Friday, December 21, 2007

Great read, ghey result

Was really hammering the $1/2 tables tonight, when the following hand happened. I have played the villain several times before, and know his 4 betting range to be quite big. I figured I was in good shape with TT against his AA-44 and all the big A's he'd happily push with, so I was supremely happy when he turned over his ATs and the flop came ultra ragged. I should really learn not to celebrate until the pot gets shipped to me....

I did tilt for a few hands afterward, but didn't lose more than $25 and quickly reigned it in. Managed to double up a bit later against someone who didn't re-re-raise my KK pf with AA, allowing me to flop a set of Kings before committing himself with his overpair. So swings and roundabouts, but a solidly winning session for a change! Festive cheer and goodwill to all mankind.....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas = no poker???

Don't understand it. I thought christmas would see me sat down playing loads of NLH against loads of terrible players, drunk on homemade egg-nog and excessive festive cheer. The reality sees me running round doing lots of last minute xmas shopping and going out for meals with friends, work mates, and almost-family members. Maybe next week I'll have the time to play each night and hopefully make a killing, but since I will be spending both the 25th and the 26th with Faye's family, I'm beginning to suspect that it's not the most likely scenario.

They say that christmas is 'a time for giving', I just think it's a shame they don't qualify that to 'a time for giving punishment to the NLH fish'. Then I'd have a good excuse to dodge all these social niceties and play plenty of poker. Actually, given my results of late, maybe 'giving punishment' is a bit too confident, but I'll stick with it. After all, I gotta stay hopeful....
So, once again I don't have much to report poker wise. I played a little bit over the weekend, but suffered from a cruel deck mostly, where I got several lovely made hands on the flop, but things quickly went wrong from then on in. Doesn't bother me too much, but sure would enjoy going on a quick rush before the New Year. Please santa?

The real highlight of the weekend was watching Barton Fink (the first Coen brothers film) for the first, which I enjoyed tremendously and which was in keeping with their trademark motif of an incredible story involving several suberb characters in very simple settings. The other highlight was playing Halo2. I must have spent around 6 hours playing it on Sunday, and have spent every spare minute of the day playing it since (much to Faye's annoyance). It's a tough situation, and I won't lie to you. If you have a girlfriend, Halo2, and an absence of discipline, it can get ugly. Real ugly. Think carefully before getting involved!

Anyway, happy xmas to all of you in case I don't post again, hope you all enjoy your holidays wherever you are, and please stay safe. Remember kids, don't drink and drive!

Monday, December 17, 2007

So good I had to copy it

Read a really good post at work the other day, and found myself recalling it several days later. So, I thought I'd link to it here. The well known and respected Hoyazo posted about it, and analysed the power of the advice contained far better than I could. Indeed, stumbling across nuggets of wisdom like this in one of his posts is like tripping over a lump of gold. Or a nugget if you will. Read on, then go check his post here

With a weak draw and poor pot equity (i.e., an inside straight draw), choose between folding and calling (rarely raising). Call if you have good implied odds, and fold if you have bad implied odds.

With a strong draw with good pot equity (i.e., a straight flush draw or a flush draw and two overs, etc.), choose between raising and calling (rarely folding). Call if you have good implied odds, and raise if you have bad implied odds.

Great advice, and should be borne in mind always. Signing off for now....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

All quiet on the blogging front....

Since everyone went off to Vegas the world has become quiet and deserted. And when I say everyone, I meant those fortunate few bloggers (Schaubs, Fuel, Alan etc.) who organised themselves to meet out there. And by the world, I meant the cyber-world of poker blogs. So in actual fact, the only thing that has changed for me is that no-one has written any new posts in the last week, and that's not exactly a major change to the world as we know it. Still, it means that the last few days of work have been borrrrrrrrrrring and I really wish I was over in Vegas with them, joining is as they share a few drinks, a few stories, a few games of poker, and have a grand old time doing it. But hey, whatever guys, I'll just stay here in freezing cold London and think about all the xmas shopping that I haven't yet started. Yup, when I stop to think about it, I hate you guys :- P

On a brighter note, discovered I have 2 more days holiday left to spend before I finish work, so have arranged for a few 3-day weekends in January which I'm already looking forward to. Just got given Halo2 for the Xbox and feel the need to dedicate some of my life getting intimately acquainted with one of the most eagerly awaited games of the last 5 years. Probably end up just playing poker though lol.

Anyway, shout out to all my virtual friends in the blogging/poker world, hope you're all having fun in your respective parts of the world. More terrible $1/2 play shown below, will post something more poker-y sometime soon....

VNH of the Weekend:

$1/2 NLHE on UB

Hero is at seat 0 with $212.10.
UncleRickB is at seat 1 with $119.35.
Villain1 is at seat 3 with $183.
<--- terrible chaser Villain2 is at seat 4 with $48.80. <--- shortstack monkey crackinbanks is at seat 5 with $193.25.
The button is at seat 5.

Hero posts the small blind of $1.
UncleRickB posts the big blind of $2.
Hero: Td Th
UncleRickB: -- --
Villain1: -- --
Villain2: -- --
crackinbanks: -- --
Villain1 calls. Villain2 raises to $9.
crackinbanks folds. Hero re-raises to $31.
<--- know I'm most likely ahead of both opponents and want to squeeze out villain1 UncleRickB folds. Villain1 calls. <--- what on earth is he limp calling such a massive rr with??
Villai2 goes all-in for $48.80. Hero calls. Villain1 calls.

Flop (board: 5c 8s 7c):
Hero goes all-in for $163.30. <--- know I’m ahead on this flop
Villain1 goes all-in for $134.20.
<--- can’t fold now…. Hero is returned $29.10 (uncalled).

Turn (board: 5c 8s 7c 4h):
(no action in this round)

River (board: 5c 8s 7c 4h 2d):
(no action in this round)

Hero shows Td Th.
Hero has Td Th 5c 8s 7c: a pair of tens.
Villain1 shows 6d 5d.
<--- great call preflop (24bb on 65s) Villain1 has 6d 5d 8s 7c 4h: straight, eight high.
Villain2 shows Ah Kh.
Villain2 has Ah Kh 5c 8s 7c: ace high.

Hand #48599349-4028 Summary:
Villain1 wins the main pot $146.23 with straight, eight high.
<--- VNH sir Villain1 wins the side pot $268.07 with straight, eight high. <--- again, VNH sir

Friday, December 07, 2007

What a difference.... a drop makes

So following the decidedly poor weekend results, I followed cmitch's example and went back to basics, playing $1/2 tables exclusively. So far I have won 3 of the 4 sessions I've played, and the losing session can be directly attributed to getting allin with AKs against AKs and facing that statistical blip where the result does not include a chop! I did actually make a one or 2 small mistakes in that session which I think stopped me from breaking even, but other than that it was just bad luck.

And that's all that has stopped me from clearing 1k in four days. I really feel I have rediscovered my A-game, and have been playing really good poker. Am still working through the deluge of advice and suggestions received on my last post (come on reader's, I know you're out there!) but in general it seems statistically I'm not doing too much wrong of late, so will keep working on my game and will post my figures again at the end of the month.

While I'm thinking of dates, I have only 40 days left of work before I throw in the towel and fall happily into the ample arms of unemployment. Given my sporadic recent results, I will be taking regular reviews of my playing performance, and will definitely be keeping my eyes out for any marketing/advertising jobs of interest.

Will leave you with my 'VNH of the Week' (see Smart Money for the original Muppet of the Day). This happened just last night, but really didn't bother me. Maybe something from The Poker Mindset has sunk in and I no longer get emotionally involved in pots. Anyway, enjoy....

Hero is at seat 1 with $779.05. <--- table captain. check my massive stack!

Villain is at seat 4 with $183.80. <--- terrible player I've stacked twice already

XXXX posts the small blind of $1.
Hero posts the big blind of $2.
Hero: Ac As
Villain: -- --

Pre-flop: XXXX folds. XXXX folds.
Villain calls. XXXX folds. XXXX folds.
Hero raises to $14. <--- extra large raise to mix things up, and I'm out of position

Villain calls. <--- could have literally anything

Flop (board: Kd 8c Tc):
Hero bets $29. Villain goes all-in for $169.80.
Hero calls. <--- know he has anything from a flush draw (and I have the Ac) to bottom pair 7 kicker

Turn (board: Kd 8c Tc Js):
(no action in this round)

River (board: Kd 8c Tc Js 8s):
(no action in this round)

Villain shows 7d 9c. <--- nice allin with your OESD

Villain has 7d 9c 8c Tc Js: straight, jack high. <----VNH sir!

Hero mucks cards. (Hero has Ac As.)

Hand #48599063-4296 Summary: Villain wins $365.10 with straight, jack high.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Call for help...

Another weekend, and another 1.5k dropped. Honestly don't know what's happened to my game of late, but my bank roll still isn't bouncing back since I donked off 10k in September. November turned out to be just under break even. I suppose after losing 10k break even is great news! This doesn't feel like my game is turning around though, and I highly doubt December will see me winning significant figures.

I'm trying really hard to get my mind focussed only on making correct decisions, and I am recognising several areas to work on each time I play. My last session though, I didn't make any big mistakes, just a few medium sized ones but I still managed to lose 2x $2/4 buyins. Read a really good post on the subject of bucking a bad run (thanks cmitch) but I didn't feel there was anything there that I haven't already been thinking. Maybe it's more a question of what I'm doing than what I'm thinking....

Anyway, have posted my pokertracker stats for the past 2 weeks (2.5k hands) below, would be grateful if anyone could tell me what changes I might benefit from making. Please do tell if anything obvious jumps out...

