Thursday, July 31, 2008


Well yesterday wasn't the greatest start to the new half. In fact, you could say it 'sucked ass', an American phrase I believe which neatly captures my sentiments. It started off badly on FTP, with me losing 3 allins with overpairs to JJ, KK, and KJ, with the latter being allin after the flop of QTx. Then a few coinflips didn't go my way, my play got worse, and before I knew it I had been playing over 5 hours straight and was down 3k.

It's still really annoying suffering such bad days, even though I'm much more comfortable knowing I can make it back. I think it's worse though in some ways, because I should be able to recognise bad play/tilt sooner and stop playing before I lose a chunk of the bankroll.

Anyway, back on track now and taking things slowly, am going to try and stick with short controlled sessions, because I just don't play that well otherwise. Wish me luck....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Half year

This month end completes my first 6 months of going pro, that is becoming entirely self-employed as a full time professional poker player. Here are my results for July:

During this period (excluding a few sessions not imported to PokerTracker) I ran at roughly VP$IP 22 and PFR 16.50, with an average BB/100 score of 6.5 . As you can see from my results, I didn't play loads of hours this month for various reasons, but I did manage to beat my earn-rate target of $100 per hour quite handsomely. What's even more impressive is that I managed it while still having a negative week during week 3! I think this was really only possible thanks to running super-hot in week 2, allowing me to boast my best ever earning week. Good cards and good play can be very nice in combination as I'm sure you well know!

Here are my financial results for the half:

And here are my PT stats:

I'm pleased with my financial results of course, but I know I can do much better. My recent downturn in hours needs addressing; I think a lot of it is due to summer and the activities that summer weather encourages (blading, seeing friends and family) and complacency about my ability to make a decent living working from home.

I am pleased about how much I'm studying: watching plenty of CR vids, doing lots of reading and thinking about the game - but need to make sure that whenever I play I am disciplined enough to always bring my A-game as the times I don't end up far more expensive than not playing at all.

Thinking back over the last 6 months it's incredible to consider how much more I know. My game isn't dramatically different to what it was - and I don't see that changing in the future - but what has really changed is my understanding of the game. It certainly seems that my hand reading is coming on a lot, and I am far more confident about making decisions and generally adjusting to different types of opponents in different situations. I still encounter the odd player who leaves me wondering whether they know what game they are playing, but that is just life.

Thinking long term for a second, I do find myself wondering if I will be bored of watching cards flick several hours a day. I've decided that providing I am still learning the game and elevating my play, it will be very difficult to get bored. Situations that you have seen hundreds of times previously become weighted with new factors and possibilities to consider with every new facet learnt about the game. I still subscribe to the adage 'No limit hold'em takes a day to learn, and a lifetime to master'. Best of luck all.

Cranwood (6 max) - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em
Seat 1: Player1 ($420)
Seat 2: Villain ($799)
Seat 3: Hero ($516)
Seat 4: Player2 ($1,665.20)
Seat 5: Player3($492)
Seat 6: Player4 ($400)
Player2 posts the small blind of $2
Player3posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Jh As]
Player4 folds
Player1 folds
Villain raises to $14
Hero raises to $48
Player2 folds
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain calls $34
*** FLOP *** [Qs 9h 2d]
Villain checks
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero bets $68
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain calls $68
*** TURN *** [Qs 9h 2d] [7d]
Villain checks
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero bets $140
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain has requested TIME
Villain folds
Uncalled bet of $140 returned to Hero
Hero mucks
Hero wins the pot ($235)

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Learning Curve

Was listening to a Cash Plays interview with Daniel Negreanu yesterday that really struck a chord. Bart Hanson was asking his thoughts on various issues, including bankroll sizing and moving up levels. Negreanu said that people who followed advice of having an excessively large (ie 'safe') bankroll before moving up a level were limiting their growth as players, for the simple fact that when you play in a bigger game you are challenged far more often and as a consequence learn the game at a faster rate.

