Thursday, October 31, 2013

Movin On Up!

Well, nothing to get excited about; just moving from 3-tabling 5nl to 10nl because the players at 5 just do silly things like repeatedly shoving garbage until someone calls with AA, then they manage to crack aces. It's a form of tilt where you do things you wouldn't do at higher stakes because it's so cheap.

Also, I tend to call when I shouldn't because it's cheap to pay for the information, but I hate myself for making donk-calls regardless of the stakes. It's just easier to take it seriously and avoid micro degen-ing when you have a little more to lose, hence the jump.

I've had some lucky hands in the last two sessions. Flopped quad-queens after heavy preflop action in which I was squeezed. I've never felt so good about passively calling! Got some action on the flop and turn for a nice profit.

Also flopped a set of nines on an all heart board, then it turned into 999QQ by the river and I got some reraise action from the button. Nice 30% gain on that table.

Then I called a 3bb raise with 89s and another caller in the hand and I flopped a king-high flush. The preflop raiser bet the pot and I 3x'd him to isolate, then he shoves and I call. He flips QK for two pair that doesn't improve and I stack him.

It's fun to run good but I don't want to let it go to my head, especially after a couple of positive sessions. The point is to learn to grind well at the micros, take notes, and experiment with some advanced moves from time to time.

Acct is at $1,128.13

P.S. Before a session, I've been reminding myself: Good players make good laydowns (folds).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Nothing much new to report, just a slow grind up from the micros in the bottom graph for some ultra-nitty bankroll management. Would love to post a big win soon. Sunday is the $100k and the $500 RTR Freeroll. 

Gonna get the home office in order, to have a good place to concentrate. 

In other news:

My friend JD, a cash game specialist and very solid tournament player, just redeposited $50 on Bovada after busting for $100 earlier in the summer. In three days, he has run that up to $637. What a run!

I signed another friend up via the referral program and received a $100 bonus, which I will split with him.

WSOPC Bossier City is coming up. I'm looking at buying into a non-ring event or one of the nightlies for $250 or less. Hope to have a good experience there. 

WPTAPL is hosting a $500 tournament on Saturday at the newest venue in my city, which is about 3-4 miles away. I hope to run well in that so I can freeroll a WSOPC event.

The 2013 WSOP Main Event Final Table (The November Nine) will happen on Nov 4-5.

November is gonna be a busy month for poker!

(annnnnnnd turkeys)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

RTR Free

Ouch. Busted 48th of 65 today. With blinds at 40\80, I made a nice bluff in position against the SB raising me 3x pre and continuing 1\2 pot on the flop. 3x'ed him with trash and he layed it down. The flop was jack high with two hearts.

A big stack two to my right had been raising on me from the button. I figured he was doing it fairly wide so I defended all-in with A7o. This time he had a hand: AQs. I'm only 25% to win against his hand, and around 48% against his range, but I nailed a 7 on the river...

...except it was the 7c which completed his ace-high flush.

Down in flames.

I had two moves there, folding or shoving. Calling was definitely out. I had about 20BB left, so it was clearly too early to make this move, because I'm essentially coin-flipping against someone who has me covered. If he's raising wide, there's a chance he's calling wide. Too aggressive, too early.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


This is a donkey bingo situation in a Cheap Seats Tourney for entry to the GSPO Main Event. Unfortunately I decided not to play bingo and folded what would have flopped as a full house. On second thought, I think calling was the right play strictly on pot odds. I'm getting 5-1 here and there are going to be lots of overcards in play and a few small to mid pairs. 

The initial shover flipped up QQ and was called by 22, 44, and KK. My hand would have held and I would have been an instant chipleader. :-|

A few hands later, I shoved AKs after a 6x raise and he called me with KJo and held.

Damned if you don't, damned if you do...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Good poker song


Proud of myself for sticking to .2/.5 lately. I've only ground up two buyins, but I'm ok with that. A while back, I was two-tabling .50\1 and had a bad session due to getting outplayed. It was a playing scared situation that caused me to lose a $47 pot with the best hand.

