Saturday, September 12, 2009

LAX on my way to LAS

My body thinks its nighttime but the clock says 8:00am, should I use the complimentary beverage voucher. Let me Google the Pope's religeon to decide. So there is only this Post between me and my first Sam Adams in a while, here goes.

First let me start by saying that around Feb time (I think) a number of us bloggers seemed a little flat with our games. With the exception of Jesse, who is a shoe in for a Limit Bracelet one day, we all seem to be doing a bit better of late. For my part here is an update "brag" post. Medium fish in a wee pond stuff.

Sydney Championships, $150 entry, 28 runners, 4th for $403. I'm glad that I didn't play the $770 event as I'm now 3 for 3 in cashes at biggish (for me) PLO Events. Another min cash could have been 2nd if my KK99ss had held up against the chip leader QQ64ss. Runner Runner 6-6 just felt bad. In reality the flop was all low and he had a few outs. My KKxx hit a K on the river AI against AAxx with 7 left, so I'm not complaining. As is usually the case with PLO, by the river I had a whopping 7 outs.

Before flying out at 6am on Sept 11 (I only realised when I got to America), I played our new game at the local Bowling Club. Over the 3 weeks, we've had 4, 5 and then 6 tables. I was packing so missed the Tourney, satisfying my poker craving with the S&G Chip Chop. Ran a double barrel bluff first hand to build my stack but managed to halve it. From there, I resorted to T/A against calling stations and scored a nice $50 on a 0.25c/.50c blind game. Obscene BB/100 if it was to count that way. In reality, its only a couple of big hands that make the difference. You just need to not get unlucky.

I've played every day of FT's Take Two promotion which should be an easy $50 and my redline is going really well. Showdown winnings are well down which is to be expected. Need to work on finding the optimal balance. I find that running the HEM graph along the bottom of the screen provides instant feedback on when my aggression is dropping off. My stats all of a sudden look really good alongside the winning regs, I think.

I got yesterday's game in at Sydney Airport. Was up a healthy amount when my plane was called. The final hand was K44 flop. A shorty raised the pot and I decided to min-raise my 4 to induce the shove with which he duly obliged. He had AAxx obviously and I logged off looking forward to Vegas even more.

And so to Vegas. I'm hoping to check in and go straight to bed with the Hard Rock Casino tonights choice of venue. If I'm feeling jetlaggy, I'm not going to play as I need to pace my finite BR. Hopefully I can win the early sessions and relax in that regard. I have no desire to move above the smaller stakes, just soak up the atmosphere.

OK ... Sam is beckoning ... gl all at the tables.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My first PLO8 MTT win and Sydney Champs

What a difference a day makes. The deck must have read my blog and resented my flippant lack of appreciation for running good. Exacting revenge, it has just slapped me about the face repeatedly. Not one for bad beat stories, let me share with you that the Winnings line has plummeted below my AI EV line, which rose significantly overnight. Good news is that I didn’t Tilt, for which I credit HEM with its visual confirmation that it was just variance.

I was four tabling, with 2 tournaments and 2 FR PLO100 cash games on the go. A tad ambitious or irresponsible perhaps. I almost got ITM with my PLO tourney and came first in the PLO8 one that I was playing in which had 128 runners. Being my first ever PLO8 100+ player tourney win, overall it was a very good evening and another step forward in my pursuit of being an all-round poker player.

My Poker Ranking for the year was 98.71% before last night so I’m keen to see what a small stakes win contributes as I’d like to poke my nose into the top 1%, if only for a day. Not sure of the formula for the rating system, but I know that my ranking has been flattered by running good in a couple of low buy-in events. Having had my fair share of being smacked around the face, I’ll take anything that’s going.

The Sydney Championships are on and there is a $770 PLO Tournament which I would have loved to have played in. In the end, I have decided not to. As I’m off to Vegas on Friday, my $$$s are being conserved to be invested in the cash games over there.

I estimate that I'd be close to neutral EV given the amount of dead money and was really torn between giving it a go or not. Unfortunately, $770 weeds out a lot of the casual dead money that even $550 would attract, so my expectation may well be lower depending on the field size. Less than 100 players would be a pretty strong field, I think. Over that, there just aren’t that many great Omaha players available in Sydney on a Tuesday night.

The deciding factor in the end was the realisation that, for those close to me that don't fully appreciate the variance of poker tournaments, the utility of losing which is the most likely outcome greatly exceeds the utility of a min-cash which is the next most likely scenario.

