Life Shouldn't Be A Fuckin' Grind

I will never be a poker pro, but my lifetime poker ledger is positive and I think that's something to be proud of.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Variance SUCKS!

Tonight I lost $48 (48BB at $.5/$1) 3-tabling on Party for about 2.5 hours. The session started off bad and just continued to get worse and worse. I may not have played my best the whole time, but I also know that I hit the downside of variance pretty hard. I should have known things were going to be bad when the very first hand I was dealt on the very first table I sat down at I was dealt AA after posting in the CO, There was a raise in front of me, I re-raised and I believe it was capped, with 4 to the flop. The flop come down J9x rainbow, I believe, not well co-ordinated, and no obvious draws to beat my Aces, I bet out get a couple of callers, the turn is seeming blank, I bet out and am raised, I call and check/call down, only to find that my Aces have been cracked by a J9o, that cold-called the original raise and stuck around to see a capped flop...OUCH. I lost 7 BB on that hand and things never got better, I would say that you could find that hand in the dictionary under bad beat, but I have an even better one.

Later on in my session after I'm already down at least 30 or so, I pick up JJ and raise it before the flop, the pot ends up being capped and I believe we have 4 to the flop. As we go to the flop, I realize that I think one of my opponents probably has AA, from the way he bet it (he limped in from EP, then re-raised my raise), so I'm ready to let my hand go if I don't hit my set and he shows continued strength. but, I get my gin flop, 8J4 2 diamonds. I've flopped my set and successfully cracked Aces (or so I thought). EP leads out and I raise, I think we may have capped it with one other guy (probably on a draw of some sort) coming along for the ride. Then, the turn brings the Ace of diamonds and my stomach drops, this card helps both logical holdings for someone staying around in this hand and if my read of EP for AA is correct he now has my set of Jacks beaten. The pot is too big to fold, so I check/call down for 2 more BB and see the bad news. You could say it's not a really bad beat because the Aces held up in the end, but the way it played out was truly terrible for me, and pretty much summed up my whole night.

On the bright side, I did win earn like $3 playing on FullTilt, I played one 18 player SnG that I finished 4th in for $9, and 2 9 player SnG's and finished 3rd in one of them, tand lost the other when I flopped TPTK with AdKd and lost to a KJ that hit a J on the turn. Oh well, at least I felt like I played pretty well in my FT tourneys tonight and I'm up to $90 on there, with another $6 bonus soon to be released. I feel like I've started to get my SnG game back and I'm really starting to understand NL Tourney strategy a lot better thanks to HOH. Dan Harrington is the man.

Current Bankroll: somewhere around $380 total, I overestimated last time on here, but this is pretty close.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Pacific Experiment

At this point I think I'm ready to call the Pacific experiment a marginal success and get out while the getting is good. I don't like the site very can't multi-table, it doesn't look very good and you can't get hand histoireds very easily. Pretty much three strikes right there. On the plus side, I did get in enough hands to get my free PokerTracker, which I'm pretty excited about. I've managed to download 7K hands from PP and I feel that I'm only starting to scratch the surface of what I can learn about my game. I've also managed to run my Pacifc account back up to about $118, which is a $7 loss after the instant bonus they gave me, but a definite net gain, when you consider that I got PokerTracker for free (a $50 value) and I only deposited $110, so I've got 18 bonus dollars left. The games on there are pretty soft, which I think leads to a little more variance than I'm accustomed to, especially since you can only play one table at a time. So, I may come back sometime down the road when I have a bigger roll, but I think for now I'm pretty much done.

So, I'm looking for another site to do another PSO promotion with and get some free books or something. I really like the idea of doing some bonuswhoring and also trying to get some rakeback. Unfortunately, through my own dumbassery and inexperience I've signed up at way too many poker sites and probably won't be able to get any rakeback on a Party skin (I signed up for Empire ages ago and never used it, and I tried to sign up for a rakeback deal thru Eurobet and screwed it up), this definitely sucks when I see how much rake I've paid and will continue to pay on Party. I'm also somewhat limited in my bonuswhoring by the fact that I've also had accounts at UB, Stars and FullTilt (again missing out on rakeback opportunities). I guess I'm not overly concerned though. Many pros made their fortunes playing live with a much higher rake and no rakeback deal, so while it sucks not to get rakeback, if I'm beating the game, it's not going to kill me.