I've reviewed it a lot and patched an info gap regarding 3-betting lite, and in the meantime I want to maintain discipline and grind up what I lost, with the goal of reaching $1100, and keeping above $1000.

Looks like a guy from league will be joining Bovada soon and I'll be splitting the referral bonus with him. It's a sweet deal because he gets an instant 50% bonus from me plus the chance to earn another 100%. It'll give us some hands to talk about too.

Another friend bought back in for $50 after busting a while back and is up over 300% within two days. He's a killer cash game player and great at tournaments too. I hope to see them both spending Sunday afternoons playing the RTR Freeroll and hitting big.

In other news, I've purchased Jared Tendler's two mental-game books on Kindle, and I'm about to purchase Jonathan Little's Going Pro series of videos, where he coaches a player named OneTimeJoker who has been a big winner on PokerStars lately with a recent win of $42,000 off a $55 buy-in. Nice!

I'm far from going pro myself, but the info will hopefully put me closer. Have to keep investing in my game.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Faulty Heads Up Game

I think my heads-up game has some leaks. I have four 2nd place wins and only two first place wins in league, which suggests I have a problem closing out tourneys in first.

At one point in our last game, I had my opponent dominated at least 10-1, then couldn't win my flips. I think part of that is I wasn't properly ranging the villain, who in this case is known to be one of the weakest players we have. So I made some calls with some hands that were fine to shove with, but not great to call with, just hoping to hit the right piece of it and win.

A simple way to fix that, hopefully, is to follow the gap concept against tighter\weaker players:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Healthcare Marketplace Update

It's been a roller coaster trying to sign up for an individual policy, but as of last week I was able to review and select a plan...but that's as far as I get; as soon as I click ENROLL, nothing happens, in Chrome or IE.

Last week, the premium for my plan jumped drastically one day, but went back down a few days later and is reasonable now. Hopefully they'll get things working eventually.




RTR Freeroll yesterday: Shoved the bottom of my range from the cutoff to pickup dead money from the BB sitting out. Blinds were 75\150. Unfortunately the dealer woke up with a primo and took me out with AKo.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"It's 3:17 in the AM, and you're watching Perspectives."

Just got in from league. Ran late tonight because there were 26 people in the first tourney...and guess who was first to bust? I had a flush and broadway draw on the turn, thought I had 12 outs, but a new guy was drawing to the nut flush and had already paired on ace on the flop. It was a bad spot to fast-play a 2nd rate draw. I got the pf raiser to fold, but not the other and was only 6% to win on the river. Ouch and out.

There were 20 players in the 2nd game, and I made it to 2nd place but couldn't close it out even when I was ahead pre. I could have played better heads-up.

Having missed Feb, I'm in third, just 10 points off the lead.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grinding, and Poker Coach Pro

PCP is not just a drug from the 60s. It's a poker coaching app for Ipad that is the electronic form of Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand At A Time, vol 1-3.

I actually have the books but prefer the electronic format much better, because you don't have to keep turning back to the picture of the table, and you can step thru the action. It's a less-slick version of InstaPoker, but I'm enjoying it a lot.

Basically it gets you into the minds of three successful players, and what they are thinking at every step in a given situation. Because you're stepping thru the action, you also get to relive the victories and defeats on the turn and river cards.

I can already tell that this is having a positive impact on my thoughts at the online tables. I've just been grinding and bankroll nitting .2\.5 for about 30-45 for the last 5 nights or so, and I'm not crushing but have ended each session positively to some degree.

No SnGs lately because I want to go into league Friday with a mind full of new info. I have been reviewing tournament hand histories though and taking notes. I want to re-review some of them at a later date and see if I have more comments to add after learning some ideas from the pros.

