Sunday, June 30, 2013

7 of 9

One cool thing about poker on Bovada is that everyone is just a number. Sounds counterintuitive, but using seat numbers instead of names gives the benefit of anonymity; so those pesky third party hud users can't use your own stats and tendencies against you, at least until they get an in-session read on your style of play.

To counter the latter, I've employed a hit and run tactic to lock in gains on the way to my goal of $1000. I basically play until I win a decent profit, then I leave the table after the current orbit completes. So I'm out of there before anyone gets a strong read on me.

It's not quite the real world, but it's helping me to post repeated gains. For the first time since I started on Bovada a month ago, I'm showing a profit in the cash games. I know the next downswing is inevitable, but hopefully it will happen when I flop the best of it and get drawn out on. Now that I can live with.

"Lookin for a come-up, this is %@$#ing awesome..."

What? Is that the small start of an upswing?

Today is the final RTR freeroll. Hope to score again. Last Sunday I got in during the last two minutes of late registration, and shoved my way to 2nd place with near suicidal aggression. Will pick my spots and go for it.

In other news, my best friend played an amazing session at Winstar yesterday, and is demonstrating some incredible hand-reading ability. He ran up +$425 and lost down to $150 or so, then ran that up to $900+ after getting a tell off a maniac and calling 4 big overbets from him and another player. Incredible run, and with beatable cards. What a bluff-catcher! Can't wait to talk through the hands with him further.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shark Week

Lots of jagged teeth there and some brutal swings to come on the next graph; last night was crazy. My account is at $402.14, so I'm well in the black, just not happy with the cash game stats. My points are climbing fast now though, currently at 387.80 on the way to 750, and I have 30 days to get to 1500 points and trigger the full $300 bonus. That means more 1\2, and more risk, with hopefully more reward.

Here is the point schedule:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bear Market

Ok, I'm in a catch 22 here. I need to rack up points to get my bonus, and it's very hard to do that at the microstakes. So yes, I broke with discipline and grinded more 1\2 without catching a break. It happens.

I'll show another upswing tomorrow that hasn't posted yet. The situation was I had AQs on the button (.50\1 blinds). UTG raises to $5 and gets a few callers including myself, then the big blind shoves for around $35. It goes fold, fold, then I call. He turns over 99, and luckily I sucked out with a Q on the river.

I was so tired last night that I left the table shortly after to lock in those gains. My acct is at $446.80, so overall I'm $146.80 ahead, minus the $300 buyin.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Natural Medicine for GERD

I have suffered with GERD (acid reflux) for 10-12 years now, and eventually started taking 40mg of Nexium per day. It generally works to treat the symptoms, but not always, so I've been searching for a better solution; the long term side effects of Nexium worry me.

Aloe is good for burns, so I bought some aloe vera juice distributed by Fruit of the Earth, and sold at Walmart. By itself, it has too much citrus for my taste, so I dilute it with water and it makes for a soothing drink for heartburn sufferers. Still, it wasn't going to get me off the meds.

Then a friend introduced me to Young Living Essential Oils, and had me try a drop of peppermint oil in water.  I was skeptical, but woke up the next few days without the usual morning burn, so I purchased some myself to try a longer term test.

After a month, I have found that a drop of therapeutic grade peppermint oil along with Fruit of the Earth aloe juice and water is helping tremendously, and I have been able to step down from 40mg of generic Nexium to 20mg, and hope to taper off completely. I use a stainless steel thermos and put the drop of peppermint in first, then the aloe juice and water, with a good shake.

The cool thing about using the thermos is you get residual oil that keeps the peppermint flavor going. Give it a try if you suffer from GERD.

Monday, June 24, 2013

League Results

These are our league results through June, and I'm in 3rd. I joined a month behind in March so I'm happy to be in 3rd without any points for Feb.

Interestingly, the same three players placed in the money in both tourneys last Sat, and in the exact same places...very rare.

Tourney Upswing, Ring Game Downswing

The upswing in the top graph is from placing well in the RTR freeroll, which was icing on a terrific weekend with friends in Dallas.

Going to start pushing the ring\cash game graph up slowly from .10\.25. Part of me wants to hop on a 1\2 again and try for a double up, but it took 7 hours of grinding 1\2 at Winstar to finally stack someone, and that was after being stuck $200 myself.

There is a good lesson in the downswing, and best to learn it in the weeds rather than at the nosebleeds someday. It's fine to take a shot, but then you drop back down, pay your dues, and grind it up again. That takes discipline, a necessary trait in any game.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Good News Anyone!

I just won 2nd place and $120 in the Rake The Rake freeroll today on Bovada. That's on top of two 2nd place finishes in Friday night's league tourneys. So my weekend totals are:

League: $75
Winstar: $49
RTR Freeroll: $120
Total: $244

Not too shabby, and the win on Bovada goes a long way toward repairing my $200 downswing on the 21st.

I should mention that in two of the tourneys, I got it in pretty good against my opponents. AJo vs Q7o (he hits runner-runner straight), and A5o vs Q4s (he hits a 4).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Winstar Thank You Notes

Thank you, someone's grandma at Winstar...for deciding 34s is your favorite hand to play out of position on the flop, and cracking my AA with trip 4s. -$100

Thank you, new guy...for cracking grandma's AA with 57s. I enjoyed hearing her complain about it 30 minutes later. Fist bump.

Thank you, guy on serious tilt...for betting $60 on the river after I checked, and calling my all-in bet for $75 more with a jack-high flush vs my full house. +$180.