My current Bankroll: somewhere around $450

Saturday, August 27, 2005

2 1/2 Hours I will never get back

I've just about finished volume 1 of Harrington on Hold'em (an excellent read btw), and I've been on a run cashing in like 5 or 6 straigth FullTilt SnG's, so I decided to take a crack at the 1 am $5.50 MTT on FTP. 383 people played and the top prize was over almost $500, a great return for 5 bucks. However, only 36 people would cash and lowest payout was like $8, making it hardly worth your time to try to sneak into the money. I decided I was going to try to play my best and my goal would be to make the final table. I played well early on, doubling up with AT vs. A7, after I pre-flop raised in position and was called by the big blind. I believe all the money got in on the turn. I then picked off another short stack when I limped with 44, called a late position min raise and flopped my set, I checked and the raiser pushed his last 800 in, overbetting the pot; there's no way I'm not calling with a set and he turns over AQ drawing virtually dead and I'm up to about 4000, putting me in the top 15 in chips in the first half hour.

Unfortunately, I really couldn't get much going after that, I played solid tight poker, but didn't get a lot of cards. I stole blinds when I could and picked up a few pots here and there, keeping myself around even and climbing bit by bit, but not really fast enough. I had one other hand, which had a huge effect on my tournament. With blinds of 60/120, I had a stack of 3990 and picked AKo in 4th position, the guy on my right raised to 300 and I raised the pot, making it 1080 to go; 2 people folded and the button went all-in for another 130, the original raiser folded and I called. He turned over AJ and I'm in a dominant position to pick up almost 1700 more chips. Unfortunately, the flop came down 3T3, the turn was a 4, but the river brought another T and a split pot. Had I won that whole pot I may have been able to play a little more aggressively going forward. Unfortunately, I didn't see many good hands and after that, but still managed to steal the blinds from time to time and keep my stack moving up a little and at least keep even with the blinds.

Then, with 48 players left and blinds of 300/600 with a 75 ante my stack had been whittled down to 4690 well below average. I picked up KQ in the big blind and stubbed my toe a little bit. The two people in early position called the 600, then MP1 with a pretty deep stack raised to 1800, I figured he may be trying to steal the money already out there and as long as he didn't have AA, KK, QQ, AK or AQ, I wouldn't be in terrible shape against him, the pot was already laying me 2-1 on the money I had left in stack and I decided to try to make a move and pushed. The two limpers folded, but the raiser called me with 66 which held up and my tournament was done. My play was probably somewhat motivated by frustration, because I felt that I may have been playing a little too tight. I had folded an AQ to a raise a few hands before and watched the flop bring two Queens, a hand which probably could have double me up and put me in position to make a decent run. I'm not sure whether or not I made the right play, but I wonder if I'm being a little results oriented because I busted so close to the bubble, with a stack that I probably could have nursed into the money. I realize that had a King or Queen hit the board and I won the coinflip I'd probably have considered it a pretty good play, but since I lost I leave myself wondering if I would have been better off folding and looking for a better spot. The math works out pretty favorably for me though. There was already 4500 in the pot when it got to me and I had 4015 left, if I assume that the original raiser is definitely going to call, I'm getting correct pot odds as long as he doesn't have one of the five hands that has me slaughtered. I'm getting 1.82-1, giving me better odds than I need against all but the five hands that have me slaughtered.

Still though, I think that folding may have been better, the blinds were definitely getting high in relation to my stack, I did have a little left to hang around with. In the end, I think the biggest issue might be my goal. If I'm playing with scared money, just trying to hang on and cash, I should fold, if I'm trying to go deep into the money, the push here gives me a great chance to do so, in a spot where I can probably get my money in in a fairly favorable spot. Since cashing for 8 bucks was not what I got into the tournament to do and would have very little affect on my bankroll, I think that pushing here in an attempt to give myself a stack that I can work with was probably the best play. The math on the hand ended up working out. Maybe I'll post the hand on FCP and see what they think.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Schooling....or something

About a week ago, I put some money on Pacific Poker thru PokerSourceonline in order to get a free copy of the PokerTracker software. I've played almost the required number of hands now and I've netted a solid loss, and I'm not completely sure why. I recognize that it's probably a combination of bad variance and me playing some hands in a less than optimal fashion. What bothers me about it is to see people pull down huge pots with ridiculous hands like 570. The play on this site is fucking horrendous, meaning that a good player ought to be making a killing. However, I've so far managed to lose the $25 bonus they put in my account to start out and almost another $10 bucks on top of that. It's one of those things that start to make you wonder if there is validity in the idea that too many players to the flop makes it nearly impossible to win. Actually, I don't subscribe to this theory at all, it probably just causes higher variance and I haven't seen anywhere near enough hands yet. That coupled with my impatience when I lose has me bothered it would seem. I guess I'll give Pacific some more time and probably try to poor over some hand histories when I can find some time to see if I can figure out where I'm going wrong and if I'm making mistakes. I did just realize that I haven't been having my draws come in and I've had a couple of big hands like AA get cracked. I just need to deal with the variance and expect to get it back later on.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Party Poker on the Weekend

