have the best hand at SD most of the time. But in NL I can win a ton of pots without having the best hand, and better yet I can easily isolate poor players so that I can make the maximum for the least amount of risk.
Pitching is also going pretty well. The last time I was throwing I felt like I had good command with my fastball, and my splitter was really falling off the table. I’m still struggling with my slider, but I think I might have found something by dropping my arm to a 2/3rd arm slot to throw it. It isn’t hat much different than normal since I have had a pretty low arm slot ever since I tore my rotator cuff (story for another time). I really need to get with the owner of the facility that I work out at and have him take a look at my stuff. He is a former minor leaguer who gives great advice and instruction. He has also said that he thinks he can likely find me some tryouts for next spring.
I’m also excited because two weeks from today is Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays. I’ll be back in WV for the week, and probably spending most of my nights two tabling on my parents crappy old computer. Probably won’t have pokertracker or a HUD, so it is going to be interesting. I’ve considered taking my computer home, but since I’m flying that is just too much hassle. I’ll need to get in about 5k hands or so while I’m home to keep my monthly goals on track. That could be tough, but I’ll do my best.
Feel free to add comments and tell me about anything interesting or something you think is worth talking about.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
pokering update coming later or tomorrow afternoon.
I think Coddrington probably has the edge though because he is certainly quicker and has a definite advantage in reach. For Bika to win he'll probably need to wear Coddrington down and try to score big or get a knock out in the later rounds. He didn't show outstanding stamina in the preliminary fights, but he also didn't seem too tired late in those matches.
should be exciting. I'm going to be playing for about 4 hours or so after the fight, so I'll probably update the blog again before or after that.
Friday, November 2, 2007
also ran, worked out, threw, and watched The Office (awesome episode). going to update tomorrow with the wrap up for my first 2/3 of a month playing pro, november goals, and maybe a hand to discuss.
if anyone has anything they'd like to discuss or see me talk about please feel free to post in the comments.
if anyone is going to foxwoods this weekend let me know because I'm thinking about going.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Long time no post.
Took last week off from blogging while I enjoyed life. Went to WS game 1 in fenway, watched the rest of the series, went to a couple of parties, had a friend over 1 night, and life was good.
On the baseball front I’ve been throwing a couple of times. Haven’t been in a couple of days though, and I was especially lazy today. Time to get back to the grind tomorrow.
On the poker front I had a horrible run of 8k hands, followed by some solid grinding and running better over the next 5k. My month has been pretty much a roller coaster, but I’m going to finish well in the black.
I’ve also been playing a lot more NL cash the last couple of days. I watched several of the cardrunners videos by some of the more respected pros on the sight, and have been trying to apply their very LAGGY play at the 1/2NL tables on FTP. Frankly I’ve found the games to be extremely easy playing this style. I’m playing about 32/25 preflop and really focusing on paying attention to the action at the table and my understanding the impact that my table image is having on my opponents.
The effectiveness of this style I believe is in large part due to the shift in the paradigm of online 6max NLHE cash games. As players have gained more experience and knowledge of the game, it has become common knowledge (even among poor and weak players) that tight play is correct. What this means is that the current online cash game fish is not necessarily the loose passive calling station (although those still exist) but many are weak tight TAGs and semi-loose weak players. These players will consistently put money in the pot both pre and post flop and then fold despite the fact that understanding hand ranges they must know that you often have little to no hand.
Thus to be successful at these limits I have begun playing very loose, and VERY aggressive. I consistently raise loose limpers and over-limpers, and try to re-squeeze TAGs whenever possible. This strategy works simply because NLHE cash with 100bb stacks is little more than a glorified game of chicken. Basically this breaks down strategically so that I can consistently 3-bet (re-raise preflop) TAGs, and they realize that they have no good options to combat that. If they re-raise they are committing to play for stacks. If they call they are playing a big pot OOP against a player with a wide range and a lot of possible plays. If they fold then once again they have give up on a pot where they likely had good enough equity to call. There are two ways to counter this, and both still make it relatively easy for me to play. If they start 4-betting me preflop (re-re-raising preflop) then I can scale back my aggression, wait for a hand, and bust their whole stack. If they continue to fold I’m just going to keep running over the table until they fight back, and then I’ll just release my non super-strong hands.