VP$IP 26.07
PF Raise % 15.11
C-Bet % 71.33
AF Flop 6.62
AF Turn 7.16
AF River 1.78
Went To SD 19.68
Att. to Steal Blinds % 37.35
Won % at SD 49.66

In the meantime it's back to $1/2 while I regroup. I have recently heard that the Party tables are teeming with fish, and since Party have generously given me a free £25 to play with, I figure now is a good time to build a new roll there: will keep you posted. Thanking you in advance for your help and advice....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cannot connect. Error 10061

Sometimes being a geek is painful. I spent over 2 hours the other night setting up a wireless router for my laptop and my PC. The installation program said it would take 20 minutes. The laptop was a piece of cake, but my PC was having none of it. Connecting to the router was easy, but try as I might I couldn't get on the web. I had to resort to pinging a foreign IP address to find the nature of my problems (which was a first for me), and then searching the web (on the laptop) to find the cause. Luckily I'm quite determined and managed to jump through the necessary hoops to get to the solution, and found out some program I don't even use was causing all my woe. Damn you ZoneAlarm!!!
Anyway, it's all fixed now and once again I can happily browse the web while on the throne.... :- o

No real news poker wise, having been playing really due to aforementioned technical difficulties and also social commitments like being taken for dinner and having a mate round to watch Transformers. It was just as awesome the second time around, marred only slightly by a scratched DVD which meant we had to skip 15 minutes. Apart from that though, the only thing I've been watching recently is Battlestar Galactica. For those of you who like sci-fi, or for those of you who simply enjoy an engaging, exciting, thought-provoking television series, I couldn't recommend BG more strongly. The characters, plot, twists and action are all first rate, and I'm very excited about soon starting season 4 which is just coming out now. I was hooked after watching an hour of the pilot episode, and I'm now nearing the end of season 3 only a month later. Do yourself a favour, and start watching it. Available from all good torrent search engines ;- )

Will update again soon with more poker content, and hopefully it will be more positive given I've only got a few months before trying to make a living from it.....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Peaks and troughs

Been a busy weekend poker wise, with me putting nearly 5 hours at $1/2 and $2/4 tables. Unfortunately though I'm still getting killed, and once again the results of a few nice little winning sessions have been destroyed by a big loss at the end of the week. So much for soft weekend games! Don't want to dwell on it too much, simply been going through my pokertracker results to determine what mistakes I've been making, and have identified several areas needing revision. That'll be my homework for next week.

Things will improve though, really feel like I'm on the edge of 'getting' the game, and I've been making lots of headway with reading the strength of my opponents preflop raises according to their frequency and position. Just gonna keep up the poker reading (currently a Poker Mindset)and the poker thinking, the war aint over yet....

As an aside, been reading a few new very interesting blogs recently, and you can find links to them now on the right. Been good to get some comments from a few of them, so thought I'd say thanks, and also just shout out to my friend Martin who has been working hard at a tough job recently; hope things improve BuDdy! Adios amigos...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weekend Warrior

Sometime after 1pm on a Friday afternoon, online poker begins a transformation. It changes from a challenging game of skill and small edges played mostly by pros and experienced amateurs to a bewildering game of draws and hopes played mostly by people with only a distant familiarity with the rules and how to play, and whose sobriety seems only to deteriorate as the weekend progresses. All the rookies and amateurs come flooding to the tables every Friday afternoon, eager and willing to part with their cash - I mean play - and are usually abundant on most sites until Sunday afternoon. In short, for a decent player the arrival of the weekend can turn poker from a profitable pastime to a veritable goldmine.

Any pro who doesn't take advantage of this fact would need very good reason not to. All of my biggest winning sessions have been posted on a Friday night or on a Saturday, and I can't imagine that the weekend=profit situation is likely to change anytime soon. I heard that there are only about 15% of poker players who are actually long-term winners, and if that is roughly true then an increase in the amount of people playing is far more likely to decrease the average skill level than increase it. And given that weekend-only players are only getting 1 or 2 sessions of practice in a week, they are not ideal candidates for improving their play.

All of this is academic though really; if you sit down at a low/mid-limit table on a Friday night, you will see irrefutable proof. Within but an hour you will surely witness several allin plays which leave you completely baffled as to how the so called-player expects to win: think calling allin with top pair Ten kicker on a paired board with 3 to a flush and 3 to a straight! On top of these, you will see scores of people calling pot-size bets or even allins with flush-draws, OESDs, gutshots, bottom-pairs, overcards and even underpairs!

It really is incredible to watch, and the bad beats rain down thick and fast. Providing you can handle the swings, the weekends should undoubtedly be your most profitable period. Read on for an example of weekend play for your amusement, where my opponent had all of 3.5% chance of winning when the money went in. I had to laugh then, and I'm still smiling even now!

($1/2 No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 16/Nov/07 13:00:07

Player1 is at seat 0 with $185.90.
Villain is at seat 3 with $88.80.
Player4 is at seat 4 with $196.
Hero is at seat 5 with $272.50.
The button is at seat 4.

Hero posts the small blind of $1.
Player1 posts the big blind of $2.
Player1: -- --
Villain: -- -- <--- plays anything from any position for any amount
Player4: -- --
Hero: Ah As <--- don't mind this hand against a total guppy
Villain calls. Player4 folds. Hero
raises to $11. Player1 folds. Villain calls.

Flop (board: 8s 9d Ad): <--- quite happy with flop
Hero checks. Villain goes all-in for $77.80.
Hero calls. <--- not the toughest of calls ;- )
Turn (board: 8s 9d Ad 7d):
(no action in this round)

River (board: 8s 9d Ad 7d 5d):
(no action in this round)


Villain shows 3d Ac. <--- was totally dominated
Villain has 3d 9d Ad 7d 5d: flush, ace high.
Hero mucks cards.
(Hero has Ah As.)

Hand Summary:
$2 is raked from a pot of $179.60.
$.50 jackpot contribution is raked.
Villain wins $177.10 with flush, ace high. <--- APART from runner-runner flush!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Poor play

Have been reviewing my play and recently it has been far from pretty. I have found that I am not playing according to simple rules that I know ensure results. Rules like don't always c-bet, even in position. Like don't bluff the turn or river when playing $1/2. Don't lead at pots as a c-bet when out of position. And don't call c-bets on dangerous boards with weak draws - in fact, don't call any bets with weak draws! This just illustrates how badly I've been playing, and I need to fix up and get my play back to being consistently good.

So, my new points of focus are:
  • don't play pots out of position without a preflop re-raise or a multiway pot
  • don't play multiway pots without a multiway-hand like a PP or suited-connector
  • play more pots in position by raising instead of limping
  • make a play at pots only in position
  • check and fold rather than check and call

On a happier note, I ran into cmitch briefly on a table at FTP and said hello. He was very potite and chatted with me briefly before leaving the table. I think he was a bit scared to be facing the might Sub_zero666, but then again he had more than doubled his buyin and was probably bored.

Anyway, gonna hit the tables now so catch you soon....

Monday, November 05, 2007

A welcome return

Wow, it's amazing what a difference a week makes. I feel prepared once again to take on the (poker) world, thanks to the changes I've made to my game courtesy of my poker guru Steve: if you're reading this buddy, you can add another 'IOU big time' to the list. Thanks my friend.
Of course, I did make a few changes of my own, and services rendered won't stop me playing hard against him if we ever sit down together, but hopefully the online world is big enough for the both of us!

So now my sessions are once again all finishing in the black, I'm looking to the future. Tourneys, PLO, and NLHE will all be in there, as well as a foray into a world without commuting, without business dress, and without a boss. Obviously I've been discussing things lots with my girlfriend, and whether there is much future mileage in this diversionary 'career' remains to be seen, but I'm definitely going to give it my all to find out.

I've always wanted to be a true student of the game, and after my years of learning, reading and practice, I feel now is the time to take my shot. Life is pretty stable presently, and I feel motivated to take full advantage of any opportunities that come my way. I don't plan on getting to 40 and wishing I'd taken a shot back when I had a chance: so, my time is now. Maybe after 30 I'll get a 'real' job again....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Been a long time (shouldn'a left you)...

Hello dear reader. Know it's been a while, but it's been a busy couple of weeks for yours truly. Not only was I recovering from losing over 10k in the space of 3 weeks, in my last 3 weeks I have had an incredible amount of work on and haven't had much time to devote to writing posts (at work)! I have been working on a strategy post for a while, of course it started off all nicely planned and flowed really well, but now it seems nothing more than a jumble of tips and thoughts. See it in all it's - errr, entirety - below.

So, what's changed for me then in the last 7 days?
1. The limits I play. After my horrible losing streak (which I freely admit is mostly my own fault), I now play only $1/2, because of....
2. The new style I play. Having recognized the problems I've been having and purging bluffing from my arsenal, I wanted to completely re-tool my game. So I got in touch with my main man Honest, he sat with me and challenged my reasoning behind playing out of position, playing pocket pairs and playing from the cutoff and the button, all of which led to me making changes that are already yielding positive results, so big props to him. I will soon be able to play $2/4 and above again, so the bankroll race to 30k can begin again in earnest, and that's quite important as...
3. I won't be employed in 3 months. That's right, I've handed in my notice at work. You heard it here first folks (it's not public knowledge), and as I haven't found a replacement job yet I may just need to supplement the dole with the few dollars afforded by being lucky at cards.

Other than that things are fairly stable, I'm getting back into racing bikes on my rollerblades, and have given up kungfu for the winter months so I have planty of time for poker and socialising. I plan on nothing more than enjoying the steady salary of the next 3 months, and staying warm and dry this winter. I think that having access to every season of Battlestar Galactica, Sopranos and Family Guy will help ensure that goal is reached! On that note, 'til next time....