Worse players or just good variance? This is now the second weekend in a row that I've had a ridiculously good session on PartyPoker on a weekend. Last weekend I had the $91 session, today, I just got done with a $67 session. I played 4 hours, and 10 tables hours and 575 hands. 2-tabling for all of it and 3-tabling the final two hours. So, if you're keeping score, that's 6.7BB/hr. and about 11.6 BB/100. Now, since I've been very up and down during the week and averaging a little over 1 BB/hr and maybe 2-3 BB/100 at best, I'm beginning to wonder if the play on the weekends is worse somehow. If it is, I know where I'm going to be spending as many weekend hours as possible. Since I've been playing with a bankroll of 100 BB for the past couple weeks and I now have over $200 in my account I'm very tempted to try a session of $1/$2 later tonight. If I could have another great session, 50 BB or so, I'd earn $100 instead of just $50 and I feel like I should be trying to make the extra bank while the play seems so much softer.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A Study Plan

I was poking thru Small Stakes Hold'em (the only book currently in my poker library) a minute ago and I remembered how important really understanding everything in the book could be to my game. So, I've decided I need a study plan. Starting next week, I'm going to devote at least an hour a day (probably mostly from time that I would normally spend playing) to studying poker. Be it reading SSHE or the other books that I will soon be adding to my library, or browsing the strategy section of FCP, I will spend the time studying to improve my game. Playing is important for improving your game, but by just playing you can fall into habits and keep making the same mistakes over and over again. By setting aside time to study I should be able to steadily improve my game.

Full Tilt Poker

It's been a pretty mediocre week at the tables so far. I've put in over 55 table hours of $0.50/$1 limit and I've made about 50 bucks. True, it's one BB per hour, but I believe I should be making a better than that. The play is pretty weak and SSHE says that I can make better than minimum wage (one BB per hour). So, I think there are some definite holes and leaks in my limit game. I'm not really sure what they are, and I don't really have to energy at the moment, but I think after I start my job and I'm going to cut way back on the number of hours I'm playing and start trying to study my game and the book. I'm also debating shelling out 50 bucks on my credit card to get both volumes of Harrington on Hold'em and Sklanksy's Hold'em for Advanced Players, I think all 3 are critical to my overall development as a player, I'm just not sure if I should buy them now or wait a few weeks and see if I can afford to get them without a credit card.

In other news, I finally got fed up with PokerStars early this week and transferred my last $63.50 from there to FullTilt. I have to admit that I really like FullTilt's SitnGo structure and the MTT structure looks very good as well. I also like the fact that the MTT's tend to have fewer players than other sites, making them much less of a crapshoot. Unfortunately, my SnG drought seems to have carried over to yet another site and I'm starting to wonder if I've lost my NL game. I've so far played 13 $5.50 SnG's, one $4.40 SnG for a satellite chip and one heads-up $5.25 SnG, granted it's a fairly small sample, but I've only cashed 3 times and while I can chalk 3 of my losses up to really bad beats, most of the others have been a combination of bad luck and bady play. I've run up against better pairs a couple of times and donked off chips some others. So, I've lost about $8 since I've been playing on FullTilt and while I really like the structure of the SnG's and like the interface better than Stars, I have to admit, I'm not convinced about the RNG or my NL game. I've seen a ton of bad beats take place on that site so far and while I see them on every site, they seem more prevalent than they should be. However, bad beats overall seem more prevalent online than in person, so maybe it's just that we're seeing so may more trials...I dunno.

In all of this, I do have some good news. My 3 SnG cashes on FullTilt so far have all been wins. It seems that if I can double up once and get my chips over 3000, I'm in line to do really well. I'm not pretending that I'm the greatest heads-up player ever, but I like the fact that the structure makes heads-up play an actual contest and not an all-in crapshoot. It's so much more about being aggressive, taking a few flops and trying to outplay your opponent, whereas on Party it was all about having the right pot odds to go all-in. I also had a very nice SnG feat tonight. I went from 183 chips to victory, doubling up a couple of times, once on a lucky hand where I pushed with K5o and got called by AQ and I caught a K to stay alive, and then just playing good solid poker. Anyway, I want to get a few more SnG's under my belt before I declare my game dead, but it does really bother me that I've only cashed 3/14 times, when I used to cash a consistent 40% with PartyPoker's horrible structure. I really think I need to sit back and re-evaluate where my NL Hold'em game has gone. I guess that's a pretty good argument for getting HOH as soon as possible.

I'm pretty tired right now, so I guess that's all I have. I'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball.