Thursday, November 8, 2012

can finally see my FTP info

got an account audit through their site even though I obviously can't play and my balance is zero thanks to the DOJ deal. 

final numbers:

cash: $65,616.37
uncleared bonus: $4,080.00
ftp points: 264,952.01 (value $1,059.80)
ironman medals: unknown
mid year bonus: unknown

known value of account: $70,756.17

I'd guess my ironman medals and mid year bonus would have added at least another 1k on top of that if not more.

pretty tilting to see that stuff and no how different the last year might have been in terms of earning potential.  I hope everybody that stole my cash enjoyed it. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

before I finish last post

First read this blog (it's in my blogroll but here is the link):

Second, it was really nice to see this quote below of sauce talking about playing long poker sessions:

do any of you guys remember the feeling you had taking the SATs? I remember being so insanely focused for those 3 hours or w/e, that after it was over i was in a sort of daze, almost hungover. i think high level poker (at least when im playing my A game) is a lot like that, except it’s everyday, and it’s as much as 20 hours straight. in some ways that sounds horrible (so much effort!) but in other ways it’s kinda great. first, because poker is a lot of fun, and the SATs are balls. and second, doing this sort of intense focusing day in and day out for years just has flat out made me a smarter and more effective person. it’s hard for privileged white kids with hippy parents (like me) to learn discipline, and i think poker has helped out a lot.

For years this is the comparison (I tend to use finals in college instead of he SATs as I think they required more studying and were more intense) that I've used when trying to describe to people what poker is like.  Everyone wants to focus on the flexible schedule and the light hours, and I think it's a surprise to most people the intensity of focus and thought that it requires day in and day out.  It can be very draining and I often find myself having trouble sleeping, or rambling when talking to people after long sessions.

Granted for Sauce high level poker is probably a step or two up from me (obviously in stakes but imo clearly in skill as well) but I think the principles of the comment still apply.

anyway the whole blog post is interesting, and the thread is also pretty good although obviously with a much higher static to noise ratio.

will be back to finish the last post later this week.  Today is a grind day, also keeping tabs on the election.



Friday, November 2, 2012

When to take the WIN, and thinking about the year to date

Today I had planned to play for about 6 hours, but 3 in I decided to call it a session.  I was running about 2 BI under expectation, was getting coolered quite a bit, and definitely missed some value bets.  But I had managed to win about 4 buy-ins and for the first time all week I felt good about my game.  I'm not sure that I was playing drastically better today than I had for the 21k hands I had played earlier in the week, but I finally had won some cash and I needed the mental boost.

Poker can beat you down.  This year has been a trial.  Cash flow not what it used to be due to Black Friday and FTP stealing the vast majority of my bankroll, I was already under the gun so to speak in terms of stress.  It took a lot of work just to get a bankroll back, and to get playing again on different sites.  After all of that I had eaten through a good portion of my savings.  And then the run bad started.  It began last fall and was definitely a combination or running bad range vs range as well as being under EV.  But I managed to win some money just about every month thanks to RB and bonuses so I wasn't sweating it too much.  But then things started to get ugly in January of this year.  I simply could not win, and I was running multiple buy-ins under expectation every second.  Combine this with a volunteer position I took on a Division III college baseball staff, and suddenly I could barely stomache playing.  At this point in the year I was about 80 BI under EV and wasn't sure if I would ever win big again.

The run bad continued at the tables, but I was trying to grind it out when I could.  Then it extended to my real life.  At the beginning of April of last year I accidentally stabbed myself in my right palm.  The story itself is both frightening and funny, but I'll stick to the results.  I severed the flexor tendon that bends my pinky, knicked an artery, and did mild nerve damage.  It took surgery to repair my hand, and then 6-8 weeks of rehab before I was able to use it again.  Everything is back to normal now, but during that time I basically was one handed and it was the hand I don't use to play poker.

In order to be able to play and try and make money for that month, and May I decided to try and 4 table PLO at lower stakes.  I figured that my slower mouse movements would match with my poorer understanding of the game and need for more time to think about decisions.  Eventually I started to think I had a better handle on the game, and my left hand was getting very proficient with the mouse so I found myself frequently 8 tabling. Unfortunately I was overestimating my knowledge of PLO and underestimating the variance.  My breakeven to slightly winning PLO game quickly took a nosedive and I found myself losing, and losing frequently.  I ended up running about 35 BI under EV for my PLO play, but had I run at EV I would have still been a slightly losing player.  At this point I was at an all time poker low.  Using the wrong, hand, playing the wrong game, and still losing.  I'd been losing or breaking even for nearly 5 months.

Thankfully I budgeted for crises because (although not dire or life threatening) this was certainly my first crisis as a pro.  I decided to give myself two more months to work out of the funk.  I had my hand back, I'd go back to my bread and butter game (NLHE) and I'd rededicate myself.  If I couldn't book a reasonable winning month with new focus and new rules for sessions I'd polish off the resume and move on.

then things started to change...


Saturday, September 8, 2012

you can't hold me down variance!

8.5 buy-ins under EV today and still managed to win 5.  Still about 85 BI under EV for the year (not uncluding the 40 or so from PLO) but can't complain because I'm managing to win.

Played close to 30k hands already for the month.  Pretty wiped but still need to get a few thousand hands in each day this weekend.  By Sunday the 9th I need to be pretty close to 40k hands to reach my goal of 130k for the month.  Hopefully I can keep plugging away.

I'm exhausted.  going to eat a snack and pass out.

gl to everyone at the tables.


Friday, August 31, 2012


probably calling it a night a little shy of the goal.  I just played for probably 6 hours straight with at least 9 tables going at all times.  I would say at best I played my B game, which is disappointing, but the games were great and I ran pretty well so I had a nice session.

finally tally:  4,950 hands +10 buy-ins.  The good news is most of my good running any playing game at the higher of the two stakes I played, so I came pretty close to my goal monetarily.

