Monday, March 26, 2007


Well it's still going well, and I think my game is pretty tight, but I'm still wondering whether I am enjoying the sweet side of variance. Can't recall the last big bad beat I took, although I don't think I've handed any out either. If things remain good a month or two longer, I will be hitting the 20k barrier, at which point I'm going to make a small withdrawal and enjoy some of my hard-won gambling gains!
Been keeping tabs on my cousin who went pro nearly a month ago now, and he's been having to work pretty hard to keep up the average. Still not sure whether I could handle it, but I think the question is more would I want to? Have definitely been considering it however, and if I can maintain the $100p/hr average I may have to discuss it in earnest with key friends and family. And if they advise against turning pro, well I guess I'll just have to buy them off! ;)
Made a very good play over the weekend which ended up getting me an opponent's stack through using deception.

Hand #40567670-17110 at Delta (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 25/Mar/07 07:53:58

jpaws is at seat 0 with $418.20.
tenkei is at seat 1 with $230.
Incrediboy is at seat 3 with $441.
Pokabrat is at seat 4 with $944.35.
hockeyfiend22 is at seat 5 with $756.30.
The button is at seat 2.

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

jpaws: -- --
tenkei: -- --
Incrediboy: Qh Kc
Pokabrat: -- --
hockeyfiend22: -- --

hockeyfiend22 folds. jpaws calls. tenkei folds.
Incrediboy calls. Pokabrat checks.

Flop (board: 6h Ts Ad):
Incrediboy bets $12. Pokabrat folds. jpaws calls.

Turn (board: 6h Ts Ad Jd):
Incrediboy checks. jpaws bets $36. Incrediboy
raises to $90. jpaws calls.

River (board: 6h Ts Ad Jd 2d):
Incrediboy bets $216. jpaws goes all-in for $312.20.
Incrediboy calls.

jpaws shows As Ah.
jpaws has As Ah Ts Ad Jd: three aces.
Incrediboy shows Qh Kc.
Incrediboy has Qh Kc Ts Ad Jd: straight, ace high.

Hand #40567670-17110 Summary:

$2 is raked from a pot of $840.40.
Incrediboy wins $838.40 with straight, ace high.

Now I know that betting into 2 players from first position with nothing but a gutshot does not seem a +EV play. If neither player has an A, I can usually take the pot uncontested on this (seemingly) draw-free flop, but if I'm called or raised I will usually be beaten and have to lay it down. However, this pot bet hides my hand better than a Klingon cloaking device, and if I hit my miracle and someone else has a strong hand, they are going to lose a lot of money finding out they are only second best, which was what happened here.
Checking like I had been caught out on the turn, then after my opponent bet putting in a big 'take-it-down-now' raise was designed to do 2 things: 1) reveal I had what I thought was a monster (JJ, TT, 66, maybe AJ), and 2) get more money in the pot so it all might go in on the river. There was also a possibility I was putting in a big bluff with nothing or maybe the diamond flush draw.
The river completed the flush, but I wasn't at all concerned about it. If anything, it helped me as I could put in a big bet that would look like a flush bluff(as opposed to the smaller flush value bet), which my adept opponent correctly saw through, and raised the final $100. Bingo, I call, and he turns over his flopped top set and loses to my turned Broadway. I still don't think he knows what hit him.
Two things to note here:
I got lucky. And I'm not talking about hitting the Jd. I was more lucky that he had flopped a set, otherwise I'd never have gotten his entire stack. Luck isn't just getting the cards you need; it's about your opponent also getting theirs.
Implied odds make all the difference. I bet on the flop to steal the pot, not hoping to make a straight. I'll frequently get called, and in those cases I've wasted $12. But in the cases I'm called, I hit, and my opponent has a monster, I'm assured a big pay off. Even when they only have a mediocre hand, if I hit I will usually get about 10BB more from them. And that's why I'm prepared to make these bets a permanent part of my game.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Upgrade schmupgrade

