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.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday Night was Poker Night

I played in several tourneys tonight and only cashed in one, not even coming close to covering my buy-ins. I played the FCP Tourney on FullTilt and played ok, but went out in 7th when my AJ sucked out on JJ only to be resucked by the case Jack at the river. I then played the FullTilt $24+2 guarantee and lost that. I also tried the 40k on Party did went out in 33o or so, after fighting my way back from an early shortstack, and playing a good tourney until I made two overplays with A6, the second one sending me to the rail when I got all-in against KQ and lost to a straight. I went deep in the FullTilt 1 am $5.50 tourney, but only cashed for $14.50 or so going out 11th, when I had AJ in the small blind, the big stack raised from the button and I pushed. He called with AQ and it was bye bye Joe.

I had a good night on Party $1/$2 though finally, with my draws hitting and my good hands getting paid off and I finished the night up about $80 or so playing that. I've now played a little over 5k hands of 1/2 and I'm back up over 2 BB/100, so I'm pretty happy about that. I also did a little more work on my Bodog bonus. I'm up to 100 points now, just 100 more to the bonus, and having cleared 50 in 3 days is pretty solid. I figure I should be able to get it in within a couple of weeks, and even though tonight was slightly down on there, I'm still up about $35 overall on that site and it seems to have definite goldmine potential, especially in the SnG's. Unfortunately, I hate the interface and probably won't play on there much once I clear my bonus. At least it has the sportsbook to keep me hooked.

Bankroll Figures:
Party: $683.77
FullTilt: $152.17
Bodog: $145.35
Total: $981.29

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bodog and 5th place in an MTT

I haven't updated this thing in a little while, and I have a few things to share from the weekend. On friday night, I had my best ever finish in an MTT. I played the 1 am $5.50 buy-in tourney on FullTilt. 297 players started and I finished 5th. It was my first final table, so I was stoked about that, but I'm also pretty pissed, because I think I probably could have won if I didn't get unlucky at the final table. The tourney chip leader was playing like a maniac most of the way and I'd gotten him to double me up twice with less than 30 left, which I managed to ride into the Final Table. Then, at the final table with 5 left and me 3rd in chips, I picked up KK in the BB with the chipleader directly to my right. It folded around to him and he raised. I re-raised the size of the pot, which was a little more than half my stack basically committing me to the pot, but I wanted him to double me up and my read said he might fold to an all-in. He called and we took a flop of T9x. He bet the rest of my stack and I called, and he showed me 86o for a gutshot straight draw. I'm not 80% to win the hand and be a close 2nd in chips. I figure from here, I should be able to win, since I rate myself to be about the best player at the table. Unfortunately, the turn is a 7 filling his straight and sending me to the rail in 5th for a $100 profit. Tough way to go out, but it really gave me confidence that I'm capable of doing well in MTTs.

Since I won all that money, I decided to take it to Bodog, and get another bonus through PSO. This should buy me two more poker books from my wish list. Plus, I can bet on sports through Bodog, which could be either a good thing or a bad thing. I have a feeling my biggest leak could end up being my desire to make prop bets all the time, but only time will tell on that. Anyhow, I have to clear 150 Bodog points to get my bonus, which works out to 100 $5 SnGs or 50 $10 ones if I play those exclusively. Bodog doesn't have a lot of limit tables, so I will probably play mostly SnGs, although I did sit down at a $.5/$1 table on there tonight and won $12, and cleared 10 points, so I will probably try to play some cash games as well. I also played 4 $5 SnG's and cashed in two, with a first and a second. The play there is horrendous. The first one I played, I went all-in with AT on a ten high flop and got called by a guy with KJ and a backdoor flushdraw that I had counterfeited b/c my AT was of his suit. Unfortunately he caught a Jack, but WOW. What a dumbass play on the first hand. This site has goldmine written all over it. I'm up $30 on the first night, plus the $10 instant bonus and I'm looking good on there. I'm not sure when the bonus is cashable, but I'm sure it will be once I earn the points that I plan to get anyway.

Finally, I want to talk about $1/$2 for a second, because I've been getting pretty frustrated with it lately. I've played almost 4800 hands of 1/2 and I'm only winning 1.85 BB/100. I've analyzed my stats to look for leaks and I think I'm just having a little bit of a downswing, after all I did beat Party $.5/$1 for 4.38 BB/100 over my last 8700 hands, so I probably deserve not to start 1/2 on an upswing. I still plan to play at least 5k more hands and re-assess. However, if I have $800, and I'm at 2 BB/100 or better after 10k hands of 1/2 I'm going to take my shot at 2/4 and see if the game is any better. I've found 1/2 considerably tighter and more aggressive than $.5/$1 with more good players, but some of that could be poor table selection. The best thing is that 2/4 has no six-max tables, so all of the fish should be on my tables, instead of flocking to six-max which I don't currently play. One of my goals is to become a good shorthanded player, and I'm hoping that my next couple books and some practice will help with that, but right now I see no reason to play a game in which I feel like a fish out of water. I'll stick with full tables in limit hold'em for a while longer.

Current Bankroll Figures:
Bodog: $140
FullTilt: $168.46
Party: $618.52
Total: $926.98

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Frustration of MTTs

I've played in several MTT's in the last couple of days and I haven't managed to do well in any of them. On some I've gone out on horrendous beats (which I feel like I'm taking more than my share of at the moment) and in some it's been on poor decisions where I end up getting my money in with the worst hand. I don't know what it is, I know some people are really successful at these things, I just can't seem to figure out what it is that I need to do. I can't figure out where I'm going wrong. I read Harrington's books, and I felt like I was starting to make a breakthrough and play better, but now I think I'm regressing. I just don't know where I'm going wrong. It really, really frustrates me when there's something like this that I know there is a way to beat and I can't seem to figure out how to do it. Couple this with the fact that I haven't had a decent winning $1/$2 session in about a week and I'm really frustrated with poker at the moment. It's these moments when I start to have the self-doubt and wonder if I'm really good enough at this game. I know I'm good, I know I have the potential to be good, but I just start to wonder if I can really make myself into the player that I want to be, and make myself into someone who can do this for a living. I dunno, I guess I just need to keep grinding and working on my game. The breakthrough is bound to come sooner or later.

Current Bankroll:
about $760

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A possible major leak

I think I've realized what one of my biggest weaknesses may be. I have a very hard time quitting sometimes. If I've been having a bad poker day or a bad session, I can't seem to accept a small gain, or a small loss sometimes and just walk. For instance, I'll be playing a tough session of limit and after a long time I'll finally grind back to where I'm about even. Then, I'll proceed to drop back down again, because I can't just take my beating, when I've played plenty of hands anyway and walk away for a while. Or, I'll be playing NL cash like I was today and I managed to about double my buy-in, then I proceeded to play to long and lose it all. I need to start working on putting better constraints on myself.

So, from now on, I will set an hour or hand limit at the beginning of every cash session and unless I'm running really well and the game is exceptionally soft, I will stop and at least take a break at the time I've set. Further, if I'm playing NL cash on FullTilt and I double my buy-in, I'm definitely done, again unless I'm running really well and playing really well. I think the biggest trouble in the NL game though may be that I'm having trouble recognizing when I'm not playing optimally or am no longer a favorite for some reason and should quit. For instance, I'll get bored with winning small pots here and there and trying to steadily grind up a little and I'll go for the big all-in strike and ending up donking off $20 chunks of chips. This is a big problem. I think this lack of a defined endpoint is one of the big reasons I've always liked Tourneys and SnGs so much (SnGs especially), because there is an endpoint and a goal to shoot for. I've always been goal-oriented and competitive, so having this helps. I just wish I could get better at MTTs. I just can't figure out whether I'm making too many mistakes, or if I just haven't played enough to even out the variance yet. I would guess it's some combo of the two, but it's really frustrating, and I really hope that I can make a big breakthrough soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Worst Poker Day Ever...

I played 3 MTT's on FullTilt today, and didn't make it past the first half hour in any of them. In the first, I went out on a ridiculous beat after donking off some chips early. Then in the second, I doubled through after my 87 flopped a straight from the small blind. I was feeling good, and I raised with JJ and got one called. The flop came down 332 and I put the guy all-in, and he called me with A2...of course a deuce came on the river, dropping me down to 1390 in chips. Not in dire straights, because it was still early, but definitely not doing well. A few hands after I got moved to another table, I raised with KdQc and got called by the BB. The flop came 7c6c5c, giving me no pair, but two overcards and a flush draw. The BB bet and I moved all-in and he called me with Js8s for an OESD, however his OESD was only a 6 outer, plus he had to live non-spade Jacks, but even if he hit his hand on the turn I had massive redraws, so I felt pretty good....after all, I was a 70/30 or better favorite, just like I was when the money went in on the JJ hand. Well, of course, a 9 came on the turn and I didn't improve and was done.

So, after losing $37 in FullTilt tourneys and donking off some more in a cash game, I decided to play some $1/$2 on Party. I couldn't seem to get anything to go right there either and ground for almost 500 hands to end up down less than $10, but still down. After taking a break I decided to take on more shot at a tourney and played in the 6 pm $5k guarantee on FullTilt. I picked up TT and re-raised a raiser, he pushed and I called even though I knew it was a mistake. Sure enough, he had QQ and I was in trouble. However, when the flop came AKT I thought maybe it was finally my turn. Of course, the river brought a Jack though and once again I was done. Then...I was up about double my buy-in on the $.50 NL table, when I picked up AA and got two people all-in for about $15 apiece on a flop of KQx, one showed KT and the other QT, putting me way ahead...until of course the turn brought a T, for a big loss. I just can't seem to win anything today and it's really, really pissing me off.

I'm on Tilt !! Full Tilt !!

Tonight I played 3 $10 SnG's. I placed 2nd in the first one, went out in 5th or so in the second one...just couldn't get anything going; then in the 3rd, I played pretty well and got all-in against the chipleader with AA when I was 2nd in chips, but he had JJ and caught a Jack on the flop to beat me...which really sucked, but I guess that's poker and I have to live with it. I also played a $4.40 sattelite token SnG and won that, so that makes me a little happier. While I was playing my first SnG's I bought into a $0.50/$1 NL table for $40 and lost it all when a guy sucked out on me. All in all, it was a night of tough beats, tho I'm currently working on trying to recoup a little on the $.25/$.50 NL table. I'm up about $19 at the moment, but I did just take a $10 bad beat, when I had to split a pot when K8 sucked out on my KT. Maybe that's a sign that I should just quit for the night.

Yesterday, I played about 500 hands of $1/$2 on Party and couldn't get anything going at all. I was stuck as much as $70 at one point in the session, but I managed to recoup some and only ended up down about 15 BB, or $30 bucks. I'm still at 3+ BB/100 with almost 3K hands at $1/$2, so I'm pretty ok with my performance there. I think I will probably be able to continue to be a winning $1/$2 player long-term.

Finally, I think I've decided that as soon as I have $300 on FullTilt and have cleared my bonus, I'm going to take $100 to Bodog thru PSO so I can get a couple more book sand maybe bet on some football too. I hear on FCP that Bodog is pretty beatable so hopefully that will go well. And, as I write all this, I'm now up a total of $54 on the NL table, been playing shorthanded and doing really well.
I should stop now, but I don't want to. The table just went from heads-up to 4-handed. Alright, I'll give myself a max of 10 more minutes.
Alright, just stood up with $114.35, bought in for $20, so that's +$94.35 for that table. I should play more shorthanded NL. I tend to do quite well at it.

Current Bankroll:
Party: $649.86
FullTilt: $260.80
Total: $910.66

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pinch Pinch

Didn't get much poker in today. Didn't play $1/$2 on Party at all. I did however play some FullTilt tonight, pretty successfully. I played $.5/$1 limit for a little while and basically broke even, cashing from the table up $1. I also played $.25/$.50 NL and made about $26 and I won a $10 SnG for a net of $34. All in all, a pretty good night. I felt really well about the way I played in the SnG and I feel like I deserved the win, and I don't always feel that way after I win a SnG. I really played almost perfectly. I made one mistake heads-up and sucked out, then managed to close the deal afterwards, and while I don't always like it when I suck out, I think you have to sometimes in Tournament poker. Basically, on the hand that I sucked out on, I was heads-up and down a little less than 2-1 in chips, I picked up the Krablar in the BB and the chip-leader raised. He'd been raising alot and playing aggressively since we got down to 5-handed and I'd had one hand earlier where a big re-raise had gotten him to fold, when I had AT in one of the blinds. So, I decided to re-raise all-in, mostly figuring that I had fold equity and and if he called with something like an Ace, I wouldn't be a huge dog. Unfortunately, he had about the worst hand for me in that spot and called me with KQ. I caught a three on the flop though got a massive chip lead and managed to close the deal a few hands later. Even though I sucked out, I feel good about the way I played the hand and the way I played the tourney overall.

Bankroll numbers:
FullTilt: $197.10
Party: $679.87
Total: $876.97

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday Nights Rule!

I had a little bit of a tough night on FullTilt tonight. I entered a $24+2 satellite to tomorrows WPT Foxwoods satellite and I busted out around the middle stages. I couldn't seem to get much of anything going the whole tournament and finally busted out when I was shortstacked and pushed with an A7 after it was folded to me in the SB, the BB woke up with 99 and I was done. I then played the 1 am $5.50 tournament, and again couldn't seem to get a whole lot going. I had my stack around average thought when I picked up AK in late position, it was raised in front of me, and I pushed hindsight, maybe not the best decision...a big stack behind me called and the original raiser called. The big stack showed QQ and the original raiser had TT, a Ten came on the flop and I was done in that too. I also played some NL cash and I think I lost a little on the day, but not a whole lot...after clearing another $6.35 of my bonus, my balance on there is now $129.15. Since I've cleared about $25 of my bonus and I deposited $63.50, I'm only up about $40 on that site. I think if I can ever get it up high, I'll probably take at least some to Bodog to get the PSO bonus and pick up a couple more books.

I had a much better night on Party. I started the day with $532.99 in my account and I played exclusively $1/$2 today. I had a huge night 3 and 4 tabling, winning $146.88, which is approximately 73 big bets in about 1000 hands. I know 7BB/100 is unsustainable, but I don't think it's all positive variance, I think that the game is more beatable on Friday nights, so while I will give some of that back over the long run, I probably won't give all of it back in variance. I do think that to an extent variance may be somewhat controllable, or at least its effects can. If you're having a bad session, you should probably stop, in order to keep yourself from going on tilt and losing more. On the flip side, you can also control when you play to some extent, for instance, I like to play on Friday nights, and also Saturday nights to a lesser degree, because I think the games are softer then. I don't think you can discount the softness of the games helping out your bankroll and variance. Anyhow, after tonights session I now have almost 2300 hands at $1/$2 in my Pokertracker database, with a win rate of 5BB/100. While this is unsustainable over the very long run, I think that if I continue to play at the right times and don't get too unlucky, I can probably beat the game for at least 3-4BB/100 over the 10k total hands that I intend to put in and if I do that I should have a solid amount when I decide to level up to $2/$4. Running some quick numbers, if I can beat the game for 3BB/100 over the next 8k hands, I should make about $480, which would give me a bankroll of $1100, well within my plan for moving up. So, I think the only thing I need to do is put in the hands.

Total Bankroll figures:
FullTilt: $129.15
Party: $679.87
Total: $809.02

I now officially have the highest online bankroll I've ever had.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Movin' on up

I've finally started incorporating some $1/$2 into my ring game play. I now have almost 9k hands at $.5/$1 in PokerTracker and I'm beating the game for well over 4BB/100. With as much as I played before the hands that PT has, I'd estimate I've played around 15k $.5/$1 hands, with my BB/100 probably being in the same general area I'm seeing in PT right now. With nothing left to conquer at $.5/$1 I've decided it's time to make the jump. While I don't have the requisite 300BB bankroll, I don't think that it's completely necessary. After tonight, I have over 250BB and I played $.5/$1 to help cover bills for a few weeks this summer on only 100BB, so I'd say I should be able to survive as long as I don't get unlucky. I think that the 300BB rule is great for playing higher levels and you should have at least that much (as well as some money saved up) if you're going to play professionally. However, I think while I'm building bankroll I can afford to loosen up the requirements a little bit. So, here is my bankroll building plan going forward.

I will move up when I have at least 200BB for the next level and I have logged at least 10K hands beating the previous level for at least 2.5BB/100. If I drop 100BB at any level, I will drop down and grind back up. So, for each level the numbers and target months should be approximately as follows:

$1/$2: $400+; start playing now and log at least 10k hands.
$2/$4: $1000 or so; Would like to be there by the first of the year.
$3/$6: $1500 or so: Would like to be there by about the end of March give or take...provided of course I've logged 10k hands at $2/$4 first.
$5/$10: more than $2000 to take a shot, $2500 before making the permanent move. Ideally I'd like to be here at the beginning of the summer. This probably isn't likely, but I definitely think that I can and should be here by the end of the summer.