I definitely made some really really spewy stupid plays that probably cost me +5-6 buy-ins.  Just awful play.  Don't know why but sometimes I just try to take ridiculous lines when I think people aren't repping much and just try to blow them off the pot.  Of course just because they aren't repping much doesn't mean they don't have the nuts a bunch.  Plus I'll do ridiculous stuff like river the 4th nuts, c/r a villain saying to myself if he shoves I have to fold because he's never going to rebluff in this spot and is never going to shove worse, and then I call it off and of course villain has the 2nd nuts.  Sometimes I just need to not try to get max value all of the time, especially considering the stakes I'm playing where players just aren't putting me on enough bluffs and aren't hero-calling often enough.

that was kind of an incoherent bit of rambling, but that's what 6 straight hours of poker will do to your mind.




1411 hands down,

up 2 BI

taking a pee break.

and now for something completely different

I'm going golfing at about 6:30AM tomorrow (tee time is around 8:10) so I'm going to try something a little different than usual.  I'm going to start a session now, and my goal is to play until I've won 14 buy-ins (allowing for small breaks when needed) or until i go golfing.  Yeah I might pull an all nighter.

I'd like to finish a really good month with a bang, and this could be fun.

I'll try to live blog results as I go.  Probably just total hands and number of buy-ins won.  I'll be working very hard to stick to my rules from the last few weeks.  And I'm hoping that with a strong marathon push I can get close to a 100k hands for he month.  I've set a personal goal of 125k hands for next month, so that would make for a crazy back to back grinding time period for me.

wish me luck.  I'll probably need it.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

sigh tilt

I just finished a session where for 2.5 hours I played really really solid poker.  I took great notes, I focused, and I made smart plays against my opponents.  I wasn't really getting hit by the deck, but I managed to get up 4 buy-ins and really felt good about my play.  then I just start playing like shit and give 5 back.  I starts with a reg rivering a 4 outer on me and then I know I shouldn't value bet, but i do because I have a boat, and so I bet tiny trying to get calls from trips and flushes.  And of course he shoves, and I know he isn't capable of bluffing and all of the better boats are in his range for playing that way, but I just can't fold.  so I throw away 60bb doing that shit. 

Then I c/r a LAG with NFD+gutter on a paired board when he has trips, when I should have just c/c'd the flop because I know he doesn't value bet thin or barrel so I actually had SD value against his bet once and give up plan.  So I throw away another 60bb when I c/r him and have to call it off.  And he has a blocker to my gutshot so I only have 25% there.  fuck.

Then I try a stupid play where I flat a LAGs 3bet in the BB with KQs even though I should cold 4bet or fold it.  He has an extremely polarized 3bet range, and also just doesn't bluff much.  I'm tilting and instead of just folding preflop like I know I should I make a stupid cold call trying to get all hoodrat and shit.  Of course he has KK and we get a Khigh flop and I stack off for 120bb.  so fucking stupid. 

lastly some nit 3bets me and I know his 3bet range is like KK+ and the rest bluffs so I go for the 4bet because he folds his 3bet like 70% of the time.  But he flats and then on a Q9x flop he checks back meaning he either has QQ, KK or AA and is trying to induce because he knows I can't resist.  Instead of just giving up on the pot like I should I turn a gutter and bet like half pot hoping to fold out JJ or AK and he just jams in my face and I sigh and fold.  there goes another 50bb.  So fucking stupid.

after that I just quit the session because I was so disgusted with my awful play.  Just totally weak minded and unfocused.  If you're not going to give it your best effort for the entirety of your session you might as well set a time limit and just quit at that point.  The fact that I couldn't remain focused for 3 fucking hours today is just so pitiful.  Two and a half hours and I start dicking around.  THE GAME IS NOT ABOUT RUNNING THE STREETS AND TRYING TO EMBARASS OTHER PROS!!!!! IT'S ABOUT MAKING MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thats all.

other than that it's been a very good month so far.  hopefully I can get my head out of my ass and finish strong.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

day 7, week 1 recap

first the stats:
  • 24,000 hands
  • 34 hours of poker played
  • winrate = 16bb/100 hands (EV adjusted 13.5bb/100 hands)
  • won just shy of 40 buy ins based on average stake size
Overall a great week at the tables, made better by the poker gods giving me some run-good.  I did miss my average hands per day goal by 4k hands which is pretty disappointing.  I think the biggest problem with keeping that goal is that I typically won't play more than 4k hands in a day if the tables aren't good, and I think I'll just wait for the weekend to make up the hands.  But then the weekend comes and my wife is home and I like to take some time away from the game to socialize with her and friends.  And in general I find it difficult to get in 5-6k hands in a day if I'm not dedicating my whole day to poker.  That's usually two 3 hour sessions, and it's hard to play two sessions in one day and not be brain fried by the end of the day.

When it comes to my rules I think I did very well at not playing more than 12 tables and making sure I was taking notes and not auto-piloting.  I did a very poor job of session reviews in that I only sporadically looked at a few hands.  I did watch several videos, and read a lot of strat threads.  (I often type out very detailed responses to strat threads on 2p2 and then just before hitting post I delete everything I've written.  It's mostly information protection.  I just don't think pros are going to feel comfortable sharing info the way they used to until things change in terms of global legislation and economy and the games get better.)  I also avoided playing too many cash tables when playing tournaments, but I primarily succeeded there by only one tabling a sunday tournament today.  I normally play 4-6 tournaments on sunday but I only played one today so I typically had 10-11 cash tables up while I was in it.

I also avoided reg filled tables unless there was an open seat, although I started lots of games by playing HU.  Lastly I worked hard on bet sizing.  I've tried several different things with bet sizing and sizing for future streets with different parts of my range and based on my preflop range.  My mind is constantly changing about what is the most effective way to size vs regs.  I'm not going to type up all of my thoughts in here, but in general I think it's important to try different things against different regs and see how they respond.  If you don't get to showdown you can't no for sure whether or not their reaction was honest or a bluff, but if you notice that player doesn't seem to change frequencies as you change bet sizes then you should respond in a way to exploit that lack of adjustment.  I think I was making some bad default sizes against regs earlier this year and it was causing me to leave money on the table.

overall I think the week was a huge success, and now the challenge is to keep it going for 7 more days.  I'd really really like to hit 28,000 hands for this week, so I'd best get a good start on it tomorrow.  I think the key is that everyday that I feel fresh and focused I need to shoot for 5k hands and not 4k.

hope everyone else is having a great August.  gl at the tables.