My acct is at $1,009.12. Once I get it north of $1,025 or so, I'll add in some triple-up SnGs and try to work my way to $1100.

This is really small potatoes compared to some of the guys at the forums I visit, but when I started playing in late 2010, the idea of breaking $1000 (even with a $300 deposit, lol), was just a distant dream.

Even my deaf cat Whiplash is excited.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Busted 21st out of 53 in the freeroll today. Made a loose shove from the button with 33 and faced AKo in the big blind. This exact situation won me the advantage a couple of weeks ago at the final table, but he landed a king on the river to cripple me.

Probably should have limp-folded, but would have had the same result if I had shoved 44-QQ, AJ, AQ. Just got unlucky that he had a strong hand to call with. I guess the problem with shoving 33 though is he crushes me with 44-AA, plus numerous over cards, so yeah, it was a loose shove. Should have min-raised at most.

Will need to temper the aggression somewhat before playing the 100k. We start with 5000 so there's no need to overplay low pairs.

Here is today's prize pool for the $100k:

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Finished 25th of 409 in the Lucky Draw Weekly on Bovada, which gives me a free ticket to the $100,000 Guaranteed tomorrow, or one of the upcoming Golden Spade Poker Open 100k events. Ticket value is $162.

Made a couple of crucial mistakes after a lucky double-up early on, and got smacked back down to my starting stack. I was bumbed but stayed in the fight. 

When it gets down to the bubble, which was 41, everyone abuses the time-clock and the tourney drags on. I tend to do it too when we have a shortstack trying to survive, or if I am the shortstack. 

The shortstack to my left caught a miracle. With blinds at 1500\750, he had 1000 chips left and was definitely the bubble boy at 41. I let some time pass before folding, and he rode the clock as well. The blinds were both sitting out and he had two live players ahead.

Then the player shoves his last 1000, gets a call from the button, flips up AA, and wins the hand! Someone on another table busted out instead. I was happy the shortstack at our table pulled out a miracle. Hopefully the person who busted will get another shot.

I think I'll postpone playing in the 100k event tomorrow in order to get more studying done. I want to patch up as many leaks in my game as possible before playing for big money. 1st place would get around $21,000.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Interesting Video

4:55 for the good stuff.

RTR, Lucky Draw Weekly, etc

Haven't played so much lately. I put my thumb in the dam of a downswing and my account is at $1,002.98 for $702.98 profit since June, down about $69 from the most recent high point. I've just been reviewing SnG hand histories and playing micro cash games at .2\.5 risking $5, 1 table, no tv.

My plan is to grind up some SnG buyins and keep the account from descending below $1000. In short, I'm being a bankroll nit, and the discipline feels right.

Also I'm reading Jonathan Little's first book on tournament strategy, which is quite good.

Monthly league is next Friday and we have 3 more event nights in which to rack up points before the final tournament. I'm listed 3rd, but am actually 15 points in the lead after lowest 2 scores are dropped. Hopefully I'll maintain that and have an edge in the final by starting with a higher chip-stack. We'll see.

Need to really concentrate and not get caught up in random table banter.

Other than that, RTR freeroll is coming up on Sunday, and Bovada is doing something called Lucky Draw Weekly in which 1 ticket for every 10 players will be given for entry to the $100,000 Guaranteed on Sunday afternoon. Droooool.

I've been railing the $20k Guaranteed final table lately. Pretty interesting to see what hands people are shoving in certain scenarios.

Saw a shortstack get KK in on the flop vs something like A6 with the 6 paired on the board. A third 6 hits the turn, giving the chipleader the advantage, then a third king slammed the river, giving the shortstack a full house and a ton of chips. That's the kind of hand people cheer about on ESPN. Pretty cool.

At that point, the next person to bust out earned $1200+, and the winner was to get around $4850. Not a bad return on $55! I'll play that one at some point, but I'd like to grind the account up to something like $1500 first.

