Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Small Swings

Leveling off a bit in the cash game graph, which means I'm playing small pots at reasonable stakes (.10\.25, risking $25). Planning to stay at low stakes for a while and try to close the distance to $1000 again.

I'm approaching the end of the 60 day 100% deposit bonus period, and have made it past the halfway mark, collecting $150 in new player bonuses. It would have been nice to collect the entire $300, but difficult for me to grind cash games for long stretches. I like to play an hour and take a long break; otherwise it feels like a job, and my play (and bankroll) suffers.

Here's how I'm doing in this experiment:

$939.47 (acct balance)
-$300 (initial deposit)
-$150 (new player bonus)
-$80 (referral bonus)
$409.47 (136% profit from actual play)

Happy to be profitable at this point, because I've tried this in the past on Cake Poker\Juicy Stakes and ended up busting my bankroll. The difference now is I've been setting goals, and have a better understanding of how aggressive to be in tournaments. Also, I've been reporting results to a friend and posting stats online to hold myself accountable.

Although the cash game needs work, I have plenty of hand histories and mistakes to review, which should help me to patch up leaks and limit future losses.

All in all, it's been a good run and a learning experience.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rake The Rake heats things up in August

Festival of Freerolls

I love a free tournament, and previous winnings in the RTR freerolls have really juiced the tournament graph, and evened out the bankroll swings from my cash game adventures. Hope to run good, play aggressive, and pull down some more free $$ in August!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shortstack Play at the Microstakes

I've been going over hand histories as part of my study plan, and this one caught my attention because of the bet-sizing mistakes from the shortstack. Here is the hand, and the shortstack is holding 65s.

Some thoughts:

Preflop: If a hand is good enough to call 1\3 of your stack in order to see the flop, then it should be good enough to shove for fold equity. 65s can play well multi-way, and with a larger stack, but this seems like a bad call heads-up.

Flop: He's out of position and tossing in a probe bet to see where he's at. The problem is he has now bet half of his stack where he has bottom pair\bad kicker, with only a backdoor flush opportunity. If you're going to play at all, why not shove and hope for two pair or trips later? The probe bet is not enough to scare away the big stack here, but a shove would have likely captured some fold equity.

Turn: I guess now he realizes he's in trouble, so he checks. Strange that the pre-flop raiser checks behind with a diamond draw on the board.

River: Hoping that the pfr doesn't have the ace, he flicks in 1\6 of the pot as a value bet, which gives the pfr odds to call. Betting half the pot, or shoving here to represent a third Q would have made more sense, and given him the best chance to win the hand.

Summary: Bet-sizing mistakes cost him 2\3 of his stack with a hand he had no business playing here, except aggressively. It's microstakes so he probably thinks "whatever", but leaks are leaks and this can be a big one if repeated.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life Balance Mind Map

Created this with a mind-mapping tool called Freemind. It allows you to identify and delve into categories that are important to you, but a life balance wheel is best to rate how you're doing. Here is a template:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stone Cold

Just had a bluff work out well on a $1\$2 table, which is good because I was stuck about $70 before it happened.

EDIT: Here is the video, and now we know what he raised with He had been raising alot and I had a feeling he was raising pretty wide here to pick up dead money. Thankful this worked out but it could have been a disaster if he was actually strong.

Account is at $862.23 and I should receive $100 tonight for crossing 750 points. Thankful for the tournament progress, because these cash games are like walking on hot coals.

On My Mind Today

Life Wheels, Mind Maps, and Dream Boards.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend Results

Played league tourneys Friday night. We had a great turnout: 23 players in the first tourney and 21 in the 2nd. Unfortunately I took a bad beat and was first man out in the first game.

PB raised to 3 big blinds from early pos, and I called in late pos with 22 (set-mining). I hit my set on the flop, and there is a Q. Naturally I check to let him take a stab at his impending demise. He bets 1000 into an 1800 pot, and I repop to 5000, which is half our starting stacks. 