Friday, August 17, 2012

day 5 quick update

4500 hands today, so still a little behind 4k hands per day pace.  I've played 18700 for the week so I'm 1.3k hands behind the pace I wanted to set.  Hopefully I can get in 5k each day over the weekend and stay on pace.

Heading out to meet some friends for dinner and drinks.  should be fun.  I need the break.  My brain is fried from playing a nearly 7 hour session this afternoon.  Until the last hour I think I was playing really well.  Taking great notes, making great decisions.  Late in the session I think I got a little laggy and flop happy.  I wasn't playing bad, and still made some money, I just definitely left some on the table with my spewy play.

The goals and rules is still playing out very well though.  Feel great about my play and have had consistently excellent results this week.  A lot of that is obviously due to run good (thanks again poker gods), but playing your best and giving it your greatest attention never hurts.

hope everyone has a nice friday night.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

day 4, running good, need to be playing a little more

Not going to do a full goal by goal breakdown, but I'll cover the big things.  Only played more than 12 tables for a few minutes today, otherwise was almost exclusively 12 tabling.  Took a lot of notes for the vast majority of my two sessions.  Especially my first 3k hand session.  The second 1k hands session I should have taken more, but I was at least taking some.

The new monitor is ridiculous.  It's huge, and I can play 12 tables with no overlap which makes taking notes much easier.  I did time out a few times at tables where I was getting a little used to scanning 27" worth of screen space for the action.

I played about 4.1k hands for the day, but I'm a little behind pace now.  Goal was 4k hands per day average, and through 4 days I'm only at 14,377.  So a 6k hand day tomorrow would get me back on pace.  I think I can do that with an early session and an afternoon/evening session.  I had to quit a little early tonight because I have to wake up early to do a favor for a friend in the morning.

I definitely ran well today which turned what would have been a 6 BI day into a nearly 10 BI day.  All praise be to the poker gods for that stroke of good fortune. 

that's all I've got for now.  I know these blogs aren't really interesting, but they're definitely motivational for me as it keeps me focused and thinking about the game.  I highly recommend anyone else that is struggling to step back, think about what factors could be causing their A game to leak into their B or C game and then make some rules.  Stick to the rules and set playing time/hand goals to keep yourself working. 

If you want to read more about improving tilt I highly recommend Tommy Angelo's Elements of Poker.  The sections where he talks about thinking about and improving on tilt are some of the most valuable poker literature available to the competent and frequent player.  And you don't have to be a pro to benefit from it.

hopefully I can get in 6k hands tomorrow.  gl to everybody at the tables.


day 3

took the day off.  was totally burned out when I woke up this morning, and needed a break.  Had a bunch of errands to run and found a great deal on a 27" monitor so decided to take care of some other stuff.  Had a nice dinner with the wife, went out for drinks with friends, and still managed to play about 1k hands.  Overall a fine day off. 

Will get back at it tomorrow with the new 27" and my 2560x1440 resolution in tow.  I can now tile 12 tables pretty easily which is kind of cool and should help with note taking and paying attention to tables. 

day 4 will be a more detailed update.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

day 2

a review of the day:

First my rules for the session:
1. 12 tabling maximum.
2. Take notes on opponents throughout the session. Analyze and refer to notes so that I can develop a plan for the hand.
3. Think about bet-sizing with every decision and have a purpose behind my sizing. Take notes on opponents reactions to under or over betting.
4. Leave tables filled with other pro grinders if there is no empty seats.
5. Do not look at results until end of session.
6. Spend 1 hour doing post-session analysis accompanied with note taking.
7. When playing tournaments limit cash games to 6 tables.

How I did:
1. Successful until late in the day when I was up to 14 tables for awhile.  bad habits die hard :(
2. Moderately successful.  Session 1 I did a great job.  Session two I took almost no notes.  Early in the session I was rarely getting to showdown in interesting spots, nor was I seeing much related to my opponents ranges.  But by a third of the way into my second session I should have had lots of notes and I had one.  Total fail for session two.
3.  This was great today.  Results weren't as good as yesterday mostly because a lot of my bluffs weren't working out.  But I think I focused and planned my sizing pretty well most of the time and it worked out well.
4.  moderately successful.  Really did this very well session 1.  much less successful session 2 where I drifted into grind mode and didn't take my plan break to reevaluate the tables.  The games were also not as good which makes this disappointing.
5.  FAIL
6. Unsuccessful so far.
7. not relevant today.

Now for the goals related to volume:

- Play an average of 4000 hands/day from now until the end of september.
I played 5350 hands today.  So far I've played 9600 hands over two days.  So slightly above my goal.
- Keep a daily update of progress on this blog to keep myself focused on this goal.

This was an interesting day.  I definitely ran very well in all-in EV, which turned what would have been a small winning day into a pretty decent day.  For that I give thanks to the poker gods.  And I also felt like I played some pretty bad poker at times during both sessions.  It's amazing that I have played millions and millions of hands of hold'em and I still find myself constantly making mistakes.  I guess that's a testament to the strength of my opponents on average, and the fallibility of the human mind.  It's definitely humbling and frustrating, and can sometimes be motivating.

Time to take a break.  Feel like I've been doing nothing but poker all day and need to get out of the house.  Might go out for a beer or something.


a review of the day:

First my rules for the session:
1. 12 tabling maximum. 
2. Take notes on opponents throughout the session. Analyze and refer to notes so that I can develop a plan for the hand.
3. Think about bet-sizing with every decision and have a purpose behind my sizing. Take notes on opponents reactions to under or over betting.
4. Leave tables filled with other pro grinders if there is no empty seats.
5. Do not look at results until end of session.
6. Spend 1 hour doing post-session analysis accompanied with note taking.
7. When playing tournaments limit cash games to 6 tables.