In the example cited, 2 players of equal skill start playing at a $5/10 game. The first player only plays this level, and the second player continually takes shots at bigger games. Initially, the first player will make more money and the second player struggles to adapt to a tougher game. However, over time the second player will learn to beat the bigger game, and should make more money playing at that level and above. Even if they do not continue to play at the higher level, upon returning to the $5/10 game the second player will find it far easier to beat, and should now expect to have a higher winrate than the first player (who has never played at a higher level).

Makes perfect sense, but this was not obvious to me until Daniel spelled it out. So, I think I will start pushing myself more to move up levels sooner rather than later. There are loads of reasons in favour of this, and I can't think of any reasons to abstain. I'll study more CR videos of higher level tables. I'll continue listening to Cash Plays hoping to receive more sound advice on overall playing strategy. I'll read more posts on the forums, and go to places where I can get advice from pros or learn from a simple poker tip of the day.

After all, I am a student of the game, and without diligent study and application I know my game would rapidly regress. And without the constant challenge of both learning and pressure, my enjoyment of playing would quickly wane at a time when it should be at it's peak.....

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This is a momentous event. In nearly 4 years playing poker, this has only ever happened to me once before. It was even more delicious this time, as I was ahead on the flop when the money went in.

As you can imagine, the pot was 4-bet preflop, and when the flop came out, the rest of the money went in no problem....

I almost managed not to scream when the turn came, so you can imagine what happened when the river landed! Suck, and re-suck, it's a beautiful thing, but it doesn't seem to happen often enough when I start out in the lead!

Anyway, it's been another good week, despite a lack of hours, and in a few days the half year results will be posted. Am keeping everything crossed that they will be impressive and worthwhile, but of course only time will tell. Best of luck all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


After a blinding second week, my poker seemed to regress towards the mediocre as soon as I fired up the tables last monday. I was playing ok I felt, but was roughly only breaking even until wednesday came around. Then I woke up very early for the Blogger Cash Game, and got basically owned, not just in that game, but the 2 other cash games I was playing alongside. There was one hand in the BCG where I made a read, and then got put to the test, and couldn't follow it. The reason for that was that in that particular hand I was either just barely ahead (with K high), or absolutely crushed (the flop was AcAd3c). I wasn't playing my A-game, and certainly didn't want to (deep)stack off with a mere high card against a perceived flush draw...

So that night I was down about $400, but the following days I continued to haemorrhage my hard-earned, losing over 2k in the usual combination of bad beats and bad plays. During this period I found myself making many more thin but still correct calls, but then getting sucked out on, which as you know is one of my biggest bugbears.

Anyway, managed to scrape a little back over the weekend, and this week has been markedly better, will be posting half-yearly results after the end of this week, so I can start to take stock of the longer term as a poker professional. Hope all is well at the tables, and in the world.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fire with fire

Had an interesting hand at the end of last week where I put myself in a tough spot with a very marginal holding against an aggressive unpredictable opponent. In this particular game, the villain was raising from the blinds every time the action came round to him, and then leading with a full pot every time he got called. This at least was my observation, and I surmised that he must then be doing it light most of the time. So, I decided to limp in position with a very average hand knowing he would raise, and see what developed from there....

Carey ($3/6 No Limit Hold'em)
5 handed

Hero is at seat 0 with $840.20.
Villain is at seat 2 with $558.45. <-- stats of 53/11 and radically ascending Agg Factor
The button is at seat 0.

Villain posts the small blind of $3.
Player1 posts the big blind of $6.

Hero: 9d 8h

Pre-flop: Player2 calls. Player3 folds.
Hero calls. Villain raises to $36.
Player1 folds. Player2 folds. Hero calls.

Flop (board: 7h 3d 9c):

Okay, so I've got TP8K on the flop. At this point, I figure I'm ahead of villains range. I know I'm going to face a pot bet, and I plan to raise immediately to discourage unimproved high cards from continuing. There are no draws to speak of, so I figure if I get played with it will most likely be with some kind of made hand, or air.

Villain bets $84. Hero raises to $180.

Villain goes all-in for $522.45.

The bet came as expected, and so I raised as planned, expecting a slowdown from the villain (no one had yet raised his flop c-bets). Instead, he insta-shoved over my raise, making it $340 more to call.

