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.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I Suck at Poker....or do I?

In about 2 days of limit play at 2/4 and 1/2 this week I went from $1538 on Party to $1302. After losing a couple of tournaments, I currently have about $1282 and I believe I'm going to be taking a little bit of a break from limit hold'em in order to study. So far in my poker career I've crushed .5/1 and beaten 1/2 for 2 BB/100, both of these have come over the course of over 10k hands and I've made solid money doing it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my performances at the 2/4 level. I've now played approximately 6k hands and I'm down almost $100 or about 25BB. Now, some of this is due to variance, I don't think I'm really winning my share of multiway pots, which I think I'm still playing fairly well, and I'm winning a much lower percentage of the time and lower BB/100 with AA than I have at the other levels. That said, I know it can't all be varaince. I don't think I'm playing optimally and in some ways I feel like I've lost my game.

I realized yesterday that I've learned a lot from books, but most of it centers around what hands to play pre-flop. My postflop play is still rather suspect. I've learned some things about it from books and strategy threads, but I don't think I'm always putting those concepts into action at the tables. Instead, I think I tend to play by instinct and react, which is not all bad, but I think I need to spend some more time studying and trying to learn. In particular, I need to study, then learn shorthanded play. I think I'm going to study everything I can get my hands on and then play a ton of shorthanded before I hit up the 2/4 tables again. I realized that I think I'm still playing ok in the multiway pots that I'm used to seeing at the lower levels like .5/1, but that I'm losing most of my money in shorthanded pots. At 2/4, even with decent table selection, there is still a higher percentage of pots that are contested heads-up or 3-way than there are at the lower levels. I think it's in these pots that I'm losing most of my money. I'm not saying that I'm necessarily getting "outplayed" either, but I don't think I'm playing as well as I can in these pots and if you couple that with just a little bit of bad variance it can become costly.

So, the new plan will be to finish my re-read of SSHE and finish Theory of Poker. Then I'm going to read HPFAP and the limit section of SS2 along with all of the shorthanded online information that I have at my disposal. Then, it will be time to head to the 1/2 shorthanded talbes and establish myself as a winning player there. At that point, I will finally take and over-rolled bankroll back to 2/4 and I still believe that with a lot of study and a lot of play I can get myself to 5/10 by the end of 2006 at the latest. Of course, the things in my life other than poker, could make it difficult for me to get all of this studying in in the near future, but I still hope to be back out on the tables crushing shorthanded games by mid to late December.

In bankroll news, I want to get a record on here of my total withdrawals thus far in my poker career. After taking out $175 yesterday to buy Christmas presents, I've now withdrawn a total of $610 in my online poker career. Not too shabby for a $100 investment.

Party: $1282.58
FullTilt: $819.02
Total: 2101.60

Friday, November 18, 2005

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

I had my biggest score ever tonight. After losing about $80 on FullTilt last night mostly on shortstack NL and some SnGs, then losing $130 on Party playing 2/4 today, I played a $10+1 MTT on FullTilt. 299 players started and I played a tremendous tourney. Things didn't start off very well, and I was down to around 1000 pretty early, but I fought back and started building my stack. I worked my way to the final table playing great poker and managed to go into the Final Table with the chip lead, only sucking out twice in the entire tourney, once at the final table and once early on. The early hand was one where I picked up 99 in MP and raised about 3x the BB. A loose and active player called and we saw a flop of Kxx, I bet out about half the pot and he raised the minimum...I'd seen him make a raise like this with as little as 2nd pair, so I decided to call him and see what developed on the turn. The turn was the beautiful 3rd 9 and I managed to milk another 1800 chips out of his KT. I ended up sucking out to win the hand, but really I mainly won a coinflip and I only called the raise because I knew he may not have to have the King to make that play.

At the final table I got sucked out on a couple of times in key hands, but managed to fight back and had a key suckout of my own when it mattered. After losing my chiplead when I called an all-in with TT and lost to 22, I ended up getting all-in with KJ against KQ. I hit my Jack, doubled up and never looked back. I really felt like I deserved that suckout, after I'd been sucked out on in at least two key pots at the final table. I finally got it heads-up against the one of the most annoying player I've ever played. He kept moving in and sucked out on me once when he moved in with QJ on a flop of KQx and I called with a K. He hit his Jack on the turn and I fell behind. Then, I managed to double up with A8s against A5s and I once again had the chiplead. After several more minutes of frustrating heads-up play, I found an AK in the BB, he limped in and I bet the pot, as he had been doing a lot, he played right into my hands and moved all-in, I called and he flipped over KQs and I was inches from victory. Then, the flop came Txx, but the turn was a Q and my stomach and my heart dropped, then the river came a beautiful magical Jack and it was all over. I'd made an Ace-high straight to win it.

The victory was worth $747.50, by far the biggest single score of my poker career. I feel like I played a very good tournament the whole way and never really made any major mistakes. One thing that I think may have helped me is that I stayed focused on winning, or at least finishing in the top 3-4, the entire tournament. I glanced at the pay scale once at the very beginning of the tournament, then I didn't look at it the rest of the way and I just stayed focused on playing my best poker and trying my best to win. I think that focus was what helped me the most. I'll definitely have to take some of this money out now and buy good Christmas presents for everybody.

Party: $1407.83
FullTilt: 934.02
Total: $2341.85

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sit n Goes

I've decided to start keeping track of my $10+1 SnGs on FullTilt. I think I'll do it as a 200 SnG experiment to figure out my ITM and ROI %'s and see if I'm really as good as I think I am at SnG's. I lost about 40 bucks playing NL cash either today or yesterday (I actually can't remember which now) and I think I'm through playing it for a good long time. At some point down the line I will probably try to get good at it. Maybe after I've reached the 5/10 level in LHE, I'll finish up/re-read Phil Gordon's book and read Doyle's section of SS2 and try to fashion myself into a respectable player in that game. Eventually of course I'd like to be a well-rounded poker player who can play any game well. I've got a long ways to go since right now I can beat small stakes limit and NL SnG's and I think I've got what it takes to be decent in MTT's, but I think it would probably take a lot more time to find out for sure. So, for now I'm done playing NL cash games, except that I may play a little shortstack strategy from time to time. I'm going to keep a 20 buy-in bankroll for my $10+1 challenge on FullTilt and I think I'll try to play at least 200 to get a real idea of how well I can do at them long-term. This will of course be mixed in with my limit play on Party and a few MTTs on FullTilt as well.

I will probably have to raid some of my poker money for Christmas presents in a few weeks, but I'm hoping that I can use the rakeback money that I'm now earning on FullTilt (which won't be much) and some of my profits from the new SnG challenge to buy them and I can leave my Party roll intact and solely for bankroll building.

Party: $1538.56
FullTilt: $264.32
Total: $1802.88

Monday, November 14, 2005

A New Plan

So, after a solid hour and a half session of 2/4 tonight, I'm not up $70 over 5k hands. I think I'm starting to play better, but I'm not really sure. I need to keep posting hands. Game selection seems to be very important at this level as it's tougher to find a good table. I'm sure it will continue to be this way as I move up levels. I've decided that for the time being my Party Account is going to be fore 2/4 only. If I want to play anything else I'll play on FullTilt. I've currently got around $1530 on Party, so I'm going to play 2/4 exclusively until I reach $2000. Then, I will move to 1/2 6-max and try to learn six-max there, working my way up to at least $2400 and maybe as much as $3k. Once I reach a minimum of $2400 I will start playing 3/6 6-max and move up to 5/10 at 3-4k. I hope to be consitently playing 5/10 by the end of 2006 with this plan and at that point I may start trying to learn other games as well. If things go well, I still think I can reach 5/10 by summer though and that's still the goal.

Party: $1538.56
FullTilt: $220.94
Total: $1759.50

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Buzzed Poker = Fun Poker

Tonight I came back from the bar still a little buzzed, I kinda think I probably shouldn't have driven home when I look back on it, but that's water under the bridge. At any rate, I wanted to play some poker, but I didn't want to raid my Party bankroll at all since I knew I was buzzed and probably wouldn't be making great decisions. So, I played on FullTilt. I started out by sitting down at a .25/.50 limit table and trying a $4.40 Sat. token SnG. I moved all-in quite a few times and got sucked out on quite badly a couple of them and ended up finishing something like 6th. Doesn't really matter because first is really the only place worth having in those things so you have to play fast and loose, especially when buzzed.