Makes more sense for me now to play the $8000 Guaranteed for just $10, where 1st gets something like $1500. That would seriously rock.

Back to the books.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Desperate to Play

Saw this funny ad on Craigslist:

I don't think that's a +EV trade. :-)

Healthcare Marketplace

I'm self-employed now and scouting for health insurance. I wouldn't dare risk bankruptcy, so I have purchased a series of temporary high-deductible policies to cover the gap since I left the corporate world in 2012.

I managed to get on and fill out an application, but subsequent attempts to log in have failed due to numerous glitches in the system. So far, the interface of The Affordable Care Act has been a disaster for up to 99% of applicants. Not great odds.

I recently developed a kidney infection and went to a direct care clinic for treatment. The nurse at the window informed me that she didn't recognize my insurance and that I should call them to determine if the facility is in-network; otherwise it would cost $365 just to speak to the doctor. Ouch.

My other option is to visit an Urgent Care facility with lower rates. Instead, I've experimented with natural remedies with good results so far.

I've tried the following two drinks:

Diet Cranberry
A teaspoon of baking soda
Lemon Juice

And Cranberry\Parsley Hot Tea:

Fresh Shredded Parsley (a noted treatment for UTI problems)
Cilantro (tastes great)
Ginger Root
Diet Cranberry Juice
Lemon or Lime Juice

With these two treatments, the infection appears to be clearing up, and the pain is going away. If it returns, I'll visit Urgent Care for antibiotics. I don't recommend these treatments as a substitute for antibiotics, but am just sharing what is working for me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Freeroll Sunday

No free money today in the RTR $500. I was chipping up nicely until I picked up AA in early position, raised 3BB and got a caller.

I cbet the flop and he called.

Checked the turn and he bet the pot, so I shoved for his last 115.

He calls and flips up JJ.

The river: J of course

Had my AA cracked in a triple-up SnG yesterday too. UTG shoves and it folds around to me. I call and we flip AK vs AA.

He has a broadway draw on the flop, hits it on the turn, then the poker gods dashed my wounds with salt by landing an ace on the river instead of a king.

That is- how you say -the pokers.

Gonna enjoy some sunshine instead. The weather is incredible!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fast-playing Combo Draws

A couple of months ago, I learned a tough lesson about combo draws on a $1\$2 risking $200. I picked up KK in the SB and popped to $20 and got a caller.

The flop had two suited connectors, and I bet the pot and got a call. The alarm bells were ringing.

Thinking he was on a nut-flush draw, I bet big on an innocuous turn card. The villain shoved and I was pot-committed and called. He hits one of his numerous outs on the river and stacked me for $200. Not a fun way to head into league night... :-(

I went back and analyzed the hand in Poker Stove, and it was eye-opening to see how behind I was on the flop even with a strong overpair, and that was my introduction to the power of combo draws.

Last Sunday, in the RTR Freeroll, I was in a hand where I hit an open-ended straight flush draw on the turn card, and I had already paired the board with a mid-pair. Coincidentally, I had lost some chips early on to the villain in the hand. I recognized an opportunity and fast-played the draw all-in. The villain hit two pair on the turn so he was committed and made the call.

Fortunately I hit one of my numerous outs and stacked him, then went on to take down the tourney for $200.

Here is an article that explains how powerful a combo draw is.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Nonselective Aggression =


Despite the previous note to self, my biggest leak in SnGs lately is shoving hands with marginal equity against big-stacked limpers- who can afford to call with A5o etc, and realize (correctly) that I can't have a good hand every time I shove.