How I did:
1.  Successful.  I only found myself 13 tabling once for a short bit, but was mostly playing 10-12 tables.
2.  Moderately successful.  I was excellent at taking notes on opponents at the beginning of the session until about the first hour of play.  I noticed a dramatic drop in note taking during the second hour, and several times had to remind myself to keep taking notes.  I think not taking notes is a result of finding myself in a sort of grinding zone.  While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, when I focus hard on taking notes I make better plays and am more thoughtful about my decisions.  This is something I really want to continue as I think it has a huge positive impact on my play.
3.  Successful.  I think I did a great job of using betsizing to win a lot of pots I normally don't.  For the first time in a long time I found myself frequently overbetting the pot and underbetting with a purpose.  I also bet in several spots on the river where I previously might not have gotten thin value, and where I might have gone for a SD instead of turning my weak made hand into a bluff.  I think playing 12 tables or less helps dramatically with this aspect of my game, and I think it in turn has a huge impact on winrate.
4.  Successful.  I only grinded a few pro-filled tables and they were mostly FR tables where I feel I have a significant edge on many of  the other pros.
5.  Unsuccessful.  I did well during both of my sessions for the first 30-45 minutes.  But within an hour of starting to play I was checking to see if I was up money.  Once I checked for he first time it was difficult for me to stop checking to see how much I was up or down.  I think this is a really bad habit as constantly checking the cashier removes me from thinking about decisions in the moment.  It's symptomatic of a type of tilt that I think we all fight when trying to grind.  I also find myself checking to see my all-in EV after a suckout.  In that case I think I find that it prevents me from tilting as I remain calm and focused if I see that my EV line is solid indicating +EV play.  However the ultimate goal would be to not focus on either of these things as ideally I would be able to make my decisions based purely on greatest value and not let emotions or recent history cloud my judgement.
6.  Unsuccessful so far.  I haven't had the time to review my session.  I'm hoping to do it in the morning during breakfast.
7.  not relevant today.

Now for the goals related to volume:

- Play an average of 4000 hands/day from now until the end of september.
I played 4300 hands today.
- Keep a daily update of progress on this blog to keep myself focused on this goal.

I'm not going to post a graph but I wanted to add that this was simply some of the best poker I've played all month.  Forcing myself to take notes, focus on each decision, and not go into a mass-table robotic grind resulted in a really successful day.  I feel like I won a lot of pots I would have lost on other days and saved money in quite a few spots.  I'm sure part of my success was running good (although I ran a few BI under EV in all-in situations) but I also feel like I fixed a lot of the problems that I was experiencing yesterday during my long and very unsuccessful session.  It was a very motivating day overall.  Hopefully keeping a progress report on this blog will help maintain this level of focus and result in continued A game play for many hands to come.

Monday, August 13, 2012

an attempt at daily blogging...expect fail

going to try to blog daily to update on some personal goals.  Hopefully it helps with motivation at the tables.
After killing it for two months at the tables, and being really happy with my game, I've had a very dissappointing start to August.  It started with my Grandmother passing away which resulted in almost a 6 day stretch away from the tables.  Just as I was getting back into the groove of playing I had a planned family vacation that took me out of the action for almost another week.  The result on my game is that I've drifted into some bad habits, started auto-piloting a little bit, and definitely had some tilt creep in to my game.  That being said, every downswing (or extended breakeven stretch) is a chance for self-evaluation and improvement. 

Here are my new rules for sessions for the immediate future:
1.  12 tabling maximum.
2.  Take notes on opponents throughout the session.  Analyze and refer to notes so that I can develop a plan for the hand.
3.  Think about bet-sizing with every decision and have a purpose behind my sizing.  Take notes on opponents reactions to under or over betting.
4.  Leave tables filled with other pro grinders if there is no empty seats.
3.  Do not look at results until end of session.
5.  Spend 1 hour doing post-session analysis accompanied with note taking.
6.  When playing tournaments limit cash games to 6 tables.

Now for the goals related to volume:

- Play an average of 4000 hands/day from now until the end of september. 
- Keep a daily update of progress on this blog to keep myself focused on this goal.

That's it for this post.  Will update later today or tomorrow with the hands I got in today and my results.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

posts in a 2p2 thread asking about common spots in FR NLHE

here are my thoughts on a reg's thread in which he asked for answers to a bunch of very close spots in FR NLHE.  In general I think OP's thought process is very illustrative of why some players get stuck playing micro and small stakes and can't work their way higher or raise their winrates.  I think as games continually get tougher at all levels if you can't get past a very basic rote strategy and start thinking about the theory and reasons behind every decision you'll find yourself left in the dust.

A Thread asking about how to approach very close spots at small full ring NLHE game:
 the posts in this thread are great. instead of posting on 2p2 and trying to get formulaic answers for close spots, why don't you think about the reason why you would make a given play with each hand against the given opponent with all available information at hand (who's left to act, their stack sizes, etc).

lol at thinking that all regs playing 16/12 play the same both pre and post, and lol at thinking that just because it's the same hand in the same spot and the opener is a reg that the situation is the same.

train your brain to start taking in all available information, analyze that info, and make the best decision and you'll continue to be a profitable player for years to come. try to find easier answers that allow you to autopilot against regs while mass tabling and you might as well start looking for other jobs.

 after the OP replied asking additional similar questions that really have no definitive answer:
i love how you know I'm going to say "it depends" but don't want me to say it. you know why? Because it implies that there are more difficult questions you need to ask and answer. And learning to ask and correctly answer these questions very quickly in the moment is what will make you a lot of money in online poker. The learning process however is much more difficult than you'd probably like. It's very likely that at some point your attempts at study and learning in poker have plateaued, and similarly your rise up the stakes or your win-rate has stagnated or dropped. I know this has happened to me multiple times over my 5 year professional career.

The only thing I can say is that by asking more questions you're at least taking the right steps towards figuring out how to improve your game. However the next step is to get out of the FR 2009 mentality of your opening/3 betting ranges at every position and start thinking about why you would make any play in any given scenario. you're asking lots of questions about close spots, but the same analytical approach can be given to super common spots. And when you ask and answer those questions (questions you already know the answer to but you may not have put words to) you'll understand the same process that you should be using to evaluate these closer and more difficult spots.

don't forget, you're a human playing against (hopefully) other humans at a game of imperfect information. Your goal is to understand how they play and exploit their tendencies, not to develop a wrote play that will win the most/lose the least if you have no information. If you desire to play that style of game you should consider playing anonymous tables on those networks that have them, and limit your sessions to a few hundred hands at a time.

I'm not going to give more detailed answers because 1) it's not in my best interest to do so, 2) Some people pay me a considerable amount of money to be more specific and 3) it's better to teach a man to fish than to give a man a fish.

please don't take any of the above as criticism as every thing I wrote I could have applied to myself or wish I had known or thought about at various portions of my career. I'm far from a perfect player or high stakes crusher, but I feel confident that everything written above is key to making the leap as a player.