I know this is somewhat simplified, but to a large extent that is it. I’m finding the games to be extremely soft and profitable. Frankly compared to the 10/20 limit games I’m used to grinding it is a joke. If I continue to have success while playing NL and can work my way up to playing 3/6 I may spend significantly more time playing NL.
Here are a couple of hands that went down today to reinforce my points:
In this hand the LAGTAG player on the button is iso-raising the loose limper with a fairly wide range. The player in the SB is cold calling with a very wide range, but has consistently avoided getting his small stack in preflop. I have been 3-betting the LAGTAG quite a bit, but we’ve both played back at each other, and he’s shown my re-raises a lot of respect. I figure I have a good hand against the SBs range, I can get the limper and button to fold, and if the SB wants to play for his stack then so be it. As expected they all folded, and I picked up the dead money.
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is BB with Tc, As
UTG folds, CO calls $2, Button raises to $9, SB calls $8, Hero raises to $48, CO folds, Button folds, SB folds.
Final Pot: $29.00
So not too long after I pick up KK, and the LAGTAG player raises again from MP. Now if I was playing TAG at this table when I re-raise preflop I am probably not going to get a lot of action. But the fact that I have 3-bet him preflop quite a few times, I expect that he’ll play back with quite a few hands if I re-raise. So when I re-raise I was not surprised when he re-popped me, and I thought for just a few seconds before shoving in. Obviously his call is horrible, but with the aggression he has seen from me, and the number of times I have run him over, I guess he decided he needed to take a stand at some point. This was exactly the result I was looking for. Ship it.
Full Tilt Poker $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players
Hand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is Button with Kd, Ks
UTG folds, MP raises to $7, Hero raises to $25, SB folds, BB folds, MP raises to $78, Hero raises to $240.20 (all in), MP calls $138.35 (all in).
Final Pot: $435.70
CO doesn't show.
Hero shows Kd, Ks ().
MP shows Kh, Qh ().
Outcome: ($435.70 Rake)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I'm going to Game 1 of the World Series. WOOOOOT!!!!!!
running about breakeven right now since my last post. racking up lots of RB though, and just waiting for the boomswitch to come back. Also picking up more vip and fpp at FTP and AP to trade for cash and goodies.
I'll try to post again later after I finishe a session, and see if I can find any interesting hands to discuss.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Ran horrible all week long, but I'm still showing a decent profit for the month so I can't be too upset. The thing I'm most proud of is that I was on pace to get in more than my goal of 10k hands for the week (except for the fact that I'm going to be gone this weekend). I played almost 8k through 5 days this week, and thats a fair bit of poker.
I've also been shorstacking the 2/4 NL game on AP and FTP. The games are surprisingly soft, especially coming from 10/20 and 8/16 limit 6max. I've been working hard to follow the REM and SPR guidelines and thought process from Professional NLHE. I've found it works very well, and my all-in commitments have been very easy and I'm almost always getting in ahead. When I first heard reviews of the book I had my doubts as to its worth since it seemed like it might turn you into a very predictable player. But employing the strategy myself I find that it works extremely well. I'm no longer lost after the flop in hands, and I know what I need to do to maximize my expectation against LAGs and TAGs. The SPR system lets me know when and how much I need to raise preflop in order to create the right kind of pot for my hand, and set me up in situations where I will make the maximum on the flop.
I really think it is a terrific text, and I think if you haven't read it you should do your NL cash game a favor and pick up a copy.
well off to get some sleep before the drive tomorrow morning. I'll be watching the sox game on TV tomorrow night, but I'm really going to be pulling hard for them because I want to be around Fenway for game 7 on sunday night.
have a great weekend everybody.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I actually found some really good games at AP tonight, which brings up another interesting issue. I am facing a moral dilemma whether or not to continue playing at AP long term. If you have been following recent online poker news you have probably heard about the AP hacking and cheating scandal. Basically someone hacked the system and could see all of the players hole cards and used it to clean up in the high limit games and in a few big guarantee tourneys. The evidence can be found on twoplustwo and on pocketfives, and it is pretty damning. Especially bad is that the evidence is pointing in the direction of APs former CEO.