He donk-calls and I shove the turn which is a K. Yes, I'm concerned about a straight but I don't think he has it yet. He calls off the rest of his stack and hits a 9 on the river for a king-high straight holding JJ vs my 222. Crusher. He made a careless call on the flop, but the K on the turn gave him 10 outs and he was pot-committed. Guess I should have shoved the flop, but I bet 5000 into a 2800 pot. What more can you do to announce that you may have AQ, QQ, AA, KK, or a set?

Busted in 5th in the 2nd tourney, but that helped me maintain my points standing somewhat. I'm in 4th now instead of 3rd, and that's still with missing February tournaments.

Played the CardPlayer $100,000 guaranteed on Saturday and didn't catch enough good cards or situations to make a solid stand. I made it to the first break, then had to shove ATo and ran into QQ and busted. Should have rebought like other players were doing, but I felt too tired from the previous night to make good decisions. Can't wait to play this one again next year though, and will probably bring 3 buyins.

From day 1A and 1B, there were a total of 3044 entries at $125 a pop. Total prize pool was $187,000+, and first place gets $49,600 tonight. Sick.

Finally, I entered the Rake the Rake Freeroll on Bovada today and made the final table in good shape. There were 36 players and I busted in 5th for $40, sarcastic yay. That bumps me close to $900, and I'll have $100 bonus coming after I rack up 24 points from grinding cash, enthusiastic yay!

A6o was unkind to me. Made the mistake of shoving (instead of minraising) a shortstack from the SB, and he called with JJ and held. That dropped me to 6000+, but I shoved my way back to 10k. Then a donkey raises to 4bb (2400) from the button. I have AQo in the bb, and shove on him. He calls off for 8000 more with A6o, hits a 6 on the flop, and I miss. BOOM, out. Couldn't believe he called off with such a bad kicker, but that's how the game goes sometimes. 

Fun weekend, but could have been more profitable for sure.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Turning it Around

Getting back to the Hit-n-Run strategy and trying to forget about building points, which is helping me post more positive results. Whenever I make the game about playing long sessions to trigger new player bonuses, my strategy unravels out of sheer boredom. I call raises too often with marginal hands, and get annoyed by the same guy constantly raising. That's called tilt, and it's written all over my cash game graph lately.

I'm just not into being a cash game grinder yet, which unfortunately means that I'm not yet a deep-thinking player; otherwise it would be fun. Tournaments appeal to me more because of the escalating blind levels and the constant pressure to be aggressive, or die. Kind of a "go big or go home" thing.

Gotta keep it up with the cash games though, because the experience will help me in the deep-stacked tourneys.

Thankfully, a series of upswings will post to my cash graph in 24 hours. Hope to slam a home run soon and kick it up over $1000 again.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Another Final Table

Started in good shape here, but busted out in 5th...again, this time out of 400+ entries. Happy for the bankroll boost but wish it had worked out better. The hand that crippled me was when a guy on my right slow-played AA, and I shoved with air (something I routinely do when a player shows weakness and I have him covered). 

Well, he got what he hoped for- random aggression (as opposed to the preferred variant: selective aggression). :-|

Glad it wasn't at the WSOP. Here are the chip counts, btw. Some people are getting quite rich, currently busting out around $185,694. You have to make 7th to earn +$1,000,000...and get Dr. Evil's attention.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's official.

I have played too many hands today, and deepened the downswing. Still at $756.29 though, and that's $456.29 profit minus the $300 buyin, but I'm $254.61 off my high of $1,010.90. Ouch...

58 points away from the next $100 bonus though, and should close that gap tomorrow. Definitely need to tweak the cash game strategy a bit, and get some sleep.

Will multi-table the RTR freeroll tomorrow afternoon with the $12,000 Guaranteed deepstack ($10 + $1).

That's Poker...

Had a horrid cash game session. Made a bad call with TPTK vs a set, and overplayed a set vs straight. Need to exercise better judgement and understanding of what an opponent's bet means, and stop paying people off.

My internet connection went down for a few days and I had some time to review hand histories and try to plug these leaks. Just gotta play smarter and get back above $1000.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Goal Reached!

It happened just before midnight. I had $300 at risk between a $1\$2 and a .50\$1 cash game and was +$27 in the $1\$2 game. 

