Friday, October 31, 2008

7 live hours later, slight profit, interesting lesson.

Sat again in the Auckland NLH100 game and after 7 hours of table time am pleased to report another modest positive result +$55.

I played more hands than my last session report thanks to good cards. Had my fair share of good and bad luck. Lots of little things didn't go my way and one big hand did to my amazement.

Dealt KK early position, raised to a relatively table standard $12 and got $5 callers. A pot sized bet is over 1/3 of my $170 stack. Flop AQ7 rainbow, so I c-bet $55 to get 2 callers and 2 folds, I'm OOP now. Turn of 9 is essentially blank, and it goes check, check, check. River J for AQ79J. I check, MP bets AI for $21, LAG calls $21 and I'm ready to fold when a player that I respect tells me that my pocket Tens are good. Great call and it got me thinking. Working it thru, he could be right and I'd given up with 2 x $55 flop callers.

Opps turned K2 for total bluff and QT which seems a pretty loose call to me. I won, but felt very lucky, even though I was ahead throughout.

Lesson for today - not everyone thinks or plays like me and I need to take this into account in big decisions!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beating the rake ...

I chatted with the Poker Room boss last night at Auckland. It's a small room and they are playing with Tournament schedules etc and she was interested in feedback. Amazing how quick you become a local.

The rake is high at 10%, capped at $10 on a $1/$2, $60-$100 NLH table. She explained the financial realities and they need to take $200 per hr / per table. That still doesn't compete with pokie and other casino table revenue. Small tournies with 40 people and 4 tables for a few hours can generate less than $200 total. Not a good return, hence not many tournaments. They are running freerolls to help people transition from pub poker to casino poker.

So accepting that the rake is high - to play or not? I'm learning, so table time is an investment. My style reflects the challenge of beating the rake as I am the nittiest nit ever. I watch like a more experienced interested player though.

Last night, I am please to report that playing 5 hands and limping a few more netted me a profit of $74 over 4 hours of play. Had I played any looser, I would definitely have lost! I played pp pairs 3 times after flop. Once I hit and got a flop bet and turn fold on 89KT board, twice I raised preflop and c-bet and was folded to.

AA, I linped UTG (aggressive table), MP raise to $7, BB call, I re-raised to $27 as I would be put on a post flop c-bet if I didn't and I was getting away regardless of flop as it was such a loose / bluffing table. They fold, fold which was fine but dsappointing as I was happy to stack off on any flop.

That was essentially it. Very lillte risk and a successful result. As Blindman said, playing fewer hands I was up for less rake too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

More live poker coming up

Hi All, I may go walkabouts for a few days again as I am on another trip to Auckland for work and will no doubt hit SkyCity for a few more live games. The games there look soft, but I struggle to win there for some reason. I've had a chance to think about a few things since last time, so here's hoping!

All tips welcome for wild, loose, 7-10 x BB preflop raises not uncommn type poker with 25BB BI and a 10% rake. Only +EV I've found is the free diet cokes.

Risk of Ruin 101

One concept that struck me when reading the Mathematics of Poker is the "Risk of Ruin" (RoR), more commonly known as going busto.

Bankroll Management is extremely important and if you only ever sit down with 5% of the Bankroll, you will be down to 1c/2c before going bust. If you've been serious about poker and can't beat that game then you need to rethink why you are playing poker.

That stated, the first lesson on Risk of Ruin is that any game with a negative EV has a 100% chance RoR in the long term. 100%. Gambling 101, every other casino game is -EV, so don't play them when waiting for a table to come free. Sports betting, Betfair etc aren't because you can have an edge, unlikely but possible.

More on Risk of Ruin next time ...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shortstacking and moving from Limit to NL

The Blindman had this blog entry today ...

This was my response which I feel contains a few important points worth considering ...

There is no doubt that short-stacking is mathematically an advantage. Philosphically though, there is a poker economy that is enjoying a boom, but can be subjected to various threats online cheating, bad PR, legislation, abusive chat etc.

IMHO, short-stacking can fall into this category. There is probably nothing wrong with the individual financial instruments that caused the current financial crisis, but the net effect is dramatic.

