Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pity. Moving on....

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. -Thomas Merton

Following what I predict will be my worst month of cash game results (don't ask - I'm too fragile!), I am giving serious thought to how else I will be spending my time over the next 12 months. I do still want to play poker, but I'm very tempted to devote a more serious chunk of time to PLO, and also start looking at tournament play, as from all I've heard the player fields are (in the majority) extremely weak. I realise I will have to curtail my expectations as far as winning sessions go, but I expect that the very occasional payoffs will prove a handsome consolation.

The quest for a suitable site to play a regular poker tournament may prompt me to expand my site repertoire away from UB and FTP.I've heard about lots of different sites through blogs, mail, and adverts, so I may end up at PokerStars which seems a favourite among bloggers, or try a brand new site (such as Pokervibez) as they usually have lots of offers going on, and tend to draw crowds of weak players who fall prey to the mass advertising typical of a startup site.

I've also been reminded about Pacific Poker which is another well-established site boasting some very juicy games and an overall rating of 7.8 on Pokerlistings. Aside from that, the offer of a 125% first deposit bonus is pretty hard to ignore! Either way, I don't
think I'll be short of good places where I can play online poker, whether I desire tournaments, NLHE or PLO.I've heard a change is as good as a rest, and though I'm far from tired of playing NL Hold'Em I think by starting to add variety to my games now I'll hopefully prolong the inevitable, and of course learn a new skill set or two. Can't do me any harm..... can it?

Naturally, before I enter the new working year in earnest I will be doing a lot of revision of my NLHE play: the value I'm getting from hands and how effective I am with good cards and bad cards in and out of position, with and without aggression, and on each street. I haven't had a proper think about strategy since I last listened to a CashPlays podcast, and now that Bart has been at DeucesCracked for over 4 months I'm very much due for a sit down. There is plenty of material still unseen on CardRunners, and I have a number of months still to wait before sunlight and fresh air will tempt me from my desk.

So, with a cash deficit to address, new strategy and new games to learn, not to mention a probably new site to master, I think from now on my motto should be 'Bring it on'. Another bad beat? Bring it on. Tricky table? Bring it on. Tough decision for an ultra-deep stack? Bring. It. On!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Revenge of the suited connectors

To refrain from imitation is the best revenge - Marcus Aurelius

I got crushed last week. Absolutely crushed. Set under set, set under quads, set to runner runner flush, you name it, I bent over and took it. Even the small pots against ratholers I'd lose when they called my preflop reraise with half their stack to hit either a set or a sure-thing flush draw. On one day I lost $3.8k and the kicker was I wasn't even playing badly. It's days that like that sometimes convince me I'm doomed to lose, and that maybe I should switch to a new poker site where nobody knows me and the games aren't rigged against me.

Then I remember that I'm not superstitious, and that I'm a pro. So getting pounded financially and being mentally battered on a regular basis is par for the course. So I suck it up, and I fight back. So far this week I haven't had much luck in getting revenge, as I'm still being outflopped far too often and in spite of never offering correct odds to my opponents. According to HEM I'm nearly $1.6k under EV profit for the month. Actually, 'profits' isn't really applicable as this month I'm about -$1k in total earnings!

Anyway, please check the following HH from earlier today, and then send me my due sympathy by email or post - I'll take all I can get! Best of luck.

Table ARLINGTON DR ($2/4 Real Money Deep 6 players)
Seat 2 is the button
Seat 2: GOGATORS86 ( $1225.15 USD )
Seat 3: IM THE PUSHER ( $796.00 USD )
Seat 4: 2THE916K ( $1429.30 USD )
Seat 5: Hero ( $1151.40 USD )
Seat 6: JEDIGAMMON ( $810.70 USD )
Seat 1: Donkey ( $851.94 USD )
IM THE PUSHER posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
2THE916K posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ac As ]
Hero raises [$14.00 USD]
Donkey raises [$55.00 USD]
GOGATORS86 folds
2THE916K folds
Hero raises [$157.00 USD]
Donkey calls [$116.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qd, 6h, 2d ]
Hero bets [$220.00 USD]
Donkey raises [$680.94 USD]
Hero calls [$460.94 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Tc ]
** Dealing River ** [ 7s ]
Donkey shows [6d, 7d ]
Hero shows [Ac, As ]
Donkey wins $1706.38 USD from main pot