Getting Raised: A Player's Guide

Recent use of an overly aggressive style meant that I was facing almost constant raises to my flop continuation bets. I can't tell you how much I hate getting raised in poker. I demand respect for my bets, whether I have absolutely nothing (most of the time), a beautifully seductive overpair, or the elusive but exciting set. When someone raises your bet, they are telling you that they have a better hand. Whether they are telling the truth or not is where the subject gets a little tricky.

If someone is raising you on the flop, they can be doing it for a number of reasons. They may be bluffing and want you to fold. They may have a strong draw and are betting hard (as a semi-bluff), to trick you into either folding or at least checking so they might see both the turn and river cards. The other reason is that they have a strong hand which they believe is also the best hand, and want the chips in the middle now before you get the chance to improve.

So, sometimes your opponent doesn't have the best hand, but raises to make you believe that they do. Other times they don't currently have the best hand, but they know that it may become the best hand and are happy to raise to try and win the pot now, with plenty of ways to win if called. The rest of the time, they are raising with the best hand, hoping you will make a mistake by calling them with a worse hand. Accurately picking which case applies to each raise you face is fundamental to taking the appropriate action.

When determining the likelihood of each case, I think you should consider the following: the size of the raise, the position of the raiser, the texture of the board, and the image of your opponent along with your own image. I won't attempt explore all of these topics fully, but will include a few things to consider.

The texture of the board can be a clear indication of the motivation behind the raise. On a draw heavy board, a semi-bluff raise is more likely, especially if the raise does not commit your opponent . They may be hoping to slow you down and see a cheap turn card. If the raise is very big however, and the flop has put 3 to a straight or 3 to a flush on the board, then it is more likely you are up against a strong hand like a set or a made flush, and the raise is aimed at either getting all the money in, or discovering if you already hold the nuts and your opponent can fold before the more expensive streets arrive.

On a draw free board, your opponent is either betting a strong made hand (like an overpair or a set), or outright bluffing.When deciding which is the case, consider your opponents' image and position. Are they always aggressive in raised pots, or do they usually only fold to continuation bets? Are they an habitual check-raiser, or do they only check-raise with monster hands? Also consider your own image: are you always continuation betting (making it more likely they are making a play), or are you so tight that your opponent won't raise without the nuts? Of course your image means nothing if your opponent isn't paying attention, so as Sun Tzu said "know your enemy".

If the size of your opponents raise commits them to the pot, either by putting him allin or leaving less than the size of the pot in his stack, it's less likely to be a bluff. If this happens and you have a made hand, you will need to assess the likelihood that you are ahead of your opponent, and also the likelihood you will still be ahead on the river. If you are not a favourite for the latter, you should not call the raise unless pot committed, as you know your opponent will rarely be folding.

After you have determined the reason behind your opponent's raise, you need to take the appropriate action.

If your opponent is bluffing..... the solution is simply to raise, regardless of your hand (providing your opponent is capable of folding of course).

If your opponent is betting with a strong made hand..... and you have a made hand, you must decide whether his is likely to be stronger than yours, then raise, call or fold in accordance with your judgement. If you have played your strong hand deceptively, be more inclined to call than fold. Correspondingly, if you have played your strong hand openly, be more inclined to fold. If you have a monster, you can either raise now or later, but remember it's often better to get the money in before any scare cards arrive.

If your opponent is betting with a strong made hand..... and you are on a draw, take into account the usual implied odds, reverse implied odds, and pot odds that are being offered by your opponents raise, then decide whether you should continue.

If your opponent is raising with a draw..... and you have a made hand, you need to assess which draw is most likely, and thereby how many outs he has with 2 cards to come. Then, check the stack sizes in play, and see if you can re-raise enough to make him call unprofitably with his draw. If you don't quite have the chips, and you're out of position, you may want to call and see the turn. Then, if a blank falls you can push allin against his draw, but with only 1 card to come a call will now be unprofitable.

If your opponent is raising with a draw..... and you also have a draw, take into account the usual implied odds, reverse implied odds, and pot odds that are being offered by your opponents raise, then decide whether you should continue. Bear in mind that in a draw vs draw scenario, if you're not drawing to the nuts then your implied odds may be negative (ie you'll get stacked when you hit), so never put yourself in that position if it can be avoided.

Hope some of this is useful, comments welcome as always...

Below is a snapshotof how bad I was running when I was in hyper-aggressive mode. I made a great read, a great play based on that read, but lost the pot I was favourite to win. Most of the time though, I am miles behind at this point.

This hand shows the captivating beauty of poker: every action after his flop re-raise was perfectly correct for both parties, and in the end it came down to no more than mere chance:

Lemme Win is at seat 0 with $850.90.
silverstar75 is at seat 1 with $110.
Villain is at seat 2 with $595.50.
Xeric is at seat 3 with $494.
Incrediboy is at seat 4 with $668.10.
Money75 is at seat 5 with $81.90.
The button is at seat 2.

Xeric posts the small blind of $2.
Incrediboy posts the big blind of $4.

Lemme Win: -- --
silverstar75: -- --
Villain: -- --
Xeric: -- --
Incrediboy: Kh 3h
Money75: -- --


Money75 folds. Lemme Win folds. silverstar75 folds.
Villain raises to $14. Xeric calls.
Incrediboy calls.

Flop (board: 8h Ts Ah):

Xeric checks. Incrediboy checks. Villain bets
$25. Xeric folds. Incrediboy raises to $70. (semi-bluff raise...)
Villain re-raises to $250. Incrediboy goes all-in for $654.10. (donkey shove with a flush draw...)
Villain goes all-in for $581.50. Incrediboy is returned $72.60 (uncalled).

Turn (board: 8h Ts Ah Kc):

(no action in this round)

River (board: 8h Ts Ah Kc 9c):

(no action in this round)


Incrediboy shows Kh 3h.
Incrediboy has Kh Ts Ah Kc 9c: a pair of kings.
Villain shows Jh Qh.
Villain has Jh Qh Ts Ah Kc: straight, ace high.

Villain wins $1201.50 with straight, ace high.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lead balloon

Got back from my holiday in Egypt wonderfully relaxed. If you like warm weather and plenty of swimming, then Marsa Alam (and I've heard also Sharm El Sheikh) are great holiday destinations. Like England, Egypt is just about to enter the winter season, but unlike England, the temperature there is a balmy 28 degrees on average!

I headed out with my mother and uncle for a week's break (they were staying for 2 weeks) with the Red Sea Diving Safari, but had no underwater plans for anything other than snorkelling. We were staying on a resort site 10 miles south of Marsa Alam, and which was all of 100 metres from the coast. The water was incredibly clear just 50 metres out from the bay, and so any colourful fish or coral was in easy view. And believe me, there was an awful lot of both to be seen! Countless fish swarmed over, under and occasionally through the coral as far as the eye could see, in a magnificent multitude of colours and sizes. The coral itself was incredibly diverse: from familiar 'tree' shapes to bizzare and improbably coloured balloon shapes, and every mutation possible in between. I swam both the north and south reefs at least 5 times each, and was never wanting for new things to see.

On the days we didn't swim the coast of the resort we went to Abu Dabbab to swim with the green turtles and the dugong (sea-cow), both of which were awesome to behold. We also ventured out by boat to the dolphin house, which was itself a magnificent reef in a horseshoe shape, and home to scores of dolhins, though that could be mere rumour as not one of them deigned to see me on the day of my visit. When I wasn't swimming, the choices were usually limited to eating, reading or sleeping. Sunbathing was an option only for the masochistic (or the Italians, several of whom were sporting some worryingly dark tans!).

I will be looking forward to my next visit to the fabulous world under the sea, and hope to take along Faye, confident that as a self-confessed 'water baby' she would truly love the experience.

My relaxed state of mind alas failed to last. The night before I left for Egypt, I played for about 5 hours, and lost heavily. After I returned, I proceeded to lose. Every session. Heavily. By 2am on Sunday, I had lost over 10k altogether.
I went to bed that night wondering what on earth had happened to my game. It wasn't just bad beats and coolers (of which there seemed to be hundreds!), but I couldn't place the missing element. I honestly couldn't figure out what was going on, so, feeling dazed and deflated, I simply slept on it. And in the morning, after a little lateral thinking, the answer was waiting for me: I was bluffing too much.

All the signs were there. I was getting called down by some very marginal hands, but I was losing to them. I was finding myself having to fold from big pots on the turn and river with hands I should have dumped preflop. I was starting to chase draws. My aggression postflop was off the charts, and no-one can have a monster every time, paint whatever picture I would. So I was getting called, and raised, and I was losing.

So it's back in the saddle, once again sticking to more solid hands and tight play, with much more folding going on. PokerAce HUD is up and running and the data-mining continues. Am crossing my fingers that it will help lots, and soon. Good luck to everyone else.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Advice and suggestions

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who reads my blog, it's really encouraging to know that someone out there in cyberspace (that sounds so geeky!) is getting something out of what I write. And so I'd like to say an extra big thanks to LJ, Fuel55, RecessRampage (aka Dirty Vizzer), and Anguila for each commenting on my previous post; I really do appreciate your input guys, so thanks again for taking the time.

I'd also like to give a thumbs up to the SurlyPokerGnome for helping me get setup with PokerACE HUD now that I have finally got round to using PokerTracker. For those of you who consider yourself serious players but don't know what this PokerTracker program is all about: suffice to say you NEED this tool. I won't try and list it's uses here, as a more talented person has already completed that task far better than I ever could. Check out his input here.

For those of you who were interested in the hand where I had the nut fullhouse on the river but felt that I didn't maximize me profit, I'd like to go into it now. I really want to find out how I can get more money from river situations such as these, as I believe you can make a lot more profit through correct bet sizing because the pots are so damn big! Allow me to set the scene....