The prevelance of short-stacking and the ease with which the strategy can be multitabled negatively skews the online environment.

Thankfully to combat this we are seeing the introduction of 50bb min BI tables. This is a positive move for those that really nejoy the game in its purest sense.

In terms of game selection, after 6 months, I really feel that I am starting to get a feel for NL. The transition is incredibly difficult and for me, expensive.

I jumped into NL200 from $20/$40Limit where $200 pots were commonplace. The step up was a quantum leap, so as you transition I'd recommend start micro and play full stack as mastering the game is the goal, not eeking out a few artificial mathematical dollars.

Finally, if you take the time to read the Law School Dropouts blog you'll be very keen to transition sooner rather than later. That was my inspiration, but it was Harrington that provided the key to holding my own.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gotta give action to get action.

I think that I first read something similar to "Gotta give action to get action" in Super/System and again from Mike Caro. My propensity is toward TAG, so I struggle to get action fast playing trips, etc.

Now to the quiz (see last post), my SMS big winner friend sent me an email identifying himself. His poker history is literally no online poker, uses a poker program in MSFT Windows, watches it on TV and read one poker book on a business trip to Perth. He hasn't even played pub poker. At Perth casino, we played his only other live game and he exited early, probably TPTK loss, or similar.

On that night, my advice was to play tight just to rack up table time and experience. Needless to say, he bluffed me out of the 3rd or 4th hand we played. I recall laying down a good hand assuming he had the nutz. I was way off and he thought it was funny - I wasn't so sure.

Anyway, I have confirmed that there were many furious losers. At 2am he responded to one self-proclaimed English pro who was verballing him that he should consider another profession. At 4:00am, when cashing out, he asked if he could be watched to the cab rank by security. He was the last man standing having cleaned out both tables at that level.

Apparently, he rivered trips with 55 twice and another pair once more. He only lost a couple of hands all night and was a massive bully toward the end when he lost all track of chip to dollar values (a big advantage when it happens). The ultimate was a $1500 pot where he had KJ against AJ and got AI on a KKJ flop.

I can only imagine the scene as his chip stack grew. The regulars salivating when this recreational player sucked out on someone else knowing that the chips would eventually be redistributed. It just never happened.

I know it was a freak session, never to be repeated, but there is a lesson there with respect to speculating to prosper. May you have a quarter of my friends luck at least once in your poker career!

Community Quiz - Pick player type

I got the following SMS from an unknown number "Turned $100 into $3475 last night @ conrads. $2.50 - $5 no limit :-) 5 hours".

I set about trying to think who might have sent it. I have met quite a few people through poker. Conrads is a Casino on the Gold Coast in Australia which is a vacation destination.

My immediate candidates were a rich aggressive ex-semi-pro who played in the WSOP 15 years ago, an FX Trader who bluffs a lot and is loaded so doesn't give a sh**, a solid female who plays marginal hands fast and gets action because she's a female ... and then I ran out of likely candidates.

This is an incredible result. It was a 40BB $200 max buy-in table so that is 15+ BIs. I can't recall ever seeing a stack like this online. I'll be interested in guesses on playing style. Answer to follow when the regulars have had a guess.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Different Stages in a Player's Life

I've been thinking about this article by Ray Zee on 2+2 a lot lately. I just don't know where I sit, live and online.

My best guess is that I move from a 2.5 to a 3.3 online, and a 2.1 to a 2.7 live. I find it incredible that after all of the study I have so much more to learn. It could be depressing, or I could just realise that as long as poker remains a recreational pasttime that I must be ahead of the pack. The common figure used to be 5% of players are winners. I'm not sure that that still holds true, but anecdotally it seems reasonable.

Here is my first hand post that had my stomach churning. Is it a 2.9 or a 3.3?

