Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did I play my AA too quickly?

What do you think?

Villian is newer to table. No reads yet.

I thought once he 3bet, he would call my shove. I was wrong and I think I missed out on some value. Is my bet sizing incorrect? Suggestions?

Rate has slowed but still positive

As I began to implement more of a LAG style into my game, I have seen increased volatility in my rate of return. With that said, I have also been experimenting with 4 tables while also being a bit under the weather health wise. What has resulted is that I'm down to only beating 5NL at a clip of 14.5 ptBB/100. Still pretty good considering everything.

Let's break out the issues stated above:

-Implementation of LAG-style: This can be dangerous at these microlimits as you are often running against maniacs and people who don't know how to fold second and third pairs or any sort of draw, including gutshots. I need to work on adjusting my style to table conditions more efficiently.

-4 tables: Mixed results. I definitely play better with only 2 tables. However, the difference in quality of play between 2 to 4 tables does not make up for the increased profit per hour from 4 tables. I am going to move to 3 tables and practice for a while. And then go to 4 tables from now on. I will continue to 2 table for the first 2k hands at the next level and then expand as time passes.

-Playing while under the weather: Too long of sessions while not being at prime playing capability has decreased my ptBB. Oh well. I'm aware of it and that is all.

-Bad beats: Two remarkable bad beats to share. AA < K5o all in preflop for full stacks. Turn gave him a gutshot. River completed it. Ridiculous. 2nd bad beat- AA<66 for full stacks. All in on turn. Board was all overcards to his 66 and he wouldn't give it up. River gave him the trips he was looking for. Any time you give up a full stack it will have a big impact on ptBB/100.

Bankroll on PokerStars now sits at $262. $40 to go until properly rolled for 10NL. Wish me luck and prosperity. I'll return the favor (especially to you MonsterStack).

See you at the virtual felt,

Pokerstars: $262

Friday, April 25, 2008

Confidence leads to Joy

It is absolutely amazing to me how much I am enjoying poker right now. And it is solely related to the confidence I have in my game recently.

I'm almost un-tiltable right now. I get a bad beat or run up against a callstation I'm unable to get off of second pair when I miss, I just laugh. I now have some very important information and have some of the skills to go about setting them up to get stacked. Lose a little to gain a lot.

I know not much content in this post. Just wanted to say how much confidence in your gain improves how much joy you get out of it. I just hope I can continue this feeling for a long, long time.

Take care,

PS: $212

Preflop Bet Sizing

One of the biggest leaks I can spot in my opponents is the varying of preflop bet sizes. They have a big hand, they make a big preflop bet. They have a small hand, they make a small preflop bet.

Instead, make your preflop bet sizes consistent. In unopened pots, 3x BB is the standard (at .02/.05, .15 is my standard open). However, the question is raised, "What do you raise when there is a limper in front of you?"

Mike Maloney made a great point in a previous post comment that I am now implementing in this regards. Your opponent makes a mistake when he calls without correct pot odds. In this game, profitably is achieved when a) you make your opponents make more mistakes than you b) exploit the mistakes your opponent voluntarily makes.

So in the case of preflop bet raising with limpers in front, you should raise 3xBB + 1 BB for each limper. So if you are sitting on the button with JJ with the UTG+1 and the CO each limping, your raise should be 3xBB (.15) + .05 + .05 = .25. This raise gives your opponents improper pot odds to call with their weak hands (they would have raised instead of limped otherwise).

While this does increase your volatility somewhat as you will have some opponents that will call regardless because they want to "gamble," over the long term, this is highly profitable.

For example, I was down $7 at my table last night after making a decent sized mistake (I had JJ, raised preflop, got reraised by BB, and I flat called. Flop came Q high and I called him down despite knowing that he most likely held AK based on previous history. K comes on the river and I lose a good sized pot). After making that mistake, I had an excellent read on my table and I decided that I was going WTF PWNZ (sorry for the terribly immature L33T talk but it expresses my emotion very well at this time) my table. I immediately started opening my preflop range, all the way down to 34o. I could be pretty much be holding ATC and could outplay my opponents. I went from down $7 to up $12 in 45 minutes.