I had just sat down at a fairly loose $2/4 game on UB and was dealt 8h 6h in th BB. The button made a typical button raise to $14, and after the SB folded, I chose to call.

The flop came down Jh 10s 5h (Flush draw....)

I checked with my weak flush draw, only to see the button bet $12 into the $30 pot. So, sensing weakness, I raised to $30. The button insta-called.

The turn came down Jh 10s 5h (2c)

I still had nothing, but fired again, betting $60 into the $90 pot. My opponent again insta-called.

The river bricked out, and lacking the moxy to fire a third bluff, I conceded the pot and checked to my opponent.... who proceeded to bet $6 into the $200 pot, leaving me in the insta-calling seat, just to figure out what the hell he had! He tabled QJo, and I thought wow: either he made a great read, or he's a total calling station with any medium strength hand.

So, 20 minutes later, I've been on a tear and had built my stack to $900, while Mr QJo had amassed about $650. I find myself with Th Td in the cutoff facing a raise to $14 from the earlier villain who is UTG. Knowing his propensity for going too far with weak hands, I raise to isolate him hoping to flop something strong.

The flop came down: 3c 7h Ts

Top set? Yeah, I'll settle for that! So the action is on the villain, and he bets $6. Knowing now that he will call raises with weak hands, I raise to $66 which to my delight is promptly called.

The turn brings: 3c 7h Ts (8h)

Once again my opponent bets $6! I now raise to 160, hoping this again looks like a bluff/steal attempt. He insta-calls, and I wonder if he has a set (unlikely) or perhaps an overpair, and is hoping that I hang myself. Either way, he has called 2 big bets now with something, and TPTK is unlikely given my hand.

River: 3c 7h Ts 8h (7c)

I now have the nut full-house, and what does my opponent do? He bets $6, into what has become a $530 pot. Now I have to decide how best to get value. If my opponent remembers that the last time I bluffed where I chickened out on the river, he might think that I will go all the way this time and expect a big bluff. If he thinks I only ever bet the river when I'm not bluffing, then I should bet small (though larger than $6 perhaps!) I also tried to put him on a hand, and figured that he must think he had a decent hand to go so far with. I figured an overpair was most likely, and as he most probably had me pegged as a habitual bluffer, I decided to bet large: $390, putting my opponent almost allin.

My opponent thought for a full 15 seconds before folding.

What did I do wrong here? Should I have bet far smaller on the river? Or should I have raised more on the flop?

Of to Egypt tomorrow, so will look forward to reading the comments when I get back! Best of luck....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ice-cold Poker = Tilt-free Poker

The title of this blog is "Ice-cold Poker", and I'd like to mention why I chose it. I believe that I perform best when I'm able to think and reason clearly, and for that to happen my mind cannot be pre-occupied or distracted by anything, especially emotions. An excess of emotion may lead to decisions being made based on factors other than reason and instinct, both of which arise from our faculties of intelligence. As we all know, choosing a particular course of action because we are angry, frustrated, depressed or even just because we 'feel like it', can result in undesirable, and sometimes even disastrous consequences.
When I'm sat at the poker table, emotions should have no impact on my decision making. Each decision to check, call, bet, raise or fold should be based solely on reasoning stemming from observation, deduction, rational theory and occasionally instinct, which to me is the brain telling you something it cannot easily explain. For this reason, poker play should be as unemotional as possible, hence my blog title-cum-mission-statement of "Ice-cold Poker". By playing such poker, I can maximise the number of correct decisions I make through intelligent reasoning, and reduce the number of incorrect decisions made through emotional interference, including tilt. Thus, if I achieve my ideal 'ice-cold' mindstate, then I thereby achieve a tilt-free mindset. I cannot yet play this way all the time, but when this becomes a habit then I hope it will help make me a far stronger player.

It's been a good week results-wise since my last post, and I feel I have been playing very well. There were a few situations however where I felt like a left some money on the table: one where I flopped a fullhouse; and another where I had the nut fullhouse on the river. I'll leave the latter for another day, and focus on the former where I was lucky enough to flop a fullhouse with JJ.....

I was playing a fairly loose $2/4 game on UB and was dealt JJ in UTG+1 (is this known as the hijack seat?). UTG raised to $14, and I called, since in my position I didn't want to get caught out of position in a raising war if someone behind me also had a strong hand. The cutoff also call the raise, and the blinds folded.

The flop came down Jc 4h 4c (Gin!!!)

UTG bet out $40 into the $46 pot. I deliberated, then called, glad that there was a flush chase on the board for deception. The cutoff also called, taking the pot to $166. At this point I thought UTG had a big pair or something like AK, and the cutoff had at least a flush draw if not a 4.

The turn came down Jc 4h 4c (3c)

Bingo! The flush card came and I thought I was going to get paid off by at least one of my opponents. UTG checks, and I decide to bet out a weak $70, looking for a raise from anyone holding the flush or possibly an overpair with a high Club. To my dismay, both players folded.

What did I do wrong here? Should I have checked the turn myself, or was it the size of my bet that was suspect?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Head Scratcher

Hand #45643546-44854 at Hope (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 16/Sep/07 18:19:08

skimpy posts the small blind of $3.
terminator16 posts the big blind of $6.
Incrediboy: 6s 6h
skimpy: -- --
terminator16: -- --
skynet1111: -- --
EzTheKid: -- --
djkaifa: -- --


skynet1111 calls. EzTheKid folds. djkaifa folds. Incrediboy raises to $27. skimpy calls. terminator16 calls. skynet1111 calls.

Flop (board: Ts 3d 6d):

skimpy checks. terminator16 bets $60. skynet1111 folds. Incrediboy raises to $160.50. skimpy folds. terminator16 calls.

Turn (board: Ts 3d 6d Js):

terminator16 checks. Incrediboy bets $429.
terminator16 goes all-in for $206.50. Incrediboy is returned $222.50 (uncalled).

River (board: Ts 3d 6d Js Qc):

(no action in this round)

Incrediboy shows 6s 6h.
Incrediboy has 6s 6h 6d Js Qc: three sixes.
terminator16 shows As Ks.
terminator16 has As Ks Ts Js Qc: straight, ace high.

Hand #45643546-44854 Summary:

$3 is raked from a pot of $842.
terminator16 wins $839 with straight, ace high.

Was considering a stage by stage analysis of this hand, but it really speaks for itself.
The donkey in this case bet $60 on the flop, then called a $100 raise, when he had all of 5% chance of winning. On the turn, he improves dramatically: with a possible flush and straight he now has nearly 23% chance of winning. It is at this point, where he is nearly 1-in-4 to win, that he decides to call my allin for the rest of his stack.
Of course he hits on the river as fish are wont to do. So, 'terminator16', wherever you are, I salute you. I can't imagine a more preferable opponent.

Rant over.

Postscript ....analysing the numbers of the allin call, I found that my opponent's call was in fact correct. The pot was laying 1:3.1 odds on the call, and he was just over 1:4 to win. That said, he wouldn't have gotten those odds if he hadn't put $160 into the pot with 20:1 odds against him. So he's still a total donkey. Total. Donkey.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I put this hand down as a mistake on my part, but now I'm not so sure.
I was fairly new to this table, and it had a very high preflop raise average.

Hand #45622719-30234 at East Peoria (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 12/Sep/07 18:17:09

bloomebay posts the small blind of $2.
Dosharaithe posts the big blind of $4.

Mr_Erlandsson: -- --
bloomebay: -- --
Dosharaithe: -- --
Incrediboy: Kh Ks
richgarces: -- --
DamigeX: -- --

Incrediboy calls.
richgarces folds.
DamigeX raises to $12.
Mr_Erlandsson folds.
bloomebay folds.
Dosharaithe folds.
Incrediboy calls.

Being dealt KK UTG, I decided that I would change from my usual raise and call (for deception), hoping to encourage a large steal raise from the cutoff or the button, who was the table big stack. Instead of that situation, there was a small raise into what was potentially a multiway pot from the cutoff. I didn't know what to make of it, as it didn't suggest great strength seemed to be indicating a drawing hand like 98s. As it didn't give me much to steal, I smooth called to continue the deception.

Flop (board: 3h 9c Td):
Incrediboy checks. DamigeX bets $11. Incrediboy
raises to $35. DamigeX calls.

My opponent bets under 1/2 pot with position. I decide to see if he has actually connected or missed the flop entirely. He calls quickly, so I have to assume he caught something he liked here. Am thinking he has at least TP, or maybe an OESD.

Turn (board: 3h 9c Td Jh):
Incrediboy bets $60. DamigeX calls.

The turn I didn't like, but if he had TPTK it's now just been compromised, and as JT could easily be in my range I felt he could credit me with 2 pair. Obviously, if he was raising with 87 or KQ he's now made his hand, and will surely raise. I'm betting here aiming to get anything weaker (including draws that have improved slightly like JQ) to fold. Since he merely calls, I put him on a strong non-nut hand: have him pegged as 2 pair or better 90% of the time.

River (board: 3h 9c Td Jh 6d):
Incrediboy bets $75. DamigeX calls.

The 6 changes nothing. He called the check-raise and the bet on the turn, and whatever he has I know he isn't folding it. If I check I know he's value betting here, which is why I lead out for around 1/3 of the pot as a blocking bet. Since he didn't raise, I thought for a moment that I might actually win at showdown.

Incrediboy shows Kh Ks.
Incrediboy has Kh Ks 9c Td Jh: a pair of kings.
DamigeX shows 9d 9s.
DamigeX has 9d 9s 9c Td Jh: three nines.

$3 is raked from a pot of $370.
DamigeX wins $367 with three nines.