Despite the fact that I loathe that AP both let this happen, and attempted to deny it (initially), it is very hard to convince myself to leave the site. Their perks for frequent players are really really nice. They have rakeback, points for cash, frequent bonuses, and have a 9% interest bearing account for VIPs. Those are huge kickbacks that will add greatly to my bottom line. If there was an easy way to move money online nowadays I would be very tempted to move my funds to stars and give it a go. Their security, customer service, and software is pretty much the best in the business. But I have a decent roll on AP and I hate to have that money held up while I figure out how to transfer it.
so we shall see...
In other news the redsox really need for beckett to pitch a great game tomorrow night, otherwise they are probably done. Other than the middle of their lineup noone is hitting at all, and I don't think you can expect to see them score more than 4 runs tomorrow night. That being said Beckett is arguably the greatest postseason pitcher of all time (I said arguably) so you can't be giving the ball to a better guy. I just want to be around the ruckus for game 6 and 7 here in boston. Should be good times.
here is a hand that I played early today that caused me to end my session. I pretty much threw up in my mouth when he turned up his hand:
Full Tilt Poker $10/$20 Limit Hold'em - 5 playersHand Converter Tool from www.DeucesCracked.com
Preflop: Hero is SB with Ts, Th
Flop: (10.00 SB) 6h, Td, 6c (3 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, CO folds, Hero 3-bets, UTG calls.
Turn: (8.00 BB) 4c (2 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, Hero 3-bets, UTG caps!, Hero calls.
River: (16.00 BB) 8d (2 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, Hero 3-bets, UTG raises to $73 (all in), Hero calls.
Final Pot: 23.30 BB
Results:Hero mucks Ts, Th.
UTG shows 6s, 6d (four of a kind, Sixes).
Outcome: UTG wins 23.15 BB.($3.00 Rake)
thats right I flopped the second nuts against the nuts and we capped both of the big streets. $460 pot, shipt it to him. also lost a $450 pot with AA against AT when villain caught his two outer on the turn in a 5-way preflop capped pot. If I had won those two pots (along with the $1000 NL pot where AA hit a two outer on my set on the turn) I would be having a very very nice month. Instead I'm grinding.
oh well, still beats the hell out of that cubicle (and I'm making more $$ too).
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Took a break to watch some baseball, and played about as well as the Red Sox did tonight when I came back. Got brutalized in HUHU where I ran horribly (never flopped a pair and missed every draw....Yay!). At the same time I was losing in a great 10/20 game where I had the best seat. Dropped a quick $900 and I was back to -$650 for the day.
Played a late night early morning sesssion of 3-tables, and just ran and played fairly bad. Had several two outers in big pots, and wasn't catching many cards. Only lost $350 during the session, but I decided to quit because I was tired and the tables where turning crappy.
Overall it wasn't a stressful day, because I am happily well rolled for the games I'm playing in (think over 1000BB). And I'm still having a solid month and on target to meet my monthly goals. Mostly though I just need to be getting in more hands since the trip to durham this weekend, and still being at my job the first week has set me behind for the month. I would like to get close to 40k hands this month, and I'm currently only at 6k. To get there I need to play 2k hands a day for the rest of the month, and I have my doubts whether I'll make it. Either way I'll give it a go.
Weekend was good times, and seeing all of my old teammates and some former classmates was a blast. Hit up all of our favorite spots, and generally had a good time. Duke got killed in football (shocking), but the tailgate was as crazy as ever. I threw decent in the alumni game, but I only pitched 1 inning because noone really wanted to face me (I throw quite a bit harder than typical alumni game standards).
Tomorrow is serious grinding. Need to work out, get in 2k hands, post some HHs on 2p2 for discussion, and generally get back in the flow of things. I certainly think part of my losing today was due to rust and poor play on my part.