A big part of this was the exploitation of limpers. If they limped in front of me, I was going to raise them 3xBB + 1 BB for their limp. They didn't know what to do. The first few times, they called me. Flop would come, I had position and exploited them. They bet weakly, I raised it up. They bet strong, I folded away or called them down (depending on the player). And then they started to fold their limps. Worst part for them, they kept on LIMPING! I must have gained at least $3 or $4 just from their limp-folds.

There was a guy to my immediate left who wanted to tangle. And he paid for it. I flopped a straight with 5-3 and got him for a few bucks. Got him to fold 77 on a 10h-9h-10x-10x-Jh board when I only had AQo. He would call my increased raises consistently and then run scared as I would double-barrel or triple-barrel him often. He just didn't know how to handle my aggression.

I was the happiest person on the table when he doubled through another opponent up to $20. The bank was open and I was raiding the vault. Thanks to Mike for his follow-up explanation as it has paid immediate dividends in my game.

Only $90 to go before I move up levels once again. Shouldn't be too long as I'm crushing this limit for approx 28 bb/100.

See you at the virtual felt,

PokerStars: $212
FT: ?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Playing/Running Well at 5NL

$51 profit since Sunday with limited play time. Not too shabby. Working on a post regarding preflop bet sizing and why it is important to be consistent. While this topic has been discussed often in almost any book, I'll try to organize my thoughts here in a clear and concise manenr to help my fellow micro-grinders that lack cash experience.

See you at the virtual felt,

PS: $201
FT: ? (haven't played there for a while as I continue to focus on micro-cash available at PokerStars.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Input Needed: Was I correct in making this call?

So the villain in the hand below is a nice fellow. We've been chatting it up about the weather, my dog pictured as my avatar, and general banter. However, this guy's play was pretty terrible. I raised preflop with AXs and flop comes 666. I make my standard cbet, he flat calls. Turn brings a jack, I check; he makes a large overbet and I fold. I compliment him on his play and he says he had trip Js (actually would be a FH). Anyways, I didn't really believe nor did I care.

Then I stacked him on the hand below. Good read or lucky I didn't get stacked? Villain's stats: 73/0/2.75 over 30 hands. After he made the large overbet, I asked in the girly why such a large overbet? After letting my time clock drop down to 10secs, he responded "in or out." To me that seemed like he didn't want the call. I'm still not sure why.

I decided to call. A turn overbet to me means bluff in this situation. An Ah or Kh would want a weaker heart to tag along to the river and then an "OBFV" (OverBet for Value) would be appropriate. What's your opinion?

Direct Link to HandReplay

Monday, April 21, 2008

Moving on up...

8.5k hands into 2NL at PokerStars and I've broken through the $150 bankroll level. This means I am now properly rolled for .02/.05 (5NL).

Played my first session and got in a couple hundred hands. Ran around 33.6 pbTT/100 for around $20 profit in the first session. Pretty volatile. Had one table I was running great on (left when I had $32 on the table) but terrible on another one (two coolers back to back) and medicore (between $1-5 profit) on the other table. I feel pretty comfortable at this level and am looking forward to breaking through the $300 barrier sooner than later.

I've heard that FullTilt is starting to offer rakeback progams to existing customers. I've emailed them requesting to be added to that program. We'll see if I ever hear anything back. While I have set up a rakeback acct in EK's name, I would much rather not mis-represent myself and play under DubsPoke once I hit 25NL. Here's the reason I'm waiting until 25NL:

For 10NL, Pokerstars rake is 5%. FullTilt is 10%. Even with 27% rakeback, Pokerstars is still a better value. At 25NL, I believe PS jumps up to 10% as well. Therefore, rakeback becomes much more important.

Anyways, that's still a ways down the road. Going to keep on truckin' at 5NL.

FT BR: $101
PS BR: $168

Friday, April 18, 2008

Feels good to put up a W

Even if it is only a $3KO 90seat tourney. This followed an 8th place finish in the same tourney format as well as solid play in last week's mookie (except for the hand that knocked me out when I tried to resteal with A7 against someone I had no fold equity against).

Anyways, this win doubled my depleted BR on FullTilt. Which means I get to play few more Mookies.