OK, so he was massive all along after flopping a set, but he played it very passively, especially given my bet sizes (turn: $60 into $100, river: $75 into $220).

Deception play (sustained)
I lost $180 on this hand, and I'm sure there are arguments for folding this hand after my flop check-raise was called.
I do maintain though, that by playing deceptively it is VERY difficult to know before showdown whether you are miles ahead or miles behind, as you have given no indication that you are holding what normally is a monster hand. In this situation, I think I may even have saved myself some money:
Deception play (brief)
Say instead of calling the flop raise, I reraised as you normally would. Say I take it up to $40. With 99, my opponent may easily call with position and enough behind to hope for a set. So the flop comes out and my opponent has a set. I have to lead here, as I do not want to give a free card in case my opponent has an A. So I bet $75 into the $86 pot. As I'm new to the table, I haven't got a great read on my opponent, he could be floating with nothing more than position and 2 overcards. So now, to be sure I'm beaten, I bet $100 into the pot, which is now nearly $240. So I bet, and when he raises I can fold, as the board is sufficiently scary. Still, I just lost $40 + $75 + $100, totalling $215.
Aggressive play (i.e. normal)
If I raise UTG and get called, the cost could be similar to this: $14 flop raise, $60 on a check raise with my opair, and $80 probe on the scary turn followed by a fold). This comes to $154, which is the least expensive option of play.

Even though my normal play appears to be the least expensive when I'm behind, I feel pretty sure that my deceptive play can net me more profits those times I'm ahead. Of course, my opponent needs to catch a piece of the board or have a draw to continue, but by disguising my hand I should often get action from TP or 2nd pair, especially when my opponent is aggressive. The above play could easily have ensued from my opponent raising with QJs, calling my checkraise with an OESD to the nuts, then refusing to lay down TP + OESD, on the turn or the river. He would only usually do this if he thought I had nothing much stronger, and this would only be the case if I'd been deceptive.

As always though, am keen for comments and criticisms on how I played this, as what doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.

PostScript... My thoughts go out to all those in America whose lives were touched or taken by the attacks of 9/11. The world remembers as life goes on.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back in the fight!

Always happy to report that this weekend I didn't suffer any bad beats, played solidly and walked away strongly in profit after. Not only was I dealt some absolute monsters, I was helped immeasurably by having some opponents push with some rather surprising holdings.

Friday night, 30 minutes before I was due to go out and dine on some of the best Argentinian steak available in London, I fired up a few tables on UB to see what was popping. After flopping a straight with 42o (that didn't lose!) and busting a short stacked opponent, Incrediboy proceeded to get a flurry of hands and take down several med/large pots.

One player at my table was playing very aggressively, and when he raised UTG I was almost delirious to see I had been given AA. I popped in the reraise, knowing he would call and he would be isolated. The flop alas was far from perfect: KcKs2h rainbow. He checked, and I decided the scared c-bet was my best option, so I bet $45 into the $100 pot. He insta-called, and I had a micro-second to contemplate my next move. Then, all my half-formed plans were blown away when a positively spectacular Ad fell on the turn. Bingo. My opponent now lead out for $110! All my dreams were coming true as I raised to $250, only to see my opponent push allin for $200 more. I snap called and waited. The river bricked out and the pot was shipped to me. I checked the hand history to see if my opponent had gotten horribly unlucky with AK, KQ or maybe 22. Imagine my surprise when I saw he had pushed allin with 33!!!

5 minutes later, up against a half-stack, I found myself with TT UTG and made a standard raise. The half-stack in the BB was the only caller. The flop of Th 6s 4s gave me top set, and the action was checked to me. I bet my set (cos I'm a man) and to my delight the BB raised the pot, which I hesitated just slightly before calling. The turn gave me quads, and I was forced to call the BB's surprising allin! Checking the hand history, I was getting scared when I read the BB also had pushed with 33, for a mighty 2 pair: TT and 33 (6 kicker!!!).
I stood up and checked my results: $1.1k in 30 minutes. Incrediboy, that's incredible. I went off to meet my friends for steak stunned, but very happy at my good fortune.

Saturday was not so easy, and within an hour I found myself down several buyins. I focussed and played hard though, and managed to finish 2 hours later in profit again after tricking an overly aggressive opponent to push an apparent weak turn bet from me with nothing more than a bare flush draw, while I had trips. Although I made a few big mistakes, I still feel happy with how I played afterwards; particularly the fact I didn't tilt when I was losing.

Sunday morning came around and I played a little more. I quickly took out one short-stacked player after he called my pf raise with Q6o (mistake #1), and hit trips on the flop when I picked up a flush draw. I c-bet 1/2 the pot, and he smooth called (mistake #2). My flush came in on the turn and he checked, maybe hoping to check-raise, but I checked behind for deception. On the river he tried to get value for his trips by betting the pot (mistake #3). I pushed allin and he insta-called, showing down his paltry 6 kicker to my Q-high flush. From there I took out another short stack when he couldn't fold his 99 to my QQ on a J high flop. I doubled up, then logged off for a full cooked breakfast. Bliss.

That evening, just before bed, I played again, conscious of the fact that many other late night sunday sessions had turned a winning weekend into a wasted one. It was not so this time. A player UTG put in a raise, and with 66 in UTG+1 I called, along with both the SB and BB. The flop came down 6c 4h 2d, and I smiled the toothy smile of a tiger seeing a baby llama straying from the safety of the herd. The blinds checked, and the UTG bet pot. With 4 players in the pot, I raised my top set right there to make the bet $100. The SB quickly folded, but the BB smooth called, and I thought I was up against another set (please please please!). UTG quickly called, and my instinct said overpair, he can't let it go. The turn came Tc, and the BB checked. The UTG player fired again, $180 this time! I pushed allin, and the BB quickly folded (shame), but Mr UTG insta-called. The river was 7s and the pot was shipped to me. I called up the hand history, desperate to know what premium holding the UTG player I had luckily overcome? The premium holding was.... ATo.
I tried to explain to Faye just how insane his play was on every level, but I just couldn't. Words failed me. That pot took my winnings to over 1k for an hours play.

I think the moral of the weekend is that you need more than good cards to clean up at poker. You need either
a) Lady Luck to give your opponent a great, but slightly weaker hand every time she gives you a monster, or
b) you need to play against people with an excess of testosterone, but a severe shortage of intelligence.
The second in infinitely more available, so practice good table selection and follow the fish. Use any tools at your disposal to find the weak players, and do your level best to take all of their money. After all, if it didn't go to you, some shark might take it instead. :- P

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back in the ring

A strange but not unusual thing happened to me the other night. I sat down to play a session of poker, and after I had focussed my mind, repeated my winning player affirmation, and made myself completely comfortable, I proceeded to have another losing session. Nothing too bizarre there. What made it different was that when I had finished and confirmed that I had lost money in the session, I felt good. Many people believe that gamblers are only contented by self-punishment, but I assure you this wasn't the case. I felt good because I recognised that I had played well.
For the entire session I made only one mistake, which was not surrendering my AA on the turn to a big raise from what turned out to be a flopped set of 6s. I didn't get stacked on the hand, but I ignored the classic call-call-raise bet pattern of a set, and even payed off the $200 value bet my opponent made on the river when the board paired. By the end of the session however, I had reduced my overall losses to less than the size of that value bet through solid use of tight, aggressive, rational play.
I played well, and I felt good about it. I didn't care that I didn't get paid for it: I know that will come in time. I played again last night with the same mindset, and this time I came away solidly in profit, but feeling just as good as when I had played well and lost. If I can maintain this new attitude, going pro will be much easier.
Also helping me on my quest to world poker domination, I want to thank the HammerPlayer for some very good posts which are helping develop my thinking. I suggest you check out his blog for some very thought-provoking material....

On a related matter, I'm still playing $0.25/0.50 on FTP, and I have no idea why! Ever since I lost most of my 2k deposit on that site, I just can't seem to beat one of the lowest cash games on there! Has anyone else struggled beating the lower limits on FTP? Are all the players there really good but really poor? If anyone sees me playing there (username Subzero__666) please give me some advice if you spot me making mistakes! I really can't figure out how I'm not consistently beating these games, and anyone who helps me to back to the mid/high limits can name their reward (within reason!). Will stay tuned...

Monday, September 03, 2007

August: Gone (with the wins).