So I had to change my name to get rakeback, and so my UB handle is no longer Sub_Zero. So much change at the moment: new flat, new ISP, and now I will go by the name Incrediboy (at least on the UB poker tables - don't think I can implement in the office just yet! ). Which leads me on to my next topic, which is actually more of a rant. It's about Victor Chandler poker, that's right - the unreliable, unwieldy beast that is VC.
In the past VC was an acceptable site for poker, and that was as far as it went. The players were largely weak (see 'Internet Poker') but the site was slow, tables frequently crashed and the waiting list system was a joke. Once I had setup my UB account, I only went back to VC when there was no action on UB or I needed to play in a 'softer' game. About a month ago I logged on when my housemate was hogging all the juicy UB 2-4 tables, and discovered I had accumulated over a million Action Points! I quickly checked what I could buy with these, and found that I could do far better than a dealer visor or hoody - I was entitled to a £200 sound dock for my iPod!!!
Awesome, I said to myself, I'll order that soon as I'm moved into my new flat.
So I moved, and I got internet access installed. In the interim, VC had 'upgraded' their software. Logging on, I was asked if I wanted to perform the (mandatory) update. The alternative of course being never play again and lose every cent I'd made on the site. After the upgrade was installed, a prompt informed me that "username Sub_Zero was no longer valid", and I was recommended to "use subzero4 to access your account".
That's annoying, I thought, but I can handle it.
So I type the new handle into the login prompt and enter my password. "Username/password is invalid. Please re-enter". I carefully re-type both. "Username/password is invalid. Please re-enter". I try my original handle. Invalid. Original handle, all lowercase to tie in with the new format? Invalid. I call customer services, small amounts of steam issuing from my ears.
CS: "What is your username sir?"
"Well... I'm afraid I don't know anymore. You seem to have changed it."
CS: "Do you hold an account with us?"
"Yes." [You changed my username. Quid pro quo, moron.]
CS: "Can I have your details please....[details given] ... ok sir, what you should do is enter your original handle, changing it all to uppercase, along with your original password."
I try this, and it works. I don't have the energy to rant about the stupidity of the system I have just encountered, so I give a terse "Thankyou" and put down the phone.
This is pissin' me off, I think, but it'll be ok now.
So I checked My Account, to see how my VC experience has been upgraded. Upgraded was not to be my experience. My balance was now displayed in £ stirling, rather than $US. And my 1,000,000 APs seemed to have shrunk to 210,000. I checked whether the shop had also been changed. To my relief, the 'prices' had also been dropped. Then I saw the same sound-dock I was waiting to order. It now cost 240,000. I had been well and truly dicked.
I am Jack's white-hot rage.
Needless to say there wasn't much in the way of an upgrade to any other part of the site, the tables were large and visually unfriendly, and almost every button meant a new window. The only thing that was mildly improved was the waiting lists. I have resolved to abandon VC as soon as I have got my sound-dock. Upgrade? Quite the opposite I'm afraid.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Poker has always been a double-edged sword from the day I first started winning. Post a win, and you feel clever, stimulated and invincible. Lose, and you feel foolish, despondent and weak. Maybe the sword is actually triple-edged, because I know when I have a break-even session I usually feel like I’ve just wasted a lot of my time on nothing. I know I’m young at the moment, but that won’t always be the case and I don’t want to look back and regret the time spent in the pursuit of poker supremacy!
My average earn for the shortest month of the year was $100. This is my highest ever, and I am of course very pleased. This said, it has prompted a number of worrying thoughts.
I want to maintain and better this average. This probably means that by the time I get the bankroll up to 20k I’ll be looking to take another shot at the 3-6 tables.
If I can maintain this average, it means I’ll be earning far more from poker than from my real job. And that is not a situation that makes sense, and would necessitate a fairly prompt change.
What if this average is just me enjoying the sweet side of variance? I feel my play has come on loads this year, but I know that it’s hard to tell with any certainty if my improving fortunes are directly linked to improving skill. At least I am still suffering from regular bad beats, if they were absent I’d know that the relationship between winning and judgement was off on holiday…
Having just moved house I’m still awaiting my BB connection, but once that is running I’ll be throwing myself back into the tables, aiming for at least 50 hours each month. Have created a new account on UB to take advantage of rakeback, and want to start earning even more from my favourite hobby. Not sure I want to combine it to my hourly average, but then I don’t know why I shouldn’t as it should be adding a constant value for each table I have open.
I want to experiment more with overbetting the pot, as that is currently something I very rarely do and need to include more in my game. I’m also aware of a need to mix up my play more, including varying my bet sizes, but aggression and reason will remain my main allies.
Bring it on.