I then proceeded to donk off $10 playing shortstack NL, can't even remember how now, lol. I also donked off $5 playing Razz for the first time ever. I really don't have much of a clue how to play that game. Then I played a $5.50 SnG and came in 2nd after the most frustrating heads-up match of my life. I started it with a monster chip lead, with like 11k and my opponent moved all-in on the first hand and I called with A3s, probably a dumb move as he turned over 99. After doubling him up, we fought for quite some time and I relinquished the chip lead for a while, then got it back and eventually lost it again. It really frustrated me because the opponent played so straightforward and tight/passive that it was impossible to finish him off and it seemed like everytime we got the money in he had a better hand. I was even beginning to wonder if it was a bot. Finally, I had about 5k left and he had about 8k and with blinds of 250/500 I pushed with 66, he called and turned over AA and that was it. Most frustrating match of my life.

I played 7-card stud for a while and lost about a buck fifty and I also played a limit Hold'em HU SnG. It really turned into a card catching contest and after getting pwned for most of the match, I got really aggressive with a couple of pocket pairs and managed to win when my opponent capped every street with 22 against my 99. By far the most interesting part of the night though was my time on the .25/.50 limit table when things got shorthanded. At one point it was heads-up and I was up about $20 on the night and began beating the only player left at the table. He then called me lucky, implying that I sucked (which I may have since I wasn't at the top of my game) and I told him it was better to be lucky than good. I made a couple of other fishy comments and then another guy joined the table and we started ganging up on the poor guy. I actually really enjoying razzing this guy, which is odd since I'm not generally one to tap on the fish tank and I really tend to be nice to people online, but I wasn't completely sober and I was having a good time. It was definitely the most fun I've ever had fucking with someone online. By the time I left the table I was up a little over 20 bucks on the night and the table was full again. I told my villain that lunch tomorrow was on him and then I got up and left. Way more fun that it should have been.

I also want to mention that I've been making a concerted effort lately to improve my 2/4 game and I feel like things are really started to get better. 2 out of my last 3 sessions have been winners, but most importantly I feel like I've played pretty well. I've been posting some hands and I think I'm learning a little from it and I've even taken some pretty rotten beats, so I could be up quite a bit more. I'm finally back in the black on 2/4, though it's only about .16 BB/100 it's a start and I'll try to work it up slowly. Finally, I've played a little bit of shorthanded .5/1 lately as well and I feel like I'm really starting to improve my shorthanded game, so hopefully I will be able to hold my own as I move up limits. I'll post more soon about goals for the next couple of months.

Bankroll -
FullTilt: $189.07
Party: $1498.06
Total: $1687.13

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Banging My Head Against the Wall


I can't seem to fucking beat 2/4 and it's really starting to piss me off. Since I've had pokertracker, I've beaten .5/1 for 4.6 BB/100 over 12k hands. After a solid session tonight I've beaten 1/2 for 2.4 BB/100 over 10.5k hands. But, I've lost about 21 BB over 3.5k hands of 2/4. I just can't seem to beat the game. Granted, I know that 2 factors are combining to hurt me, I'm getting bad luck against maniacs and losing big pots and I'm misplaying key hands here and there. Yet, it seems to me that after this many hands, I can't just chalk it up to luck. I must be doing something wrong. I just can't seem to put my finger on what exactly it is. My pre-flop numbers are ok, but I seem to be losing big pots and winning small ones. I seem to be constantly missing draws, yet I don't think that's the only reason I keep losing.

I know I've donked some hands up, but it seems that whether I'm donking or playing well, I can't seem to get anything going. Tonight for instance, I was down $80 on a combination of bad luck and bad play, when I started a new table. I played for a while and ground my way up over $150. Then, I lost it all and was back down to about $90 in just a few key hands. I don't think I played any of the hands terribly, but I still lost all that money. Maybe I need to start setting limits for a while, and maybe hitting and running a few times to try to build confidence. At any rate, something needs to change, or the dream may come to a grinding halt very early. If I can't beat 2/4 online, how can I possibly expect to beat higher levels with better players.

In much better news, my bankroll is in really good shape right now thanks in large part to $90 in bonuses from Party and some very soft .5/1 games that I've played recently. I was also moving up on FullTilt until I donked away about 30 bucks playing NL cash games today. I think I probably ought not play much NL cash until I'm consistently beating 5/10 limit online (or somewhere around there). Then I can venture into improving my NL game. Hopefully, by summer I can get there.

Current Bankroll:
FullTilt: $126.57
Party: $1393.02
Total: 1519.59