Enjoyed 2 fantastic days of surfing lessons in Bude, Cornwall with my girlfriend on the weekend just gone, and though I was truly exhausted by the time I got home last night, I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to pull on a rubber suit and jump onto a hard moulded foam board..... though perhaps simply 'go surfing' is a safer expression! This was only my 2nd set of lessons, but I'm managing to pop up to standing nearly every time I catch a wave, and already have a basic grasp of turning. Really can't wait until I a) get much better, and b) get to surf on some bigger waves; those offered by Bude before October are somewhat diminutive. Even though Cornwall is a 5 hour drive each way for me, it's so much fun mastering the waves for those precious few seconds that I consider it easily worthwhile.
Was stunned to check my blog today and see that an entire month had passed by with not a single post. Thought I'd address that quickly (now that I'm back at work!), but wondered what caused such a lag. Thinking back to the weeks of August, I have been busier at work than I have ever been before, have spent nearly all of my weekends away from London and I'm not sure I've played so much as 10 hours of poker throughout. I haven't even been reading as many blogs as I usually do, having exhausted the archives of HDouble, DoubleAs, Fuel55 and the SurlyPokerGnome. I have been enjoying lots of Alan's recent posts as RecessRampage, so may be digging into his historical folders in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, over the last month my performance has mirrored my commitment to playing and fallen considerably. I don't think August was profitable, and I have lots of work to do to get my game back up to a standard where I'd feel comfortable quitting my day job, which is still my plan for next year. I had one bad session in particular where I lost a lot of money when the board paired either on the flop, or the turn, and I was unwilling to credit my aggressive opponents with trips. Even more unfortunately (for me), losing those pots caused me to get even more aggressive and get caught bluffing at some very large pots. And once that happens at a table, my image is shot, my reads veer off and I can't win a hand.
So, while I've had several winning sessions this last month, I've had a few far bigger losing sessions which have stopped me from seeing profit, and my lack of available playing time has prevented me from reversing these losses. My aim for this month is to get back into playing regularly, and to return to the grind of tight aggressive, and occasional smart aggressive play. If I can, I'll even try playing a Mookie if I can get the entry fee together on FTP! Good luck to all the bloggers.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Random thoughts

Aint posted anything for a while but then I haven't played much this week. I had 2 bad sessions last week, dropping over 1k each time, and I haven't yet made it all back. Suffered some fairly harsh coolers, but I admit they are not the reason I finished down; it was from some fairly poor play on my part where once again I do my every-street bluff against an opponent without doing my homework on whether they can be forced to fold a vulnerable hand. Admittedly, when a player calls your allin after heavy agression at every stage of a hand with TP5K on a 6 high board, you have to wonder what side of the genius/donkey line they sleep on. Sure, they beat your AK unimproved, but how often will they lose to an obvious overpair? Or TP7K for that matter?!?

Anyway, I've been doing a bit more kungfu recently, and while training the other night I got thinking about the similarities between good fighting and good poker. There are actually quite a few. Making as many observations about your opponent as possible is vital to understanding and beating them. Putting pressure on your opponent through constant aggression is the best way to dominate them. Mixing up your attacks will keep your opponent off balance and unable to counter effectively. You get the idea.
Many poker authors quote Sun Tzu when discussing how to play winning poker, and as one-on-one fighting is directly comparable to war, it follows that you can apply Sun Tzu's teachings in martial art training every bit as easily as you can at the poker table. What interests me is how many other activites would also benefit from application of such ideas. I suspect most competitive endeavours find that substantial gains are made from employing an aggressive behaviour, but alas I don't have enough life experience to guess which ones!

Another thing I have been thinking is why take 50-50 chances for pots when playing cash games? I played for a $95 pot the other day at $0.25/0.50 (yes, I know, I'm working on it) where I called an allin with AKo knowing that my opponent was pushing with an underpair, giving me an effective coinflip for the entire pot. Now, that's ok by me, as I can afford to lose here, and I had already put in $15 preflop before I called the allin. However, I got to thinking afterwards and I believe getting into these situations is a mistake for cash games. I am MUCH more skilled than the players at these limits (I'm generalising, but not being big-headed) and my edge against these players comes from playing lots of hands against them. Why should I give them effectively even odds to beat me? By making the allin call here I'm simply gambling: taking away every skill and advantage I have worked so long and hard to gain! I should have folded, and beaten my opponent in subsequent pots through superior playing ability. Thinking some more, I recall that my best results on the lower limit tables come from winning lots of small to medium pots, not from winning allin after allin. Will fix up.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Whatta player...

This last month has been basically insane. Not because I've doubled my bankroll or anything, but because I've only posted 2 sessions out of 20 where I didn't finish in the black! How is that possible you ask? Well, I haven't had more than a couple of bad beats for big pots, so I guess my good play has largely been justly rewarded! I'm making laydowns with what must be the correct frequency, as my aggressive plays continue to have a positive expectation. Even when I encounter resistance but can then occasionally sense it is not genuine adds greatly to my profits. In accordance with that, I'm very rarely getting out of line with my raises preflop, and I'm making far less mistakes in terms of position.

I think one of the best adjustments I've made recently is one advocated by Phil Gordon in his Little Green Book: don't play suited connectors out of position against a preflop raiser. Until recently I'd been trying to break players by calling preflop raises and occasionally re-raises with suited connectors from the blinds or early position, and I was then trying to play draws out of position for the rest of the hand. Phil reminded me that only pocket pairs can effectively be played out of position, as you can either hit the flop and be in excellent shape, or simply miss and get away cheaply. For drawing hands you need the option of checking or betting which position grants you, otherwise you will pay far too much for your draws if there has been substantial preflop action.

When you run well, poker seems the easiest game in the world. I recognise things must be going very well mostly through the absence of the doubt and uncertainty that usually constantly plague me! I sit down at the moment fully expecting to win, and I daresay this confidence is helping my performance considerably. To keep this from becoming a form of arrogance, I remind myself I'm still down 1.5k on FTP, and continue to grind out the $0.25/0.50 games to initiate my return. Given this current good run, I'm glad I'm now very familiar with both the good and bad effects of variance, as it has helped build my patience along with a limited immunity to tilt.

I continue to be challenged and motivated by the exploits of all the other bloggers I read about (see those on the right for a shortlist), and am glad that they always provide me with a level of discipline and other ideals to strive toward. Thanks guys. Next month I want to hit 30k and have a shot at a $5/10 game. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Folding a set!!!

Interesting hand came up when playing some $3/6 the other night, and would appreciate any comments/thoughts on how I should actually have played it.
Table: typical $3/6, with at least one pf raise nearly every hand.
I'm dealt JdJs in the BB. One player limps, the cutoff makes it $34. All fold, I smooth call the $28 extra, as usually I would re-raise here but here I'm balancing my play.

Flop comes: Ks Th 9h Pot $74
I check, intending to check call. The cutoff also checks. OK, this narrows his range a lot. My first instinct is that this guy just flopped a monster. I'm thinking a set or the nut straight, maybe with a straight flush draw also. Other hands possible are an underpair from 66-88 or QQ, or a monster draw such as AhQh.

Turn: Ks Th 9h (Jc) Pot $74
Now I'm thrilled and horrified by this card. Obviously I'm now beating 2 of the 3 flopped sets I may be facing, but am a dog to AQ, QQ, and am only 27% to improve against the idiot straight! Against KK I have only 5 outs. I decide I want to see the river, so I make a blocking bet to represent the Q, so I bet $45, roughly 2/3 of the pot. Unfortunately, my opponent moves allin for $420 more.

Now I can really narrow his range, namely to a flopped set or a straight made on the flop or turn, and not the idiot straight at that. I don't put him on AQ, as he would milk with this. So, the more likely hand seems to be QJs, especially given the flop check and the apparent scared push on the turn, but is it likely every J is out? QQ is the next most likely candidate, and would tie in with all the action so far, apart from the size of the push. The alternative is a set that doesn't read me for the Q and hopes I lay down. Against the sets, I'm 66% to win. Against everything else at this point, with only the river to come I'm a solid dog. With all this in mind, I folded my 2nd set.

Am I missing a hand here? Should I include AhKh in his range? Most importantly, should I have folded here? Please let me know how I could have played this better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fish and chips

I got a reminder the other day that the fish are alive and well. Needless to say I added this particular individual to my buddy list, and he will be paying for my next Argentinian fillet steak....

Hand #44149311-4653 at Clifton (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 08/Jul/07 06:39:10

Incrediboy is at seat 0 with $390.
Kooox is at seat 1 with $803.10.
tsigaty is at seat 2 with $834.40.
phishman1111 is at seat 3 with $234.50.
Mkind0516 is at seat 4 with $636.10.
Boobie Lover is at seat 5 with $856.80.
The button is at seat 5.

Incrediboy posts the small blind of $2.
Kooox posts the big blind of $4.

Incrediboy: 8h 8c
Kooox: -- --
tsigaty: -- --
phishman1111: -- --
Mkind0516: -- --
Boobie Lover: -- --

tsigaty raises to $8. phishman1111 calls. Mkind0516
folds. Boobie Lover folds. Incrediboy calls.
Kooox calls.

Flop (board: 9h 8s 3d):
Incrediboy checks.
Kooox checks.
tsigaty bets $21.
phishman1111 raises to $42.
Incrediboy re-raises to
$66. Kooox folds.
tsigaty re-raises to $201. <--- can he possible have 99???
phishman1111 folds.
Incrediboy goes all-in for $382.
tsigaty calls.

Turn (board: 9h 8s 3d Qd): <--- didn't like this, as JT now beats me (no action in this round)

River (board: 9h 8s 3d Qd 6d): <--- now T7 beats me too.... (no action in this round)

Incrediboy shows 8h 8c.
Incrediboy has 8h 8c 9h 8s Qd: three eights.
tsigaty shows 9d 8d.
tsigaty has 9d 8d 3d Qd 6d: flush, queen high. <--- oh. ok. right. the flush. of course.
Hand #44149311-4653 Summary:
$3 is raked from a pot of $838.
tsigaty wins $835 with flush, queen high.

Would you believe he had 13% chance of actually winning this when the money went in? I'm not sure, but I think that means I was almost a strong favourite to pull in this pot. Almost, of course, being the operative word!
A plague on all backdoor draws, and a pox on the monkeys that hit them.....

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Feeling the pulse

Happy to report that yesterday I got in a good few hours of play, and that they were a few hours of good play. I was fortunate enough to be rewarded for my sound decision making as the bad beats were few and far between.