(NB: He was 50% on the flop, so his push was fine. But $170 on 76s? That's 20% of his stack... )

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fools rush in

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. -Winston Churchill

After re-raising me, then calling my 4 bet out of position, I was convinced my opponent was on KK, QQ, or JJ. How much I still have to learn about this game....

NLHE $2/4 deep 6-max
Seat 1 is the button
Seat 1: Player1 ( $557.10 USD )
Seat 2: Villain ( $724.80 USD )
Seat 3: Player2 ( $276.14 USD )
Seat 4: Player3 ( $497.54 USD )
Seat 5: Player4 ( $452.50 USD )
Seat 6: Hero ( $1052.25 USD )
Villain posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
Player2 posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ac Ah ]
Player3 folds
Player4 folds
Hero raises [$14.00 USD]
Player1 folds
Villain raises [$44.00 USD]
Player2 folds
Hero raises [$114.00 USD]
Villain calls [$82.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 4d, 4c, 2h ]
Villain checks
Hero bets [$160.00 USD]
Villain calls [$160.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 3h ]
Villain checks
Hero bets [$580.00 USD]
Villain calls [$436.80 USD]
Hero wins $143.20 USD from main pot
** Dealing River ** [ Jc ]
Villain shows [5s, 4s ]
Hero shows [Ac, Ah ]
Villain wins $1450.10 USD from main pot

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The real fight

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't. -Erica Jong

Sometimes in poker the hardest thing to do is actually to stop playing. I recall several sessions that stick out in my mind as occasions where I definitely should have left the tables on account of playing so badly. I'm sure I've said this before, but it's good for me to be reminded. Sometimes a few bad beats or coolers in quick succession can cause me to start playing far too aggressively, or worse become infected with disbelief and turn into a calling station. These are the sessions where a $400 or $800 downswing turn into a $2.6k downswing. In other words, these are the sessions that do the most damage to my bottom line.

It's only after such a bad day that I look over the many hands where I lost money, asking myself did I get really unlucky, or was I just spewing? Unfortunately, the answer is usually already known to me, and unfortunately it's usually the latter. I know when I'm playing badly, but all too often I don't walk away. I really think that one of the best things I can do is learn to get up when I recognise that I'm playing my D game. And in this case, D definitely stands for Dumb-ass.

I don't really know how to achieve this goal, because it's solely down to my willpower. I must learn to accept that there will be days I'm destined to lose, and be able to act when I recognise I'm having one. That may seem to have nothing to with sound poker strategy, but in the bigger picture I think it's essential. Good luck at the tables....

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Good will (hopefully come) to all men.....

To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three people, two of whom are absent. -Robert Copeland

The lead up to, and the actual dates of Christmas and New Years Eve are now firmly in the past, along with the worrying amounts of eating drinking and general indulgence that they usually entail. I enjoyed both, though gladly not to excess, and after a welcome 5 day break after NYE am now back at work. Over Christmas I got a great book of quotes called Advanced Banter from my mum, and thought I would include open each post with a choice excerpt from this day forth. The one above is not only witty, but rings very true for poker players who obviously tend to rely on only themselves to achieve.

January is the final month of my first year as a professional poker player. Early February I will publish my results for the year for those who are interested, and thereafter I think I will keep my results to myself. Unless of course I suckout to win a 10k pot, in which case you can expect a brag post with the results big and bold!