Friday, October 12, 2007
my flight is leavig in 7.5 hours so I'm going to be early tonight to get some sleep. I was supposed to be finishing beers and stumbling down main st. for burritos right now, but instead I have to get up at 6:30am to go to the airport. yuck.
so here is an interesting hand from tonight:
Full Tilt Poker $10/$20 Limit Hold'em - 6 playersHand Converter Tool from http://www.deucescracked.com/
Preflop: Hero is BB with 2s, 7s
UTG raises, MP folds, CO folds, Button folds, SB calls, Hero calls.
Flop: (6.00 SB) 2d, 8d, Kc (3 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB folds, Hero calls.
Turn: (4.00 BB) 4d (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG checks.
River: (4.00 BB) 5h (2 players)
Hero bets, UTG calls.
Results:Hero shows 2s, 7s (a pair of Twos).
UTG mucks Tc, Ac.
Outcome: Hero wins 5.85 BB.($3.00 Rake)
abbreviations i tend to use:
c/f = check planning on folding to a bet
c-bet = continuation bet
c/c = check planning on calling a bet
c/r = check planning on raising a bet
UI = unimproved hand
b/f = bet planning on folding to a raise
so I call preflop because the UTG raiser is very laggy and the SB CC is horrible and I'm getting 5-1 with a suited hand.
On the flop I would normally c/f, but I know that the UTG is going to c-bet his whole range and I'm getting 7-1 to call which is almost enough if I have 5 outs (which I do the vast majority of the time). Plus if I hit my two pair or trips and he has a hand I'm going to get more than enough bets on the bigger streets to give me implied odds. Also I've c/c the flop and c/r the turn against him recently so there is a chance he'll check behind most of his UI hands and I get to see a free river card.
He checks behind on the turn when a blank falls. Then another blank drops on the river. At this point I can't c/c since if he bets on the end he is probably ahead of my hand, especially because I expect him to check behind all UI A-high. However UI A-high makes up a huge portion of his range since he didn't bet the turn, and that is exactly what wil call my bet for value. So I decide to b/f the river, and he calls with AT which is exactly what i wanted.
for the second time I wish everyone a great weekend.
peace and fish grease
Thursday, October 11, 2007
well at least I can log in some more hands tonight. Not right now though, I'm on life tilt.
Played about 400 hands this afternoon, +$400 from, most from a horrible horrible player who ran triple donk bluffs when I flopped the nut straight. It was nice having him at the table.
have a great weekend!
Ended up about +$500 on day 2, so it was much nicer than originally noted.
Today I went and did a little more pitching, but mostly was just throwing to stretch my arm out. After yesterday I was a little sore, especially in my hand since throwing splitters (for the first time in a while) really puts a lot of strain on the joints in your fingers and hand. I was smart this time and left the apartment at 2pm so I was able to avoid most of the traffic. My arm felt pretty good, but I haven't decided whether to take tomorrow off or throw. I'm heading to Duke for homecoming tomorrow, and we have the alumni game on friday. Since I plan on pitching in the game I don't want my arm to be sore. But I could use the extra work, so it is a toss up right now.
On the poker front I played mostly NL today ranging from .10/.20 to 1/2. I am a prop player at a small site and I was just trying to get in enough hands to clear my bonus that is expiring on sunday. I also played a guy at headsup limit, and ended up taking his 25BB, although the rake ate half of that. I ended up making about $150 from the games, and cleared my $300 deposit bonus. Overall my initial $300 roll on that site turned into about $1300. I'm seriously considering cashing it out though, and depositing it on Pstars. I have basically no money on stars right now, and I can't make enough money propping at the small site to justify playing there. Also the game selection is really poor in off peak hours at the small site, and if I was going to play small stakes for fun it would probably be HORSE or stud8, not micro or small NL (ugh).
Planning on playing a session on AP or FTP depending on the games here in a little bit. Hopefully crank out 500 hands or so before I go to bed.
Also started reading Professional NLHE. So far so good. They are just getting the basics out of the way. Reading the book should seriously help my NL cash game though, which is just average IMO.
here's an interesting hand that I played today with commentary in bold:
*** Handhistory for game 25294542 ***Blinds $0.25/$0.50 NL Hold'em - 11.10.2007 - 03:13Burgas
Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players: 5
Seat 1: ColonelGriff ( $72.69 ) - in game
Seat 2: BROOKLYNVA ( $27.05 ) - in game
Seat 3: theufuque ( New player )
Seat 4: themightyjim ( $49 ) - in game
Seat 5: Senate50 ( $59.45 ) - in gameSeat 6: 9999 ( $80.05 ) - in game
9999 posts SB $0.25.