I'm beginning to develop what I think of as an ability to feel the 'pulse' of a given game. Now this is something that is probably instinctively recognised by most pros, but it has occurred to me that the collective behaviour of the players at a given table should influence your decision making, so I thought I would make some observations about it.
First thing I think you should note is that you can't really study the behaviour of players at lower limits. No offence to anyone who plays under $1/2 NLH (that's where I built the core of my bankroll!) but the play at that limit ranges from weak to ABC poker. This kind of study I think only applies at the bigger limits.
When sitting down at such a table you should normally be taking notes of all the obvious variables: who is big/short stacked, who is playing aggressively/tight, and who has been winning the last few pots. If someone just suffered a bad beat, you should pay attention to that fact also. However, there is more information to be gleaned about the play at this particular table. This information is what each player is thinking and feeling: you are looking to understand their current psychological temperament. If you know this on top of knowing the individual playing style and image of each opponent, you will have a wealth of information to apply to each play you encounter.
Determining a players state of mind goes beyond looking out for bad-beat tilt and short-stacks willing to raise allin any flop with top-pair. Those things are usually the end result of a bad session or an allin gone wrong. I think you need to focus on the interim hands within a playing session. Has a player just been the victim of a bluff? Did they just have a big bluff called? Has the board conspired to force them to fold what looked like a monster hand? Have they just been beaten out of a big pot by a moron 2 pair? All of these things will have an impact on that player's mindset, and also on that of the other player involved. By keeping track of the results of each hand, and predicting the associated psychological impact these hands are having, you can usually derive an edge by understanding the reason a player is playing a particular hand.

For example, lets say an aggressive player in seat 5 has just been bluffed off a big pot by a player in seat 2. For the next few rounds, player 5 is much more likely to enter a pot where player 2 is also involved. Why? Because he likely feels cheated and as such will probably not be playing stronger hands, but will instead be playing weaker hands stronger, either in an attempt to prove that he can't always be bluffed or simply to get 'revenge'.
If you were player 2, this would be very useful information, and you could expect to have your value bets called much more often.
What about if you were player 6 and recognised the above? Then, after a raise from player 2, and a call from player 5, you would feel much more confident about re-raising both players, as if player 2 folds then player 5 will probably not feel the need to be in the pot any longer, and will also fold.

This type of analysis can be viewed as an extension of note taking, but I think it goes deeper than observing instances of cause and effect (ie after getting bluffed a player will call more often). If you have an idea of what a player is thinking or feeling (especially if it's "I can't catch a break...") then will be better able to adjust your own play to effectively exploit any flaws their current mindset may afford.

By bearing in mind the psychological elements of poker table warfare, you will have another layer of data to use in your interpretation of a players actions. If you can see how they respond to a situation against another opponent, you can gain insight into how they might likely respond to that situation with you as their opponent. The more information you have about a player, the less you will have to examine any action they take in a vacuum, and at the higher limits, this may make the difference between winning or losing.

Wow, didn't know if I'd get through that, but there you go. This is a bit more original, and I hope some of it is relevant or useful. Maybe it will prompt you to think a little differently about the players you play against. Just remember that all players are people, and people are all( to one extent or another) emotional creatures. Maybe you can use that to your advantage.

Best of luck.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Assigning a danger rating to a flop

Just wanted to jot down my thoughts on playing dangerous flops, this will probably be a mish mash of various scholar’s ideas, just hope some of it is useful. No original thoughts on this area yet, obviously you shouldn’t always play predictably and you need to tailor how you play dangerous flops according to your opponent’s tendencies.

Most players will be familiar with the defining characteristics of good hands for NLHE, namely that non pocket-pair hands improve according to High-Card Strength(H), Suitedness(S) and Connectedness(C). For a hand to be deemed generally playable, it should rate strongly in at least 2 of these 3 criteria. Admittedly, not all players adhere strictly to this advice, and can be found playing strange holdings for obscure reasons.
For example, people playing J5 offsuit will probably confuse nearly everyone who isn’t keen on hip-hop. That said, however, most people will usually be folding hands that don’t conform to these guidelines, and this has a direct correlation to how likely a particular flop is to have hit their hand, and thus how ‘dangerous’ that flop is.
Basically, a flop becomes more likely to have made someone a strong hand if it displays the same characteristics as those used to rate the ‘playability’ of hole cards, namely the attributes of the aforementioned rating categories H, S and C, and whether a card (of any rank) is paired.
For the more experienced player, evaluating the dangers of a given flop and deciding how to react will be something they do instinctively, however for those newer or less experienced players, the following should hopefully prove a useful guide to calculating risk, and furthermore provide sound advice on using that risk rating effectively.

I’ve had a play with assigning numerical value to flops and using this to calculate overall risk, but I think an easier method is to split the potential Risk for each category into Small, Medium, Medium-Big and Big(L, M, MB, B). Say the flop brings 3 cards all of the same suit, then there is a level B risk for the Suited category. If the cards are ranked 5 6 8, there is also a MB risk for the Connected category. If a flop has a risk of MB or greater in 2 or more categories, and you have a vulnerable hand (such as TPTK or an overpair) caution is advised, and you should probably want to use probe bets or checks to keep the pot small. If the same dangerous flop comes and you have a very strong hand (such as a set or a straight) which may already be second best or favoured to lose by the river, a display of strength is normally
advised, maybe through an overbet or large check-raise so that your opponent cannot draw profitably or will hopefully ‘announce’ their made hand so you can save some money.

In addition, any paired flop is of course inherently dangerous, especially in an unraised pot, when limping and completing can be done with literally any 2 cards. If the pot is raised, probe bets on a paired board with a made hand are usually advised, as you will both appear suspiciously strong when you are ahead (or when your opponent thinks you are), and mean you will build (and probably lose) a smaller pot when you are behind. If the board pairs a broadway card, particularly an A, you need to be cautious: whether you have the A or not! If you have the A and build a pot, in my experience the times you are getting called you are already behind! Either they flopped a full house or have a weak A but paired their kicker. Whenever the board has paired, if you get raised allin, even if you have trips with the best kicker, evaluate your opponent and ask if they will push with less than a full house. The answer is usually a resounding NO!

This stuff should be common knowledge to a lot of you, but for those that haven't read or thought about this, I suggest making it a permanent part of your game.

Good luck at the tables, and for those who blog, keep up the good work!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baby steps

Been running bad for about 2 weeks now. This is the first time I've experienced what I've dubbed 'frustration tilt' where you try to play well, then get nothing but poor cards and bad beats until you pick a hand like (an overpair or TPTK) and just don't let go until you're stacked. It's a new one for me, and it sure aint fun. To summarise, I've dropped over 75% of my 2k deposit to FTP, and I'm disappointed with myself.
But I don't get mad these days, I get even. I'm not going to reload, I'm just going to grind my way back to where I was. And then I'm going to push the limits. As soon as I have enough for 3 full buyins at the next limit level of NLH, I'm going to try it. I'm just going to keep pushing as far and as hard as I can, and see what I can cut. I plan on taking things gently on UB and stick to a max of $3/6, and use that as my cash cow. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Defending late position raises

Haven’t posted in a few days, thanks largely to my friends boat party on the river Thames over the weekend. Think I drank the best part of 2 bottles of wine early Saturday evening and was thus completely incapacitated for the rest of the night, and also the weekend!
Been meaning to submit a strategy post for a while though, so have included below my latest idea on defending late position raises. As ever, any feedback will be appreciated (*hint hint*).

The situation: 6-max NLHE. You limp in early with a med/small pair or SC. As usual in aggressive short-handed games, the cutoff or button raises 4BB. The blinds fold, and you are the only caller. The flop comes Kh 7s 3c, and there is almost 10BB in the pot.
Having missed the flop completely, you check. The button c-bets (say 8BB), as expected. Now, you check-raise. Most of the time, this will elicit a fold, and you will win the 18BB pot. Let’s look at why.

Basically, this play is based on receiving the correct flop (more on this later), and the hand range your opponent will raise with. Let’s think about what you opponent is raising with here (either in the cutoff or on the button), assuming they are fairly tight.
AXs ( X = K-8 )

Knowing what we do about the number of ways these hands can be dealt, we can determine the following numbers:
AA-88 => 7 * 6 = 42
AKo-ATo => 4 * 12 = 48
AXs ( X = K-8 ) 6 * 4 = 24

Total # ways to be dealt a raising hand: 114.
Now we factor in the fact that there is a K on the flop, and adjust this number accordingly: 107.

The importance of the K-high uncoordinated flop now becomes apparent. We now need to look at the number of above raising hands which are NOT compromised by this flop. These are as follows:
AA, KK, AK giving a total of 21 (= 6 + 3 + 12).
This list is short precisely because the flop contains a single high card, and is uncoordinated. Thus drawing hands can effectively be eliminated from the range, as calling a re-raise with only a backdoor draw is extremely uncommon.

So, in this example, out of 107 solid raising hands, only 21 will be strong enough to continue after the flop. So what percentage of hands are potentially crippled by this flop?
(107-21) / 107 * 100 = 80.37383 !!!
This means that 80% of the time, the raiser’s hand has been compromised and faced with a check-raise they should give up there and then. If that isn’t a good spot to bluff check-raise, I don’t know what is!
I must stress though the importance of the high-card being a K. If it is a Q, the range of hands that are still in good shape increases dramatically, to the point where the move is almost a coin-flip in terms of odds. Save your money for those occasions where you will have clearly the best of it.

There are several caveats to this play, such as your opponent being able to fold an underpair, them not hitting the middle flop card to make a set, always making a c-bet, and so on. I will not go into into these, but be aware there are situations and exceptions where the check-raise will not elicit a fold, and in these situations you should shut down immediately unless you improve dramatically.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Back down I go....