My poker over the last few weeks has really turned a corner and I couldn't be happier. Now just gotta keep on improving and keep on practicing.

Tough spot: Flopping top pair from BB on multi-way limped pot

A situation that I find very difficult and am in quite a bit is as follows:

6 handed NLHE cash game:

-I am in the BB
-multiple people limp
-I hold a marginal hand suck as J7o, K6o, Q3o

Flop comes QJ4, two suited. I have flopped pair with no redraw and a terrible kicker. How do you proceed?

Perhaps an actual HH would help clarify what I'm discussing:

PokerStars Game #16825466080: Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02) - 2008/04/18 - 18:19:53 (ET)
Table 'Pawlowia' 6-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: fatherfigure ($3.46 in chips)
Seat 2: rcapi ($4.36 in chips)
Seat 3: matt_virtue ($2.98 in chips)
Seat 4: DubsPoke ($5 in chips)
Seat 5: sweet_podge ($3.53 in chips)
Seat 6: MA551VE ($3.36 in chips)
matt_virtue: posts small blind $0.01
DubsPoke: posts big blind $0.02
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DubsPoke [Qd 7h]
sweet_podge: calls $0.02
MA551VE: folds
fatherfigure: calls $0.02
rcapi: calls $0.02
matt_virtue: calls $0.01
DubsPoke: checks
*** FLOP *** [2d 3s 7d]
matt_virtue: checks
DubsPoke: bets $0.08
sweet_podge: calls $0.08
fatherfigure: calls $0.08
rcapi: folds
matt_virtue: folds
*** TURN *** [2d 3s 7d] [3d]

Now what? How would you proceed?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

5k hands at 2NL

Progress is good. VPIP 21% but PR only 12.49%. I think that is acceptable based on how the game plays. I do not open limp but will limp from late position in multi-way pots with suited connectors, 1-gappers, offsuit connectors, pairs below 88, etc. Doing so has been very profitable.

The results? An outstanding 47.71 ptBB/100 and $95.37 profit. That's at .01/.02! Wish all stakes were this ridiculous.

Here's my PT snapshot:

And my PokerGrapher shot:

and finally my position stats:

Now you all are better at breaking down PokerTracker info than I am. What do you all think?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The SuperFish

Wasn't feeling great yesterday afternoon (have been under the weather for about 3 months now, something going on with my sinuses and considering I've never have had allergies before, I'm somewhat concerned).

Anyways, I was pretty bored so decided to continue my grind at the .01/.02 tables on PokerStars. And I ran into the SuperFish. That guy that plays 92/89 (92% of hands, raising almost every hand preflop from any position). Quite often, he pushes his entire stack in with any two cards preflop. If not pushing preflop, he is pushing post flop if he caught any piece (including any flush draw including backdoor draws). He is reloading for full buy-in amount if he happens to get busted.

A couple months back, I'd be calling every time trying to hit the flop hard. Now that I have a few more cash game hands under my belt plus a lot more reading/education, I know how to play this guy. Be patient. Wait. Accept the fact that he WILL suck out on you but in the end, this type of player gives it back plus some.

And that is EXACTLY what happened. I wait patiently. He raises preflop to .08. I flat with Ax in the BB. Flop comes ace high. I make a small bet. He pushes his $13 stack in. I call knowing my ace is good. And it is as he flips over 3-7 suited, complete air as none of his suits are on the board.

SuperFish doubles through 2x on suckouts from his preflop all in pushes agaisnt others and is now sitting with $17. I am ~$13. He raises to .08. I flat with 8d10d. Flop comes 10-7-3. My 10 is definitely good. SuperFish pushes. I call. 7 on the river gives him trips. Damn. $8 profit to down one buy-in. It hurts. The first time I've been stacked at this level since I first re-started here. But I avoid tilt and rebuy for max $5.

Pocket 99. SuperFish pushes preflop. Folded around to me. Decisions Decisions. Decide to gamble and call. J on the river gives the villian two pair with his J-2off. Down 2 buy-ins. Still avoid tilt. I know this guy is going to give it all back.