I picked up QQ on the other table and called a minraise with two shortstacks in the hand. I called another bet on the flop from the preflop raiser, and the turn coordinated the board for straight draws. The preflop raiser bet $10 and had $16 left so I shoved, and the other player called for $48. Both were on straight draws and bricked on the river. Woot!

Happy to cross my first major goal but no guarantees of staying above the $1000 mark. Gotta keep grinding cash games to get my points above 750 and trigger the next $100 bonus. Then it's a race to hit 1500 points by August 2nd for the final $150.

If I hit $1300, I'll consider cashing out my original $300 buyin.


An upswing will post tomorrow in the tournament graph.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MTT Action

Played the $1k and $2k guaranteed deep stack tourneys simultaneously tonight, and between the two of them I won $94.56

I made 24th out of roughly 360 in the $10 + $1 buyin, for $25.24. Got it in on a coinflip in my last hand with AQo vs 44 (really??). I flopped a Q, but he hits a set on the turn and I'm out.

Things got serious in the $2 + .20 tourney when I shoved 22 from the button and got called by AQ of diamonds. I miraculously won the coinflip and became the chipleader for a while. Here's how the final table looked before I busted out in 5th:

Here's the tourney lobby showing how long we played etc:

And we're done:

In my final hand, I picked up JJ in the small blind. The guy on the button shoved with A4o and I called. He rivers an ace and busts me and the person sitting out, who had J3o. There were actually two players sitting out at the final table, and both will be quite surprised at how far they made it while sleeping, lol.

$69.32 is a pretty good payday for $2.20, and 5th out of 659 is not bad either. My account is back up to $956.97. It was good to take a break from the brutal cash games the day before. But I'll get back on them tomorrow to rack up more points. 

Monday, July 8, 2013


There will be shark teeth in the cash graph 24 hours from now. Here is the worst of them:

I pickup AA on the button.
Cutoff raises to $9.
I repop to $26, and he calls.
The flop is all clubs and I have four to the nut flush, with the ace of clubs.
He checks the flop, and I pot it for $57.
He tanks, then puts me all in.
I call and he tables QQ. Guess what the turn is...................................................yep: friggin Q.
Not the queen of clubs mind you, because she would have made my day and pushed me past $1100.
The river, as the band Rush sang, was more help to Tom Sawyer.


We're good though. Took a deep breath, loaded up a .50\$1 and a $1\$2, and won back $150 of it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

44th WSOP Main Event

Chip Counts

I checked in with the big game in Vegas ($10,000 buyin) in the link above...while playing the $2 deep stack donkament on Bovada, lol. Quite a micro-niche I've carved out for myself here, but I will get there some day. Makes sense to start with a WSOP circuit event first. Along those lines, I'll be playing in the CardPlayer Poker Tour on the 20th. That's the $125 buyin and will be the biggest live multi-table tourney I've played.

With a little skill, and a lot of luck...who knows? It's $100,000 guaranteed prize pool.


Showing some inevitable variance in the cash graph. Need to dig into the hand histories and see how much of it is from mistakes vs the usual swings.

I noticed that Online Poker Manager is not importing my histories from Sit&Go's, so my tournament graph is missing some stats. Will try to manually enter them.

In other news, just busted out of the RTR Freeroll. Sucks because I was doing well and got crippled by a dumb hand. 

The guy to my left was sitting out so people were raising to pick up dead money. I shoved A8o once to pick it up and folded out A7s from the chipleader. Shoved QQ later against a minraise from UTG and folded him. Then a donkey in middle position minraises to 200. I'm on the button with JJ, and shove since I have him covered. He instacalls with K8 of hearts (?!?!?) and hits a miracle flop with a king and a flush draw, so I have one out since Jh completes his flush. He rivers another king and I'm down to 475. Sick...

Very next hand I get JJ again and gladly shove with any pair, despite previously losing with JJ. There are two more all-ins who table KK and AQo. The kings hold and give someone a massive chiplead. The resulting shortstacked guy shoves JJ himself and the chipleader sends him to the rail.