Now, if he had a monster, I didn't think he would play it so fast, plus given his observed tendencies it just wasn't likely. People who have a strong hand just don't seem to insta-shove in my experience. The only obvious draw was the OESD with T8 or 68, which given my kicker was again pretty unlikely.

Thus, I reasoned he was either moving in with something weak like 22, 44-66, an overpair like TT-AA (quite unlikely given the insta-shove), or overcards/air. I was obviously a dog to his overpairs, but thought they were so unlikely I was getting sufficient odds to call his shove. So, given his stats, my initial read and analysis, I gritted my teeth and made the call.

Hero calls.

Turn (board: 7h 3d 9c Td): <--- pretty safe turn, giving me extra outs if behind

River (board: 7h 3d 9c Td Ah): <--- did not like the river at all, as it completes all Ax hands

Villain shows 6c 6d.
Villain has 6c 6d 9c Td Ah: a pair of sixes.
Hero shows 9d 8h.
Hero has 9d 8h 9c Td Ah: a pair of nines.

Hand Summary:
Hero wins $1126.40 with a pair of nines.

Now against a lot of players, this would be spewy poker. But I'm glad that I made the right read, and had the stones to act on it. Too often I see bad players sit down, give their stack to another player, then leave. To take advantage of these players, you have to get involved in pots with them, and more often than not you will have to do it with pretty weak hands. As long as they are ahead of your opponents range however, this stands to be a profitable move over the long term.

Hope you're weekend was good, look forward to reading your own exploits over the coming week. Best of luck at the tables.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Panning for gold

So this morning I played for 3 hours on 4 tables: I had 2 set under sets, and lost a big pot with 88 on an 7h 8h Ts flop to Kc9c. I was playing really well though, so at the end of the session I was exactly break even. Pat on the back, but alas no cigar.

Session number 2 saw me sat on 3 tables, lasted only 30 minutes, but I lucked my way into making over 1k... in just 1 hand! Sometimes you just need to be in the right spot at the right time, and things will just go your way. Here's the proof:

Bruneau ($3/6 No Limit Hold'em)
4 players

Villain is at seat 0 with $1020.70. <--- runs at 41/18 : a.k.a. 'Anti-Origami'
Hero is at seat 2 with $1146.90. <--- got him covered
Player2 is at seat 3 with $1525.90.
Player1 is at seat 5 with $704.
The button is at seat 3.

Player1 posts the small blind of $3.
Villain posts the big blind of $6.

Hero: 9h 7h

Hero raises to $21. Player2 folds.
Player1 calls. Villain calls.

Flop (board: 3d 9s Td):
Player1 checks. Villain checks. Hero bets
$42. Player1 folds. Villain calls.

Turn (board: 3d 9s Td 9c):
Villain bets $147. Hero raises to $399. <--- wasn't too worried about the flush, so this was more of a massage.... Villain calls.

River (board: 3d 9s Td 9c 7s): <--- boom!
Villain goes all-in for $558.70. Hero calls. <--- love it when they push into a lock hand...
Villain shows Qc Js.
Villain has Qc Js 9s Td 9c: a pair of nines.
Hero shows 9h 7h.
Hero has 9h 7h 9s 9c 7s: full house, nines full of sevens.

Hand Summary:
Hero wins $2059.90 with full house, nines full of sevens.

It's often this way in poker; you can play well for ages but sometimes you need a little to help to get paid. Big thanks to whoever/whatever gave it to me today.....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Month of the End

Ok, so it's now the end of month #4, and unfortunately I haven't been able to achieve my $ph goal this time. I was alas well on track to break it, but then I had a super bad day in my final week and managed to drop my winrate and that weeks profits in one fell swoop. But I'll shrug it off and try extra hard over the coming month...

It's interesting to note that that one bad day was the only negative session I had after my terrible first week. I was managing to average almost 1k a day from that point, and I am aiming to continue that this month (inshallah!). I know that might be a really ambitious aim, but then maybe "aim for the stars and you might just hit the moon..." as the saying goes.

So in summary, this month has been much better than the last, but not as good as the one before. My play is still a work in progress, and I'll let you know when I feel it's stable. Still just need to avoid those bad days/weeks and I'll be flying along....