 My last post in the thread when OP asked me if he was framing the questions wrong:

no you're not framing it wrong you're just asking pointless questions. The answers to your questions don't matter. The only thing that matters is understanding the OTHER questions that you should be asking to get the available information needed to provide a best answer for those questions. And then understanding how to apply that analytical process to all hands in all spots against all opponents.

No one is going to spend hours trying to address every close hypothetical spot you can come up with in this thread. It isn't worth our time and likely won't greatly improve your game.

Last thing I'll say, the biggest leak I see in your thought process now is that you keep suggesting that most regs don't have identifiable leaks either pre or post. Rarely is this the case. Instead of trying to figure out how to combat the perfect unknown player, why don't you focus on your information gathering at the table. You might be surprised at what you see.

It's 2012 and the poker knowledge base continues to advance and grow every day.  Everyone else is working to get better, you better step up your game or get left behind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

still a grinder

I'm still grinding.  putting in the hours, trying to make enough money to stay out of that cubicle so I can pursue things that really entertain me.  I think my game has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 50 days.  I'm not sure if I've ever studied harder or played with more focus over such a long stretch.  I've played mostly nl100 and nl200 because I don't want to have my roll all in one spot and I'm not comfortable playing higher on a short roll.  Obviously the return of FTP money would be a huge boon to my situation, but I stopped planning on having that cash when budgeting and paying taxes quite some time ago.

I'm proud of my results for this last stretch too:

EV wise I should have won about $12,250 over that stretch, but I've run fairly bad and only made $9,582.  That's 3.94 ptbb/100 (7.86bb/100) and would be over 5ptbb if I was running at expectation.  That just goes to show that hard work and study can still pay off.  This stretch wouldn't even be in my top 12 months, but considering what I have had to deal with since black friday it might be the poker result that I'm most proud of.

For the year I'm still running fairly bad, just at 90 buy-ins under expectation for NLHE and about 35 buy-ins under expectation for PLO.  I've stopped playing PLO for the most part because I feel that I'm a good enough NLHE player to overcome a lot of the run bad and still find ways to win.  But in PLO I was playing poorly much of the time while trying to learn the game, and that in combination with running bad produced terrible results.  It's much harder to overcome the variance as you learn PLO as well, so for my sanity and bankroll I've taken a break from it.  I will say that the process of trying to learn PLO may have been the catalyst for my NLHE game getting back to a top tier level.  It forced me to take a more studious analytical approach to poker than I had in some time, and gave me a lot of new things to think about when considering how to improve my game.  It cost me a decent chunk of money, but maybe in the long run the time and money will be worth it.

I need to write a blog at some point about the freak injury I suffered early this year.  It resulted in me having tendon surgery on my hand and is the reason I'm not playing baseball this summer.  It's been another busy year with lot's of other stuff away from the baseball field and the poker tables and I just haven't really had time to type out the story/my thoughts on the accident.  I'll try to find the time soon.

Also I started coaching a client again, and would consider taking on more clients if someone is interested.  My rates vary depending on the number of sessions and the stakes you play, so contact me via the comments section, 2p2, or an email if you'd like to discuss.

I hope everyone is having a great summer/winter (depending on hemisphere) and running good at the tables.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

A text I sent summarizing my feelings about this group of celtics:

Hope they find a way to bring them back. Don't care if they aren't good enough to win it all, I just like rooting for those guys.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

brief update

still grinding.  spent a month playing PLO and didn't make any money (broke even after RB and bonuses so not good) and running about 20BI under EV.  But the process helped me reexamine a lot of things I had been doing playing NLHE.  I wouldn't say I've totally retooled my game but I've gotten back to the solid theoretical basics that made me money for years.  I feel I'm doing a much better job of avoiding -EV spots and doing a much better job of exploiting opponents.  Every session I feel that I'm setting myself up for success.  I'm finally in the black for NLHE for the year, but unfortunately I'm still running 41BI under EV for the year meaning I haven't made a ton.  However a freak injury (a future blog post) resulted in me likely having to sit out the year for baseball.  With the extra time on my hands I'm getting back to the grind and putting in the hours.  I think the doomswitch is going to evaporate eventually and I'll get back to crushing.  I know the regs I'm playing have to hate seeing me at the tables right now because I'm on my A game and not giving up a dollar easily.

I'll try to have more updates in the future.  Poker was getting me down for awhile but I'm going to stick with it for the very near future and see if I can get back to scooping up the gold.  And who knows, at some point FTP might get sold and pay out their customers and I'll have my old bankroll back.

hope everyone is well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sigh, 33 buy-ins under EV.

and that doesn't count the many many coolers and suck outs in non all-in pots I've dealt with. The year is just not giving me any breaks. It's getting tough to put in volume with all of the other things on my plate and finding myself frustrated after every session.

I feel like there is a possible next step to the full tilt situation sometime in the next few weeks. I would expect the deal to be signed and start proceeding through the steps that have to happen in court. Do I expect that I'll see my money (all or in some part) anytime soon? No, I don't. But I do feel that there is a good chance there will be some money to see at some point in the future. I haven't felt like that a lot recently.

I did finish all of the paperwork for my taxes last week, which was a huge relief. I really hate dealing with all of the tax details, and this year was exceedingly complicated.

The weather had been excellent the last few weeks, but this week has been cold, rainy and windy. It does look as though we're in the clear in terms of snow. A winter/early spring without snow has been weird to say the least. I actually enjoy the snow, and a winter without almost seems like we didn't have a winter at all.

well I'm going to grab a snack and get some sleep. I've been re-watching the first four seasons of Mad Men since the 5th season finally started last night. I'm looking forward to getting back into it once I get all caught up. It really is a great great show.

hope everyone is having a good month.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a post I made on providing results when discussing hands

people were discussing whether or not providing results had a positive or negative effect on hand analysis. These were my thoughts:

if providing the results would help someone objectively weight a distribution/range then they are of benefit. The difficulty is determining how such information could be used to objectively weight the range. we could arbitrarily assign some kind of value by which the actual hand gains weight and other hands in the range lose weight, but how do we decide how much weight to add? And by default shouldn't we be taking this type of weighting into account when constructing our actual range? Such that the revelation of any one hand should never be an argument for or against constructing or weighting a final range. Only the arguments/analysis behind constructing/weighting that range should be up for debate.