If I was single, I would give it a shot just to get a chance to pit my wits against The Croc and Eric Assadourian and gauge how far I still need to improve. I know that a lot of the bets that I made last night with the click of a “pot” button, I couldn’t have done live and even if I could, there would have been a million and one tells in the physical activity.

In the end, I'm pleased that I appear to lack the gamble to just throw bankroll requirements out the window and give it a go.

Like Father, like Daughter

What is the Game Theory optimal strategy for the % of times to stick with your Rock, Paper, Scissors selection for the next throw? That was the question posed over dinner last night.

Not sure that we confirmed my guess of 33% when my 17 year old daughter challenged me to a game up to 10. Of course, I accepted. But what happened next was very special for me as the parent of a teenager.

We literally couldn’t continue because we were laughing so much. After about 15 or 20 throws, we had matched each and every time. We were both changing, staying the same, anticipating etc. but every selection we made was identical. Our attempts to outwit each other were identical. As a parent, it really was a very special moment to realise how much is passed on to the next generation. Or am I reading too much into pure coincidence?

As a poker player, I have to wonder how exploitable my poker style is. Am I really that predictable? I’ve thought a little more about it and I wasn’t trying to choose because of what my daughter would pick but rather what a logical person would do. Presumably she was doing the same and consequently predictable to an observant opponent.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Scissors, Paper, Rock - Player Profile

As per MBB's comment on my last post, I have found that increasing post-flop aggression has forced me to become more aware of player profiles. I've been aware that my post flop passivity has been a problem for some time. HEM just presented it in a format that I could no longer ignore.

Coincidentally, I was reminded of the maths of Paper, Scissors, Rock over the weekend and revisited a strategy site. The parallels with poker are amazing. I completed a Player Profile Survey and would be very interested to see if all aspirational bloggers are from a similar mould. Perhaps you'd be kind enough to add your Profile as a comment.

Apparently, my Spiritual Player Profile is as follows ... "You trust your emotions. When competing, you focus on your own game seeking inspiration from within and rely on inner harmony to select your throws. Winning or losing is not the primary focus of your game. Instead you focus upon playing the right throw for any given situation, regardless of your opponents actions. The Spiritual player can usually benefit greatly from strategies that rely upon proper form and technique (such as Cloaking and Shadowing). The downfall of the Spiritual Player comes from being so inwardly focused that you fail to recognise an opponents obvious mistakes."

Not too far off. Strategy for little old Scissors, Paper, Rock, eh? Who would have thought.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Red Lining it

It amazes me that after all of the years that I've played poker, listened to podcasts and read books that there are still Ah-ha moments that are both shockingly obvious and have so far gone unnoticed by me. I'm hopeful that this one will transform my game. You need to be an eternal optimist for poker, eh?

So what is this miraculous find? Don't laugh. The good old Red Non-Showdown Winnings line. I got Omaha Manager free with my Card Runners Full Tilt sign-up and love the product. For the first time I can see what was going on. By comparison, PT Omaha is a dinosaur.

Anyway, a quick click on Graphs showed my Showdown winnings going up at a 30 degree gradient and my non-SD winnings dropping at a 30 degree gradient. Almost symmetrical and straignt as a die almost.

Thinking about it rationally, I spend a lot of time working out if my cards are ahead or behind and acting accordingly. The problem is that most flops miss most people and my opponents are doing the same plus c-betting, stealing blinds, picking up orphans and pushing me off missed draws on the river etc.

I've always known that I am passive post flop and tried on multiple occassions to rectify this but my Mr Logic side quickly kicks in again and lets me down. I find that no matter what I do, I struggle to make inroads into my AF stat.

The Red Line is different though. I have taken to having HEM Graphs open with AI EV and Showdown Winnings clicked for the last 1000 or so hands. Every big hand, I find myself glancing at my chart to see if I am playing well and playing aggressively enough. My results have been flattered by running good, but I know that I am playing better too. Just need to be careful not to get rope-a-doped (which has happened a couple of times). Or betting Pot on the river to manipulate my stats :-).

The real improvement came fromn reading several excellent strategy articles and posts on Showdown Winnings. They really put things into perspective. Including a reference to Fgators "famous" graph. Sad to say, mine was as bad or worse. Hopefully those days are behind me now.

Running good again

As hard as I try not to be results oriented, it feels really good to be running good again. The world looks brighter. Over the last 1500 hands, I am running good against All In EV to the tune of 10 big bets / 100 hands. Unsustainable, but happy days while it lasts. Over this small sample size it made the difference between being a decent winner or a pretty bad loser.

Also, I may have stumbled upon the secret of how I can lose less. And it isn't to stop playing. Watch this space.