GAME #1228444 NLH .50/1 x10 Table Cliftonville (50 bb min)
Seat 1: MP+2 ($123.00 in chips)
Seat 2: CO-1 ($151.55 in chips)
Seat 3: CO ($82.35 in chips)
Seat 4: Hero ($98.50 in chips)
Seat 5: SB ($112.35 in chips)
Seat 6: BB ($100.00 in chips)Seat
7: UTG ($100.00 in chips)Seat
8: UTG+1 ($47.90 in chips)Seat
9: MP ($161.58 in chips)Seat
10: MP+1 ($171.65 in chips)

SB: SB $0.50BB:
BB $1.00
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Hero [HJ HA]
UTG: Fold
UTG+1: Fold
MP: Fold
MP+1: Fold
MP+2: Fold
CO-1: Fold
CO: Fold
Hero: Raise $2.00
SB: Call $1.50
BB: Raise $9.00
Hero: Call $8.00 [I get played back at often when over-stealing, so hand range may well be wide]
SB: Fold

*** FLOP *** [C9 S4 S2]
BB: Bet $16.00
Hero: Call $16.00 [Not feeling good about this, but every so often you need to make a stand on c-betting from a meta-game perspective]

*** TURN *** [C9 S4 S2 D8]
BB: Check [Trapping or pot controlling?]
Hero: Bet $13.50 [1/4 pot bet to similarly put him on a decision]
BB: Call $13.50 [Bugga]

*** RIVER *** [C9 S4 S2 D8 C4]
BB: Check [Trapping?]
Hero: Bet $59.00 [If he wanted an AI, 1/2 pot would have been more effective - stomachs churning, but there is only one way to win this pot]
BB: Fold [Woo Hoo - Overpair or AK?]

*** SUMMARY *** Wins $137.00

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lost my way chasing William Hill Bonus

I’ve lost my way a lot this month. With travel and various other distractions, I played less hours and was less motivated (and tired). I lost over the month significantly on Omaha, but made a similar amount at NLHE. I tried Limit to run up the bonuses quicker but treaded water.

I think that moving to William Hill distracted me and I am envious of the Bonus Chasing Grinder’s disciplined results. The problem with William Hill is that it doesn’t have the volume of players to let me multi-table effectively. That is part of my excuse for being sidetracked by Omaha. The other is that I enjoy it more, hopefully the results will follow.

I’m not impressed at all by William Hills cashier function. I've run up 1000 MPPs which should be good for a $100 sign-up bonus for me. I’ll never accumulate another 1000 so I’ll retire there for the month and start playing 5 hours per month at my leisure ongoing. Am I missing something or is information about “my” bonuses hard to find? Anyone know if it is within the cashier function, or elsewhere?

I probably broke even for the month which is about par for me. Not bad I guess, considering that I certainly didn’t play to my strengths. Any guidance you can provide to get me back on track would be great. I’m at my most comfortable 4-tabling $1/$2 iPokerNetwork, Limit or NL. Any suggestions on where I can find a similar experience with RB / Bonuses as I am liking the extra cash in my RTR account?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Winning feels so much better

Came home late from work after an hour drive from the city and decided to have a few hands before bed to unwind. I enjoy PLO most of all, even tho' I'm nowhere near an expert, barely competent.

The site I wanted to play on had virtually no tables going and I sat at 2 x 6-max PLO200 GBP (which is a lot of Aussie dollars for my wee bankroll). Anyway, careful not to tilt went out the window when I found myself playing very LAG and down 2 BIs of 80 each within a couple of orbits. Then it seemed to click a bit and I ran one table up to 374 GBP from 80 - treading water on the other. Profit +150 GBP and time for bed ... more ass than class for sure!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Passing the time with PLO in front of the TV

I'm still keen to get a really good session online. Having my first quiet evening at home for a while, I decided to chill in front of the TV with my wife. Pulled out work laptop which doesn't have any rakeback sites on it, so settled on Party as one of my "don't care" accounts.

I always try to play well though and sat at the first table it offered me for NL100. Played OK, stole and jabbed my way up to +$15 when I paid the price for a bluff on a 997 board and a 2nd best TPTK for a $-45 result. The sort of hands that can go either way. I wasn't concentrating so may have gotten away from the 2nd one and possibly not bluffed the first if playing my A game, which wasn't the objective. I decided to shut down that table as any solid table image was now shot.