ColonelGriff posts BB $0.50.
**** dealing down cards ****
Dealt to themightyjim [ 8d, as ] so I figure I'll steal the blinds here with a weak A.
themightyjim raises $3. Ooops! This is the .25/.50 table not the .5/1 table (I was playing both at the time)
Senate50 folds.9999 calls $2.75. Crap, somebody has a hand
**** dealing flop ****
[ 5d, 6d, 7c ]
theufuque has joined the table
themightyjim bets $3. Hmmm I flop an OESD and two overs, I want to bet small so maybe I can take a free card if I miss on the turn (plus I might take it down).
9999 calls $3.
**** dealing turn ****
[ 3h ]
themightyjim checks. Yay! I get to take a free card!
**** dealing river ****
[ 4s ] DOUBLE YAY! I rivered the second nutz!!!!
themightyjim bets $12. OK I'm going to bet the full pot because he'll always call, and he might think there is enough out there to try to bluff at it.
9999 raises $74.05. Oh god....maybe he flopped the nuts (89o) oh well can't fold the second nuts to a random player.
themightyjim calls $31.
9999 shows a straight, seven high [ 9h, 9c ]. His thoughts: LOLz...he never has an 8 I be bluffing all-in.
themightyjim shows a straight, eight high [ 8d, as ].
themightyjim wins $95.50 from main pot with a straight, eight high [ 8d, 7c, 6d, 5d, 4s ].
Ship it grandma.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
After running errands and browsing my books I made the mistake of trying to beat rush hour traffic at 4:15pm to go do some pitching. I hit the traffic, and a normally 20 minute drive took an hour.
Despite that it felt great to get back to throwing. I haven't thrown much since the season wrapped up in mid august, and all I can say is that the world feels right when I have a baseball in my hand.
Came back from pitching at about 6pm and grabbed some dinner. Watched a little TV while I was datamining some tables, and then I sat down for a session. Right away I could tell it was going to be a rough one. I got 2-3 outed a few times, and then I definitely caught myself making some really bad bluffs and call downs in spots where I shouldn't ever win the pot. Finally I realized that I was playing like crap, and not running much better so I took a break. Normally I would stay and work through it, but honestly I had bad spots at all of my tables so I really wasn't giving much up. I was down about $500 at one point, but I made back about $250 before getting up.
So then about 2 hours ago I hopped back on and found a couple of better games, and finally some decent seats. I had the LAGs to my right, and was able to play my game. I felt like I played much better the second session, and despite a couple of rough beats I was able to make back all of my losses from earlier. This was more of an accomplishment because I started out pretty bad during my second session, and got down another $500 (-$750 for those keeping track) before clawing my way back. So I finally wrapped it up +$120 (not counting rakeback) so I was really pleased with the session.
Along with yesterdays +$1300, that makes for a nice start to the pro career.
here's an interesting hand from today:
Full Tilt Poker $10/$20 Limit Hold'em - 6 playersHand Converter Tool from http://www.deucescracked.com/
Preflop: Hero is SB with 5c, Ac, UTG folds, MP folds, CO raises, Button folds, Hero 3bets, BB folds, CO calls.
Flop: (7.00 SB) 7s, 5h, Th (2 players)Hero bets, CO calls.
Turn: (4.50 BB) 4d (2 players)Hero bets, CO raises, Hero 3-bets, CO calls.
River: (10.50 BB) Ad (2 players)Hero bets, CO raises, Hero 3-bets, CO folds.
Final Pot: 14.50 BB
so the CO has been very laggy, and is playing about 35/25 preflop. I know he could be stealing with a huge range of his hands, and I also have some notes that make me think he plays poorly postflop (IMO). I 3-bet out of the SB because a) I think I have the best hand b) I want to get the BB out and play HU with the CO. On the flop I hit a pair which is obviously good, and the c-bet is totally standard.
Now on the turn he raises on a very draw heavy board. Against this type of player I'm almost never folding in this spot, because he could be raising anything trying to get me to lay down a small pair or A-high. This could be KQo, 97s, or practically anything. Now the board is obviously not good for my hand, but we've played pots together, and he knows that if I call the turn I'm almost certainly going to call the river. Thus if he is semi-bluffing he gets to play his hand perfectly. Check-behind all draws, and bet all made hands. So I take a line that is not usual for me, and 3-bet the turn from OOP with a weak made hand. This is typically a bad play, but against this player I think I am ahead of his range, since he would tend to call down instead of raising the turn with weak made hands.
The river presents another interesting spot. Obviously if I think he is on a missed draw or a weak hand I want to get him to call or bluff. But against this particular player I expect him to check behind on the river most of the time, and if he bets he is very unlikely to call a c/r. My line looks so suspicious if I 3-bet the turn and check on the river that I think he'll probably give up or fold to a c/r. So in order to maximize I try to take advantage of his laggy tendencies by giving him a chance to bluff-raise another potential scare card. By leading the river I guarantee that he has to pay 1 bet to see a SD with all weak made hands, and if he wants to bluff (which this player loves to do) he's going to bluff raise so i can put in the third bet. If the river hadn't improved my hand I probably would have c/c'd and hoped to catch him with hearts or a straight draw. But with the river improvement I had a great chance to pick up at least 1 or maybe 2 bets.
I think my turn play is very questionable, but I felt like I needed to mix it up versus this very laggy player that had been trying to run me over. However despite my so-so turn play, my decision to bet and three-bet the river I thought was very solid.
Monday, October 8, 2007
So this blog entry is going to be about my poker history. Then I'm going to write my next entry about my baseball aspirations. And after that I'll probably update with the ups and downs and the interesting things that happen along the way. Maybe it will be a real bore and not worth reading. But whether exciting and humorous or dull and repetitive I think it will be a good way for me to remember this experience. If nothing else I'll have something to look back at and remember when I decided to take a shot at a couple of my dreams.
Poker...where to begin. I first became interested poker when I first saw some of my baseball teammates playing on a road trip in '03. They were playing a bevy of wild card games as well as some blackjack. Considering all we had was meal money to play with these guys were gambling fairly high. There were pots worth a couple of hundred dollars, and needless to say the big winners usually had to buy the beers for that weekend. I had no idea how to play, assumed it was gambling, and being the frugal person I am I stayed away from their games.
The next 12 months I started seeing reruns of the 2003 WSOP (ty Mr. Moneymaker) as well as WPT events. For a super competitive games player like myself (I grew up playing multiple sports and was an avid Magic: The Gathering player for about 4 years) this looked like the perfect hobby.
I quickly began trying to find games to play in. We had some $5 buy-in games on occasion, but that wasn't working for me. While I was home for about 6 weeks that summer I purchased my first set of poker chips. They were fabulous 11.5g casino clay dice chips (all the CTers reading this will get a kick out of that). They were total crap, but I thought they were awesome. Apparently so did all of my friends back at school. When I went back for summer session to take a couple of classes I had no trouble getting a game going almost any night of the week. I was waiting tables most nights with a couple of friends, so when we would get off work around midnight we would grab a case of beer and get around a table and start playing cards. One of them had one of those felt tabletops, so obviously we felt like real gamblers. None ever won or lost more than $10, but it was a great bit of fun. The 2004 WSOP coverage was coming on ESPN, and I was getting more and more hooked.
When my teammates came back in town the games continued. We played at least a couple of times each week. I quickly became known as one of the better players. I credited most of my success to having bought a copy of Super System before fall break and reading it over the break. Mr. Brunson's ideas revolutionized my game at the time. Suddenly I was an aggressive and dangerous player that other people stayed out of the way of. I began to crush those games. I even made enough money in $5 increments to pay for my books in the spring of 2005 (which isn't cheap if you've seen the price of textbooks recently). Even when I had homework to do I would just take it with me to the games and play between hands. Poker was one of the few things that the baseball player could to for fun. We couldn't go out and party like most students since we had practice or a game nearly everyday.