In the end proper objective analysis would not require results. However in practical application when two ranges are being constructed/weighted differently the results (in conjunction with all known information) could be used to very slightly tip the scales towards a certain weighted distribution. However knowing when to apply such knowledge and how much deference to give it is very tricky indeed.

I think the best plan would probably be to attempt to analyze a hand without the information and only resort to it in a particular instance where to people have provided logically sound but slightly differing views on a hand and having the results might help to determine which might be more correct. With the understanding that it still would not necessarily prove one right or one wrong.

reading above sounds a lot like I'm "an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (macbeth)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 is not making it easy on me

trying to work hard and get my grind on a lot lately, but not running well at all. Besides the fact that I feel as thought I'm running really poorly just in terms of hitting boards and running into the tops of opponents ranges, I'm running 21 BI under EV so far this year. But I've definitely run good a lot in the past so I know it can turn around. Just going to try to keep plugging away. Going to try and average 5k hands a day for the rest of the month. Only got in 3.7k today but the games were awful tonight and decided to quit after I made back part of the money I had lost earlier in the day.

Long way to go to reach my first quarter goal, but I'm going to fight to the finish.

As for other stuff:

- baseball coaching is going well. The team is a really good group of guys, they work hard and get along well. I think they want to win and really have a great year so it's exciting to show up to practice every day with focus trying to get better.

- I think the FTP-to-GBT sale is going to find some kind of resolution in the next two weeks. I'm trying not to think about it too much since it's out of my hands, but I can't say I'm optimistic. I do worry though that if the DOJ turns down a greatly reduced sale price from GBT if they'll be able to get anything at all in a fire-sale of the assets after all of this time. This whole sordid ordeal is a disaster. If the company had been run the right way they'd still be profitable and alive like stars (obviously a lot of the scum wouldn't have made as much money but at least they'd still be making money now instead of getting ready to find themselves in jail). Even after all of the screw ups if they'd be forthright with the issues and worked quickly they might have had a better chance of selling before the brand lost so much value. Instead the idiot scum poker players at the top thought they were smart enough to evaluate potential buyers of a multimillion dollar corporation and they got drug around by their noses while the brand's value plummeted and the ugly truths about their mismanagement and theft came to light. The heads of FTP were not only greedy and dishonest but they were idiots as well.

Maybe there is still some light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm preparing myself for the worst. In the past anytime anything potentially good was happening towards a sale good news or hints leaked out. Now for months we've had nothing but pessimistic leaks, and the french group is running out of time to make a deal and a decision.

- haven't had time to work on the script with my buddy lately, but hopefully can get after that some time in the next few weeks.

- excited about the final few weeks of duke basketball like always. I don't think we have a great team this year, and I'd be shocked if we made it past the sweet sixteen. But March is crazy in NCAAB and anything can happen. Still have several great regular season games (including hosting NC State tomorrow night) before the ACC tournament and then the NCAAs.

- I've realized my favorite Boston sports team is the Celtics. I've known this for awhile now, but I enjoy them more and more every year. I love the Red Sox as well, the Bruins have gotten me into hockey a little, and the Patriots are fine (I root for them but don't follow them closely like the Celts and the Sox). But basketball is my favorite sport to watch on TV and the Celtics are a great franchise to root for. It helps that my Dad was a Celtics fan growing up and we had a Celtics trash can in the den where we kept old newspapers. But the franchise and their fans are unbelievable, we have a great coach, and the atmosphere (even for regular season games against bad opponents) at the Garden is great. I haven't been to a game this year but hopefully I can get tickets some time next month. I'm really enjoying a few of the new additions to the team especially Brandon Bass. The guy is just a fantastic athlete and a real hard worker. I can't believe the Magic traded him for Glen Davis. Davis was a fun addition to the team who occasionally made a solid contribution, but Bass is a night in night out glue guy for this team. Without him I think they'd be struggling to get to .500 with all of the injuries they've dealt with.

(lol after writing this I went to look up the Celtics game recap and watch the highlights and I see they lost to the Pistons at home (doh) and Bass and Garnett didn't play because of injury. not good.)

that's all for now.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

a couple of thoughts on the FTP thieves...

this is a series of posts I've recently made on 2p2 relating to the topic of FTP and it's theft of player money. Essentially several players and myself have made posts suggesting a boycott of organizations in the poker and gambling community that hire or deal with these thieves. most of it will make sense in that context, although obviously some of the posts are responses and initially it might seem confusing what I'm discussing:

noah I kind of get why you locked the "view: FTP pros are getting off too light thread" because it is something that can be discussed in the other threads. However if that topic was to morph into an action plan to protest sites and casinos that do business with these players would that thread warrant reopening?

My opinion is that regardless of whether I ever see my 62k on FTP (and I feel like I probably won't) these guys are going to get away with what is amounting to theft because enough of the people that were wronged either weren't hurt significantly or aren't insane enough to do something crazy. However if the community started a movement to ostracize them based on their unethical actions it could actually hurt them were it matters. And if nothing else we could eliminate a very shady element that is sitting at the top of our games publicity pyramid, and is casting an ugly shadow over the entire community and game.

I'm tired of a game I love and play for a living being represented by these lying thieving scumbags. And no one else is going to drag them from this perch simply because no one else either cares or knows better.

Possibly one of the best elements of 2p2 in the last few years is that it has become a self-policing community for the poker world. Almost every scandal that has been broken was broken here and often to the credit of hard working diligent noble people like yourself. And I'm not trying to butter you up, I'm just stating a fact. The rest of the world (journalists included) doesn't care enough about poker to fix the ills of our game. But we do. While this might not be the clear cut blatant cheating that the super-using scandal was, what we're discussing is outright theft of player money by a bunch of lying gamblers that were drunk with power. And it deserves a similar coordinated and focused response from our community.

I'm rambling at this point, but I'd either urge you to consider reopening that thread, or at least consider allowing the original OP to make a similar thread with a focus on taking action as a community instead of simply stating a view.

thanks for considering.

in response to a proposed boycott of events and sites dealing with FTP scum:

I'm with this. Any company knowingly doing business with these thieves before they've done everything possible to make players whole will not be receiving my business.