Once again, I plan to log at least 10k hands at each level and not move up unless and until I have a winrate of at least 2.5BB/100 for that level.

I haven't mentioned my FullTilt account on here, because I plan to keep that separate, using it to play Tourneys and hopefully start cashing significantly in a few.

My roller coaster poker night

A week or so ago I decided that I was sick and tired of grinding $5 SnGs on FullTilt, so I took some of my money to a NL table and started gambling a little bit, and so far it has paid off. By gambling, I basically just mean pushing hard with solid hands pre-flop. I've been buying in to the $.25/$.50 NL game with about 20 bucks at a time, then getting it up over $40 before cashing out. I've managed to do this a couple of times and also done well in a couple of $10 SnGs and I had the bankroll up to about $200 on there this afternoon. Then, I decided to try playing in the FCP FullTilt Tourney tonight, which would have been fine except that my power went out, so I bought in but didn't get to play. I then played in the 1 am $5.50 MTT, but never really could get anything started and busted out in the middle stages when I pushed in with ATs and got called and sucked out on by KQ. I then proceeded to take $20 to the NL table in an effort to get it back, and I did...I had it up to almost $60, however instead of doing the smart thing and just cashing it out, I got greedy and proceeded to donk all of it back and ended up losing the full $20. So, I took a bath of almost $40 on FullTilt today and my current bankroll on there is now down to about $165.

Then, on Party tonight I ran into the same power outage problem when I bought into the $20+2 40k guaranteed MTT, but didn't really get to play in it. I managed to log in about an hour and a half late, and I had 355 chips left and was sitting in the small blind. I had J9 of hearts and there was one limper, so I decided to push right here, with possible fold equity and two live suited cards. Unfortunately, I got called by both the limper and the BB, and ended up losing to a Q-high. I then lost $6 in a multi-table SnG and decided to use the FullTilt plan on a $.25/$50 NL table in an effort to earn it all back. This was a roaring success, as I ended up cashing out about $135 from that table, making more than $100 from my $20 buy-in. So, I ended the night with $533 in my Party account up $87 on the day.

So, totals for the night:
FullTilt: -$37; current bankroll $165.95
Party: +87; current bankroll $532.99

Total Online Bankroll: $698.94

I'm finally higher than I've ever been before. My previous high was just north of $600 when I was playing almost exclusively SnGs.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Solid Tourney run

Just finished 15th out of 213 in a $10+1 Tourney on FullTilt. It's my best finish in a Tourney (aside from 30 player SnG's, one of which I actually won once) and I'm still not satisfied. I played pretty well most of the way, but didn't get much in the way of cards. Had KK twice, but that was about it. I never saw in AK, or any other big pair besides the Cowboys. I had 99 twice I think, and had to fold them pre-flop once. I got lucky once for all my chips and unlucky twice for all of someone else's chips. The lucky hand, I raised pre-flop with KcQc, and got called by the BB. Couldn't really put him on a hand here, so when the flop came AKx with one club, and he checked, I figured my hand was probably good and bet the pot. This was probably my biggest mistake in the hand, because it cost me half my stack and pretty much pot-committed me. He then check-raised all-in, and the way it shook out, I was getting about 3-1 odds to call off my whole stack, probably drawing to 5 outs and a backdoor flush. If I folded my M would be in the red zone at a pretty early point in the tourney, so I decided to call. He turned over AJ and I rivered a K to win the pot. Like I said, I got lucky there, but I think in the end I made the right call based on the pot odds and the remaining stack I would have had.

I also had two hands where I had someone else all-in against me and they sucked out, and those both hurt. Early on, I called a shortstack all-in along with two other people with 88 in my hand and made kind of a donk bet into a dry sidepot, on the turn which got the other two to fold. I guess it actually wasn't that bad of a play because I figured I had a decent shot of being good against the all-in player and wanted to protect my hand against the other two. It worked b/c the all-in player turned over A6 and there was no A on the board. Unfortunately he hit one on the river and that hurt a little bit, but it didn't really cripple me. The other tough one was when a shortstack pushed in the middle stages of the tourney and I made an isolation raise all-in with AJ. He turned over QJ, but caught a Q on the turn to suck out.

All in all, I think I played a pretty good tourney. Only made 10 bucks, but I feel like I played pretty well and have gained some confidence in my tourney game.