Around November 2004 I created an account on UB and started playing play money and freerolls. I built up my playmoney to several million at one point, but lost it all in tilty sessions over Christmas break. That was my first taste with losing, and even though it was only play money it really bothered me. By this time I had Cloutier's NL and PL HE book (which is garbage) and I felt like I really knew what I was doing.
Spring 2005 came and went. I was swamped with finishing up my undergrad requirements for my two majors. We were finding less and less time to play with so many games, assignments, road trips, finals, etc etc etc. Eventually graduation came and went. I moved out of the dorms, and into an apartment off campus. I was planning on going to grad school the next year and playing baseball for one more season so this wasn't a big shift.
I found an offer for a free $100 on party poker through someone on Chiptalk.net (great website with everything you could ever want to know about poker chips) and soon was playing SNGs and $25NL on party several hours a night. I quickly ran my $100 up to $300 before variance began to kick in. For the next 8 months that $100 would fluctuate between $75 and $600 pretty rapidly as I tried to figure out how to beat NL cash games. I typically played 6max NL25 and usually 2-4 tables at a time. I had tilt issues, and also had no idea how to pick out a good table. So of course variance was high. I can proudly say though, that I never deposited a dime of my own money.
By this point it was winter of 2005 and I had a decent library of poker books. I had become tired of the constant fluctuations of my "bankroll" so I started keeping a serious log of my wins and losses, hours played, hands played, etc. My goal was to figure out what went right when I won, and what went wrong when I lost. Keeping the log was the first thing that started to turn me into a winning player. Before long I actually had a clue what I was doing. I also decided to try playing some limit because I thought it sounded like a decent change of pace. I really loved the .5/1 limit games where felt like the players played horribly. The more limit I played the more I liked it. I didn't feel like I tilted as much. Plus I was a curious player, and limit let me see what opponents had without blowing through stacks.
By the summer of 2006 I was playing 100% limit. Typically my sessions would be a couple of hours long and I would play 2-3 tables of 1/2 full ring on party. As I wasn't working a job and just house sitting for friends, I had a lot of free time. I ran my small bankroll up to $1.2k a couple of times, and then experienced bad swings down to $450 a couple of times. A few times I thought about quitting because the ups and downs were driving me crazy. I took a break for a few weeks to move to Boston in the end of that summer.
When I got to Boston I decided that it was time to take things more seriously if I was going to win at poker. I had already purchased Small Stakes Shorthanded by Ed Miller, which had improved my game by leaps and bounds. I was playing quite a bit of 2/4 now, and felt like I had a decent handle on the game. I decided to purchase pokertracker and start tracking my data. Soon I was able to get reads on opponents, and actually put thought into my table selection. Suddenly the game made much more sense. I began to look for leaks using poker tracker, and quickly figured out some weak spots in my game.
About that same time the US govt. passed the UIGEA and the Party was over. I used Neteller to move my roll to Full Tilt, and got a rakeback deal. I decided almost immediately that I should be playing 2/4 full time on FTP because that would make clearing the bonus faster (sound logic eh?). So while my bankroll went through pretty large fluctuations, I cleared the $600 deposit bonus on FTP, and got my first taste of rakeback. That $300 in my account that month was amazing. Free money for playing poker! I was pumped.
A couple of decent months of play and I was able to move up to 3/6. Soon I was 4-tabling 3/6 regularly with my PT stats and HUD fired up. I was reading and posting on 2p2 regularly, and my poker book library was quite extensive. I was a regular multi-tabling HUD 2p2 TAG. The kind of folks that you hate to see at your table. Now I was still just a so-so player, but I thought I was good. I was playing higher than ever before, and I was winning, so I had to be good right?
I decided to take a shot and deposit some money on AP and take advantage of their RB and bonus. Before I knew it I had a couple of grand between my two accounts. The RB was rolling in and I was beating 3/6. Not for a huge amount, but I was beating the game. I actually thought for the first time in the winter of 06-07 "I could do this for a living". How wrong I was.