That includes, online sites, land based casinos, tournament tours, etc. I'll speak with my wallet. If you support the people that stole from me I won't be patronizing your business.

clarifying for someone what I meant by above:
If a company in the poker or gambling world does business with them, or if any company hires them based on their personality or poker resume I will not be patronizing them.

I'm not boycotting grocery stores FTP pros shop at or tv shows they watch. I assumed that everyone in this thread would understand my statement and the sentiment behind it, but you've shown me not to overestimate based on the posts and responses of the majority.

a good poster in MHFR expressed that he thought the WSOP should not be leveraged because of it's history and meaning to the poker community. my rebuttal:
all of below is just my opinion. if it doesn't make sense feel free to rip it apart or whatever. I haven't had my coffee yet...

the wsop is one of the biggest leeches on the poker economy. if the people that owned it really wanted it to have such status they'd try doing a few things without the bottom line in mind. that series of tournaments takes more money out of the economy than just about any other while providing a sub par product. the tournaments have poor structure, bad dealers, constant screw-ups (lost or too many chips, marked cards, etc) and high rake. They make money on player's likenesses by showing the tournaments on tv but none of that money makes it back to the players. They even limit your ability to wear sponsorship logos on tv. And the bracelet is losing it's luster as the history of the tournament has been lost during it's growth and corporatization.

I'm not anti-WSOP as I get that it's a fun way for poker players to hang out for the summer and the tournaments attract lots of rec players. But the holy grail aspect revolved around a smaller series that had buy-ins that were really high (buy-ins aren't that high anymore due to inflation) that attracted a group of old school gamblers that battled it out in old vegas. The last vestiges of that tournament died in 2005, and while it's been replaced with one hell of a spectacle it isn't imo a sacred event. It's a corporate cash grab that owns the most famous name in the game.

my argument for leveraging WSOP as well as any other tournament series or online site is that those are the ways these thieves make their living. If they are going to steal our money I'm not going to support businesses that will give them money. If they are allowed to play major tournaments, accept sponsorship deals, etc these guys can continue to find ways to cash in on the celebrity that they lucked into based on timing and nothing else. Even if such a protest doesn't work it may force news organizations in the poker world to discuss it and in the process inform more people of the actions of the FTP crooks.

someone replied to my boycott plan suggesting that shareholders and loan-takers were largely in the dark and were not to blame for this scandal. While I accept that they make not have willingly defrauded players in the past, I argue that with their current awareness they can't deny that they received ill-gotten gains, and it would be unethical to keep said money:

give me some credit. I get that not everyone is to blame. And people who fail to pay back their dividends or loans could get off of my boycott list depending on their actions and statements. But without saying a word I'm going to assume that someone that accepted millions of dollars of ill gotten gains with no remorse and no desire to make players right is a thief and scum. Just because I don't have a legal recourse (and we actually might via clawbacks) doesn't mean I can't accuse these guys of being ethically bankrupt.

A shareholder is an owner, even if they were unaware they were part of the corrupt structure that defraud thousands of players of millions of dollars. If they now realize the error of their ways and they are willing to do what they can to make amends I would obviously forgive them. For example guys like Dwan, potentially Juanda, and maybe Greenstein have all taken steps suggesting that they want to make right on their debt and repay players. Those guys if they follow through on their promises would not be one of the people I'm attempting to paint with the scarlet letter.

This isn't a movement that I believe will necessarily get any stolen money back in the hand of FTP players (although that would obviously be a great result). I do however expect to black list all of these thieves from this community and the larger gambling world. I want their indiscretions to be the first entry on their wikipedia page and the first thing that comes to mind when they are discussed. I don't ever want to see them on TV playing poker, repping some online site, or pushing DVDs or books. I want their names and nicknames to have the same connotation in our world that Madoff and Ponzi have in the financial world.

If you don't agree with that by all means don't join in here. But if you are even participating in this discussion with me I'm accomplishing my goals. The more people discuss this the more attention it gets the more likely we succeed in besmirching these people's reputation and weeding them out from the world of poker and gambling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

8.6k hands down $200

going to dinner in an hour. relatively unsuccessful experiment since I took a long nap and the games were pretty terrible for most of the afternoon. Did clear some bonus though so it wasn't a total loss.

having fun debating someone in the SSFR forum on 2p2. I haven't done debate in a long long time, but I was pretty good at it and breaking down someone's argument point by point and blasting it away is something I take a little bit too much pleasure in. I guess it's my douchey side.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3.7k hands in, things not going great

Played a long session and got about 3.7k hands in. Down about $900, pretty much broke even in BBs but most of my losing came at 2/4 and my winning came at 1/2. I definitely think I made a lot of mistakes, but I also didn't run great. I managed to get all-in against AA probably 8 times preflop which always sucks. Especially with my image I just can't fold QQ, KK or AK for 100bb preflop to a shove against guys that I know have more than AA into their 4bet and 5bet range. oh well. I think JJ was the worst hand I shoved preflop into AA and it was a BTN vs BB situation at a FR table that had broken down to 5 handed. Also got set over set, and lost a huge pot where I shoved a big draw on the flop and ran into top set and my turned flush got boated on the river.

Going to take a couple hour break, eat some food, watch the Duke-Maryland game that I recorded, and then come back for a grind. I may have to play .5/1 at that point if the games are mostly dead, which they may be.

getting ready to start a 24 hour grind

cleaning my work station and finishing up some chores around the house. have a work dinner with the wife tomorrow night in 24 hours. need to get in a bunch of hands to get to monthly hands goals. Going to try and stay up and grind the whole time. Got a half a pot of coffee and will probably brew another in 8 hours or so. Hoping to get in 15,000 hands in 3k increments, but 10,000 in 2.5k increments would also work.

Will try and update with progress every 3-4 hours. Hopefully making the public will keep me motivated.

Also other updates:

- took a job as an assistant baseball coach at a local D3 school. It doesn't really pay any money, but I was surprised they were going to be paying me at all. My good friend is the pitching coach so he was interested in me helping out and I was excited for the chance to add something to my plate.