Last month (which was only 3 weeks long work-wise) I did pretty well, making just over $10k in 50 hours(obviously a great improvement on the previous months paltry $500! ) and securing my end of year bonus of $450 at FTP. I now need to earn 9000 points at that site to release it, so there's still work to do but it's better than nothing, which is what UB offered as their end of year bonus. Unless I have an insane run over the next 3 weeks, I fear I will not reach my yearly goal of $100k by a wide margin, but we'll wait and see. Either way, I feel I've come a long way this year, and am pretty pleased with my results overall.

The other thing I've been pleased with is the respectable sum of cash I've been offered over the year to post links on my blog, and hopefully this will prompt me to post more regularly in the hopes of expanding this source of income. I still enjoy writing, and hope to do more blogging with the creation of a timetable for my working week which should see me not only put in more hours at the tables but also more sessions of learning French and watching poker videos. I know it seems a bit like being back at school with lesson timetables, but as a good friend of mine once said: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

So, with 3 more weeks, I'm setting a few short term goals:
  • Try not to have any losing weeks!
  • Get enough points to get my full bonus from FTP
  • Continue to play without making it personal (i.e. chasing donkeys - let them come to me)
Other than that, it will be business as normal.
Finally, if you have time I'd really appreciate some feedback on a few hands:

Hand #1
Table HILLRIDGE DR ($2/4 Real Money Deep)
Seat 1 is the button
Seat 1: Villain ( $1573.42 USD )
Seat 3: Player1( $520.90 USD )
Seat 4: Player2 ( $738.00 USD )
Seat 5: Player3 ( $1131.90 USD )
Seat 6: Hero ( $841.50 USD )
Player1 posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
Player2 posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ As Kc ]
Player3 folds
Hero raises [$14.00 USD]
Villain calls [$14.00 USD]
Player1 folds
Player2 folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qs, Qc, Js ]
Hero checks
Villain bets [$22.00 USD]
Hero raises [$52.00 USD]
Villain calls [$30.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Th ]
Hero bets [$96.00 USD]
Villain raises [$320.00 USD]
Hero calls [$224.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Qd ]
Hero checks
Villain bets [$778.00 USD]
Hero folds
Villain wins $778.00 USD from main pot

Can't work out if I completely butchered this on the turn or if I got really unlucky on the river when the 3rd Q fell. Reckon the former is more likely, but keen to hear your thoughts.

Hand #2

Table Bryant ($2/4 Real Money Deep 6max)
Seat 6 is the button
Seat 1: Feeling83 ( $871.70 USD )
Seat 2: Subzero_666 ( $1333.20 USD )
Seat 3: malumprohibitum ( $521.10 USD )
Seat 4: Xenomystus ( $432.00 USD )
Seat 5: brutalbet ( $496.60 USD )
Seat 6: ParaDogs ( $424.40 USD )
Feeling83 posts small blind [$2.00 USD].
Subzero_666 posts big blind [$4.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Subzero_666 [ Ac Jc ]
malumprohibitum raises [$14.00 USD]
Xenomystus folds
brutalbet calls [$14.00 USD]
ParaDogs folds
Feeling83 folds
Subzero_666 calls [$10.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qs, Kd, Th ]
Subzero_666 bets [$28.00 USD]
malumprohibitum calls [$28.00 USD]
brutalbet calls [$28.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Qh ]
Subzero_666 checks
malumprohibitum bets [$85.00 USD]
brutalbet folds
Subzero_666 calls [$85.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 8d ]
Subzero_666 checks
malumprohibitum bets [$235.00 USD]
Subzero_666 folds
malumprohibitum wins $295.00 USD from main pot

Again, think I butchered this one on the turn. His flop call in between 2 players strongly suggested set, but I wasn't able to let go until the river. The only other hands I thought possible were JJ or a KJ QJ JT hand, but figured he wouldn't bet so big on the river if he didn't have it. Thoughts?

My day's profits seem to have been ruined by an extra Queen showing up uninvited. Bitch.