In January of 2007 I decided I'd had enough of full ring. The games were drying up because of the UIGEA, and everyone who posted on 2p2 said that 6max was the way to go. I gave the small 6max games a few shots. I played like a total lag idiot. I opened any Ax from any spot in the table, 3-bet suited connectors, over played every pair etc. It was like I forgot everything I knew over my past year of playing full ring. 50k hands of limit poker in the last 6 months and I was playing like an idiot. But somehow my understanding of general hand reading, odds, relative hand strength, proper aggression etc was still keeping me above water. By hand 15k I was beating 6max for a small amount. I still had a lot to learn, but I was a full convert. The games were more interesting. I got to play more hands. I had to challenge myself. Poker was more exciting than it had been in months.
After about 30k hands of steadily beating 3/6 6max I decided it was time to take a shot at 5/10. My first session went smoothly and I left up about $220. I thought, "Man, this is easy money". Again, how wrong I was. Despite my success at 3/6, I knew the games were pretty bad last winter. The fish hadn't yet come back from the UIGEA scare, and tables were full of grinders and LAGTAGs. I decided to make the move to 5/10 full time after a good run, and it was almost the end of my poker roll.
A 275BB losing streak quickly smashed my 4k bankroll. I tried playing more tables. I tried playing fewer tables. I tried changing seats. I got more aggressive. I got less aggressive. Nothing was working. From March 2007-May of 2007 the tables continually beat me down again and again and again. I had thought I knew about as much about limit hold'em as you could, apparently I was wrong. I thought about just giving it all up. Cash out my $2k and enjoy it. The variance was too much, and I simply wasn't good enough. Instead I took about 4 weeks where I barely played any. I reread some books (SSSH, Theory of Poker, Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players). I played some SNGs. I picked up the new book Winning in Tough Hold'em games.
I followed this up with more reading and studying, and posting on 2p2. I finally dipped my feet back in June of 2007. Mostly playing 3/6 and some 5/10. I was winning again, but not steadily. After posting and reading more on 2p2 I decided I needed some coaching. Coaching is a little pricey though, so I settled for the next best thing. I became a member of DeucesCracked.com. Their videos were a huge help to my game. I watched terrific winning players break down how and why they played hands the way they did. They had great lessons on tilt control, table and seat selection, and adjusting to the other players. The impact on my game was immediate.
By the end of Summer 2007 I had gone from a close to breakeven TAG grinder at 6max, to consistently winning in the 5/10 games on FTP and AP. My understanding of the game was better than ever before. I could see my mistakes ahead of time. I knew when it was time to get up and leave a table. I knew how to find and sit with the fish. My table and game selection were better than ever. I had cut down to 2 tables and began taking detailed notes on all of the players I played against. For the third time in my 3 year poker journey I felt I had the game figured out, but this time I had learned enough to realize you can't ever stop learning. I may be nearing 100k hands of 6max in the last 9 months, but I realize it wasn't until the last 35k that I actually started to get the game.
I continued to post on 2p2 everyday. I began swapping HH with other players for review, and even did some coaching and HH reviewing for some other players. All of the while my bankroll was growing steadily. I hit the 5-figure mark and decided to take shots at 10/20. I only let myself play when I found a good seat in a good game. Practicing such strong game and seat selection led to immediate good results at 10/20. It really isn't significantly different than 5/10 if you find good games.
Around this same time I decided I had enough of my job. I was making more per hour and per month playing poker than I was at work. I wanted free time to pursue baseball. I decided to take a shot at going pro.And that is where we are now. I am playing poker full time. I consistently play 5/10 and 10/20 6max. I usually play 2 tables at a time and work hard on game and seat selection, taking reads, and paying attention to opponents. I also play some NL, and occasionally low stakes (2/4 and 3/6) mixed games. I feel like I am one of the better players in the games I play in, and more importantly I pick better spots than many of the people I play with.
I just finished up my first session as a full time player before writing this lengthy blog entry. +$800 or 40BB in about 250 hands. It was a nice heater. I had all of the fish to my right and they kept dumping to me the whole session. I don't think the other TAGs were happy that I had the best seat on all 3 tables. When the fish busted I decided to take a break. Guess I'll go check out how the games are now.
My baseball background (to be quite a bit briefer) to come in a few days. I might update with daily stuff before then.
currently listening to: Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Luther College.
Peace and fish grease....themightyjim2k