Just been reading some of DoubleAs old blog entries, and as always I am left impressed and envious with his reasoning and ideas. I have been reading lots of his older stuff each day of late, and I always feel that I read it too fast as there is so much to absorb and to consider. If I continue to climb any further, a lot of his ideas will prove truly invaluable, providing I can employ them correctly.
In one of his posts (or more probably several) he talks about having the discipline to use the knowledge that you have all the time, thereby making it a habit. If I can do this I know I will find beating the game and moving up in levels much easier and quicker, so playing as best I can, or ‘professionally’, at all times is one of my current goals.
Another goal I have decided upon (aside from not playing drunk!) is to always play for the right reasons. I play poker for fun, and the most fun I have is when I’m winning. More specifically, my enjoyment comes from pulling off great bluffs, or from outplaying my opponents in a way that gets me all of their chips. I play to beat the competition. I need to recognise when I’m not in a good position to do that, due to being tired, distracted, or simply outclassed, and then either find a new table or just stop playing.
Hopefully by sticking to these goals, my discipline while playing can continue to improve, and my results will *ahem* follow suit.

The above has been prompted by the fact that recently I have been a little dispirited with my play. I have been playing hit and miss at the $2-$4 level on UB, but mainly it’s because I have just started playing NLH on FTP at the $1-$2 level and I seem to have become a losing player! I am still thinking and reading about poker every day, but over the last 7 days I have failed to post a winning session at $1-$2. Here are my thoughts on why:
1) At $1-$2 I expect to win. If I occasionally win at $3-$6, and usually win at $2-$4, then surely I should always win at $1-$2, right? This means I am instantly complacent about the competition on these tables, and it occurs to me they are far more hungry, if not quite as skilled at this level.
2) $1-$2 isn’t $2-$4. I continue to use standard $2-$4 plays and multi-street bluffs against people who are happy to call off their entire stack with TP9K. Just because I know I would play an overpair the same way doesn’t mean they do, or that they will fold their horribly weak (but still best) hand.
3) I don’t rate players at the $1-$2 level as intelligent. This I think is my biggest problem, as I have convinced myself that a turn raise from a $1-$2 player does not indicate a set as it would normally, but instead I put them on a straight draw, and surmise they will fold to an allin. I think ego is the cause of this, and by pretending that the money I have on that site is all that I have I should be able to rectify the situation.
If I continue to lose, I will drop down another level, and I think this experience will prove to be a very good refresher on poker winning basics, and bring back my proven TAG style, free from any evidence of FPS (Fancy Player Syndrome). After all, let’s leave the tricky stuff for the £25-$50 game :- )

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chicken dinner

Don’t deserve any credit at all for this hand, apart from for sensible table selection! Logged on before noon on a Saturday, and I find a $2-4 table with an average pot size of $279 and only 5 of 6 seats taken. It was a sign, and I wasn’t one to ignore it. What followed was a rollercoaster of terrible hands and suckouts from some ridiculously loose play (see # of calls below) from everyone else at the table, but I hung firmly on and managed to win my biggest ever pot by nothing more than playing my good hands very aggressively, then being in the right place at the right time.
If only it was always as easy as calling with the nuts :)
NB Notice how much I’d have lost if he had even a small set!

Hand #41864557-9650 at Grand Island (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 05/May/07 06:01:39

wildcoyote77 is at seat 1 with $1011.40.
ffiisshhyy is at seat 2 with $614.
JonbonDrama is at seat 3 with $2354.50.
StackinChips1 is at seat 4 with $278.50.
Incrediboy is at seat 5 with $901.
The button is at seat 2.

JonbonDrama posts the small blind of $2.
StackinChips1 posts the big blind of $4.

wildcoyote77: -- --
ffiisshhyy: -- --
JonbonDrama: -- --
StackinChips1: -- --
Incrediboy: Ah Kh

Incrediboy raises to $14. wildcoyote77 calls.
ffiisshhyy calls. JonbonDrama re-raises to $74.
StackinChips1 folds. Incrediboy calls. wildcoyote77
calls. ffiisshhyy calls.

Flop (board: 6h 2h 3h):
JonbonDrama bets $90. Incrediboy calls.
wildcoyote77 goes all-in for $937.40. ffiisshhyy
folds. JonbonDrama folds. Incrediboy goes all-in
for $827. wildcoyote77 is returned $110.40

Turn (board: 6h 2h 3h Td):
(no action in this round)

River (board: 6h 2h 3h Td Th):
(no action in this round)

wildcoyote77 shows Qh 7h.
wildcoyote77 has Qh 7h 6h 3h Th: flush, queen high.
Incrediboy shows Ah Kh.
Incrediboy has Ah Kh 6h 3h Th: flush, ace high.

Hand #41864557-9650 Summary:
$2 is raked from a pot of $2044.
Incrediboy wins $2042 with flush, ace high.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Drunk striving

So angry at myself. Last night I played under the influence. Lost 1k, which in itself isn't a great deal, but it's the principal of it. It certainly wasn't professional, and that's the thing that has me steaming.
ALmost asked my girlfriend this morning to stop me if she ever saw me sit down to play after drinking, but then I stopped and thought about it for a second. Why on earth should I abdicate the responsibility for my own behaviour? How old am I, 7? The discipline starts now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I know, I know, I said that I'd give it time. That I'd see how my results looked after several more months. But I've made up my mind. In 8 months time, I'm going to turn pro.

Obviously I have been mulling over playing poker for a living for a while now, but I reached my decision while away on holiday. I had just finished work on a typical stressful note before packing for Malta, and it hit me that right now I have a chance, maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance, to do something I really enjoy for a living. I simply don't like what I do now, and though it would afford me a fairly comfortable life and good long term security, I couldn't live with not taking my chance at something I'm passionate about, and feel I have the capability to excel at. Maybe I don't have what it takes to play winning poker at 25/50. Maybe I won't ever make a big score in a tournament. But I want to find out for myself, and I'm very confident that I can perform well enough to support myself now and in the future with the skills that I already possess.

I won't be running round telling all my friends just yet, because my results may plummet, my thinking might change, or (gulp) the UK government could decide they want to copy the US and ban online gambling. So I'm going to wait 5 more months and build up the bankroll during which time I can always change my mind, and then hand in my notice and see what I'm really made of. If I can continue to make $100+/ph on average at $2-$4 I will have no doubts as to my making the correct move financially.

On top of this, as mentioned I will continue with all my other hobbies, plus I can try doing a bit more acting, and if anything good comes from that then that will just be icing on the cake. If you are good at poker, the bottom line is it lets you do what you want. And I want to see where it takes me.

Start the countdown.....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Goals for a new age

My birthday has just passed and I'm suddenly realising just how close to 30 I truly am. I haven't ever really been one for long-term plans, so far my route through life has been conforming easily to that expected of a fairly academic (if somewhat rebellious) young man: attend college, get a part-time job, go to university, experience studying alongside drinking, drugs and women, then get a full-time job and start to consider a career. This may sound silly but I never thought I’d actually find myself in the position of being a full time employee in a London-based IT office, in spite of it being quite an obvious destination for someone who graduated from a London university with a BSc in Computer Science.
I always thought I’d end up doing something far more exciting with my life. Maybe that was never anything more than a pipe dream, but nonetheless I had hoped it would somehow become real. I can’t quite say what it was I
thought I’d find myself doing, but I always felt (however arrogantly) that I would be doing something extra-ordinary. And now it’s sinking in that such a lifestyle isn’t looking too likely. So what then are my options?

1) Get really involved in my office work, put in long hours or diligent study, climb the corporate ladder and be a successful businessman. This is within my reach, but for one small problem: my work doesn’t excite me. Without this excitement, I lack the incentive to put in the hard work.
2) Find a job that is satisfying and interesting, yet doesn’t take up all of my time. This is obviously the dream, and for 99% of people remains as nothing more than that. Not sure that I am that lucky, though of course by trying lots I could have a chance at being in the minority. Have considered just doing charity work overseas, as I’d like to make a real difference to people with my life, but I’m not sure I’m skilled enough at anything to actually achieve that.
3) Do bits and pieces. Pursue acting, poker, teaching kungfu, and take up other hobbies like free-running to add to climbing, blading, biking and surfing. This would obviously be fun, but I’m not sure it would work out long term, as even if the poker proved successful and afforded a very easy lifestyle, it would ultimately be one without the security of expected financial measures like a pension and steady income.

So, as I’m only 3 years into my office job ‘career’, I will wait a little longer and see what happens over the coming 9 months. In that time I hope I’ll gain a good understanding of where I stand with my girlfriend, my job, my poker ability and my personal desires for what I want from life, and hopefully all of this will enable a much easier decision.

Just looked at all of that and it’s a hell of a brain dump, but it’s good to take a step back once in a while and get some perspective. Think that’s good advice for all life’s pursuits….

Friday, April 20, 2007


Well, I guess I was about due for a cooler but DAMN..... this one hurt me bad. Once again I was straying into overaggressive mode and failing to find the fold button. Ran KK into AA twice. Then QQ into AA on a KK4 flop where I failed to outplay my opponent. Pushing allin with AK and losing the coin flip from a call with QQ. And on top of all of that my occasional bluff raises were habitually slapped back into my face. I think I must have started to tilt, especially when I found myself pushing pf with AQo and seeing my opponent call easily with AKs (which of course hit the flush to add insult to injury). Obviously there was also a few bad beats along the way (like AJ vs AT allin on the A-2-4 flop), but most of my losses were from me spewing horribly.

The worst thing is that I was meant to be taking some time off poker this week, but instead I burned right through my midnight oil (not to mention about 3k) and managed barely 5 hours sleep before work. Was telling myself that the aggression was part of trying my new style, but if so it was an experiment gone horribly wrong. Serves as a good reminder that you can wipe out almost a months work in mere hours. The only consolation I can afford myself is that I don't care about the money; I can get that back over time, I'm just annoyed with myself for playing so poorly.

Anyway...... feel a little better now, always glad I can rely on my blog for it's cathartic properties, going to have a great weekend learning to surf then come back refreshed and recommence playing my A-game. Good luck to you all, look forward to reading your latest blog soon.