Apparently not a good day for fishhooks.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hollywood Card Games

Judge's Game

Sherrif's Game

Virgin's Game

2nd Place Curse

Far too many 2nd place wins in tournaments lately, even when I have my opponent crushed preflop. Just won 2nd in a $10 Sit-n-Go (9 players) for $27. 1st place was $45.

Got it in with J9o from the dealer button vs K2s, and I was  covered. I had about 43% equity preflop, which was plenty, but neither of us hit so he won the flip.

This guy fought hard. Several times he looked slated to bust out at any minute, but once we were down to three and in the money, he brought his A game, except for when I bluffed him on the river with a busted straight. But that left him with only 1200 vs stacks of 4500 and 7800 and he somehow took us both to town.

Good game player0001. Good game.

Account: $977.71

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Harrington Makes a Move

2nd year of the poker boom, when this guy made the final table again.

A Dangerous Day to Play

I've got the urge to grind some cash games, but not quite the heart after a long day of cooking for family. I know from experience that this is the worst time to load up some tables and go to war. A kind of trance-like tilt can take over your mind when you're too tired to care, and your game (and bankroll) will slowly unravel unless you snap out of it.

Some of the early floundering downswings in my cash graph are the result of such a mind state, which I call apathy tilt. With the click of a button you are calling in spots that you should fold, bluffing with air when it's clear your opponent is strong, set-mining, playing spec hands out of position, paying people off when your gut says you're beat; generally not planning your entry and exit from a hand.

So instead of getting into trouble, I will drop a lime in a Dos Equis and be my own best ally: I will study hand histories...the most interesting hand histories in the world. Here's one now:

In this hand we are both dealt AQ and I have position, yet I miss a chance to win the hand with a bluff-reraise, repping the 9. Unless he is 2nd leveling me, he will not usually continuation bet with a 9 himself, since it would be more +EV to check. If I bet, he can keep calling me to extract value. If I check behind, and he actually has a 9, he can bet on a strong turn card like an ace or king to throw me off and keep me in the hand if I hold one of those cards myself.

So we know in hindsight he shouldn't have a 9 there, and didn't. He made a strong continuation bet, and I surrendered early. Need to remember this situation because it comes up often.

My cardsharp friend bluffed me off a hand just like this in our league tourneys, although I was first to act. I hit two pair on the flop, not trips. He correctly thought if I had the trips, I would not bet into him, so he called my flop and turn bets, thinking I was bluffing. I slowed down on the river, and he bet a little more than half the pot. 

My thoughts were he could have trips himself, or top pair with a better kicker, and I forgot to include a chance that he might be bluffing (he was). I folded, and he told me what he was up to. That kind of play takes heart, experience, and a thoughtful mind.

Well, there's a hand that I could've played better. The fireworks are popping outside, and I think Dos Equis is a good enough play for now.

Bombs Bursting in Air

From 2012 in Houston. Canon Rebel xsi, stock lens.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


After the $200 crash on June 21st, I thought it would take forever just to break even in the cash game graph. Happy to be positive in both graphs today, and approaching $1000. Here's the breakdown:

Account total: $947.71
Initial buyin: $300
Referral bonus: $80
Points bonus: $50
One month profit from actual playing (sans bonus): $517.71

I'll get $100 added once I hit 750 points, and I have 292 to go. Need to get some sessions in, but I've been working on a roofing project for a family member, and will be cooking on the 4th.

Looking forward to our league tourneys on the 19th, and playing the CardPlayer Poker Tour on the 20th, at Choctaw. Would be sweet to take home a slice of the $100,000 guaranteed. I'm guessing 1st place will get around $45,000- quite a return for a $125 investment.

In Other Addictions...

Falcon BMS F-16 Simulator. Not my vid, just a cool tribute.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spoiler Alert

I finally scored a big pot on a $1\$2 table, so I'll discuss it now since it fits my criteria for playing Ax suited hands in a cash game.

I won't call many raises with Ax, even when suited, because (according to FlopTurnRiver) you only have an 11% chance of flopping a flush draw, which is the usual plan. Even when you do, people are usually scared of the flush card on the turn, so you don't win enough long term to justify calling lots of raises with a dominated ace.

