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....