Thank you, poker gods...for letting me hit the nut flush on the turn, and for not letting someone full-house me. +$75

Thank you, old guy on my left...for somehow inducing that maniac to 3bet shove preflop with KK vs your AA, after you raised to only $14.

Thank you, brunette who delivered my chips to table 31...for being so hot.

Bankroll Management 101

Note the massive downswing on the bottom (cash game) graph. Lesson: Never bring more than 5-10% of your bankroll to the table, because Murphy (and his law) will stack you... The good news is I had two 2nd place wins last night in our poker league tourneys. Off to Winstar this afternoon for some live cash game action; may the poker gods be kind...

EDIT: Here is the hand where I got stacked:

I'm in the small blind and am dealt KK.
UTG+2 raises to 6.
I reraise to $20.
The Big Blind calls; initial raiser calls, and both will have position on me postflop.
The flop comes 8h 9h Td. Super draw-heavy.
I bet $44, the Big Blind calls, and the preflop raiser folds.
The turn is 5c.
I bet $96 (probably should have checked), the SB shoves for $136. I am pot-committed and have to call.
The river is Jd..
Big Blind shows J10 of hearts and wins with two pair. 

Crushed. What a way to start the weekend.

I need to stop c-betting super-coordinated flops like this, especially out of position. This is the 2nd time recently where I've been stacked with a big pair after someone either flopped a straight or another monster draw. In this case the villain flopped an open-ended straight flush draw, and hit a piece of the flop, so he has 20 remaining outs against my hand: nine hearts, three 7s, two 10s, three Qs, three Js. 

I called him an idiot, but I think he only played it badly preflop. Maybe I'm a super-nit, but I'm not calling a $20 bet preflop with any suited connectors when I'm going to be squeezed by two players post-flop, unless there are a few more people in the hand to sweeten the deal. You're not going to hit a big hand often enough long term to make it a +EV play. Could be wrong.

So let's see how I'm doing at each stage:

Preflop, looking pretty good:

Now I'm already crushed on the flop:

The Turn gives me a slight edge:

And the rest is history. I like his shove on the turn if he's putting me on a high pair with no flush draw, but I'm not crazy about the pre-flop call for 10% of his stack when he's likely to be squeezed. Actually, he's probably better off shoving the flop if he's going to shove at all.

I'm still making errors with bet-sizing in cash games, and I think I will start sizing bets based on what percentage it will be for the big stack, who in this case had $400+. Will juice it more if I am going to be out of position postflop.

My bet on the turn is probably a mistake, since he has position and is either on a draw or a strongly made hand. Hopefully I will learn to proceed with caution on draw-heavy boards like that.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bovada Referral Bonus

If you are interested in playing poker on Bovada, consider using my referral code and I will gladly split the referral bonus with you via Paypal. Just let me know of your intent beforehand, and I will give you my code and Paypal you when the bonus hits my account, which is usually immediate.

The Blessing of Breaking Even

The first time I played a live 1\2 cash game was at Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma. I bought in for $200 and settled down for an 8-10 hour roller coaster ride, during which I was down to $60 at one point. I cashed out for $195, and broke dead even after finding a $5 bill at my feet that someone dropped and no one else claimed. I was thrilled to survive the session.

I watched a man with a $1000 stack get whittled down to $200 by playing back at a loose-aggressive player to his right. The guy on my left repeatedly busted out and rebought, while declaring every n00b mistake I made. A good-looking girl beamed with joy after building a $500 stack, only to walk away disappointed with only $100. 

I was just happy not to lose my buyin.

Although my cash game graph shows me nearly breaking even, I am actually positive. Today my account is at $505 ($300 buyin, $80 referral bonus, $50 in new player bonus, $75 earned). That's 25% that I've earned myself. Perhaps a poker angel is watching over me; I hope she looks like Lynn Gilmartin of :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Game of Mistakes...

In an interview for the Rounders movie special features, Johnny Chan says (paraphrased) in order to win at poker, you have to make mistakes and learn from them. That was my plan with Bovada. I'm a decent SnG and MTT tournament player, but the nuances of cash game play often elude me; as evidence, I present my stats on Bovada:

The top graph shows my tournament stats, while the bottom shows my cash game history. Unfortunately, hand histories are not immediately available on Bovada, so my cash graph does not include today's big foray into "the black" after capitalizing on the mistakes of others at .50\1. But you see a mostly downward trend in the microstakes, and wild sharkteeth swings as I've taken shots at higher buyin games.

The first severe downswing is due to "gambling" at the 1\2 level: some bad calls, a bad bluff or two, apathy tilt, and entirely too much set-mining after 3bb raises. My plan is to shore up these leaks and start showing an upward trend. Since playing ABC poker is recommended for levels up to 1\2, I want to identify precisely what the tight-aggressive (TAG) game means for me, or what hands to play when, especially when there are raises involved. 

So...MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I have made plenty of mistakes, and have lots of hand histories to review and take notes on (my own play and others). Thankfully I am in the black today, but I expect to have more downswings to embrace and learn from.

'Round Midlife

It's after midnight, and the last cool winds of Spring are blowing across the lake. A patch of surface ripple sails toward the shore like the shadow of an invisible sailboat, and a strong gust plunges into the creaking pines.

The moon brightens above the horizon like a white poker chip, and I cast my lure again onto its silvery path. I watch the rings radiate out and begin turning the reel. The only bite I feel is from the wind whistling across my line, blowing cold mist onto my shirt.

At the moment, the only thing certain about my future is that it will include more moments like this...and a lot of poker.