Tonight was an exception. I was dealt A7 of hearts on the button and there was a raise and two more callers. This situation more than fits the criteria under which most players will call a 3 big blind ($6) raise. Another is if you're in the big blind and it only costs $4 more to call. Here is how it played out:

UTG+2 calls $2
UTG+3 raises to $6
UTG+4 calls $6
Dealer (me) calls $6
The blinds fold $3
UTG+2 calls $4
Pot: $27

Flop: 5h 4h Jc
UTG+2 checks
UTG+3 bets $17.50
UTG+4 calls $17.50
Dealer (me) calls $17.50
UTG+2 folds
Pot: $79.50

I flopped my draw, and have to call $17.50 to win $79.50, so 22%. With 9 outs I have roughly an 18% chance to make a flush on the turn, and another 18% by the river. My implied odds (potential to win more) are good enough, so this is an easy call.

Turn: 5h 4h Jc Jh
UTG+3 bets $39.75
UTG+4 calls $39.75
Dealer (me) calls $39.75
Pot: $198.75

Yay, I hit the nut flush. However, since the board paired jacks, I am now concerned about a full house...but I have to call here. The pot odds no longer matter.

River: 5h 4h Jc Jh Tc
UTG+3 All-in for $130.75
UTG+4 folds
Dealer (me) crosses fingers, waits a few seconds, and calls $130.75
Pot: $460.25

UTG+3 shows J 9 8 5 4 of hearts
Dealer (me) shows A J 7 5 4 of hearts (cue money-falling-from-sky animation)

It looks like he overplayed a weak flush here, but shoving the river was his only way to win the hand. He loses to quad jacks, a full house, or a better flush, but could potentially fold out any flush not containing an ace or king. But since he's out of position, it was probably best for him to check the river and see what I bet. If I make a small  river bet, he can call and save half his stack, or shove to rep the full house or (hopefully for him) a better flush.

Needless to say, the cash game graph will skyrocket in 24 hours when this hand history posts to my stats. My account is at $952.21, and I will drop down to the lower stakes to try and close the gap on my goal of $1000.

Climbing Out

Feels good to be in the positive in the cash games again. My acct hit a high of $710 at one point, and is now at $678.51 after paying some blinds, and a $16.50 knockout (bounty) tourney that didn't pan out.

Picked a terrible spot to shove in the RTR freeroll yesterday. My niece needed a ride to church and prayed that I would bust out of the tournament early. Her prayers were answered when I shoved 86s against a 4bb raise from a guy holding KK. Um, pretty sure I'm supposed to be folding there like 1000% of the time...

The bounty tournament was interesting. I hesitated in a couple of spots that I would normally shove, and it cost me a lot of chips. In the first spot, I picked up 44 in middle position. If I had noticed that the big blind was severely shortstacked, I would have shoved just to get the $5 bounty for knocking him out, but I folded the weak pair due to so many players yet to act. 

As it turned out, two players shoved with AQo and AKo, and neither of them hit. It was a scary coinflip that would have tripled me up and given me two bounties.

The next missed opportunity was with JTs on the button. With blinds at 100\200, the big stack raises to 1000 UTG and gets one caller. This is probably always a fold, but I thought about shoving my 2000 stack since suited connectors can play well multiway. But I folded and watched the board run out JJxJx. The horror...the horror...of inaction.

Then I get rewarded for a reckless play. I pickup up 24s in the big blind, and it folds around to the small blind who calls. It's not unusual for me to shove in this spot with any two cards just to pick up the extra blind, but it feels better to do it with an ace in the hole, especially when he has me covered. I shove, and he calls with Ax. I flop a straight to the 6 and double up. Yay.

Later on, I shove AJo against AKo and we both get called by JJ. The jacks hold and I'm out, wondering why I didn't go with my gut and pull the trigger in those two iffy spots earlier. I think walking on eggshells in the cash games has softened my tournament game a bit. Yet again, this great quote from a dead poker player:

"In order to live, you must be willing to die." -Amir Vahedi