Fired up the first PLO50 short-handed available for a bit of fun. Played T/A for first 10 orbits or so and then wielded bigger stack selectively for remainder of session. Ran it up to a stack of $172 before bed o'clock. A good PLO result for me, this time on the side of +ve variance.

The movie was pretty good too! BTW, a quick movie review ... check out "Once" if you haven't already seen it. Low budget movie with great music.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anticipation - rusty or refreshed?

I'm not sure that I have ever gone 2 weeks cold turkey from online poker before, but between work, travel and live play that is the case.

I'm hoping to get a few hands in this evening (as Monday is a good TV night for the girls) and really looking forward to it. I am keen to see if it is like riding a bicycle and I slot right back in. It will certainly be interesting as I am hopeful of being refreshed.

On a similar subject, The Bear Blog spoke of Phil Ivey in the WSOP having a bad run and choosing to sit out of his favourite event $10K PLO as he wasn't playing well. It certainly got me thinking as to how badly I might play tired or bored? I'm not sure that I really think about the difference between playing well and getting good cards. I can spot Tilt but probably rely too much on auto-pilot to grind out a profit. Thoughts?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gone walkabouts ... Playing with the Pros in Auckland

... but looking forward to getting back in the online saddle.

I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Auckland NZ for 10 days with work. I took the opportunity to try the other side of poker, live. Being away from home, I was able to play virtually every evening. I really enjoyed it, but as a profession it would get very frustrating / boring as a breakeven or losing player.

I think that the game may be relatively unbeatable long term given the rake which was 10% with a cap of $10 on the $60/$100 capp $1/$2 NL game. There wasn't the option of Limit play which I would have preferred.

The tables were full of the same regulars all of the time with very few recreational players. The standard of play amongst the regulars seemed lower than Crown in Melb and Star City in Sydney, but the absence of recreational players certainly meant that there was no easy money to be had.

As you might have guessed by now, I was a losing player at approx -$5 / hr. Well within variance limits and what seemed like a high number of bad beats, but I'm not so sure.

Occassionally the preflop raise would be $7, but the norm was $15 to $22 and sometimes more. With small stacks this meant that the money was often going in on the flop. As I don't like to gamble, I was playing very tight and then finding myself up against multiple callers on draws. I was rarely on draws as I was playing only premium hands. It was all quite frustrating when used to playing relatively deep stacked online.

Clocking up a reasonable amount of hours, the pace was still very slow compared to online. I'm looking forward to getting back to 4 tables and constant action.

The highlight though was four satellites on Sat/Sun to qualify for the $3300 Play with the Pros. I got through easily in the two $80 qualifiers to the $330 Satellite (top 20%) on each day. The afternoon was a different story, with only 10% getting paid, I didn't adjust my game early enough. I played well and possibly over cautiously in the first few rounds, then the blinds rose rapidly and I found myself hovering on the average stack, then all of a sudden I was short stacked without losing a hand hardly. Ah well, all good experience.

I had the privilege of getting very close to the players in multiple tournaments during the week. The most impressive was the analysis of an Omaha hand before calling a river bluff light by an Aussie Pro Eric Assadourian

It will lose in the translation, but with 5, 2, 7, T, 7 (rainbow +1) board, he told his opponent who'd bet that he was sorry but that the bet just didn't make sense. He went on to go through every reasonable hand combination and analyse why it didn't make sense. He eventually called with a lone T giving him 2 pair against total air. I've got so much to learn!

Today, Joe Hachem was playing in day 1B. He too was extremely impressive. What I liked was that he paid attention constantly. He'd occassionally reach for his chips while watching the players to his left, he'd watch guys on a decision when he wasn't in the hand and he'd continue to watch pot winners with no showdown as they pulled in the chips and stacked them.

Greg Raymer was very accessible and played the early rounds extremely patiently. We are lucky to have an interest in a sport that the best in the world are so accessible. Only a matter of time until I find myself at a table with them :-).

Finally an apology, between work, play and lack of Internet access I haven't kept up with this blog. To those that dropped me an email, much appreciated, hopefully I'm back. Now I need to catch up with how you've all been traveling.