- started outlining a movie script with a good buddy in town last night. It was his core idea for the script, but we tend to have good brainstorming sessions and as soon as he brought it up we started coming up with funny ideas and bouncing them back and forth. It's a romantic comedy in the vein of wedding crashers or 40 year old virgin.

- lastly if you read the MHFR FTP regs thread on 2p2 or Dfly's blog you'll get the reference: In a post-apocalyptic type scenario guns are your best investment. Better than gold, food, or your IRA. Fly makes a good point that a house could be valuable, but I'd suggest that the need to continually move and forage (assuming you don't have farm-able land) would actually hurt the value of the house. A house full of guns on farm-able land would certainly be a great investment. Just something for you young kids with lots of money who think the world's going to end to think about.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

a libertarian advocates for socialized medicine...

We've been discussing doctors, their salaries, and the health care system in the US in a thread on 2p2 and here is something I thought about posting there but decided to put in a blog:

if you really want to improve medical care and patient doctor relationships in this country start with the biggest criminals involved in the economy: 1) Insurance companies and HMOs and 2) lawyers/laws that take advantage of malpractice insurance to reap huge rewards due to to mistakes that doctors will inevitably make.

I've argued this many times before, but I'm very much a libertarian in most of my political philosophy, but I've come to believe strongly in the need health care to be publicly funded and directed assuming that you place any faith or value in society as means to improve the condition of the individuals that exist under it's social contract. The medical system as constructed in our country has far more problems than the education system, the mass transit system, our court system, etc. However instead of looking to the people who do the work because they love it and it's important to them we continually allow politicians to influence the laws and system who are essentially bought and sold by private corporate interests who are simply looking to make a profit. While I have no problem with profit or even the greed that leads to such actions, you can't deny that due to the middlemen in the system it is antithetical to doctors providing quality services to their patients. Certain systems simply don't function successfully in a free market system because the services being provided to the customer are too complex for the customer to accurately assess their worth or value. Simply put regular people (myself included) have no idea what doctor to go to if something is wrong or how much we should be paying.

Free markets function efficiently on the idea that people can successfully evaluate the products and services they are paying for and accurately assess their worth. Health care doesn't work this way because the science and technology that we use to diagnose and heal patients has outstripped our basic understanding of the human body as well as our ability to financially plan for disastrous events. We're able to prevent and heal ailments that we didn't even have names for in the past, but all of that has comes with a price that is a result of countless hours of research, training, and work. Making treatment both more expensive as well as more confusing.

I have a lot more thoughts on the subject (mostly that insurance companies are essentially profiting off of denying you the service they purportedly provide) but I want to play a session and get some stuff done before the duke game tonight.

I'll try to revisit this topic another time as I find it interesting, but I have to stop after awhile because it's so tilting seeing as I doubt any of this is going to change anytime soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bet sizing in NLHE

quick thought of the day based on this exchange on 2p2:

original post:
Stingers thoughts on value betting/bluffing released a gem of information, but i am having trouble processing it.
Can anyone provide some examples of what stinger was talking about with his thoughts here:

"If theres a spot where im going to be bluffing a lot, or at least my opponent perceives me to be bluffing a lot, you should be betting bigger. Thats why the over-bets are so good. Over-bets gives your opponent worse odds to call, which allows you to bluff more often, profitably...

...If its going to be a spot where you're going to be value betting often, and your opponent knows that, then you should be betting less to give your opponent better odds, tempt him into calling. The key there is all about what your opponent perceives. Its not about how much you are value betting or bluffing, Its how much your opponent expects you to be value betting or bluffing. You want them to be calling at a frequency that is profitable for you."

a response:
his reasoning is completely wrong, you could even say backwards, in both cases

a small bet should be made by a higher fraction of value hands than a big bet, yes. but that does not mean that you should bet big when you want to bluff a lot, or that you should bet small when you have a lot of value hands. not at all.

my response:
I agree that he hasn't full explained the concept but I wouldn't say he has it backwards. Basically there are 4 variables to consider:

1) your holding and it's relative strength to the board.
2) your opponents range and it's relative strength to the board.
3) your perceived range.
4) what you'd like your opponent to do with his hand.

If you know the answers to all of those questions (or can at least approximate them) then you can determine the best (or close to it) bet-size in relation to the pot to attempt to manipulate your opponent into the desired action.

I guess at it's heart it's basic theory and math of poker. But it is certainly always good to think about it and remember why we bet certain sizes in certain spots.

further thoughts:

When determining bet-sizing in NLHE first decide what you want your opponent to do (aka are you value betting or bluffing). Then determine what your perceived range on the board will likely be to your opponent (does he think you're likely to be bluffing often or do you have a very strong range that will nearly always be betting for value even if it's somewhat thin). Then size your betting appropriately to manipulate your opponent into the action you desire with your given holding on the board.

Example 1: You have the nuts on the river in a hand where your range is perceived as full of bluffs (aka it is a board you would frequently barrel). You want your opponent to call off as much money as possible. Size your river bet sufficiently large as your opponent will likely call on this river against your perceived range. If your opponent is particularly suspicious an overbet might have the most value.

Example 2: You have a weak holding on a board where your range contains mostly very strong holdings and your opponent's range is likely weaker than your perceived range. Something like you were the pfr in MP with 22 and your opponent CC in the SB and the flop came down AKKr. You'd like your opponent to fold and he likely will with the vast majority of his range. You should bet as small as possible to get the likely fold so that you'll save the most possible money the times he has a Kx or Ax hand and decides not to fold. If villain is the kind to call once and fold to future barrels you also create a situation where you are actually creating value by inducing single street calls planning on barreling most turns to get folds from his medium pair or QJ type hands.

I'm not going to edit the above and it certainly isn't a complete or exhaustive treatise on the subject. But I do think there is some value in what I wrote and if you're a new or struggling player I'd suggest reading it and digesting the thoughts and thinking of how it might apply in some further examples.

Monday, January 9, 2012

BCS championship game I have two words for you...

shit sandwich.

I think this was actually worse than the NCAA Basketball championship game last year. And that game was truly atrocious and an insult to the sport.

GG Alabama, LSU, and most importantly the NCAA in continuing the tradition of terrible games coming a month too late in a system that everyone hates. College football has never been more lucrative and never been more disappointing. It's a cynical sports writers wet dream.