I pick up QQ. SuperFish raises. MP re-raises. I push my $5 into the middle. SuperFish calls with his now ~$21 stack (he's been stacking one guy repeatedly who insists on gambling with him with poor starting hands). Another $3 stack joins the ride. I flop a Q, outpacing 4-4 from the MP and 8-3sooooted from SuperFish. Now only down $2 for the session.

Don't remember the hand exactly but once again in the BB and call with a couple faces. Flop two pair and get it all in for stacks against Superfish. Now up to ~$26. Superfish leaves and the table quickly falls apart after his departure.

However, 2 big stacks remain. I find myself with AA. I raise preflop. Get called by a $4 stack. ~$17 stack re-raises to $1.25. I push my $26 in. BOTH players call. My AA stacks BOTH players (KK and 9s10s) and I find myself with almost $40 at a now empty .01/.02 table.

I finish the session up 5 buy-ins in about 35 minutes of play. Why can't every session be that good?

So I started my .01/.02 grind on approximately April 4th with my last $24 at PokerStars. 10 days and aprrox 4500 hands in, my account now sits at ~$107. At $150 I'll move up to .02/.05 level. I plan on giving myself 30x buy-in at each level before moving up (although technically the .02/.05 level has a max $10 buy-in which I will utilize).

See you at the virtual felt,


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Turning it around...

.01/.02 NL on Pokerstars is pathetically easy. Great learning experience on reading flops, when to cbet, and identifying villian type/characteristics. 4371 hands put in so far here, 31.67 ptBB/100 hands return.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Biggest Win/Biggest Loss - 4/6/08

Going to try a different approach to learning. Below you will find two hands. One is my biggest win from a day, the other is my biggest loss. I'm curious to learn how you would have played both hands differently. Do you shove earlier/later? Fold preflop? Also, if you could analyze the villian play as well. i will try to provide the stats of villian above each hand. Looking forward to your input.

Biggest Win ($4.50):

Villian (muckthenut): VPIP 62.50, PF Raise 12.50, AF <1 over. Sample Size: 8 hands

My analysis: I'm not sure if I played the hand poorly and just got lucky to run into a complete moron. Or if I played it brilliantly. I checked the flop planning on re-raising. No luck. Turn great card, surely someone will bet now right? Nope. DQB on the River. Now what do I do. Fuell55 says OBFV. He wins a lot of $$. Lets give it a whirl. AK? What was the villian thinking? Split pot and I was just pushing him out of a $0.31 pot? Even then, the rake will cost him more than the $ he makes if he is right and we do split wouldn't it? Agree/disagree? Would you play this hand differently? Bet your set from the get-go?

Biggest Loss ($3.48):

Villian (mozen247) = VPIP 73.81, PF Raise 28.57. AF >4. Sample Size 88 hands

My analysis: I've deleted my last 3 attempts at this analysis as I attempted to phrase why I played preflop like I did only to realize that my preflop limp is terrible and really cannot be justified. My thoughts at the time is that I want to be involved with this super-fish and only need to flop a hand to stack him. I limp. he raised as expected. I call. Flop bottom two and then....well how would you have played it differently, preflop and postflop?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

how do you get away from a set?

where would you slow down to re-evaluate?

My stats: 15.6/13/2 over 77 hands
Villian: 23.8/12.5/3.5 over 80 hands

I seriously don't mean to be posting so many bad beat soon as I actually win the hand when I'm the favorite and all-in, I'll post it for comments as well

i know you all don't like to read bad beat posts...

but I seriously need help. Did I play this hand incorrectly?

my stats at the time of this hand 10/10 over 20 hands on this table. opponents, 44:11 over 30 hands.

I'm now down 10 buy-ins. Sadly I think I'm no longer on tilt, I'm playing solid tag poker from position yet I'm getting very close to being bankrupt. Any words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Am I just experiencing just some terrible luck today or am I misplaying my hands somehow? All of my posts are from TODAY alone :( do you play this differently?

....sigh...I just can't be a winning player....

So frustrated it's not even funny....

down 6 buyins at $10NL Full Ring because of bullshit like this that lead to massive tilt; i'm done for a few days.


Yep, you saw that right. 2 flopped sets. 2 river crushes. Flopped 2nd flush. Should be good right?

Then on two tables at the EXACT SAME TIME, I get dealt QQ. AIPF on both tables after reraising a 1/2 buy-in stack. QQ<99. QQ<66.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

MATH Recap - A Perfect Example of How to Play a Hand COMPLETELY WRONG

As usual, a violation of one of the basic poker concepts saw me exit the MATH tourney in ridiculous fashion.

I had been playing a soild TAG style and built up a nice chip stack to around 17th in the tourney (~4600 chips from a starting 3k stack). I've been feeling my game turn around and was playing very solid. I had the respect of my table and was chipping up nicely during the first hour.

And then it happens. I violate a basic concept of tournament poker and get punished for it appropriately.

Here's how it went down:

It is folded around to me in the SB with Kh3h. I decide to mix up my play a bit. Rather than make a standard FOLD in the SB or perhaps a limp (they are SOOOOOTED after all), I decide to raise.

And not your standard raise. I decide to MIN raise. Yep. You read that right, MIN RAISED.

Flop comes TERRIBLE. 9-10-Js. I decide to check-raise like I got a KQ. Check raise gets flat-called by BB. Turn comes 9s. I then decide to stay aggressive. Get cold-called. River brings a Qs. Giving me the King high straight. I raise to about 1.7k. BB pushes all in and has my last ~650 chips covered. Obviously committed, I call.

BB hand: Q9 for the Full House.

I deserved every bit of the kick in the a$$ on my way out the tourney. Talk about playing like a complete and utter moron. I think I managed for the first time in a long time to play every street completely wrong. Let's review it and see what we learn:

Preflop - Minraise from the BB is going to get called 90% of the time. Make that 99% of the time in blogger tourneys. Terrible terrible weak play... A 3x to 3.5x raise could have worked. But are the BB 100 chips really worth the risk with Kh3h? An empatic NO is the correct answer.

Flop - Check-raise a drawy board with only a gutshot draw to less than the nut straight (although the nut straight is AK which I do not put in his range). Problem One with CheckRaise: giving your opponent a free card if they check behind. Problem Two: 9-10-J are all cards they have in their range. Only hand that would play a check raise after a min bet is a TPTK type hand or nut straight of KQ (after a MIN raise preflop, my range is identified as VERY VERY wide with most of it falling in the crap category. AJ, KQ, etc all raise more preflop from SB).

Turn - Continue aggression? IDIOT! Now your TPTK is definitely beat or facing some major major heat. Your nut straight representation now faces a very strong possibility of being beaten by a Full House. Also, now there are two spades out there giving a potential backdoor flush draw some life as well. Flat call makes it obvios BB has either a made straight, a straight draw with a pair, a potential set, as well as a potential Full House by this point. and oh yeah, may also ahve a flush draw with a pair as well. In other words, YOU ARE WAY behind Dubs! Why do you insist on donating chips at this point!?

River - Dubs, seriously, do you think your fancy smancy suckout to the King high straight is worth continued strength at this point? You've already shown strength and gotten bitch-slapped not once but TWICE. How about we let the BB have a shot at it if you are so confident in the King high straight and check raise him instead! Perhaps you could let him show how strong he wants to play his hand. you know he has SOMETHING after all. If he decides to push, you can get away knowing BB has Face-9 or perhaps even the backdoor flush that had paired the original board.

Summary: By playing a hand I never should have played in the first place and then playing it in horrific fashion, I donated $24 to the greater good of someone else's bankroll.

I think what I'm more pissed about than anything else is that I knew everything I've just written WHILE I PLAYED THE HAND! I just continued to ignore myself the entire way.

A similiar scenario happened last Wednesday with the mookie (q-9 SOOOOOOOTED) two hands after I jumped to #1 in chips early in the tournament. Then about 45 minutes later in the .15/.30 deepstack blogger cash game when I gave 2 buy-ins to fellow bloggers in similiar fashion where I thought a suckout that benefited me and that the villian could definitely not see coming, got beat by the made full house or flush (the scenario where the river makes your hand but makes someone else's even better).

So it's a major but fixable leak in my game. Expect to see me cashing in the Mook on Wednesday when I have my head on straight and eliminate these stupid stupid mistakes.

See you at the virtual felt,


(sorry for the lack of posts, travelled to Iowa this past week visiting family and whatnot)