I'm taking a few days off to decide if I want to play to win, or play to play. There is a huge difference.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Note To Self

Push/Fold Strategy on the Bubble

The most important exception to basic push/fold poker is when you’re on the bubble of a tournament or sit and go.
Because of the massive equity difference between bubbling and making the money you need a much bigger edge to justify risking elimination with an all-in.
This concept is best illustrated by the math formula known as the Independent Chip Model (ICM) but as a beginner all you need to know is that if you’re moving all-in or calling all-in on the bubble, you should have a very good reason.
If you think you’re flipping a coin just fold and wait for a better spot.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

RTR Freeroll review

I went back and reviewed the hand history for a June RTR freeroll in which I placed 2nd for $120. I've made some costly mistakes\shoves since then, but if that HH is any indication of how I was playing tourneys back in June, then I believe I've improved. I've never made so many deathwish donk-shoves in a tournament; it was ridiculous. Players at my tables must have thought I was running like a god, but I was shoving hands like 35o to punish limpers, and it mostly worked.

In the final hand, I got it in preflop with A5o vs Q4s. I miss, and he lands a 4 on the river for the win.

Overall, it was an example of how you can play pretty badly (against supernits) in terms of game theory, but still land in the money.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bankroll Management Revisited

In comparing the two graphs above, it's easy to see that in the top graph (tournaments), the only wild swings happen when I manage to hit big in a tourney, then there is the gradual downward trend until the next hit. And then there's the bottom graph...

The cash game graph starts out with a mild downswing that gets more pronounced, then there is a large upswing from when I was playing well and getting good situations, with an almost vertical rise before it nearly crashes back to break-even in shark tooth fashion. What that means is I took shots and some higher buyin levels like $1\2 (risking $200). Naturally it's a rush when the game is running your way, but a total bummer when the downswings hit.

Sometimes the downswings were due to solid play on the flop, where I got all the chips in ahead and simply got outdrawn on the turn or the river. It's part of the game that you have to embrace. But other times it's from getting outplayed on the turn. That's a leak that I'll be working on, but I'll be doing it at .10\.25 (risking $25) and below.

Even though my overall poker bankroll is well above $1000, I want to cap it online at what I've managed to earn there, and grind it up gradually. I'd be far better off now if I had dropped back down after the large upswing, but that's a lesson all poker players learn. You never really quit while you're ahead, you just play at reasonable levels so that you don't get rattled when the next downswing happens, whether from variance or from your game unraveling.

Tournaments have been my bread and butter in this experiment, so I will keep playing those at the $10 buyin and below, and keep learning cash game play at the micro-levels. It really sucked to drop below $1000 a few months ago, and now that I'm above that threshold again, I'd like to keep it moving up gradually.

It takes a lot of discipline not to hop on the $1\2 tables to try and win a monster pot, but I think I've learned my lesson about bankroll management in the cash games.


Found a good example of floating in poker, which is calling a flop bet without a made hand in hopes that you will improve or your opponent will give up. In this hand, the player in position (last to act) floats both the flop and the turn where he improves to a 2nd-best straight draw, then takes control on the river after the pre-flop raiser surrenders with the best hand.

I hate to get outplayed like this, but there's not much you can do when you're out of position, unless you happen to know that your opponent floats most flops and turns, and that he's probably doing so in the current hand.


Phil Ivey Floating


The Right Place, Time, Hands, and Players

I reviewed the hand history from the RTR Freeroll that I won on Sunday. It's funny how you feel like a boss for a while after winning, then the hand history reveals thin ice. Once you see all the hands 24 hours later, you realize that you made more mistakes than you remember, and that some of the situations you won have to do with the kind of player you are shoving against.

Prime example:

-UTG shoves for 15.
-UTG+1 (me) shoves 5311 with JJ.
-Total pot is 5901.
-It folds around to the Big Blind who is the chipleader with 9970, and he elects to FOLD AQo.


The board runs out 9 A Q Q T, so the big blind would have busted me and the microstack with a full house if he hadn't made such an ultra-nitty fold.

Talk about a gift hand. I never feel great about shoving JJ but, if I had minraised, the big blind would have called and won the hand. Who knows, maybe that player lost a hand with AQ previously and was too superstitious to flip, even though he had me covered. Either way, I owe him my thanks. :-)